Simon is sent out to investigate an old case.
|The Chief dropped a manila folder, sending a pile of loose papers fluttering from my messy desk. I arched an eyebrow and grabbed at a pencil and two pens before they could roll their way to freedom.
"Got a new case for you, Simon. It should be simple enough, even for a fella like you," Chief grunted. I flipped open the folder to find the photo of a sweet-faced little girl staring back at me.
"A kid?" I squeaked, cleared my throat, and tried again. "Since when do we go after little girls, Chief?"
"We ain't goin' after her. We got reason to suspect she's got info on the Weasel Case."
"We've been trying to pop that one open for over a year!" I gulped. My palms began to sweat as I scanned the scant paperwork behind the photo. Portions of the report seemed to jump out at me and with the Chief standing at my side, staring and waiting, I could feel the tension build. My nerves finally snapped and I stood, knocking a basket of paper clips to the floor.
"Looks like I'll need to, uh, question the suspect," My voice came out weak and I suspected I sounded a tad cowardly. My suspicions were confirmed when Chief smirked and crossed his arms over his broad chest.
"Be careful, now, Simon! This is a wild and unpredictable case!" His white teeth gleamed as he threw back his head and laughed at my expense. I forced a smile to my face, snatched the folder from the desk, and hurried from his howling laughter.
I found Ms. Contrary in her garden. She was standing with her back to me, grumbling under her breath. The gate creaked open and the girl whirled around with a gasp, sending her yellow skirt swirling around her ankles.
"Oh, it's just you," Mary pouted.
"My name's Detective Simon," My mouth wobbled into what I hoped was a respectable grin. "Sticks and Stones Precinct sent me over. You have some information for us about an, ahem, certain Weasel?"
"Just look at my precious garden!" Mary whined. My eyes flickered over disheveled pots and spilled dirt. I wondered what it had to do with the case.
"My silver bells have been squashed flat and my cockle shells have been chomped to the ground! It used to be neat and tidy in here but now it's just a wreck all because of Boy Blue!"
I avoided Ms. Contrary's furious gaze by taking a peek at her file. This girl was starting to sound like she was one tisket short of a tasket.
"I don't see how—"
"What are little boys made of?" Mary shook her head and her blond curls slapped against her pink cheeks. "They say it's snips and snails and puppy dog tails but I beg to differ! They're made of noise and grime and...and thoughtlessness!" Her voice broke and I braced myself for the waterworks that were sure to follow. Within seconds, Mary's chest was heaving as she sobbed. My hands shook as I searched through my pockets for a clean tissue. Coming up empty, I shrugged and waited for the torrent to pass. Mary sniffed and pointed a finger at my face.
"Little Boy Blue fell asleep and his stupid sheep ruined my garden! You should track him down and get him to 'fess up!" She winked and a light bulb went off in my head.
"I'll, uh, go talk to him right now, Ms. Contrary," I backed away, bumping into the white picket fence that encircled her garden. Flushing, I fled to the fields where Boy Blue was known to nap.
The kid was lying near a giant haystack. His snores came out as whistles and snorts. I'd heard the kid was a crier. I was loathe to wake him but I knew I couldn't go back to the Chief without results. With a sigh, I nudged Blue's foot, startling him awake.
"Wh-why'd you do that for?" he whimpered. Rubbing sleep-filled eyes, he opened his mouth and started to blubber.
"That's enough of that!" I snapped, tired of all the tears. I was surprised to find that my frustration had created an unusual courageous jolt to my body and soul.
Little Boy Blue swallowed back a sob, "You're here about Mary, aren't you?"
When I nodded, Boy Blue sighed and wiped the tears from his cheeks.
"I didn't mean for the sheep to get into her garden. I've just been so tired!" His bottom lip wobbled and I held up a finger in warning.
"The farmer in the dell," Blue sniveled, "He keeps me so busy at night chasing his domesticated blind mice that I fall asleep while watching the flock during the day."
"He's got three of them and they're super smart. You should see how they run!" Blue wrapped his arms around his legs and rested his head on his knees. As he dozed off, I tapped my pencil against my lips. It was time to have a chat with the farmer.
I knocked on the crooked door, shaking my head at how the house leaned. I made a mental note to have a building inspector come out and take a look around the property. The door creaked open and a crooked old man limped forward. He smiled, revealing a set of crooked teeth.
"Sir," I brought out a set of handcuffs and reached for his crooked arm, "It's come to my attention that you've employed a young sheepherder by the name of Boy Blue."
"My back ain't what it used to be," the farmer replied, "and he's a hard worker. Keeps me mice and sheep in line, he does."
"There are child labor laws against working a boy all night and all day," I snapped the cuffs over his skinny wrist. "I'm gonna have to take you in."
As I led him down the crooked path I grinned, it looked like we had another Happily Ever After.