How do I smell this terrible? Well people, you might not want to know. I don’t know if you’ll be able to handle it. I may be only ten, but this redheaded girl is tougher than the average kid. You have to be to do what I do. If you don’t know what that is, then take one look at my trench coat and briefcase (yes I’m ten and I have a briefcase—get over it) complete with magnifying glass, binoculars, and a fingerprinting kit. It’s not rocket science people.
This smelly story started this morning when I was trying to slip past the biggest antagonist of my detective career. My mom. She wanted me to stay in my room and clean it, but what good detective would put a clean room above a case? I mean, good detectives have to sacrifice their own comfort for the good of the community. It would be selfish to jeopardize the safety of innocent civilians so I could have a clean room.
So, there I was at my front door, trench coat on and briefcase in hand. All the banging around and squawking in the other room let me know my diversion was working perfectly. I’d let out our two parakeets and my mom was running around trying to catch them. It would take her all morning to put them back in their cage. I was in the clear.
“Lora! The birds are out,” she called. Oops. That was my cue to leave.
“Lenora!” she yelled. I cringed. I hated it when she called me by my full name. I liked to be called L.C. My initials sounded much better than Lora or, gag, Lenora.
I dashed out of the house before I could hear the name Lenora one more time and headed to the scene of the crime, which happened to be my sidekick’s house.
His driveway was chalked.
Bobby’s driveway wasn’t the first driveway to be chalked around the neighborhood. Every morning a new driveway was covered in orange, blue, pink, yellow, and green. It wouldn’t be so bad if these chalk villains were good artists, but they didn’t even attempt to draw something. They just scribbled a bunch of colors together like a two-year-old on a diet of skittles and cool-aid. If you are going to commit a crime that the whole neighborhood was going to see, at least be creative people!
Bobby was standing in his driveway when I got there, looking forlornly at the mess of colors that covered it.
I can’t believe they got my driveway,” Bobby said as we surveyed the damage.
“Don’t worry Bobby. I’m going to catch those creeps. They won’t do something like this to your driveway again,” I assured him.
“No, I wanted them to get my driveway.”
How could he say that? We were supposed to be stopping the lawlessness around here, not rejoicing in it.
“These people have to be stopped Bobby. We don’t know what house they’ll strike next. We can’t let our neighborhood live in fear.”
“I know. That’s why I’m glad they came to my driveway.”
Note to self: find a better sidekick.
“I have this,” Bobby said whipping out a tape recorder from his pocket. “I’ve put this out here every night, hoping that they would come here and they did.” Bobby hopped up and down.
Sometimes Bobby surprised me. “Ok, stop jumping around before you drop it,” I ordered. Someone had to be the responsible one around here. “What did you hear?”
Bobby shrugged. “I don’t know. I didn’t listen to it yet.”
I palmed my forehead. And sometimes he kept surprising me. I did have to cut him some slack. He was two years younger than me. Besides, that’s why I was the detective and he was the sidekick.
After listening to a lot of incredibly boring static and some dogs barking we got to the part where there were hushed voices.
“This is it! That’s the people!” Bobby shouted.
“Shhh,” I hissed.
“We have to do this house,” said one voice, “He’s the little sidekick.”
“Yeah, let’s get this one really good.”
After a while of soft scratching noises, “We could do this all summer, and she’ll never figure out it was us.”
The other person laughed. “That’s because we’re smarter than detective L.C.”
“I can’t believe it!” I exclaimed. “They are intentionally doing this to prove that they can outsmart me.”
“They are?” Bobby asked, completely clueless.
“And they purposely targeted you because they know you help me solve crimes.”
“Yes! Didn’t you hear them?” Poor Bobby. He wasn’t always the smartest kid. “Now all we have to do is identify their voices, then we’ll see who out smarted who…or uh whom.”
“It’s Daniel and Dana,” Bobby said. How did he recognize their voices so quickly?
“Give me that,” I took the tape recorder, re-winded it, and held it up to my ear. It did sound like Daniel and Dana.
“I should have known it was them.” Daniel and Dana were the most obnoxious twins in the neighborhood. Actually, they were the only twins in the neighborhood, but they were still the most obnoxious kids around.
“Brace yourself Bobby,” I said in my brave voice, “We are going to confront them.”
“If it isn’t L.C. the wonder detective,” Dana said when she saw us.
“And she brought her pet along,” said Daniel.
“Sidekick,” said Bobby, “I’m the sidekick.” Note to self: tell Bobby that it isn’t cool to argue over titles with the suspects.
“How’s your driveway, sidekick?” crooned Dana.
“So you admit it!” I said.
“Admit what?” Dana asked slyly.
“You know what,” I told her, “You just asked about his driveway. How would you know there was something wrong with his driveway unless you are the culprit?” I had them now. These twins thought they were so smart, but I hadn’t even interrogated them and they were already spilling out confessions.
“It’s a driveway L. C.,” said Dana rolling her eyes, “Anyone can see it,”
Oh yeah. I forgot about that little detail.
“We have your voice on tape, so don’t try to deny it,” I told them smugly.
“You what?” asked Daniel.
“That’s right we have evidence. Your whole conversation on tape,” I said. Nothing was more satisfying than letting the criminals know that I had evidence.
“Yeah,” said Bobby, “We have everything right here.” He took the tape recorder from his pocket.
“No Bobby don’t…” I started.
In one quick motion, Daniel snatched it out of Bobby’s hands.
“You don’t now,” he said waving it over Bobby’s head. He tried to snatch it, but Daniel kept it out of his reach. I needed a taller sidekick. I lunged at Daniel, but Dana cut in front of me. I swung my briefcase at her. She caught it and pulled it out of my hands.
“Hmm…what’s in here?” she asked innocently. I wasn’t worried. She would never guess the code. I went for Daniel again, but then something terrible happened.
A trash truck drove by.
Daniel saw the opportunity to hide his crimes forever and with expert aim, threw the tape recorder into the back of the truck.
“Score!” he yelled.
“My dad is going to kill me,” Bobby groaned.
I gritted my teeth together and prepared myself for the most defining moment in my career. This was one of those moments where you find out just what kind of person you are. Was I a true detective, dedicated to keeping criminals off the streets and driveways colorless? Or would I cave under pressure?
Not a chance. I was detective L.C and no criminals were going to get away on my watch.
I took off running as fast as I could toward the trash truck.
“Are you crazy?” Dana yelled behind me.
I kept my eyes focused on the back of the truck, ready to dive in a soon as I caught up. Soon my lungs were heaving and I was covered in sweat. It would probably help if I weren’t wearing a trench coat.
The trash truck was winning. The only evidence I had in The Case of Driveway Graffiti was getting away.
Then a sign appeared that gave me the strength to keep going. A stop sign. I caught up to the truck and climbed into the back.
If you’ve never been inside the back of a trash truck, I have one word for you: don’t. It reeked of fish, dirty socks, cat litter, and rotting zombies. I was sure I would throw up, but I didn’t want to add that to the list of horrible smells, so I held it in.
It was kind of dark in there and the tape recorder was black. Let me tell you, that’s not a good combination. I stuck my hands in the trash. Something slimy and wet met my fingers. I made a face, and forced myself to keep going. I would not let anything, no matter how gooey or smelly get between me and my evidence.
My fingers closed around a rectangular shaped object. I let out a whoop. I had it! Take that nasty chalk twins.
I tucked the tape recorder safely in my trench coat’s deep pockets (see it is good for something besides making me sweat) and stood up.
“Take that you…” The trash truck hit a pot hole and I fell backward into the smelliness.
“Darn it,” I moaned.
I had to wait for the trash truck to stop again before hopping out the back.
“Goodbye dungeon of death,” I said. My trench coat was covered in an assortment of mysterious substances. Oh, well, it was just one of the many hazards of the job.
When I got back to the twin’s house, Daniel and Dana weren’t around and a miserable looking Bobby was sitting on the sidewalk with my briefcase in his lap.
“I got it,” I said triumphantly whipping the recorder out of my reeking, stained trench coat.
“You did? Whoa, you stink.” Bobby made a face.
“Well, it’s not like a trash truck contains mounds of daisies in the back.” Couldn’t a girl get a little appreciation? I just saved his tape recorder and the evidence to our biggest case.
“You jumped in the back while it was moving.” Bobby sounded impressed.
“Of course not. No one can do that,” I informed him. Someone had to teach these kids that not everything you see on TV is real. “It stopped at a stop sign and I jumped in.”
Bobby looked puzzled. What did he not understand this time?
“If it stopped, why didn’t you walk up to the driver and asked him to get it,” Bobby asked.
Sometimes that kid surprised me.
Other L.C. Detective stories:
Prompt: “You smell terrible. What happened?”
I know I said that I was taking the month off (see Writing A Novel in a Month) but I couldn’t help myself. 🙂