I didn’t mean to skip school. I really didn’t. But what good detective would allow criminals to roam free just so they could go to school? What was more important, school or saving innocent lives? My mom would say school. That lady really needed to get her priorities straight.
There I was, walking to school with Bobby like I did every morning when bam! A case appeared out of nowhere. Well actually it came right off the school bus in front of us. The Carsley twins got off the bus and walked right past the school.
“Did you see that?” I exclaimed.
“See what?” asked Bobby, as clueless as always.
“Right in front of you Bobby. Daniel and Dana.”
“Oh, I see them. Why are they going that way?” Bobby scrunched up his nose.
“Exactly what I’m wondering.”
“They’re probably skipping school,” said Bobby.
I rolled my eyes. “Of course they’re skipping. That’s obvious.”
“But I thought you said you were wondering…”
“I’m wondering why they’re skipping school.”
“Because they don’t like school?”
Bobby had absolutely no creativity.
“They’re up to something,” I said as I eyed them suspiciously. Daniel and Dana were the biggest trouble making twins at our school. Well, they were the only twins at our school, but they were still the biggest trouble makers. Skipping school was big, even for them, and I didn’t doubt for one moment that they had more planned than not going to classes.
Bobby started walking.
“Where are you going?”
“We can’t go to school! They’ll get away!”
Bobby gave me a puzzled look. Poor guy. I had to explain everything to him.
“We can’t let them get away with whatever sinister crime they’ve planned.”
“They’re planning a crime? How’d you know that?”
“Because they’re the Carsley twins.” It wasn’t rocket science.
“Oh.” Bobby continued walking.
“We can’t let them wander unsupervised among unsuspecting people. What kind of detectives would we be?”
“You’re the detective. I’m the sidekick.”
Oh yeah. That wasn’t my best persuasive argument ever.
“Well, what kind of sidekick would let that happen?”
“The kind of sidekick that doesn’t want to get in trouble for missing class.”
Sometimes my sidekick was such a smart mouth.
“Fine. But you’ll miss the satisfaction of catching Daniel and Dana in their biggest crime yet.”
Bobby shrugged and kept walking.
Note to self: find a sidekick who is more interested in…well being a sidekick.
I caught up to the twins but kept a safe distance so they wouldn’t know I was following them. A good detective also had to be a good spy.
“Hey! What are you doing here?” Daniel saw me. Opps. I guess I needed to work on my spy skills.
“Yeah, I don’t remember inviting you L.C.,” Dana chimed in.
“You didn’t have to. Seeing you two sneaking off to break the law is invitation enough.” Ooh. That was good. It sounded like a line from a movie.
“Break the law?” asked Daniel. “That’s stupid. We aren’t breaking any laws.”
I couldn’t let them know that I was on to them or they might not go through with their dastardly plan.
“You’re skipping school,” I said, “and not going to school is breaking the law.”
“Then you’re breaking the law too L.C. I don’t see you in school,” Dana said, “I never thought I’d see the day when L.C. the great detective would do something illegal.”
“Can you even be a detective if you break the law?” asked Daniel with a snicker.
“I don’t think so,” Dana said.
They were just trying to get under my skin, and let me tell you, it was working. Hey, even the best detectives lose their cool every now and then. We may be smarter than the average person, but we aren’t perfect.
“I’m not breaking the law! It’s different for detectives.”
“Sure it is,” said Daniel.
“Whatever L.C.,” said Dana, “Just quit following us.”
“Yeah, find your own place to ditch school at,” added Daniel.
“I’m not ditching school!” These criminals want to bring you down to their level so you’d lose you edge.
“Yeah, yeah,” said Daniel, “just stop following us.”
“Oh I will. I won’t follow you at all,” I said backing up, “I don’t want to be anywhere near you.” Daniel and Dana gave each other a puzzled look, then shrugged and walked on.
My super sly detective skill worked again.
Now they would think that I had no interest in following them, so they wouldn’t be looking for me. You have to be cleaver to do the kind of job I did.
I followed them all the way to the park without being seen. This was interesting. What kind of crime did they have planned that took place at the park? Maybe they were going to toilet paper it or cover the sidewalks with chalk.
I didn’t have my briefcase with me, but a good detective is always prepared. I put my most important items from my briefcase into my backpack, including my binoculars. Now I just needed a good place to watch. There was a tree in someone’s yard across the street that would make the perfect stakeout place.
Once in the tree, I focused on the binoculars on Daniel and Dana. They were chasing the ducks by the river.
I knew they were up to no good! They came here to torture innocent ducks. I didn’t think that was illegal though. Maybe this was just their warm-up crime.
After chasing the ducks into the water they threw pebbles at them until they swam away. It’s too bad I didn’t have a camera. I should be taking pictures of all the abuse.
The twins went to the playground and challenged each other to a bunch of contests. Who could run up the slide fastest. Who was brave enough to go down upside-down. Who could swing higher. Who could jump off when the swing was at the highest point. That one ended in Dana scuffing her elbow.
I kept waiting for them to start their big plan, but they never did. I was bored and my bottom was hurting from sitting on that lumpy branch.
“If you’re going to make me come all the way out here to spy on you, at least have the decency to do something interesting people,” I muttered.
Then, like magic, something interesting happened. Only it wasn’t the good kind of interesting.
A police car pulled up beside my tree. The window rolled down slowly like a door creeping open to a haunted house.
“What are you doing in that tree young lady?” asked the policeman.
“I’m so glad you’re here officer,” I said quickly trying to explain before he hauled me to jail for trespassing or entering other people’s trees without permission. “There are two kids who are skipping school.”
“I see one of them. Where’s the other?” he said. He saw one of them? But they were behind him. Oh! He thought it was me.
“No, I’m not the one skipping school,” I explained.
“You’re not? Then what are you doing?”
“I’m keeping track of the kids who are skipping school. I couldn’t let them go free to do whatever they want you know. My conscience wouldn’t allow it.”
“Where are these kids you’re conscience wouldn’t allow you not to watch?”
Now we were getting somewhere. “They’re over… there?” The park was emptier than a toy store after Christmas. The policeman looked from my pointing finger, to the park, then back at me.
“Alright missy. Enough with the stories. Come on down and I’ll take you to school.”
I scanned the park with my binoculars, but there was no sign of them. The creeps must have seen the police car and hid.
“They were there a second ago.” I climbed from the tree. “I’ll show you. They’re just hiding.”
The policeman sighed. “Get in the car.”
I swung my backpack on and walked to the window.
“As one catcher-of-criminals to another, I swear to you that I was only looking out for the best interest of the neighborhood. These kids can’t be left unsupervised. There’s no telling what they’ll do.”
“As a what? Never mind. Just get in the car.”
I thought an officer of the law would be more concerned about the safety of his neighborhood. Just goes to show you that not all of us enforcers of the law are the same. Some of us are more dedicated then others.
I got in.
“I’m telling you officer, you have the wrong kid.” I tried one last attempt. “There’s an evil set of twins on the loose. I know what they’re capable of. I’m a detective and…”
“You’re in elementary school right?”
That guy wasn’t listening to a word I was saying. Maybe if I had my trench coat and briefcase, he would take me more seriously. Instead I was stuck with a backpack and civilian clothes.
Situations like these remind me that the life of a defective isn’t all glamorous. We don’t get thanked for the hard work we did or the sacrifices we made. Here I was, in the back of a police car while the real criminals remained free.
But, that was just one of the hazards of the job. I just hoped my mom would understand that hazard.
L.C. can’t keep out of trouble. Read about her smelly adventure in The Case of the Driveway Graffiti.