Janet and Jane: The Case of the New Addition: Part Five
"I told you, I could do this on my own," James said.
"This is your first time doing something like this," I informed. "You need supervision. Now just wait a little."
I approached a store that was in the Marketplace. I went inside the store while James waited outside. The store was stocked with things, but had nobody in there. Not even the shopkeeper was in here. There was a cup that was on the counter and a sign that said, "Leave Neopoints in the cup" in big, black letters. That practically spelled out, "rob me".
Still, I didn't mind leaving my Neopoints in a cup. I grabbed what I needed and left the amount of Neopoints in the cup. I walked out of the store to see James playing with Spiral. I guess he got bored.
"Hey James," I said, snapping him out of his daze.
He looked at me, then at what I got. He said, "What'd you get?"
I opened the box and removed some rubber gloves. "These are for you."
The purple Bori quickly backed away. "You know I'm allergic to latex."
I sighed and rolled my eyes. He thought I didn't know that? "These are latex free." I stretched one of the gloves. "See? They don't stretch as far as latex." I took out a pair of my gloves and stretched them farther. "You needed gloves in case we ran into evidence. Since I know you're allergic to latex, I got you some that didn't have any in them."
He took a pair of gloves from my hands and put them on. He said, "Thank you. I don't want to sit on the sidelines again."
"Neither do I. If I'm going to be stuck with you for a few months, you need to know how to keep up with me."
The sun was setting pretty fast. The Marketplace was going to be empty soon. It wasn't prohibited to be in the Marketplace at night, but some Neopets think that anyone around here at night is up to no good. This wasn't my first time doing this, and I can guarantee you that it wouldn't be the last.
James and I laid low until everyone left. Everyone was gone before nightfall. There was enough light to see, so I kept Supra in my bag. A bright green glow in the dark practically screamed, "I'm over here!" That was the type of stuff that got others into a world of trouble. A world of trouble was the one thing we weren't looking for.
The two of us quickly got moving when we were sure that we were alone. Now where should we look. Should we look through some records of sales? Or should we look for the Neopet who was painting on the walls.
"Alright, James. I'll let you decide," I said, breaking the silence like a piñata at a party. "We could either look through some sales history of the shops here, or we could go find the vandal. What do you think?"
James looked rather indecisive about what to choose. "Well," he said. "I want to check out some of the sales history. Where do you think that would be?"
"The Shop Wizard often has them. He might be kind enough to let us take a peek."
"Like that'll happen."
I grinned and said to the Bori, "The Shop Wizard is actually a pretty chill dude when he's off the clock. I've worked with him before with some fraud case a couple years ago."
"Really?" James became very interested all of a sudden. "What other cases have you done?"
"Heh, you wouldn't believe me if I told you." I looked at James. "I'll tell you all about it when we're done here. Okay?"
He eagerly nodded. He looked very curious about what I did in the past. It reminded me of Natia when she first started hanging around us. It was kind of nice to see that again.
I led the way to the Shop Wizard's place. It wasn't that hard to find. It was just a giant version of his hat smack dab in the middle of the Marketplace. If that didn't scream, "obvious", I didn't know what did. I had yet to meet one Neopet who had trouble finding where the Shop Wizard was located.
It was very quiet while we were walking to the Shop Wizard. Almost to the point of eerie (who was I kidding? We passed eerie ten minutes ago). Maybe we could hear the vandal walking around if he was here. Maybe he could hear us. If he could hear us, he could find us and- You know what? I was not going to even finish that sentence.
When we got to the Shop Wizard's place, the sun was completely down. There were no stars or moon in the sky. It was pretty much overcast. I wouldn't be surprised if it rained right now. Hopefully, it wouldn't, but it might.
I knocked on the door. It echoed through the quiet air. I was worried that someone might have heard us. A few seconds later, the door opened. A weary yellow Jubjub was behind it, rubbing his eye with his foot. He didn't have his hat on. He was either about to go to sleep or was asleep and I woke him.
"Janet, what on Neopia are you doing here at this hour?" he asked in a yawn. "And who's this fellow?"
"Mr. Shop Wizard," I began. "my friend and I were hoping to figure out who was painting on all the shops in the area."
"I was planning on talking to you about that tomorrow. How do you always get on top of these things so quick?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. If you don't mind, could we-"
"Oh, of course you can come in." The Shop Wizard stepped aside to let us through. "Feel free to check out what you need to check out."
I walked into the building, with James following me. I've been in the Shop Wizard's place before, but it's been a while since I was inside. He usually did his job outside his house. At least after he hired Jane and I for that fraud case I mentioned earlier. He never even let me in. It was either because he was unsure of me or he didn't want to treat me differently from all the other Neopets who came to where he was for his services.
Alright, now where would he keep those sales records? They would have to be somewhere where curious Neopets like James and I would not find them. Where was somewhere that nobody would look. It would need to be somewhere that was not obvious. It possibly had a lock on it. Maybe it could be watched over easily while the Shop Wizard was working.
"Here you go, Janet!"
Or the Shop Wizard could just get it. He came up to us, pushing a big box, about his height (then again, he wasn't very big - he was barely over half my height) to us. There were words saying, "Sales History" on the lid. The Shop Wizard looked even more tired than when he opened the door to us. Even then, he gave us a smile.
"Thank you, Mr. Shop Wizard," I said. "I'm sorry if we woke you."
"Oh no, I was awake. It's just been a long day," he said. "I was planning on going to sleep soon, though."
"Well, go ahead and go to sleep. We won't be long."
The Shop Wizard left the room. His feet seemed to be dragging. I decided to ignore that and instead go through the sales history. I opened the box to see stuffed files cramming the box. I hoped that I didn't break the box by trying to get one of these out.
"Alright, so let's see where this goes," I said. I walked my fingers among the tops of the files, looking for some of the stores that were painted on. "Do you remember any of the store names?"
"I know Darren's was called Universal Supplies," James answered.
"Lame name, if you ask me."
James crossed his arms. "I personally like it."
"Yeah, yeah." I pulled out the "U" file. "Any other names you remember?"
"Let me think. Let me think." He looked up at the ceiling as if the names of the other stores were written up there. He scratched at his wrist and said, "I think that Cybunny's place is called Lola's Lovely Cosmetics."
"Okay then." I then pulled out the "L" file and began going through the store sales. When I came across Lola's Lovely Cosmetics, I took it out and examined it. "James, you check Darren's store."
James put on his glasses and went through the file. I looked over Lola's store while he was doing that. She seemed to be pretty successful over the last few weeks. Today was different. Her usual sales were more than cut in half. Yikes, I never saw a drop that big before.
"Poor Lola lost a lot of business," I said to myself.
"Darren looks like he gained a lot," James chimed in. He handed me his paper. "See? His business wasn't doing well until recently, and his sales doubled just today."
So either those murals were to keep customers away or this was all one huge coincidence. Those murals seemed to be doing their jobs except for Darren's. His had nothing to do with his store. And because all the other stores in the area were being avoided because of those murals, there was no other place to go except his store.
"Looks like your theory is correct," I said.
James' eyes widened. "Really? You mean it?"
"Yeah. Numbers don't lie." I placed the files back into the already full box. "You and I can have a little chat with Darren tomorrow. Why don't we just leave the Marketplace now and we tell Natia and Jane in the morning?"
He nodded. The Bori coughed a little then said in a scratchy voice, "Yeah, sounds like a plan."
"Hey James, are you okay? I have some Kikoughela Drops in my bag if you need it."
Something told me this wasn't just a scratchy throat. He sounded like he was having a hard time breathing. He held his throat and began to wheeze. James tried to say something, but I couldn't tell what he was saying. It wasn't until he took his hands off his neck to look at them that I knew what was happening. I saw his neck was getting really red and some of his skin my his gloves were turning red as well.
Oh no. He had on the latex gloves.
"Oh my goodness," I said in disbelief. James quickly took off the gloves after I said that. His hands were seriously red. I quickly ran off. "Mr. Shop Wizard! Mr. Shop Wizard! James is having an allergic reaction!"
It was extremely empty in the waiting room. I was the only Neopet there (not counting the Bruce behind the counter). I thought there would be more Neopets here. Then again, it was pretty late at night. Who would be at the NeoHospital this late at night if they didn't need to be here.
The bell over the door chimed. I looked over at the door. Jane and Natia were coming into the building. They looked bleary eyed and tired, but that didn't stop them from having a disappointed look on their faces.
"So let me get this straight," Jane said the moment she sat next to me. "You and James were out in the middle of the night to find out who was painting on the stores in the Marketplace, James had an allergic reaction to the latex gloves you gave him, and now he's here?"
Huh, she got that from one Neomail? I crossed my arms and replied with, "It was James' idea. I bought him latex-free gloves, but he took the wrong ones and we didn't notice. And we actually did find out who was painting on the stores."
"Did it ever occur to you that you should let us know that you were going to do this?"
"You and Natia already left for the day when James told me about that. Just be happy I caught him and that I supervised him."
"Will he be okay?" Natia asked.
I shrugged. "I really don't know, Natia. I was here for an hour now."
The door next to the counter opened. A Gelert doctor was behind it. He looked out at us. He said, "Are you three here for-" The doctor looked at his clipboard. "-James?"
Natia quickly nodded and asked him, "Is he going to be okay?"
"Yes, he's just fine. We're going to keep him here overnight, but he can leave in the morning." The Gelert looked down at his clipboard again. "One of you can talk to him, if you'd like."
Jane looked at Natia, then me. She said to us, "Alright, so who's going to talk to him?"
"Actually, he requested that Janet would see him. Are any of you Janet?"
I stood up. "That would be me," I informed.
The doctor led me out of the waiting room and into the back. The hallways, doors, windows, pretty much everything was a pristine white. It almost hurt my eyes, all the white. The bright lights on the ceiling didn't help with that. You'd think a hospital wouldn't want your eyes to hurt.
The doctor stopped and pointed at a door. I assumed that James was behind it. I would ask him, but he walked off. Alright, only one way to find out now. I slowly opened the door and peered inside.
James was sitting on the hospital bed. He had a bandage on his left wrist, but otherwise, he looked just fine. When he noticed me, he smiled. I could tell he was happy to see me.
"Hey James," I said as I walked into the room.
"Hi Janet," he greeted. "I'm glad to see you actually came."
"Sorry for what happened."
James shook his head and said, "No, I took the gloves. It's okay. Believe it or not, this wasn't the first time I was here."
I walked closer to his bed. "Really?"
He nodded. "Yep. When I first realized I was allergic to latex, I was here for a while."
James then proceeded to tell me about when he was around thirteen when he found out. I felt like this would take a while, so I sat down. It was actually pretty interesting to hear about his first allergic reaction.
Maybe these few months wouldn't be as bad as I thought.