Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 81,443,838 Issue: 152 | 8th day of Hiding, Y6
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The Case of the Wand That Wasn't: Part Four


by tambourine_chimp

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From the case files of kojak_Hommes, Lupe Private Eye

So why had I, kojak_Hommes, Neopia’s only Private Eye Lupe, called both suspects of the theft of Miss Trixy’s Wand of Ultranova when I already knew which one stole it?

Well, if I told you now, you probably wouldn’t bother reading the rest of the case, am I right? Of course I am…

~**~

As Trixy and I finished preparing the cocoa and cookies, a knock at the door caused my ears to pick up. Well, that wasn’t exactly true, so let me correct myself there; it was the absence of a certain Dogglefox barking at the top of it’s lungs that caused my ears to pick up.

“That’ll be Sammy the Grundo,” I told Trixy. Without saying a word, the Jubjub went to answer the door.

Her gasp of surprise told me I was right, and as the Grundo came in led by a Trixy who was staring at me with a What-Aren’t-You-Telling-Me look, I kept silent…for now.

The second time someone knocked on the door, I heard Growler’s barks a split-second before. “And that’s the obnoxious Aisha Thomas…surprised he could prise himself away from his money so soon.”

This time Trixy’s stare was so intense it seemed to nail my mysterious-act to the brick wall, so I decided to begin, but not so quickly. One, I wanted to remember this success until my dying day…two, if I happened to be wrong, then I didn’t wish to remember the embarrassment.

“I called one of your friends on the way back, Thomas,” I started slowly, “and they did indeed verify your alibi…though his comments on the Cheat bets were somewhat alarming.”

“Well, when you’re rich, you may do rich things…now I’ve got a question,” the Aisha added with a stifled yawn. “Why is the table with all the snacks so far away?”

I concealed the smile well, I must admit. Trixy and I had purposefully set the table on the opposite side of the room from where Sammy and Thomas were seated on Bean Bag Chairs, though the Jubjub didn’t know why I had wanted it this way.

“Oh, I am sorry about that, I didn’t notice I had been so stupid! Well,” I added with what I hoped was just a hint of slyness. “We Lupes aren’t very good at carrying stuff as it tends to make us walk on our back leg…that’s not good. And, as you can see, Miss Trixy here – like most Jubjubs I know of – has no arms…so I guess you’ll just have to get the snacks yourselves, if it’s not too much trouble.”

I’ll give him credit here, Thomas was a superb actor as he pretended to be grudgingly rising from his Bean Bag, when he knew all to well I had set up the room deliberately.

The young Grundo, however…well, he was an entirely different bunch of Mootix altogether, really. With a frightened glance in my direction, he stood up…and hobbled over to the Coral Table, making uneven footprints in the rug.

Now, I didn’t pounce on him, though the terrified alien would proclaim for many a day afterwards that I had. No, actually I slunk over to him, slinging a paw over his shoulder all friendly-like. Leading him over to the window, I dived into the dangerous deeps of solving the case.

“I believe you’ll find an amazing view through here, Sammy,” I began cheerfully, before forcing a fake shudder. “Oh, isn’t it cold? Ah, look! Someone left the window open a crack! Trixy always closes her windows firmly, isn’t that right, Miss?”

“Always,” was all the Jubjub managed to answer.

“Now, if I were to leave the house by this window,” I continued, paw still on the quivering Grundo’s shoulders. “For no reason, just because I wanted to…I know! Let’s say I wanted to leave without anyone knowing because…because…”here I pretended to try and find a suitable reason, when I knew full well what it was going to be. “Because everyone was asleep!” I finished finally, “Yes, well, in that case I’d leave the window open just a crack – just like this one here – to avoid the chances of accidentally slamming it shut, right? Am I right? Isn’t that what you would’ve done, Sammy?”

It took the petrified Grundo ages to answer, but when he did, it was, “Y-yes…”

“Is it what you did, Sammy?”

Another painfully long silence, during which I mentally crossed all my claws, eyes, ears and whiskers that I wasn’t about to drown in the deep end of wrong-suspect-accusation. Finally, Sammy answered my question…and rather quite bravely, considering there was a great big Lupe hanging onto him.

“Y-y-yes…”

“Ah,” Thomas sighed happily, suddenly reminding me he was in the room still. “So the villain – and I’m glad he’s no acquaintance of mine, or I’d never speak to him again – has been caught…good show, that Lupe! Well, Trixy, I’ll be seeing you when you finally get around to repaying me…”

“Ah, yes,” I announced abruptly in what I hoped was a scathing mockery of the pompous Aisha. “About that, Thomas…you won’t want to leave just yet…the best is yet to come!”

“It is?” Thomas asked me cautiously as he sat back down slowly.

“Oh, I’d say so…Sammy!”

The ashamed Grundo turned back to me from the window with tear-streaked eyes. “Yes…?” he blubbered, fearing the worst.

“Now, Sammy…I believe you have something of Mr Thomas’s…?” I asked slowly, all the time my eyes searching the Aisha for any signs. Please let me be right on this part as well, I begged silently. “A certain Paint Brush, I believe?”

And, at last, the obnoxious Aisha took the bait and dropped his act as he stood up once again in indignation. “No – now just you hold on a minute!” Thomas exclaimed, scowling at me as if I were a pile of dung he had got stuck to his paws. “That Paint Brush isn’t mine! He won it from the Wheel of Monotony –”

“Ahh?” I asked sarcastically after the Aisha had finally managed to stop himself. “Sorry, but what made you think that? You just said you had never seen young Sammy before! Do I sense a conspiracy unravelling…? No, don’t answer, please! I think I’ve got it all figured out:

“You, Thomas, paid for half of Miss Trixy’s Wand of Ultranova, if I am to remember correctly. But when she hadn’t managed to repay your ‘loan’ for some time, you somehow decided it was more your Wand than hers – but you were to rich to steal, right? Of course you are, so you tracked down the one Neopet with a reason to steal it for you, not enough sense to know better and – no offence here, Sammy – the lack of brains needed to muck-up the theft. From the obviousness of the clues, poor Sammy would be arrested…but what if no on immediately identified Sammy as the crook? So you got worried and decided to add a clue of your own – and that was where you made your mistake, if I might add.

“So enters the Skunk Paint Brush and its backing alibi! I must admit, it had me fooled for, oh what…five seconds? Obviously Sammy had been instructed by you to state that he had won it off of the Wheel of Monotony. But it’s already a well-known fact that only Tyrannian Paint Brushes can be won from that specific Wheel! Sammy’s alibi being blindingly-obviously fake, he’d have been caught then too.

“Now, I must admit that I wasn’t one hundred percent sure you were actually involved, Thomas. Maybe Sammy had suddenly thought it all up, his child-like mind not realising all the pot-holes in the plan. Then again you slipped up, your cool and obnoxious manner causing you to speak before you thought. You were indeed correct when you said the villain had been caught, Thomas…you are that villain.”

Please, hold the applause…improvisation was never my strong point.

By now both Sammy and Thomas were shaking, though I guessed the Aisha was doing it for an entirely different reason. “Okay,” he muttered venomously, “so maybe I hadn’t accounted for a smart-alec Detective mutt…what now? You gonna call the Chia Police?”

Trixy and I exchanged glances, and she nodded slowly. “Well,” I replied, cool as ever, “this may come as a surprise, but we don’t intend to have you arrested…either of you.”

The two of them stared at me, one in relief, the other in dumbstruck confusion. You figure which face belong to whom.

“No, instead you shall do as I say or the Chia Police shall be notified. Thomas, you are to give Miss Trixy her Wand back and cancel her debt completely. Got that? And Sammy…?” the young Grundo looked at me cautiously. I just winked at him. “Keep out of trouble from now on, you hear me?”

When Thomas stormed off sometime later (minus one Wand of Ultranova, some neopoints and one Skunk Paint Brush), I turned back to Trixy, who was comforting the remorseful Grundo.

“Now that you’ve paid me for my investigative services,” I told her kindly as I turned to leave down the garden pathway. “Here’s a bit of free advice…it wouldn’t hurt, you know, if just once or twice you let Sammy win a Battledome fight…sometimes losing is better than winning, got that…?”

And, with those words of wisdom, I left them to their own lives, and experienced Detective. Come on Neopia, I thought happily to myself. Throw another at me…it couldn’t get much harder than that …

The End

Author’s Note: Whoo! So that’s that, folks…not many of you saw that coming, ey? If you want kojak_Hommes to tackle another Neopian mystery, then just Neomail me – but be patient! It took me a fortnight just to get the storyline for this one sorted out! Mysteries aren’t easy, you know…

But, then again, if they were…well, then they wouldn’t be mysteries, right…?

 
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Other Episodes


» The Case of the Wand That Wasn't: Part One
» The Case of the Wand That Wasn't: Part Two
» The Case of the Wand That Wasn't: Part Three



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