The lights of the hallway were dim…as usual. But that’s not the point; the point is someone stole an action figure out of Luke’s locker. Luke was a sophomore who led worship in the school’s chapel service. Everyone loved Luke—except for the fiend who stole his toy, apparently. The whole sophomore class was stunned. Thus they turned to our freshmen heroes…”Who are they?” you ask. “Good question,” I say. Just kidding.
The leader of this “clan” was Garrett. Garrett was the freshman class president. He won his presidency mainly because of his big, buff structure. But that’s not to say that he didn’t have some good leadership qualities in him. Like unflinching fear in the presence of dangerous circumstances or a really sharp mind that could slice through any problem. Joseph was the class chaplain; he also played guitar. He was nowhere near as strong as Garrett; on the contrary he was skinny and had spindly muscles worthy of an instrument, but not an arm-wrestling competition. He looked up to his president with a reverence and awe worthy of a king, thus he was often considered “second-in-command.” Jason was the—how shall I say it?— “funny one” of the group. He held no office, just a trumpet. His physique was athletic, so a little more muscular than Joseph, but not as big as Garrett’s. Finally, there’s John. He’s the Petra-fanatic of the group. He also plays guitar and, well, who doesn’t these days? Body mass-wise, he was more on par with Joseph (and so, obviously, a long-shot from Garrett), though with a little more meet on his bones. However, he had lanky arms and long legs providing for a plethora of trips and pratfalls. He was the least graceful of the group.
Anyway, these group of friends (pardon my English) were “volunteered” (actually forced) to find out who, or what, stole the action figure. They had no clue where to start since this was the first time they had ever been called into a mystery.
“Let’s start in the attic,” John suggested.
“There’s no attic in this school!” Joseph replied.
“Why don’t we just do a locker check?” said Jason. No one knew what to say.
“Yeah,” John agreed, “and don’t tell me there aren’t lockers in the school either!”
“Well actually…” Jason joked.
“Guys!” Garrett yelled, his voice rattled through the hall, “Let’s have a lunch box check.” The other three sat down Indian-style and stared in awe at him.
“But why a lunch box check?” Joseph wondered.
“Because,” Garrett replied, “that’s the way the author planned it.”
“Isn’t John the author?” went Jason. John shrugged.
So the next day they arrived at school early to do the lunchbox check…unfortunately, it was a Saturday. So a couple days later they did it. They found nothing… literally. You think I’m kidding? They didn’t even find so much as a morsel of food…mainly because they checked after lunch. But that’s not the point. The point now is that the sophomore class was getting restless; our heroes knew their pants were on the line…because their moms just cleaned them. But Garrett was not deterred by this unfortunate set back. Rather, he regrouped our heroes one day in the alcove overlooking the lower parking lot on the north side of the school building. The alcove was the meeting spot for them, and pretty much the whole freshman class.
“All right, guys, I have a new plan,” Garrett informed.
“Are we gonna check the attic now?” John ventured.
“John, let the attic go! There is no attic! Only roof!” Joseph sounded off.
“Actually,” Garrett cut in, “I believe we should come up with a list of possible suspects.”
“How?” asked Jason. “This is a pretty big school, you know.”
“Nuh-uh, it’s not big compared to public schools,” Joseph corrected.
“It’s big compared to my old school,” John noted.
“Where you from again?” Jason wondered, “Canada?”
“To answer Jason’s first question,” Garrett interrupted, “we will talk with Luke and find out who his closest friends—and closest enemies—are.”
“What good would that do?” Joseph posed.
“Well it’s a better idea than checking a non-existent attic,” Garrett quipped. “But it’s also building off a theory I have. You see, I think that whoever stole Luke’s action figure is either a friend playing a joke on him or an enemy trying to tear at his heart!”
“Ew, that’s graphic,” Jason remarked.
So it was that our heroes made haste to find Luke. Of course, he was gone on a field trip. So the next day the caught Luke and pulled him aside for a quick interview. The sophomore thought the questions posed to him were odd, but he answered anyway. He had a hard time thinking of enemies, since no one showed open enmity to him. During the interrogation…I mean, interview, our heroes, well, Garrett, uncovered this:
“So, Luke, do you keep your locker set?” (I must here explain that by “set” Garrett means that the locker could be shut without the built-in lock clamping shut).
“No, but I’ll leave it jammed open during the day,” Luke replied.
“But the toy was taken at night? After school at least?”
“Yeah, probably during the basketball game.”
“Does anyone know the combination to your locker?”
“Only the friends on that list I gave you.”
For Garrett, this was enough. He turned to our heroes and told them they had enough information to start making reasonable hypotheses. They left having assured Luke that the mystery would soon be closed. At lunch they reviewed their suspects. Garrett narrowed it down to Luke closest friends. It was a trio. There was Brennan, the red-headed drummer who also enjoyed an occasional wrestling match. Strength-wise, he was almost the Garrett of the sophomore class…almost. Next was Adam, a junior who had a crop of curly hair sitting on the top of his head. He also played drums, though he showed his skill in the pep band. Finally there was Josh, another junior, who was one of the few technologically advanced students of the school.
Attempts at interrogating these three were largely futile. Brennan sat through the questioning at first and then shook his head with a grin and walked off. Adam and Josh, whom our heroes tackled at the same time, both laughed in our heroes’ faces and heckled them throughout the entire interview. With their probing done, they returned to the alcove the following morning to sift through the results.
“None of them were very helpful,” Joseph sulked.
“Because they don’t respect us, that’s why,” John declared.
“We shoulda began the questions by giving them wedgies!” Jason suggested.
“Jason, I don’t think that woulda helped!” Joseph said. “Anyways, Garrett, who do you think it is?”
“I think they all did it,” Garrett answered bluntly. The others were shocked.
“What makes you think that?” Joseph dug.
“Their responses were smokescreens they were throwing up to try and hide the truth. I would surmise that it was all a practical joke and they’ll probably wait ‘til the situation grows desperate and then give the toy back.”
“But what if you’re wrong?” Jason dared to ask.
“I’m not. At least one of them was the perpetrator of the deed and the others know of the act. I would go so far as to say that Adam was the one who broke into Luke’s locker.”
“Why’s that?” Joseph wondered.
“Because he plays drums for the pep band and would have been at the game to sneak out and get into the locker.”
Just then Joseph gazed out the window to ponder this revelation. Below them students of every grade were piling through the doors. Amidst this pile was Adam. Joseph looked at the boy (who was also a friend) in a new dastardly light. But as he looked he saw the action figure hanging out of the junior’s backpack.
“Guys, that’s it!” Joseph stood up and yelled.
“Suicide isn’t the answer!” Jason commented.
“No, that’s not what I meant!” Joseph replied with fire in his eyes…no, not literally mind you. “Adam’s down there and he has Luke’s toy.”
Garrett got up and took a look-see.
“He’s right,” he said after a moment. Jason then got up and pointed at the kid through the window and yelled,
“Look, thief, thief!”
Apparently Adam heard him since he looked up and saw them staring at him. He stopped in his tracks and then made a run for it into the building.
“He’s getting away!” Jason yelled.
“I got him,” John said darting off, “I’ll catch him as he goes into the lobby.”
John ran to the balcony overlooking the lobby in front of the bookstore and decided to do something that seemed like a good idea until he actually enacted it. He jumped over the edge, flying from the second level to the bottom floor expecting to make the pounce.
“Hey, I can’t believe he did that,” Jason said reaching the balcony ledge just then and looking over.
“I think there’s more to John than we might know,” Joseph noted.
Everything went into slow motion as John made his decline. Then, by chance, the janitor happened to be coming by with a garbage can full of garbage and John landed smack dab in the middle of it. Garrett, Jason, and Joseph shook their heads from above.
“Well, at least he tried,” Jason said.
“Come on guys,” Garrett said jogging down the steps, “We’ll take up the chase from here.” And the three chased after the junior.
“Hey guys, wait for me!” John yelled as he stumbled from the garbage can.
So the chase was on. They chased him through the 7th and 8th grade hallway. In and out of classrooms they ran, dodging desks, bumping past kids, and sailing over backpacks littering the floor. Then as the fugitive turned around the bend to melt into the senior/junior hallway, he ran into Garrett.
“Garrett?” said Joseph and Jason in unison.
“Oh good, you got him,” John panted, running up. He soon fell over. Jason sniffed the air.
“What’s that stench?” he asked.
“Don’t start,” John mumbled.
So our heroes saved the action figure and Luke’s heart. Garrett was hailed a hero. Joseph and Jason were labeled as “runner-ups.” John took a shower immediately, mainly because the principal told him too or else…As for Adam, he returned the toy back to Luke. As Garrett had deduced, the three friends were in the scheme together, with Adam as the head. They were doing it as a prank and let it hang off Adam’s backpack until Luke noticed it…he obviously never did. Oh yeah, the sophomore class was greatly relieved and rewarded our heroes by buying them cookies at lunch. Now our heroes sit back and rest, ‘til next time!
*school-time mysteries. No rights reserved.