“It’s not time for pumpkin smashing yet,” I said as I turned the corner last night around 11:00 and saw two pumpkins smashed in the road. The lights on my blue Pontiac car revealed the carnage of two of my neighbor’s pumpkins smack dab in the middle of my street. I knew the pumpkins belonged to my neighbors. I could clearly see the spot in their front step where the jack-o-lanterns lived earlier that day. Their cement front porch looked bare without their only Halloween decorations.
My street is a quiet street. Our neighborhood is filled with single story homes that house nice families; some with kids, some without. Either way, someone in our neighborhood decided to take it upon themselves to demolish my neighbor’s pumpkins and I was going to bring the perpetrator to justice.
“Who do you think it is?” I asked my wife. She pondered my question for a second, twirling her tree-trunk brown hair and replied, “You know who it might be? It might be old man Withers across the street. He came over to the house the other day complaining about the Johnson’s inflatable Halloween decorations. He said that he hates Halloween and that it is an unnecessary holiday. Maybe he took it upon him self to get rid of the neighbor’s pumpkins.”
You see, my wife is smarter than me; no doubt about it. Milly has been my wife for two and a half years and can always figure out a good mystery. Luckily I had her on my side! Nonetheless, it was time to investigate. I took it upon myself to bring my neighbor’s pumpkin smashers to justice. After thanking Milly again for a good lead, I walked across the street to 73 Brownstone Lane and knocked on the faded brown door that belonged to Archibald J. Withers. You see, Archibald was a cranky old man. He didn’t have a family to enjoy holidays with, so he felt that others shouldn’t enjoy them either. After knocking more times that a Girl Scout selling cookies, the old man answered the door.
Mr. Wither’s said, “Oh, it’s you. What do you want?” I stood in front of him for a second, looking at the old, pudgy man before me.
“Why is he so negative?” I thought to myself. Maybe it’s because his yellowish-gray toupee is on too tight? Maybe it’s because his green and orange plaid pants where up to high? Chances are though, he is just plain grumpy.
“Mr. Withers,” I said, “would you have any idea as to what happened to the Johnson girl’s pumpkins?” He frowned and replied, “No, but I am glad to see them in a million pieces in the road. Those girls are trashing this neighborhood, with their decorations. This neighborhood used to be nice before everyone started with their pumpkins and inflatable decorations. Why? Do you think I had something to do with it?”
I replied, “Well, not exactly, I just know that Halloween isn’t your favorite holiday. Where were you last night?”
“Why I was bowling until 10:30 and then I came home and went to bed. Would you stop with these silly questions and leave me alone! I have to head to my daughter’s house. She is going to give me a haircut.” The next thing I knew, I was standing on Mr. Wither’s porch with his door slammed in my face. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why would he need a haircut? He has a toupee!”
After returning home, I had to collect my thoughts on the case so far. Obviously, Mr. Withers has a reason to smash the pumpkins, but would the old man go that far as to destroy someone’s property? I had to run all of this by Milly.
After conferring with Milly, she mentioned that it might be a good idea to go and talk to the Johnson’s in order to see if they saw anything suspicious last night. Sometimes I think that she should be conducting this investigations. After all, she is the one with all of the good ideas.
The Johnson’s live next door and they are a great family. The two girls always say hi and are quick to pick up their toys that they leave out in the yard; perfect neighbors! The house was similar to mine; one story, smaller front yard, one car garage, and a neutral color. The red front door seemed as inviting as a grandma with cookies. The girl’s mom Kendra answered the door.
“Hey Ethan, what can I do for ya?” she said chipperly.
“Well Kendra I noticed that your girl’s pumpkins were smashed and was wondering if you noticed anything strange last night?”
“Oh thanks for you consideration. I didn’t see anything strange. However, I wasn’t around last night because I was bowling. After bowling got done around 10:00 I picked the girls up from their grandma’s and we came home. You can ask the girls if you want. Maybe they saw something at night.”
Hmm… bowling got done at 10 for Kendra, but 10:30 for Withers. This seems strange. I wonder where Withers was from 10 to 10:30?
Kendra called the girls from their room and they came runing out.
The first daughter, Sara was in first grade. She had sandy blond hair, rosy cheeks, and a bright smile. Sara said, “Hey Mr. Flower. How are ya?”
“Fine thanks. How about you?” I replied.
“Well I am kind of sad about my pumpkin, but mom said we can get new ones.” Sara said hopefully.
The other daughter Kim cam running out of her room shortly thereafter. Kim was in third grade. She is a great athlete. Everything is a competition for her. Kim is tall for her age and has brownish-red hair.
“Hey Mr. Flower, what’s up?” Kim said.
I replied, “Oh, I was just talking to your sister about the pumpkins that were smashed. I was sorry to see them destroyed. Did you see anything weird last night?”
“Oh, no not really. I mean my pumpkin wasn’t that great. Sara’s pumpkin was way better than mine, my mom even said so. I don’t even want another one. Carving pumpkins is stupid.”
“Well, alright. Either way, I am sorry to hear about your hard work going down the tubes,” I replied. “Rest assured that I will find the person responsible for smashing your pumpkins.”
The Johnson’s all said thanks for helping them and I started out the door to head home. However, before I made it home, Kendra called my name.
“Mr. Flower! Mr. Flower! We need your help!!!”
I sprinted back into the house and saw something that horrified me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right before me, was a math book with homework that was not completed!
“Can you help Kim with her math?” Kendra inquired.
“Oh, sure… not a problem. Let’s sit down at the table and figure this out,” I said to Kim.
Kim and I got to work on some one digit multiplication problems when I noticed something on her right pant leg and then on her white Nike shoe. Kim’s shoe had a small white seed stuck to the side. Her pant leg was littered with orange sticky goo. Honestly, it looked like the guts to a pumpkin!
“Hey Kim, how long ago did you carve your pumpkins?” I asked.
Kim replied, “Oh, a while ago. I would say about two weeks. Why?”
“Oh no reason, ” I said, “say, aren’t those new shoes?”
“Yeah, I just got them a couple of days ago. Do you like them?”
“Yeah, they are nice, but what did you get on them?” I asked.
“Umm… Umm.. I don’t know. That’s weird,” Kim said.
I finished helping Kim with her homework and then found Kendra because we needed to talk. I proceeded to tell Kendra that I thought that Kim may have smashed the pumpkins due to her feelings about her ugly pumpkin. I also told her that I noticed dried pumpkin guts and seeds on her shoes and pants.
Kendra immediately called Kim back into the room.
“Kim, did you smash you are your sister’s pumpkins?” Kendra said angrily.
“Mom, no I didn’t do it. I promise!” Kim responded.
Kendra called Sara into the room next. I was a little nervous that we weren’t going to find the answer to this mystery at all!
Kendra looked at Sara and said, “Did you and your sister go right to bed last night when we got home from grandma’s?”
Sara said, “Yeah, I brushed my teeth and went to bed. Then Kim went into the bathroom after me. I just headed for bed and fell asleep.”
I thought for a moment, “If Sara went to bed and Kim went into the bathroom, that means that no body saw Kim at night!”
I explained my theory to the Johnsons and Kim began to cry.
“I just can’t stand to to be in second place. I am not good at carving pumpkins. I smashed them, I smashed them, okay! I am sorry mom, I am sorry Sara. I just don’t like not being the best at something.”
I looked at the Johnsons and said, “Well, I guess my work here is done. Kendra, would you like me to help Kim finish her math?”
“No, Mr. Flower, that will not be necessary. I will help Kim finish her math. Thank you for your help.”
I left the Johnson’s house feeling good about helping solve the mystery. However, I did owe an apology to Mr. Withers. I crossed the street towards the old man’s house and knocked on his door.
“What, you again?” Withers said.
“Ah, Mr. Wither’s. Um, listen, “I fumbled for words,”I owe you an apology. You see, it was the Johnson girl who smashed the pumpkins. I apologize for thinking that it was you. ”
Withers replied, “Oh, well, thanks for letting me know. You can leave now.”
“Wait, “I said impatiently,”there is just one more thing. Kendra Johnson said that bowling gets done at 10:00 not 10:30. Where were you?”
Mr. Wither’s laughed and replied, “Oh, Mr. Flower, I bowl in Kalamazoo not here in town!”