We were walking down the street of an affluent neighborhood, having just gotten our Starbucks to keep our peepers open for the evening beat: a PSL for the Saint and a hot mint tea for me. It was the type of joint where people didn’t lock their bicycles in front of the stores and the want ads of the local newsletter sold comfort, security and false promises of legacy to the aging population.
My partner and I were passing the neighboring ice cream store when my eyes landed upon a wad of cash laying on the sidewalk. I picked it up, counted it: a ten and a one. No money clip. Hmm, not much cash for the folks running around here. We considered turning it in to the ice cream shop’s lost and found when we spotted a group of young girls gaggling together, about 30 feet away as the crow flies.
“I bet it’s theirs, Ace,” I surmised.
We started walking towards the gaggle as the girls sped towards us. As they passed I heard clips of phrases, suggesting that perhaps they lost something. I tipped my detective hat forward over one eye and cleared my throat.
“One of you kids lose some money?”
“Yes, yes we did!” their ringleader spoke up, a little too eagerly.
I raised my eyebrows, looking at the young dame. Detective Peregrine Arc had seen her share of theft and other petty crimes in her day. She wasn’t going to entertain any lies today.
I watched as the young girl looked down uneasily, turned a fair shade of green and began mentally reviewing all the ills she had done in her few years of life: forgetting her homework and saying her little brother ate it; eating the cookies from Santa’s plate and drinking the milk; trading her pudding cups for gummi bears at lunch despite her mother’s warnings. l could see it all replay on her face, brought on by my gaze.
My partner cleared his throat, breaking the moment of silence.
“We did lose it though; we were just going back to look for it.”
I held up the eleven dollars and returned it to the owner, hearing a chorus of thank you’s and further stammered explanations. I tipped my hat and strolled off, continuing my beat with my partner.
“I traumatized that girl, didn’t I, Ace?” I spoke to my silent partner in-between sips of tea. His silence answered my question.
“Maybe. But it was just right, Arc. Just right. A case well solved.”
We walked into the next store, continuing our rounds. A ruby necklace with dried blood laid on the floor; I scooped it up with a pencil to examine it, my partner pulling out his notepad.
“These Halloween decorations get gorier by the year,” a worker chimed in by the front register. “Everything’s on sale today in the store; have a ghoulish day!”
Based on true events. Exaggerated only slightly. 🕵️♀️