Today is one of those days a runner doesn’t like. Tomorrow I’m registered for a local half-marathon, meant to serve as my last long run before our multi-generational family participation in the Ottawa Half Marathon in 2 weeks’ time. What I don’t like is that my previously problematic right leg has become problematic again. Consequently, I’ve spent the day going through the list of probable causes that we all go through, followed by the “OK, I’ll just get through the next two weeks and then take a few weeks off if still necessary” argument we all give ourselves. We’ll see what happens.
Instead of running – a touchy subject at the moment – I’m going to switch to another touchy subject: plot resolution. Since most of my writing is for my grandchildren, my plots aren’t too long or complicated. However, they can still throw me for a loop, especially when I think I’m on a roll and then I’m suddenly brought up short by the reality that the story line just doesn’t hang together.
This week I finally completed a story that had done that to me; there is precious little in this new story that is left from my original starting point. But both the plot I gave up on and the one I ended up with were possible because the young detectives had done a good marketing job in the introductory detective story!
Chapter 1 illustrates the importance of ensuring potential clients know about your services.
The Case of the Missing Laundry
Chapter 1 – A new challenge for the Kids Only Detective Agency
Clara and Angus, usually known as Gus, had been very happy when their new detective agency, Kids Only Detective Agency, had solved the case of the missing toys. They were ready to solve more mysteries, but so far there had been no mysteries at their house. And no mysteries had been noticed at their friends’ houses either, although they kept asking. They still had their sign up on the wall in the basement for their Detective Agency, and they had their pile of business cards and their magnifying glasses, just waiting for action. Meanwhile, they played with their friends, rode their bikes, made crafts, and worked on jigsaw puzzles.
Then one day their neighbour, the man with the little white dog, came to their front door. Clara and Angus were upstairs playing, but they could hear their mother open the door and talk with the man with the little white dog.
“Why, hello, Mr. White” said their mother to the man, “how nice to see you. I see you have your little white dog with you, as always.” The little white dog sat quietly on their front lawn, watching his man and guarding his Frisbee.”
“Yes,” said the man, “we walk along the path by your house every day. He loves walking and catching his Frisbee. It’s his favourite thing in the whole wide world. But I’m not here because of my dog or his Frisbee this time.” He took a small card out of his pocket and held it up for Clara and Gus’s mother. “I’m here because I think I may need the help of the Kids Only Detective Agency. I have a mystery at my house. I didn’t know what to do, and then I remembered this card that Clara gave me when I returned her Frisbee that time.”
“My goodness, that’s exciting, a new mystery,” replied their mother, “I’m sure that Clara and Gus would like to help. Please come in; I’ll get them for you.”
Clara and Gus had heard them talking and came bounding down the stairs.
“Clara and Gus, guess what, the man with the little white dog needs your help with a mystery,” exclaimed their mother as they ran into the living room. “Yes, we heard you talking,” said Clara. “Hello Mr. White,” she said to the man, shaking his hand. Angus followed her and did the same. “We’d like to help. Please tell us about your mystery,” Clara asked.
“It’s my laundry,” explained Mr. White. “I keep losing it.”
“What do you mean?” asked Angus. “Does your laundry basket disappear?”
“No” he replied, “the clothes that I hung out on my clothesline disappeared. It’s happened twice this week.”
“What kind of laundry did you lose,” asked Gus, “pajamas and socks?”
“No, not pajamas or sock. Let’s see, the first day I lost 2 green kitchen towels. The second time I lost another green kitchen towel, my red and white bathing suit, and, worst of all, my favourite blue T-shirt. It’s like they vanished into thin air. Do you think you could figure out what happened to them?”
Clara and Angus were really excited now. They were sure they could find their neighbour’s laundry. They would get their magnifying glasses and their hats and go look for clues. “We can start right away,” they said. “We will come to your house and look for clues. When we have good clues we will interview you. Clues and interviewing are very important for solving mysteries. Can we come to your house after lunch?”
Mr. White was happy with their plan. Their mother told him that she had an important appointment after lunch, but their father would come with them to Mr. White’s house. The detectives waved goodbye and ran off to their basement playroom to prepare for their new detective work.