Maria sat at the old brick police station, her ear leaning against the door to the Stolen Objects room, and her SAVE THE ENDANGERED shirt dangling below her waist. Her light brown hair was just the right length for this type of thing, and didn’t muffle any sound. Her uncle had decided to visit the station for some reason she wasn't supposed to know yet, but who was that patient anyway?
She heard a thump of footsteps, but they weren't coming her way. She smiled and kneeled down so she was in more of a comfortable state. She leaned closer, but only to hear a sudden meow came from behind her, and she whirled around. “Oh dog biscuits,” she mumbled. It was her kitten, Marvel. “Marvel!’ she hissed, her jaw clenched. It only replied with a friendly purr. She quickly grasped his small body and got up to quickly get him to the waiting room so he wouldn't give her away.
“Maria!” Her uncle’s voice boomed behind her. She froze, and slowly turned around.
“What are you doing here?!” he asked briefly, his arms crossed.
“I’m…a…” she mumbled, fidgeting her fingers as Marvel leaped from her arms.
“And what is the cat doing here?! You know you should be in the waiting room, and the cat shouldn’t even be here!”
Her fingers were numb now. “I was waiting for you”
He sighed, hand on his head. “I’m sorry Maria, something is just…terribly wrong.” He turned back into the room. “I’ll be right back, okay sweetie?” he called behind her. She sat down, wishing she had been there long enough to hear what was going on.
A second later, her uncle came out of the room. “We can go now, hun.” On the way back to the training room, Maria asked her uncle what happened. He sighed. “My show tiger, Vincent has gone missing.”
She let out small gasp. “You're serious?!”
They scuttled inside the Training center, to see Pablo, who trained a white tiger, named Albus, standing at the door. Pablo had an odd smirk on his face and smelled odder then normal, as if he had gotten a new deodorant. He was also wearing a jacket which he only wore on special occasions.
“Hello, Pablo,” Her uncle murmured.
“Hello there, fellow. What’s bothering you today?” Pablo asked.
“Vincent is missing!” she blurted out. Her uncle gave her a look. “And we are taking in suspects!” she said excitedly.
He shook his head, “Please, Maria, no...”
She ignored him, and got out her note pad. “I will be asking random facts everyone should know. First question. Do tigers have a stripe pattern on their skin under their fur?”
“No,” he said simply.
Maria quickly scribbled down answers, one by one. Finally, it was her last question of the day, and she was currently interviewing the owner of the show.
“And the last question is: Do tigers live in the rainforest or the jungle?”
She scribbled it down and took a look at her watch. “I best be going now. See you later!”
He waved goodbye as she climbed up the stairs to where they lived, on the third floor of the training center. Each show tiger owner got a floor to live on so they could practise with their show animal whenever they want. Maria twisted the knob to their room, and slammed it behind her. “Hello, uncle” she murmured before opening another door to her room. She shut the door behind her and took a look at her note pad.
She scratched her chin, and Marvel jumped onto the bed besides her. She had no idea how he got back, but shrugged off the thought and took a look at the note pad. She had interviewed a total of ten people, five others with show tigers and the rest of the staff. She narrowed it down to a total of four people who could have done it: the groomer, the show owner, Pablo, a lion trainer named Adem and Millie, another tiger owner. The main reason they were on was because all tigers have a stripe pattern under their fur except for Vincent, who doesn't compared to all other tigers, for an unknown reason to them. For all she knew his mother was half panther!
Later, she had gone downstairs to the training room to look for clues. She walked through the locker room where the tiger trainers kept their supplies, and thought of looking through to look for clues.
After about 24 empty lockers and 17 full ones that didn’t have any of the suspect’s names, she finally got to a locker that had Millie, Pablo and Adem pasted on the name tag. Pablo’s was very shabby, with a piece of paper taped crooked onto it for a name tag. Millie’s was neat and tidy with a perfect name tag and Adem’s looked more normal than tigers with stripes, the name tag just like Pablo’s. She opened them; Millie’s made a small squeak, and had nothing but a brush, a bag full of her cleaning supplies, and an old comb full of orange fur which smelled like Vincent which she carefully put in her bag. Adem’s had a couple dead flies and Pablo’s had his tiger bag...covered in long orange fur!
That’s long for tiger fur! she thought. But it’s orange, and Pablo had a white tiger! She grinned, carefully putting the strands into a plastic tic bag and sealing it shut before putting it in her bag. Now she had narrowed down to four suspects, since there was no chance of the thief being Adem.
She carefully went through the other lockers, careful not to touch anything that might be important to the owners. She had finally narrowed down to two people: Pablo and Millie. She headed upstairs and went to bed, reminding herself about looking for more clues tomorrow and that the show was in two days.
She next morning, she had gotten up early to have breakfast, but thoughts of the day before stuck in her head. I have to do this! she thought. For Uncle and Vincent! She finished her breakfast early, leaving a note on the table saying she was out looking for clues.
Yawning, she went downstairs and waved to the Show owner before taking the stairs to the basement floor, which was an empty room she always hung out in, but this time it wasn’t empty. It had Pablo’s jacket and a women's sweater on the ground! She gawked, with her mouth open. Could it really have been both Pablo and Millie?
She picked them up. The jacket smelled normal, but alas it looked and most probably was Pablo’s, and was covered in long red fur. She might have seen Adem wearing a jacket like this once, but he had already been eliminated with not enough proof. The women’s sweater looked neat, tidy and normal, just like one Millie would wear, and also had red hair on it. She soon was back upstairs with a flash, and her uncle, the owner of the show and three police officers were with her going downstairs ten minutes later.
“You better have proof,” one of the officers grunted as they reached the basement. She flicked on the switch and opened her bag, telling and showing them the evidence.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps entered the room, and Pablo and a red headed girl entered the room, and stopped in their tracks. “What are you doing here?” Pablo asked the officers. “No one ever goes down here.”
“We are here to put you both under arrest!” he grunted, as Pablo and the girl beside him looked confused.
“Wait, officer!” Maria shouted. “That’s not Millie!”
He frowned at her, just as the shopkeeper told them that Millie had left that morning to fetch new supplies.
The girl nodded. “My name is not Millie, it’s Rachel,” she commented.
Just then, the sound of footsteps broke out and Adem entered the room, appearing shocked, and he dropped a book called Training Tigers for Beginners.
“What are you doing here?” Maria’s uncle asked.
The officers immediately told him he was under arrest, and Maria asked why.
“Well, if it’s not those two,” he pointed at Pablo and Rachel, “then it ought to be him.”
He sulked and just nodded, not saying anything.
“But why?” asked Maria’s uncle.
Adem sighed. “I’ve always wanted to train a show tiger, but they wouldn’t let me when I first started, saying there was already too many show tiger trainers, so I took Vincent. I placed the dirty tiger comb in Millie’s locker. I didn’t place anything in Pablo’s locker because it didn’t look like anything was needed, there were red hairs already. I knew that Pablo didn’t groom his tiger’s fur and had someone else do it, which is why I don’t think he answered the question about if tigers had stripes on their skin right.“
The officers didn’t know what to do and just stood there.
“Please give me a second chance.” he pleaded. “And maybe I can train a tiger instead of a lion?”
The officers nodded. “First, we need to call back to the station. But it’s up to the show owner about the tiger.”
He just nodded and sat down as the officers called the station. “You’re coming with us. The judge just needs to talk.”He nodded and got up, and left to exit the room.
“The tiger is in my training room.” he called back before leaving.
They followed them up and exited behind them, leaving Pablo and Rachel alone and went to the training room, where they found Vincent napping.
Maria’s Uncle yawned. “I’m going to train Vincent for the show tomorrow, I’ll see you later.”
The show owner departed from her as she left, and she found Marvel mewling at her feet.
She smiled, and yawned. “You knew it all along, didn’t you Marvel? Well then, I think we both make excellent detectives.” she noted, as she clambered upstairs with Marvel in her hands, the days events rolling back in forth and her head. ~