Where Is It?
by  EJ

AR Story of young Scott and Johnny for September Mystery Challenge
 September 2012


Maria had looked in the kitchen, the chicken house, the garden, and even throughly checked Johnny’s room.  However, it was nowhere to be found. 

In the great room Murdoch stretched his back and smiled that the bookwork was finally up to date.  He stood and headed for the kitchen to see if Maria had a sweet he could have with his coffee.

“Maria, I’m hungry do you have…”  Murdoch stopped in his tracks when he saw Maria’s expression.  “What’s wrong, Maria?” He went to the woman’s side and placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Patron, it’s gone, I have looked and it’s gone.”  Maria was wringing the corner of her apron.

“What’s gone?”  Murdoch looked around the kitchen and everything appeared to be in place.

Maria looked up to Murdoch like he had two heads, men she thought, they understand nothing.  “My wooden spoon is gone.  The one Cip carved for me, it was a present.”  Maria paused for a breath, “It was on the table and now it is gone.”

Murdoch sighed, sometimes he thought he would never understand women.  “I’m sure it’s here somewhere.”  He bent down to look under the table.

Shaking her head a scowling Maria said, “Patron, I looked there, don’t you think that I would check there?”

Murdoch tried to hide his smile, Maria was upset and Murdoch wanted to calm her down.  He was thinking about Johnny and wondered where his younger son would have hidden the hated spoon. 

Knowing what the Patron was thinking Maria sighed, “I looked in the nino’s room, it’s not there.”

“Well…”  Murdoch rubbed his chin, “Let me talk to him.”  He headed out to the yard to confront his undoubtedly guilty son.


Outside Johnny and Scott were playing with the golden retriever puppy that Harlan had brought them last Christmas.  Both boys looked up when they saw their father headed in their direction.  He didn’t look happy so both boys immediately looked guilty.

As he crossed the yard he noticed the boy’s expressions suddenly change and he wanted to laugh, he couldn’t.  He knew he had to find the spoon and placate the upset woman.  Over the years he had learned all too well that it’s not wise to make a Mexican woman mad.  That was a lesson he learned well dealing with both Marias.

“Boys, Maria’s spoon is missing, would either of you know anything about that?” 
He stared down at the two upturned faces and waited.  Goldie, the puppy hid behind Scott’s legs.

Johnny cringed, “No, Papi.”  He bowed his head and peeked at Scott.

Scott shuffled his foot in the dirt, “Aha...missing spoon?”  Scott swallowed, “I don’t believe I understand.”

Murdoch was surprised by Scott’s reaction, he was ready for Johnny to act guilty but Scott.  No, he wasn’t ready for that.  “Scott, do you know anything about the missing spoon?” 

“Aha… Well…”  Scott continued to dig his boot toe in the dirt.

“Well, what?”  Murdoch tried to remain calm.

“Well…”  Scott didn’t want to lie but he didn’t want Johnny to get in trouble.

Murdoch knelt down in front of Scott, “Son, just tell me the truth.”

Scott fought back the tears, “I didn’t take the spoon.”

“Do you know who did?”

Scott didn’t answer.

Murdoch was worried that Scott was lying to protect Johnny.  “Son, did your little brother take the spoon?”

Scott looked to Johnny who still had his head bowed. 

“I didn’t see Johnny take Maria’s spoon.”  Scott suspected Johnny but he didn’t want his little brother to get into trouble, again.  However, he had told the truth about not seeing Johnny take it.  So, technically he wasn’t lying.

Murdoch stood and looked down at his sons.  “Johnny, tell me the truth, did you take Maria’s spoon?”

Johnny peeked up at his father, “No Papi, I didn’t take Tia Maria’s spoon.”

Murdoch saw Johnny tremble and Scott reach over and take hold of Johnny’s hand.  The boys looked at each other and then to their father, they waited for him to yell at them.

Murdoch shook his head, “ I believe you boys but we need to find that spoon so I want you two the search the house and yard.”  Murdoch pointed toward the kitchen, “Go on.”

Scott and Johnny ran to the kitchen followed by Goldie. 

When they reached the kitchen Maria looked up, “Ninos, are you hungry?”

“No Maria, we are going to help you find the spoon.  I read in one of my books how detectives solve crimes so we are going to find the spoon.” Scott stood proudly after making his pronouncement.

Johnny stared at his brother then asked, “How do we do that?”

Scott looked at Maria and Johnny as they waited to hear the detective’s plan.

“Well, first we recreate the crime.  What were you doing before the spoon went missing?”  Scott was so excited, he would solve the crime and prove his brother’s innocence.

“Well, nino, I stirred the stew then remembered I wanted to add more spices.”  Maria touched her chin.  “I put the spoon on the table and went to the garden to pick the herbs and spices I needed.”

“Alright, I think you should do that.”  Scott picked up a metal spoon and handed it to Maria.

“Si.”  Maria stirred the stew, placed the spoon on the table and the three of them headed for the garden.  Maria pretended to pick the herbs and spices and they returned to the kitchen.

When they entered the kitchen Maria pointed to the table.  The spoon was missing.  “Not again.”  Maria shook her head.

Murdoch was just entering the kitchen when he heard Maria.  “What happened?”

Three shocked faces looked at him, but Johnny recovered first.  “I didn’t do it.”  

“Didn’t do what son?”

“Didn’t take the metal spoon.”

“What are you talking about, the spoon is wooden.”

Scott explained that they were recreating the scene of the crime and the second spoon had gone missing while they were in the garden.

“I see, so the thief struck again, well he or she can’t be too far so let’s look in the yard.”  Murdoch headed out followed by Scott, Johnny, and Maria.
When they got to the boy’s play area they saw a golden tail sticking out from under a bush.  Murdoch pulled back the branches and there was a golden puppy happily licking the metal spoon.  Beside it was a wooden spoon licked clean with several teeth marks on the handle.

Goldie jumped up and ran to hide behind Johnny. 

Murdoch hid the smile behind his hand.  “Well, Scott I guess this solves the great spoon crime wave. Good job son.” He patted Scott’s shoulder.  His son’s smile lit up his whole face.

Looking at Maria, Murdoch asked, “Do we have some cookies and milk for our detectives?”

“Si, Patron, but not for Goldie.”  Maria shook her finger at the puppy sitting behind Johnny.

Goldie hung her head then peeked up at the irate woman scolding her.

Maria melted at the forlorn look the puppy gave her, “All right, you are forgiven.  Come.”  She turned and headed for the kitchen.

A relieved father, sons, and puppy followed Maria to the kitchen for their treats.

The End






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