**An Inspector Pugsy mystery**
“They did it again!” shrieked Mrs. Withersham running into the Principal’s office with her winter boots—one draped over her left arm, the other on her right foot.
“This must stop!” The Principal replied. “How could someone do this? Where is their decency? Where is their humanity? Are there any clues this time?”
“Nothing at all,” Mrs. Withersham, the Kindergarten teacher replied, hopping on one leg on the cold floor tiles.
“I was just about to change into my indoor shoes when I heard a beep like the sound of a cellphone. The lights went out for one second or so. Then, they were all gone. All of them. Every last one of the non-perishable food items and all the unwrapped toys we had just replaced from last weeks’ theft. What are we going to do Mrs. Abaddon. It’s almost Christmas.”
“We need help. We can not find the thief or thieves: in a school of two thousand plus students, in a city of millions, on our own.”
“But, but…if this gets out. We’ll be the laughing stock of the city. This has happened to our school three years in a row,” stammered Mrs. Withersham.
“Never mind appearances or our embarrassment. I know who to call to get to the bottom of this once and for all.”
The Principal called her Assistant into the room. “Jennafa, contact Metro Police Canine unit. We need The Inspector’s help quickly.”
“Yes, Mrs. Abaddon, right away. What shall I say is the reason for the request?”
“Tell them, someone wants to steal Christmas from little children.”
The Inspector loved Christmas. He sat curling his furry tail and snuggled in his favorite chair. The smells of gingerbread cookies baking danced around his damp nose kissing it like mistletoe.
He was excited by those shining lights on the plastic tree—a tree that smelled like a large bowl of popcorn.
But, when the phone rang, and his Assistant subsequently walked gently over to him with his flack jacket in her hand, The Inspector bolted to attention. He knew that he was now on the job.
His Assistant deposited him into an awaiting Police car, dressed and ready to sniff out another crime scene.
The Police car arrived at the city’s largest elementary school in haste. The Inspector, as per usual was left to roam on his own at the scene of the crime.
By now, the school was in session. Inspector Pugsy carefully sniffed the halls. He was following the scent trail of cedar bark and sewing machine oil, he noted at the crime scene.
The Inspector knew he had to be diligent in his search; his Superiors wanted proof and a suspect. He carefully continued his painstakingly slow examination of the school’s hallways tracking the scent.
Four hours later he found it! The smell of cedar chips mingled with sewing machine oil.
It emanated from the school’s general office area, specifically, the Principal’s suite.
Excited, The Inspector leaped into the general office, sniffing garbage cans brimming with Christmas smells: of cinnamon candy, of chocolate wrappers, of butter cookie pieces, and of vanilla sweet things. He was dizzy from the scents clamoring for his acute olfactory’s attention.
However, he knew well how to focus. He paws-ed, gathered his thoughts and focused on the one scent trail that would put a quick end to his work at the elementary school.
In the next instant, he found it.
The scent trail led to The Principal’s Assistant’s desk. Inspector Pugsy began his signature barking which could be heard throughout the school. Looking sternly at her over his spectacles, The Inspector continued his loud barking, fingering Jennafa as a suspect in the theft.
Panicked and cornered, The Principal’s Assistant’s Jennafa began a gushing confession.
She explained how she arranged each year for the Christmas Wish drive items of nonperishable food and unwrapped toys to be stored atop a trap door in the Kindergarten classroom.
Then she would arrive early and turn off the lights to the Kindergarten classroom having had access to the school’s remote-controlled lighting system.
Soon thereafter, she would trigger the trap door to the school’s basement crawl space from her cellphone app. The entire process took seconds.
Jennafa’s husband was the construction contractor who built the trap door three years ago. It was then that the idea was hatched. And, to avoid suspicion, they waited until Summer when school was out, to retrieve and sell the loot.
Jennafa also confessed that she was required to grease the trapdoor’s hinges yesterday to ensure their silent operation this morning. To that end, she had stolen sewing machine oil from the school’s Sewing classroom and, in her haste, she had tripped over their cedar Christmas wreath decorations.
The cache of stolen items hidden in the school’s basement was recovered, to the Principal and Mrs. Withersham’s delight.
Now, there was a double portion of food and toys for needy children across the city.
Once again, the bespectacled Inspector and his sniffer fetched the culprits. His herculean exploits, recorded here for paws-terity.