Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Serial: PARTY SNOOPERS Part 3

James Harshell and Kerri Benedict are the Party Snoopers, Incorporated--they plan the party (because criminals can never resist a good birthday bash), capture the crook (because the party is just a trap, after all), and collect the dough (what's hard work without a little reward?).  Join them as they tackle on their biggest case yet, involving a wedding, a couple of mischievous ring-bearers, and...rock stars?  **Told in alternating first-person perspectives

Formerly on Party Snoopers...

A moment later, Kerri's computer beeps, and we rush over to examine the note.
It takes a while to load, but when it finally does, Kerri uploads it to her photo editing program and zooms in.
Stop the Wedding.
Or Else.
It's in generic boxy writing that could belong to anyone. But it's the picture that sends chills down my spine.
Two stick figures are drawn underneath the letters, one with Henrietta's beehive and the other with Jakkab's Mohawk. A big, bold red has been drawn through both of them.

Sunday Serial Part Three

Something in my bones tells me that this case is going to be more dangerous than catching that crook in the Leelands' backyard. James had tackled the dude, and then I had to tackle James because the dude was wriggling, and both of them got a bloody nose out of it. I just got a black eye, but it was terrible trying to put makeup over that for a week.
This case is even crazier than that.
I'm staring at the note for the twentieth time that day. James is pacing in my bedroom, wearing his (figurative) thinking cap.
I'm just staring at the screen.
“See anything?” James apparently thought that I was searching for clues on the note, while in reality I was just staring into space.
But I don't say anything. It's better to let James think I'm smarter than I actually am. “Nope, nothing, nada.”
He steps back and squints. “Wait, what's that?”
“What's what?”
He points to the grayish outline of something on the sheet. “Look. It looks like a hand.”
“Oh my gosh.” I half-stand up and start zooming in on the thumb, which has the largest surface area. “We have to get the fingerprint and send it to the--”
“Wait, it's probably Henrietta's, and she scanned it to us. Her printer most likely doesn't have a top, so she pressed it down with her hand.” He crosses his arms. “Great. And I was thinking we had a lead.”
Both of us sit there in silence for a moment, and just then my mom pokes her head in. “You two all right?” She knows everything, of course. Henrietta isn't best friends with her for nothing.
I nod, but James says, “We're rusty at this stuff.”
“Tea makes things better.” She steps inside the room and smiles.
Mothers are psychic, but in a good way—not like crazy criminals. I get up. “Do you have green? I need some caffeine.”
“Just this once.” She looks over my five-foot frame and frowns. “At least we don't have to register you to be a midget.”
“Do you have orange juice?” For some weird reason, James hates tea. “And did you know that if you're registered as a midget, you can get a handicapped sign and the ability to park your car in the handicapped area? How great would that be? If a criminal ran inside a building, it would be legal for you to park close.”
“But then she wouldn't be a fast runner, because her legs would be too short.” Mom winks at me and walks through the door, James following at her heels. “Kerri's a pretty fast runner,” he defends as he heads down the stairs. “Not as fast as me, though. But it must be something in her genetics.”
I try my very best not to roll my eyes, but I don't think I succeed.
As soon as I get the tea, though, I start craving pancakes, so Mom fries us some chocolate-chip ones. Just as I start pouring syrup all over mine, Henrietta calls.
Thank goodness my dad got me Unlimited Calling.
Her voice blares over speakerphone. “Jakkab and I are going to Florida tonight. Do you and your families want to come with us? We can plan for the wedding and get everything settled, and track down the stalker.” Henrietta sounds like she's telling me the weather. All I can think is, Tonight?
“Tonight?” James, Mom, and I exclaim at the same time.
“Yeah. Why?” Henrietta must have forgotten that we're normal people, ones who need a week to pack. “We wanted to check things over right away.”
“Henrietta, tonight? We can't pack everything for two weeks tonight!” I squawk.
“But I can always buy stuff that you forgot to bring. And if you're going to get any of the moola I'm paying you for planning this, you'd better come.” I can hear the laughter in her voice.
James is stirring his non-pulp orange juice, looking thoughtful. “We should go,” he says. “She's right.”
“I'm paying for your tickets. And we only have two weeks to plan the wedding and catch the crook. You can't do that from California.” Henrietta sounds satisfied, like she's got me cornered. Which she has. “Are you coming, Kerri? Or are we going to leave you behind?”
I finish mulling over the list of things I need to bring. Honestly, Henrietta keeps us on our toes so much I shouldn't even be surprised anymore. “Fine. Count me in.”
And if this trip is a disaster, don't blame me.

I push my sunglasses off of my face and look into the Florida sun. There's something different here. Maybe it's the people. Maybe it's the smell. Maybe the beaches are different in Florida or something.
A bucketful of sand lands on top of me, and my reflexes push me up. “James!” I start to holler, but then realize that it's some random dude in a snapback hat. “Gotcha!” he snickers, then runs away.
I stare down at my body. I bet I look like the Abominable Sandman.
“Kerri, are you all right?” James is right by my side, his fingers brushing my shoulder.
“Well that wasn't rude.” I shield my eyes from the glare of the sun. “Isn't this supposed to be a private beach? Jakkab's?”
“Maybe they sneaked in. They looked kind of suspicious.” James' eyes light up. “Kerri! We need to get back to the house! This could be a--”
“I know, I'm not a bozo.” I whoosh out a sigh, but at this, my heartbeat quickens.

This could a lead!

Where is this going to lead?  

Come back next week for more!


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