Sheryl and I were walking out of the office with a clubroom request form when a girl from our class ran up to us, "Sheryl! James!"
It was Kelly, and she had a panicked look on her face. "I can't find my backpack!"
Sheryl grinned, it was going to be our first case after all. "Don't worry, we'll help you!"
Kelly smiled gratefully, "Thank you!"
"So, let's start by..." Sheryl's voice trailed off.
Kelly and I waited for Sheryl to finish her sentence. And then I realized that Sheryl had no idea where to start, so I chimed in, "Retracing your steps?"
"Right!" Sheryl said. "So, did you have your bag with you when you came in this morning?"
Kelly put a finger onto her lip as she thought back to this morning, "Yes, I remember carrying it into our first class."
We ended back in Ms. Grey's now-empty classroom. Sheryl asked Kelly, "So, then what?"
"Well, I remember carrying it with me to our next class."
The three of us went to two more classrooms like this, with Kelly remembering that she still had her bag with her when she left the classrooms.
Our next stop was our homeroom again where she had lunch with her friends. Kelly thought back once again and said, "After I ate lunch, I had to go to the library to return some books."
We entered the library next, and Kelly walked over to a table. "I put my bag down here, and took my books out."
Kelly walked over to the reception, "Then I put the books into the return slot here. And then..."
"And then?" Sheryl asked, excited.
"Ah, and then the bell rang, so I headed to the next classroom."
"Alright, let's go!"
As the two girls headed towards the door, I realized that they had forgotten something, so I shouted, "Wait!"
Everyone in the library gave me a hard stare and the librarian shushed me. I looked around apologetically and said, "Sorry."
The two girls headed back to me and Sheryl asked, "What?"
I turned to Kelly and asked her, "So you put the books in the return slot and headed out of the library right after that?"
"... Doesn't that mean you left your bag at that desk?"
Kelly stared at me, and then she suddenly realized what I was talking about, "You're right!"
Everyone stared at us again and the librarian gave us a harsher shush.
In a hushed voice, Sheryl said, "But the bag isn't here now! That means someone stole it!"
"Oh no!" Kelly pressed her hands to her mouth, tears welling in her eyes.
"Or," I said, "It could just be in the lost and found."
Kelly's face brightened and she wiped the tears from her eyes, "Right, let me check!"
She walked over to the librarian at the reception area and describe her lost bag. The librarian disappeared into the back for a few minutes before coming out with a pink bag. She held the bag up and asked, "Is this the one?"
"Yes!" Kelly took the bag from the librarian, "Thank you!"
Kelly then hugged Sheryl, "Thank you, Sheryl."
After the hug, Sheryl gave Kelly a thumbs up and proclaimed, "No problem! That's what we after-school detectives do!"
And for the third time, everyone in the library stared at us again as the librarian shushed us.
Sheryl pouted, "Oh, give me a break! We just solved our first case!"
Grumbling collectively, the patrons went back to their activities.
"Thank you too, James." Kelly gave me a hug.
"No problem," I said.
We headed out of the library and Kelly waved goodbye to us happily as she walked down the hallway in the other direction.
Hm, that felt nice. Maybe Sheryl's on to something. Maybe this little mystery solving club will be worthwhile. After all, we are helping people.