Cow Troubles"So how are you today, Sammy?" Miss Bushka was preparing some tea for the two of them. The awkward 12-year-old pushed up his glasses and replied, "Oh I'm fine. How's Perry?"
"That old bird? He's good. He's getting old though. You know, just a couple days ago he repeated the whole answering machine message! It's amazing how he can repeat what he hears. So how's your mother?"
"She's actually doing very good with the divorce and everything. My sister is good, too. You know my sister, right?"
"Yes, Courtney is her name, correct?"
"Yeah, that's her."
The ring of the steaming teakettle filled the air as the old grandmother made her way to the kitchen. She shouted back at the thirsty boy, "Sammy, do you like milk and sugar with your tea?"
Yes that's fine," Sammy heard someone walking up the front door steps, "Looks like there's someone at the door." Just then the doorbell rang. Miss Bushka glanced out the window and saw a strange sight. Standing outside the door was a man with a very large mustache dressed in a purple plaid suit and a big yellow straw hat. Miss Bushka stopped her brewing to answer the door.
"Hello customer! How are you this fine feathered morning?"
"Um, I'm fine…Who are you?"
"Frederick Thomas, ma'am. Now what can I, the #1 cow salesman, do for you, the #1 cow lover?" The man gave his business card to the flustered looking Miss Bushka.
"How did you know I loved cows? Anyway, I do want a new cow teakettle. How much is that?"
The strange man went through his suitcase and went out to his car to get the teakettle. When he returned he announced that the price was $10.50.
"O.K. Let me get my checkbook." Miss Bushka left the room and got her pocketbook.
Mr. Thomas glanced at the open window in the hall where he was waiting for the payment. "Don't you just love when you can open the window and not freeze to death?" Sammy laughed at the joke and agreed.
"Why hello Mrs. Bushwhacker!" Miss Bushka was bright and chipper because of her new cow purchase. The young Sheila Bushwhacker gave her a mean look. "Oh close your window!"
"Actually I'm going to keep it open, Mrs. Grumpy!"
"Good! I mean fine!" Sheila gave Miss Bushka the cold shoulder and walked away with a smile on her face.
Miss Bushka's anger was interrupted by the familiar voice of her bird, Perry. "Need some food! Need some food!"
"I hear you Perry, I hear you" Miss Bushka fed her bird but was startled by something crashing downstairs. Miss Bushka yelled down the stairs. "Who's there!" There was no response. Miss Bushka walked down the stairs looking in every direction to see if someone or something was in her house. She heard a sound again and she hurried down the stairs and went as fast as she could to the source of the sound, the kitchen. She entered the kitchen and saw her new teakettle smashed into pieces on the floor. She glanced up at the open window and then noticed a small note left on the counter.
Boomboosh doesn't need you! Go away!
Sammy and his friend Chris Martins were walking to school. Sammy seemed worried about something. "Who would want Miss Bushka out of Boomboosh? She's involved in like, everything in this town. You know?"
"Um, Sammy? You're getting a little emotional for me. Are you O.K.?"
"I'm fine its just," Sammy paused for a second, "I don't like how Miss Bushka is always treated, you know?"
"All right, I'll make a promise to you. We'll go visit Miss Bushka today and she if she's O.K., O.K.?"
"That would make me feel better. Thanks"
"No prob, bob!"
The school day came and went and the two friends were walking towards Miss Bushka's house. When they had reached her house they were met with some startling news.
"Yes, there was a new letter. This one sounds threatening, though. Here it is."
Hello, dear. Enjoying your tea?
You haven't seen the last from me.
I warned you now you must pay.
"I said goodbye to Stephen Lassbuck, you know him, Sammy, and I heard Perry begging for lunch. I guess I must have left the door open and someone must have sneaked in, left the note, and left my house undetected. But when I got back downstairs, the bottom lock my front door was locked."
"I see. He or she must have locked the bottom lock from the inside before they closed the door."
Sammy was at home going over some information with Chris. So far he thought that they did not have many clues. "So for the first note we know two possible suspects, Frederick Thomas and Sheila Bushwhacker. We know this because they were both at the scene and they both knew of the open window. That was how they got into the house to leave the note. For the second threat one more suspect was introduced, Stephan Lassbuck. He could have done the first one, too. Any of them could have done it."
"Tell me about this Stephen guy." Chris didn't know much about him.
"Miss Bushka said he was there for tea. She said he's in most of the activities she is in, except for knitting and sewing class. He has blonde hair and is native to Ireland. Wait."
Miss Bushka said the person who was leaving the notes left an Irish pound behind. That could be a big clue."
"Well, Miss Bushka is great at accents and she was telling me she heard a little Irish accent in Mr. Thomas, the wacky salesman. And this Lassbuck person is Irish so maybe there's a connection between the coin and the two of them."
"You mean they're accomplices?"
"No. I meant maybe they have Irish currency with them and it fell out on their way out the window or in Stephen's case, the door."
"What do you mean 'the door'?"
"He was over for tea. So maybe he left the note when Miss Bushka wasn't looking."
"Oh! I'm catching on! But what about this Weedwhacker lady?"
"Her name is actually Sheila Bushwhacker and she isn't really a big suspect. She's not Irish and if she were, she wouldn't have Irish currency. But she doesn't like Miss Bushka that much. Stephen Lassbuck was born in Ireland, anyway."
"So we should cross her off the list?" Chris was ready to erase her name from the list.
"Not just yet."
"Couldn't the pound belong to Miss Bushka?"
"I don't think so. She's from Russia, remember?"
On Saturday Sammy went to go check on Miss Bushka. Once again, Miss Bushka found another threatening note. And something else.
"This is terrible! My statues are gone! How could this be?'
"Miss Bushka, everything will be O.K. Me and Chris are on the case."
"But that's not good enough! My priceless cow statues are missing! Those have been passed down from generation to generation! My cow love revolves around them!"
"Were there anymore clues?"
"Perry keeps saying stuff that I've never said before. That's all I've really noticed. Also, I closed all the windows and locked them. I don't know how the person could have gotten in."
"Maybe they all ready were in the house."
"Sammy, you can't scare me like that, O.K.? I need to know that I'm safe in my own house. Besides, where would they hide?"
Chris interrupted, "Do you have a basement?"
"No I do not"
"They probably hid in the room where the statues were or the room where Perry is." Sammy was determined to figure out who did it. "What are some of the things that Perry is saying?"
"Things like 'Where are they?' or 'Go to bed, Bushka.' Things like that."
"So he probably was waiting for the perfect moment."
"Maybe it's a she." Chris was trying to stay in the conversation.
On Sunday, Sammy got a call from Miss Bushka and she asked him to come over as soon as possible. Sammy ran to Chris's house and told him to come to Miss Bushka's house with him. When they got to her house Miss Bushka was crying.
"He's missing! He's gone! Who would want Perry? Why?"
"Because it was evidence. Perry was the important piece of evidence that told us they were in the house." Sammy had a hunch.
"Before you ask I will just tell you. There was another note left and there are no more clues. And before you ask your next question, here's the note."
This is your last warning! Leave Boomboosh today!
Miss Bushka continued, "I'm doing what it says. I'm leaving today."
"But we need to know who's doing this!"
"I don't care who's doing it now! I'm just worried about my safety!"
"Miss Bushka, I have to go home but I promise I'll talk to all the suspects and I promise I will get to the bottom of this."
"Thank you sweetie. I'll try to calm down. I guess you're right. I'm going to stay right where I am."
"Goodbye, Miss Bushka!"
Sammy and Chris went around the block to Mrs. Bushwhacker's house. She was outside working in her yard and she wasn't very cheerful. Sammy managed to have a short conversation and he found out that she had a new bird.
"Sammy, she totally did it! How is it possible that she has a bird just when Perry disappears?"
"Chris, you can't assume that. We haven't gotten enough information. Wait. What's that?"
They ran up to Miss Bushka's back yard, not realizing they were crushing Mrs. Bushwhacker's flowers. "Hey! Watch it kid!" When they got into Miss Bushka's small yard they looked up the wall and saw Frederick Thomas climbing through Miss Bushka's kitchen window.
"Hello Frederick Thomas! How are you this fine feathered morning!" Sammy was shouting up the wall to Mr. Thomas. He sounded very happy. Frederick Thomas looked down at Sammy and froze. "Looks like we caught you in the act, Mr. Thomas!" Chris ran to the front of the house and rang the doorbell. Miss Bushka answered the door.
"Miss Bushka, we found our culprit. Call the police. Sammy and I will keep Frederick here."
The police came and arrested Frederick Thomas. Miss Bushka gave Sammy and Chris many thanks. They bought her a new cow teakettle and everyone was happy. Unfortunately, Perry never returned and it turned out he had only flown away. Miss Bushka was sad but she was happy the wrongdoer was caught. The cow statues were also returned to her, also. Even Mrs. Bushwhacker showed some happiness towards Miss Bushka. It turned out Frederick just wanted to get more attention and to move into Miss Bushka's house after she had left.
Later that day, Sammy and Chris were in Chris' bedroom going over the rest of the case.
"Sammy, how did he do all of this stuff?"
"Listen. When Mr. Thomas came to sell the cow products, he already knew Miss Bushka loved cows. He noticed the open window and immediately came up with the plan. His only mistake was that he mentioned the open window. That destroyed his whole alibi. By mentioning the window, we know that he knows about it. Also, being the clumsy man he is, he broke the teakettle, which told someone was in the house. The second threat was done by him but this time he had to use the door. Remember Miss Bushka telling us that she thought she left the door open? Well, he got in, left the note, and locked the door from the inside before he left. The last threat was done in somewhat the same way. He got into the house, waited in the room where Perry was, then stole the cows and left the note."
"Why did he want the cows?"
"To sell them I guess. He wanted to move into her house once she had left so he probably wanted something of hers to keep before she left Boomboosh.
"But why was he climbing in the window when we caught him today?"
"I don't know, Chris. I don't know."