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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Mystery of the Invention, by Max Bryan

Max's final project for his CTY writing class:

It was a bright and sunny day on Millionaire Drive as Joe Jackson awoke. He wanted to get back to sleep, but decided that there was no point in doing this, because he was already wide awake. He quickly shaved, then went downstairs to where his chef, Sharon, had made him a fresh stack of pancakes with bacon and eggs. Joe sat down and beckoned for Sharon, so she came over looking nervous. He overheard her talking to one of her assistants about how much money the invention was going to make.  He found this odd because why would she care?  This money was not going to her!  She finally finished the conversation and walked over.  He talked to her for a minute, and asked if she was ready for the big day. 

“Oh I don’t know,” she said, “I’m getting kind of nervous but I think that I will be able to cook the food without messing up.” 

“I hope you do,” he said as he finished his breakfast and ran outside to grab the mail and waved to the mail man, who was so sweaty he had taken off his glasses and was now wiping his forehead with an icepack to try to cool down. When he got inside, he walked over to his butler, Buford Strongwell.  

“Is everything ready for today?” Joe asked.  

“Yes,” Buford said.  

Today was a very special day for Joe, because later today he would host the grand revealing of his new invention. It was called the K-9 3000. It had the ability to translate dog barking in to English. Joe had to make sure that nothing would ruin today, because he needed to sell his invention to a business that would pay billions of dollars for it. Not that he needed the money, anyway. After all, he was already the richest person on earth.  

After breakfast, he went upstairs to change and wait upstairs until the guests arrived at his house. He was tingling with excitement. He could not wait to show off his new invention. Everyone started arriving around 1:00, and Joe had to heave his invention across the floor and behind the bright red curtain with the help of a security guard. Finally, Joe arrived behind the podium. The podium looked presidential and Joe felt very powerful.   

“Ladies and gentleman, may I present Joe Jackson!!!” proclaimed Buford. The audience went wild with applause.  

Finally, when the applause had died down, Joe spoke: “Thank you, thank you everyone!” “It is my pleasure to present you to you my newest world-changing invention!” As the curtains went back, the audience fell silent. Joe had thought that the audience would have started applauding by now, so he turned around and faced the curtain. His jaw dropped. The invention as missing!  

“Everybody stay calm!” said Donald, the security chief. Guests were very disappointed, and many of them started filing out of the room.  

“Everybody wait!” called out Joe, but it was too late. The guests had already left.  

Joe spoke with Buford. “We have to get to the bottom of this!” he said to Buford.  

“Look, muddy boot prints on the carpet!” cried Buford.  

“And here is a pair of glasses!” replied Joe. “That means that the thief was wearing glasses and muddy boots!” exclaimed Joe.  

“But wait,” said Buford.  “I see a piece of torn fabric with a receipt in the pocket.  The receipt is made out to Sharon, and shows she spent a lot of money recently on clothes for herself.” 

“That is odd,” said Joe, “because she is always saying that she needs a raise.  Maybe she signed a contract for the invention.  And plus, doesn’t that fabric look a lot like the sweater she wears a lot?” 

“Yes,” said Buford, “it definitely does.  We should go question her in her room to see if she was involved in the stealing.” 

I can’t believe that Sharon stole my invention, Joe thought gloomily.  When they arrived in the kitchen, they started talking to her.  “Sharon, is it you who stole the invention?” said Joe. 

“No, why would you think so?” 

“Because here we found a receipt that says a lot of money has been spent recently.  And we also found a piece of fabric from the sweater that you wear all the time!” 

“Oh those?  I didn’t steal the invention.” 

“Then how do you explain the receipt?” 

“Oh, my mother just died,” she said, “and she left me a lot of money in the will.” 

“and the sweater?” said Joe. 

“Oh that?  I tore it on a nail when I was walking out to serve guests.” 

“Oh,” said Joe, “I’m sorry that we suspected you!” 

“Now we should probably head to the glasses store, because the thief will definitely need new glasses.”  said Buford.  

When they pulled up to the glasses store, he and his partner Burford ran inside to confront the owner.  “Have you seen anybody with muddy boots come in recently?” asked Joe.   

“Why yes I have,” replied the store owner.  “There have been three people wearing muddy boots, and I know their names.  One of them was named Bob Smith and he was carrying something under his coat.  He left, in fact, just a minute ago.  He was headed down Main Street, I think.”   

Buford and Joe quickly bolted out of the glasses shop and sprinted down the street.  They ran until they saw a man with a strange lump in his coat, and they ran over to talk to him.  “All right,” said Joe.  “Put your hands up if you know whats good for you.”   

“Wait, but what did I do?” replied the man.   

“Well duh, you stole his invention,” said Buford.   

“Whose invention?  What are you talking about?!”   

“I am talking about the invention that I was displaying a few hours ago at my house,” said Joe.   

“I have been at work all day,” replied the man.   

“Oh really?  Like I’m going to believe that.  But anyway, what is it that you are carrying under your jacket if you’re so innocent?” said Joe.   

“Oh, that?  That is my bucket of ice cream that I was bringing to the workshop,” said the man.   

Sure enough, he pulled out a large box of ice cream.  “oh, well then.  I’m so sorry about what just happened.  We thought you were a criminal, but now you’re free to go.”   

“Thank you,” said the man, and he went on his way.   

“Well, now that we’ve wasted so much time the robber is probably already in their car,” said Joe.  “Our situation is helpless.”   

“I think we should go back to the glasses store and see who the other people were,” replied Buford.   

“I guess, if you want to,” said Joe.  And so they ran back down the street until they reached the glasses store.   

“Did you find him?”  asked the store owner.   

“Yes, but he is not who we were looking for,” replied Joe, “who were the other people?”   

“Well, there was one man whose briefcase seemed to be making an odd humming sound, and another whose briefcase seemed to be unnaturally heavy” said the store owner.

“Dang,” said Joe, “Which one should we go after?”

“I don’t know,” said Buford, “but maybe the one with the vibrating suitcase?”   

“OK, which way did he go?” asked Joe.  

“He left about 45 minutes ago in his car, so I don’t think it will be easy to catch him.  He was headed away towards the big city,” said the store owner.   

“Oh,” said Buford, “we must catch him before he reaches there because there are so many people he could blend in and be lost forever.”

“OK,” said Joe.  “Let’s go get him.”

BANG! Lightning crashed through the sky and Joe and Buford were forced to dive for cover. We’ll never catch him in this storm, Joe thought in despair.

“We’ll never catch him now. oh, well we had better call the police to bring us some backup,” said Buford.  So they called 911 and waited for the police to arrive.   

When the police arrived, Joe quickly hopped into an armored car with Buford and hit the road, looking for the criminal.  They drove down the street for a while, but then they saw someone by the side of the road holding a briefcase and doing something suspicious with it.   Maybe that’s our criminal, Joe thought.

“Freeze!” said Joe.   

When the man heard this, he sprinted back into his car and sped along the highway.  Joe knew this man was going to get away so he had to take drastic action.  He pulled out a grenade launcher and shot at the car.  The trunk blew up, but the car was still going.  Then he grabbed his mini-gun and smashed the front window, ripping rounds into the back of the driver’s car.  The wheels skidded to a sudden stop, and the man in the car jumped out and tried to run into the corn field.   

“There he is, GET HIM!” yelled Buford.  Time for revenge, Joe thought greedily.  Joe grabbed his AK-47 and shot several rounds into the robber’s leg.  The robber fell over, howling in pain.  Joe and Buford ran out to capture him.   

“What do you have in that briefcase, sir?” said Joe.   

“It’s nothing of your business.”   

“oh really,” said Joe, and they opened it.  There sat the invention that joe had worked so hard to make.   

“AHA!” cried Buford, “so it was you!”   

“But why did you do that?” asked Joe.   

“Do you recognize me?” asked the man.   

“Well, let’s see…” said Joe.  He thought back in his memory and suddenly put two and two together.  “Say,” said Joe, “aren’t you the mailman from this morning?”   

“Yes, that was me.  But do you recognize me from anywhere else?”   

“No,” said Joe, “but why did you do the crime?”  “I was angry because you left me in ruins ever since you beat me at our college science fair.  I was going to be one of the smartest scientists of this century, but you beat me, and turned me into nothing.  So I spent all these years plotting against you.  When I saw you today, I knew exactly the right way to do it!  I snuck in when you and your security guard weren’t looking and grabbed your invention from the table.  When the spotlight was on you, I wanted to embarrass you and I did!  I still think you should have gotten worse”.  

“well, that’s no excuse for stealing,” said Joe.  “Put him in the lockup,” said Joe and he shoved the man into the policeman’s arms.