Read part 5 here!
“That’s tiny,” Marcie agreed. “You’re right; it does look like a kid’s shoe.” Marcie knelt down for a closer look. She traced her fingers over the dirt. “You know, it looks like whoever did this grabbed a handful of dirt. They knocked over the watering cans, and I bet that’s where they got the mud to throw at Dave’s car.”
“That’s insane,” Louisa said. “Who destroys a garden just to throw mud at a car? There’s no reason behind it. I never heard a sound last night, either.”
The siblings said goodbye to Louisa and rode their bikes to Jim’s house. “It’s a good thing Dad’s such a bigwig in the city,” Marcie mused. “Sure makes it easy for us to investigate when we know just about everyone.”
Brian chuckled in agreement.
After they explained to Jim the reason for their visit, he led them through the house and out the sliding glass door. There was a large deck overlooking the backyard. To the right of the deck was the pond, which was trimmed with flagstone and flanked by flowerbeds. There were goldfish everywhere—not in the pond, but on the flagstone and in the woodchips.
“I haven’t taken the time to pick them up yet,” Jim explained almost sheepishly. “The lock on my gate is still in place, so whoever took the fish out of my pond must have jumped the privacy fence. But why?”
“That’s everyone’s question,” Brian said.
Marcie noticed something in the water. It couldn’t be a rock, because it sparkled when the light hit it just right. Another clue?
Jim fished out the object in the pond with the skimmer he used for leaves and debris that landed on the water. It was a yellow button pin with the words “Big Top Circus” printed underneath the cartoon face of a monkey.
“Mrs. Ghinerich told Dad she thought members of the circus were the troublemakers,” Marcie said, weighing the pin in her hand. “This might be evidence that she’s right.”
“It could’ve come from someone who only attended the circus,” Jim suggested.
“But if I remember right, I saw a few people who worked there wearing these, or at least ones similar. They were the people who ran concessions or took tickets.” Marcie’s eyes widened as she had another thought. “And wasn’t one of the men very, very short? Short person, small shoes.”
“Maybe…I don’t remember. That’s all circumstantial,” Brian said.
“There’s footprints!” Marcie exclaimed suddenly, pointing to the flowerbeds. “Look, in the woodchips! And they look like they’re the same size as the ones in Louisa’s garden.”
Brian ran his hand along the back of his neck. “This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. We’ve got a bunch of problems, a couple clues, and a few guesses. Now what?”
Marcie held the circus pin up. “This is our next bread crumb, and it’s pointing to the circus.”
“You saw how upset the ringmaster got with Dad last night,” Brian said. “We can’t just accuse them of vandalism.”
“No, but we can poke around and listen. This is what detectives do; they investigate. C’mon, let’s go.”
Part 7 coming soon!