[SALLY KIMBALL rushes into ENCYCLOPEDIA’S office in the garage. ENCYCLOPEDIA is leaning back in a chair, feet on his father’s squad car, eyes closed, smoking a cigarette]
SALLY: Oh, Encyclopedia, I think I’ve solved the mystery of the missing umpire! The umpire was a fraud — no real umpire ever dusts off the plates with his back to the c–
[ENCYCLOPEDIA holds up his hand]
you know what would be really helpful to me right now
is if you could find out where my dad keeps the key to the liquor cabinet
SALLY: you mean — like another mystery?
SALLY: I don’t see what that has to do with the umpire
so go solve that mystery
[CHIEF BROWN and ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN are sitting together at the dinner table. CHIEF BROWN pulls an ENVELOPE out of his pocket]
CHIEF BROWN: Oh, before I forget, Encyclopedia, this letter came to the station for you this afternoon. It’s enclosed with 25 cents. They want you to meet them at Mr. Dunning’s gas station tomorrow morning at sunrise.
[ENCYCLOPEDIA leans back in his chair and closes his eyes]
ENCYCLOPEDIA: I’m not getting up at sunrise to go to a gas station unless someone sucks my dick when I get there
[CHIEF BROWN begins to choke]
ENCYCLOPEDIA: so I’m sure as fuck not going for twenty-five fucking cents
CHIEF BROWN: WHO DID THIS
ENCYCLOPEDIA: who did what
CHIEF BROWN: WHO WROTE “DETECTIVE PUSSY” ON MY FACE WHILE I WAS SLEEPING
CHIEF BROWN: HERE
RIGHT ON MY FACE
ENCYCLOPEDIA: looks normal to me
CHIEF BROWN: WELL IT ISN’T
MY FACE DOESN’T NORMALLY SAY THAT
ENCYCLOPEDIA: real tough case, Dad
unsolvable stuff if you ask me
SALLY: Oh, Encyclopedia
Bugs is dead
Oh Christ, he’s dead, he’s dead
ENCYCLOPEDIA: that so
listen do you have any cigarettes
SALLY: Why, Encyclopedia
you know I don’t smoke
ENCYCLOPEDIA: well maybe you should
it might make you look older
SALLY: I — all right. But Encyclopedia, we’ve got to get down to the school right away —
ENCYCLOPEDIA: You go ahead
I’ll catch up
I’m working on the Case of the Missing Ginger Ale right now
SALLY: Didn’t you hear me? Bugs is dead.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Sally. What does this sign say?
SALLY: He’s dead —
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Tell me what the sign says.
SALLY [sobbing]: It says — no case too small.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: No case too small.
SALLY: All right, Encyclopedia
ENCYCLOPEDIA: So you go ahead and run on down to the school and figure out who bludgeoned Bugs, and I’ll stay here and look for that pesky ginger ale.
SALLY: I never said Bugs was bludgeoned to death.
[ENCYCLOPEDIA freezes. Then he reaches into a drawer behind him and pulls out something heavy and hidden from view.]
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Gosh, you’re right, Sally. What an idiot I am. I must have heard something about it on TV before you got here. I think I will come down to the school with you after all.
SALLY: Oh, thank goodness, Encyclopedia.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Will you come over here for just a minute first? I need your help finding something.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.