Sam Solvable and the Case of the Hogweed Island Ghost
This is it, Sparklers: the last finalist in the Funny Fiction Contest. Remember, the story with the most FB likes wins the undying admiration of the entire SparkLife community. You have until noon on Thursday, July 28, to pick your favorite story. Previous entries can be found here.
And now, on to Smokey778's tale! —Miss Marm
“We need you Sam Solvable,” Hogweed Island’s only hotel manager declared, “for the last couple days all the food being shipped into the hotel has gotten destroyed. If anyone leaves the food unattended then something very heavy flattens it, breaking the crate, destroying the food and leaving a huge crater. The strange part is no one can figure out what’s destroying it-there’s never any evidence left. As if that’s not enough, hotel guests are disappearing one by one like magic. People are saying that it’s the work of a ghost. Can you help us?”Sam Solvable, all American boy detective, gave a nod of his hardened yet dreamy head and spread his luscious lips into a smile. “I wouldn’t worry Mr. Manager. There’s no case that I can’t solve.”
“I don’t think he is a detective!” proclaimed assistant manager Jon, “I think he’s just some punk kid who’s after our money.” Beside him assistant manager number two, Jane, gave a sigh and tried not to faint away from Sam’s handsomeness.
“Punk is an interesting choice of words Mr. Jon. From looking at your hankie I can tell that in the seventh grade you grew your hair long and requested that your coconut birthday cake to be in the shape of a motorcycle.”
“Whaa- how could you possibly-???”
Sam gave a suave smile, “It’s all very elementary- unfortunately I have absolutely no time to explain how it was possible.”
Jane gave another sigh.
“W-w-well I’m f-f-for it,” stammered Jesse, the last and most nervous assistant, “if it will get this darn ghost out and get everything back to normal again then I say let’s do it. T-t-the hotel will have to close otherwise.”
“Then it’s settled. Jon you and Jesse go and take Sam outside to the point where the last shipment of food was destroyed. He can look at the huge crater it left and see if he can find any clues there. Jane, you stay here and sigh in a wistful manor.”
Sam pushed aside a perfectly conditioned curl of golden brown hair from his face and stood up. Jon tried to flick his hair in a similar manner but failed. “Fine, I’ll take you to the courtyard. Jesse are you ready to go?” Jon looked around, “Jesse?”
Sam stepped forward, “it appears as if while we were talking your friend Jesse was kidnapped by the ghost.”
“Oh Sam,” Jane implored, “you mustn’t blame yourself.”
“I don’t. However I think it would be a good idea to get going to that crater. Who knows how many other guests could be kidnapped if we just stand around here talking. Come along Jon; we mustn’t dally.”
Sam opened the door and strolled outside with Jon running after him screaming that the courtyard was the other way. Jane gave another sigh and even the manager joined her in watching as Sam’s finely shaped chin receded its way into the distance.
“Are you upset?” Sam asked some minutes later as he and Jon headed towards the courtyard. “If it helps, you could describe your problem to me. In addition to being a qualified surgeon and extreme skateboarder I also graduated as a psychiatrist.”
“Why would you bother changing jobs if you were already a surgeon?” Jon grumbled.
“I found that my extreme attractiveness was giving too many already sick patients heart attacks- it just wasn’t fair to their families.” Sam flashed an encouraging smile that got no reaction from Jon.
Jon suddenly stopped Sam in front of a hole in the ground. He gestured towards it. “This is it. This is where the food was found flattened and in the middle of a crater. There are tons more but this is the most recent.”
Sam bent down close to the ground and began examining the crater and spoiled food. “Ah yes, something very heavy would have had to come down in order to flatten a crate full of food and make a dent in the ground like this. However there was nothing heavy on top of all of this when you discovered it?”
“No.” Jon replied.
“And yet somehow there are no footprints in the mud near the crater. Very interesting. When combined with all the strange disappearances I can see why you would think that this is the work of a ghost. How very scary for you. And yet, I see a important clue that the others must have missed; a small clump of white hair on top of the wreckage.”
Jon waved a dismissive hand, “I bet that just blew here during a windy day.”
“Wrong Jon, the two are definitely connected; this wreckage and this piece of fur have both been at this site for exactly two days and six hours.”
“How could you possibly know all that?!”
“There’s no time to explain that. Quick! Back to the hotel!”
Back at the hotel the manager was about to throw a fit. “Jane’s been kidnapped,” he informed the duo as soon as they came in. “Funny,” he added while eyeing Jon, “how now you’re the only assistant manager who hasn’t been abducted.”
Sam stepped forward, “I can vouch for him; he was with me the whole time. Except for when he left mysteriously for twenty minutes but other then that he was with me the whole time.”
A scream pierced the air as hotel guest Susan Saben was suddenly dragged out a window and didn’t come back.
“Not Susan!” screamed the manager, “she hadn’t paid yet!”
A heavy male guest grunted as he was dragged up a chimney.
“Not Larry!” screamed the manager, “he was one day from retirement!”
A young man popped his head through the open door, “Hey mister, do you want your newspapers delivered on the front step or the lobb-aggggh!’
“Not Dean,” sobbed the manager, “he was like a son to me.”
“I really wish I could do something,” Sam commented, patting his belly, “but it’s 2:14 and I’m still a little full from lunch.”
The manager didn’t speak for a moment. Suddenly he turned to Jon with anger in his eyes and pointed. “You!” he said, “you did this!”
Jon stepped backwards in surprise. “Me? How could I have done this? I was here the entire time with you!”
“Don’t lie to me! I found the signed confession that you left.”
The manager whipped out a small crumpled note he had been keeping folded up in his pocket. It read “Note to self: I am the one who released the ghost. Mwa-ha-ha. Signed- Assistant Manager Jon.’
“I didn’t do it!” Jon protested. “You have to believe me.”
The manager clutched his head. “Oh, what’s the point? I’ll have to close the hotel anyway.” He slowly turned to Jon and advanced. “However if I’m going down then I’m going to make sure that you go down with me. I hope you enjoy prison- I’m calling the police.”
Jon was about to lash out when Sam suddenly stepped between the two. “Whoa, whoa gentlemen. No need to get this angry. I think I may have figured out the perpetrator behind case, follow me.”
“But- but what about the signed confession?” Asked the manager.
“It’s a fake. That note was written by a left handed person.”
“How could you POSSIBLY know that?”
“No time to explain Jon. Quick! To the employees’ rooms.”
A few minutes later the three men stood in a dark hallway in front of the three assistant managers’ rooms. Sam’s hand hovered over the first of the doorknobs.
“Jon, I want you to know that whatever happens I enjoyed working with you very much and think of you as a valued friend.”
“Well I thought that you were completely useless…”
Sam’s carefully turned the doorknob and then, at the last second, threw the door open. A wave of noise descended upon the three men as they suddenly heard every murmur and whine of the dozens of tied up hostages. Everyone missing was there, including Jane, Susan, Larry and Dave. A hooded figure stood in the corner.
“It’s the ghost!” the manager pointed.
The ghost threw back his hood and yelled, “No! It is I… assistant manager Jesse! I was jealous of assistant manager Jon and the hotel manager being better looking then I was so I came up with a way that I could close the hotel and blame Jon for it. I knew that the two things a hotel needs to survive is food and customers so I came up with the story of the ghost, kidnapped guests and then I threw polar bears from a helicopter in order to crush the crates of food on the ground.”
“What…?” asked Jon. “That makes no sense; wouldn’t the bodies of the polar bears be found over the crushed food?”
“Not if they dissolved upon impact.”
“But why would they do that? And where did you get your hands on polar bears?”
“There’s no time to explain that.”
From the back of the room Sam Solvable nodded, “This is all very impressive assistant manager Jesse, but your two flaws are: 1. You are left handed and 2. I am very aware of the old dissolving polar bear trick. Just before we came up here I snuck away from Jon and the manager and returned your rented helicopter back to the depot. Since the owner's a friend of mine I had a word with him and they won't be renting you any helicopters in the future; you have no way to drop your polar bears now.”
“Impossible! I’m much smarter then you! I managed to kidnap your friends.”
“Wrong! I let you kidnap them so I could test my theories. I knew all along what your evil plan was.”
Assistant manager Jesse clenched his fists. “Curse you! I was so close to getting away with it! Fine. I’ll go to jail for now but you mark my words, I’ll spend all of my time studying so that way when I get out I’ll be able to make a plan so evil and complex that even you won’t be able to figure it out Sam Solvable!”
Sam inclined his head so he looked very much like a Greek God crossed with another more attractive Greek God. His delicate curls draped across his face in a defiant attitude, “I look forward to the challenge.”
Assistant manager Jesse gave a hiss and then uselessly tried to struggle as the manager tied him up to a beam in order to hold him for the police.
Jon stood by, watching the entire scene unfold in astonishment. “Whe-where did Jesse even get that costume, did he make it….or….?”
“There’s no time to explain that.”
Jon rounded on Sam. “You keep saying that whenever someone gives a perfectly reasonable question but you never give any answers. Jesse too. What does it even mean?!”
Sam laughed. “It’s perfectly obvious if you’re part of the secret society.”
“The secret society?”
“Oops, don’t tell them that I told you.”
All the around them the kidnapping victims were being untied by the manager and convinced to stay another night at Hogweed hotel, “home of the famous Hogweed Island ghost.” Jane got free from her ropes and bounded over to Sam, throwing her arms passionately around him and covering his face with kisses. Sam hoped that she would tire herself out soon so that he could get back to work. Jon surveyed the situation around them.
“Well, it looks like the hotel’s going to be okay. And so are the kidnapping victims.”
Sam smiled, “And I perfectly solved another mystery. I guess all’s well that ends well.”
Jon balked, “What about the polar bears that were thrown out of the helicopter?”
“Don’t worry- they were all lawyers.”
Everyone threw back their heads and laughed. And so the residents of the island spent the rest of their days with Sam, Jon, the manager and Jane in happiness and never had to explain anything, or deal with anything polar bears related, ever again.
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