answer to April's logic problem #12 - Advice for the BobWhites

Mart walked out of the cozy kitchen at Crabapple Farm feeling much better. He had talked to Moms about dating Di, and her advice, along with a fistful of homemade cookies, really helped him see Di's parents' side. He grabbed his red jacket, and was about to walk out the door, when he noticed a letter sitting on the coffee table. His mom was still busy in the kitchen, so he tiptoed over to the table, opened the letter, and quickly scanned the contents. Putting the letter back in its place, he called out a quick goodbye to Moms and left for the clubhouse. No one else had arrived yet.

Dan came in about five minutes later. "Hey, Mart. Here already?" He sounded a little bit on edge.

"Yeah. We're both early."

"Well, maybe we can talk about that argument we had yesterday, without everyone else getting involved." Dan thought about what Ms. Trask had told him, and hoped her advice would work.

"Maybe." Mart lifted one side of his face in a half-smile. "But the others will show up soon. It might be better to wait until later, when we have more time."

"Okay." Dan sat down. "By the way, I overheard this phone call at Manor House, and I think it might have something to do with our mystery man."

"Really?" Mart sat up. He thought about mentioning the letter, then decided to wait.

"Yeah, but I think I'll wait until the others are here, so I can tell you all at once." Dan sat down at his normal spot.

The next few minutes between the two friends were spent in a rather awkward silence. It wasn't too long, though, before Honey came in. "Oh, good! Maybe one of you know."

"Know what?" Mart and Dan replied in unison.

Honey giggled. "Well, I was talking with Celia about what to wear to that fundraiser Mother is dragging Jim and me to tonight, and while we were figuring out if I should wear the yellow dress which is a little bit short, or the green dress which comes down to here," Honey indicated a spot about mid-thigh, "or the pink dress which is really dressy ..."

Mart held his hands to his ears. "Augh! Desist with the garment pictorialization. Get to the point please." He grinned to show he was just teasing.

"Right." Honey giggled again. "Well, Celia was whistling this tune." Honey whistled the same tune. "It's so familiar, but I can't quite place it."

"I'm more interested in what you're wearing tonight," Dan teased, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Just how short is that yellow dress?"

"Isn't it enough that you're going out with Di?" Mart asked, his tone serious and cold.

"It's not exactly a date," Dan answered. "I thought we would talk about that later."

"Guys, please," Honey pleaded. "Don't keep fighting about that."

Mart and Dan turned their backs on each other. Honey looked from one to the other helplessly, waiting for her legendary tact to kick in, but the tact seemed nowhere to be found.

Luckily, Jim entered the clubhouse, easing some of the tension that had once again built up. He had just come from the stables where he'd been talking to Regan about how to fix his old shotgun. Something was wrong with the trigger mechanism, and Regan had given him some good ideas to fix it. "Where are the others?" he asked. "Should we fine them for being tardy?"

No one answered his question.

"Do you know this tune?" Honey asked, anxiously, since Mart and Dan had stopped talking. Honey whistled the tune.

"Sure do." Jim broke into song. "Wanted, someone who kissed me, and held me closely, then stole my heart. Wanted, someone I trusted, who gave no warning we'd ever part. She was last seen hiding out in someone's arms. He knew nothing of the danger in her charms. A jury may find her guilty, but I'd forgive her if I could see a signed confession that she's repented and really wanted no one but me..."

Some applauding was heard from the door. "Perry Como," Brian stated. "I think that hit the charts back in '54."

"Hi, Brian," Jim said. "You're late."

Brian looked around the room. "I'm not the only one, apparently. Anyway, I was just talking to Tom about this new breed of dog, and got a little carried away with the time, I guess." He sat down at his normal place at the wooden table and dropped something on it. "I found this on the path on the way over here." Brian looked at the group seriously. "Anyone have any ideas who this might have belonged to?"

The other Bob-Whites present looked at the empty burrito wrapper curiously. Then all of them, except Mart, turned to look at Mart.

"It's not mine," Mart said definsively. "I haven't had one of those super red hot burritos in over a week. Maybe I should stop by Lytell's and pick some up later."

"No, I didn't think it was yours," Brian said. "But I have a feeling it's important. Who else eats these red hot burritos?"

Some of the pairs of eyes looking at Brian widened in understanding. Mart thought again about the letter he had read, and Dan thought about the phone conversation. They both started to talk at once. "I overheard a guy on the phone ... "

"I read this letter that was addressed to ... "

Jim held up a hand. "One at a time, please. Mart, you first."

The clubhouse door opened again, and Di walked in. "Sorry I'm late everyone. I was talking to Mrs. Vanderpoel and couldn't get away." She had been talking to Mrs. Vanderpoel about how to get her parents to trust her more with money. The older woman was a good friend of the Bob-Whites and Di felt especially confident talking to her about anything, and money was something she did not like talking to the other Bob-Whites about at all. It made her somewhat uncomfortable.

"That's okay." Mart smiled at her. "I was just going to tell you all about a letter I read, but I think I'd better wait until my sister gets here."

Jim agreed. "That's a good idea. Trixie will kill us if we start discussing the clues you found without her."

"Oh, speaking of clues," Di started, "when I was at Mrs. Vanderpoel's, there was this man's coat hanging on the back of one of the chairs in her kitchen. I could tell she didn't want me to see it. Usually she invites me into the kitchen to get cookies or a piece of cake or whatever she's baked that day, but this time, when I started toward the kitchen, she steered me to the dining room instead. I didn't think much of it at first, but when I was leaving I caught a glimpse of the coat, and I know that there is no way it could have been her coat. As a matter of fact, it was definitely a man's coat."

"That's interesting," Honey said. The rest of the group nodded in agreement.

"I think we may have enough here to finally figure out what the adults have been hiding from us," Brian said. "But where is Trixie? I wonder what's keeping her."

"She's probably on the trail of our mysterious Mr. X. as we speak." Dan winked at Honey. "If she doesn't show up soon, we may need to go to her rescue."

"I heard that, Daniel Mangan," Trixie called from the door. "I do not need rescuing."

"Well, it's about time you got here, sister-mine." Mart motioned for her to sit down. "Can we officially call this meeting to order, now?" He realized he'd been in the clubhouse for half an hour already, and wanted to hurry up the meeting so he could have a snack.

"If you must know," Trixie said as she sat down, "I was talking to Mr. Maypenny. He gave me tons of ideas for the school fund-raising project. But even more important, I noticed a strange footprint on my way over here..."

er, yeah, that's all! I just needed to answer the problem, not solve the mystery ... *VEG*
thank you Kyrie, Amber, AprilW, and Dana for answering my question on the JixMB about Jim's shotgun. *g*
background graphic by EOS Development