MysteryNet's Kids Mysteries
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Find That Valentine!
Mysteries by Kids 5: February 1999
by Jewel I.

"It looked like a Valentine-- sort of. But then stinky green smoke started to come out of it. I was the only one left in the classroom, and I was getting scared. Something was coming out of the Valentine to get me!"

Terrified, I dropped my books and backed away from the valentine with the huge ruffled heart on top. I yanked open the door and ran into the empty halls, not caring that I left my books and assignments behind.
"I'm telling you, it was spewing green smoke!" I said to my best friend. She was sitting on a bench. We were eating our lunches after school, since at lunchtime we had run an errand for one of the teachers.
"Please! I'm eating," Gloria said in disgust.
I poked at my own sandwich, in no mood to eat. Then, a light bulb started to burn in my head. "How about I show you?"
"I'll take you to the Valentine to prove I'm right!" I said.
"Wanna bet ten dollars?" Gloria challenged.
"Yeah!" I shot back. "At the end of today I'm ten dollars richer."
Gloria rolled her eyes. "Valentines don't spew green smoke, Julie."
"This one does!" I said with conviction. "And I'll prove it! After we eat, I'll take you to Mrs Campell's room and show you!"
Gloria smirked at me. "I'm done. Let's go."
Dumping our food in the trash, we went through the big double doors inside Springland Middle School. I led her down the hall and opened Mrs. Campell's door. I paused and looked back at her, feeling a small tingle of fear. "Are you sure you want to see it?"
Gloria rolled her eyes again. "Of course. I want my ten dollars!"
I was about to open the door when Gloria grabbed the back of my shirt. "Or maybe you should just pay me ten dollars right now and not make a fool of yourself."
Gritting my teeth, I opened the door and gasped in shock.
The Valentine was gone.
"I don't see it..." Gloria said in a sing-song voice.
"It was here, I know it!" I told her, I knelt down and peered under the desk. "Maybe someone took it."
"Yeah, or maybe it just walked away!" Gloria said, her arms crossed. "There's no Valentine, Julie."
"But......" I looked at the desk again. "Hey! This is Henrick Boreland's desk."
"The classroom bully. This is his desk and the Valentine was sitting on it."
"Maybe it was TO Henrick instead of from him," Gloria said thoughtfully.
I wrinkled my nose. "I don't think so. But either way he has the Valentine right now."
"IF there is a Valentine," Gloria said doubtfully, but she looked interested.
"Come on! We have to figure out what that green smoke is!" I said, running out of the classroom.
"We?!" Gloria yelled as she ran after me.
I slowed down in front of the schoolyard. "Look for clues that might lead us to Henrick."
Gloria scowled at me, but knelt down and began to inspect all the bushes. Then she straightened up. "I feel stupid! Looking in bushes for something, and I don't even know what."
"I know that! But what kind of clues?"
"Like this," I held up a candy bar wrapper.
"A candy wrapper?"
"Everyone knows that Henrick loves this kind of candy!" I said excitedly.
"So? How does a dumb chocolate wrapper help?"
"He might be eating somewhere!" I looked around. "But where?"
"Hmm..." Gloria licked her braces. "Why don't we check Al's bakery first?"

*     *     *     *

Al's Bakery was just down the street. It smelled of pies and cake, a wonderful delight to my nostrils.
Al stood at the counter, covered in flour. "My pie! My pie is ruined!" He said with a heavy French accent.
Gloria and I exchanged looks.
"Hi, Al," I spoke up.
Al noticed we were there and smiled warmly at us. "Welcome to my bakery! What can I do for you, ladies?"
"Have you seen Henrick?" I asked. "He might have come in here."
"Hen-reek?" Al looked confused.
"He's about this tall," I said, putting my hand a little above my head. "And he has red hair and freckles."
Al's face broke into a grin. "Ah. I know Hen-reek. One of my best customers!"
"Was he in here?" Gloria asked, speaking for the first time.
"Yes yes! But he left a while ago. Was heading to..." Al paused. "What do you kids call it...pezza place!"
"Pizza place?" We repeated in unison.
"Ah, yes!" Al said. "I remember place. Would you girls like a eclair?"
But we were already out the door.
"Do you see him?" I asked we entered the pizza place.
Gloria scanned the tables. "There! Right there!"
I twisted around a booth. "I see him! And the Valentine is on the table!"
"No green smoke!" Gloria said triumphantly. "Money please."
"Wait," I walked over to Henrick's table. He was alone. "Can I see that box?"
Henrick's face seemed to flush in embarrassment. "No!"
"Why?" I grabbed the Valentine and tore off the top.
"No!" Henrick yelled and made a grab for the box.
Too late.
Green smoke poured out, I gagged and dropped the box.
Gloria fanned herself with her hand. "Gross!" she shrieked.
I stared down into the box and saw rotten cheese.
Henrick started to laugh. "It's for my best friend. A joke. Get it?!"
"Funny," Gloria mumbled. Then, she pulled out a crisp ten dollar bill. "You win," she said, handing me the money.

Congratulations, Jewel I.!
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