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The Case of the Holiday Party
Mysteries by Kids 15: December 1999
by Jaci L.

The house was quiet the night before our big holiday party. I went to check on the decorations when I saw that all the presents were gone! I panicked, and started tearing apart the room looking for any sign of them, but I wasn't successful.
Suddenly, I heard a noise that sounded like paper crinkling. I rushed to the window, just in time to see a flash of red and green paper go by.
I ran outside, hoping to catch the culprit, but I was too late.
Sighing, I went upstairs to break the news to my twenty-one-year-old sister, Lauren. Our parents were visiting some friends and weren't returning until the next morning, so she was in charge.
"Wake up, Lauren!" I exclaimed, as I entered the room. Lauren snored loudly. I shook her, trying to get her up.
"What is it, Andrea?" Lauren asked grumpily, her eyes still closed.
"The presents have been stolen!" I cried out, shaking her even harder.
Lauren's eyes flew open, and she sat up at once. "Oh, no!" she moaned. "What are we going to do without the presents?"
I sat on her bed, deep in thought. "We're going to get to the bottom of this," I said with more confidence then I felt.
Lauren snorted in disgust. "Oh, and I suppose YOU are going to find the thief, " she said, sarcastically. I wasn't happy with that remark, but I held my tongue. "You're only ten," Lauren continued, "I'm going to postpone the party until the police find the presents."
She went downstairs to telephone the police. I followed her and searched the room, looking for clues.
What was that lying on the floor? I picked it up. It was a black skier's hat. I turned it over and studied it. There was something written on its tag. "Histfy Yees."
I was puzzled. What in the world did that mean? Was it a foreign language?
I sat, thinking it over. Minutes later, two officers entered with Lauren. "The presents were under the tree," she was telling them. She stopped and stared at me. "What's that you're holding, Andrea?"
"I found it on the floor," I began, "It has something weird on the tag."
"Let's see," said Lauren, "H-I-S-T-F-Y Y-E-E-S."
"Is that really what it says?" one officer exclaimed, as he took the hat from Lauren.
Both officers examined it, then shook their heads sadly.
"If you re-arrange the letters it spells, 'Shifty Eyes,'" one of the officers explained.
"Shifty Eyes? Isn't that the extremely clever crook who no one can catch?" I asked.
"Yes Ma'am."
"Does that mean that you probably won't be able to get us our presents back?" Lauren demanded.
"We'll try our best, Ma'am. This hat might help a bit."
Both officers searched the living room.
"Call the station if you run into anymore trouble," one said, after they were through.
Hours later, when the officers were gone, Lauren asked, "Andrea, I'm going to the store to look into alarm systems. Would you like to come?"
I was exhausted, since I hadn't had much sleep last night, so I told Lauren I wanted to take a nap.
"Ok," she replied, "I'll try to be back soon."
I laid on the couch in the living room and watched a couple cartoons. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a noise by the window. I could hear rustling noises.
I knew it! The burglars had come back. Quickly, I slid off the couch and crawled over to the window, which was open a crack. Then I heard some bits of their conversation.
"Quiet-- thought I saw the kid-- almost caught us--"
"Why did-- come back-- already got presents--"
"Shh-- upstairs... saw stuff... valuable..."
My heart pounded like a drum. Would they come in anyway? I pretended to stir.
"Kid's waking up-- come back at midnight--"
The bushes rustled. After I was sure they were gone, I opened my eyes.
Lauren was home soon, and I told her what I had heard.

*     *     *     *

The next night, I was having so much fun at our holiday party. My friends were crowded around me.
"So, Andrea," one said, "Tell us about how you caught Shifty Eyes and his partner."
I giggled. I told them how I pretended to be asleep and how I heard some of their conversation.
"Then," I continued, "I told Lauren, and she told the police. At midnight, we all hid in the living room and we watched as they picked the lock."
My friends shivered and begged me to keep talking.
"Well," I said, "They started to fill their bags with ornaments, when the police jumped out of hiding. 'Come out with your hands up!' they yelled. And so Shifty Eyes and his partner were caught!"
My friends clapped. Then Lauren walked over. "The officers wanted you to have this," she said, handing me a small present.
I opened it. It was a plastic policeman badge!
"The officers felt that you deserved it," Lauren said, then frowned, "but it looks kind of cheap to me."
I smiled as I pinned on the badge. I didn't care how cheap it was... I would keep it forever and ever.
Congratulations, Jaci L. !
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