Clutching the wooden spoon tightly and shaking it at my younger sister, I began my investigation. ‘OK, who did it? Who licked the mixing spoon?’
‘Not me,’ Madison answered, not looking up from the table.
‘Did too. Who else would have done it?’
The back door closed with a thump. Mum came in with her arms loaded with towels.
‘All right you two, break it up.’
Madison crossed her arms tightly. ‘I… did… not… lick… Crystal’s… spoon.’
‘Girls, that’s enough,’ Mum demanded.
I tossed the spoon into the sink. ‘Mum, you promised that if peeled the potatoes last night, I could lick the spoon when we baked the cookies this morning. It was my turn.’ I glared at my seven-year-old sister.
She poked her tongue out and I stomped out of the kitchen.
When I returned a few minutes later, notebook and pencil in hand, Mum and Madison were busy removing cookies from a baking tray.
‘OK… Mum, what happened when I left the kitchen to use the bathroom?’
With an audible sigh, Mum opened the oven door and placed another tray onto the top shelf. ‘Well, after we finished mixing the cookie dough, I went outside to bring the towels in from the clothesline. If Madison licked the spoon, I didn’t see her.’
Madison added a fairy-shaped cookie to a large plate and then turned toward me. ‘I… did… not… lick… your… spoon.’
I noted her statement. ‘Madison, what were you doing while Mum was outside?’
‘Colouring in my book.’
‘Before that, stupid.’
‘Please, Crystal,’ Mum intervened. ‘You can play your detective games but please don’t be rude to your sister.’
Madison pushed a tiny candy bow into the icing on the top of a pink fairy before she continued with her defence.
‘I didn’t touch the spoon. Mum said it was your turn to lick it so I went and got my colouring pencils and book from my bedroom.’
Sandy, Madison’s kitty brushed against my legs. ‘Where was Sandy?’ I crouched down and checked the kitten’s paws and mouth.
‘She followed me outside,’ Mum replied, handing Madison the container of sprinkles.
‘Well, it couldn’t be Sandy,’ Madison added not looking at anyone.
I added my notes about Sandy then poked the pencil behind my ear and placed the notebook onto the table. ‘Can I help decorate the cookies, Mum?’
‘Wash your hands and show Madison how to use the icing gun.’
Obediently but aggravated, I moved to the sink and washed my hands. I still think Madison did it. I kept my eyes on miss goody two-shoes while I turned on the tap. Little sister seems to always avoid punishment.
‘Did you come to any conclusions,’ Mum asked.
My attention remained focused on Madison. I took a small spoon from the drawer to use to fill the icing tube. ‘Well, if it wasn’t Madison or Sandy, who else could it be?’
‘It wasn’t me,’ Madison began in her sing-song of innocence. ‘You always blame me.’
Momentarily, I concentrated on filling the tube.
‘Well,’ Mum was saying. ‘If you did Madison, no one would be mad at you for it. It’s the lies that I don’t tolerate.’
Madison’s lips quivered. ‘I didn’t.’
A noise from the living room caused me to turn suddenly. ‘What’s that?’
Mum glanced up at the doorway as Dad entered.
Madison’s frown disappeared. ‘Daddy, you’re home early.’
I placed the icing gun on a clean plate. ‘How long have you been home, Dad?’
I grabbed my notepad and drew the pencil from behind my ear. I tapped my foot. ‘Well?’
‘Well…nice to see you too,’ Dad laughed.
I approached Dad and leaned forward. There on his loosened tie, was a tiny blob of chocolate. ‘Dad… you didn’t. How could you?’
Mum pointed her finger. ‘So you’re the culprit.’
Dad bent down to kiss my forehead.
‘Da…ad, your lips are sticky.’
Dad just stood there and grinned. ‘Yeah, I came in to see my beautiful girls before I put my briefcase away. No one was here so I licked the spoon.’ He grabbed a paper serviette and wiped his mouth. ‘I guess you found me out.’
‘You licked the spoon? It was my turn!’
Mum came over and touched my shoulder. ‘I think you have an apology to make, Detective Crystal.’
© Chrissy Siggee