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MINI9    8' Mini-mysteries for the mouse detective

"It's here! It's here!" exclaimed the hummingbird as she flew
into the park, "The magic show is here!"

Many of the animals from the smallest insect to the largest
squirrel ran down to the creek to watch the magic show floating
down the creek on a pizza box. By the time the spider anchored
the pizza box to the shore with web silk, the banks on both
sides of the creek were jammed with cheering animals. Even
Michaela Mouse was there.

In the first magic trick, a caterpillar crawled into a small
box, then the lid was closed. Only one second later, the lid was
opened again and out flew a butterfly!

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

In the second magic trick, a worm crawled into a tunnel --
really it was a small piece of garden hose -- but out of the
other end crawled a cockroach.

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

In the third magic trick, a grasshopper hopped into a long box,
the lid was closed, then a praying mantis sawed the box in half.

"Oh no!" exclaimed several animals, "They cut that poor
grasshopper in half!"

But when the lid was opened again, the grasshopper hopped out in
one piece.

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

In the next magic trick, the same praying mantis held out a
stick for all to see. And before their very eyes, the stick
turned into a bouquet of tiny white flowers.

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

Without warning, a cloud of smoke covered the flowers. One
second later, the flowers disappeared and a beautiful little
butterfly flew out of the mantis' hands.

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

Hearing the "ooo!" and "aaah!", more and more animals in the
park came to the banks of the creek to watch the magic.

In the next magic trick, two small boxes were placed on opposite
ends of the pizza box. A cricket crawled into the box and the
lid was closed. Then two other crickets, reopened the box and
tipped it on its side to show the audience that the cricket had
disappeared.

"Where did he go?!" exclaimed several animals in the audience.

Then the crickets crossed over to the second box and opened the
lid. Out popped the missing cricket!

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

By now all the animals in the park were on the banks of the
creek clapping and cheering.

For the final magic trick, a spider on a branch overhanging the
creek lowered a small box on a strand of web silk. When the box
landed on the pizza box, the crickets opened the box and tipped
it toward the audience to show them that the box was empty.
Then, a centipede crawled into the box and the lid was closed.
Then, the spider lifted the box slowly up and up and up. When
the box was almost up to the branch on which the spider was
sitting, the box exploded with a bang that could be heard all
over the park.

Many animals in the audience exclaimed, "Oh no! What happened to
that poor centipede?"

"Here I am!" shouted the centipede as he sat upright on half of
his many legs and waived the other half. He was now on top of a
dandelion on the other side of the creek.

"Ooo! Aaah!" shouted the animals, then they clapped and cheered.

After the final magic trick, the spider untied the pizza box and
it floated down the creek toward the next stop of the magic
show.

"That was a really good magic show, wasn't it?!" exclaimed the
hummingbird as she flew above Michaela Mouse on the way home.

"Good show!" said Michaela Mouse.

"Where do they get their magic powers from?" asked the
hummingbird.

"It's not REAL magic." explained Michaela Mouse, "They're just
tricks that make it looked like the performers can do magic."

"Really?!" exclaimed the hummingbird.

"Yes," replied Michaela Mouse, "It's just tricks."

"How do they do it?" asked the hummingbird.

"Mostly it's just what they call a DIVERSION." replied Michaela
Mouse.

"A what?" asked the hummingbird.

"A diversion makes you look in the wrong direction at just the
right moment." explained Michaela Mouse, "Like the explosion on
that last trick. It made everyone in the audience look up so
they couldn't see the centipede climbing up onto the dandelion."

Five minutes after Michaela Mouse returned home, there was a
knock on the door. When she opened the door, she saw about 100
animals surrounding her house.

"Michaela Mouse, you have to help us!" exclaimed the chipmunk,
"Somebody stole all my seeds and nuts while I was at the magic
show."

"Somebody stole some of the honey from our hive!" exclaimed the
queen bee.

"And somebody took all the insects I had wrapped up and
collected on my web!" exclaimed the spider.

"Who would do such a thing?!" exclaimed the hummingbird.

Michaela mouse thought for a moment, then replied, "I'll tell
you after I investigate."

She questioned all the animals in the park, not just those who
said they lost food. Then she took her little magnifying glass
and inspected the homes of animals who lost food.

"Aha!" exclaimed Michaela Mouse.

"Did you find something?" asked the hummingbird as it hovered
overhead.

"Yes." replied Michaela Mouse, "Here, next to the spider web,
there's a small black feather."

"A BLACK feather?!" asked the hummingbird.

"Yes." replied Michaela Mouse, "We don't have any blackbirds or
crows living in the park. These robberies were done by
outsiders."

"Outsiders?!" asked the hummingbird.

"Yes," replied Michaela Mouse, "And I don't think it was a mere
coincidence that these outsiders robbed us on the same day that
those other outsiders put on that magic show. I think the magic
show was a DIVERSION to keep our eyes off of our food while the
outsiders stole it."

"Another magic trick!" exclaimed the hummingbird.

Michaela ran down to the creek, then rummaged through the trash
can there until she found an empty juice box. She floated the
box on the water, climbed on, and used the straw as a paddle to
row down the creek toward the magic show. When she caught up
with them, she saw not just one pizza box, but two of them.

Michaela Mouse jumped off of her juice box onto the magic show
box and shouted, "You insects are in BIG trouble!"

"Please don't hurt us!" exclaimed the cricket, "It wasn't our
fault."

Michaela Mouse asked, "Was it blackbirds or crows?"

"It was the crows." replied the centipede, "They said that if we
didn't create a diversion while they stole your food, they would
eat US!"

"I thought so!" said Michaela Mouse, "Where is all the food they
stole?"

"It's in the other pizza box." said the praying mantis as he
pointed with both arms.

Michaela Mouse lifted the lid on the other box. It was full of
seeds and nuts and honey and insects wrapped in spider silk.

"Where are the crows now?" asked Michaela Mouse.

"They flew on ahead to spy on their next robberies." replied the
bee.

When the crows returned, the magic show performers were all gone
and so was their pizza box. But the pizza box containing the
food was floating down the creek. So, the crows swooped down
after it.

But the box went into a tunnel. When the crows followed, the
pizza came out the other end of the tunnel, but the crows did
not. The crows found out to late that the tunnel was really a
plastic trash bag with the end cut out. It was a magic trick. As
soon as the crows flew into the tunnel, the animals from the
park closed both ends of the bag. They threw the bag into the
trash can. And the next morning, the crows were picked up by the
trash truck and noone ever saw them again.

The food from the pizza box was returned to the park and, thanks
to Michaela Mouse, the world's greatest mouse detective, all the
animals lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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Pay no royalties, even if you make money from performances.
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