A Young Charles Splints Case: Hall Monitor
By Dan Leicht
The young Charles Splints cases take place when the future detective of Brooksend was still in elementary school. A seven year old Charles Splints is on the case.
Charles Splints was sitting in class when he heard his name announced over the PA speakers to the entire school.
“Charles Splints please report to the Principle’s office.”
He got up and pulled the raincoat from the back of his chair. He slipped it on and nodded to the teacher. As he walked out the door he removed a lollipop from his pocket, stuck it into his right cheek.
He tapped on the door to the Principle’s office. Mr. Garlocke opened the door and motioned for Splints to sit down. Splints crunched what was left of his lolly and dropped the stick into the pastel trash bin before taking a seat.
“Would you like any juice?” asked the principal.
“No thanks,” replied Splints. “I’ll take a coffee, black.”
Mr. Garlocke poured the cup of coffee for the young sleuth and set it on the desk.
Splints took a sip. “What seems to be the problem, Garlocke?” he asked.
“We need you back on hall monitor duty. The halls are falling to the bullies without you.” The principal buried his head in his hands. “Will you rejoin the force?”
“I work better alone, Garlocke. You know that. If I jump back on the force I don’t want you sticking me with some rookie. If I put that orange sash across my chest again I’m doing things my way.”
“Of course, of course, Charlie,” said the principal.
Splints closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers. “Don’t call me Charlie,” he said.
The principal’s face turned bright red. He fumbled around his office looking for the orange sash. “Here you are, Splints,” he said, correcting his earlier mistake.
The sash felt good in Splints’ hands, like it belonged there. The young detective placed it over his head and slung it over one shoulder. “You did the right thing,” said Splints. “I’ll have these halls cleaned up in no time.”
Splints finished off his coffee and left the office. He returned to class and continued practicing how to spell his name. The students all admired the orange sash he was sporting, something Randy Lamb noticed immediately. If Splints was back on the force that’d mean him and his buddies were in big trouble. Without the sash Splints was enough of a problem, everyone knew the story of how he originally left the force, if the principal wanted him back it must mean Garlocke swallowed his pride.
In the first grade Splints was the best there ever was. A pint sized private eye with a knack for dealing with situations himself, he never tattled, not even once. Word got around the principal was stealing office supplies, and when Splints caught him in the act the principal knew he was done for.
Garlocke knew Splints’ reputation and asked the hall monitor to lie for him, knowing everyone would leave him alone if the young detective backed him up. Instead of lying Splints removed his sash and placed it on the principal’s desk. Now, a year later, the sash returned to him, Splints was back on the force. Brooksend Elementary needed saving.
When the lunch bell rang everyone left the classroom except for Splints. He was busy drawing up a map of the school’s layout. He made sure to use all twenty-four colors of crayons at his disposal. When he was done he folded it up and placed it into his coat’s inner pocket.
The hallways were desolate. The kids that weren’t out on the playground were either fifth graders learning long division or kindergartners taking their naps. Splints knew Randy would be a ringleader to the bullies tormenting the halls and be out on the playground.
As Splints patrolled the halls he noticed someone sitting on the floor, his back up against the wall and his head between his knees.
“What’s wrong?” asked Splints. He knelt down beside the boy, Freaky Franklin. Frank had earned his nickname from his innate ability to reach his nose with his tongue.
Franklin looked up at Splints. “Randy and the others took my art supplies. I need them to finish a project for class tomorrow,” he replied.
Splints removed the box of crayons from his pocket and handed them to Franklin.
“Will these work?” asked Splints.
Franklin’s eyes lit up as he took the box in his hands. “Thank you,” he said, with cheer in his voice. Splints helped Franklin to his feet and sent him along, asking for a small favor in return.
The bell rang again and the kids filed in from playing outside. Randy Lamb was walking alongside a couple of friends when Splints stepped in front of them.
“What are you looking at?” asked Randy. His friends laughed. “You think you’re tough because you have your sash back? You look like you belong in a beauty pageant.”
“I would’ve preferred just calling me handsome, but that works too,” said Splints. He cracked his neck side to side and checked his watch. “Hmmm, that’s interesting,” he said.
“What?” asked Randy.
“It’s past your nap time,” replied Splints. While Splints distracted Randy and his friends Franklin had sneaked up behind them with a cot from the kindergartner’s room. The detective took one step closer and Randy and his friends backed up and fell backward onto the cot. Franklin quickly ran and opened up the door to outside as Splints wheeled them out and locked the door.
“Won’t they just get back in?” asked Franklin.
“They will,” replied Splints, “but we’ll be ready.” Splints removed his sash and placed it over Franklin’s shoulders. “You did good today, kid. Wear the sash proud, it suits you better than it does me.”
“I can’t do this alone, Splints,” said Franklin. Splints could tell he was nervous.
“You’ll never be alone, not with me around.” Splints turned around, his raincoat whipping into the air like a cape. He walked down the hallway and into class, the door closing behind him signalling the close of another case.