By Jim Gerrish
© 2021, Imagineering Magic. All Rights Reserved.
By Junior Clayburn
Chapter 1 My First Case
Thats right. My name is Junior. Some joke,
right? My father and mother fought over what to name me from the
moment I was conceived until the moment I was born. Finally, my
father said, Were naming him Junior and thats
that! Let him pick his own name when hes old enough.
I heard that story from the first time I learned to think and
speak in English. So, I was stuck with it.
I cant do anything about my name until I turn 18, but I
could do something about my occupation
Detective. My first
case happened my first day of being in the first grade and Jill
Witherspoon reported that her lunch money had been stolen. She
was crying her eyes out and the teacher, Ms. Simpson, was looking
accusingly at all the boys who sat near Jills table.
Now, I want that money returned to Jills desk
immediately! was her hairbrained scheme for getting the
thief to confess and beg for mercy. Which one of you boys
took it? she continued.
I had to jump right in at that, because I was one of the boys she
was glaring at with those squinty-eye-looks teachers reserve for
Why do you assume that a boy took it? I asked.
It could have been a girl. Jill could have misplaced it
herself. Youre jumping to conclusions.
How dare you talk to me in that tone of voice, Junior
Clayborn! No girl would take another girls lunch
money, said Ms. Simpleton Simpson. Well if she was going to
mispronounce my name, I could use the nickname I gave her in my
My last name is Clayburn, not
Clayborn, I added, just to make a point.
It should be Clayborn, said Ms. Simpering Simpson.
Whoever heard of anyone famous named Clayburn?
According to the Internet, there are some 39,000 people
with the last name of Clayburn in the United States alone,
I told her. Meanwhile my eyes were searching on, in and under
Jill Witherspoons table that she used as a desk.
Who gave you permission to use the Internet? asked
Ms. Simpson. You know full well that first graders are not
permitted to use the classroom computer without my
I have a computer of my own at home, I informed her.
Jill, was your lunch money loose or in an envelope or
anything? Anything to shut Ms. Simpson up.
It was in my purse. I always keep it in my purse in my
desk. And now its gone, whimpered Jill.
I pointed to a spot just behind her feet. Is that it on the
Jill looked. The crying stopped. She bent down and grabbed it.
My purse! she squealed.
Open it and check to make sure your money is all
there, I said.
She did. It is! Its all here. Thank you,
Hmmmp! snorted Ms. Simpson. How do we know you
didnt steal it and drop it on the floor, Junior?
I sit all the way over here, two tables away from Jill. My
arms dont reach that far Ms. Simpson. I just happened to
investigate with my eyes first without making any
Where did you learn those words
accusations? said Ms. Simpson, when she should have kept
her big mouth shut.
From you, Ms. Simpson. You said them yourself to Ms.
Engelbart this morning when you were talking about the coming
election. I said.
She thought a moment, trying to remember her conversation with
Ms. Engelbart. I gave her credit for attempting to use her brain
for once, but as usual she turned it into a personal insult and
You told her, loudly, that the Democrats should
investigate the accusations being made about them by the
Republicans, I said, just to refresh everyones
How dare you listen to my private conversations with
another teacher, she said in that snotty tone she has.
The way the two of you were practically shouting at one
another, the whole class had to listen to it, all five minutes of
it, was my response, but I knew what the penalty would be
for telling the truth.
Insolence! said Ms. Simpson. Report to the
principal at once, young man.
Thank you, Ms. Simpson, I said, taking the complaint
ticket she had marked with a big X in the box for
I was free from her clutches and the Principal and I could have a
good laugh about Ms. Simpson once in the privacy of his office.
Principal Jones was my inspiration for becoming a detective. In
discussing what had occurred in the classroom, he focused on my
accomplishment in locating Jills purse and said I would
make a good detective someday. I just decided, why not today? So
when I got home that afternoon, I went straight to the computer
and absorbed everything I could find about being a detective.
I also looked up a good picture for Ms. Simpson and decided on
Lisa Simpson, which I made into a classroom cartoon to share with
the class tomorrow. Notice whose initials are about to trip her
While I was at it, I ran off some posters for my
new business, that of Junior Detective. My specialty
(so far) was in Lost and Found. I assumed that would
grow over time. I figured Id better not charge any money
while I learned my trade, or some grown-ups would object to it.
I used my computer to put together a photo of me
with a picture I had taken of my first grade classroom early that
same morning on the very first day of school.
I put up my detective posters the next day, all
around the cafeteria. I ran into Principal Jones and told him I
was just following up on his idea for me to become a detective.
He laughed and told me that I had already broken the law in
putting up posters around the school without a teachers
signature on them, but instead of arresting me, he just signed
each of the posters I had and told me, There! Now its
legal and official. Good luck, detective!
I was busy from the very first day I launched my career as a
detective. I was just making a notebook to keep records of my
cases, with Jill Witherspoons name next to a big #1, when a
boy with the nick-name of Snot-Nose, because he was
always wiping his nose with his sleeve, came up and asked me if I
would help him find his lost bicycle. I handed him a paper napkin
for his nose and I told him I would have to do that after school
today, if he walked me around and showed me where he usually rode
and so on. I asked him his name and wrote Jerome Scott by a big
#2 on the next page after #1. I included S.N. next to
his name to remind me who he was and 3:00 PM to remind me when to
Meanwhile, there was the case of the missing lunch, which was
found mistakenly placed in someone elses locker, the case
of the lost wristwatch that belonged to an eighth grade student
who feared that he had lost it in the schools swimming
pool, but had merely left it inside his towel, and the final case
of the day was a missing library book that turned out to have
been already returned to the library when it was found by someone
else. They became cases #3 to #5, and to my surprise, Principal
Jones knew about each one as he was closely following my
career from a distance. Good job,
Detective, he said after each one was solved, no matter
where he met me in the school, and talked to me about how I had
handled the case.
At 3:00 PM, I met Jerome Scott, whom I was careful not to call
Snot-Nose, at the door to the school and he walked me
to his house, showing me where he had ridden to and from school
every day since the first day of school for this year. Yes, he
was certain he had ridden his bicycle to school yesterday, and he
and his father had looked for the bicycle when it had gone
missing, but had no luck finding it.
Someone had to be involved in this case #2. It had to be a thief
from the first to fourth grades, because as Jerome described the
bike, it was too small to be of interest to anyone from the
higher grades unless it was being stolen for a younger brother,
or stolen to sell, or stolen for spite.
Jerome seemed to have no enemies, or none that he knew of, so
that reduced one motive. He hadnt noticed anyone stalking
him to or from school. He had scratched his name Jerome
Scott into the paint of the top tube or crossbar as it was
called. The bike was blue with white markings
and wait a
minute. Just as he was describing the details of his bike to me,
I saw a boy on a blue bicycle just like the one he was
describing, riding past us on his way home.
It was an older boy from the fourth grade that Jerome knew from
school. The boy was known as a bully and a fighter and had
started an argument with every boy in his fourth grade class,
including little Jerome from the first grade.
We followed him on foot as best we could and
caught up with him just as he was pulling into what had to be his
house, because the first thing he did was chain his blue bicycle
to the fence to keep it from getting stolen. We walked up
casually and looked around. Jerome verified that the bicycle
ridden by the suspect was not his bicycle, just
painted the same colors. As we were about to leave, I spotted
another smaller bicycle painted blue with white markings
underneath the front porch of the house.
I went up to the front door and knocked on it, politely. The
suspect opened the door. Yeah? What do you
want? he said. He was wearing a pair of swim trunks now and
had a baseball bat in his hand.
We are looking for a lost blue bicycle and we noticed the
blue bicycle underneath the porch here. Can we look at it more
closely? I asked, politely.
Beat it, or Ill call the cops,
he growled, coming down the steps at me.
I held up my phone. I already dialed 911 and gave them this
address. Theyll be here any minute. We just want to look at
the bike, I said, nicely.
You what? he screamed, suddenly frightened and
therefore suddenly dangerous.
You have a bat and I dont, I said. That
wont look good when the police arrive.
He reached behind the porch rail, brought out another beat-up
baseball bat and tossed it to me. OK, now its a fair
fight, he said.
Why are we fighting? I asked, as
calmly as I could, taking his photo before putting my phone in my
pocket so I could hold the baseball bat down in front of me. His
bat was up and ready for him to swing.
You accused me of stealing your bike, he said.
Not my bike, his bike, I said, pointing to Jerome.
And we havent accused you of anything. We just want
to look at the bike.
On the count of three Im going to knock your head
off, he said, and I believed him. He got to count up to
On his count of two, I pushed my bat straight out forward without
swinging it and hit him right on the chin with the business end
of the bat. It was just as the police car rolled up.
The suspect dropped to the ground, not knocked out,
but dazed, his bat falling from his hand. Jerome caught him as he
fell or he would have hit his head and done further harm to
I dropped the bat that I had used to knock the
suspect dizzy and showed the police both my empty
hands, as Jerome did the same. We took turns explaining to the
police what had happened. From what they had seen, they agreed
that it was self-defense. They went with us to haul Jeromes
bike out into view where Jerome identified it with his name
scratched into the crossbar where he had said it would be. His
helmet was attached to the bike and also had his name in it. By
then the kid, whose name I still didnt know, had recovered
and was crying to the police that I had attacked him.
You were the one about to swing your bat at him, said
the policeman. We saw that much as we drove up.
Wheres your parents?
The long and short of it was, when the parents finally came home,
they took over from the police, agreed that their wayward son,
Paul Logan, had probably stolen the bicycle and hidden it under
the porch without their knowledge, and so on. I was as busy
taking notes for case #2 as the policeman who was filling out his
own report. I also took photos with my phone, and when the
policeman asked me to initial his report, I asked him to initial
Jerome put on his helmet and rode beside me as I walked him back
to his home. I asked him if he had learned any lessons from what
had happened today.
Number 1, get a bike chain and lock up the bike, he
said. Number 2, on the count of two, push the bat straight
forward without waiting to swing it. Aim at the chin.
Actually I was aiming for his face in general. His chin
just happened to be in the way, I said.
Number 3, beg and plead with my parents to let me carry a
phone, he said finally.
Let me take your picture on your bicycle as a satisfied
customer of the Junior Detective Lost and Found services, I
Gladly, he said. Do you need
any help? You know, like Watson helped Sherlock Holmes?
Go tell your parents about todays adventure and
well talk about it tomorrow, if you still want to
help, I said.
I took his photo on my phone and when I got home I erased the
background so I could fit his picture on a poster as a satisfied
customer. I printed out a copy for him to have the next day and
jotted down some questions to ask him, if he still wanted to help
me as a member of my Detective Firm. I was impressed
by his knowledge of the Sherlock Holmes and Watson story.
Its not easy to read.
Then I told my parents all about my busy day and that the police
might come to the house to ask them some questions, if they still
had any unanswered about me and my Junior Detective operation.
When Jerome showed up early the next day holding
up his new phone, and with no snot dripping from his nose, I made
an instant decision to give him a try-out in the role of Watson.
I took his photo with our American flag in the background (ignore
the giant purple crayon) so people would know he is a good person
to have working on their side in the Junior Detective Agency.
Thats right, we are now an Agency.
I gave him a pile of napkins in case his nose
started acting up again (allergies, I think), and we started
interviewing customers from the line that formed in the cafeteria
as soon as we showed up.
Some of the customers just wanted to complain about
other students or teachers or school policies. Both Jerome and I
had to tell them that all we cared about was lost and found
issues. If they hadnt lost something, then we couldnt
help them. We each ended up with 2 legitimate cases of things
that had been lost or stolen at the school recently. So we took
down the information in our notebooks and told our new
clients that we would do some investigation and get
back to them as soon as we had something to report.
What? Still reading? Then you may want to
continue the book to find out how it all ends, or to learn how
Junior becomes a detective at the age of seven in the First
Grade. Jim Gerrish
Detective Complete Book One - Six
us $2.00 using PayPal and we'll e-mail you the entire Junior
Detective book as a pdf file.
Sales will be handled by www.magicnook.com
© 2021, Imagineering Magic. All