William Doonan

I write books and stories.

Pinecone P.I.

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There’s a new detective on the scene, and he’s coming soon to a bookstore near you!

Pinecone P.I.– The Case of the Dancing Centipede


           “They tell me you’re the best,” the Centipede said as she stepped into my office.  I hang on a branch, so I don’t have much of an office.  But when this little lady climbed out on my limb, I could tell she needed my help.  Her name was Lula.  I’d seen her around.

            “What seems to be the problem?” I asked. 

            “It’s my favorite spoon,” she began.  “It’s been stolen.  I think my best friend stole it but I can’t be sure.”  She began to cry.  If I had arms I would have held her. 

            “There there,” I said.  “Why would your best friend steal your spoon?  You seem like a perfectly nice bug to me.”

            She slapped me on the face with at least ten or twelve of her legs.  “I’m not a bug,” she said.  “I’m a centipede, and a lady.  You’d best remember that.”

            I had half a mind to pour myself a drink, but because I’m really just a Pine cone and don’t ever drink anything, I decided not to.  “All right,” I said.  “Let’s get down to business.  What was so special about this spoon?”

            “Well,” she began, her eyes soft and moist, “It’s very big.  I use it to eat my soup.”

            “I see,” I told her.  “And what makes you think your best friend stole it?”

            “He’s been acting strange lately,” she said.  “Usually he rubs my feet, but lately, he’s only been rubbing fifty or sixty of them.  He says he’s just tired but I think he’s feeling bad because he stole my spoon.”

            “I can look into it,” I told her, “but it won’t be cheap.”

            She lowered her head.  “I don’t have any money.”

            “And I don’t have any hands or pockets.  It’s just something I say.”  I told her I’d get back to her.


            “I’ve been in this business too long,” I told my friend Rupert.  Rupert is a spider who doesn’t really know how to make webs.  I don’t know how to make webs either.  When I first met Rupert, we practiced making a web of me, winding me in spider silk until it looked like I was wearing a sweater.  I have to admit it kept me warm. 

            “Lula’s best friend is called Lamont,” Rupert told me.  “Not a bad fellow, just a little wild.”

            “Wild,” I repeated.  I couldn’t help thinking of the wild days of my own youth, but that’s a story for another day.

            “Yes.  He runs with a fast crowd, crickets mostly and a couple of grasshoppers.”

            “Tell me about this fast crowd,” I said to Rupert.

            “They keep to themselves,” Rupert began, weaving a spider silk scarf which looked to be turning out quite badly.  “They hang out down by the puddle, jumping and making noise, but sometimes they go to the chipmunk parties.”

            “Why would they want to go to chipmunk parties?” I asked.  “I thought chipmunk parties are the most boring of all.”

            Rupert nodded.  “It’s true, I’ve been to a few myself.  All you do is stand around, but the food is good, and chipmunks love when bugs show up because we’re the best dancers.”

            “Does Lamont dance at these parties?” I asked.

            Rupert frowned.  His threads tangled and melted into a goopy ball, and that was the end of my scarf.  “I was going to weave your name into the scarf,” he said.

            “I thought you could only do one color.”

            Rupert sighed and hung his head.  “You’re right.  I forgot.”

            “Cheer up,” I told him.  “I still have the last scarf you made me and it keeps me plenty warm.”

            He shrugged.

            “So anyway,” I said, “Does Lamont dance at the chipmunk parties?”

            “Yes, he dances, but mostly he just sits around holding onto this great big spoon.”

            “That’s good detective work,” I told Rupert.  “What does he do with the spoon?”

            “I asked around but nobody can say for sure.”


            Magda smiled from the branch above me.  Magda is my favorite bee and my best friend.  “This isn’t your usual sort of case,” Magda said.  “Mostly you handle missing caterpiilars, missing blue jays, even missing mice, but a centipede who steals spoons, that’s something new.”

            “I’m a professional,” I reminded her.  “And I’m very good at what I do.”

            Magda pet me gently with a couple of feelers.  “There’s nobody better,” she purred.  “So what have you found out?”

            “I put out a couple of feelers,” I told her.  “I learned that Lamont has been spending a lot of time at chipmunk parties.”

            Magda smiled.  “I used to go to them all the time.  They’re the best.”

            “I thought they were no fun,” I said.

            “They’re no fun if you’re a chipmunk but I’m a bee and everybody loves a bee, except an angry bee.  Nobody loves an angry bee.  What else?”

            “Well,” I said, “He’s been carrying a big spoon around with him so I can see why Lula might be suspicious.”

            “What else?” Magda asked.

            “Here’s where it gets interesting” I said.  “I had Rupert follow him for a couple of days.  It seems he goes down to the mushroom patch every night.  And you know what goes on in the mushroom patch, don’t you?”

            Magda looked down at me and winked.  “I do,” she said.  “Do you?”

            I frowned.  I really had no idea.  “I’ve never been to a mushroom patch.”

            Magda pet me again.  “It’s no big deal really,” she told me.  “They give cooking lessons.”

            “Cooking lessons?” I repeated.

            “Yes, mushrooms are the best cooks in the world.  And they’re good teachers.  Very patient.”

            “What do they cook?” I asked.

            “Lots of things.”  Magda rubbed her lips with her feelers.  “Daffodil tea, stuffed raisin, side of acorn, dandelion tacos.  Nothing adds flavor quite like a mushroom!”

            “I just can’t make sense of it,” I told Magda.  “Why would a centipede bring a spoon to a cooking lesson.”

            Magda shrugged her wings.  “You’re the detective, you figure it out.”


            “You’ve got some explaining to do,” I told Lamont. 

            “What do you mean?” he asked angrily as Rupert untied him.  “Who are you, some kind of pine nut?”

            “I’m Pinecone P.I.,” I told him.  “I was hired to find out about your new spoon.”

            “What?” Lamont cried out.  “My spoon is none of your business.  I’m leaving.”

            “Magda,” I called, and she flew down in front of me.  “Sting him if he moves.”

            Magda smiled.  “You got it, boss.”

            Lamont was angry.  “If you must know the truth, it isn’t even my spoon.  I was just borrowing it.”

            “I don’t believe you,” I said.  “You bring a big spoon to chipmunk parties and to mushroom cooking school?  It doesn’t make any sense.  I think you stole the spoon from Lula, and you’re  trying to get away with it.”

            Lamont stared at the ground.  “You’ve got it all wrong,” he said.  “Lula is my best friend.  I’d never steal from her.  It’s her birthday next week and I wanted to take her dancing.  And I wanted to cook something for her but I didn’t know how to dance or cook.”

            I stared at him.

            “So I went to the chipmunks to learn how to dance, and I went to the mushrooms to learn how to cook.  They make you bring your own spoon but I didn’t have one.”

            “I’m supposed to believe that?” I asked him.

            “I’ll prove it,” Lamont said as he began salsa dancing.  He was so smooth and so quick it looked like a hundred legs in the air at the same time, though I was pretty sure he had at least some on the ground.

            “Not bad,” I told him.

            “And watch this,” Lamont said as he gathered up three marigold seeds and tossed them with a little vinegar to make a nice salad.

            “I’m still not convinced,” I told him.

            “Well I’m convinced,” came a voice.  We all turned as Lula stepped out onto my branch.  I had asked her to be here.

            “Lula,” Lamont cried.  “I did it all for you.  Plus, I brought your spoon back.”

            She went to him and they hugged.  I tried not to cry but Magda had already teared up and Rupert was bawling.

            “Thank you for everything,” Lula told me as they walked away.

            Rupert wiped his eyes.  “Another case solved,” he said.

            Magda stretched her wings.  “They’re so cute together.”

            We thought about going out to celebrate, but since I just hang from a branch, we stayed right here all night and listened to the music from the chipmunk parties.


Written by williamdoonan

September 16, 2011 at 2:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Aw, love it!

    kimberly wade

    September 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

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