“Alright Jake! Time for bed.”
“Ahh, Mom! Can’t I stay up a little longer? That new detective show is about to come on.”
Margaret paused for a moment to consider. She knew there could be a consequential outcome to whatever decision she made – Jake would be too sleepy for school the next day or she would be helping him to learn more about the craft that he seems enthusiastic about. She chose the latter. “Just this time. You’ll have to record it from here on out, you understand?”
“Thanks mom,” Jake gave his mother a hug around the waist then stretched out on the floor, propped up on his elbows.
With each scene, Jake was glued to the television. His 10-year-old mind was determined to be like the detectives on the screen. Jake loved the science of it all – gathering evidence, running it through microscopes and tests, and linking what was found to the criminal.
The next morning, Jake had arose before his mother. He was still high on the excitement from the detective show. He was sitting in front of the computer looking for forensic kits online when his mother came downstairs.
“Well, good morning! Surprised you’re already up.”
“Mom, I found this detective kit for fifty dollars. Can I have your credit card to order it?”
“Excuse me, young man. I know I taught you manners.”
“Sorry Mom. Good morning. Can I get it?”
Margaret grabbed a cup of coffee before going to see what her son was so consumed with. “Honey, that’s a lot of money to spend on something you’ll probably play with once. “
“I promise Mom, I’ll play with it every day.”
Margaret wasn’t convinced. “You’ve said that before and I’ve ended up giving away a ton of stuff. “
“But this is different.”
“I want to be a detective. This will help me learn about it. And didn’t you tell Grandma you wanted me involved in more things to enhance my educational development?”
Margaret was stuck. Jake was right. “Alright mister, here’s the deal. When you get home from school and your homework is done, box up all of the things you have not worn, played with, or touched in the last six months. You’re going to help me tag ‘em and sell ‘em.”
“Like a yard sale?”
“Ah man.” Jake’s shoulder’s slumped. He didn’t want to put in the work. Then he glanced at the computer screen and knew he had to do what he had to do.
When the detective kit arrived, Jake was on cloud nine. He viewed each piece, thinking of a thousand things that he would “investigate”. He finally decided to start with the dusting powder, brush, and tape.
Jake dusted every door knob, collecting the prints and taping them to sheets of paper. He then inked his own as well as his mother’s for comparison. After viewing under the microscope, Jake found that most belonged to him or his mother. But there was a third that he could not identify.
“Mom, I think there’s a ghost here.”
“Don’t be silly Jake.”
“No, really! When I took prints from the door knobs there was another set that wasn’t ours.”
“Well, it wouldn’t be a ghost. Maybe they’re Grandma’s.”
Jake conceded. But the next time his grandmother visited, he made sure to collect them. They didn’t match. Something was going on and Jake was determined to find out.