“So,” I asked the girls as I closed the book, “did their friend actually go to the library that morning, or was she lying?”
Clara rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. In the bunk below her, Lydia kicked her legs in the air and let her blankets slowly fall back down onto her like a parachute.
This was their usual routine when I finished their children’s mystery for the evening. They loved mysteries. Clara especially. But they almost never were able to pick up on the right clues after the first reading. I could tell, I was going to have to walk them through it again.
“Okay,” I said finally, “The girl had said that she was at the library all morning and had only just walked home a minute or so before the detectives arrived. But it was snowing when they got to the house to talk to her, and something was missing from her sidewalk.”
Neither of them moved.
I sighed, “Let’s try this,” I said, “How about you close your eyes, and imagine that you are the girl the detectives are interviewing. Picture yourself leaving the house that morning to go to the library. You spend a few hours reading books and writing a report, and then it’s time for you to go home. What do you see outside when you leave the library? What is the world like?”
Clara’s eyes were squeezed tightly shut in thought. Lydia had brought both of her hands up to cover her eyes with her fingers, her elbows stuck out to both sides like chicken wings. She now started to hum quietly like an electric motor and slowly bent at the waist to sit up in her bed.
“Um…” I started to say, but it was already out of my control. The visions had started and would not be stopped.
“I see men…” she announced in a loud voice, “lots of men in suits. They are lying in bed, sick with fevers!”
Clara’s eyes were open now and her forehead was furrowed in confusion. “What?”
Lydia continued as if she hadn’t heard, “I see men, sick in bed, and I see cows. Many cows, lined up in a field like a wall.”
Clara looked at me questioningly and I slowly shook my head and shrugged.
“I see… a dancing sandwich. The sandwich has eyes that blink. And now I see a wedding. A sandwich wedding. I see sandwich children.”
Clara was now hanging over the side of the bed watching her younger sister, trying to make sense of her oddly folded arms and fingers still pressed into her eyes, and her strange visions. “You see a sandwich family?” her older sister asked simply.
“Yes!” Lydia gasped, “Yes! I see a family of sandwiches, I see a wedding, I see children, and now I see…” she shuddered, “…TOAST!” her hands suddenly shot up into the air and her jaw dropped to her chest as if in shock at what she had just said. Clara burst into laughter and very nearly fell down her ladder onto the floor. I put my face in my hands and shook my tired head.
“Amazing…” is all I could say, “just… amazing…” I put a bookmark between the pages and placed the book back onto the shelf.
“Wait!” Clara yelled as I stood up and headed for the door. “What’s the answer to the mystery?”
I flipped the light switch and turned to face them from the doorway, “That was it actually. The dancing sandwich thing, that was the solution.”
Lydia laughed and threw herself backward onto her pillow, “I was right!? Ooooh hohoho! I can’t believe it; I figured one out finally!”
“Wait. what?” Clara called out as I descended the stairs into the living room, “What do you mean? None of that made any sense!”
“It was so easy, Clara!” her sister called up from the bottom bunk, “Just use your imagination!”