Bedtime Kids Teens & Young Adult

The phone rang, pulling me out of my sleeping slumber. I blinked quickly, trying to get my eyes to focus, and sat up in bed. I looked at the clock on the nightstand, it read 3:06 AM. Who was calling me at three in the morning?

“Are you up?” the voice on the other end of the phone asked.

It was my Aunt Martha, the dispatcher for the police department.

“I am now,” I replied, yawning.

  “Get dressed, someone broke into the bakery. Kyle is already down there,” Aunt Martha said before hanging up on me.

Aunt Martha was always in a hurry and did not waste any time on small talk and at three in the morning, I was grateful for that. I got up and quickly threw on some clothes so I could go meet the officer at the bakery downtown. 

Who in their right mind would want to break into a bakery? What could they possibly take, some bags of flour and sugar? Some already made cupcakes? It didn’t make any sense. Maybe it was just some of the kids from my school being pranksters.

When I arrived at the bakery I was surprised the owners weren’t already there talking to Kyle, the police department's new rookie cop.

“Morning, Mya, what are you doing here?” Kyle asked when I walked up to the front door.

“Hi, Kyle, I’m here to report the news like always,” I said.

Kyle was my older brother’s friend and I had known him all my life so I found it a little hard to call him Officer Nichols.

“You are more dedicated than our local news people,” Kyle said looking around to see if any other reporters had shown up.

I was the head reporter. Well, okay, technically I was the only reporter, for our school’s newspaper.

“Where are the owners?” I asked, looking around for them.

“They went to a funeral a couple of days ago and won’t be back for a few more days.”

“Who’s in charge of the bakery?”

“The baker Amelia Sanchez,” said Kyle.

“Oh right, Amy,” I replied remembering that Amy had worked there for more than five years.

“She is on her way,” Kyle said.

“Tell me what we’ve got,” I said, wanting to get started on the break-in investigation story.

“I was patrolling in the area and I saw lights coming from inside, it looked like two people were inside using flashlights. I pulled over across the street and watched for a second to make sure. I got out of the car and checked the front door and it was locked. They must have heard me try the door because within seconds the lights were gone and when I went around to the back I found the back door wide open with the lock broken.”

“Did you go inside?” I asked.

“Only a quick sweep to make sure someone wasn’t still hiding inside,” said the rookie.

“Good,” I said nodding my head. Kyle had done exactly what he was supposed to do, which was secure the area.

We entered the building cautiously. In my experience, I had learned that just because a building looked safe, didn’t mean it was. Together, Kyle and I went into the building looking for signs of theft but we couldn’t find anything that looked missing or out of place. Everything was neatly put away.

“Good morning, are you two trying to get a jump on the morning rush line?” Amy joked when she found us inside the bakery.

 “We thought it would be faster if we just helped ourselves,” I joked. Amy and I had known each most of my life so she knew I was joking.

“Ouch, don’t tell the owners that when they get back, I might not have a job,” Amy replied, pretending to be hurt by my smart remark. She gave me a quick hug to show she was in on the joking.

“I checked everything and don’t see anything missing,” said Kyle.

“Did you check the safe?” Amy asked.

“What safe?” I asked, not seeing a safe anywhere.

“In the office. Here, I will show you.”

“What do you keep in the safe?” Kyle asked before I had a chance to.

“The drawer for the cash register, coins, and bills so we can make change, the cookbook, and some stuff the owners keep in there,” Amy said as we rounded the corner to the office.

Amy stopped suddenly in the doorway and Kyle and I almost plowed into her.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“The safe is open,” Amy said quickly.

The safe, in fact, looked like something out of a movie the way the robbers had drilled into it and removed the combination lock and locking mechanism. The safe was still intact except for the lock. Amy only had to touch the door to make it open.

Amy checked the contents of the safe. As far as she could tell, nothing was missing.

“Why would they go through all the trouble of breaking into the safe and not take the money?” Kyle asked.

“They weren’t looking for money,” I told him.

“What were they looking for? I don’t see anything missing so why would they go through the trouble?” Amy asked out loud.

“What were the owners keeping in the safe?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but the answer to that question might just help you solve this case,” said Amy.

“Didn’t you have access to the safe?” asked Kyle.

“Yes, but I never touch their personal stuff in the safe. In fact, I only open it to take out the cash drawer, pull out the cookbook, make change, and put the cash drawer and cookbook away at night,” said Amy.

“Who do you think would want to break into the bakery?” I asked.

“No one,” Amy replied. “I honestly can’t think of anyone at all.”

“When are the owners coming back?” Kyle asked.

“They were supposed to be back at the end of the week but it looks like they are coming back today or tomorrow instead. Mr. Willis wasn’t very happy when I called him to tell him about the break-in. He said they would be on the first plane out.”

“Where are the owners?” Kyle asked.

“I’m not exactly sure. They said they were going back east to a family funeral. That is all the detail they offered.”

      This was strange. Why hadn’t the owners told Amy more about the funeral? Did the funeral have something to do with the break-in? All kinds of questions were running through my mind.

     “Kyle, are you going to fingerprint the safe?” I asked since Kyle was still a rookie.

    “Thanks, Mya, I should probably do that,” Kyle said, turning to go outside to his patrol vehicle.

     “Amy, can I look at your cookbook?” I asked.

      “Sure, Mya, it is just a little binder with handwritten recipes in it,” Amy told me.

     “Who created the recipes?”

      “I think most of them have been handed down for generations through Mrs. Wills’ family.”

     “That makes sense,” I said. “Most bakeries get started using old family recipes.”

     “We also use different types of flours, which is becoming more popular in the baking world. We use white, wheat, cake, rye, buckwheat, and almond flours. It is a healthier alternative to processed white flour, it gives the cakes and cookies a different texture and flavor, and it is a nice change for the holidays. We make a chocolate rye brownie with dark chocolate that works so well together and you can taste both flavors at the same time,” Amy explained.

     “What about the secret ingredient?” I asked.

     “How do you know about the secret ingredient?” Amy asked in a hushed voice.

    At first, I thought she was kidding, but the look on her face told me otherwise.

    “Every baker or chef has that one secret ingredient,” I said nonchalantly.

     “You will have to ask the owners about that,” she said, not wanting to talk to me about it anymore.

      “Hey, Kyle, how are you doing with those fingerprints?” I asked to change the subject.

     “The safe is clean, no fingerprints,” Kyle told us.

      “What about the backdoor knob?” I asked.

      Kyle looked at me and smiled. He was still learning the job so he was thankful for my insight. I had been writing the column for the school newspaper for several years and was more of an expert than him, and that was saying a lot for a seventh-grader.

     Kyle went to work on the back door and quickly reported that he had pulled a partial print from the knob.

      A clue! But was that print from Amy or one of the other workers leaving the night before? We would just have to see what the police department was able to figure out and that would take a day or two.

      I looked down at my watch. The sun was coming up and I needed to go home and get showered and ready for school. I left the bakery and told Kyle I would check in with him after school to see if there had been any progress on the partial print.

     “Guess who the print belongs to,” Kyle said when I called the police department after school.

     “Amy,” I said.

     “Wrong! Guess again.”

     I thought and thought but could not come up with a suspect.

     “Mr. Willis,” I blurted out since I had no one else in mind.


     “Mrs. Willis?” I asked.

     “BINGO! Give this girl a prize.”

     “Haven’t they been gone for several days?” I asked, wondering how the print could still be on a knob that was used many times throughout the day.

     “That’s what Amy said.” Kyle offered.

     “What does that mean, Kyle?” I asked, already knowing the answer.      

“It means that Mrs. Willis has touched that door in the last twenty-four hours,” Kyle affirmed.

     “Are you sure about that?”

     “Amy told me that their maintenance person has a vigorous cleaning schedule and does all of the windows and doors, including the knobs, several times a day. That door had already been cleaned four or five times after the owners left. Mya, remember that was all off the record,” Kyle said before he hung up.

     Dang it! Why did Kyle have to say it was off the record?

“Oh shush Mya,” I said to myself. 

I knew exactly why that was off the record. If I wrote a story about the fingerprint, Mrs. Willis might find out before the police could question her. So many things could go wrong if I printed the story too soon and I didn’t want to be responsible for blowing this first case for Kyle because if I did, he would never trust me again.

I had already written and turned in the story about the break-in for our school newspaper. I had not said anything about the fingerprint because I didn’t want to tip anyone off about any information the police had that hadn’t already been made public. I would just write a follow-up story about the outcome.

Why had Mrs. Willis broke into the bakery? This did not make any sense. She could have just taken whatever she needed out of the safe without anyone else even knowing it was missing. Why did she go to such lengths to steal something from the safe?

And that was when it hit me. I needed to call Kyle and tell him.

Kyle answered his phone on the first ring.

“Whatever was stolen from the safe must have been valuable because it was locked up.  People ensure things of value. Mrs. Willis was stealing something so that the insurance company would pay her for it,” I blurted into the phone.

“That is one of our current theories,” Kyle told me.

“You have more?” I asked, kind of surprised that the case wasn’t cut and dry.

“Well, of course, we do,” Kyle said.

“What are they?” I asked.

“I can’t talk about it,” Kyle finally revealed.

I knew better than to try to pump him for information so I hung up the phone with less information than when I first called. Of course, the police had thought of my theory, they did this all the time, but what other theories could they have possibly thought of besides insurance fraud?

So I pulled out a piece of paper and started jotting things down. Rival bakery stealing trade secrets? That was a good one, but why would Mrs. Willis be involved? Disgruntled employee? Also a good one, but again why include Mrs. Willis? Angry customer? This was not done by your average customer, angry or not. Mr. Willis? That was a tricky one, but the one that made the most sense to me because he could easily be trying to frame Mrs. Willis.

We would just have to wait and see what happened when the owners returned to town.

The End.

December 07, 2020 22:55

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Doug Goodrich
16:31 Dec 19, 2020

Fun characters. I noticed a lot more dialogue than description. I don't know if you write more screenplays but for the short story, I would really focus on the descriptions. If you show your characters doing things as opposed to having them talk about it, it will be less confusing. Thank you for the fun read!


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Elizabeth Rogge
22:02 Dec 16, 2020

I enjoyed reading this, but some things did stand out as not being credulous...That a seventh grade student would be allowed at a crime scene...that a maintenance person would clean so many times a day. Also, the prompt is about a missing ingredient which is never identified. I’m looking forward to reading more of your works.


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