Clutching the wooden spoon tightly and shaking it at my younger sister, I began my investigation. “Okay, who did it? Who licked the mixing spoon?”
“Not me,” Madison answered, not looking up from the table.
“Did too. Who else would have done it?”
The back door closed with a thump.
“Alright you two, break it up.”
Madison crossed her arms tightly. “I… did… not… lick… Crystal’s… spoon.”
“Crystal, that’s enough,” Mom demanded.
I tossed the spoon into the sink. “Mom, you promised that if I got the ribbon for the Christmas cookie parcels, I could lick the spoon. It was my turn.” I glared at my seven-year-old sister. She poked her tongue out and I stomped out of the kitchen. I wasn’t happy.
When I returned a few moments’ later, notebook and pencil in hand, Mom and Madison were busy removing cookies from a baking tray. “Okay, Mom, what happened when I left the kitchen to get the ribbon?”
With an audible sigh, Mom opened the oven door and placed another tray onto the top shelf. “Well, after we finished mixing the cookie dough, I went outside to bring the towels in from the clothes line. If Madison licked the spoon, I didn’t see her.”
Madison added an angel-shaped cookie to a large plate and then turned toward me. “I… did… not… lick… your… spoon.”
I noted her statement. “Madison, what were you doing while Mom was outside?”
“Coloring in my Santa book.”
“Before that, stupid.”
“Please, Crystal,” Mom intervened. “You can play your detective game but please don’t be rude to your sister.
Madison placed a red cherry to the top of a Christmas tree cookie that was all ready to be baked. She continued with her defense. “I didn’t touch the spoon. Mommy said it was your turn to lick it so I went and washed my hands in the bathroom and got my crayons and book from the dining room table.”
Millie, Madison’s kitty, brushed against my legs. “Where was Millie?” I crouched down and checked the kitten’s paws and mouth.
“She followed me outside,” Mom replied, crossing the kitchen to pick up the ribbon I had left on a chair.
“Well, it couldn’t be Millie,” Madison protested again.
I added my notes about Millie then poked the pencil behind my ear and placed the notebook onto the table. “Can I help decorate the Christmas cookies, Mom?”
“Wash your hands and you can chop some cherries.”
Obediently but agitated, I moved to the sink and washed my hands. I still think Madison did it. I kept my eyes on miss goody two-shoes as I turned on the faucet. Little sister seems to always avoid punishment.
“Did you come to any conclusions,” Mom asked, watching me closely.
My attention remained focused on Madison. I opened the drawer and felt around for a small knife. “Well, if it wasn’t Madison or Millie, who else could it be?”
“It wasn’t me,” Madison began in her sing-song of innocence. “You always blame me.”
Momentarily, I concentrated on not chopping my fingers with the cherries.
“Well,” I heard Mom say. “If you did Madison, no one would be mad at you for it. It’s the lies that I don’t tolerate.”
Madison’s lips quivered. “I didn’t.”
A noise from the living room caused me to turn suddenly. “What’s that?”
Mom glanced up at the doorway as Dad entered.
Madison’s frown disappeared. “Daddy, you’re home early.”
I dropped the knife onto the chopping board. “How long have you been home, Dad?” I grabbed my notepad and drew the pencil from behind my ear. I tapped my foot. “Well?”
“Well, nice to see you too,” Dad laughed.
I approached Dad and leaned forward. There on his loosened tie, was a tiny blob of cookie dough. “Dad… you didn’t. How could you?”
Mom pointed her finger. “So you’re the culprit.”
Dad bent down to kiss my forehead.
“Da…ad, your lips are sticky.”
Dad just stood there and laughed. “Yeah, I came in to see my beautiful girls before I put my briefcase away. No one was here so I tasted some Christmas cooking.” He grabbed a paper serviette and wiped his mouth. “I guess you found me out.”
“You licked the spoon? It was my turn.”
Mom came over and touched my shoulder. “I think you have an apology to make, Detective Crystal.”
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