The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers
A Shirley Holmes Fan Fiction

by HA
August 05, 2000         19,200 words




The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 1

From their seats, Bo Sawchuk and Blake Hewitt watched as the two modern gladiators stared at each other in the ring. One man was dressed in red tights with white stars and white boots. He was tall and skinny with a long mane of brown hair. The other man was very muscular and dressed entirely in black, with a hood that exposed only his eyes and mouth.

The referee, a man in a white shirt and black pants, watched as the large masked man flexed his muscles for the surrounding spectators, who were seated in metal fold-up chairs behind metal fences. Bo and Blake joind in with the audience as it responded with loud boos and cheering and cries of "You suck!", "You bite!", "You rule!", and "You the man!" The masked man shook his fist at the crowd and shouted angrily.

The man in the red tights climbed to the top rope in one corner and stood there, surveying the crowd. He smiled and raised his arms in the air. The crowd cheered him on, shouting "You rule!" and "You're the greatest!" The masked man ran up behind his popular opponent and pulled him down. The man in the red tights responded with a punch to the face. A fistfight broke out between the two. The referee pointed to the timekeeper near the ring, who officially started the match with a ring of the bell.

"This is going to be great!" Bo exclaimed as the two wrestlers exchanged blows.

Blake, who was sitting on Bo's right, nodded in agreement. "You said it. Captain Courageous versus the Masked Marauder. Quickness versus brute force. This'll be, to borrow a phrase from Jim Ross, a real slobberknocker."

"They're two of the best wrestlers in the independent leagues," Bo said as Captain Courageous, the man in the red tights, dropkicked the Masked Marauder. "I heard that the big two's been scouting these guys for some time."

"That's right," Blake confirmed. "A pro wrestler's definitely got it made if he works for one or both of the big two."

Bo and Blake watched from their seats as Captain Courageous and the Masked Marauder continued their battle inside the ring. The two boys were at a professional wrestling house show being held in the recreation center. They had a good view; they were sitting directly behind one of the aluminum fences surrounding the ring. The fence was about two to three meters from the ring itself.

The Masked Marauder caught Captain Courageous when he tried to hit his opponent while jumping off the top turnbuckle. The Masked Marauder powerslammed Captain Courageous and tried to pin him. The referee quickly bent down to the mat and slapped his hand on the canvas twice before Captain Courageous kicked out of the pin.

"I can't believe your dad is missing this," Bo remarked.

"Yeah." Blake sounded disappointed. "The top guys at Interpol called him up to their main headquarters concerning ENIGMA. They want more of his input on the matter. He said he'll be back in a week at the least."

"That's too bad, Blake," Bo said sincerely. He tried to change the subject. "I can't believe you know one of the wrestlers."

Blake managed to smile. "He's why we got these great seats, Bo. He's an old family friend."

"But which one is he?" Bo asked.

"You'll see," Blake answered, still smiling.

They watched Captain Courageous and the Masked Marauder show off their moves. The match lasted three more minutes. The Masked Marauder was able to catch the Captain while he was attempting another high-risk move from the top rope. The Masked Marauder did a piledriver on his opponent and pinned him successfully for a three count. The crowd booed and cheered at the same time as he showed off his muscles and taunted the fallen Captain Courageous.

"Man, that Masked Marauder is such a jerk," Bo commented.

"He's definitely a good heel," Blake said. "Would you like to tell him that when we see the wrestlers in the locker room after the show?"

"Uh, no thanks," Bo said.

Blake just grinned.


After the show, Bo and Blake made their way to the locker room. The security guards were more than willing to let them in after Bo and Blake flashed them the special passes they were given.

"Man, Shirley's missing a big opportunity right now," Bo said.

"I don't think Shirley's the type of person who likes to watch two guys in tights beating the heck out of each other," Blake said. "Besides, she and her mom went out somewhere to do some more reconnecting."

They entered the locker room and saw the wrestlers getting into their street clothes and packing up their gear. The room smelled of sweat.

A large bald man with a beard spotted the two boys. "What do you two want?" he asked in a rough manner.

"We're here to see Sean Tennyson," Blake said, unfazed.

"That would be me." A muscular man with blond hair stepped forward. Bo recognized the man's outfit as that of the Masked Marauder.

Bo stared at the man, then at Blake. "You know the Masked Marauder?" he asked Blake.

Blake nodded to Bo and waved at the Masked Marauder. "Hi, Uncle Sean."

The Masked Marauder smiled. "Hey, if it isn't little Blake Hewitt!" He looked at the bald man. "Better treat this kid nicely, Breaker. His dad's with the police," he said with a wink.

The bald man laughed. "Sorry, kid," he apologized to Blake. "I haven't quite stepped out of character yet."

"Yeah, 'Breaker' Brody here's a real sweetheart outside the ring," Captain Courageous said from a nearby locker. "He likes to plant flowers in his spare time." The other wrestlers in the locker room broke out into laughter.

"Breaker" Brody rolled his eyes. "Give me a break, guys."

The Masked Marauder laughed. "So who's your friend, Blake?"

"Uncle Sean, this is Bo Sawchuk," Blake said, gesturing towards Bo. "Bo, this is my Uncle Sean, also known as the Masked Marauder."

"Nice to meet you, Bo," the Masked Marauder said, giving Bo's hand a hearty shake. Bo noticed how firm the wrestler's grip was.

"'Uncle Sean'?" Bo wondered out loud as he looked at the Masked Marauder.

The Masked Marauder grinned. "Blake's dad and I went to the same college. I used to live next to him in California when I wasn't wrestling yet. I used to babysit little Blake there ever since he was a baby. You'd be surprised what a handful Blake was when he was young." He laughed and winked at Blake. "He used to run around without a diaper after I cleaned him up. Took me forever to catch him."

Blake started to blush. "Uh, can we change the subject, please?" he requested, looking down at his shoes.

Bo grinned at his friend, then obliged him. "So, how did you get into wrestling?" he asked the Masked Marauder.

"I've been interested in wrestling since I was maybe seven," the Masked Marauder recalled. "My mom used to complain about me piledriving my pillow in the living room. I was a member of my high school wrestling team. No one could beat me. I'd twist them into pretzels and make them cry out for their mommies." He flashed a grin. "I still give them one heck of a fight, although these guys are too tough to cry out for their mommies."

"Got that right, M.M.!" Captain Courageous said from his locker, giving his previous opponent a thumbs-up. "You the main heel in this little group."

"Not for long if Mr. Hammond decides to turn you into a face," a black man in pants with the design of the U.S. flag on them. "The fans have been warming up to you recently, Sean. Many of them like your attitude. Just like Stone Cold in the WWF."

"I hope so, Major Glory," the Masked Marauder said. "I've been a heel in this group for too long. I'd be nice to play a face for once."

"Hey, you deserve it," Major Glory said. "You've been in this company for what? Three years? Five? A hundred?"

"I think it's been seven," the Masked Marauder guessed. "I've lost track."

"Maybe all those chair shots to the head screwed up your memory," Captain Courageous said with a laugh.

"Well, with you turning face soon, looks like I'll be the top heel around here," "Breaker" Brody said, grinning.

"Yeah, right, Breaker," a nearby man with black slicked-back hair said. "Marvin Marvelous is the top heel here, and don't you forget it," he declared, jabbing his thumb at himself for emphasis.

"Well, you didn't look so marvelous out there," "Breaker" Brody said. "Major Glory kicked your butt out there. He totally outclassed you."

"That's right, Marv," Major Glory said.

"I blame the bookers," Marvin Marvelous said. "If they'd listened to my ideas, I'd have won."

Bo and Blake watched as some of the other wrestlers in the locker room threw their towels at Marvin Marvelous. "Watch the hair!" he shouted while laughing and dodging.

"Is this normal?" Bo asked the Masked Marauder.

"It's normal for us," the Masked Marauder said. "We're all pretty much a big happy family here."

"Of course, my brother doesn't stuff fake rats into my gym bag," "Breaker" Brody said, arching an eyebrow at Marvin Marvelous.

"Well, how was I supposed to know you'd scream like a little girl?" Marvin Marvelous said defensively. "Besides, I did say 'sorry'."

"I know, Marv, but it's a miracle Mr. Hammond hasn't fired you yet," "Breaker" Brody said. "He doesn't exactly find your practice jokes funny."

"Especially when you put those pigs in his office in Little Rock," Major Glory said. "That mess they left on the floor didn't help his blood pressure any."

Marvin Marvelous shrugged. "I'm just relieving the stress around here, guys. Besides, I've always been a practical joker."

"Better watch it, Marv. One day we might get you back," the Masked Marauder said with a twinkle in his eye.

"I'll keep that in mind," Marvin Marvelous said, smiling.

"I've got dibs on him first, guys," a man with curly brown hair carrying a toiletry bag and a towel said. "Marv's still gotta pay for when he put pudding in my shoes in Bismarck."

"Aw, come on, Boom Boom," Marvin Marvelous said. "It was your favorite. Chocolate."

The man laughed, then went into the shower room. The next thing everyone heard was the sound of the shower running.

"That's Boom Boom Kaboom for you," Marvin Marvelous said. "Always showering last because he doesn't want anyone to see his private parts."

"Ha ha. Very funny, Marv!" Boom Boom Kaboom shouted from the showers.

Marvin Marvelous laughed in response.

"Great. It's Stink with black hair and muscles," Bo whispered to Blake, who nodded in agreement.

The Masked Marauder shook his head, then turned to Blake. "So, how's Redington? Your dad once told me that you're attending some fancy private school."

Before Blake could answer, a scream came from the showers. Everyone stared at the showers. Then two wrestlers ran in to find out what was going on.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 2

"Watch it, man!" Boom Boom Kaboom shouted as Major Glory tried to cut around his fingers with a pair of barber's scissors. Boom Boom's fingers were stuck in his hair, and that was the reason why he screamed in the shower.

"Well, don't shake so much," Major Glory scolded him as he cut carefully. "Otherwise, you won't be counting up to ten anymore."

"I can't help it. It's too cold." Boom Boom Kaboom was wearing only a towel around his waist. He had not dried himself yet.

As Major Glory continued freeing Boom Boom's fingers with carefully placed snips, the other wrestlers were looking at Marvin Marvelous. "What?" Marvin Marvelous said, holding out his hands in front of him.

Captain Courageous took up the shampoo bottle Boom Boom Kaboom was using. He opened the top and sniffed. "Whoooo!" he exclaimed, taking a step back. "What is this stuff?"

The Masked Marauder took the bottle from Captain Courageous and sniffed. "Hey, this is industrial strength glue," he concluded.

"What?" Boom Boom cried out.

"Hold still!" Major Glory admonished the hapless victim.

The Masked Marauder held up the bottle. "Yep, I've used this stuff before. Looks like someone replaced your shampoo with glue, Boom Boom."

"Gee, I wonder who'd do such a thing?" one wrestler remarked, glaring at Marvin Marvelous.

"Oh sure, blame the good looking one," Marvin Marvelous said hotly. "Guys, I didn't do it."

"That's what you said in Boise," "Breaker" Brody said dryly. "When Barry Biscone's clothes were stolen and replaced by a pink dress."

"That's what you said in Fresno," Captain Courageous said. "When you put that self-inflating blow-up girl in my locker. The thing inflated just as I opened the door."

"Excuse me," Marvin Marvelous said, holding up a finger. "You guys cracked up at those times, plus all the other times."

"This ain't funny, Marv," Major Glory said, still trying to free Boom Boom's hands from his hair. "This stuff could've seeped into his eyes and screwed up his eyesight."

"Guys, you know this isn't my style," Marvin Marvelous pleaded.

"I suppose those other accidents weren't your fault?" Captain Courageous asked.

Blake's ears peaked up. "Other accidents?"

"Look, there wasn't any proof connecting me to those," Marvin Marvelous said.

At that moment, three men entered the locker room. Blake looked at them. One was a portly man who was dressed in a business suit. Another one was a large muscular man in a security uniform. He had a buzzcut and a beard. A skinny man in a T-shirt and jeans with a serious case of the jitters was behind them.

"Okay, what the hell is going on here?" the man in the business suit bellowed, shaking his fists in the air.

The skinny man pointed nervously at Boom Boom Kaboom and Major Glory. "I think that's what's going on here, Mr. Hammond."

"Who are these guys?" Bo asked the Masked Marauder in a low voice.

"The skinny guy is Sylvester Coe, one of our ring crew. Guys here call him 'Sy Coe'. He sometimes talks to himself and looks at people funny," the Masked Marauder explained. "The guy in the uniform's Bill Turner. He's chief of security."

"And the fat loudmouth?" Bo whispered.

"That's the big boss, Arnold Hammond," the Masked Marauder whispered back. "I'd watch the name callin'. Could lose my job," he said with a wink.

Bill Turner stepped forward and studied Boom Boom Kaboom. "Okay, Sy here heard someone yelling in here, and we find Boom Boom with his hands stuck in his hair." He stepped in front of Marvin Marvelous. "Care to explain, Marvelous?"

"For the umpteenth time, I didn't do this," Marvin Marvelous said defiantly, staring down the chief of security. Blake felt that this was not the first time the two confronted each other.

"Oh really? Well, Marvin, we all know you're quite the practical joker. We also know you hate your current role with the company and want to go to the major leagues ASAP." Bill Turner pointed at Marvin Marvelous and clinched his teeth. "You may have gotten away with those other incidents, but you won't ruin this tour," he said menacingly.

"But..." Marvin Marvelous began.

Mr. Hammond approached Marvin Marvelous. Bo swore to himself that the man waddled as he walked. "Now listen here, mister!" He pointed a fat finger at the handsome wrestler. "I'm getting sick and tired of your antics. They've cost me four good men already."

"But..."

"No buts, Marvelous!" Mr. Hammond roared. He wagged his finger at his employee. "This company's been growing and we've been expanding out of our region in recent months. This is our first tour outside the States, and I won't have you ruining it with your little jokes and accidents, especially with the big charity show on Sunday. Be thankful I haven't canned you out of the kindness of my heart, but one more little incident, and you're fired!"

Marvin Marvelous apparently had enough. "Now listen here...!"

Bo and Blake watched as the whole locker room exploded into one big argument. Marvin Marvelous was on one side, proclaiming his innocence. Everyone else was on the other, yelling at him to stop his jokes.

Both boys felt a tap on the shoulder. They turned around and saw the Masked Marauder. "I think you guys better go now," he told them.

"Well, that was interesting," Blake remarked as he and Bo headed home.

"Yeah. What a mystery," Bo commented. "I bet Shirley would be interested in that." He knew his friend well. Shirley Holmes, the great-grandniece of Sherlock Holmes, had never met a mystery that did not intrigue her.

"Maybe she should," Blake said.

The next day, a Saturday, the boys went to Shirley's house to bring up the matter with her. Shirley's grandmother, Peggy, or Gran as she was affectionately called by her granddaughter, was the one who answered the door. She was dressed in a golden silk kimono.

"She's in her usual place," Gran told Bo and Blake. "In fact, except for breakfast, she hasn't been out of there all day."

Bo and Blake understood what Gran meant by "her usual place". Through the secret passage behind the bookcase, they made their way up the stairs to the Holmes' attic, which served as Shirley's laboratory.

They found Shirley at the table sorting through some newspaper clippings. They watched as she put some into a nearby scrapbook.

"Hi, Shirley," Bo greeted.

"Hi, Shirley," Blake greeted.

"Hi, Bo. Hi, Blake," Shirley responded without lifting her head from her work.

Bo and Blake watched as Shirley continued to sort out her newspaper clippings and place them in the scrapbook. "Uh..." Blake started to ask.

"I'm organizing some news stories I've clipped out," Shirley answered, raising her head. "You might want to look at the pile next to you. It includes what I clipped out this morning."

The two boys looked through the pile. Each clipping had the date it appeared on written in black marker in the right-hand corner. "'Local girl starts music career'," Blake read one headline. He recognized the face in the accompanying photo and smiled. "Mrs. Clifton's gotta be proud of her," he said.

"Actually, she's Madelyn's manager," Shirley pointed out.

Blake skimmed the article. "Oh, you're right."

Bo had picked up an article titled "Computer crisis unresolved." "'Authorities still have not found the cause of a city-wide epidemic of computers overheating and shutting down. Police have found one link connecting the affected computers: All have been used to view a popular web site maintained by someone called Y.'" Bo put down the article. "Molly still out of commission?" he asked Shirley.

"Last time I checked," Shirley answered. "She won't be manipulating anyone as Y for now."

Blake was reading another article. "'One of the richest men in Germany was found dead this morning, apparently of a heart attack.'"

"Why did you cut that one out?" Bo asked Shirley.

"He was only thirty and he had no reported heart problems," Shirley answered.

Blake checked the article. "Yep. It says so in here."

"I suppose you think the guy was murdered," Bo said to Shirley.

"That and I know who's responsible," Shirley said confidently. "The same party is also responsible for Redington's recent computer problems."

"You mean...?" Blake started.

"Don't say the 'E' word," Bo interrupted. "Please don't mention them. In the two times we met up with them, they nearly killed us."

"Actually, I've been trying to find more information on ENIGMA." Shirley saw Bo wince when she mentioned "ENIGMA". "Sadly, there is little information on them."

"So you're sure they killed that guy in Germany and messed up the computers here?" Blake asked.

"I have no positive proof, but I have a feeling," Shirley answered. She sighed and leaned back in her chair. "Other than the computer crisis, there hasn't been anything big happening in our vicinity. I fear that ennui is closing in on me."

Bo brightened up. "I think me and Blake have something that'll put your skills to good use."

Shirley looked at her two friends curiously. "Oh?" She got up from her seat. "Would you care to elaborate on the situation?"

Bo and Blake smiled at each other. Then they explained what had happened yesterday.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 3

Later, the young detective and her friends were on their way to the gym where the wrestlers were working out. Bo and Blake were trying to explain professional wrestling to Shirley, especially the terminology.

"So a face is the person who plans the match?" Shirley asked.

"No, that's a booker," Bo answered.

"Then what's a face?" Shirley asked.

"A face is a good guy wrestler," Blake explained to Shirley.

"And a heel?"

"A heel's a bad guy wrestler," Bo answered.

"Then what are smarts and marks?"

Bo stared at Shirley, secretly pleased that there was at least one subject he knew more about than the junior sleuth. "I can't believe you don't know anything about pro wrestling."

"It's not one of my areas," Shirley admitted.

"Don't worry about it," Blake reassured her. "We'll help you out with any terminology."

"And by the way, smarts are fans who know that it's all fake and follow the behind-the-scenes reports. Marks are fans who believe that everything is real," Bo clarified.

"I see," Shirley said. "You two are smarts, I presume?"

"Definitely," Bo and Blake answered at the same time.

"It's a gradual evolution from being a mark to being a smart, however," Blake pointed out. "Until I turned nine, I thought everything was real."

"Ten for me," Bo admitted.

Shirley sighed. "I really must find the time to investigate why people like to watch two grown men in tights beating the tar out of each other."

Both Bo and Blake laughed light-heartedly.

"Well, think of pro wrestling as a parallel to the Roman gladiator fights," Blake said. "The only difference is that the losers in wrestling don't get fed to the lions."

"I'll keep that in mind," Shirley said.

Eventually, they arrived at the gym. They noticed the three muscular men in sunglasses and uniforms at the entrance. Bo and Blake recognized Bill Turner among them.

"Halt!" Bill Turner shouted as the three kids approached the entrance. "This place is closed to the public."

"Why?" Shirley asked.

"Mr. Hammond doesn't want his wrestlers to be disturbed while they work out," the chief of security explained.

Blake stepped forward. "I called ahead. I'm Blake Hewitt. The Masked Marauder said it was okay for me and my friends to come in."

Bill Turner pulled out a walkie-talkie. "Top Dog to Watchdog Three. Top Dog to Watchdog Three. Over."

The walkie-talkie crackled to life. "This is Watchdog Three. Over."

"Three kids here to see Marauder on his request," Bill Turner reported. "Confirm with him the name 'Blake Hewitt'. Over."

A few minutes passed before Bill Turner got an answer. "Marauder wants confirmation. The boy should know. Over," Watchdog Three said.

Bill Turner looked at Blake. "The Marauder wants confirmation from you. Well?"

Blake groaned and rolled his eyes. "Hold the walkie-talkie close to me and don't make any noise," he requested. To the surprise of his friends, he started to sing loudly. "I'm a little teapot, short and stout..."

Everyone watched as Blake sang the rest of the little song while imitating a teapot. Shirley and the guards smiled in amusement. Bo stifled a laugh.

When Blake was done, Bill Turner listened for a response. "Blake Hewitt and company confirmed. Marauder says they can pass. Over," Watchdog Three said.

"Gotcha. Over and out." Bill Turner put the walkie-talkie away, then turned his attention back to the kids. "Okay, you can go in, but don't be a nuisance," he warned sternly as he opened the door.

"Cute song and dance number," Bo whispered to Blake, beaming.

"It wasn't my idea," Blake said with a little embarrassment.

Behind them, Shirley shook her head and grinned.

As Shirley and her friends entered the gym, they ran into another security guard. "I'll be your escort to the Marauder," the man explained.

"Goody," Bo muttered to himself.

The security guard led them into the weight room, where all of Mr. Hammond's wrestlers were working out. All of them were in workout suits. One of the wrestlers spotted them and waved them over. From Blake's description, Shirley recognized him as Sean Tenneyson, a.k.a. the Masked Marauder.

Still with the security guard, they approached the wrestler. The Masked Marauder looked at the security guard. "You can go now, Lou. I'll take responsibility for them."

"Okay, Sean," the security guard said before leaving.

The Masked Marauder turned his attention to Blake. "So, how'd you like my way of IDing you?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"You could've asked for a photo ID," Blake said.

"Well, it wouldn't be as much fun," the Masked Marauder said. "Besides, you were so cute when you did that when you were little."

"He still is," Bo said, looking at Blake. The poor boy's face was starting to redden. "Of course, what about the whole running around..."

Blake cut Bo off quickly. "Can we get back to business here? You know, about yesterday?"

Shirley watched all this with secret amusement. She definitely had to learn more about Blake Hewitt.

The Masked Marauder laughed. "Of course. Sorry, Blake." He looked at Shirley. "Shirley Holmes, I presume?"

"You presume correctly," Shirley replied politely.

"Blake told me a little about you on the phone," the Masked Marauder said. "I hope that you can help solve our little problem."

"Bo and Blake filled me in on what they heard," Shirley said. "Why haven't you gone to the police yet?"

"Mr. Hammond doesn't want any more bad publicity for the company," the Masked Marauder explained. "We're not in the big leagues, but any negative news about us hurts our business. Also, Mr. Hammond feels that he doesn't need any outside help."

Shirley nodded. "So what's happened so far?"

"Marvin Marvelous was given another warning about his antics, as well as a little punishment," the Masked Marauder told the young detective. "He's still saying he's innocent."

"How is the wrestler who had his hands glued to his head?"

"Boom Boom's a little traumatized at the moment. I'm not exaggerating when I say his hair was his life. He won't be working the charity show tomorrow, that's for sure."

Shirley thought for a moment. "What was done with the shampoo bottle Boom Boom used?"

"You know, I'm not sure," the Masked Marauder admitted. "It just vanished."

"Are there any suspects?"

"Nope. Pretty much everyone thinks Marvin did it. Mr. Hammond's sure. Bill's sure. Heck, most of the wrestlers think so."

"Most of the wrestlers?" Bo said.

"I've known Marvin ever since I came on board, and he never struck me as someone who would do something so cruel," the Masked Marauder said.

"Uncle Sean, the guy puts pigs in offices and chocolate pudding in wrestling boots," Blake pointed out.

"Yeah, but it was all in good fun," the Masked Marauder said with a smile. "Marvin's got me more than a couple of times, but I've gotten used to his antics. His gags are light-hearted and not meant to hurt anybody, so I can't believe the recent stuff is his doing."

"Speaking of recent events, what about these accidents that have been going on?" Shirley asked.

The Masked Marauder lowered his voice. "No one's supposed to talk about them, but we've been having problems ranging from the annoying to the deadly. One time, the lights started flickering during the show. Another time, the ring collapsed during a match. Two guys and the ref were injured."

"Whoa," Bo said.

"Things got worse. Mr. Hammond pulled all the stops on P.R. control," the Masked Marauder said. "That's why he hired Bill Turner to be head of security."

"When did all these accidents start?" Shirley asked.

The Masked Marauder thought for a moment. "I think maybe three months ago. Bill was hired a month after the first few accidents."

"I see." Shirley memorized everything she had heard.

Nearby, Sy Coe, the man who Bo and Blake saw last night with Mr. Hammond and Bill Turner, was carrying some towels on his shoulders and small ice chests in his hands. Shirley saw that he was struggling with his load and talking to himself.

"Is that the man who brought Mr. Hammond and Mr. Turner to the locker room after the shampoo incident?" Shirley asked.

"Yep, that's Sy Coe," Bo recalled while watching the thin man carry his load and converse with himself.

"Sylvester Coe," the Masked Marauder corrected. "He's a member of our ring crew. He's been with the company for about eight years now. He's a good man, but he's a bit eccentric."

"Got that right," Blake said.

Sy Coe stopped by Shirley and the others. "Hi, Mr. Tenneyson. You want some water?"

"Sure, Sylvester," the Masked Marauder said in a friendly manner.

Sy Coe looked at Shirley and her friends. "Do you want some water?" he asked, giving them a weird stare.

"Uh, no thanks," Bo said, trying not to show that the man was creeping him out.

"I'll have one," Blake said.

"I will as well," Shirley said.

Sy Coe nodded and put down the two ice chests. He opened one of them and took out three cold bottles of water. He handed one bottle each to Shirley, Blake, and the Masked Marauder.

The Masked Marauder took the cap off his water bottle. "Here's to you, Sylvester," he said, raising the bottle to the thin man before taking a big swig from it.

Sy Coe smiled and nodded, then took up his heavy load and continued his walk around the weight room while talking to himself. Shirley saw one wrestler take a towel from Sy's shoulder and wipe his face with it. She saw Sy staring at the wrestler, then he took out a small notepad out of his pocket and jotted something into it.

"Why exactly does he talk to himself?" Shirley asked.

"To be honest, I'm really not sure. Every time someone asks, he just shrugs and continues on," the Masked Marauder answered. "He's always been like that ever since I've known him. In fact, unless he's working, he stays in his hotel room. Never hangs out with us wrestlers." He shook his head. "I doubt the guys would want him around, though."

"Why? Because he's creepy?" Bo wondered out loud.

"Exactly," the Masked Marauder said.

"So why keep him around?" Blake asked.

"Mr. Hammond says he's a dedicated worker. He never misses work and he always does his job. Mr. Hammond gives him a lot of responsibilities. In fact, he always gives Sylvester the extra keys to the place we're performing at."

The last comment got Shirley's attention. "Would this include the key for the locker room?"

"I guess so. Yeah."

Shirley cupped her chin in her hand. "Hmmmm..."

Marvin Marvelous entered the weight room with his sports bag slung over his shoulder. Immediately, all the wrestlers stopped what they were doing and looked at him.

Marvin Marvelous saw the glares aimed at him. "What?" he said, annoyed.

"What's his problem?" Bo asked.

"Oh, Mr. Hammond 'volunteered' Marvin's services to help get this place ready for us," the Masked Marauder explained. "Sort of a little punishment for his pranks. It's normal around here."

"It'd make more sense to fire him," Blake pointed out.

"You know, Mr. Hammond never did fire Marvin," the Masked Marauder revealed. "The closest he got was a suspension without pay."

The gears in Shirley's head started to turn. She noted what the Masked Marauder said.

The wrestler known as "Breaker" Brody was heading towards the door. "Hey, where ya going, 'Breaker'?" one of the wrestlers asked.

"Breaker" looked startled to Shirley's observant eye. "I...uh...need to go out for a moment," he answered nervously. "Need some fresh air."

Shirley watched as "Breaker" Brody left quickly. "Hmmm..."

Captain Courageous made his way to a bench press station. "Well, gotta test my upper body strength," he said with a grin.

"Your upper body strength?" Major Glory looked at Captain Courageous' thin frame. "What upper body strength?" he said jokingly.

Captain Courageous let out a laugh, then laid down on the bench. "Hey, can someone put some weight on this thing?" he asked, pointing to the barbell.

Marvin Marvelous was about to go help Captain Courageous when Bill Turner stepped forward. "Sure thing, Cap," he said, giving Marvin Marvelous a look. "Don't even try anything, Marv. We still need wrestlers for tomorrow."

Marvin Marvelous returned to working out on his dumbbells. Shirley noticed how Marvin Marvelous watched as Bill Turner helped put some weights on Captain Courageous' barbell. Captain Courageous lifted the barbell with the greatest of ease a few times.

"Is that it? Give me more weight, Bill," Captain Courageous requested.

"Gotcha." Bill Turner put on more weight. "Try it now," he said, putting his hands on his hips.

Captain Courageous strained a bit with the barbell. He clinched his teeth. Sweat streamed down his brow.

"Say, that doesn't look very heavy," Blake commented, looking at Captain Courageous' barbell.

"Yeah. It looks like he's having trouble lifting it," Bo said.

"Well, he was never a big weightlifter," the Masked Marauder said. "Cap's specialties in the ring are speed and high-risk maneuvers."

Captain Courageous tried to lift the barbell, but he could not go any higher. He grunted and struggled with it. Suddenly, the barbell fell on Captain Courageous' neck. His eyes nearly popped out as the metal bar pressed against his throat. He started to gag as he struggled against the barbell.

Bill Turner rushed forward and grabbed the barbell. He tried to lift it without any success. "I need some help here!" he shouted with urgency.

The Masked Marauder ran over to help. Shirley and her friends watched as he and some of the wrestlers tried to pull the barbell off Captain Courageous' neck.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 4

"Magnets?" Mr. Hammond said in disbelief.

"Yep, magnets," Bill Turner confirmed, showing his boss the electromagnets. He and the other wrestlers had managed to get the barbell off Captain Courageous. It was about one hour later, and Mr. Hammond had been called in by the security chief.

"Where were these located?" Mr. Hammond asked.

"Underneath the bench," Bill Turner said.

Shirley looked at her surroundings. On a bench, Captain Courageous was nursing his neck with an ice pack. Sy Coe and some of the other wrestlers were watching him and trying to comfort him. In another part of the room, Marvin Marvelous was being interrogated by two security guards. He was proclaiming his innocence loudly.

"So how did magnets get underneath that bench?" Mr. Hammond asked. "I thought you guys did a complete security sweep before letting the guys in."

Bill Turner looked at Marvin Marvelous. "I have a good idea who's the culprit," he said with certainty.

Mr. Hammond fixed his gaze on Marvin Marvelous. "Why am I not surprised?" He marched up to the prime suspect, who was still denying the charge against him.

"For the umpteenth time, I didn't do anything!" Marvin Marvelous said, frustrated.

Mr. Hammond's face was red with anger. "I give you a chance to do some honest work, and this is how you thank me! Why do you keep doing this to me?!!"

Marvin Marvelous glared at Mr. Hammond. "Oh, sure, every time something goes wrong, I get blamed for it!" His glare on the wrestling promoter intensified. "Of course, it's pretty much easy for you. You just love to blame me for everything, don't you?"

"Now, see here...!" Mr. Hammond began, stepping closer to his employee.

Shirley watched the argument with interest. She watched as both Marvin Marvelous and Mr. Hammond exchanged heated words. As they continued to shout at each other, Shirley noticed their faces.

"This is normal?" Blake asked the Masked Marauder.

"Oh yeah," the wrestler replied. "Although to be honest, this is worse than all the other times put together."

While everyone was watching Marvin Marvelous and Mr. Hammond argue, Bo saw something near the bench where the incident occurred. He reached for it and picked it up. At first glance, he saw that is was a small photograph of a little boy.

Suddenly, Bo felt someone grab his shoulder. He turned around to face Bill Turner. "Did you just pick up something from the floor there, son?" the security chief asked.

"Uh, yeah," Bo answered, trying not to lose his nerve.

Bill Turner held out his hand. "Better give it to me quickly then. It could be evidence."

"Okay." Bo handed the photograph to the security chief.

"Thank you." Bill Turner left Bo and joined the argument between Marvin Marvelous and Mr. Hammond, taking the latter's side.

Shirley saw that Sy Coe was jotting down something in his notepad as he watched the argument. He was also talking to himself.

"Well, there he goes again," Bo said as he returned to his friends.

Blake rubbed his chin as he looked at Sy Coe. "You have to wonder what he writes in there..."

"Well, we can try the direct approach." Shirley walked up to Sy Coe.

"Here we go," Bo said, rolling his eyes.

"Hey, Sylvester," Shirley greeted.

The ring worker was surprised momentarily, having been totally immersed in his writing. "Hi there, little lady," he greeted back in a friendly manner. "Can I help you?"

Shirley formed her mouth into a big smile. "I see that you like writing a lot," she said, looking at the notepad.

Sy Coe nodded. "Yep. I like to write. Writing's in my blood."

"Well, can you tell me what you're writing?"

Sy Coe was taken aback. "Uh..."

"Come on. What do you have in that little notepad?" As she spoke, Shirley reached for the notepad.

Sy Coe held the notepad tightly to his chest. "Um, it's a secret," he said nervously.

Oh come on. I won't tell."

Sy Coe gulped. "Uh, I gotta go." He bolted out of the weight room.

"Direct method, huh?" Bo remarked as Shirley rejoined her friends.

"He's definitely hiding something," Shirley said.

"Not a big surprise to me," the Masked Marauder said. "Sylvester's always been like that."

Blake saw "Breaker" Brody enter the weight room. "Hey, guys. Look who's back."

"Breaker" Brody surveyed the scene before him. He walked up to the Masked Marauder. "Hey, what's going on?"

"Well, Captain Courageous was nearly choked to death by a barbell," the Masked Marauder explained. "Magnets were involved."

"Is he okay?" "Breaker" Brody asked with concern.

"Well, he's still breathing," Bo said. "He's a bit shaken, but otherwise he's okay."

"I hope he is," the bearded wrestler said. "Cap's my opponent for the charity event. We've been practicing for a while now."

"Where did you go?" Shirley asked, arching an eyebrow.

"Breaker" Brody gulped. "I'd better go see how Cap is." He walked past Shirley and the others and joined the group of wrestlers who were trying to comfort Captain Courageous.

"That worked," Bo said dryly.

"At least we know he's hiding something. He seems rather hesitant on where he went," Blake pointed out.

"Indeed." Shirley looked thoughtful.

The Masked Marauder looked at the people with Captain Courageous and the argument between Mr. Hammond and Marvin Marvelous. I'd better try to help get things under control here. So..."

"We get the message," Bo said. "We'll leave."

Blake looked at the arguing men. "Definitely not a good time to be here."

The three kids started for the door. Shirley turned to the Masked Marauder. "Just out of curiosity, where are you staying?"

"The Low Rate Motel," the wrestler replied. "The whole group's staying there."

Shirley memorized the name so that she could find it later. "I see. Will there be any workouts or something like that?"

"Well, we've got to practice for the charity event at the rec center. We're going there after this workout. It'll be closed to the public for security reasons."

"How long will it take?"

"Maybe until five or six."

"Hmm. Can we stop by your motel after that? Say, around six?"

"Sure thing. I'll clear it with security."

"Ah, that's perfect. Thank you for your help. I'll see what I can do."

The Masked Marauder went back to deal with the volatile situation, and Shirley and her friends left the gym.

"We definitely have quite a list of suspects," Shirley said as they walked away from the gym.

"Oh yeah," Bo agreed. "There's Marvin Marvelous, Stink with muscles..."

"He strikes me as too easy to pigeonhole," Blake said. "I believe him when he says he's innocent."

"Well, we've got 'Breaker' Brody," Bo said. "He left right before Captain Courageous was nearly choked. Then there's Sy Coe, who's hiding something."

"Remember, motive, means, and opportunity," Shirley told her friends. "Let's look at our suspects keeping those in mind."

"Okay," Bo began. "So far, everyone thinks that Marvin Marvelous is behind everything. I'm guessing from all his earlier pranks that he has access to the others' stuff somehow, not to mention he has all that gag stuff. He can set up a prank when no one's paying attention and it'll go unnoticed until it's too late."

"You've hit opportunity and perhaps means also," Shirley said. "Now what about motive?"

After thinking for a moment, Bo replied, "When Blake and I went to the locker room last night, we heard the security chief say that Marvin was upset with his current position in the promotion and wanted to go to one of the bigger promotions."

"From all this, Marvin Marvelous is the prime suspect," Shirley said. "It also makes him the perfect fall guy. Now, if this is true, then it is the basis for all the other's possible motives."

"Okay, 'Breaker' Brody was upset about the fake rats in his gym bag, and Sy Coe isn't exactly liked by the wrestlers," Blake said. "Revenge is a common factor here."

"You said that Sy Coe has extra keys to the lockers, but I don't think he has the malice to go through with anything harmful," Shirley said.

"Then what about him writing in his notepad?" Bo asked.

"That requires further investigation," Shirley replied. "Also, 'Breaker' Brody doesn't strike me as a person who has access to the wrestlers' personal belongings."

"So why did he leave the weight room early?" Blake asked.

"That also requires further investigation," Shirley replied.

"You know, what if Marvin is really guilty?" Bo asked.

"His chances of that are minimal," Shirley answered. "The jokes you described to me were quite harmless. Why would he switch to causing harmful accidents?"

"Things can change in about a year's time," Blake said.

"True. Everything must be thoroughly examined before we reach any definite conclusions," Shirley said. "In fact, we might find another suspect."

Bo noticed that they were heading towards Shirley's house. "So what do we do now?"

They stopped in front of Shirley's house. "For now, I'll resume the organization of my newspaper clippings," Shirley said, giving the two boys a look. "With some help, of course," she added with a smile.

After managing to organize most of Shirley's newspaper clippings, the amateur detective and her two friends rode their bikes to the Low Rate Motel around six. Bo looked at the motel. It was not a run-down place or not properly maintained, but it was not glamorous.

"Not exactly what I'd expect for wrestlers to stay in," Bo remarked.

"Well, it does save on staying at the Hilton," Blake commented.

"Looks like there's been more trouble," Shirley said, pointing to an ambulance parked in the front.

They secured their bikes to the bicycle rack near the main office. Shirley spotted the Masked Marauder near the ambulance. The ambulance left just as they joined the Masked Marauder.

"What happened, Uncle Sean?" Blake asked, noticing the downcast look on the wrestler's face.

The Masked Marauder sighed. "Try a total disaster," he said. "Two of our guys got hurt after the ring collapsed while they were practicing. They're in the hospital right now."

"What about that?" Bo asked, pointing to the departing ambulance.

"Food poisoning," the Masked Marauder answered. "Three of the guys ate a bad pepperoni pizza. They just took a few bites, and the last thing we knew, they're on the floor moaning in pain and clutching their stomachs."

"Ooogh," Bo said.

"Things got worse from there," the Masked Marauder said. "Now most of the guys are scared stiff of working. I've been hearing some of the guys saying they're quitting ASAP. They can't take it anymore."

"I presume Mr. Hammond is quite upset?" Shirley said.

"'Upset' would be an understatement. He's chewing out Bill right now in his room," the Masked Marauder said.

"He's mad at the security chief?" Bo said, surprised. "What about Marvin?"

"Oh, he had his turn," the Masked Marauder replied. "He's in his room right now, still fuming."

"But why get mad at Turner?" Blake wondered.

"Oh, somehow the pizza got through security without being checked out," the Masked Marauder explained. "Mr. Hammond's pretty angry about that with Bill."

"Considering everything that's been happening to this promotion, I'm amazed that Mr. Hammond is upset with Mr. Turner now," Shirley commented.

"I guess it's because the charity event's tomorrow," the Masked Marauder said. "The stress is finally getting to him."

"You know, security's been lousy if whoever's behind these accidents is getting away with them," Bo pointed out.

"How true," Shirley acknowledged. "Can you take us to Marvin Marvelous?" she asked the Masked Marauder.

"Sure thing," the Masked Marauder said, leading the way.

"I'm telling you, Sean, I didn't do anything wrong," Marvin Marvelous declared in front of the Masked Marauder, Shirley, and the others.

"I believe you, Marv," the Masked Marauder said reassuringly. "We're here to help you out."

"Help me out?" Marvin Marvelous looked at Shirley, Bo, and Blake skeptically. "You mean these kids are going to help prove my innocence?"

"You'd rather call the police and risk the boss's wrath?" the Masked Marauder asked.

Marvin Marvelous sighed. "Good point. Besides, the guys would probably have me arrested instead."

Shirley started the questioning. "Okay, so you have a reputation as this promotion's practical joker, correct?"

"That's right. Darn proud of it, too," Marvin Marvelous said, flashing a big grin.

"And he's wondering why everyone's blaming him for the accidents," Bo whispered to Blake.

Shirley arched an eyebrow at Bo and gave him the usual glare before continuing. "So why are you innocent, Mr. Marvelous?"

"Because I don't do harmful things to people," Marvin Marvelous replied firmly. "I pull pranks because I've been always a comedian. I like to liven things up. Make it less serious. Get rid of the tension. But in all that time I've never done anything that hurt people. The guys know that."

"Well, Marv, the guys think you're bitter about being a minor player in this promotion," the Masked Marauder said.

"Aw, Sean, I may be discontent, but I'm not mad," Marvin Marvelous admitted. "Besides, I can't be mad at Mr. Hammond forever. Can't really hate him."

"Why not? He keeps blaming you for everything that's been going wrong," Blake asked.

Someone knocked on the door before Marvin Marvelous could respond. "It's me, Marvin," a voice called from outside. "Now let me in!"

"It's Mr. Hammond," the Masked Marauder said, recognizing the voice.

"We'd better let him in, Sean," Marvin Marvelous said. He lowered his voice. "Before he huffs and puffs and blows it down."

The Masked Marauder flashed a grin and opened the door. The owner of the wrestling promotion marched in.

"Marvin, we have to talk," Mr. Hammond said as the Masked Marauder closed the door. He was about to say more when he spotted the junior detective and her friends. "What is going on here?" he said, wide-eyed.

"We are trying to establish your nephew's innocence," Shirley stated calmly.

Mr. Hammond's jaw nearly fell to the ground. For a moment, none of the men in the room spoke. Instead, they stared at the young sleuth.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 5

It was Bo who finally broke the silence. "Nephew?" He looked at Mr. Hammond, then at Marvin Marvelous.

"Or possibly son," Shirley said. She looked at Mr. Hammond's hand. "No, I am correct. He is his nephew." She returned her attention to Mr. Hammond and Marvin Marvelous. "I believe one of you can explain everything," she addressed them.

With a sigh, Marvin Marvelous confessed. "Okay, Mr. Hammond's my uncle. His sister was my mom."

"Was?" Blake said.

Mr. Hammond looked mournful. "She died along with her husband in a fire at the factory where they worked. Marvin was just four when it happened."

"Uncle Arnold's been taking care of me ever since," Marvin Marvelous added. He got me interested in wrestling."

"So why hide the fact you're related to the boss?" Bo asked.

"Well, I didn't really want anyone to think I got this job because the boss was my uncle," Marvin Marvelous explained. "I wanted people to see that I could get a job for this promotion without any favors."

"He did get the job through hard work, by the way," Mr. Hammond stated. "The fact that he was my nephew didn't factor into my decision. It was Marvin's idea to keep our family connection a secret."

The Masked Marauder studied his employer and his fellow wrestler. "Now I do see a slight resemblence between you two," he observed. He took a closer look at Mr. Hammond. "A very slight resemblence," he added with a grin.

You know, I just realized something," Blake said, looking at Marvin Marvelous. "Why didn't you go to the big leagues instead of working for your uncle?"

"It was Uncle Arnold's idea," Marvin Marvelous answered.

"I felt that Marvin needed some experience before jumping into the big leagues like the WWF," Mr. Hammond explained. "This business is a mean one, and any mistake will cost you. Besides," he said, looking at his nephew, "I don't have any kids of my own, and I've been lonely for most of my life. Having Marvin work for me has been a godsend. At least I'm with family."

"You two argue like you hate each other," Bo pointed out.

"Well, we're family," Marvin Marvelous said. "What do you expect?"

"We do have some fights, but we make up when no one's looking," Mr. Hammond said. "Especially over his pranks, but as long as there's no harm, I forgive him and have him do some simple chores." He smiled. "In fact, sometimes they crack me up, even those pigs you put in my office one time, Marvin."

Marvin Marvelous grinned. "Yeah, that was one of my best jokes."

Mr. Hammond chuckled a little, then cleared his throat. He spoke with a serious tone. "However, your recent pranks have proved to be harmful to this promotion. Now everyone's wanting to quit."

Everyone got ready for another heated argument. Before Marvin Marvelous could respond, Shirley spoke. "Actually, I can prove your nephew's innocence."

"Really?" Mr. Hammond stared at the junior detective. "You?"

Shirley ignored the surprised look on the owner of the wrestling promotion. "Now, we need to see 'Breaker' Brody, Sylvester Coe, and another suspect."

"You suspect Brody and Sylvester?" Mr. Hammond asked.

"They are on the list," Shirley answered.

"Why?"

"They have possible motives for framing Marvin. I wish to check them out."

"But who is the third suspect?"

"Someone we need to see. Now, if you can lead the way, Mr. Hammond."

Mr. Hammond nodded and got the door. "Just follow me."

"Is she always like this?" the Masked Maruader asked Blake and Bo.

"Yep," Bo said.

"Wouldn't have it any way," Blake said with a small smile.

The Masked Marauder raised an eyebrow at Blake and grinned at Bo. Bo just shook his head.

Soon, they were on their way to 'Breaker' Brody's room. While they walked, Bo and Blake talked with Shirley.

"How did you know that Marvin was Mr. Hammond's nephew?" Bo asked.

"They have, as Mr. Tenneyson noticed, a slight resemblance to each other. If you look closely at their faces, you'll notice that they have the same eyes and nose," Shirley explained.

"Okay, but how did you confirm Marvin being his nephew instead of his son?" Blake asked.

"For starters, Marvin doesn't share Mr. Hammond's body frame," Shirley said with a slight grin. "Also, Mr. Hammond doesn't have a wedding ring."

Blake caught on. "So he's not married."

"Meaning that Marvin is Mr. Hammond's nephew for sure," Bo said. "Nice deduction, Shirley."

"Why, thank you," Shirley said, accepting Bo's praise.

They arrived at "Breaker" Brody's door. Mr. Hammond walked up to it and knocked. "Brody! Let us in! It's urgent!" he called.

A voice spoke from behind the door. "Uh, hold on a sec, Mr. Hammond," it said hesitantly. "I'll be right there."

Everyone heard things being moved within the room. "Break the door down," Mr. Hammond told the Masked Marauder.

Shirley sniffed the air. "Ah..."

"Sorry, 'Breaker,'" the Masked Marauder said before ramming his shoulder against the door. Another ram opened the door. Everyone poured into the room and found the bald wrestler kneeling on the

floor next to an open bag. They saw a dark-brown substance inside. It emitted a pungent odor.

Mr. Hammond sniffed around, then his eyes widened. "What the...?"

"Fertilizer," Shirley said, coming in for a closer look.

"Fertilizer? As in plant food?" Bo said.

Blake took a closer sniff. "Yep. Pretty powerful stuff."

Shirley looked at "Breaker" Brody. "I take it this is why you left the gym early?"

"Yeah," "Breaker" Brody answered, shame-faced. "I had to go get it without the guys knowing. They always make fun of me and my green thumb."

The Masked Marauder looked at the label on the bag of fertilizer. "Hmmmm...looks like good stuff, Breaker. Were you taking a peek to see if it was really good?"

"That's right, Sean," "Breaker" Brody answered. "I wanted to make sure the guy wasn't ripping me off, so I opened it a couple of minutes ago to make sure."

"So you just opened the bag here?" Bo was a little astonished. "Aren't you trying to keep this a secret?"

Marvin Marvelous waved the air. "Yeah, 'Breaker.' The smell's getting to me." Nearby, Mr. Hammond and the Masked Marauder covered their mouths.

"So, uh, what brings everyone here?" "Breaker" Brody asked, looking at his boss, his fellow wrestler, and the three kids with them.

"We're trying to prove my innocence," Marvin Marvelous said.

"These kids think that Marvin is not responsible for these recent accidents," Mr. Hammond explained, gesturing to Shirley and her friends.

"And you think I did them?" "Breaker" Brody said in disbelief.

"Not anymore," Shirley said. "Would you like to come with us?"

"To where?" the bald wrestler asked.

"To Sy Coe's room," Shirley answered. Without question, the small group went to Sy Coe's room after "Breaker" Brody sealed off the bag of fertilizer, much to everyone's relief. This time, the Masked Marauder knocked on the door. Sy Coe opened the door and looked out. "Why, Mr. Hammond, Sean. What brings you here?"

"Can we come in for a moment, Sylvester?" the Masked Marauder asked in a friendly manner. "We need to ask you a few questions."

"Uh, sure," Sy Coe, letting everyone in.

Once inside, Shirley began the conversation. "Sylvester, do you write in your little notepad every day?"

Sy Coe was reluctant to answer. Instead, he stared at the young sleuth and said "Uh, um..."

"Sy, answer the question," Mr. Hammond ordered. The three wrestlers looked at the ring worker.

"Uh, yes," Sy Coe answered.

Shirley continued her questioning. "What do you write down in the notepad?"

Sy Coe was not going to answer, but he felt the stares of his employer and the two wrestlers. "Sylvester, we're trying to prove that Marvin's not behind these accidents. Can you please answer the young lady's question?" the Masked Marauder requested.

Sy Coe trembled for a moment before answering. "Uh, I write down what happens every day."

"Why?" Shirley persisted.

Sy Coe wiped the sweat off his brow, then bowed his head. "I'm writing a book," he said, keeping his head bowed.

"A book?"

Sy Coe nodded. "A book. About wrestling. I wanted to do a fictional account of the happenings of a wrestling promotion based on my experiences."

"A book on pro wrestling?" Bo wondered out loud.

"Yeah." Sy Coe raised his head and faced everyone. "Although I changed the story to a mystery after all these accidents started happening."

"So you're not behind these accidents?" Marvin Marvelous asked.

"Nope. I swear to God, I didn't do anything wrong," Sy Coe said nervously.

"Then why didn't you cooperate when Shirley asked you about the notepad?" Blake asked.

"Well, I'm quite shy about my writing, really," Sy Coe answered sheepishly. "I don't like it when people read my stuff."

"Why's that, Sy?" "Breaker" Brody asked.

"I thought you guys would laugh at my writing, like you laugh at me," Sy Coe admitted, bowing his head shamefully. "I know all of you talk about me behind my back. You all call me 'Sy Coe' because you all think I'm weird."

"Breaker" Brody looked at the ring worker and felt ashamed. "Sorry about all that, Sy...I mean, Sylvester." The bald wrestler walked up to Sy Coe and patted him on the shoulder.

"Okay, yet another suspect is innocent," Bo remarked.

"Yeah. Looks like we're out of people," Blake added.

"Great, I'm screwed," Marvin Marvelous commented.

"No, you're not," Shirley said, turning to Mr. Hammond. "Is Bill Turner still here?"

"Actually, he left after I yelled at him for the bad pizza," Mr. Hammond revealed. "Probably to cool off." He blinked and looked at Shirley. "Wait a minute, you think Bill Turner's the guy who's behind all the accidents?"

"He has the means and opportunity. As security chief, he has access to everything and he can set up the accidents," Shirley concluded.

"But the accidents started about a month after Bill joined up," Mr. Hammond said. "In fact, the accidents are the reason why I hired him in the first place."

"Yet, they still happened," Bo said. "A little too suspicious, don't you think?"

"But if Bill's the one behind all the accidents, why would he do it?" Blake asked.

"Why don't we find out?" Shirley said. "Mr. Hammond, did Bill say when he was coming back?"

"He said he'd be back in maybe a half-hour. Why?"

"We're going to find a motive," Shirley replied.

They made their way to Bill Turner's room. Shirley tested the doorknob and found it was locked. "Do you have the key?" she asked Mr. Hammond.

"Nope." Mr. Hammond shook his head. "No matter where we are, Bill always takes his room key with him, even when hotel policy forbids it."

"How are we going to get in?" the Masked Marauder asked.

Shirley reached into her pocket and pulled out her Swiss army knife. "This is how," she said as she showed it to everyone. She knelt next to the door and found the appropriate tool from the knife.

Bo rolled his eyes. "Not a surprise to me."

As Shirley began picking the lock, the Masked Marauder walked up to Blake. "I hope she knows what she's doing," the wrestler told him.

"Believe me, she does," Blake said.

Marvin Marvelous watched as Shirley worked on the lock. "I dunno. It looks like she's having some trouble."

Shirley heard a click from the lock and stood up. Her face wore a look of satisfaction. "There. Now it's open," she said confidently. She opened the door and motioned for everyone to come in.

"Whew. Not bad," "Breaker" Brody commented before going in. "I'm glad she's on our side."

"Definitely," Sy Coe said in agreement.

All of them entered the room and found that it was clean. "Dang, I knew Bill was Mr. Tidy, but I never imagined that he was this clean," Marvin Marvelous said while looking around. "There's hardly anything on the floor, and even all the stuff on his table is organized," he added, pointing to a table against the side of the room.

Shirley walked up to the table and looked through the papers on it. "Well, well, well..."

"What? What?" Mr. Hammond asked, stepping closer to Shirley. He looked over her shoulder. "What did you find?"

"A possible motive," Shirley said, looking at some newspaper clippings. "Tell me, Mr. Hammond. Do you remember a Teddy Felder?"

"Teddy Felder?" Mr. Hammond tried to remember. "Um, I'm having trouble remembering..."

By then, everyone was gathered around the table. "Teddy Felder?" "Breaker" Brody said. "That name does sound familiar..."

"I remember," Marvin Marvelous said. "He's that kid who died after his friend did a wrestling move on him."

"Yep," Sy Coe said, nodding in agreement. "Theodore Felder, age six. Family and friends called him 'Teddy.' We did a show in Florida a year ago."

"Breaker" Brody caught on. "Yeah. When we were about to leave, some family who attended our show slapped us with a lawsuit. They said their son died after a friend of his tried a neckbreaker on him. They said the friend got the idea after watching us."

"Oh, now I remember. I always try to forget the bad stuff," Mr. Hammond said with a sigh. "I'm glad we were able to settle that one outside of court. The family wasn't exactly happy, but they were satisfied with some compensation."

"Can you blame them for being upset?" Blake said.

Shirley skimmed the articles. "Yep, it's all in here. The death, the charge, the settlement, the family's grief."

Bo saw something familiar on one clipping. "Hey, that's the picture I saw back at the gym."

"Huh?" the Masked Marauder said, puzzled.

Shirley handed the clipping to Bo after he motioned for it. "I found this picture on the ground next to the bench where Captain Courageous was nearly choked to death," Bo recalled. "It was a picture of some kid. That kid," he added, pointing to the photograph in the article while showing it to the others. "No wonder Bill took it away so quickly."

"OK, so there's a connection between Bill Turner and Teddy Felder," Blake established. "But what?"

"I think I might have found it." Shirley had taken out her magnifying glass and was looking closely at another newspaper photograph. She read the caption out loud. "Teddy Felder's parents, Martin and Lois, and uncle Randy discuss the monetary settlement offered by wrestling promoter Arnold Hammond at a press conference." She kept the magnifying glass over the person on the right. "Mr. Hammond, look at this man, Randy Felder. Does he look familiar to you?"

Mr. Hammond looked at the magnified image. The man was wearing a suit. He seemed imposing despite the fact he was wearing glasses. His hair was a little long and he was clean-shaven. "Nope. He doesn't look remotely familiar to me."

Sy Coe and the wrestlers leaned in for a look at the man Shirley was focusing on. "Nope. Doesn't look like anyone I know," the Masked Marauder said.

"I'd have to agree," Marvin Marvelous said.

"Ditto," "Breaker" Brody said.

"Can't say I know him," Sy Coe said.

"Try removing his glasses, shaving his head, and giving him a beard," Shirley recommended.

Bo and Blake leaned in for a closer look. After scanning the image of the man, Bo understood what Shirley meant. "Wait a sec. That's..."

Blake completed Bo's statement. "Bill Turner."


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 6

Mr. Hammond looked closely at the picture of Randy Felder. "My God, you're right. It is Bill," he said, amazed.

Sy Coe and the wrestlers also saw the resemblance. "Yep, I see it now," the ring worker said.

"It's official then," Shirley said, starting to straighten out the contents of the table. "Bill Turner is Randy Felder and he is sabotaging this promotion in order to avenge his nephew's accidental death."

"Wait. I thought the Felders were happy with the cash settlement," Bo said.

"Maybe Uncle Randy wasn't satisfied with monetary compensation," Blake said. "He wants serious payback."

"It definitely looks that way," the Masked Marauder said.

"But it was an accident," "Breaker" Brody argued. "We didn't tell the kid to do that neckbreaker."

"I'm afraid Mr. Turner doesn't accept that logic," Shirley commented as she finished up straightening out the papers on the table. "He wants retribution, no matter how many people get hurt."

"But why frame me?" Marvin Marvelous asked.

"As I noticed before, you make the perfect fall guy, Marvin," Shirley answered. "Your reputation as a practical joker and your alleged discontent with your status in the company are the determining factors."

"What will we do?" Mr. Hammond asked, worried. "The charity event's tomorrow, and I've got some of my guys out, not to mention the rest are scared and are going to quit on me."

"For starters, we have to make it look like no one's been in here," Shirley said, still straightening out the table.

"But we have a motive, not to mention there's got to be evidence that he's behind everything," Bo said.

"True. There are receipts for glue and mini-magnets on this table, but we want admissible evidence," Shirley acknowledged. "Any lawyer can have this thrown out of court if we take anything now."

"So what can we do?" Marvin Marvelous asked.

Shirley took out a paper with a crude diagram on it. "Well, we can thwart Mr. Turner's, or should I say Mr. Felder's, little stunt planned for tomorrow for starters." She showed the diagram to Mr. Hammond, who studied it closely and read the accompanying text.

"Great," he muttered. "I guess I can have someone check everything closely."

Sy Coe also looked at the diagram. "Leave it to me, chief," he said proudly.

"Why can't we just have Bill arrested?" "Breaker" Brody asked. "That way, he won't be able to cause any trouble."

"I don't think that's a good idea," Blake answered. "If Bill knew that we were on to him, he'd just leave. Plus, he could find a way to worm his way out of the charges if he was caught. You know, get rid of the evidence."

"He's got a point," the Masked Marauder said.

"Okay, little lady," Mr. Hammond said to Shirley. "Anything else?"

"Anyone who's still fit to perform must perform tomorrow," Shirley recommended. "After all, the show must go on."

"By gum, you're right," Mr. Hammond said, snapping his fingers. "I can't let some malcontent loon ruin this show. All my fit performers will be there." He looked at Marvin Marvelous especially. "All of them."

Marvin Marvelous grinned. "Thanks, Uncle Arnold."

"Oh, there is one more thing you can do," Shirley said.

"Name it," Mr. Hammond said.

"Give us unrestricted access to everything," Shirley told him. "I believe my friends would like some backstage meetings before and after the matches," she explained with a grin.

Shirley and her friends arrived at the park an hour before the charity event was to start. They learned from Mr. Hammond that the charity event was to be held in Redington's public park if the weather was okay. Fortunately, the sky was sunny with little cloud cover. They showed their unrestricted access passes to the guards and they walked to where Mr. Hammond was. They found him next to a wrestling ring with the Masked Marauder and Marvin Marvelous while people were setting up chairs and port-a-potties for the spectators. They also noticed the ambulance parked nearby. As they walked up to the three men, they saw that they seemed upset.

"What's wrong?" Bo asked them. "Two more of our guys can't perform today," the Masked Marauder answered glumly. "Rocket Ricardo and Iron Man Mulligan."

"More of Bill Turner's sabotage?" Blake asked anxiously.

"Nah," Marvin Marvelous replied. "Rocket got off the wrong side of the bed and twisted his ankle and Iron Man slipped in the bathtub and broke his leg. Pretty much bad luck."

"They were supposed to be these two gentlemen's opponents in a tag team match," Mr. Hammond explained, pointing at the Masked Marauder and Marvin Marvelous. "I've got it scheduled so all the participants would wrestle only once, and considering how much beating my guys go through in a match, the guys like it that way."

"So you can't get two other wrestlers to participate in this tag team match without upsetting anyone," Shirley said firmly.

"Yep, and this is the main event," Mr. Hammond explained further. "I can't just throw in anybody. This match needs my four top headliners, and no one else in my company can compare with them."

"I see," Shirley said with a nod. "You seem to have quite a dilemma."

"Oh yeah," Mr. Hammond said. "If we don't get some good men to be in this match, I'll have to cancel the whole thing, and a lot of little kids will be disappointed."

"Kids?" Bo wondered. "What charity are you doing this show for?"

"We're doing this show for the orphanage on Maple Street," the Masked Marauder answered. "They're in need of serious repair work, and all the proceeds go to helping them out."

"The kids from there will be here watching the whole thing," Marvin Marvelous added.

"I know about the Maple Street orphanage," Bo said. "They could use the money."

Shirley looked thoughtful. "May I pose you with a question, Mr. Hammond?"

"Sure. Go right ahead," Mr. Hammond said.

"Bo and Blake have told me of the 'Big Three,' the three biggest and most popular wrestling organizations, and I know we have our own smaller wrestling promotions." Shirley paused before continuing. "I was wondering how your group, one of the smaller independent companies in the United States, became involved with this charity event instead of any of these promotions or one of our local promotions."

Bo and Blake looked for any signs in Mr. Hammond's face that he was offended by Shirley's inquiry. They knew how straightforward the young detective was and how she did not care if she offended anyone or hurt people's feelings.

To their amazement, Mr. Hammond just laughed lightheartedly. "Miss, you're quite the sharpshooter," he commented. "Actually, someone called me and asked me if I could come to Redington and do this show."

"Who?" Shirley asked.

"Nathan Knight," Mr. Hammond answered.

"Who's Nathan Knight?" Bo asked curiously.

"He's the head of the Knight Foundation," Mr. Hammond answered.

"The Knight Foundation? Never heard of them," Bo admitted.

"The Knight Foundation?" Blake recalled something. "It's a company that manufactures computers and other hi-tech stuff. I should know. My mom has a calculator made by the Knight Foundation."

"I've come across the name when I skim the newspaper," Shirley said. "I usually find it in the business section. I don't know much about it except it's a global conglomerate based here and that Nathan Knight's been compared to Bill Gates and Ted Turner. He's also been involved in a lot of charity work in Redington."

"You know, we would have noticed if we had a big company in our town," Bo said.

"Well, we tend to pay attention only to what we consider important," Shirley said. "My ignorance of professional wrestling is a prime example." She returned her attention to Mr. Hammond. "So Nathan Knight contacted you?"

"Yep. Via telephone," Mr. Hammond answered. "He said he heard good things about my group and that he was looking for someone to do this charity event he was planning for the Maple Street orphanage. He knows how wrestling is so popular these days and he wanted to do a wrestling show to raise money for the orphans. He also said that he knew that we needed some positive publicity and more exposure, so he made us an offer we couldn't refuse."

"And the other wrestling companies...?" Shirley asked Mr. Hammond.

"Considering what those guys do in their matches, I don't blame Mr. Knight for not asking them. As for not hiring the locals, I guess he felt we needed a big break."

"So the Knight Foundation's behind this charity event?" Blake asked.

"Yep," Mr. Hammond said. "Come to think of it, Mr. Knight did mention that his company co-sponsored a talent contest over here recently. They put up most of the prize money for it."

"I've heard of it." Shirley knew what talent contest Mr. Hammond was talking about.

"I suppose he was bragging?" Bo asked.

"Not really," Mr. Hammond said. "I asked him if he did any charity functions before, and he just mentioned it as an example. He said he's a patron of the arts and he wanted kids to be encouraged to continue doing their artistic talents. Come to think of it, he didn't strike me as the bragging type. He sounded sincere and modest when he talked, especially when he said he does his charity work in a low-key fashion."

Marvin Marvelous cleared his throat with an "ahem." "Uh, I hate to break this up, Uncle Arnold, but what are we going to do about the main event? All the other guys are already assigned to their matches, and I don't think it'd be believable if Sean and I wrestled each other. Two heels fighting each other for no reason? Doesn't make sense to me."

"That and we already practiced for this match," the Masked Marauder added. "Wrestling may involve ad-libbing, but we can't work a new program at the last minute. So we can't use any of the ring crew."

"Well, we can make you a face right now, Sean," Mr. Hammond suggested.

The Masked Marauder shook his head. "Nah. We need a strong heel in that ring. Marvin's great at annoying people, but we need someone in there to strike fear into people."

Shirley thought over this latest development. Then, she had an idea. "I know of two individuals who are perfect for the main event." Grinning, she looked at Bo and Blake.

Bo realized what Shirley was suggesting. "Oh, hold on there..."

"Wait a minute. You want us to...?" Blake started to say, still taken aback.

"Become these two's opponents," Shirley completed, motioning to the Masked Marauder and Marvin Marvelous.

"What?" Mr. Hammond said, shocked.

Marvin Marvelous looked Bo and Blake over. "You want us to wrestle two kids?" he asked in disbelief.

"They are excellent physical specimens," Shirley stated. "Bo has played football and also plays basketball. Blake is a martial arts expert."

"She's right," the Masked Marauder said. "Blake's been practicing martial arts ever since he was little."

"Did he practice with or without underwear?" Bo quipped with a mischievous grin.

Blake blushed slightly, then elbowed Bo lightly in the stomach. While Bo winced, the Masked Marauder covered his mouth to hold his emerging laughter and Shirley smiled at Blake.

Mr. Hammond studied the two boys closely. "Well, you two look like you're in good shape. I guess you're acquainted with how matches work."

"We sure do," Blake answered.

"Definitely," Bo added.

Mr. Hammond rubbed his chin. "I've had guys from the audience volunteer to take on our guys before, but they were big, muscular sons of a gun, and even they got hurt. Are you guys used to pain and such?"

Bo recalled in his mind the many cases he and Shirley went on that involved physical danger. The ones that stood out were when he and Shirley investigated the series of fires set by arsonists and the two incidents involving ENIGMA. "Oh yeah," he replied, glancing at Shirley. "Will you excuse us for a moment?"

Bo motioned to his friends, who huddled with him. "Shirley, are you out of your mind?" he asked the young sleuth in a low voice through clinched teeth. "Those guys are big, not to mentioned well-trained."

"Why, Bo, you surprise me," Shirley replied. "You claim to be a big wrestling fan, yet you are hesitant to actually participate in an event."

"Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa," Bo said, waving his hands in front of him. "It's one thing to cheer the wrestlers on the sidelines, watch all the pay-per-views, and buy the magazines and merchandise. It's another to actually wrestle. The outcomes may be planned, but the pain is real. Very real."

"To be honest, Bo, this is an ideal opportunity to experience the excitement of wrestling ourselves," Blake said. "We might not have another chance."

"Uh, Blake, look at the other side," Bo said, pointing to Marvin Marvelous and the Masked Marauder, who flexed their arms to tease them. "They'll cream us."

"Actually, the faces are going to win the main event," Mr. Hammond revealed. "Children are in the audience, you know."

"Great, then we'll get our butts kicked around the ring before we win," Bo said.

Blake laughed and slapped Bo on the shoulder. "Come on. We've watched all the big moves and studied how they're done. We'll do fine."

Bo looked at the two wrestlers. "I'm not sure..."

"Do it for the orphans, then," Blake told his friend.

"Yes, Bo. For the orphans," Shirley added.

"Yeah, Bo, do it for the orphans," the Masked Marauder said, joining his former babysitting charge in a mock pleading look.

Bo groaned. "All right, all right. If I'm going to get my butt kicked, I might as well do it for charity."

Marvin Marvelous slapped Bo on the back, sending the school athlete forward a little. "That's the spirit! And don't worry. Me and the Marauder will go easy on you," he said with a sly grin.

"Goody," Bo muttered. He saw that Shirley was watching everything with amusement. "What will you be doing while me and Blake will be risking our butts for the orphans?"

Shirley motioned to Bill Turner, who was walking up to the small group. The security chief walked up to Mr. Hammond. "Sir, everything checks out. No signs of problems with the ring."

"Good work, Bill. Just do a final sweep and we'll be ready," Mr. Hammond said.

"I just hope someone's been on his best behavior," Bill Turner said, casting a sideways glance at Marvin Marvelous. "Or else," he added before leaving.

Marvin Marvelous stuck out his tongue behind the security chief's back. "Well, I'm hoping this plan of yours works," he told Shirley.

"Has Mr. Coe done his part?" Shirley asked Mr. Hammond.

"He's going to," Mr. Hammond pointed to Sy Coe, who was checking the ring along with the other members of the ring crew.

"And the other participants?" Shirley asked.

"They know their parts," Mr. Hammond said confidently.

"Excellent." Shirley looked at Bo and Blake. "Looks like you two have some quick learning to do about the match."

"Oh yea," Bo said dryly.

"Oh, don't worry, Bo." The Masked Marauder grinned and pointed to the parked ambulance. "We're ready for anything."

"Besides, we'll put extra padding in the ring just for you," Marvin Marvelous said, smiling.

Everyone laughed lightly at Bo's expense. "Hmph," Bo responded, wondering if he would survive his first wrestling match.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 7

Later, the spectators came to the park to watch the charity wrestling event. They paid a set amount in order to watch. A bus brought the kids from the Maple Street orphanage and they got front row seats. Security guards stationed themselves around the area being used for the event. Food vendors prepared their wares for the hungry crowds.

Shirley had a seat in the ringside area near Mr. Hammond and Bill Turner. She kept a close eye on the security chief.

Mr. Hammond, who was sitting between Shirley and Bill Turner, got up. "Time for me to start this thing off," he told them. He got close to Shirley and whispered in her ear. "Keep an eye on him, will you?"

Shirley nodded in response and Mr. Hammond made his way to the ring with a microphone.

"What are you doing here, anyway?" Bill Turner asked the young sleuth as Mr. Hammond welcomed everyone to the park.

"I'm a special guest of Mr. Hammond," Shirley replied. She listened closely to Mr. Hammond and noticed that although he thanked Redington for having him and his wrestlers, told the crowd of the event's purpose, and asked for a round of applause for the Maple Street orphans, he never mentioned the Knight Foundation or Nathan Knight. I guess Mr. Knight wanted to stay out of the spotlight, she concluded to herself.

"Oh." Bill Turner returned his attention to the ring as Mr. Hammond finished up and announced the first match.

Shirley watched as the first combatants were introduced by Mr. Hammond. The first man who came out was booed by the crowd as he made his way to the ring. The second man was cheered as he entered the ring and faced off his opponent.

As the match began, Shirley turned to Mr. Hammond, who had returned to his seat after his announcing duties were over. "How does the audience know when to cheer and when to boo?" she asked him. "These wrestlers aren't exactly known worldwide."

"Actually, my promotion's been getting more exposure because some of our guys are getting offers from the major promotions," Mr. Hammond explained. "As a result, some wrestling fans are familiar with my faces and heels and know when to cheer or boo."

The match ended when the heel cheated with an illegal object and pinned the face. When the referee raised the victor's hand, the crowd responded with loud booing and insults.

"He cheated," Shirley said, pointing to the winner. "He hit his opponent on the head with a blunt object."

Mr. Hammond laughed. "He's a bad guy. What did you expect?"

"I'm amazed that the referee missed that," Shirley observed.

"Like Vince McMahon said, this is sports entertainment, not real sports," Mr. Hammond commented. "Our job is to entertain the folks, and the folks like to boo the bad guys and cheer on the good guys."

Upon hearing that, Shirley decided to just watch and not comment anymore. Pro wrestling was not within her domain, and she doubted she could understand it.

As the event proceeded, Shirley noticed the enthusiasm of the crowd. Whenever the face did something good, the crowd cheered. Whenever the heel did something good or treacherous, the crowd booed loudly. The orphans in the front were loud in their enthusiasm. They were so loud that their guardians tried in vain to restrain them. Most of the time, the people in the crowd stayed in their seats. The exception was when they needed to use the bathroom. Food vendors roamed the crowd selling chips, ice cream, and soda. Shirley noticed that the orphans were the most frequent customers, especially for ice cream and soda. Fortunately for their guardians, the food vendors gave the kids food and drink for free.

Shirley also kept a close eye on Bill Turner. He seemed calm, but Shirley knew that he was not going to make his move yet.

In one match, Major Glory managed to score a decisive victory over his opponent much to the delight of the fans. As he left the ring, he waved to Shirley, who responded with a nod.

"Breaker" Brody and Captain Courageous faced each other in the match before the main event. Everyone watched this battle between brute force and speed. Captain Courageous had recovered from the barbell incident and was apparently at his fighting best. The match was a seesaw affair, with both men having the advantage at various points. Finally, Captain Courageous took down "Breaker" Brody with a frog splash, a maneuver executed when a wrestler jumps from the turnbuckle and flattens his body over his opponent. The referee managed to count to three and Captain Courageous made the pin and hooked his opponent's leg. Having redeemed himself in the eyes of the fans, Captain Courageous raised his arms in victory after the pin. When both men left the ring, they both waved to Shirley.

Mr. Hammond left his seat to announce the main event. After climbing into the ring, he declared, "Ladies and gentlemen, for our main event, we have a tag team match with two of my meanest men versus two of your finest local athletes! First up, perhaps the nastiest individuals to exist in my promotion, the Masked Marauder and Marvin Marvelous!"

The two heel wrestlers made their way down to the ring dressed in their usual attire. The Masked Marauder was decked out in black from head to toe. Marvin Marvelous wore shiny satin trunks that said "Marvelous" in black letters on the back. Some of the crowd threw insults at them. Marvin Marvelous responded with a cocky grin and his own insult. The Masked Marauder simply snarled at everyone, which got mostly boos mixed with some cheers. Once they were in the ring, Marvin Marvelous flexed his muscles for the booing crowd and smiled. The Masked Marauder raised his arms in the air and roared, getting a mixed response. The younger orphans almost jumped out of their seats.

Shirley watched as two individuals made their way to the ring to take on the Masked Marauder and Marvin Marvelous. Both were wearing masks that covered the entire head, but not wrestling trunks or tights. They were wearing regular street clothes with kneepads and elbow pads. She saw that one was wearing a red mask while the other was wearing a blue mask. Despite the masks, Shirley knew who these challengers were.

"Their opponents hail from right here in Redington! They are...Crash and Dash!" Mr. Hammond shouted.

The crowd cheered their hometown heroes as they made their way to the ring. The two unknowns gave high-fives to fans who had their arms stretched out. "Crash and Dash?" Shirley wondered if Bo or Blake came up with their wrestling names. She knew that Bo was unwilling to wrestle under his own name and wanted to use an alias to hide his identity and to get into the spirit of things. The fans probably did not mind the strange names; the orphans were among the two unknowns' biggest supporters.

Bo, who was wearing the red mask, looked at Blake, the one in the blue mask. "You had to let the Masked Marauder pick our ring names, didn't you?"

"Well, Uncle Sean needed to call us something after we drew a blank," Blake responded, giving a little boy in the front a high-five and a pat on the head of a little girl. "Besides, the names are appropriate since that's what we do."

"Kick their butts!" a little girl shouted enthusiastically to Bo and Blake.

"Don't worry, we will," Blake told her with a grin.

Bo groaned as he looked at the Masked Marauder and Marvin Marvelous. "We're in for it now." Then he looked at Shirley and saw that she was smiling at them. Probably fighting the urge to laugh at us, he thought. I wouldn't blame her; we look so stupid.

Blake noticed Bo looking at Shirley. "You know, this is your big chance to impress her," he whispered.

"Why would I need to impress her?" Bo responded, knowing what Blake meant and hiding his feelings. "Isn't this your big chance to impress her?"

Blake shook his head with a smile and led the way into the ring. Bo took one last look at Shirley, then he sighed and followed Blake into the ring.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 8

When they stepped into the ring, Bo and Blake faced their opponents, then did their own showboating. Bo posed for the crowd while Blake displayed a series of chops, punches, and kicks. The crowd applauded the local challengers, especially Blake for his skills in the martial arts.

Bo studied the two wrestlers on the other side of the ring closely. "Okay, so who gets to be the first one in the ring?" he asked his partner.

"Well, let's decide this in the most traditional way," Blake answered, forming his hand into a fist.

"Gotcha," Bo said, following Blake's lead. "Loser goes first."

They faced each other, then they started moving their fists up and down while counting "one, two, three." At "three," they changed their fists into what they had in mind. Bo flattened out his palm while Blake formed his hand into a V-sign.

Blake stared at Bo's hand, then his own. "Sorry, buddy. Scissors beats paper," he said with a grin while "cutting" Bo's flat hand.

"Drat," Bo said, looking at the other side of the ring. Marvin Marvelous had stepped outside to his corner while the Masked Marauder remained in the ring. "Double drat."

"Good luck, Crash," Blake told Bo while slapping his shoulder. He stepped outside to his corner, leaving Bo to face the Masked Marauder.

"I'm gonna need it," Bo said.

The bell rang, and the two combatants started things off with a grapple. The Masked Marauder broke the grapple and threw a fist at Bo, who responded with a well-timed fall that made the punch more realistic. He hit the padded floor of the ring with a thud. The padding helped, but Bo felt a little sore.

"I guess that guy's Crash," Shirley heard a boy behind her quip.

The Masked Marauder proceeded to stomp Bo in the abdomen. Actually, he was stomping on the area next to Bo's stomach. Bo moved accordingly to sell the attack and looked genuinely hurt afterwards. The Masked Marauder pulled Bo up by his arm to his face. "Ready for a clothesline?" he whispered to Bo.

"Yeah," Bo answered back, and he was flung into the ropes. As he was bounced back, the Masked Marauder ran into him with his forearm outstretched. Bo leaned back so that the move only grazed him and fell to the floor again.

As the Masked Marauder roared and stretched out his arms, Bo picked himself up and tacked him from behind. The heel wrestler fell face first to the mat. Bo turned him over and went for the pin, but his opponent managed to kick out before the referee could make a one-count. Both wrestlers got up and faced each other.

As Shirley watched the match, she glanced at Bill Turner nowand then. He gathered from his facial expression that he was very anxious about something. He seemed to be studying something in the ring closely.

"Excuse me for a moment," Bill Turner told his boss as he rose from his seat. "I need to go to the bathroom."

"Suit yourself, Bill," Mr. Hammond said. "You're gonna miss some of the action."

"Oh, you can tell me what happens when I get back," the security chief said before he left.

Bo and the Masked Marauder exchanged blows, with the heel gaining the advantage. Bo got a few punches on his opponent and managed to sell his opponent's hits mainly because a few actually made contact. One punch to the stomach nearly knocked the wind out of him.

The Masked Marauder grabbed Bo and got ready to power slam him. "You okay?" he asked, noticing how Bo was trying to catch his breath.

"Yeah," Bo forced himself to say. "No problem."

"Okay, then. Here we go." The Masked Marauder picked Bo up and got ready to slam him.

"Mommy," Bo whimpered before the Masked Marauder slammed him to the canvas.

The Masked Marauder got into Bo's face. "Get ready for another one," he warned.

"Wha...?" Bo was lifted off the ground and found himself being readied for another power slam. He yelled to the top of his lungs as he was slammed to the canvas again.

Shirley watched the whole spectacle and started to get worried. "Will he be okay?" she asked Mr. Hammond.

"He seems to be in good shape," Mr. Hammond answered. "He'll be fine."

I hope so, Shirley thought. She found herself wondering if getting Bo and Blake into the charity event as performers was such a good idea.

"I think you'd better see what Bill's up to," Mr. Hammond recommended to the young detective. "After all, this part of the plan is yours to execute."

Shirley nodded in agreement and left her seat to follow Bill Turner. She took one last look at Bo and wished that he would be okay before she left the crowd.

Mr. Hammond pulled out a walkie-talkie from his pocket and turned it on. "This is Big Boss. Little Miss is heading to the portajohns. Be prepared. Over and out."

While the Masked Marauder taunted the crowd over his two body slams in a row, Bo picked himself up despite the soreness overcoming his body and headed for Blake. Blake stretched out his arm, ready to receive his partner's tag. "Come on, Bo," he told the battered amateur.

Bo reached out for Blake's arm, but then found himself being yanked in the opposite direction. The Masked Marauder had grabbed Bo from behind and knocked him down with a forearm. While Bo was down, the Masked Marauder did a legdrop on him after running across the ring and bouncing off the ropes. Although the padding of the ring helped ease the blow, Bo still felt a little pain. The Masked Marauder went for the pin, but Bo managed to break it before the referee could make a three-count. The heel picked up Bo and threw him to the ropes. There, Marvin Marvelous knocked Bo on his back, sending him facedown into the mat. Blake started shouting to the referee, trying to point out what Marvin had done. While the referee tried to calm Blake down, Marvin Marvelous came into the ring and the two heels ganged up on Bo with kicks to his back. Although the kicks were aimed at the canvas, they were done so quickly that some of them made contact with Bo's back. When the referee returned his attention to the ring, Marvin Marvelous had returned to his corner and the Masked Marauder was Bo's only attacked. Throughout this cowardly attack, the crowd reacted the way the performers wanted them to. The fans booed the heel loudly and shouted "Crash, Crash, Crash, Crash, Crash!"

Bo groaned as he was picked up and whipped into the ropes again. This time Bo managed to knock the Masked Marauder down with a dropkick. The maneuver drained him, however, and he was down on the mat as well. He heard the crowd cheer him on and the referee start the ten-count on him and the Masked Marauder. Blake and Marvin Marvelous shouted to their partners to get up.

While Bo was recovering from his "beating," Shirley searched for Bill Turner near the port-a-potties. She found him standing behind a tree watching everything in the ring with binoculars. She walked behind the port-a-potties to sneak up on the security chief from behind.

In the meantime, both Bo and the Masked Marauder beat the ten-count and were on their feet. Bo dazed the Masked Marauder with a few punches to the face and took him down with a tackle. He went for the pin and would have won the match if Marvin Marvelous had not kicked him in the back to break the pin. While Bo rolled away, the Masked Marauder got up and tagged his partner in. Bo tried to tag Blake in, but Marvin Marvelous knocked him away. "Take that, you little weakling!" he shouted. The crowd ate it up and booed him.

Shirley watched as Bill Turner took something small out of his pocket. The security chief was chuckling to himself as he held the object in his hand. She got in closer and saw that it was a remote control. "Soon, Teddy, they'll all pay," she heard him say.

Meanwhile, Marvin Marvelous had grabbed Bo by the arm and kicked him down. He went for the pin, but Bo got out at the two-count. "You're doing great, Bo," he praised in a low voice as he picked the youngster up.

Bill Turner smiled, then pressed a button on the remote control. "I'll show them all that this so-called sports entertainment is unsafe and unfit for children."

Marvin Marvelous flung Bo into the ropes. Bill Turner watched all this from his position through his binoculars. He gasped as Bo bounced off the ropes and knocked Marvin Marvelous down with a clothesline.

Bill Turner was puzzled. "That wasn't supposed to happen." He watched as Bo picked up Marvin Marvelous and flung him into the ropes. The cocky heel bounced off them and ran into Bo's outstretched foot in his stomach. "That wasn't supposed to happen either," the vengeful security chief said with a snarl.

"Oh, really?" Shirley addressed the security chief from behind. Startled, Bill Turner faced the young detective.

"What did you do?" the security chief demanded.

"We removed those electricity conductor cables you placed in the ring ropes," Shirley explained. "I'm amazed you rigged them so that the ropes would be electrified and shock anyone who came into contact with them, but as an electrician and occasional inventor, you would find a way. Considering the sweat being produced by all that activity, he would have been killed instantly."

Bill Turner glared at the amateur sleuth. "They deserve to die for what they did to Teddy!" he shouted angrily. "They tried to smooth over things with a little apology and some money. My brother may have bought it, but not me! Teddy deserved justice, and I'll deliver it to these ignorant fools."

"If I recall, Teddy's friend was the one who did the wrestling maneuver that killed your nephew, not these wrestlers," Shirley said calmly.

"But he learned that move from watching those damned wrestlers," Bill Turner said. "They teach innocent children to beat each other up and as a result, they get hurt or die. I vowed that they'd never hurt anyone again, and I kept my vow."

"By hurting and possibly killing innocent people?" Shirley stared into the security chief's eyes. "It's over, Felder."

Bill Turner laughed. "Really? I don't see anyone else here, and I doubt you can take me on, little girl."

He lunged at Shirley, who stepped aside quickly and tripped him. Bill Turner crashed to the ground, dropping his worthless remote control.

Shirley looked down at the fallen man. "Not bad for a little girl, huh?"

Bill Turner recovered quickly and got up. Shirley backed away from him as he closed in on her, his hands ready to grab her. "Why you little..."

"Picking on little girls now, Bill?"

Bill Turner turned around and saw Major Glory behind him. He was joined by Captain Courageous and "Breaker" Brody.

"So, you're the guy who nearly broke my neck," Captain Courageous said, glaring at the security chief.

"Breaker" Brody balled his hand into a fist and punched the palm of his hand. "Let's return the favor then, boys."

Bill Turner looked for a way out, but he saw a small assortment of uniformed men in the distance heading his way. Some of them were wearing security uniforms, but he recognized the police uniforms on three of the men. "How...?" he began, shocked that the police were on to him.

"Oh, we called them and told them everything," Major Glory answered. "Give it up, Bill."

"Never!" Bill Turner declared defiantly. He grabbed Shirley by the arm and threw her into the three wrestlers. While "Breaker" Brody caught her, the vengeful security chief ran away from them.

"Are you okay?" "Breaker" Brody asked Shirley.

"I'll be fine," Shirley said, watching Bill Turner run away. "Is the whole area sealed?"

"Yep," Captain Courageous answered. "He's not going anywhere. The ring crew, security, and the police are ready for him."

"Just the same, we'd better go after him," Shirley recommended. She ran after the now-fugitive Bill Turner with the three wrestlers and the small posse of uniformed men behind her.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 9

While Bill Turner was trying to escape, Bo and the Masked Marauder were battling each other. Before that, Bo and Marvin Marvelous had fought, with Bo taking the upper hand. After a headlock and a failed pinfall by Bo, Marvin Marvelous managed to tag the Masked Marauder in. The Masked Marauder attempted a cobra clutch, but Bo broke out of the maneuver and countered with an elbow to the abdomen. The Masked Marauder staggered back, but that did not stop him. He grabbed Bo and did a belly-to-belly suplex on him. As he scrambled for the pin, he asked Bo, "Are you OK?"

"Yeah," Bo managed to groan.

"Well, kick out before three," the Masked Marauder said. "Remember, you guys are supposed to win."

The Masked Marauder made the pin, and Bo did his part despite the soreness of his body. The heel roared and stomped his feet on the canvas, acting like he was frustrated with the relative newcomer. Bo started to crawl towards his corner, where Blake was reaching out to him. "Come on, Crash!" he shouted.

The crowd joined in. "Come on, Crash! Come on, Crash! Come on, Crash!" The orphans and the other kids were the loudest. Bo got closer to his partner, ready to make the tag.

The Masked Marauder saw what Bo was doing and rushed over to stop him. He seized Bo before he could make the tag and got ready for a piledriver. Just as the Masked Marauder was about to plant Bo's head into the canvas, he whispered to Bo, "Counter now."

Bo managed to break out of the hold and slide down the Masked Marauder's back. He grabbed the Masked Marauder and threw him into the ropes. The Masked Marauder bounced back and Bo tackled him to the ground. The crowd went wild.

Bo went for the pin, but got only a two-count. Both men got up and faced each other. The Masked Marauder growled, but he was actually communicating with Bo. "Double clothesline," he said before running for the ropes behind him. Bo did the same and the two athletes gave each other a running clothesline. Both wrestlers fell to the canvas.

As they laid there in the center of the ring, the crowd called on Bo to get up. In both corners, Blake and Marvin Marvelous cried out to their partners to make the tag. Both wrestlers heeded their call and they crawled towards their respective corners. The Masked Marauder crawled at a somewhat faster pace than Bo. He managed to tag Marvin Marvelous, but just as they switched places, Bo reached Blake and tagged him in. Blake immediately rushed in and started giving one-two punches to Marvin Marvelous' face and karate chops to his chest. The cocky heel staggered back and was brought down by a kick to the chest. Marvin Marvelous got up immediately and tried to tag the Masked Marauder back in, but Blake pulled him away and threw him into an opposite corner. Before the heel could recuperate, Blake grabbed him by the head and whispered, Turnbuckle headbanging." Then he proceeded to bang Marvin Marvelous' head against the soft turnbuckle while the crowd counted. Blake stopped after ten headbangings, leaving Marvin Marvelous to act dazed.

Blake flung Marvin Marvelous into the ropes and took him down with a dropkick. He went for the cover, but the Masked Marauder marched back in and gave Blake an apparent kick to the head. On cue, Bo came in and tackled the Masked Marauder, knocking the wind out of him. When he got up, Bo rushed him and knocked him out of the ring with a clothesline. After that, Bo returned to his corner.

Left alone, Marvin Marvelous tried to rush Blake, only to receive a superkick to the face. He hit the ring mat and acted knocked out. Blake walked up to Bo and tagged him. "Turnbuckle finish," Blake whispered to Bo.

Bo nodded, understanding what was next. Blake dragged Marvin Marvelous to their corner while Bo climbed the ropes and positioned himself on the top turnbuckle. Blake placed Marvin Marvelous at what he considered a safe distance for Bo. He pointed to his partner, who jumped off the turnbuckle with a yell and landed on Marvin Marvelous. Bo got up and he and Blake placed their feet on the seeming unconscious heel. As he referee went down to make the count, the Masked Marauder climbed back into the ring and charged the two local faces. Blake ran at the big behemoth and did a flying kick that knocked him down as the referee made the count. The crowd counted loudly with the referee as he slapped the mat once, twice, thrice. The bell rang, and the crowd cheered for Crash and Dash, the local heroes.

Mr. Hammond got on the mike again. "Here are your winners, Crash and Dash!"

The referee raised the winners' arms. "Crash and Dash! Crash and Dash! Crash and Dash!" the crowd cheered loudly.

Bo and Blake took in the crowd's cheering. "Well, that wasn't so bad," Blake said with a grin.

"Hey, I was in for most of the time," Bo pointed out, catching his breath. "You got off easy."

Bo and Blake got ready to leave the ring. At that moment, Bill Turner ran past the crowd and into the ring. Shirley, the wrestlers, and their small posse were in close pursuit. The fugitive security chief had tried to escape the park, but had found policemen patrolling the area. Desperate, he grabbed the referee, hoping to bargain his way out. "Stay back!" he shouted to the small posse, which was beginning to surround the ring. "Stay back or I'll break his neck!"

The small posse held its position around the ring. Shirley looked on as Bill Turner held his captive and wrapped his arm around the referee's neck. The crowd also looked on, wondering if this was part of the show.

Marvin Marvelous opened his eyes and saw the man who had framed him. He got up and faced the vengeful man. "Hey, Bill," he said.

Bill Turner faced the wrestler. "Back off, Marvin, or I'll break his neck!"

Bill Turner did not notice that Blake was behind him. Blake made his move quickly before the angry security chief could spot him. He did a kick to his back, which forced him to release his prisoner. Bo grabbed the referee and got him out of the ring with Blake's help.

"Payback time, Bill," Marvin Marvelous told the security chief. He rushed up to him while he was still dazed from Blake's kick. He grabbed Bill Turner's shoulder. "And now, a tribute to the most electrifying man in sports entertainment!" he declared before he lifted his victim and brought him down hard to the ring.

"Rock Bottom, Rock Bottom!" the crowd cheered, many of them not aware that this was real drama. Upon hearing this, Shirley got confused.

The Masked Marauder got up and walked to the downed Bill Turner. "Now, it's time for the most electrifying move in sports entertainment!" he shouted, looking down at the fallen saboteur.

"People's Elbow, People's Elbow!" the crowd shouted, understanding what the wrestler meant.

"The what?" Shirley wondered out loud.

"The People's Elbow," Major Glory answered. "The Rock's finisher."

"I see," Shirley said, still not understanding.

The Masked Marauder stretched out his arm and took off his elbow pad. After waving his arms left and right, he ran across the ring and bounced off the ropes. He stopped suddenly, did a little walking motion, and brought his elbow down on the saboteur's chest. Bill Turner bounced off the mat briefly as the elbow made contact. He was not going anywhere for the moment.

The Masked Marauder raised his hands in triumph as the crowd cheered him on for performing the finishing move of one of the most popular professional wrestlers in the world. The policemen got into the ring and helped the fallen Bill Turner up. When they had gotten him up to his feet, they pulled his arms behind his back and slapped a pair of handcuffs on his wrists as they read him his rights.

"Oh sure, cheer him on," Marvin Marvelous said with a smile.

Shirley joined her friends. "Well, that's over."

"Yep," Bo said, eyeing the handcuffed security chief. He was being led down by the police. As he was being taken away, Mr. Hammond walked up to him.

"By the way, Bill, you're fired," the wrestling promoter told the security chief.

Marvin Marvelous and the Masked Marauder exited the ring and joined their boss and their fellow wrestlers. "Bye bye, Bill!" Marvin Marvelous called out.

Bill Turner looked at Marvin Marvelous and snarled, then was led away by a policeman to a police car.

"So, did I miss anything?" Shirley asked. "How did your match go?"

Bo and Blake looked at each other, then broke into laughter. Shirley stared at both of them, not sure what was going on.

The Masked Marauder showed up behind Bo and Blake. "These guys did a great job in the ring," he declared, slapping them on their shoulders. "Not bad for untrained newcomers."

Bo winced. "I'm still a little sore form the beating you gave me."

"Don't worry, the pain will go away," the Masked Marauder said. "You'll live."

The orphans and their guardians walked up to Mr. Hammond. "Excuse me," a woman said. "Can the kids get some autographs from some of your wrestlers?"

"Sure thing," Mr. Hammond replied, motioning to his wrestlers.

The orphans started to crowd around Bo and Blake, holding out their pens and autograph books. "What the...?" Bo said, surprised at the attention he and Blake were getting.

"Crash and Dash! Crash and Dash! Crash and Dash!" the orphans shouted.

"Just enjoy the moment," Blake said, smiling and signing some autograph books.

"And two stars are born," the Masked Marauder said with a grin.

Shirley nodded in agreement and continued to watch her friends sign autographs. As the orphans parted, some of the other younger fans made their way to the wrestlers. Some of them went to Bo and Blake. As Shirley watched Bo and Blake sign more autographs, she spotted a familiar face, one with red hair. "Parker?"

Parker got in front for autographs from Bo and Blake. "H-h-hi there. Can you sign my book?" he asked, holding out his autograph book.

"Sure thing," Bo said, trying to sound tough and reaching for the book. He was not in the mood to have everyone know about him wrestling.

"Actually, I'd like to have Dash's first," Parker said.

Bo stared at Parker as Blake took the book. "Sure thing, Parker," Blake said in a friendly manner.

Parker's eyes widened in surprise. "Blake, is that you?"

Blake grinned sheepishly. "It's me, Parker. Came out to watch some wrestling?" he asked as he signed Parker's book.

"Yeah," Parker answered excitedly. He turned to Bo, now putting two and two together. "Hey, Bo," he greeted, waving.

Shirley watched as Bo groaned and she suppressed the urge to laugh. She did flash her best friend a smile, who responded with a look that said, "Et tu, Shirley?"

That night, Shirley wrote the following in her journal:

Randy Felder, a.k.a. Bill Turner, was taken into custody by the police. He'll stand trial in the States for sabotage and attempted murder. Mr. Hammond and the wrestlers said that Bo and Blake did a great job in the ring considering their lack of experience and training and that both of them have a great future as pro wrestlers. I don't know if they were joking or not. From what I heard from Bo, I doubt he'd be interested. The kids from the Maple Street orphanage crowded around Bo and Blake to get their autographs. I should point out that Blake signed the most autograph books. I think that Bo just wants to forget the whole experience. Unfortunately, after Parker tells everyone at Sussex Academy, he won't be forgetting it for a while. It took everyone at school a couple or more weeks to forget the Cyber Valley pickle incident.

As for me. the thought of two men in tights beating the heck out of each other in a ring will not rank high among my interests. Still, it is like the Roman gladiator fights. I wonder if Mr. howie likes pro wrestling? At least the loser doesn't get fed to the lions.

Still, I'm disappointed that I missed most of the main event. I heard that Blake was great. I find myself regretting missing his performance. A lot.

Shirley looked down at what she wrote, then she blushed. Smiling, she closed her journal and went to bed.


The Case of the Problem Prone Bodyslammers : Part 10

The next day, Bo managed to get up and go to school despite some lingering soreness in his body. It bothered him now and then during his classes, but he tried to ignore it. Thanks to Parker's big mouth, his fellow Sussex Academy students found out that he and Blake wrestled on Sunday. They kept congratulating him and Blake over their performance and asking questions about how the experience was. He was very grateful when lunch began; everyone was too busy eating to bother him.

Bo joined Shirley and Blake as usual. "So, how are you doing?" Blake asked him.

"Well, the pain in my body's fading ever so slowly," Bo answered dryly.

"At least you didn't break any bones," Blake said, trying to be positive.

"So, how did it feel to participate in a wrestling match?" Shirley asked her friends.

"It was great, I got to admit," Bo said. "I just wished that I didn't have to be the guy who got pummeled a lot."

"It was definitely great," Blake said. "I have to admit that a lot of work is involved. The matches may be planned out, but the pain isn't." He recalled something. "Uncle Sean would be disappointed if he heard me say that. He said we had great potential."

"Goody," Bo said wryly.

"So would you do it all over again?" Shirley asked out of curiosity.

Bo and Blake thought for a moment. Bo was the first to answer. "Well, I think I'll leave the wrestling to the experts." He rubbed his shoulder.

"It was a wonderful experience, but I'll have to agree with Bo," Blake said. "It's definitely tough in that ring."

"Excuse me?" Bo gave Blake a look. "I was the one who did most of the work."

"Jealous that he signed the most autographs?" Shirley asked with a grin.

Bo groaned. "I was the one who spent the most time in the ring getting my butt kicked, and the kids ask for his autograph the most."

"Not my fault that the kids liked me," Blake said modestly. "Maybe it was the martial arts."

They continued eating their lunch. As they ate, a man in a uniform walked up to the table holding a bouquet of roses. Bo looked up. "What the...?"

The man stopped in front of the table. "Excuse me, but which one of you is Blake Hewitt?" he asked.

"I am," Blake answered.

"These are for you," the man said, handing Blake the flowers.

"Thank you," Blake said as the man left. He looked at the card attached to the bouquet.

"Who's it from?" Shirley asked.

"It doesn't say," Blake replied.

Shirley snatched the card out of Blake's hand and read it. "'I heard about your big wrestling match yesterday. I wish that I was there to cheer you on. You must have been great. Signed, an admirer.'" She put down the card and found herself trying to control her emotions.

Bo let out a loud whistle. "Whoa, you've got an admirer," he said, grinning at Blake.

Shirley was not amused. She picked up the note and examined it. "Typed note and no signature, so I can't trace any handwriting. Maybe if I dust it for fingerprints..." She studied the flowers. "Excellent quality. Very expensive. That narrows down the list of suspects..."

"To everyone in this school," Bo quipped.

"Shirley, you really shouldn't worry about this," Blake said, trying to reassure her. "After all, a lot of girls are interested in me."

Shirley raised an eyebrow at Blake. "Oh really? How would you know?"

"Come to think of it, a lot of girls do stare at him, especially in the hallway," Bo pointed out.

"See what I mean?" Blake said. He looked into Shirley's inquisitive blue eyes. "Don't worry about it. It's not a big thing."

"If you say so," Shirley said, telling herself mentally to dust for fingerprints on the card and make inquiries at certain florist shops later.

"Well, I'd like to propose a toast," Bo said, raising his fruit juice carton. "To pro wrestling. May Blake and I continue to watch it, but never to participate in it again or anything like it."

"If you say so," Blake said. "Although to be honest, if we keep hanging out with Shirley, we'll always end up doing something dangerous," he added with a grin.

"Definitely," Bo said, smiling. "Here's to no more dressing up in ridiculous costumes."

Shirley smiled good-naturedly at the two boys, knowing that idea was not an absolute as long as they remained her sleuthing partners. "Well then, here's to more good luck in the future as well as continuing to be good friends."

"Here, here," Bo and Blake said.

On that note, the three friends bumped their juice cartons together. As they drank, Bo looked at Shirley and had a thought. When he looked at Shirley and Blake together and noticed how they looked at each other, Bo sighed and erased that thought.

THE END