The morning was very calm. Just as I entered the workplace, I was greeted by Creative Guy who was until that moment staring on his computer screen as if in a deep meditating mood. Though he was earlier than his usual time, I did not suspect anything fishy in his unusual behavior.
Minutes later, we were forced to respond to the Practicing Clairvoyant’s musical good morning note, turning our faces in order to flaunt a grin. But a few more minutes later, we both were shocked by a scream, a loud shrill cry, from the throats of the Clairvoyant, “the mouse…the wretched thing…it spoiled all my lip-balm, that too for the second time in the last two weeks.”
We both saw the Clairvoyant in a horrific expression with a tube of lip-balm in her right hand. Creative Guy sprang up from his seat like a spring and stared at the lip-balm tube with a seemingly questioning look. The tube had a creatively cut hole right at the bottom portion.
“Yesterday I was sure that I had locked my entire cupboard before leaving the office, and today you see the mouse has disarrayed everything,” her voice was relatively higher, as I felt.
I doubted something fishy. The Clairvoyant’s posture with one damaged lip-balm tube in one hand, her scream, her unnecessary loud voice, even her actions, the Creative Guy’s jump and surprise, the entire morning’s incidents, and every associated act looked like a brilliantly woven drama to me. But, who acts, or who pretends, or for what purpose, were remained as some questions apparently answerless.
Just as I moved to her cupboard, for a close scrutinization, we were interrupted by another good morning wish, the Full Moon Girl. We saw her with a smiling face and gleaming eyes standing at the doorstep as if she was completely unaware of the morning’s business. But, with my inquisitive eyes alone, I noticed that her first glance was directed mysteriously to the cupboard of the Clairvoyant. I felt she was trying to hide something which she knew about the mouse menace, behind that interrupting good morning wish, secret smile and cryptic eyes.
Creative Guy and I began to inspect the entire crime scene. Looking at the way the cupboard was built, I thought, even if the cupboard is locked, a mouse can enter the bottom tray through a probable slit which could be present there in between the trays. Once the mouse gets inside the bottom tray, it can climb up through similar slits without much difficulty.
When I presented my theory, the Creative Guy put forward some objections against my finding. Instead of my ‘Slit-Climb’ theory, he brought up the ‘work methodology’ theory, that the mouse has a secret way of hiding within the tray even during the day time. According to his finding, the mouse must have been hiding within the first tray itself, where the balm was kept. But, Clairvoyant objected it, since the first tray was scarcely packed, even a smaller pin couldn’t have been left unnoticed. But, if the mouse could hide during the day time within the bottom tray, where lot of books and miscellaneous things were kept, it might be able to navigate at night from the bottom tray to the upper trays using the probable slits (which is a part of my theory). This slit is an imaginary one, as it is impossible to see the backside of the cupboard, since it has its backside fixed to the wall. If such a slit existed, my ‘Slit-Climb’ theory and Creative Guy’s ‘work methodology’ theory could have jointly proved the crime.
But, still I seriously suspected that someone among our team really knew at least something about the morning menace. I thought about the Workaholic, the fourth one in the gang, his absence from the scene, was that absence purposeful?
The same moment, the Workaholic, stepped into the scene humming a popular song modified in his own tune. He was really late, I thought. Without giving even a single nod towards us, or a glance at the Clairvoyant’s cupboard, he straightaway rushed to his seat. I noticed that he forgot to say his usual ‘good morning’; must be due to his attempt to hide something he knew about the mouse affair from the rest.
I looked everything one by one; the surprised posture of the Clairvoyant, the agitated motion of the Creative, the mysterious smile of the Full Moon Girl, the unshaken appearance of the Workaholic, and finally the disordered cupboard and the lip-balm tube with a large hole at the bottom.
PS: Later, the attendants put a mousetrap near the cupboard. The next day we found a cute mouse trapped in it. By the time we rushed to get a photograph of it, the trap was taken away by the attendants to administer the mouse its predetermined destiny.
PS 2: One of my several attempts to write detective fiction.