DIAL M FOR MONGOOSE
A Chet Gecko Mystery
An excerpt from Chapter 1 – The Big Stink
From the nonstop blah-blah-blah at the front of the room, two words penetrated. The sound of my name.
"Chet Gecko?" said Mr. Ratnose. "That's the twelfth time you've checked the clock in the last minute. Is there somewhere else you'd rather be?"
Such an easy straight line.
I muttered, "Um, at the dentist, running from rhinos, shopping for underwear... did you want the full list?"
Mr. Ratnose scowled. "Go to the attitude adjustment corner," he said wearily. "Maybe that will teach you some manners."
I sighed. Past the desks of stupefied students I shuffled, back to the dusty corner and its pink plastic chair.
I slumped into the chair, facing a poster of Rodney Rodent in a rocket that read, YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE.
If Rodney was right, I was on the fast track to Lower Nowheresville. I hadn't had a new case in weeks, my wallet was flatter than a tapeworm's tummy — heck, I even had time to do all my homework. (Not that I actually did it.)
If this kept up, I'd turn from Chet Gecko, Private Eye, to Chet Gecko, Regular Guy. I was hungry for something, anything to break the boredom.
But I wasn't ready for the Big Stink.
I sat quietly, practicing my thumb twiddling — forward twiddle, reverse twiddle, fast, medium, and slow — when the whiff of a funky stench tickled my nose. Craning my neck, I searched for a culprit in the back row.
No shifting in seats. No telltale fake innocence. All my classmates looked like bored little angels.
The stench grew stronger. I fanned the air in front of my face. "Whew."
A giggle erupted from somewhere close at hand.
"He who smelt it, dealt it," whispered Rick Shaw, a nerdy hedgehog.
The giggling grew louder. Now several of the back-row kids had turned around to stare and point.