(1) Ricky was a gust of wind as he pedaled his bike down the block. He had just overheard someone mentioning that Tag Wilson was searching for a new case to solve, and Ricky wanted to be the first to find the extraordinary detective. As he rode into the park, he spotted Tag, and his heart sank. She was hanging upside down on the monkey bars. This was her classic thinking position, so Ricky figured she was already involved in a case.
(2) When Tag noticed Ricky, she dismounted from the bar. "What’s up, Ricky?" she yelled. "You look lower than a snake’s belly."
(3) Ricky balanced his kickstand on the grass and shuffled over to the monkey bars. "Hi Tag," he mumbled. "I came to see if you would conduct an investigation for me, but I guess you’ve already taken an assignment."
(4) "Nope, I was just contemplating how to spend my time while I waited for the next mystery to solve," Tag answered. "Since the only plan I came up with involved a broom, rags, and some trash bags, I’m mighty glad you came by." Tag climbed back onto the monkey bars and resumed her hanging-from-the-knees position. "Fill me in," she instructed.
(5) "The simplest answer is blueberries," Ricky answered. "My grandmother bakes the county’s most delicious blueberry pies and muffins. Every year, she wins the blue ribbon in both categories at the county fair. Gran swears the secret to her success is the blueberries, which she grows on a few bushes in the backyard. She says she has a secret way of feeding the bushes so they produce the sweetest blueberries."
(6) Tag interrupted. "Some jealous scoundrel has stolen her secret feed recipe!"
(7) Ricky explained, "No, he stole the blueberries, not the recipe. He stole the majority of them anyway, and now there aren’t enough ripe ones left to bake anything for the fair. Gran is truly heartbroken, because she looks forward to this competition all year."
(8) "Why are you referring to the blueberry burglar as he?" Tag asked.
(9) Ricky kicked the grassy ground. "I’m absolutely certain it’s Joey Brown," Ricky answered. "Who else would be mean enough to steal from Gran? I don’t have any proof though, and if I accuse him without solid evidence, he’ll just deny it."
(10) "Without evidence, you might also falsely accuse an innocent person," Tag said, while swinging her arms up to grab hold of the bar. She dropped down and lowered her voice. "Here’s what we’ll do..."
(11) After dinner that evening, Tag joined Ricky on his grandmother’s back porch. She unrolled her sleeping bag and took out her binoculars, flashlight, and camera. "Before it gets dark, let’s examine the bushes for clues." The detecting duo hurried to the back corner of the fenced-in yard. The blueberry bushes stood out against the backdrop of the wide, white boards. Tag knelt down to closely examine the bushes and the grass around them. As she turned around, she noticed the bottom of two of the fence boards were missing. Tag crawled over, peeked through the opening, and saw a hollow tree trunk. Tag grinned. "I think I know why the blueberries are disappearing," she said. "Now, let’s gather our proof."
(12) Tag handed the camera to Ricky, hung the binoculars around her neck, and grabbed the flashlight. As the night grew darker, Tag’s appreciation of the full moon expanded. She had discovered her flashlight beam wasn’t strong enough to reach the back corner of the yard. It was almost midnight when Tag saw the telltale beady eyes coming through the gap in the fence. When the eyes moved into the moonlight, Tag saw that it wasn’t a burglar…it was burglars! She glanced at Ricky, who had dozed off, and nudged him awake. Ricky rubbed his eyes and squinted in the direction Tag was pointing. "Monster!" he yelped, his voice splitting through the silence in the yard.
(13) "You frightened it," Tag whispered, as the beady-eyed creature rolled over onto its side. "It’s an opossum. It must be a mother because it was giving the babies a ride on its back."
(14) Looking at the lifeless creature, Ricky groaned, "I didn’t mean to scare it to death. What happened to the babies?"
(15) "It’s not dead," Tag assured Ricky. "It’s playing ’possum, and the babies are hiding inside their mother’s pouch. Let’s sit silently, and we’ll catch those blueberry burglars red-handed."
(16) Tag and Ricky sat in quiet anticipation until the opossum returned to its feet. One by one, the babies climbed out of the pouch and scurried back onto their mother’s back. Minutes later, the opossum family was dining on the sweetest blueberries in the county. Tag stretched out her arm and pointed at the opossum as she whispered, "Tag, you’re it." Then she added, "Case solved!"