Ericka and the Urn

Part 2

by Mara

Jimmy came clomping down the stairs and took in the situation. "Hmm," he said in his usual goofy manner. "Looks like we have a case of whodunit."

Mom smiled despite the situation. "I wish someone would clarify that point for me. Someone did it. Lying won't help any of you." She resumed her earlier severe posture. "I could punish all of you...."

We all looked at each other. No one said anything.

"All right, I guess you're all grounded until someone admits to the crime."

"Uggg," my brothers and I groaned at the same time. This was the worst week to get grounded.

"Mom," Rick said, "This is fair week." By that he meant the annual 4-H fair. There were rides, lots of food, and even teen dances to attend. My older brother was obviously thinking about all the girls he would miss out on meeting.

"Yes, and that is Grandpa, spilled all over my carpet." Mom had spoken. She certainly wouldn't go back on her word.

We trudged back upstairs, grousing the whole way.

"Just admit it, Ricky, and save the rest of us suffering. You're the one with the baseball," I fumed.

"I would," he said angrily, "if I had done it."

Jimmy, always logical, perked up. "What if we could find out who really did it.? You know, like crime investigators. Dick Tracy!"

"Yeah, that would be great. If none of us did it," I gave a sidelong glance to Ricky. "We could prove to Mom that it was just a freak accident."

"Yeah," Jimmy said. "Or maybe, Grandpa wants out of his confines."

Ricky and I rolled our eyes. "Oh, brother."


The Slate crack investigation team fanned out through the house. I took the living room, Jimmy took upstairs, and Rick took basement, hoping to find clues. It wasn't long before one surfaced.

An excited yell came from the stairs. "Grandpa dust!" Ricky and I both raced up the stairs to where Jimmy was standing at the top. He was pointing to a spot on the carpet. "It's the right color," he said.

"It sure is," Ricky said. "And it's small, kind of like a tiny footprint."

"Kind of round," I said.

"Like a cat paw..."

"Tacitus!" We said in unison. Our cat had the be the culprit. It was just the kind of stunt that grumpy old cat would pull, too.

We ran down the stairs once again, and headed for the laundry room, where Tacitus could often be found snoozing on the dryer.

He was there, and covered in dust. "Yuck," I said. He's covered in Grandpa's ashes."

"Creepy," Ricky said.

"Welp," I said. "Looks like we are off the hook." I grabbed the guilty cat and headed for the kitchen, where Mom was preparing dinner.

"The guilty party," I said with little fanfare. "Shall we punish him?" No one in my family liked Tacitus much, except for my dad.

"Oh dear," My mom's face softened and then she began to laugh as she looked at our dust-covered cat. "He's covered in Grandpa. I'm sorry, kids, I just assumed." She clapped a hand over her mouth, trying desperately not to laugh at our fat and sassy cat. "Throw him outside."

Sissy, in her high chair, laughed as well. "Kitty dirty, Dirty Kitty," she said.

I grabbed Tacitus by the collar and flung him out the back door unceremoniously.

Later in the evening, when Dad came home, we told him the whole story.

"He must have rolled in it, because he was covered," I said.

Dad smiled as he helped set the table. "Cats have little respect for the dead. Um, where's Grandpa now?"

Mom smiled and opened a cupboard door. "In this Tupperware, until we can find him a more suitable container."

Dad smiled at the oddity of it all. "Well, looks like you five had an interesting day."

Sissy smiled as Dad picked her up. "Cactus bad kitty, ate Grandpa."

From the door, a scratching noise could be heard. It was Tacitus, hoping for an end to his punishment. "Meow," he said.


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