The Mysterious Cases of Mr. Pin

The Mysterious Cases of Mr. Pin by Mary Elise Monsell

Book: The Mysterious Cases of Mr. Pin by Mary Elise Monsell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Elise Monsell
1
    The sky was dark. The air was cold. It had been days since Mr. Pin left his home at the South Pole to be a detective in Chicago.
    A black wing pulled the bus cord at Wabash Street. The driver watched as Mr. Pin hopped out of the bus into a swarm of snowflakes.
    â€œMind your step,” the driver said.
    The door creaked shut and the bus headed west. Mr. Pin headed north.
    He was at home in Chicago. It was cold.
    Mr. Pin was a rock hopper penguin, mostly black and white, with long yellow plumes on both sides of his head. He wore a checked cap and a red muffler. A mysterious black bag was tucked under his wing.
    Suddenly a rock hit a streetlight. Glass splintered. A black car squealed around the corner and disappeared.
    Mr. Pin picked up the rock. A note was attached.
    â€œPay up or else,” it said.
    â€œCould be trouble,” Mr. Pin said out loud, putting the rock into his black bag. “Looks like I arrived in Chicago just in time.”
    Just ahead was a diner— Smiling Sally’s Good Food .
    I wonder if the rock was meant for that diner, thought Mr. Pin.
    The windows were iced over. A light was on, and Mr. Pin went inside. The diner was empty except for a smiling lady standing behind a curved counter.
    â€œI’m Sally,” she said.
    â€œI’m Mr. Pin,” he said, shedding his cap. “Detective Pin—reasonable rates.”
    â€œWe need a detective around here,” said Sally. “There’s been trouble.”
    â€œTrouble?” asked Mr. Pin as he hopped up onto a stool.
    â€œGangsters,” said Sally with a shiver. “But you don’t look like you’re from around here,” she added, spinning a cup in her hand.
    â€œI travel a lot, but I’m from the South Pole,” said Mr. Pin, resting his beak on the counter.
    â€œWant something cold?” asked Sally, her eyes twinkling.
    â€œI like ice cream,” said Mr. Pin. “Especially chocolate.” He took off his muffler and fanned his feathers so they would dry.
    â€œChocolate ice cream coming right up,” said Sally. “No charge.”

    â€œThank you,” said Mr. Pin, nodding his head sleepily.
    â€œNo reason why big cities can’t have big hearts. Just call me Sally or Smiling Sally. This is my place, so I do what I want. Food’s good and you meet interesting people. Where did you say you’re from?”
    Suddenly, with a blast of cold air, two very mean-looking customers stormed in. Sally dropped a whole tray of clean cups.
    Mr. Pin sat up with a start.
    Gangsters! he thought. He hopped behind a counter and grabbed a heavy rag mop. Mr. Pin was ready for trouble.
    The two thugs wore shiny black shoes and trench coats with the collars pulled up to their ears. One was short. One was tall and big. The short one did the talking.
    â€œAll right, Sally,” he said, “where’s our money?”
    â€œI don’t have the money,” said Sally. “Business has been bad since the weather’s been so cold.”
    â€œMaybe you should charge more money,” said the thug with a sneer as he mashed sugar cubes with a saltshaker.
    â€œYeah, and stop giving away so much food,” said the tall one.
    â€œI’ll do the talking, Jake,” snapped the short one.
    â€œHey, Mac, what’s that?” asked Jake as Mr. Pin darted past. “Looked like a penguin.”
    â€œIt’s just a waiter,” sniffed Mac.
    â€œBusiness can’t be that bad, boss. He was wearing a tuxedo,” said Jake.
    â€œYeah,” said Mac to Sally. “We want our money by midnight tomorrow or we’ll blow up your diner.” Mac pulled out a smelly cigar. Jake lit it and the two left to a waiting limousine.
    Mr. Pin slipped out the back and watched the car pull away. It was the same black car Mr. Pin had seen when the streetlight was broken!

2
    The next morning, Mr. Pin woke to the smell of warm cinnamon rolls and the sound of an

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