2011 Totem Head Story Contest Finalist: "The Mathbook Murder" By Liam O'Brien, 9 years old, Carmel, Indiana.
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The Mathbook Murder
Written By:   Liam O'Brien, 9 years old, Carmel, Indiana.

So there I was, sitting at my desk. It was 2:15 on a cold afternoon. A math book jerked open my door. He stepped in, and a cold breeze of hatred blew my papers across the room. He stepped forward and slammed his hand on my desk. The book gave me a sly look. If looks could kill, the math book would be a wanted criminal.

"I’ve got a problem, and I need you to solve it." The math book’s words shot out like a bullet.

"Well, I’ve got a problem, too. I need you to get out of my office," I replied. But the book didn’t move a page muscle. He just stood there. I could tell his case was serious because he didn’t leave.

He took me to the scene of the crime. This could’ve been recent because the pencil marks were fresh. The book opened his mouth again. I guess this won’t be a silent crime.

"A pal of mine got hit with one of those torture devices," he said. "Um, I think they’re called penkills."

"Pencils," I corrected him. Math books--all pages, no brains.

He forwarded the conversation. "Right. Pencil."

"So how did this happen?" I asked.

"Well, um, I was driving home, and I saw him just lying there, you know," he answered, nervously.

"Hmmm. Interesting." I wrote his name down in the suspects section of my notebook. He got tense.

"What are you writing?" he asked.

"My shopping list," I replied.

"But you’re only 9 years old!"

He had a point there. "What’s his name?" I asked.


What the heckball kind of name is that, I wondered.

As the math book left, I noticed that the marks on his friend’s cover looked as if--when you stepped back-- they read "Detective BLA." What could that mean? Bacon Lettuce Angus? Right then, I noticed that a chunk of the cover was missing. I had to get home and solve this case. Also, it was Chili Taco night at my house. Mmmm. Got to love those chili tacos!

At midnight, I emailed the FBI. "We had Detective BLA"…Aww, pickles—computer shortout. Good thing I’m great at repowering things.

I had two options to repower the computer: 1. Use Dad’s I-phone. 2. Use my brother’s DS. I used my brother’s DS. ZZSHWIZZOUP.

Score! I saw the last two letters of his name: C and K. I typed in Detective Black. . . Search. . . America’s most wanted criminal!

His top three most famous and destructive crimes came up:

#3. Robbing a chili factory. Not too bad.
#2. Robbing a taco factory. That would be a nightmare...Oh no, wait-
#1. Robbing a CHILI TACO factory! -- Aaahhhhh!
And his average crime—murder.

I found his signature online and compared it with the handwriting on the math book. Bingo.

I did some more research on Detective Black and found out he has impeccable eyesight and a sixth sense of see-through vision. And his favorite number is 9. Should come in handy, I guess.

But how would I get elite help? Cops wouldn’t do. I needed people who are big, strong and Japanese, because everything is cool in Japan. I had just the people!

Later I walked into Detective Black’s office with the Nintendo and GameFreak presidents, Yoshi and Yoshi. I stood in front of his desk and said, "You’re under arrest."

Then he said, "Okay, sure. But how is a child going to stop me?"

"Don’t get too cocky," I replied.

"Oh, are you going to use your Happy Meal toys to stop me?" he asked with extreme confidence. "Are you gonna make me play video games? Oh the tragedy!" he said sarcastically.

"I warned you," I grinned. "Meet Yoshi and Yoshi. They’re the presidents of Nintendo and GameFreak. But when they lived in Japan, they were also sumo wrestlers."

"Get him!" I shouted. The Yoshis attacked the detective, who was really a criminal passing himself off as a detective.

My work here is done.

Link to Free Writing Contest for Kids

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