2012 Totem Head Story Contest Finalist:"San Jose Murder" By Alan Chen, 11 years old, Menomonee Falls, WI.
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2012 Contest Finalist

San Jose Murder
Written By:   Alan Chen, 11 years old, menomonee Falls, WI.

So there I was, walking to my friend Mathieu’s house. He had called me previously and told me to meet him at his house. Soon, I arrived.


I waited patiently as Mathieu opened the door, and invited me in.

"Hello Alan!" Mathieu said in a warm, welcoming voice.

"Hello Mathieu!"

I sat down on a couch. He took a seat on a small chair and we began talking. The two of us were business partners. We are known as the Wieden-Chen Detective Unit. We were a small private investigation collaboration. We’d solved countless crimes, from simple petty theft all the way to a multi-million dollar settlement that involved the Governor of California. We were a well-established business that was well known by the police in San Jose. We’ve been known to solve multiple crimes that left the San Jose Police Department baffled and looking for answers.

"So Mathieu, it seems as if we have another mystery on our hands!" I said.

"Ah, it’s seems as if you are correct! So yesterday at 2 P.M. a client named Margaret Bertolli called and complained of the death of her sister, Skylar. It was a common story, her sister was found dead in her bedroom. There were no traces of foul play, and no leads! The police have simply no idea as to what happened!" Mathieu explained.

"So the first step is to obviously call Margaret and arrange a meeting area where we will discuss this matter further".


He pulled out his phone and called Margaret. On the 3rd ring, she picked up the phone. 10 minutes later, we had everything figured out. We were to meet Margaret at Goldenridge Park at 4:30, so we stayed at the Wiedenfeld Residence for another hour.

After catching up with Mat, as I called him, we headed off to Goldenridge Park. It is about a five-minute walk, and the weather outside permitted for it. We were greeted with a brisk warm breeze as we opened the door. We conversed as we walked across the small bridge that spans across the San Jose River. It was just small talk, informing each other of new things in our lives.

After another couple of minutes of walking, we arrived at the park. On a bench was a young woman who I assumed was Margaret. She seemed very upset, and she had a faraway gaze in her eyes.

"Margaret?" I exclaimed in a questioning tone.

"Hello Mathieu!" She replied, standing up and outstretching her hand for a handshake.

"Actually I’m Alan, I’m Mathieu’s business partner," I informed as I firmly shook her hand.

"This is Mathieu". I told her as I gestured towards him. They introduced themselves and shook hands.

After a bit of small talk, we started the interrogation.

We conversed and asked questions for over an hour, and we learned all the details. The morning of March 2nd, two days prior to today, Margaret heard a moaning sound in her sister Anne’s bedroom. She went over to investigate, and saw her dead in her bed, in a cold sweat. She immediately called the police and told them everything that happened. The police quickly arrived and had no leads.

"They simply found nothing!" Margaret screamed, the only time she ever raised her voice at all in the deduction. "Do you know anybody that had a rough relationship with Anne?" I questioned Margaret.

"Nobody that would want to hurt her. I mean, she always was a polite and likeable person. The only person who may have had trouble with her was her co-worker Tracy."

"Tell me more about Tracy and Anne’s relationship." Mathieu told her.

"Well, they’d been longtime friends, but recently Tracy lost her job and Anne took her place at their workplace in San Jose, about 15 minutes from here."

"Interesting." I noted, almost thinking out loud. "Do you happen to know Tracy’s phone number?" I asked.

She did, and proceeded to give me the telephone number.

We both said our goodbyes, expressed our sympathy for her, and we went our separate ways.

Upon arrival of Mathieu’s house, we pieced together the information that we had gathered. Foul play was imminent, as she was too healthy to have died of a health related concern. We knew we had to talk to Tracy, the co-worker of Anne’s.

The next morning I met up with Mathieu and we both left for Tracy’s house. 10 minutes later, we strolled up to the house, and rang the doorbell. A younger aged woman answered the door.

"Hello." She greeted us, motioning towards the house.

"Hello!" We both replied at the same time.

"Come in and take a seat on the couch." She ordered in a somewhat friendly tone. Tracy was a blonde woman who I estimated was about 25 years old. Her hair was frizzed and messy, and she looked very stressed or tired.

We both followed her and she gestured to a worn couch in the living room.

As we walked over, a bright orange cat followed us.

"Oh hello there, Mr. Kitty." I said to the cat. It had an extraordinary coat, light orange with elegant black stripes. "What’s his name and how long have you had him?" I asked as I stroked the cat’s soft and silky fur.

"Oh him? He’s Pooky, and I’ve had him for quite a few years."

"How interesting."

We started with the usual "first meeting" conversation, but I quickly switched the topic to the mystery on our hands.

"So, if I understand correctly, you were friends with Anne Bertolli. Is that correct?"

"Yes, we were co-workers for a good deal of time before I was laid off and she got promoted." Tracy responded. I could tell she stiffened up and got rigid when she said the last part. I decided I wanted to prompt her a little more to see if she would reveal anymore.

"Oh really. When was this?"

"A few weeks ago."

"Were you upset by you getting laid off?"

Her facial expressions turned odd, and she expressed a bit of anger in her composure and body language. "Yes, well of course. Anytime you get fired its not exactly welcoming news."

"Of course. So where were you the night that Anne was found dead?" I interrogated.

"Oh I was actually at a bar, then I went back here." She said, patting the couch.

"You didn’t see Anne at all, did you?"

"No, the last time I saw her was at the workplace."

"I see, I guess our work here is done." I exclaimed, gesturing towards Mathieu. "I think this may be our time to go".

We said our goodbyes, and then headed towards the door. As I passed the garbage can, I saw something peculiar. I saw a large packet that was torn that said "Rat-Be-Gone, your household rat poison."

"Oh how interesting. Did you have rat problems?" I questioned casually as I pointed to the garbage can.

"Yes, I’ve them for years actually." She replied.

"Really?" I said as I turned around.

Something didn’t seem right.

"Yeah, really."

"You must be lying. Any rat problems would’ve been taken care of by this fella." I said motioning towards Pooky."

Her face gave herself away. Her face dropped, and her face became a sickly white. A bead of sweat rolled on her forehead, and I could see hear hands were damp with perspiration. She looked at the ground, and suddenly gave out.

"I confess!" Tracy screamed in a shriek. She immediately broke down into tears and wouldn’t speak for the next half hour.

We had done our part, so Mathieu called the police and informed them of the situation. We, of course, were in a small cooperation with the police, and called them before setting off on our interrogations. They came in, and the screaming blue and red lights flashed through Tracy’s dusty windows. We weren’t exactly sure as to what exactly happened to Anne Bertolli, all we know is that Tracy knows something that is linked to the apparent murder of Anne.

After the police finally got Tracy to give them the details as to what happened to Anne, they forwarded the grim information. Tracy and Anne were co-workers, and had been long time friends. However recently, Tracy’s father passed and she had very negative side effects. She developed mental issues and stopped pulling her own weight at the office. As a result, she was fired and Anne, a hard worker, was promoted to an executive position.

"Another case down." I baffled to Mathieu.

Tracy, filled with jealousy and hate, exploded that night. Tracy invited Anne over to her house, and said that they would just catch up. However, when Anne asked for juice, she slipped the rat poison into it, watered it down, and gave it to Anne. She drank it, and later that night she died after being poisoned. Tracy confessed, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder.

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