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  • Welcome to Storyline Online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

  • I'm Wanda Sykes and today I'm going to be reading The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake

  • written by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke.

  • Boys and girls, this case is about thieves on Ed's farm.

  • The names have been changed to protect the good guys.

  • Over 100 animals live on this farm.

  • Most work. Some horse around. Others steal.

  • That's where I come in.

  • My name is Detective Wilcox.

  • And I'm a policemouse.

  • The boss is Captain Griswold.

  • We're MFIs, Missing Food Investigators.

  • It's our job to investigate cases of missing food.

  • Whatever the food, whatever the crime, we make the bad guys do the time.

  • It was 10:00 Monday morning.

  • The captain and I were working the day shift when we got our first call.

  • Chapter 1: Case File #1113

  • The Missing Carrot Cake

  • 10:00 am, Headquarters

  • Wilcox, here. Headquarters.”

  • Hello, this is Miss Rabbit.”

  • How can I help you?” I asked.

  • My cake is gone!”

  • What cake?” I asked.

  • The cake I baked for my party tomorrow!”

  • Stay calm, ma'am. We'll be right there,” I said.

  • Captain, we've got a Code 12 — a missing cake!”

  • We grabbed some cheese donuts for the road and rushed to our squad car.

  • We headed north across the farm, past the pigpen and chicken coop,

  • straight to Miss Rabbit's hole.

  • Traffic was lightonly a couple of chickens crossing the road.

  • Chapter 2: The Crime Scene

  • 10:15 am, Home of Miss Rabbit

  • We parked in front of Miss Rabbit's hole.

  • We didn't see anyone, but we could hear a voice.

  • Down here,” called Miss Rabbit.

  • We slid down the rabbit hole and landed in the kitchen.

  • Cake crumbs, carrots, and frosting were EVERYWHERE

  • on the table, on the floor, and all over Miss Rabbit.

  • Detective Wilcox, ma'am, and Captain Griswold, MFIs,” I said, flashing my badge.

  • Can you tell us what happened?”

  • I pulled out my pen and notepad.

  • Note-taking is essential for any MFI.

  • “I baked a cake for my party tomorrow,” said Miss Rabbit.

  • And now it's gone!”

  • What kind of cake?” I asked.

  • “A carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.”

  • Hmm... I wondered which animals liked carrot cake.

  • Where was the cake?” I asked.

  • Right here, on the kitchen table.

  • I left it to cool and when I came back, there was a big mess and no cake!”

  • Miss Rabbit sobbed.

  • The captain handed her a hankie.

  • Thank you,” sniffled Miss Rabbit.

  • When did all this happen?” I asked.

  • Probably between 8:00 and 10:00 this morning.”

  • Any guess who might have done this?” I probed.

  • I noticed Miss Rabbit was wiping frosting off of her pajamas, whiskers, and nose.

  • She clearly hadn't had time for her morning bath.

  • No!” wailed Miss Rabbit.

  • “I don't have a crumb of an idea!”

  • The captain pointed to the window in the distance.

  • Fowler the Owl was reading the newspaper in her maple tree.

  • Everyone on the farm knew that Fowler liked rabbits.

  • She liked them for breakfast.

  • She liked them for lunch.

  • She loved them for dinner.

  • Does Fowler come around here?” I asked.

  • No, she won't mess with me.

  • I have a black belt in karate!” said Miss Rabbit with a quick chop of her hind legs.

  • And ma'am, whom did you invite to the party?”

  • Porcini and Hot Dog.

  • You don't think either of them is the thief, do you?”

  • Too soon to tell.”

  • I snapped shut the cover of my notepad.

  • The captain checked the door.

  • I checked the windows.

  • There was no sign of a break-in.

  • Could it be an inside job?

  • Does anyone have a key to your rabbit hole?” I asked.

  • Miss Rabbit shook her head, sending crumbs and frosting flying.

  • One last question. Where were you when the cake was taken?”

  • “I was taking a quick catnap.”

  • Hmm... a catnap.

  • Such an odd thing for a bunny to do.

  • I taped off the crime scene.

  • The captain dusted for prints and took photos.

  • This case was going to be a hard nut to crack.

  • A hard nut indeed.

  • Chapter 3: Suspects and Clues

  • 11:00 am, Fowler's Maple Tree

  • Suspect #1

  • Hoo-hoo,” said Fowler, peeking her head out of her hole.

  • What brings you two tasty treats to my tree?”

  • Investigating a case,” I said, holding up my badge.

  • Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold, MFIs.

  • Where were you between 8:00 and 10:00 this morning?”

  • “I was chasing a field mouse.”

  • Do you have any witnesses?”

  • If someone had seen her, she'd have an alibi.

  • There was one, but I ate him.”

  • The captain shot her hisdon't-mess-with-this-mouselook.

  • I shot her mine.

  • You know it's 30 years behind bars if you eat an officer on this farm,” I warned.

  • You don't want to be a jailbird now, do you?”

  • Of course not!

  • Besides, I like my meals tender.

  • Everyone knows MFIs are too hardboiled to make good eats.”

  • I chose to ignore that last comment.

  • The captain glared at her with his “I'll-show-you-who's-hardboiledlook.

  • Your tree faces Miss Rabbit's hole.

  • Have you seen anyone come or go from Miss Rabbit's in the last four hours?”

  • Just Miss Rabbit and the two of you.

  • What's this all about anyway?” asked Fowler.

  • “A cake,” I said.

  • “A rabbit cake?” asked Fowler.

  • “I love rabbit cake, especially with mouse frosting.”

  • I scowled. “No, a carrot cake.”

  • “I don't know anything about a missing carrot cake.”

  • Fowler fluffed up her feathers, all innocent-like.

  • “I didn't say it was missing.”

  • You wouldn't be here if it were found,” said Fowler.

  • Tell us what you know.”

  • I pulled out my trusty notepad again.

  • Or if you prefer, we can finish this talk down at the station.”

  • Fowler frowned, but she gave me the scoop.

  • Miss Rabbit baked a cake all right.

  • A carrot cake, like you said.

  • I could smell that awful thing all the way up here.

  • And then she took a walk in her pajamas.”

  • In her pajamas?” I asked.

  • That's odd. Where did she go?”

  • Toward Porcini's.

  • Look, I'm not a tattletelling parrot, but if you ask me,

  • that sneaky porker, Porcini, is your thief.

  • He could sniff out a breadcrumb on the moon.

  • And he'll eat anything, too. Even vegetables!”

  • Thanks for the tip.” I pocketed my notepad.

  • And don't fly out of town any time soon.”

  • The captain and I rushed to the squad car.

  • Next stop, Porcini's.

  • Frankly, this case was moving slower than molasses.

  • Slower than molasses indeed.

  • 11:45 am, Porcini's Pigpen

  • Suspect #2

  • Hey, Porcini!” I yelled, as we arrived at the pen.

  • Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold here. MFIs, on a case.”

  • The captain waved his badge in front of Porcini's snout.

  • What were you doing between 8:00 and 10:00 this morning?” I asked.

  • “I was resting up between meals, like I always do, when Miss Rabbit stopped by.”

  • Porcini snuffled around the squad car.

  • He must have smelled the cheese donuts!

  • The captain pushed the pig away and flashed him one of his toughest glares.

  • When was this exactly?” I asked.

  • “I'm not sure, maybe around 9:00.”

  • Porcini waddled back to his sty, slurping up banana peels on his way.

  • And what did she want?”

  • Strangely enough, she didn't say.

  • But she sure was acting like a funny bunny.”

  • Funny ha ha or funny odd?” I asked.

  • She didn't say a wordnot even a peep

  • when I asked if she wanted a nice hot cup of slop!

  • And she was still wearing her pajamas.

  • So I walked her back home, like the polite pig I am.”

  • And is that when you took the cake?” I asked.

  • Porcini's cheeks turned the color of a red hot chili pepper.

  • “I may take the cake as the best corn thief in town,

  • but sirs, I am not a common cake thief!

  • Oink!”

  • The captain handed me Porcini's rap sheet.

  • That's a record of arrests for all you non-cops.

  • It was a mile long for corn robberies, but he had no cake priors.

  • Seems like you've spent some time in the pen,” I said,

  • hoping his reaction would give me a clue.

  • Why peck at the past?

  • I did my time and now I'm clean.

  • I bet Hot Dog ate the cake.

  • That slobbering hound has a sweet tooth.”

  • That sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Mind if we have a look around?”

  • Go right ahead! I have nothing to hide.”

  • The captain and I waded through Porcini's muddy pen.

  • What a pigsty!” I said. “We'll never find anything here.”

  • The captain twitched his whiskers and nodded.

  • Let's hope Hot Dog has some answers,” I said.

  • And that his place isn't as stinky!”

  • Truth to tell, this case was inching along slower than ketchup out of a bottle.

  • Much slower indeed.

  • 12:00 pm, Dirt Road Leading to Hot Dog's House

  • Captain, stop the car!” I shouted.

  • There's something up ahead. It's orange.”

  • The captain grabbed his magnifying glass and tweezers.

  • He picked up the object.

  • “A carrot!” I said.

  • I ran back to the squad car to get the crime scene photos.

  • This carrot matches the ones we found in Miss Rabbit's kitchen.

  • We're onto something.”

  • The captain twitched his tail furiously. He pointed.

  • Another carrot.” I picked it up.

  • And right by the front door, the captain found two more.

  • Looks like Hot Dog's got himself in a bit of a pickle,” I said.

  • “A pickle indeed.”

  • 12:05 pm, Dog House

  • Suspect #3

  • Knock. Knock.

  • The captain rapped on the door.

  • Open up! MFIs!” I called out.

  • The door opened slowly. I shouldered my way in.

  • Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold here!” I announced.

  • Is that carrot cake I smell?”

  • “I don't smell anything,” said Hot Dog.

  • For a dog, that was a pretty incredible claim.

  • He was surprisingly cool as a cucumber.

  • The captain tapped me on the shoulder.

  • He pointed to the flour, eggs, milk, vanilla, carrots, and dog biscuits on the kitchen table.

  • What's all that?” I asked.

  • Breakfast.”

  • Looks like cake ingredients to me,” I said.

  • If you don't spill the beans now, we're going to finish this talk down at the station.”

  • The captain flashed hisyou're-in-hot-water-nowlook.

  • All right, I admit it!

  • I baked a cake, but I didn't take the cake!” Hot Dog insisted.

  • What do you mean? Give us the facts and just the facts.”

  • I pulled out my notepad.

  • “I did go over to Miss Rabbit's,

  • but only to see if she needed help setting up for her party.”

  • What happened?” I grilled him.

  • “I knocked on the door.

  • Nobody answered. So I peeked in the window.

  • And that's when I saw cake crumbs, carrots, and frosting EVERYWHERE

  • on the table, on the floor, and all over Miss Rabbit's bathrobe,

  • which was right in the middle of the mess!”

  • Now that I thought about it, I'd expect an apron, not a bathrobe.

  • And then what happened?”

  • I started taking notes.

  • “I heard someone coming. I panicked and ran home.”

  • The captain made histhat's-the-fishiest-story-I-ever-heardface.

  • Woof 's honor!” Hot Dog protested.

  • “I felt so bad that Miss Rabbit's cake was gone, I decided to bake her another one.”

  • Captain, dollars to donuts, he's telling the truth.

  • Look at these prints from the crime scene.

  • The thief has small, narrow feet.

  • Hot Dog's paws are big and wide.

  • He couldn't be the thief.”

  • With no more suspects, this investigation was scraping the bottom of the apple barrel.

  • Think. Think. Think.

  • The captain and I started to pace.

  • One, two, three steps forward.

  • One, two, three steps back.

  • I grabbed a donut from my pocket.

  • Cheese donuts always helped me think.

  • And sure enough, that's when it hit me.

  • Holy cannoli, Captain! I've got a plan.

  • Hot Dog, we'll need your cake.

  • With some luck, maybe we'll catch our thief red-handed.

  • Or frosting-handed as the case may be!”

  • Chapter 4: Video Surveillance and Stakeout

  • 12:30 pm, Fowler's Maple Tree