Tuesday, September 29, 2009

13. Snooze

Waiting in the nicely-appointed used shell, I lay down on the built-in and very comfortable bed.

Very nice!

I was more and more convinced that the hermit crabs--who are always looking for a better shell it seems--are really on to a good idea!

In fact, the bed and the quiet and the snug security of the shell worked on me like a tranquilizer and I soon fell sound asleep!

I had no idea how long I had snoozed when I was awakened by a very soft swishing sound--the sound a paint brush might make painting a mysterious sign on a mollusk shell!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

12. Stakeout

In the evening I ambled down to the Opihi Colony and saw that--true to his word--Al the Used Shell Salesman had arranged for a nice shell for my stake-out.

I didn't want to be seen moving in so I quickly backed into the shell and waited for a few moments, listening.

I was pretty sure I had not been seen--so now all I had to do was wait.

I felt sure that whoever was responsible for the peculiar signs on the other mollusk shells would definitely be tempted by the clean white exterior of this shell! Al had chosen right!

Meanwhile I took the opportunity of looking around me.

This shell looked pretty good to me. Everything necessary and nothing unneeded. Safe and snug.

Not bad.

Maybe the hermit crabs had a good idea after all!

I settled down for what I hoped would not be too long a wait.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

11. Disguise

As I expected, my old friend Al the Used Shell Salesman popped up as soon as I got close to his shell lot. He smiled broadly and welcomed me warmly, also as I expected--I guess used shell salesmen are all pretty much alike...

"Constable Crab, you old son-of-a-gun! Good to see ya again! REALLY GOOD! Now--What can I do ya for?"

"Al there is something suspicious going on around here and I want to get to the bottom of it!"

"Why sure, Consatable! I'm yer man--as always! Shoot yer request!"

"It is simple, Al--I need to borrow one of your shells."

"Surely yer not gonna become a HERMIT crab, Consyable? Not after all these years as a lawman!?"

"No, Al--much simpler than that! I need a shell to use as a DISGUISE. I am going to have to go undercover to find out what's going on!"

"Anything I can do, Constaboil! I'm yer man, as I said before! No charge! Free Gratis! Take yer pick! I suppose yer wants one of the latest models? Right over hear I've got some DOOZIES! They're LOADED!"

"Just something simple, Al. And I expect I'll only need it overnight. And could you deliver it over to a place near the Opihi Colony, please?"

"Natch, Constabibble! I'm yer man! How about that white number over there at the back of the lot! It's NICE! When shall I drop it off?"

"That will do just fine, Al. If you drop it off this evening before nightfall, please. I would like to be snugly installed inside it before dark..."

"DONE, Constabill! It shall be there or my name is NOT Al the Used Shell Salesman, Ha! Hah!"

We shook on the deal and I went off to prepare for the night's adventure.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

10. Going Undercover

These markings were too much and too many! Something definitely had to be done--and this was MY beat.

I was going to have to take action.

Evidently some young crab was up to something fishy and it was up to ME to find out WHAT and WHY.

Since the deed seemed to be done while the good residents of this part of the sea were asleep--I was going to have to go undercover--and that meant a trip to my old friend Al the Used Shell salesman!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 Footprints

The area where the opihi's rocks stood was, as usual, near the high tide mark since opihis like to live submerged sometimes and high, but NOT dry sometimes.

And, very lucky for my investigation, the rocks were surrounded by nice, yellow sand.

Almost immediately I noticed footprints--faded in the moving water--but still visible in the sand surrounding the opihi's rocks!

And these footprints I could easily identify--because to my great surprise, they were CRAB footprints!

Crabs of my own kind--but young! Younger than me, for sure!

Was it possible that a CRAB was making the mysterious marks on the mollusk shells?!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

8. Surprised Opihi

I walked over to the largest Opihi shell and knocked.

"Hello, deah!" answered the opihi and looked out of his shell. "W'at's happenin' Bro?"

"Good morning." I replied, "I am Constable Crab and I would like to know the meaning of the markings on your shell--and on the shells of all your colonist friends."

"Ain't no markin's on US, Bro!"

"Oh, but there ARE! Just look around at all of your fellow colonists!"

"Well, pop my makas! They ARE marked--but I got NO idea what it all means, Bro! We nevah done nothin' like dat befo' !"

"If it is all right with you, I would like to look around here a bit--there is some mystery going on in this area--several of your mollusk neighbors have also been marked and I would like to get to the bottom of it!"

"O' course, Bro! Look around all you like! We got nothin' to hide!"


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

7. A Marked Opihi Colony


What I saw in the Opihi Colony was BEYOND BELIEF!

Opihis are small sort of volcano-cone shaped mollusks from Hawaii and they had been coming to our part of the sea in increasing numbers lately.

What I SAW was that practically EVERY opihi shell in the colony was marked with the same strange characters I had seen on the other mollusks!

I had literally NEVER seen anything REMOTELY like it in my entire life!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

6. Sally Scallop

You couldn't miss the strange markings on Sally Scallop's shell.

It was perplexing, but I thought I should ask her what she thought about it--and since she was just setting out on a slow scallop stroll, I walked along beside her.

"Do you have ANY idea about these shell markings--what they mean or who is responsible for them?" I asked her.

"No, Constable--I really haven't the foggiest--but if you think My case is odd, you should take a look at the opihi colony down at the end of the sandy path! They take the cake, as they say, for MARKINGS!"

So I hurried on down the sandy path.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

5. Perhaps a Clue

"Now that is wonderful strange, Constable! Because just yesterday I was noticing some peculiar markin's on Sally Scallop's shell when I dropped by to pass the time of day!

She hadn't the foggiest notion as to HOW they got there-- any mor'n I do about how I got the markin's ya' say I have got now!

She lives just the other side o' this big rock, Constable--why don't ya' ast HER about HER strange markins' ?"

"Thanks, Bill, I will!" I said. "I want to get to the bottom of this mystery!"

And I set off around the big rock.