An Unbearable MysteryMystery teasers are little stories where you need to figure out what happened based on the given clues.
It was Detective QuickWit's first day on the job in Middleboorn MD. He had been called down to "Uncle Walt's Traveling Circus Fantastic" to investigate the deaths of two local teenagers.
Bill and Ben Brook had been found dead, locked inside of Willy Bearish's Dancing Bear Chuck's cage. Both boys were covered in bite and claw marks, leaving them nearly torn to shreds. Upon approaching the crime scene, the detective noticed two local cops accosting Mr. Bearish rather savagely.
"Now wise up, Bub, and just confess, we know ya did it!"
The old man shook his head. "No no, it wasn't me. Sure, them kids bothered the livin outta me but I'd never lock 'em in there with Chuck!"
The detective walked over calmly. "Alright, now what is all this?"
"This here old man, he's the one ya want. He locked those two kids in there so his bear could maul 'em! People heard him threaten the kids on several occasions."
"But, officer, they were threatening me too! And I never once said I'd lock em up with Chuck to get mauled! You think I'd wish that on anyone?"
"Now hold on here, let me get the whole story before I hear you flinging accusations, officer," the detective interrupted.
The officers calmed down to explain to Quickwit exactly what the situation was. It seems that Bill and Ben belonged to an animal rights group. This group had been organizing protests against the circus months before it came into town. They were all up in arms about the pony rides and the trick dogs but what really lit their fire was Chuck, the dancing grizzly bear.
Chuck had been hand-raised since he was a cub by Willy and had been trained to dance and perform tricks for the circus. Willy insisted that not only was Chuck well-cared for but that he LOVED performing. Still, the protests continued.
Bill and Ben had been not only harassing but outright threatening Willy if he didn't let the bear go. Willy tried to explain to them that Chuck wouldn't last too long in the wilderness being hand-raised and all, but they would have none of it. Several workers at the circus had witnessed these confrontations, although none could say for sure if Willy had threatened to harm the kids in any way. However, it was said that the boys seemed determined to free Chuck with any means possible.
The detective pondered over what he had heard for a moment, before continuing. "What evidence, aside from threats, have you discovered that lead you to believe that Willy here locked the kids in deliberately?" he asked.
"Well, we already figured the kids had died some time around 11-12 pm last night. Now the whole circus was out celebrating the bearded lady's thirtieth
birthday last night and old Willy here was seen leaving at 10 last night."
"I already told you officers that I wasn't feeling well at all. I had a bad reaction to the shrimp served at the party. I went home to lie down."
"And you didn't hear anything when you got here?"
"Nope, my trailer is all the way in the front of the lot. All the animals are kept here in the back, plus I took some heavy meds to help me sleep, and with my age and all, I can hardly hear anything anymore!"
"Cut making excuses, old man, and tell the detective about the key."
"What key?" asked the detective.
"The key to the bear cage. Seems our friend here just had to get a new one for the brand new lock on it and he hasn't had time to make a copy for anyone."
"Is that true?"
The old man sadly nodded. "Yep, Chuck nearly chewed the old lock off once. Had to replace it yesterday. I didn't have time to make a copy what with the party and all."
"What did you do with the old key?"
"I threw it out, detective. No reason to keep it."
"Did you see anyone else on the grounds?"
"Nope, detective; there's no way to get in the front anyway. The back, maybe, but you'd need a ladder to get over the fence but there's an electric one out front. No getting in there.
Quickwit nodded once more. "Alright officers, you escort Mr. Bearish back to his trailer and wait outside it for me. I'm going to check out the crime scene now."
The officers left with Mr. Bearish while Quickwit went to the bear's cage. Chuck had been sedated and moved by animal control already, but the bodies of Ben and Bill were left in place.
Quickwit looked around in disgust. The boys were ripped apart and blood was splattered all over, even the bear's water pool was filled with bloody water. Both boys were laying near the still locked cage door; near them lay a bent and filthy key and a pair of wire cutters.
Quickwit looked up at the roof of the twenty foot high cage. While the sides were constructed of metal bars, the top of the cage was covered in metal mesh and some of the mesh was bent around the middle. Outside the cage a large ladder lay against the back.
After this quick glance around, Quickwit strode back to the officers.
"I think you owe Mr. Bearish an apology, " he said.
"What we have here, officers, is a sad and ironic accident, but no murder. And I think speaking to some of Ben and Bills' animal activist friends will confirm what I think."
What clues did Detective Quickwit find?
And what really happened to Ben and Bill?
HintThink about what Quickwit saw at the crime scene.
AnswerQuickwit's first clue was the damaged mesh roof of the cage. His second clue was the wire cutters.
"Why would Mr. Bearish cut open the top of his bear's cage to throw in Ben and Bill? Didn't he have a key of his own? He could have pushed the boys in the front door, and since Chuck was used to him, most likely he would have attacked the boys first."
Quickwit's next clue was the ladder against the cage back.
"Any ideas how it got there, and why it was there in the first place officers?"
They had no answer.
"Simple," continued Quickwit. "The old man himself said you'd need a ladder to get in the back over the fence. The front wasn't safe because of the electric, and besides, the boys wanted to get into the cage so it made sense that they go in through the back.
"Say what, detective?"
"This was my last clue," said the detective holding up the bent key.
"Why, that's my old key!" cried Bearish, "But I threw it away!"
"You did, which may have been a mistake, but you could not have known the boys would do something so foolish."
"Detective, are you saying that Ben and Bill put themselves into the bear cage?"
"Yes, I am, officers. They used the ladder to safely get over the fence in the back, and then used it to climb on top of the bear's cage. They used these wire cutters to get into the cage and were going to use this key to open the front door to set Chuck free."
"But that key doesn't work for that new lock," cried Bearish.
"Yes, you and I know that, but Bill and Ben did not. They must have found the key near your trailer while visiting the circus and planned to use it to free Chuck.
"You mean they locked themselves in with the bear?!"
"I'm sorry to say, but yes they did. Chuck, being a very territorial grizzly bear, must have been woken up by the sounds of Ben and Bill trying desperately to open the lock which is why the key is bent. Chuck smelled the strangers and attacked them. No one was back here to hear them cry for help and they foolishly did not bring a rope to help them get back out of the cage, because they thought they could get out through the front door."
Quickwit and the officers excused Mr. Bearish and went to speak to Ben and Bill's animal activists friends. They admitted they knew about the boy's plan, but foolishly did nothing to stop them.
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