Pigs belonging to Lucy Fibbs and Carl Benton – Gwendoline and Alfred, respectively – had been stolen and a Hurricanes hat was found at the scene of the crime. The Hurricanes seemed to be like the Lions – Tigers, but older.
Carl suspected that Gwendoline and Alfred were taken because they won top prizes at the obedience test of the previous year’s pet show. With the pigs out of the running the following year, the Hurricanes’ dogs had a better chance at winning.
Carl said that he got a phone call from a public phone saying that the pigs would be returned the day after the pet show. Carl didn’t believe the caller, so he had the caller put Alfred up to the phone, because he could recognize Alfred’s grunts. The caller didn’t have enough money to extend the call, so he had Carl call the number. He called the number (ZA6-7575) and was reassured by Alfred’s grunts.
Carl insisted that Encyclopedia go to the Hurricanes’ hideout – which was six miles out of town, by the way – to question them. He biked down with Carl and Lucy and the Hurricane members denied stealing the pigs. As crazy as it may sound, the Hurricanes were telling the truth, and Encyclopedia knew this.
He knew this because the public phone’s supposed number had a ‘Z’ in it, and phones at that time didn’t have ‘Z’s (or ‘Q’s). Carl’s plan was to steal Gwendoline and tell Lucy that Alfred had been stolen as well. He also stole a Hurricanes hat – I have no idea how – so that he would have a scapegoat. Then, Alfred would “escape” in time for the show. And with Gwendoline out of the running, Alfred would win. He went through all of that so that his pig could win a pet obedience contest. How pathetically sad is this boy to go through so much trouble with so little in return?
Once again, the bad guy got tripped up by giving too much information. Carl could have skipped that entire part of the story where the caller didn’t have enough change and needed to call him back. Then he wouldn’t have to make up a phone number, which he wasn’t even able to do properly. Why did Carl bother using the letters in the phone number if that practice died out sometime during in the mid-‘60s? So, not only was using letters in the phone number antiquated and unnecessary, it’s what eventually burned him.
And if Encyclopedia recognized that that was an impossible phone number, why did he bother biking six miles out of town and risk a run-in with the Hurricanes? He could have saved everyone the trouble and pointed out that Carl was shitty at making up fake phone numbers.