The last time we met Lucy Fibbs, her pig, Gwendolyn, had been stolen right before some pet obedience contest. This time, she feared that someone was a little too interested in her hog, Julius Caesar, who she was training in hopes of becoming the strongest pig in the world. The night before Encyclopedia and Sally came by to visit, Lucy said that she suspected one of the local boys tried to steal Julius, but was scared off by Lucy’s dog’s barking.
How would the thief hide the fact that she stole a pig from a neighbor? It’s not like pigs are easy to hide – and they’re neighbors. Also, wouldn’t the thief’s parents start asking questions about a pig mysteriously showing up? “Where did this pig come from? Oh, Lucy just gave it to you? Why? Well, I should probably call her parents and thank her. No? You don’t want me to do that? In fact, you don’t want me to look into anything you’re doing? Okay, 10-year-old son, you’re the boss. Not monitoring your child’s actions ever is good parenting.”
Conrad Benton, Morris Purvey and Andrew Wagner were always playing practical jokes on each other. Just as Lucy was showing the two detectives what Julius could do, the boys were making each other’s lives miserable as always. As Conrad was sleeping on the grass, Morris sneaked up on him and tied his shoes together. While he was doing that, Andrew had sneaked up on Morris and stuck several matches in his shoe, and lit them. Morris jumped up and yowled and did a funny dance as his foot burned. Seriously, how did Morris not see Andrew?
At that point, Encyclopedia noticed that Andrew was wet. Lucy took the detectives to her back porch and showed them the puddle of water. Earlier that day, Andrew asked Lucy for a drink of water. While he was inside, one of the other two boys balanced a bucket of water above the screen door so that it would soak him when he walked out.
Why was Andrew bugging Lucy for water? He lived nearby. He couldn’t go to his own house for that? And why were they even hanging out at Lucy’s. She didn’t seem all that happy that they were there.
Anyway, onto the business at hand: attempted pig stealing.
Lucy figured that one of the three neighbor boys was off to steal her pig, so she set a trap. She wrote up a book describing what she fed Julius and showed the three boys where she kept it. She figured that the boy who wanted to steal the pig would be satisfied with stealing a book laying out the pig’s diet. That’s assuming diet is the only factor to creating a super strong pig.
Why would Lucy give away her secrets? She wouldn’t. The diet in the book was fake. It was all part of her not-so brilliant plan. She would catch one of the boys stealing the book and then assume that he was the one who tried to steal the pig.
I disagree. Just because someone stole a book giving the pig’s diet doesn’t mean they tried to steal the pig. Maybe one of the boys thought, “Wow, [blank] is an idiot because he tried to steal a pig. No way that would have worked. If I stole that book, that could be the first step to training a pig like Julius. Plus, it would be easier to get away with it because books are easier to hide than living, breathing pigs.”
Lucy took the two detectives into her house to show them the book, but it was missing. Yes, that was another weakness of her plan; it revolved on her seeing the book get stolen. If she wasn’t around to see who stole the book, creating the book then became a gigantic waste of time.
Luckily, with Encyclopedia around, that meant that someone was around to figure out who did it. He immediately noticed a clue – footprints. There was a set of footprints that led from the back door to the living room and back. Based on the footprints, it looked like the thief took off his shoes, making sneaking around easier, but since he had stepped on the wet porch, it left the wet footprints. It also showed that his big toes had been sticking out of each of his socks. The boy who had holes in each of his socks was the culprit. But the boys weren’t about to voluntarily take their shoes off for these kids, so they had no way of knowing who it was.
Encyclopedia figured it all out. It was Morris. When Morris got his hot foot, he didn’t bother taking off his shoes because he knew that if they saw his socks, they would be able to match his footprints to the ones in the house. When this fact was pointed out, he confessed his crime.
So, not only is Lucy bad at setting traps, Morris is even worse at not getting caught. The fact that he refused to take off his shoe, despite the discomfort of his foot being on fire, meant that he realized that he didn’t want to be recognized as having holes in his socks. That means that he was conscious of the fact that he was leaving footprints in Lucy’s house. The point of him taking his shoes off was so that he wouldn’t be heard in the house, but he didn’t seem to care that he left footprints.
If he realized that he had left that footprints and was worried that his socks were going to give him away, he should have gone straight home to change his socks. Or better yet, he could have seen that he was leaving footprints in someone else’s house and cleaned up after himself – which would have been both polite and would have erased evidence which pointed to him. I find it very difficult to believe that someone who could bungle a simple burglary this badly would be able to raise a pig with super strength, even if he did have a book outlining the correct diet.