I had the most scathingly brilliant idea for razzing The Thermostatter. Pretend it wasn't you, when there are 16 eyewitnesses, eh? We'll see about that. The original plan was to bring my Arch Nemesis into the web of deceit, for she has been known to teach a forensics class or two. I would put my fingerprints on a piece of tape, give it to her, along with the previous day's assignments, and have her make a grand entrance at the end of my class. The script would go a little something like this:
Well, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, I've analyzed the evidence. We have a match.
In fact, we have two matches. Yours...and Naysayer's.
All right. I knew you could get to the bottom of this. Thank you.
No problem. Anytime.
I was dying to see the look on Naysayer's face when confronted with the facts. But alas, it was not to be. I went to see Mr. Principal before school, to run the plan by him, and discovered that Arch Nemesis was absent. Which kind of put the kibosh on the whole crime scene scenario. But I could still proceed with the original part of the plan.
The students filed in. The confessors were still abuzz with the subject.
"Hey, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Should I adjust the thermostat?"
"Can I play with that thermostat today?"
"It's kind of cold in here, huh, Naysayer?"
"Psst! Naysayer! Want me to turn the heat up for you?"
Bear in mind, I had not made any mention of the situation. I was still in the hall. They were being extra loud for my benefit. Which only sealed the deal even tighter, those boys referring to Naysayer. Who, by the way, did not even look at the thermostat as she entered the classroom. But the rest of them did. Another tell. I've gotten quite adept at student psychology over my many years of confinement with them.
Livewire made his grand entrance. He turned and winked at Naysayer. She ignored him. As I entered the room after the bell, Livewire asked, "So, did you figure out who did it?"
I looked him in the eye. "I KNOW who did it."
He looked around the room. "So do we."
"It was a simple process of elimination."
"Let's see how close you are."
I pulled out a list. "It's simple, really."
"Oh my gosh! You made up that list just for this?"
"I sure did. Now let's see..."
I proceeded to look over the class, and strike names off my list. "There are 20 people in this class...
20-gone to decorate for prom yesterday.
19-gone to decorate for prom yesterday.
18-was absent yesterday, couldn't have done it.
17-Livewire. Too obvious, confessed too soon. We know he's never been cold in this room, because he's always snuggling up to somebody.
16-Rip van Winkle. You tried to blame him, but he wouldn't expend the energy.
15-He would have gotten up in the middle of the class, walked up, declared that it was too cold, and changed the thermostat. He's not one for keeping his feelings hidden.
14-Having thought himself to be my favorite for the past three years, he would not endanger his favorite status with such a stunt.
13-He would only do it if a photographer was on hand to preserve the moment for the yearbook.
12-Not his style. He delights in annoying other students. The fact that his behavior also annoys ME is just a happy coincidence.
11-He would rig up a remote thermostat access from his laptop, not stoop to walking over and using his finger.
10-He learned early in the year that I follow through, during that ordeal where he told me he was not allowed to take any textbooks into Mr. Elective's room, so he should not be tardy every day for going to his locker for my textbook.
9-Same with Ransomer. He learned a couple years ago that I do not let an issue drop. His extortion attempt with the purloined hall pass did not end well for him.
That takes care of all the guys, and the two absent girls. Moving on...
8-Nope. She's never in here long enough to get cold. Even you guys complain that she's never here.
7-We have no beef. Never have. Doesn't complain about the temp. No motive.
6-She would not want the entire class to suffer a consequence for something she had done. She would have confessed by now.
5-She had a nightmare this week about that time two years ago when I scolded her for using a red pen to take a test. She's not going to risk my wrath.
4-Proclaims that we are BFFs. She knows how crazy I am, and that I won't let it go.
3-Candyland tried to win the great candy battle back in August. She saw how that worked out for her, and knows I will fight to the finish.
2-Was one of my main suspects, until the second day of The Thermostatter, when she was in the hall talking to me until the bell. No opportunity for the second incident, so she's ruled out.
1-Which leaves only ONE PERSON LEFT, and I can find no reason to rule her out.
Livewire smirked at Naysayer, who was looking anywhere but at me, open-mouthed, a bit befuddled. Livewire said, "Well, I guess I agree with your pick."
Naysayer addressed me. "I don't know how you can think I did it. You've never liked me. And it IS too cold in here."
"I'm just saying who I think did it, based on the process of elimination. You always say it's too cold in here. It's been like this all year. You can wear pants and shoes, or bring a hoodie. You KNOW it's cold in here, though I don't think 73 degrees is all that cold."
"Well, it's HOT outside. I'm not wearing all that!"
"Ahh...but you're not outside! You're in the building from 8:00 to 3:00."
Naysayer shook her head, gave up fighting the losing battle, and completed her work with the rest of the class. With five minutes left, she asked to go to Stuart's room, the teacher who looks like Stuart off of MADTV, because even though she doesn't have his class, she told him she would work on something for him, which turned out to be, upon further questioning, 'papers', which it seems are to get into his class next year, and, well, she probably has something messed up on them, and he will want her to redo them. So I let her go, even though I have never liked her according to her own declaration.
After class, a few students stayed behind. They couldn't believe that Naysayer still wouldn't own up to her not-so-secret identity as The Thermostatter.
And I pulled the Mystery Machine into the garage, where it shall remain until the next case.