Chapter Two: Where Is Fang?
Excerpted from Nate the Great and Me by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat; illustrated by Marc Simont. Excerpted by permission of Yearling, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
"Where is Fang?" I asked.
"He ran away," Annie said.
Rosamond nodded. "Now you have a new case," she said. "Nate the Great Finds Fang."
I, Nate the Great, did not want to do that.
Fang's teeth get bigger every day.
Esmerelda spoke up.
Esmerelda is wise.
"Nate can't solve cases today. This is his day off."
"No problem," I said. "I will teach all of you how to be a detective. I will teach you how to find Fang. Come in."
What would you do first to find Fang?
I, Nate the Great, said to Annie, "First you have to remember. Remember if there was anything different about Fang today. Any reason why he might run away. Then remember where you last saw him. Remember what he was doing. Remember who was there."
Annie said, "I got Fang ready for the party. I didn't have time to give him a bath. So I feather-dusted him."
"You feather-dusted him?"
"Yes. It makes his fur nice and clean."
Would you want to be a feather-dusted dog? Do you think that Fang ran away from Annie because she dusted him? When somebody is missing, think about why. Put yourself in a dog's shoes. Paws. Whatever.
"Very well," I said. "Fang is clean. What else?"
"Fang was going to do a trick for your party," Annie said. "I have been teaching him commands."
"I've got a rhyming book for dogs. Each line is a new command. The first is Do a trick. The second line is Lick, lick, lick. Then there's a new rhyme. Stop and wait. Go to the gate. Then there's another rhyme. Go to the park and--
"Ho hum," Rosamond said. "My cats can do all sorts of tricks."
"Well, Fang knows all the rhymes," Annie said. "But he mixes them up. When I say the first line he does the second. Instead of tricks, he licks, licks, licks." Annie grinned. "But I solved that problem. I just say the second line. Lick, lick, lick. And then Fang does the trick!"
"Good thinking," I said.
"Yes," Annie said. "And it works for all the rhymes. Like gate and wait and--"
"Ho hum again," Finley said.
Are dog rhymes and feather-dusting clues? I don't know yet. If you know, then perhaps you have already solved the case. And I, Nate the Great, will need to take detective lessons from you.
I looked at Annie. "Where is the last place you saw Fang?"
"Well, Harry, Fang, and I were on our way to your house. We were at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Oakdale Street. All of a sudden two tiny poodles came up to Fang. They started to bark. Fang looked surprised. So I tried to shoo the poodles away. I barked right back at them. Bark! Bark! Bark!"
"Then what?" I asked.
"Then Fang ran off," Annie said. "He ran down Dartmouth Street. We went after him, but he was too fast."
"Was he running after the poodles?" I asked.
"No, they just stood there. I think he was running away from them."
"Let me get this straight," I said. "Fang is ten times bigger, stronger, and toothier than two tiny poodles. And he was afraid of them?"
"Yes," Annie said.
You have a job to do. Get a piece of paper and draw a picture of a huge, fangy dog running away from two tiny poodles. Then print below it: "What is wrong with this picture?"
From the Hardcover edition.