Michael Pickford is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
The Big Swim
by Michael Pickford
Pete Mallard was a nine-year-old boy who wanted to be a real-life detective. He and his gang went to the beach to watch Pete’s older brother, Patrick, compete in a swimming competition—The Big Swim.
Pete and his friends had never seen so many swimmers. They all wore red swimming caps. Bare footprints covered the beach.
“Hi, big brother. What’s wrong?”
Patrick was looking for something, “I can’t find my sunglasses. I laid them right here. Someone stole them.”
Pete said, “Okay gang, we have a mystery to solve.”
Pete inspected the area. He found some unique shoeprints in the sand.
Bobby held up a red swimming cap, “Look what I found.”
Pete’s brown eyes widened, “Great job. Let’s go.”
They returned to the swimmers and studied each one closely.
“There’s our suspect.” Bobby pointed to the only swimmer not wearing a red cap.
Pete asked the swimmer, “Where’s your cap?”
“I don’t know. I laid it down to do some stretches, and someone took it.”
Pete looked down and then looked back up with slanted eyes, “Don’t worry. I’ll find your cap.”
Pete scanned the swimmers again, “There’s our thief.”
The thief confessed.
“How did you know?” Bobby asked.
Pete explained, “He’s the only swimmer wearing swimming shoes. The shoes’ treads match the prints I found in the sand near where Patrick laid his sunglasses. The thief accidentally left his cap at the crime scene and stole one from the other swimmer.”