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The Case of the Missing Chameleon

A fourth-grader's recount.

By Madi HaywoodPublished 4 months ago 5 min read
Image of Detective Board from Dribbble

"Explain it from the start," asked Ms. Hart, as she circled my class of nine-year-olds, watching us all squirm through the glasses on the tip of her nose. "In as much detail as you can recall, please," she added more softly. She was a stern-faced woman, and looked like she’d been hit in the face and her nose wasn’t fixed back properly when she was young.

Mrs. Jameson, my class teacher, was still teary as she assisted Ms. Hart to split the class up, and they spent all morning questioning each of us.

“When did you last see Larry?”

“What time was he fed?”

“Who did you see near his cage yesterday?”

“Did you take him outside?”

Some of my friends were upset about Larry’s disappearance. Boxes of tissues were handed out around the classroom; the bin was full by morning break.

Mrs. Jameson was almost beside herself with worry for Larry.

“He was the best pet… always smiling at me when I gave him his favourite crickets for breakfast… he loved playing hide-n-seek at home…”


Larry was our class pet, a chameleon. He belonged to Mrs. Jameson, but we all took turns with him. He was the best.

Our class pet since we were in kindergarten. He lived in a castle-shaped cage, with lots of greenery for climbing. He loved eating meal worms, and his favourite subject was lunch time, because we’d sneak bits of our food into his dinner bowl when Mrs. Jameson wasn’t watching.

He was the best pet. We each took turns taking him home in his little travel cage on the weekends, and he loved going on walks around the neighbourhood with us.

Everyone loved Larry.

So it came as quite a shock when we came in on Wednesday, to little Timmy Lee (he was little because he was the shortest in the class, and there were two other kids called Timmy) bawling his little eyes out. It was little Timmy Lee's turn to feed Larry his breakfast, and when he looked in the cage, he couldn't see Larry anywhere.

His crying alerted Mrs. Jameson, Larry's (human) mum, and she swiftly cornered Ms. Hart, a retired ex-detective who volunteered at the nursery in the other end of the school.

There were tears, lots of shouting, and one of my friends even fainted. We tried our best to find him, even emptying out the cupboard full of crafting supplies to see if he'd snuck in somehow.


Ms. Hart listened carefully to what each of us had to say, and wrote notes down in her notebook. I raised my hand, and had the clever idea to jot it all onto the class whiteboard. Mrs. Jameson handed me a board pen - she knew my handwriting was quite good - and proceeded to burst into tears. We couldn't understand anything she said for a while.

I wrote out a timeline, as best I could.

8.10am - Mrs. Jameson unlocked the classroom door.

8.25am - Class started to enter the classroom.

8.28am - Little Timmy Lee tried to feed Larry.

8.30am - Mrs. Jameson came to see that Larry was missing.

8.33am - Joanne fainted and had to be taken to the nurse.

8.35am - the class started looking around the classroom for Larry.

8.45am - Ms. Hart joined the class and started asking questions.

10.20am - I started writing this on the board.

Mrs. Jameson told me to erase the last point, it wasn't necessary.

We started discussing who had been the last to see Larry the chameleon yesterday.

"It was me, Jenny and Max, Miss," said one of the boys at the back of the room. Their table was beside the counter where Larry's cage rested.

"We pulled faces at him before we went yesterday. Do you think he's ran away because of us?" Jenny's face went pale, almost as pale as the classroom walls, so while Mrs. Jameson was busy consoling the boys that it wasn't their fault, I took Jenny to the school nurse.

Jenny smiles grimly at the woman as she was told to lie down on bed. I passed her a glass of water, of which she took small sips. After drinking half of it, she put it down and looked at me.

"Do you think Mrs. Jameson will be mad at me?" Her voice was quiet.

"Why would she be mad?"

"Larry didn't like it when we were pulling faces at him. He went and hid in the big log, and he didn't come out again. What if he got out because he didn't want to be in our class anymore?" She was playing with her hands, which she did a lot in lessons when she got something wrong.

"I'm sure he likes you just the same, he's probably just-"

I suddenly got an idea.

"Do you know if anyone checked inside the log, when we were looking for him?"

Her eyes widened, and she shook her head to say 'no'.

I raced back to the classroom, and went straight to the teachers desk and told them to check in the cage again.

Larry the chameleon was found, safe and sound, sleeping away inside the log in his cage. His ordinarily green skin had changed to a deep brown, and in the rushed search of cage earlier in the day, no one had taken much notice.

He awoke groggily, eyes squinted against the bright lights of the classroom. Mrs. Jameson cried with relief when she saw him, she picked him up so fast he almost flew out of her hands. The class clapped at the reunion, and I smiled at them proudly.

"Next time," said Ms. Hart with a laugh, "check the cage yourself. It might have saved all this hassle."

Mrs. Jameson thanked her for all her help, and told us we'd all earned an extra long break time today. I had a special mention in the school newsletter, and a round of applause in assembly on Friday.

It was a good week.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Madi Haywood

Hi there! My name's Madi and I'm an aspiring author. I really enjoy reading modernised fairy tales, and retellings of classic stories, and I hope to write my own in the future. Fantasy stories are my go-to reads.

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