Beyond the Brown Doors

Chancy Stew, girl detective, always wondered what lay beyond those brown, swinging doors at her local supermarket. The square, plastic panels, which were meant to serve as windows, were always fogged up, and she could only catch a split-second glimpse whenever a worker passed through them. So Chancy Stew, girl detective, decided to investigate. She began by interrogating an unsuspecting janitor.

"Whoa, hey! What the?!" shrieked the decrepit old man as Chancy Stew, girl detective, yanked the mop from his hands and cross-checked him into the corner with it. They were deep in the ethnic foods aisle, where no one would hear him scream.

"Shut up and start talkin', bub!" He couldn't help but be confused by her demand.

"So you want me to…shut up and start talking? Ain't that a bit of an oxymoron?"

"You're an oxymoron!" countered Chancy Stew, girl detective, with a shove of the mop. The janitor squinted in pain. "What's your name?"

"T-T-Tom Wrigley."

"How long have you been working here?"

"Too long."

"Don't play games with me, Tom! How long?"

"Around twenty years."

"Twenty years, huh? So you must know what's behind the brown doors by now."

"B-b-brown doors? You mean…the storage room and the loading docks?"

"Storage room? Loading docks? You expect me to believe such bullshit?"

"Well…yeah. This is a supermarket, miss, not some secret government headquarters!"

Chancy Stew, girl detective, growled in frustration and broke the mop handle over her knee, throwing the pieces to the floor.

"You're wasting my time, Mr. Wrigley! I want answers!"

"B-b-but I just – "

"Goodbye!" Chancy Stew, girl detective, stormed off in a huff. Tom Wrigley picked up his broken mop and swore under his breath.

Later that night, when the building was dark and deserted, Chancy Stew, girl detective, and her sleuthing friends stashed their bicycles behind some bushes and snuck into the supermarket. Nick Trick, the hacker, used his laptop to activate the automatic doors. Kayla Swift, the cheerleader, disabled the security cameras with a skillful flick of her bobby pin. The trio made a beeline toward the dairy shelves.

"This is it, guys," said Chancy Stew, girl detective, with her hands against the mysterious brown doors. "The moment of truth!" She counted to three, and they all burst through at once. The room was pitch-black, so they used their trusty flashlights. They found themselves surrounded by hundreds of boxes of food products stacked on top of one another. Kayla groaned in disappointment.

"Aw, Chancy, not again! I can't believe you dragged me down here – in my pajamas – to investigate a storage room. I thought you said there were dead bodies in here!"

"I, uh, may have exaggerated a little."

"You mean you lied? Typical! This 'detective' thing has really gone to your head! Why can't we just have a slumber party, like normal preteen girls?"

"Yeah!" joined Nick. "This is just like that time you poured Kool-Aid in the public swimming pool and said it was blood! Now we're banned!"

"Look, guys, I know I've gotten us into a lot of trouble over the years, but…at least we've had fun, right?"

"Wrong!" yelled Nick and Kayla in unison. They slammed the brown doors in her face and left her there, sputtering. Chancy Stew, girl detective, ripped open a box of Cap'n Crunch and slunk down to the dusty floor. She munched on the cereal and cried.

The next morning, she was discovered asleep in the storage room and arrested for breaking-and-entering. At her trial, she was charged for theft, destruction of private property, and assault of a janitor, among many other crimes. The police captain took back her Junior Detective badge. Chancy Stew, girl detective, was no more.