“Think that’s enough?” As Joe put the fish in the basket, he was not enjoying the smell. The odor emanating from the red herring was about to make him vomit. Mike on the other hand, enjoyed catching the little critters and plopping them into his creel. They were almost done, Joe hoped, never being a fish aficionado. The two boys had read of this method of disguising their trail, and since they were regular purveyors of misdeeds, thought this might work on the Miss Jones’ caper.
Miss Jones was an irritating old woman, lived by herself on the edge of the sea. She didn’t want or need any visitors, especially on her property. She was famous for her specialty rose garden, but never allowed anyone to see the inside, because it was surrounded by tall arbors of ivy. Her only mission was to keep the few ancient varieties of roses still viable, propagating them as she did every season.
Once a year at the local Rose Festival, Miss Jones would provide and entertain with a sample of one of her coveted rose bushes. It was almost an automatic prize winner, but her secretive personality sometimes swayed new judges in the area. Finally the sons of one of her competitors, decided to take action.
Joe and Mike had listened to their mom complain every year that Miss Jones should be disqualified because she would refuse to offer proof of her submission in the contest. She lobbied for new rules requiring a sample accompanied by a photograph of the plant and allowance to the property by a certified member of the Rose Association. Joe and Mike’s mom was also an Association member and entered her hopeful prize rose.
The two boys devised a plan to sneak in, dig up and replant one of Miss Jones’ rose bushes in their mother’s garden, a “really neat Mother’s Day gift” they thought. On one of Miss Jones’ rare days off the property, the boys accomplished the task. The fish were used to lead to the sea, and cover the tracks leading to their own home, disguising their steps.
This might have been a happy ending, but as all stories of bad doings, Miss Jones returned home, checked her garden as was her routine, found the hole left by the boys, and died of a heart attack on the spot. The red herring succeeded in disguising their escape and their guilt in the matter was never discovered. As to their Mother’s Day gift, their mom was delighted, never realizing where it came from.