"Hmm, yes, such a mystery…" a hatless Sherlock Hemlock muttered as he inspected a wall top through his magnifying glass.
He walked one way, then another, squinting through his glass. Not looking where he was headed, he rushed forward suddenly in excitement, and crashed into Elmo, who was apparently standing nearby.
After taking a tumble, Sherlock and Elmo rose, Sherlock rubbing his nose, and Elmo his head.
"Pardon me," Sherlock offered in apology, "but I'd just gotten a lead in the case that I, the great Sherlock Hemlock, am currently involved with."
"Oh, Sherlock has a case?" inquired Elmo, "Well then Elmo's sorry for obstructing justice. But what's the case Mr. Hemlock? Is it big?"
"I'll say it's big! This could be the case of the century!" Sherlock replied, then pointed to his head, "Look here. What do you see?"
Elmo looked at Sherlock's head thoughtfully.
"Uum, that Mr. Hemlock's hair is going?" he guessed at last.
"A keen observation!" Sherlock announced, "But alas, not the answer. The answer is…a missing hat!"
"Missing hat?" echoed Elmo, "Oh you're right, Mr. Hemlock's hat is gone! Did somebody steal it?"
"That's what I'm going to find out." Sherlock said, brandishing his magnifying glass impressively. "I must use aaall of my observational skills to find clues. Then I must use evaluation to determine their importance and locate the criminal. It's very tricky, you know."
"If Sherlock says so." shrugged Elmo, "Oh b-but wait a minute. What's e-val-u-a-tion? Figuring something out?"
"No no, dear boy!" Sherlock told him, "Evaluation simply means to evaluate! Now if you'll excuse me, I believe I was hot on a trail!" He held his magnifying glass to his eye and rushed off, following a trail of unseen clues.
"Wait Mr. Hemlock! That's not what Elmo meant!" called the red monster, "He meant define the base word, not-oh fooey…" His calls were in vain, for Sherlock was long gone.
Elmo sighed. "Now how will Elmo find out what e-val-u-ate means?" He scratched his head for a moment, then stood erect with an audible 'ping!' sounding from his cranium.
"Kermit!" he exclaimed, "He'll know! He's the smartest person Elmo knows! And he loves when Elmo bothers him. Hmm, now where can that frog be..?" He wandered away, hand to his chin.
Kermit stood in the library, leafing through a card catalog. As he flipped through the cards, Elmo strolled in behind him. In the background, Elmo searched around all the shelves, then pulled down the book belonging to a man sitting at a reading table. Seeing that it wasn't Kermit, but successfully annoying the man into leaving, Elmo turned to look around one more time. He caught sight of the frog at the catalog and ran up behind him, grinning widely.
"Kermit!" Elmo shouted happily upon reaching the frog.
"Dyuwaaah!" flailed Kermit, quite shocked. Rounding on Elmo he yelled, "Elmo! What are you doing scaring me like that? This is a library! You're supposed to be quiet!"
A nearby librarian raised a finger to his lips and gave an angry, "Shhhh!"
Kermit's lips contorted and he slumped in defeat.
"Oh, sorry. Let Elmo try again." Elmo offered, then in a whisper started over. "Kermit! Elmo found you! Can you help him for a minute? Please please please pleeeease?"
"Not right now Elmo. Later, ok?" Kermit whispered back, "I have to find a certain book before the library closes in a few minutes." He returned to the cards in front of him.
"But Elmo's really curious! He needs to find out what 'evaluate' means!"
"Gee, I wish they didn't make these things so confusing." Kermit mumbled, ignoring Elmo, and walked away from the card catalog. Elmo followed.
"Can Elmo help Kermit hurry up and find his book?" he asked as they walked.
"Uh, no. I'd rather find it today, thanks." returned the frog.
Elmo groaned. "Then just help Elmo really quick! His problem is much more important than Kermit's."
"Well I think finding my book is more important. Just be patient, will you?" Kermit replied.
"But Elmo doesn't want to be patient!" Elmo cried in distress, "Elmo's just too curious! He wants to know now!"
The librarian gave a stern look their way. Kermit sighed.
"Elmo, let me show you something." he said, slight irritation audible in his tone as he paused and changed direction.
He led Elmo across the library to a pedestal, out in the open, that held a very large brown book. Tapping the cover Kermit told Elmo, "This is an unabridged dictionary. That means it'll have every word you could ever want to know in it. Use it to find what you need, and leave me alone so I can find my book before the library closes."
"Wow, every word…" awed Elmo, then realized, "Wait a minute. Elmo can't read! Kermit needs to read it for Elmo."
Kermit scrunched his lips, but not having the heart to yell at the kid, stepped forward and flipped open the heavy volume. Elmo stepped up behind him and looked over his shoulder.
Flipping through the pages, Kermit mumbled, "Let's see, you wanted 'evaluate' right? E..e-v..here it is. 'Evaluate: to appraise or place value upon'. Kinda like how you valued your problem more than someone else's." He added a bit sourly, then looked up. "There, ya happy?"
Elmo nodded. "Oh yes, very happy. But what's that next word underneath evaluate? It looks neat..!"
Kermit sighed and read, "'Evanescent: to vanish like vapor.'"
"And that next word?"
"Evangelical. Look Elmo can I get back to my search now? Please?"
Elmo gasped. "Oh, yes, sorry Kermit. Go find it. Hey, can Elmo check the dictionary out of the library?"
"Um, uh, I don't know, maybe." Kermit replied, antsy, and hurried off before Elmo could detain him any longer.
Not a moment later, Kermit had found his book and rushed to the check-out desk. He gaped in astonishment as he saw Elmo checking out the huge dictionary, blocking the frog. Elmo turned, hearing Kermit approach, and beamed happily.
"Kermit! You'll never guess!" the furry red nuisance exclaimed, "The librarian man said he didn't normally let people take the big dictionary book, but he'd make an exception for Elmo..!"
The librarian finished stamping the brown volume and pushed it toward Elmo saying, "There you are sonny. Enjoy!" He saw Kermit walk up to the desk and put his book down, and informed him, "I'm sorry sir, but the library is now closed. This young man was the last customer for the day."
"Wow!" Elmo smiled, "That's lucky! Well, not for Kermit…say, what book was Kermit getting anyway?"
The librarian looked. "Coping with Furry Red Nuisances it would seem." he told Elmo.
"Ooo, sounds like a good book Kermit!" Elmo directed at the frog.
"Mmmmmmmmm!" Kermit moaned, lips taut, and he fled hurriedly from the building.
Elmo shrugged, then hefted his book and left also. As he walked down the library steps, he saw Sherlock Hamlock walking by with his hat back on his head.
"Hello Mr. Hemlock!" called Elmo, "Elmo sees you found your hat. Did the evaluating go well?
Sherlock shrugged in an iffy manner. "Mmmwellll, no, not exactly. Turns out all that was totally unnecessary. There I was, hot on the trail of this furry blue fellow who seemed to be playing a spot of 'private eye' with this other blue fellow who didn't seem to be enjoying it much, when Watson came up behind me with my cap in his teeth! Turns out I'd sent it to the Laundromat with him yesterday. Completely slipped my mind, that did. Ha ha!"
"Ha ha! Too funny!" laughed Elmo, "So, is Mr. Hemlock busy with another case now?"
"Mm, no, right now I'm as free as could be."
"Well then, could Mr. Hemlock please read Elmo this unabridged dictionary? It's very interesting, but Elmo can't read."
Sherlock considered. "A bit out of place for a detective, but alright then. Let's have at it."
He and Elmo settled down at the bottom of the library steps. Sherlock took the book, which was almost as big as he was, and opened it with a grunt. "'Chapter one: Explanatory Notes…'" he began reading, and Elmo paid rapt attention, even after Sherlock started losing his voice five hours later.