Enemies can become friends.
The Tigers clubhouse was a dilapidated tool shed mostly hidden from view by the sprawling fortress that was the auto body shop. Mr. Sweeney had owned the business. He was a quiet, bespectacled man but had suffered a sudden stroke several years ago and the shop had been left to Mr. Sweeney's nephew. The nephew had managed his expenses poorly and the business had been driven into a deep debt. Eventually the auto body shop had been altogether abandoned, leaving one big empty building that nobody ever thought to tear down or turn into something useful. Sometimes, on Halloween, the kids in the neighborhood would come and set up their haunted houses inside. Sadly, even that practice was stopped when Nathan Winslow, the Idaville boy famous for his good manners had broken his ankle when he fell through a gap in the floor.
The clubhouse remained, though it had gone through the same level of change as the auto body shop. Bugs Meany had tried to abolish the Tigers saying he was tired of always being the bad guy. He has a point. Leroy often thought, the second chapter. That thought was inexplicable; Leroy never really knew where it came from. Anyway, the rest of the Tigers had called Bugs a sissy and continued on as the Tigers: Minus One but they left Bugs the clubhouse.
Leroy smiled as he approached the shack, catching a glimpse of the rectangular hole cut out of the side and the red curtain hanging across it. The letters glued above it read: Puppet Theatre.
Wilford hadn't been the only one to turn over a new leaf. Bugs had apparently realized that he was better at spinning stories than he was at spinning lies and he put on free shows every afternoon for the neighborhood kids. Leroy knocked on the wood, hearing the dry echo as his skin collided with the boards that had once formed a tree. There was a rustle of movement from within and the curtain was pushed aside. A lanky boy with rusty colored hair poked his head out.
"Sorry, the show was this afternoon, you've missed-" Bugs began but then he recognized exactly who it was that was standing outside the shed.
"Hey Bugs," Leroy said, "Can we talk to you?" Bugs grinned.
"Well if it isn't the brains and the brawny beauty." He said, "Come on in." A few moments later Leroy and Sally stood inside the small theatre. Bugs was seated before them, fashioning a cardboard crown on the head of a royally dressed puppet. "What can I do for you folks?"
"We've come to talk to you about a murder." Bugs whistled.
"That's a new one." Then he smirked. "You haven't done this detective thing in a while, shouldn't you be starting with something a little easier?"
"Bugs, it's about Wilford." Sally put in. Bugs paused in his work for a moment, then continued.
"Yeah, I read about that in the paper, it's too bad."
"Since when do you read the paper?" Leroy asked suspiciously. Bugs didn't miss a beat.
"I repair the puppets with paper-Mache," He said, leaning away to take a good look at the crown, "The article caught my eye." Leroy was still skeptical.
"The body was only discovered this morning, how was it in the paper?" Bugs sighed, letting his arms hang down. He reached beneath his chair, puling a newspaper from a stack of identical ones.
"Here," He said, handing the paper over to the two detectives, "I never used it." Leroy scanned the front page. "Take a look at what newspaper it is."
"Idaville Evening Post." Sally said guiltily, then flashed an apologetic smile Bugs' way.
"It's cool." Bugs said, picking up a paintbrush and a small can of gold paint.
"There's something we need to talk to you about that isn't in the paper." Leroy said, finally looking up from the paper. "It's what they found next to the body."
"A paper crown." Bugs stopped moving. The excess gold paint hanging from the brush finally gathered too much tension and dropped onto the table. At that exact moment Bugs slammed the brush down on the table causing the puppet to wobble. He turned in his chair to face Leroy and Sally. When he spoke it was somewhere between a scream and a plea.
"It isn't always me you know? Not anymore!" Leroy jumped a little but Sally didn't react at all. It worked out nicely, Bugs wasn't done talking. "I made crowns for the puppets out of paper, but they kept blowing away," He continued, voice quit now, "I finally started stapling them to the puppet's head but the last one disappeared." He rested his elbows on the paint-spattered table and his head in his hands. Leroy was shocked when Sally reached out and patted his shoulder.
"Don't worry Bugs," She said confidently, "We're going to find out who's trying to frame you." He didn't look up but Leroy still saw him give them a weak smile.
"Who would want to frame Bugs?" Leroy mused as they walked away from the clubhouse.
"I'm sure there are lots of people with grudges against him."
"That's pretty much the entire teenage population of Idaville." He grumbled.
"Well," Sally said brightly, "Let's start looking. Why don't we get the old gang together?" Leroy shook his head.
"Most of them are on vacation, they won't be back for a few days." Suddenly he snapped his fingers, "Hey, what about Charlie Stewart? I haven't seen him for ages." Sally shrugged.
"Works for me."
And there we have it for once it isn't actually Bugs, (Or is it). Warning: Yes, I am including pretty much every single character. I'm re-reading all the books and making a list. It's super long.