"Lulu!" Mrs. Moppet called. "Come here this minute!"
Lulu obeyed. She wondered why her mother sounded so angry.
"What's wrong, Mother?"
"How can you ask me what's wrong?" Mrs. Moppet demanded. "Did you really
think I wouldn't find out what you did?"
"What did I do?" Lulu asked.
"You know good and well what you did," Mrs. Moppet answered, turning Lulu over her knee and spanking
her very hard.
"And now," Mrs. Moppet said, "I have some shopping to do. You are not to leave this house, and you are not to have
any of your friends over. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Mother," Lulu replied, sniffling.
Alone in the house, Lulu threw herself onto her bed and sobbed. She still had no idea what her mother
thought she had done. She only knew that she had been spanked unfairly.
The phone rang. Lulu got off the bed, and went to answer.
"Hello," she said into the receiver.
"How about coming over, Lulu?" Tubby asked.
"I can't," Lulu sniffled.
"What's wrong, Lulu? You sound like you're crying."
"I am crying," Lulu said.
"Got a good spanking, huh?" Tubby guessed.
"Yes," Lulu complained, "and for no reason at all."
"I'll bet your Pop did it... whatever it was," Tubby said.
"What makes you so sure it was my Pop?" Lulu asked.
"Easy," said Tubby. "It's always your Pop. So, what did he do this time?"
"That's just it," Lulu said. "I don't know. All Mother said was, 'You know good and well what you did.' "
"That's not like your mother. She usually tells you what she thinks you did." Tubby said.
"I know," Lulu said. "And how can I prove I didn't do it when I don't know what Mother thinks I did?"
"Well," Tubby said, "maybe you did something, and forgot about it."
"If I did anything that bad, I'd remember," Lulu retorted.
"Well, did you do anything she might think was bad? You know how grownups are. They get funny ideas sometimes.
"No, I'm sure I didn't," Lulu said.
"Where's your mother now?" Tubby asked.
"She's out shopping, but she'll be back soon."
"I'll be right over," Tubby said.
"I'm not allowed to have company," said Lulu.
"I won't be company," Tubby answered. "I'll be there on business. This is a case for The Spider."
Tubby was genuinely sorry for Lulu, but it cannot be denied that he welcomed the opportunity to assume his "Spider" persona.
Ten minutes later, Tubby arrived at Lulu's house, wearing a red scarf and a large pair of white-framed sunglasses. Lulu and Tubby went onto the living room.
"The Spider will solve this case," Tubby said."I call myself "The Spider because a spider spins a web..."
"I know, I know," Lulu interrupted. After all, this wasn't the first time she'd heard that speech!
""Now, the first thing to do," Tubby said, "is to check your Pop's things."
"What for?" Lulu asked.
"To see if he took anything that belongs to your Mother."
Lulu felt just a little bit annoyed with Tubby for always assuming that her father was the real culprit. What irked her even more was that Tubby was usually right.
"Why would my Pop want to take anything that belongs to my mother?" she demanded.
"This is no time to worry about his motives," said Tubby. "I'm going upstairs to see if I can find anything."
"I don't think you should snoop in my Pop's things," Lulu said. "If you make a mess, I'll be in even more trouble than I'm in now."
"Don't worry," Tubby said, "I'm just going to look. I won't touch anything."
"You certainly won't," said Mrs. Moppet, walking into the room.
"Oh, hello, Mrs. Moppet," Tubby said. "I didn't hear you come in."
"I see you are wearing one of your disguises," Mrs. Moppet commented wryly.
"The Spider always wears a disguise while on a case," Tubby replied. He realized that the opportunity to look for evidence was gone, so he decided to use the direct approach.
"Lulu told me she got spanked for no reason at all," Tubby said.
"Oh, there was a reason," Mrs. Moppet retorted.
"Well, do you mind telling me just what she did?" asked Tubby
"Lulu knows good and well what she did," Mrs. Moppet answered. "She made a threatening phone call to Wilbur Van Snobbe."
"But how do you know Lulu was the one who did it?" Tubby asked.
"Wilbur's parents have Caller ID, and they recognized our phone number. They didn't appreciate her threatening Wilbur."
"But I didn't..." Lulu began.
"And neither," Tubby thought, "did Lulu's Pop."
Tubby knew that both Lulu and her father were innocent. He also knew that if he spoke up, he would be in terrible trouble. And yet, was it right for Lulu's mother to go on believing that Lulu was guilty? Besides, if he didn't speak up, The Spider would fail to solve the case. No matter what, Tubby couldn't let that happen.
"Wait a minute," Tubby said. "Did the person who made the call say, "One of these days, you'll get yours?"
"Why, yes," Mrs. Moppet answered. "How did you know?"
"Yes, how?" Lulu asked suspiciously.
"It's really funny, if you think about it," Tubby said. "Lulu didn't make that call. I did."
"YOU?" exclaimed Lulu and her mother in unison.
"Wait a minute," Lulu said. "When did you call Wilbur?"
"When you were in the kitchen, fixing us a couple of sandwiches," Tubby said.
"I'm sorry I spanked you unfairly, Lulu," Mrs. Moppet said. "As for you," she went on, turning to
Tubby and placing her hands on her hips, "I want to know why you used our phone."
"Oh, that," Tubby said with an embarrassed laugh. "I wasn't allowed to use our phone until today. My mother caught me making a prank call."
"Well, I think your mother should hear about this prank call," said Mrs. Moppet. "I'm going to phone her right now."
She stalked out of the room.
"I never meant to get you into trouble," Tubby told Lulu.
"Well," Lulu said, "at least Mother doesn't still think I did it."
Mrs. Moppet came back into the room and said, "Tubby, I just spoke to your mother. She wants you to go home right now. She's going to give you a good spanking."
Tubby hesitated for just a second. True, it had turned out that he, himself, was the culprit this time. Yet, in a way, he had solved the case. Therefore, it was only fitting that he use his standard exit line.
"The Spider spins again!"