Chapter 12

“Well,” said Arden between swigs of lemonade. “This riddle thing is a pretty cool old mystery, but what does it have to do with keeping your Uncle from getting pounded by Dudge Hunker?”

“It’s just a feeling I have,” replied Ari. “Maybe there is a prize, or a reward, or something for solving the riddle. Maybe it’s enough to pay off the loan for the deli.”

“Seems a little far-fetched,” said Arden with a skeptical glare. “Even more far-fetched than randomly looking in a statue and finding a note.”

“It wasn’t quite random.” said Ari.

“It wasn’t?”

“Kind of random, actually,” he added. He was pretty sure Arden knew he was holding something back, just because of the way she was looking at him, but she didn’t press the question.

“Okay then,” said Arden standing up abruptly. “We’re here, so let’s see if we can find old Yumigawa.”

But there wasn’t much more to find in the weedy, flowery, overgrown section where they’d been eating, so they moved to the remaining unexplored collection of old markers near the very back of the churchyard.

“Yumigawa, Yumigawa, Yumigawa…” chanted Ari as he scanned headstone after headstone, none of which said Yumigawa. “Yumigawa, Pansy Smith, Yumigawa, Parker Perkins…no Yumigawa…no Yumigawa…”

“Yumigawa!” called Arden. “I got him!”

Ari clambered over Parker Perkins to see the marker Arden was examining.

“Kyandi Yumigawa,” she read, “Birth unknown, Died November 1, 1910…From the Orient you sailed with haste, to bring us treats of utmost taste.”

“That means candy,” said Ari. He pulled out the riddle. “Yumigawa crossed the seas…Notice where he came from please….okay, so…he came from the Orient.”

Arden opened her notebook and wrote. “Eyes, guide, black, and…orient.”

“So now we just need Charlie Krew,” said Ari, “and…Effie.”

“So let’s look over….nowhere,” said Arden. “There is nowhere else. We’ve read every single headstone in St. Zita’s cemetery.”

“Maybe some got bulldozed or broken or something,” suggested Ari. “Or maybe they’re in another cemetery.” He scrutinized the riddle yet again as if he could have possibly missed a clue.

“Or maybe we’ll just have to go back to Miss Samms with what we’ve got,” said Arden. “She said something about knowing Charlie and Effie anyway.” She pointed at the church building. “Give me the trash. Maybe there’s a trash can in there.”

Arden went in the backdoor of the church. Ari sat and stared at Yumigawa’s gravestone wondering how best to bring up the subject of Dewey Daylatch. So there was this guy in the deli, with his dog, in the middle of the night…but he wasn’t really a real guy exactly…or a real dog. This could potentially be very embarrassing. He spent the next several minutes alternating between feeling convinced he shouldn’t mention it after all, and having an overwhelming urge to do so anyway.

Just as he’d decided to start by saying, Arden, there’s something really weird I’ve got to tell you, the back door of St. Zita’s opened and Arden was standing there looking strangely nervous.

“Ari,” she said, “Can you come in here? There’s something really weird I’ve got to tell you.”

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