It was a beautiful day at Gourd Lake, which was exactly what Phoenix had  hoped for. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Maya was happily dumping ketchup packets on a cardboard cut-out of the Steel Samurai as Pearl scattered some papers and hid a water pistol in some bushes.


Everything was going according to plan. They even had enough time left over to sit down and enjoy a peanut butter and jam sandwich before their intended guest arrived. Maya was just about to hork back a second when Edgeworth showed up, closely followed by one very confused Dick Gumshoe. Not to say that Edgeworth wasn’t confused himself, or that Gumshoe wasn‘t regularly confused on a daily basis. Edgeworth crossed his arms irritably and frowned at Phoenix.


“Okay, Wright. What’s so important that I had to taxi detective Gumshoe here on my day off?” Edgeworth tapped his finger against his arm impatiently. “And I’ll be billing your office for the fuel.”


“Thanks, Edgeworth.” Phoenix forced a smile on his face as he grit his teeth loudly. “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll benefit from today, too.”


Gumshoe looked around Edgeworth at the ketchup-covered cardboard. “Uh, what’s going on here, pal?”


“I’m glad you asked!” Maya grabbed the detective by the arm and dragged him over to the soggy cut-out. “And I’m sure Nick would be glad to explain!”


Phoenix forced the smile again. “Thank you, Maya. Aren’t you just the best helper today.” He made his way over to the scene and motioned for Edgeworth to follow. “I’d appreciate your help as well.”


My help?” Edgeworth sputtered, quite bemused at the whole situation.


Phoenix held his hands up in conciliation. “Just let me explain.” He waited until Edgeworth reluctantly joined the group before continuing. “This-” He gestured grandly at the cardboard figure on the ground, “is a crime scene.” Maya and Pearl squealed excitedly as Edgeworth and Gumshoe stared at him like his brains were dribbling out his nose. “A mock crime scene. Seriously.” He muttered darkly to himself before continuing. “And it’ll be your job to investigate.” He jabbed his thumb in Gumshoe’s direction.


“That’s great pal, but…” Gumshoe scratched the back of his head and pursed his lips. “Uh, what’s this all about?”


“Oh. Um…” Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Well, you see, I’ve noticed that, well, when you investigate, uh-”


“I think what Wright is trying to say is that your investigation skills aren’t up to par.” Edgeworth cut in, a slight smile on his lips.


“WHAAAT?!” Gumshoe cried out, obviously not enjoying being called incompetent. “Really, pal??” Phoenix nodded, and Gumshoe turned to Edgeworth. “Not you too, Mr. Edgeworth!”


Edgeworth shrugged. “I think your salary should answer that question quite succinctly, wouldn‘t you agree?”


Without another word, Gumshoe hung his head, shuffled off into the bushes, and sat down. Phoenix and Edgeworth exchanged confused glances. Maya and Pearl stared at the bushes. There was a moment of still silence between the group that was shattered when Phoenix was whacked square in the face by something bright orange and plastic. His hands flew to his face as he reeled back in pain as blood gushed from his nose. Edgeworth’s confusion quickly turned to anger as he notice a couple drops of Phoenix’s blood had landed on one of his shoes.


“Hey! Gumshoe found some evidence!” Maya chirped happily as she waved the bright orange and completely full water pistol around above her head. Gumshoe popped his head out the top of the bushes and looked at her.




“Yeah!” Maya trotted over to him and presented the gun to his face. “See?” Someone had written ‘evidence’ on the bottom of the handle in permanent marker. “This investigation is going pretty well, I’d say. You already found the murder weapon!”


Gumshoe shot to his feet, his confidence renewed. “Alright, pal! Let’s get this investigation really going, then!”


“I’m just going to go take care of them, first.” Maya looked over her shoulder at Phoenix and Edgeworth, who seemed to be in a rather heated argument. Without hesitation, she jogged over to them and proceeded to spray them both with the murder weapon. “Bang! Bang! You two are dead!”


Phoenix stopped arguing and held his nose as he grimaced in pain. “Augh! Why does it burn!?”


“Wait…” Edgeworth delicately sniffed where he had been sprayed on the sleeve of his jacket. “Is this…vinegar?”


“I like to use it on my fries!” Maya replied, smiling. Her smile quickly fell as Phoenix and Edgeworth shot her dark glares. “Uh, I’m just going to go help Mr. Gumshoe now, I think.” With that, she quickly turned heel and ran, stopping only when she was hidden behind Gumshoe, who was closely studying the ketchupy cardboard figure still laying on the ground.


Edgeworth and Phoenix both removed their suit jackets and threw them on a nearby bench and joined the other two after Pearl put a bandage on Phoenix’s nose, insisting that his wound would get horribly infected otherwise. Once at the crime scene, Maya quickly handed over the gun without another incident, and Phoenix quickly shoved it in a plastic bag and labelled it ‘murder weapon’ before handing it over to Gumshoe. “Okay, so you found the supposed murder weapon. If this was a real gun, what would you check for?”


“Uh…” Gumshoe furrowed his brows in concentration, and Phoenix could have sworn he saw smoke billowing from the detective’s ears. “Fingerprints?”


“Good!” Phoenix gave the detective an encouraging smile. “What else?”


Gumshoe was silent. “…there’s more?” The intense glares he received were answer enough. “Okay, pal. No need to glare at me like that. Geez.” He examined the gun again. “Well, if we recovered a bullet from the body we could check if the striations match those on a bullet we fire from this gun.”


“That way you could confirm that it was actually the murder weapon.” Edgeworth nodded.


Gumshoe beamed. “Hey! I think I’ve got the hang of this, pal!”


“Great! It’s only your job…” Phoenix quickly ceased muttering under his breath, since the others were beginning to get suspicious. “So we have the murder weapon. Let’s say it’s been analyzed, and the striations match, but there were no usable fingerprints found.” Phoenix set the bagged evidence over on the bench. “Now what should you look at?”


“I’d probably check out the body, pal.”


“And what conclusions would you draw here?” Phoenix inquired, motioning towards the cardboard.


“Someone smeared ketchup all over him.” Gumshoe shrugged. “That pretty cold-hearted, pal.”


“I could be at home finishing up paperwork, you know.” Edgeworth grumbled, scowling at Phoenix, who shrugged apologetically in response before sighing and turning back to Gumshoe.


“We’re pretending- hey! What are you doing?!” Phoenix screeched at the good detective, who was crouched down and timidly tasting the ketchup.


“This is pretty good ketchup, pal! Where’d you get it?”


Maya grinned mischievously. “Nick and I swiped a bunch from a burger place just down the street! The manager caught us, though, and we’re banned now. That’s okay; their burgers weren’t that great anyway.” Maya sniffed in indignation before flouncing off to where Pearl was skipping rocks on the lake.


“Can we please get back to the investigation?” Phoenix rubbed his eyes tiredly and flinched as Maya popped up beside him.


Mock investigation, Nick!” Then she was gone again, leaving Phoenix to clutch at his chest alone. He spun around to see her throwing large rocks into the lake and flailing in glee at the huge splashes.


Feeling it would be better for his sanity to not contemplate how she achieved that particular feat, he turned back to the other two and took a deep breath. “Okay Gumshoe, what can you tell me about the victim?”


“It’s a cardboard cut-out of the Steel Samurai.” He replied matter-of-factly. Edgeworth seemed rather perturbed at the sight, but declined to comment.


Phoenix ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “Pretend it’s a real person!”


“…and the ketchup?”


“It’s supposed to be blood! Can you just focus, detective? Please?” Phoenix grit his teeth, excluding the fake smile this time.


“I’m trying, pal! Honest!” Gumshoe proceeded to stare at the cardboard figure with a startling intensity. “I think I got it, sir! This cardboard figure was shot!”


“What an astute observation.” Phoenix replied with a heavy dose of sarcasm. “Please, do go on.”


“I’d have to say the COD is a fake gunshot would to the chest area, pal! He probably would have bled out! And…” Gumshoe crouched down again and poked at the ketchup. “Based on the consistency of the ketchup, I’d say it happened less than an hour ago!”


Both Edgeworth and Phoenix were caught off-guard. “That was, uh, pretty good.” Phoenix managed to reply through the shock. “Although I don’t think it’s a good idea to poke the blood during a real investigation…” Gumshoe replied with his usual confused smile and chuckle routine. “So what else would you look at?”


“Well, apparently the cardboard guy was reading a week-old paper.” Gumshoe stood up and poked at the paper with the toe of his shoe. “While eating peanut butter jam sandwiches!” Gumshoe picked up one of the wax paper sandwich wrappers and licked some peanut butter off it. Edgeworth seemed to take the detective’s behaviour in stride, but Phoenix was slightly disgusted and mildly horrified at the thought of Gumshoe doing that at a real crime scene.


“If you’re hungry we can take a break.” Phoenix replied, snatching the wax paper away and tossing it into the garbage bin.


“Hey pal! That was evidence!” Gumshoe roared angrily.


“No! It wasn’t!” Phoenix grabbed the other wrappers off the ground. “These are just from lunch!” He proceeded to throw the other wrappers into the garbage bin as well. “Now either get back to investigating or take a lunch break!”


Gumshoe thought about it for a moment. “A lunch break would be nice…”


“No time! Get back to investigating, detective!” Phoenix pushed Gumshoe back to the Steel Samurai, ignoring the detective’s protests. “You can have lunch after you find three more pieces of evidence!”


“I don’t think that’s ethical, Wright.” Edgeworth commented dryly, raising an eyebrow.


“I really don’t care!” Phoenix shot back. “There will be no breaks until four more pieces of evidence are discovered! Now get investigating!”


Gumshoe wiped the spittle off his face and quickly lumbered off to complete his investigation quest. It was six hours before anyone said anything.


Niiiiiick, I’m starving!” Maya whined from her seat on the bench, her stomach chiming in with a massive growl. Pearl was watching the sun go down like it would never come up again, Phoenix was still standing watch over Gumshoe, Gumshoe was still searching for evidence, and Edgeworth had disappeared about two hours before. “Can’t we just call it a day already?”


“Yeah, pal! I’m starving!” Gumshoe held him stomach and pouted. “I there’s nothin’ else!”


Phoenix stared at the detective with a slack jaw. “How about that piece of evidence taped to the victim’s hand??”


Gumshoe spun around to look. “Oh! Hey! An evidence.”  He ambled over and pulled the piece of tattered cloth off the hand. “It looks like a piece of cloth.”


“Congratulations, detective. If you can give me a reason why he’d be holding on to that, I’ll take that as three more pieces of evidence so we can get out of here already.” Phoenix crossed his arms and looked down at Gumshoe. “Now, think…why would the victim have a piece of cloth in his hand?”


“Was he a cloth kleptomaniac?”


“That’s IT! I give up!” Phoenix kicked the cardboard samurai, much to Maya’s displeasure, and began to violently pack everything up. “You can’t say I didn’t try.” With that, he stormed off towards home. Gumshoe, Pearl and Maya stood motionless for a while staring at the path Phoenix had stomped down.


“So…who’s up for burgers?” Maya chirped. “Gumshoe’s treat!” She snatched his wallet out of his coat pocket and took off down the path with Pearl and a rather disgruntled Gumshoe close behind. She laughed all the way to the burger joint.