Case Closed: The Mystery of the Smelly Bushes


Kelsi Lerner, Staff Writer

It was a Tuesday morning when I got my assignment.

The dame with the curls, Mrs. Quiter, they called her. She had a little bit of baby food on her T-shirt and a look that said I just won’t quit. It was from her mouth that I heard the news story that I would be writing: a hard hitting investigative journalism piece on the bushes surrounding the science wing, and why they were so smelly.

I knew she had chosen me for a reason; no one else could get to the bottom of this hard hitting and possibly dangerous story- it was just that cool. Clearly I was the only man for the job… no one else wanted to smell bushes.

I started my search with one of my underground sources. She was as slippery as a seal and had an appetite to match: and by that I mean for mostly fish and other seafood. Sure enough, as I walked into her classroom, I was greeted by a warning sign, “Do What You Otter, Save Water.” I knew she meant business.

“Oh, Kelsi, how are you?” she asked, faking innocence. That was always the way with these ones, lying until they were caught red handed.

“Cut the crab, Denny,” I said. “I’m in need of your services.”

She pondered this a moment. “We have enough help with the Miramonte garden right now, but if you’re still interested in Spring…”

“No,” I cut her off. “The bushes. I’m talking about the bushes right outside of your very classroom. The ones that smell sometimes but not always. Why do they smell? I know you know, so don’t try and hide it. You’re the AP Environmental Science teacher. You’ve at least got knowledge of the biology of the plants, not to mention a front row seat witnessing the crime yourself! Until you tell me everything you know, you’re my prime suspect, so fess up.”

She paused, turning away from me. “The more likely culprit… is the flower itself.”

According to Barbara Denny, the plants flowers naturally emit a foul odor. Although dog walkers often allow their pets to urinate on the bushes, this is not the main problem. The real problem, according to Denny, is that the bush is a type that when exposed to heat (like a sunny day, for instance) emits that particular odor. Coupled with the smell of dog pee, it’s really no wonder why the bushes are so smelly.

But, something wasn’t right. Why did these bushes smell, and the same type by the tennis courts didn’t?

“It’s probably the rose bushes over there,” said Denny. “The smell of roses must mask the bush’s natural odor.”

I wasn’t buying it. What was so special about this one bush? As I exited Denny’s classroom, my phone went off in my pocket. Good thing I wasn’t in class.

“Keep digging, and you’ll end up at the root of the problem,” the voice on the phone was scratchy and deep. I knew there was something hidden here. “There was a petty feud between the contractor and district when those bushes were planted.”
“Who is this?” I hissed.

“Deep nose.” The line clicked and died.

My only option now was to turn to word on the street. The Miramonte students would help.

“I’m 99% sure that there’s someone buried under there,” said senior Beverly Worth.

“Someone’s ghost is haunting the bush and making it smelly,” said senior Maria Darling.

“Yeah, I know that smell. That’s dead body smell,” said junior Charlie Ross.

The mystery was solved. The bushes were naturally smelly, dogs were peeing on them, and quite possibly someone was buried under those bushes from a clash between the contractor and the district.

These bushes had to be stopped. Now that I knew the problems behind the bushes’ smelliness, it was time to take action.

My phone rang again. This time, I knew who it was: Deep nose.

“The bushes were too smelly. They had to go,” Deep nose’s voice said through the phone. “Look and see, the bushes were finally removed. The smell became too much, and it looks like the district finally did something about it.”
On Jan. 24, 2012 the smelly bushes by the science wing were finally removed. They had just been too smelly for Miramonte to handle.

I walked off into the sunset. Justice was served.