"Stop!" Jack yelled.
"Don't shoot him!" Calvin screamed.
"What are you doing?" Willie hollered.
The man ignored their cries. His finger gently pulled back on the trigger. The gun fired.
"Why are you shooting him?" Jack cried.
"I can't believe you killed him! Especially after we captured him," Willie bellowed.
Calvin started to yell, but realized the gun was not very loud. He took a second look at the tiger and noticed a red thing, like a small flower, sticking out from his neck. "Guys relax! They didn’t kill the tiger."
The man lowered his rifle and turned to face the boys. "No, I didn’t kill him. I shot him with a tranquilizer to put him to sleep. We need him asleep so we can take him back to his cage."
"Wow! I didn't know why you were killing him," Willie murmured.
Calvin turned his attention to the Sheriff, "So, did you guys figure out who stole the money from the train?"
"No. We haven't had time to investigate the theft. We’ve been too busy making sure people are okay from the wreck and trying to catch the tiger."
"You’ve really helped by catching the tiger," interjected the man who appeared to run the circus."
"Thanks," Calvin responded. He then introduced himself and his two friends and asked, "So, what’s your name?"
"My name is Joseph Barnes. I own and operate the circus. We’re very thankful you caught Lilly, the tiger. We’ll have to do something to show you our appreciation."
"That would be great. By the way, do you have any idea who robbed the train?" Calvin inquired.
"No, I don't. Like the Sheriff said, we haven't had time to look into it."
"Do you have any idea how much was stolen?"
"Again, I haven't had a chance to check, but it was probably around $1 million."
Jack whistled in amazement.
"That's a lot of money," Willie said in astonishment.
Mr. Barnes continued, "You're right it is a lot. It’s more than we usually have. Once a year, we do shows near New York City. Those shows are the biggest of the year because New York is such a large city. We just finished those shows, so we had more money than usual in the safe. If it’s all gone, I don't know how the circus will survive. I’ll probably have to shut it down."
Willie shook his head in despair. "That would be terrible."
Calvin questioned, "Who would know that you had so much money right now?"
"Not too many people. Like I said, we don't normally have that much. About the only people who would know would be people in the circus. They all know the New York shows are the biggest and we just finished there."
"Do you know of anyone in your circus who would commit the robbery?"
"No. We’re like a large family. Everyone knows the money is for everyone. If someone steals it, then no one gets paid and may lose their jobs. I can't believe anyone would do this."
Have you noticed anyone from the circus missing?"
"No, but its been chaotic."
"Stop it, Calvin," the Sheriff interrupted. "You’re not the investigator. We’re glad you boys caught the tiger. Now, it’s time for the three of you to go home and let us catch the thief."
"All right. Whatever you say. I was just trying to help." Calvin turned and walked away with Jack and Willie following him.
The boys walked to their bikes. "What are we going to do now?" Jack asked.
"We’re going to the train wreck and see if we can figure out who stole the money," Calvin responded.
"But, the Sheriff told us to go home," Willie cautioned.
Jack looked at Willie, "Don't be a baby." He turned to Calvin, "I knew you wouldn't give up. Let's roll." He jumped on his bike and peddled up a path leading them out of the woods. Calvin and Willie followed. The boys rode to the small highway, followed the highway to the railroad tracks, then followed a path next to the tracks to the wreckage.
"What do we do now?" Jack asked, directing his question to Calvin.
"The thief is probably someone from the circus. Mr. Barnes said no one else would know that $1 million was in the safe. At this point, the thief has probably already left, hoping to escape during the commotion. Let's see if we can figure out who is missing."
"That’ll be hard. We don't know who is supposed to be here," Willie pointed out.
"Maybe the office car will have a list of people who are in the circus," suggested Calvin.
The boys walked along the overturned cars until they found the office car, where they had discovered the missing money. They crawled in and started going through papers. It was hard to find a list of everyone. After a few minutes, Willie held up a piece of paper, "Here is a circus program. We can probably guess who should be here by looking at the acts they perform."
"It’s probably not the best, but it will give us a start," Calvin said as he started climbing out of the car. Jack followed. Willie grabbed two more programs and some pens, before he climbed out.
The boys started walking around looking at different circus performers. When they identified a performer, they crossed the person off the program. Since they were not in costume, it was hard to identify everyone. Calvin saw four thin ladies and two small, but muscular, men sitting under a tree. He walked over to them, "Hi. This train wreck is terrible, isn't it. Are you performers in the circus?"
One of the men responded, "Yes. We’re the trapeze team."
Calvin smiled, knowing he had identified some performers. He asked a couple of more questions about their act before he excused himself.
Once he was away from the trapeze team, he turned to Jack and Willie, "We probably are going to have to start asking people who they are. We can do it just like that."
The boys walked around some more and kept looking at the program and crossing names off the list.
They saw three men and three women pulling boxes out of a train car. Jack walked over, "Hi. I am guessing you work for the circus. What do you do?"
One man put down a wooden box and replied, "We’re clowns. Do you live around here?"
"Oh, I love clowns. How many clowns are in the circus anyway?"
"There are twelve of us." The other five clowns stopped their work and gathered around Jack.
"This is so cool. All of you are clowns?"
"We sure are," a woman chimed in.
"As clowns, what exactly do you do in the circus? Besides being funny, of course."
The woman responded again, "Some of us do juggling. Some ride motorcycles. We ride around in tiny cars. We do some funny skits like being in a marching band and using a fire truck to extinguish a fire. We come out often, in between different acts so that no one gets bored."
"I heard there are twelve clowns, but I only see six of you. Where are the other clowns? I would like to meet them."
"Well, there are two over there," the woman said as she pointed to two men. She then re-directed her pointing finger to some women, "And there are three more." She paused and looked around. Then, she looked some more. "Huh, I don't see Rudy." She turned to the other clowns with her, "Have you guys seen Rudy?"
One guy responded, "No, I haven't. I can't remember the last time I saw him."
A lady spoke up, "I saw him right after the crash, but I haven't seen since then."
The other three clowns shook their heads and said they had not seen him either.
Jack took a mental note that Rudy, a clown, was missing. He wondered if Rudy was the thief. Jack turned to walk away, he hesitated, turned around, and said, "I think I saw a stuntman in the program. I have always wanted to meet a stuntman. Do you know where he is?"
"Oh, you mean Rocky," one female clown responded. She looked around and shook her head. "I don't see him either. Sorry."
Jack turned and walked away. Then, he started to jog to Calvin and Willie. Willie was eating a hamburger. Jack approached, "Where did you get that from?"
"I was investigating the kitchen staff. They had some hamburgers, so I had to have one."
"You were investigating the kitchen staff? Really? I’m supposed to believe that?"
"Yes!" Willie responded emphatically. "And, no one from the kitchen staff is missing."
Jack shook his head, "Is that all you learned?"
"No, I was also looking at the program and think I found someone who is missing."
"And, who is that? Don't keep us waiting for your great discovery."
"Don't mock me. Do you want to know who is missing?" Willie paused while Jack and Calvin shook their heads. "The bearded woman is missing."
"What?" Jack exclaimed while shaking his head.
"Yeah. See here in the program, the bearded lady is listed as someone on the Midway. I haven't seen her anywhere. If she was around, I would have noticed a bearded lady, trust me. And, I think she is the one who did it. I mean any woman with a beard has got to have something wrong with her. She stole the money."
Calvin added, "Now that you mention it, I have not seen a bearded woman either. But, that doesn’t mean she’s the thief. Good job. What about you Jack? Did you find out anything?"
Jack looked at Willie, "I didn’t find any hamburgers." He then faced Calvin, "But, I discovered two people who are missing. One of the clowns is missing. His name is Rudy. Also, there is a stuntman named Rocky. No one has seen him either. Did you find out anything?"
"I spent some time with the animal trainers. It is hard to figure out if anyone is missing because several went to get the tiger. But, it seems like no one has seen the elephant trainer."
"Well, we know who Willie thinks did it. What do you think?" Jack asked.
"I don't know yet. We’ve identified four missing people. It could be any of the four. Plus, there may be even more missing people. I don't know, but we need to figure it out."
"I think it’s Rocky, the stuntman," Jack speculated. "He’s used to danger. So, it would be natural for him to set explosives and let a tiger lose. Also, he rides a motorcycle for his stunts, so it would be easy for him to use it to escape and get out of here."
Even though he had his own guess, Willie admitted, "That makes a lot of sense."
"So what do we do now?" Jack asked Calvin.
"I think we go back to the office car and try to find files on these four people. Maybe there will be something in their background that will make someone a prime suspect."
Calvin started walking to the office car. Jack and Willie sprinted forward and walked next to him. The three walked side by side while Willie took another bite from his hamburger. Some ketchup was smeared on his lip and right cheek. He reached up with his left hand and wiped the ketchup from his face, getting ketchup on his sleeve.
Suddenly, the boys heard a loud engine roar behind them. They quickly turned around and saw a motorcycle screaming toward them. Jack yelled, "It’s going to run over us!"