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My Brief Time as Encyclopedia Brown's Partner

Leroy Brown wasn't like your average fifth grader. As a result of a childhood spent reading and absorbing knowledge, he had a substantial amount of information at his disposal and a knack for cracking mysteries. That's why only his parents and teachers called him "Leroy" and everyone else called him "Encyclopedia." At the dinner table every night, he'd help his father, the chief of police, solve tough cases, usually getting all of the information he needed after asking a single question. During the day, he set up his own detective agency and helped out the neighborhood kids with their mysteries.

Daniel O'Brien wasn't like your average fifth grader either, but mostly because he was 23-years old.

The Encyclopedia Brown Detective Agency operated out of Brown's garage. There was a table set up as Encyclopedia's desk and two milk crates--one for Encyclopedia and one for his assistant, Sally Kimball--to use as chairs. Daniel often slept in the corner sometimes and Encyclopedia suspected he had nowhere else to go. Daniel woke up with a groan and a slurred "fuck me," in accordance with his standard morning ritual.

"Morning, assholes. Thanks for waking me up, Lady Parts. You too, Sally."

"That's not his name," Sally said.

"What? It's better than 'Encyclopedia.' Jesus."

"His real name is Leroy," Sally offered. "We just call him that because he's so knowledgeable, like an Encyclopedia."

"Well, excuse me, we can't all be named after books that appropriately tie into our personalities. I guess I'm just stuck with my own name. Till someone makes a novelization of me plowing the shit out of Brown's Mom, that is." Brown stared at the floor, his usually focused eyes drifting now.

"His mom's dead," Sally said quietly.

"Yeah. Dead fucked. Ah ha, no, but I'm really sorry for your loss."

The tragically awkward silence was interrupted when Marty Darticle, a neighborhood boy, knocked on the garage door.

"Is this the Encyclopedia Brown Detective Agency," Marty asked, "because I've got a Halloween mystery."

"Oh, wow, man, I am completely tired of your shit, already, like no joke. Like, literally the instant I'm meeting you right now, I hate you forever. You are the worst. " Daniel's standard greeting.

"A Halloween mystery, eh," Encyclopedia said, rubbing his chin. "This certainly is SPOOKTACULAR," Brown remarked. Daniel spit on the floor in disgust. Brown shook his head and looked back to the would-be client. "We'll take the case!"

Marty quickly deposited his quarter in the tin can that sat on Encyclopedia's desk and Daniel, just as quickly, hopped up and snatched it out. He then took the tin can and loaded it up with homemade toilet wine, like they make in prison.

"Why don't you tell us a little bit about this mystery," Sally offered.

"Well," Marty began, "I work at my Dad's farm. We grow a lot but, mostly, we make our money from pumpkins. Halloween's great for us, it's our busiest time of the year. Normally we're the only pumpkin-sellers in town, but this year, Bugs Meany, the neighborhood bully, started competing with us. We hold no claim to pumpkins, anyone's allowed to grow and sell them, obviously, but we like going the extra mile. We sell pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin wine, you name it. The thing about pumpkins-"

"Holy shit, there's no way you have more to say about pumpkins. No fucking way."

"It's fine," Encyclopedia said. "Go on."

"Anyway, our finances really depend on selling a whole lot of pumpkins and for a while we were doing well, like we do every year. Bugs Meany and his Tiger Gang couldn't really compete with our service and experience. But, recently, someone stole all of our pumpkins, and I just don't-"

"It was Bugs Meany," Daniel said.

"-understand who would do that. Or why, for that matter. The season is almost over, no one will even be thinking of buying pumpkins this time next week. Who would do that?"

"Bugs, it was Bugs, it's always Bugs. Can anyone hear me?"

"What do you think, Encyclopedia?" Sally asked.

"It certainly is a curious mystery. You say all of the pumpkins were stolen? It would need to be someone with access to a truck, a large truck, large enough to fit all of those pumpkins. Who could it have been?"

"Fucking, Bugs."

"There's more," Marty said.

"Oh, hold up, are you saying someone did something with these pumpkins," Daniel asked. Marty nodded. "Word? OK, now this is interesting. If someone, for example, is stealing and fucking holes in these pumpkins, there's a mystery. Probably wasn't Bugs if these pumpkins gotta buncha holes porked in him. It was probably... let's be honest, here, me."

"What? Oh, no, it was nothing like that. Some pumpkins were stolen, and the rest were bashed in." Daniel's shoulders sank, his interest gone. "You don't understand, they were destroyed. Like, by a monster!"

"Or a werewolf," Sally chimed in.

"Or fucking Bugs with a hammer, what is wrong with this town?"

"So," Encyclopedia said, "it would need to be someone with a truck and access to blunt objects."

Encyclopedia Brown took out his notebook and wrote "investigate ice cream man." Daniel took out his and scribbled "make a novelization of that time I plowed the shit out of Brown's mom; make nickname out of book title."

"I bet we can get to the bottom of this," Sally said.

"Totes. And, I bet that whoever's responsible for stealing these raped pumpkins, is the same guy who spray-painted all those sexy drawings of my junk all over the children's hospital. I, of course, have a number of reliable alibis that would explain-"

"I hadn't actually heard about that," Encyclopedia interrupted.

"Oh no? Oh. Then forget I said anything, it's probably not even a mystery at all."

"We should really focus on the mystery at hand," Sally said. "What do you suppose happened, Encyclopedia? I bet you can crack it in one guess, on account of how smart you are."

Brown smiled.

"Why, if I didn't know any better, Sally, I'd guess you got into your Mother's Halloween candy early. How else could I explain how sweet you are?" Sally suppressed a grin, her freckles disappearing behind her blushing cheeks. Daniel glared and cleared his throat a few times.

"Whoa, well, uh, Sally," he said, "your Dad musta been a boner salesman, because when... Because one look- Because I'm looking at you and I have a boner." Sally cried a little bit.

Encyclopedia had closed his eyes. He always closed his eyes when he did his deepest thinking on a case. DOB reached into Brown's back pocket and deftly swiped his wallet. He always steals things when people close their eyes.

"I've got it," Encyclopedia said after a moment. "I've solved the case!"

Turn to page 72 to find out who stole the pumpkins! (It was Bugs.)

Encyclopedia Brown, Mr. Brown and Daniel were all gathered around the Brown's table for dinner. Mr. Brown was weary from a particularly trouble day at work. As Idaville's chief of police, he sees a lot of days like this. He rubbed his eyes with his palms for a few moments, muttering to himself.

"What's wrong, Dad," Encyclopedia asked. Daniel jumped in immediately.

"Kid, I don't mean to speak on your Dad's behalf or anything but shut the hell up for a few minutes, he's clearly had a rough day."

"I think I know my own Dad, Daniel."

"No, no, he's right, shut your mouth. I just got off a 21-hour shift, I have to go back in about five hours, I still have the blood of the Idaville Butcher's latest victim on my clothes and I really don't need your shit right now."

"A new victim! Interesting! Perhaps I can take a look at this mystery, Father! It sounds positively spooktacular!" Mr. Brown sighed and put his head in his hands. He was not used to seeing so many exclamation marks, and also he hated his son.

"Jesus Christ, this kid."

"Right? So it's not just me then, OK, good. Yeah, this kid's a real tool," Daniel said, filling his pockets with scraps from the table.

"Such a tool," Mr. Brown agreed. Leroy shrunk in his seat.

"I thought you liked it when I helped with mysteries, Dad." Mr. Brown turned to Daniel and threw his hands in the air in a what-am-I-going-to-do-with-this-kid sort of way.

"Leroy," he said, "I'm the fucking chief of fucking police and you're like, eight, which, by the way, is a billion in retarded years-"

"They're like dog years," Daniel clarified quickly.

"-what could you possibly add to my actual investigations?"

"Like dog years, but for idiots, and the number's higher because you're getting exponentially dumber each year."

"Day after day I deal with total bedlam at work because this is the worst town in America, and then I come home to you, smirking like the fucking tiniest fucking know-it-all, acting like everything's so simple and you can solve the whole world's problems. That you can do my job better than me."

"You're retarded, is his point."

"What do you think, Leroy, you think I'm gonna come home one day all 'Oh, Leroy, gosh this case is tough, I sure could use someone who's an expert in disappointing me and shitting himself-'

"That was only the one time," Leroy offered meekly.

"I deal with hookers and murderers, Leroy, for Christ's sake, and you don't know anything about anything. Why are you even here all the time? Shouldn't you be out chasing girls?"

"...I'm 11."

"Yeah. That's the reason," Mr. Brown said, taking a long swig straight from his bottle of whiskey. He mumbled something that was either "worthless" or "abortion" and, in either case, it made Encyclopedia Brown feel about two-feet tall.

"Man, when I was !!," Daniel chimed in, "I was swimming in preadolescents. Still am, in fact."

"That's what I'm talking about," Mr. Brown said, punctuating the exchange with a fist bump.

"I'm sorry, Dad. I thought I was helping..."

"Well, you weren't. When I get a case that requires somebody who's proficient at driving his father to alcoholism, I'll give you a call. I won't, though." There was a long pause, during which Encyclopedia sobbed softly and Daniel took pictures. Finally, Encyclopedia spoke, his eyes lighting up.

"Dad, I've got it! I know who the Idaville Butcher is!"

Turn to page 73 to find out if Encyclopedia was right!

(He wasn't. His supper was thrown out as punishment.)

Have a Spooktacular Halloween!


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