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The Mystery of the Upturned Bowl
by Richard Golding

‘What's that?’ cried Rodger, ogling the microwave and its contents. How did that get in there? What was it for? It must have been left there overnight because nobody had cooked anything that morning.

He saw a big, white, greasy upturned bowl with a crumb encrusted plate on top. ‘The mystery of the upturned bowl!’ he laughed and took the plate off, shoved it in the sink and stared at the bowl.

Why was it upside down?

The bowl was slimy but empty. He took it into the living room, almost tripping over their dog, Bentley, who lay like a seal on the rug. Stephen sat on the floor in front of the television, giggling at the cartoons. He was dropping crisps into lit candles. 

‘Hey, Steve!’ Rodger put the bowl down, hurried over and took the candle. Yep - Stephen was still in his crisp burning phase. Maybe he was responsible for the upturned bowl.

‘Dad, give back!’ He reached up. ‘Give back!’

‘Stephen - no.’ He blew it out and put it on the mantelpiece. 

Stephen giggled and returned to his cartoon. 

Rodger eyed him. ‘Stephen, what did you do with the bowl? And how did you reach up that high?’

‘Making crisp factory, making crisp factory!’ He grinned. 

‘What do you mean?’

‘Stand on Bet-ley, climb worktop, put bowl in, put plate on top, put crisps on plate ... ding!’ He imitated turning on the microwave before he relapsed into giggles.

Rodger laughed. ‘What? Why?’

‘Good ...’ his face screwed up with laughter and he rubbed his stomach. ‘Good shape for crisp factory! Crisps burn well dad, crisps burn well! Burning crisps taste nice and have a good smell!’