The Hoovering Detectives nest, a clean and tidy nest as befitting those who seek to unravel mysteries in a tidy and dust-free manner, shook to the sound of a modified vacuum cleaner test run on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon. The noise got on Zoza’s nerves a little, nerves that had been shaken and stirred already by the unusual unease between herself and Xoxox which had made the nest a tense and squabbly place. She was beginning to wish that they had never embarked upon this hunt for the inventoress Belle Alexandra, though she wished more that Xoxox would stop refusing to help catch her so that they could complete the case.
With the magic of the ‘off’ button Xoxox sucked the vacuum drone from the air and peace resumed.
“Hey Zoza, come and look at the Alphabehoover II!”
Throughout the tension Xoxox had been hovering even more than normal and so Zoza was somewhat sick of the sight, sound and smell of hoovering but the idea of spending some whimsical time with Xoxox looking at one of his inventions appealed to her.
He was kneeling in front of the Alphabehoover II when she entered the test room (lounge). “As you know,” he began, “the Alphabehoover, rest its soul, did not really work. What we have here is the Alphabehoover II. It is programmed to sort any rubbish alphabetically into twenty six compartments within the machine. Once I have done the hovering, I press this button and-”
Xoxox pressed one of a multitude of buttons on the shell of the vacuum and there came from within a whirring noise.
“Is it ok?” asked Zoza tentatively.
“Oh yes, it’s just printing,” Xoxox explained, and sure enough a long stream of till roll emerged seconds later. He ripped it from the machine.
“Right, lets open her up and see if what is inside tallies with what is on this sheet of paper,” Xoxox enthused as he opened the hoover up to reveal twenty six tiny compartments each labeled with a letter of the alphabet. He passed the list to Zoza, “If you read them out, I’ll check inside.”
“Ok, A. Erm, it says here, ‘An elastic band.’”
“Yep,” proclaimed Xoxox cheerfully, fishing out an elastic band. “So far so good.”
“Um, Xoxox shouldn’t it be… nevermind. B – there’s nothing for B.”
“Nothing in the compartment either,” said Xoxox. “That is surprising though. There always seem to be dead bees on the floor in here.”
“Well, for C it says ‘Corpses’ and then in brackets ‘insects.’”
“Oh, right enough. Here they are!” Xoxox triumphantly took a handful of dead bees from the C compartment and held them above his head.
“Ok, next we have D,” Zoza continued. “For D it just says dust.”
“Woah! Loads of dust in there,” said Xoxox, coughing. “Chock-a-block.”
“Maybe D needs a bigger compartment,” Zoza suggested.
“I think you could be right. Still, it’s going well so far, don’t you think?”
“Ye-es. I’m not sure though. For E the list says ‘elephant.’ Is there an elephant in the hoover?”
Xoxox checked the E compartment. “No.”
The two stayed silent for a moment, contemplating the Alphabehoover II.
“It seems to have malfunctioned, mildly,” explained Xoxox.
Previous episodes of The Hoovering Detective Agency can be read here and here:
The Hoovering Detectives will return in ‘Episode 12’