Authors: Bertrand R. Brinley,Charles Geer
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Science Clubs, #Action & Adventure
was in for a hectic afternoon. Henry's note must have scared him, because he
and Stony Martin did show up at the cove on the lakeshore about thirty minutes
later. Harmon looked worried. He kept looking at his watch while he stumbled
around through the trees and bushes hollering for Buzzy and Joe.
"Hey! Here's their radio and their lunches!" Stony cried. "They
must be around here somewhere."
told those fatheads to keep that radio with them at all times," Harmon
blustered. "No wonder we couldn't get any answer from them."
"You know what?" said Stony.
"What?" said Harmon.
don't see no boat!"
"Yeah! You know what?"
don't see one neither!" said Harmon.
both walked down to the water's edge with their hands on their hips and
rubbernecked around the shoreline.
bet those lunkheads are out there on that island fat-cattin' with them other
kids," said Harmon.
they are, we ought to cut their hair off!" said Stony.
cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted as loud as he could. The echo
came back across the lake, but nothing else. Then Stony tried it. It was easy
to see Harmon was getting madder and madder, and soon they were both hollering
at the top of their lungs.
two figures appeared on the near side of the island, waving their arms. Harmon
swung his arm in a wide arc toward the lakeshore, and pumped his right arm up
and down. But the two figures on the island just shook their heads and waved
"What are those ninnies doing, waving their arms like that?"
think they're trying to tell you something," said Stony.
"Brilliant, Martin, brilliant!" said Harmon. "Now, hand me your
Stony's shirt, Harmon started making wig-wag signals toward the island. Soon
the shirts of Buzzy McCauliffe and Joe Turner were sending signals in reply.
"They say they don't have a boat, and they want us to come get them,"
"What happened to the boat?" Stony asked.
don't know, knucklehead. When we get 'em in here we'll find out."
"Great," said Stony. "I'll just take my shoes off, so they don't
get wet, and walk over there."
"Look! We gotta find out what's going on," said Harmon, "and we
gotta get those guys off that island. Now use your noodle!"
"What about that old tree trunk over there? We could push that into the
water and paddle out to the island with it."
"Good idea!" said Harmon. "I'll help you push it in."
"Thanks a whole bunch!" said Stony.
of them grunted and struggled with the tree trunk while Homer and I sat in our
hiding place in the bushes and tried to keep from laughing out loud. When they
finally had it in the water, Stony stripped down to his shorts and waded out to
"Come on! Get your duds off," he said. "You're the one that's in
"Look, lunkhead, somebody's got to stay here and guard your clothes. Now,
get going! We don't have much time."
splashed into the water, grabbed one end of the log, and started kicking
furiously. The huge log inched forward slowly, and Stony steered it toward the
island. It took him better than fifteen minutes to reach the island, and about
the same time to get back with Buzzy and Joe kicking along with him, their
clothes piled on top of the log. Harmon had been stomping up and down the
shore, gnawing his knuckles and looking at his watch every two minutes.
"Okay! What have you meatheads been up to?" he demanded, before they
were even out of the water.
tried to explain how Freddy and Dinky had commandeered their boat and made off
with it. He and Joe were jumping up and down, trying to dry off enough to get
back into their clothes.
"This is a fine mess you've gotten us into!" Harmon moaned. "I
shoulda known better than to let two punkinheads like you handle it. Imagine
letting two punk kids like that take your boat away from you."
wasn't them two kids, it was that big dog," Joe Turner argued. "He's
a real monster. Look! He took half my shirt off!"
"Ouch!!" cried Buzzy McCauliffe, jumping three feet in the air and
clapping one hand to the seat of his pants. "Something bit me!"
"Sure it did!" said Harmon, backing away from him. "Your pants
are swarmin' with big red ants. That log you put 'em on is lousy with
"Them's fire ants!" said Joe Turner. "Ouch! I got 'em too!"
that's it!" cried Stony Martin. "The water brought them swarmin'
outta that log, and you saw 'em. That's why you didn't want to help me push
that log out to the island."
"Shut up!" said Harmon. "Somebody's gotta use his brains around
here. Now, let's get back to the clubhouse. We gotta find out what happened to
those two kids."
reported in to Henry on the radio while Harmon and his gang scrambled up the
hill to the place where they had left their bicycles. Buzzy McCauliffe and Joe
Turner, well in the lead, looked like two whirling dervishes on hot coals.
"Okay!" said Henry. "Freddy and Dinky are watching their
clubhouse from Blaisdell's barn. Follow after Harmon until you're sure that's
where they're going, and let me know. After that you can get down to the
freight yards. We may need your help. But stay out of sight, unless I call
"Wilco! This is Rodger the Lodger signing off!" I said, and Homer and
I took off up the hill to follow Harmon.
Harmon and his entourage pedaled up Egan's Alley a little later, Freddy and
Dinky were peeking out through the dust-covered windows of Blaisdell's barn, a
little way down the alley from Stony Martin's garage where they have their
clubhouse. Harmon was just getting off his bicycle when Dinky quietly opened
the door of the barn about a foot, and whispered in Kaiser Bill's ear.
get your bone, Kaiser! Get your bone!" and he slapped him smartly on the
Bill shot through the door and darted up the alley so fast that Joe Turner had
to turn the handlebars of his bicycle hard-over to get out of his way, and he
ended up sprawled in the dust of the alley.
"That's him! That's him!" he shouted as he went down.
"Yeah!" cried Buzzy McCauliffe, pointing at the cloud of dust just
rounding the corner. "That's the dog that was on the island. Follow him!
Follow him! I betcha he knows where Fat Freddy and his friend are."
"Where'd he come from?"
dunno. He just came runnin' up the alley," Joe sputtered. "But he was
with Fatty and Skinny on that island, and I bet he's chasin' after them right
now. Go get him!"
"Okay! Okay!" Harmon blurted. "You two muttonheads stay here
with Speedie. Stony and I will take care of this." And Harmon was back on
his bicycle and chewing gravel in no time, with Stony pedaling after him.
didn't know where they were going, but Kaiser Bill did. When they caught sight
of him after they had turned the corner, he was heading straight down Railroad
Avenue toward the freight yards. It was downhill all the way, and they managed
to gain on him some, until they got to the freight yards, where Railroad Avenue
comes to a dead end. Kaiser Bill took the fence in one bound without breaking
stride, and Harmon and Stony dumped their bicycles there and clambered over the
fence after him. They had quite a job keeping him in sight, because Kaiser Bill
didn't bother running around the ends of the strings of freight cars that were
parked in the yards. He knew where his soupbone was hidden and he meant to get
it. He darted under car after car, picking his way through the maze of sidings
with his nose. Harmon and Stony scrambled after him, knocking their heads on
tie rods and barking their shins on the steel rails.
Kaiser Bill dashed across an open stretch between tracks and leaped through the
open door of an empty red boxcar. Harmon and Stony came puffing along about
twenty seconds later and climbed in after him. They were no sooner inside than
Jeff Crocker and Mortimer Dalrymple popped out from behind the door of the next
boxcar. Jeff put his fingers to his lips and cut loose with a sharp, piercing
whistle. Kaiser Bill appeared at the door of the red boxcar with Mrs. Crocker's
soupbone held firmly in his jaws. Jeff clapped his hands and Kaiser Bill jumped
to the ground. Jeff slammed the door of the boxcar shut, and Mortimer jumped up
and shot the locking pin home. Then they cleared out of there, with Kaiser Bill
trotting along behind them, drooling all over the soupbone.
I felt a
little sorry for Harmon and Stony, trapped in that boxcar. But I guess they got
no more than they deserved. And they weren't quite alone. When they felt the
first grinding jerk of the boxcar, as the freight train pulled out of the yards
about half an hour later, they heard the voice of Henry Mulligan brought to
them through the courtesy of Jeff and Mortimer, who had taped a handset to the
roof of the car.
"This is Captain Mulligan," said Henry, as the rest of us rolled on
the floor of Jeff's barn with our stomach muscles aching from laughter.
"We welcome you aboard, and hope that your trip will be comfortable. We
will be flying at an altitude of approximately five hundred and forty feet
above sea level, and at a speed of about 18 knots. We have a tail wind of about
three knots, but we don't expect that will help much. Our next stop will be
Cobb's Junction, and we expect to let down there in about three hours. Have a
pleasant trip. Thank you."
I could just
see Harmon and Stony kicking the sides of the boxcar and shaking their fists at
the handset taped to the roof. I imagine one of them probably jumped and
grabbed it, and smashed it against the wall before Henry even got finished. But
we didn't care. Dinky was lying on the clubhouse floor with his head propped up
on Kaiser Bill's broad back, with a contented smile on his face. Kaiser Bill
was gnawing on his soupbone, and every time Freddy cast an envious glance
toward it, Kaiser would growl at him.
and Stony had to call their folks from Cobb's Junction, and they didn't get
home until midnight. But they didn't dare tell anyone the true story of how
they happened to get there.
nobody ever tried to kidnap a member of the Mad Scientists' Club again.