Authors: Bertrand R. Brinley,Charles Geer
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Science Clubs, #Action & Adventure
we rounded the last hairpin turn and pulled into the brightly lighted clearing
where the fire was raging, all we could see were the figures of Dinky and
Freddy, silhouetted against the flames.
"The robbers took off into the woods!" shouted Freddy. "They
pushed their car down the hill over there."
"How long ago?" asked the chief.
"Maybe twenty minutes, maybe more," said Dinky. "Bet they got
another car stashed away somewhere."
they have, they'd have to come back down this road with it," said the
sheriff's deputy. "There isn't any other road leading off this ridge, is
"Not that I know of," I told him. "This is the only one."
"Then they must be planning on hiding out somewhere until the heat's off.
The last report on the net said those radio beeps were coming from up near the
old zinc mine."
can't figure it out," said Chief Putney. "If they plan to hide out
here in the hills, why did they leave these two kids behind to give us a lead
on where they were? If they hole up in the mine it might take us a week to
smoke 'em out, but all we have to do is blockade the entrance and they're
stuck. I just can't figure it out."
almost seems like they
us to follow them," said the deputy.
Suddenly a thought struck me. "Wait a minute!" I cried, grabbing the
chief's arm. "There
another road off this ridge. Only it isn't
an automobile road; it's a railroad. It's the old branch line running up to
Hyattsville from, the zinc mine. You know the one, Chief. It crosses Turkey
Hill Road right at The Gap."
"That's the third nutty thing you've said tonight!" said the chief.
"I suppose they have the California Zephyr waiting there to take them to
don't know about the California Zephyr," I said, "but they could use old
Leapin' Lena. That's that old handcar that's parked in the Ioading yard. It
"Maybe the kid's right, Chief," said the sheriff's deputy.
"Maybe they hoped we
follow them on foot -- and get stuck up
there by the mine with no radio while they made a getaway down the railroad.
It's downhill all the way to Hyattsville. They could make thirty miles an hour
easy with that rusty handcar and never come near one of our roadblocks."
then the radio in the squad car started squawking. It was Henry, wanting to
talk to Chief Putney.
"We've still got a fix on that transmitter," he said in a shrill
voice, "and it's started moving straight north. Pretty fast too. We figure
they're following that old railroad spur from the zinc mine. They're probably
heading for Hyattsville."
"You ain't telling me nothing I don't already know!" said the Chief
haughtily. "We already figured that out."
"Oh!" said Henry.
"And by the way," said the Chief, "we found your two partners in
crime and they're all right. So you can tell their folks to pick 'em up at the
station in the morning."
"You mean they're under arrest? But we didn't do anything, Chief!"
"Let's just say I have them in protective custody."
"What does that mean?"
means I'm not letting any of you kids out of my sight until we've nabbed those
"How are you going to do that unless I tell you where they are?" said
Henry. "They've already figured out how to get through all your
"You can only go one place on a railroad, sonny. We'll be waiting for them
at the end of the line."
"What if they get off before the end of the line?"
"You're full of bright ideas!" said the Chief. "Do you think
they're stupid enough to take off on foot again?"
"No!" said Henry. "I think they planned their getaway better
"Well, if they've got another car waiting where that track passes under
the state highway, we'll catch 'em in one of our roadblocks."
"They've already passed the state highway," said Henry, "and our
tracking antennas tell us they're still heading toward Hyattsville."
"Good! Then we'll get 'em at 'the end of the line."
not thinking, Chief."
"See here, young Mulligan, I'll--"
"Haven't you ever dreamed about what you'd do if you were a bank
"No, I haven't!" fumed the Chief.
"Well, I have," said Henry. "And I'll bet one of our dinosaur
eggs that I know just what they're planning."
that so? Well, supposing you tell me."
"What about Dinky and Freddy?"
"OK, OK! We'll see they get home all right," said the Chief.
"Now, tell me your brilliant idea."
"Well, if I were a bank robber I think I'd have a boat waiting at the
railroad trestle over Lemon Creek. And with good luck I'd probably be out into
the lakes and all the way to Canada before you figured out what happened."
was a long silence.
"Are you still there, Chief?" asked Henry finally. "Do you want
me to phone Mr. Monaghan's boathouse? You could probably nab them at the mouth
of Lemon Creek if you get a couple of patrol cars down there right away."
was fuming and sputtering.
"You're a crazy nut, Mulligan!" he said at last. "Now, suppose
you get off the radio and let me be the Chief of Police."
was just trying to help," Henry said.
"That's the kind of help I can do without," said the Chief. "Now
get off the air and let me talk to Officer Riley."
"This is Riley, Chief," came a new voice.
"Listen, Riley, turn your volume down," whispered the Chief.
"Now, is that kid still around?"
"No, Chief. He went back in the barn."
"Good! Now listen, Riley. I want you to get two cars down to Monaghan's
boathouse at the river right away. Call him on the phone and tell him to get a
couple of boats ready. I think those crooks might try to make a getaway down
"Good thinking, Chief! What about these kids?"
"Riley, I think we can play cops and robbers without having those kids
underfoot. Leave 'em there in the barn."
just thought that direction finder of theirs might come in handy."
"You're not being paid to think! Just follow orders."
"See that these kids all get home right away," Chief Putney said to
the sheriff's deputy. "Then report to the control center at the Crockers'
barn. I'm heading for Monaghan's boathouse." The Chief's car showered us
with gravel as the driver spun it around and headed pell-mell down the road.
deputy helped us throw dirt over the remains of the bonfire, and then Dinky and
Freddy and I clambered into his car.
hope the Chief's doing the right thing," he said, as he nursed the car
down the road off the ridge. "It might not be so easy spotting that boat
in the dark. I've been duck hunting in those bulrushes at the mouth of the
creek and they spread out pretty far. There's a lot of places a boat could slip
through without ever getting near Monaghan's boathouse."
"They wouldn't get away if Henry was there with our direction
finder," I said.
"You got a portable set?"
"Sure! We have a battery power pack, and we can take it anywhere."
deputy looked at his watch and rubbed his chin. Then there was a long silence.
Suddenly, when he reached the hardtop of the county road, he flicked on his
flashing beacon and the tires screamed as he pushed the accelerator to the
"This'll be the first time in my life I didn't follow orders," he
have waked up all of Jeff Crocker's family when we skidded into the driveway
beside the barn. The deputy turned the car around while I rushed in and got
"They're heading down Lemon Creek, all right -- as close as we can
figure," said Henry, as we piled into the deputy's car with the battery
set. "Jeff'll keep a track on them and let us know if there's any
"Hey! What's going on, Sergeant?" a policeman shouted from the
control car parked beside the barn.
"Just call me 'Corporal'!" the deputy hollered back. "See you in
court!" And we spun out of the driveway with the siren wide open.
deputy kept glancing at his watch as we sped down the state highway toward the
turnoff for the river. Henry had turned our receiver on and was holding it up
to the window of the car, trying to pick up the signal of the transmitter.
There was nothing coming over the police net.
hope we get there in time," said the deputy. "The chief had about ten
minutes' start on us and he didn't have to drive as far."
"Don't worry," said Henry. "Jeff is telephoning Mr. Monaghan.
He'll have another boat ready for us."
"How'm I gonna explain this to Chief Putney?" moaned the deputy,
clapping one hand to his forehead.
"Maybe you won't have to," cried Henry. "I think I've got
something! Pull over! Pull over to the side of the road!"
deputy braked the car down sharply, and we ground to a halt on the apron.
"What's the matter? What's up?" he asked, twisting round in his seat.
Henry turned his loop antenna a hair to the right and turned the volume up on
the speaker. Then he took his earphones off. The steady
of Dinky's little transmitter was clearly audible.
"Have you got a map?" Henry asked the deputy.
"Sure!" He reached in the glove compartment, pulled out a road map,
and spread it on the seat beside him.
"Where are we right now?" asked Henry, shining his flashlight on the
"I'd say we were right about here." The deputy pointed to a jog in
the red line marking the state highway. Henry pulled his compass from his
pocket and took a reading in the direction the antenna was pointing. Then he
marked an X on the map where Lemon Creek took a sharp turn toward the river.
figure they're just about there now. They've got at least three miles to go
before they reach the river."
"That ought to take them twenty or twentyfive minutes," said the
deputy. "I'm sure they're using a rowboat or a canoe."
"They must be," I said. "A motorboat would make too much noise."
"Let's get going!" Henry urged. "We won't go to Monaghan's
boathouse. Turn right, down the Old Mill Road."
"The Old Mill Road? Are you nuts?"
"Please, Officer!" Henry pleaded. "We've only got about ten
boy!" said the deputy. "You're going to get me in real trouble!"
"You're in trouble already," said Henry. "How would you like a
chance to be a hero?"
live hero or a dead hero?"
"How would you like to capture those bank bandits singlehanded?"
"Sonny, I hear you talking, but I've got a wife and kids to think
"They'll be proud of you after tonight," said Henry. "Let's get
"Oh, boy! I should have taken you kids home, like the Chief told me,"
mumbled the deputy, as he put the car in gear and pulled it onto the highway.