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Authors: James Leck

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The Further Adventures of Jack Lime

The Further Adventures of
Jack Lime

by
James Leck

KCP Fiction is an imprint of Kids Can Press

Text © 2013 James Leck

ISBN 978-1-77138-068-3 (ebook)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of Kids Can Press Ltd. or, in case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a license from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright license, visit www.accesscopyright.ca or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance of characters to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book and Kids Can Press Ltd. was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in initial capital letters (e.g., Hershey's Kiss).

Kids Can Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Ontario, through the Ontario Media Development Corporation's Ontario Book Initiative; the Ontario Arts Council; the Canada Council for the Arts; and the Government of Canada, through the CBF, for our publishing activity.

Published in Canada by
Kids Can Press Ltd.
25 Dockside Drive
Toronto, ON M5A 0B5

Published in the U.S. by
Kids Can Press Ltd.
2250 Military Road
Tonawanda, NY 14150

www.kidscanpress.com

Edited by Karen Li and Shana Hayes
Spot illustrations on cover and interior pages adapted from images © istockphoto/A-Digit/marlanu/johnwoodcock

 
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Leck, James


        The further adventures of Jack Lime / by James Leck.


ISBN 978-1-55453-740-2

I. Title.


PS8623.E397F87 2013        jC813'.6        C2012-904899-2

 

For Zoe and Isaac, for keeping me fun and making me laugh.
For my parents and all their love. And for Heather,
who always keeps the faith and gives me the time.
It couldn't happen without you.

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

What you are about to read are some of the more
interesting cases that have crossed my desk. You see, I'm a detective, a private
investigator, a gumshoe. What I do is fix problems for people who need their
problems fixed. My name is Jack Lime, and these are my stories.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING QUARTERBACK

Tuesday, October 1, 12:04 p.m.
Iona High, The Cafeteria

If I had a sign that read Closed for Business, I would've had it stuck on my forehead in flashing neon letters. I was closed for business all right; I was closed big time. My nose was busted and covered in bandages; I had matching shiners and a head full of bad memories. It all had to do with a kid named Richie Renfrew, fifty bucks and a sticky-fingered goon named Malone. Sure, I solved the case, but I also got a knuckle sandwich from Malone and a night in the hospital listening to Old Doc Potter tell me to take a break from the private investigation game. Who am I to argue with a doctor? So, yeah, I was closed for business. All I wanted was a chance to enjoy my slice of pepperoni pizza in peace. That's when KC Stone walked into my life.

“Jack Lime,” she said, sitting across from me. “Name's KC Stone. I heard you got that money back for Richard Renfrew, and I'd like to interview you for the newspaper. What d'you say?”

KC had thick red hair held back by a pair of sunglasses, freckles across her nose and wore a white T-shirt with the words “The Truth Hurts” fading away across the front.

“Sorry,” I said. “I didn't do it for the publicity.”

“It might help your detective agency,” she said. “Attract some business.”

“I don't need help with that,” I said. “Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to eat my pizza.”

“It might give you a chance to stick it to Patrick Malone,” she said. “By the looks of your nose, he stuck it to you.”

“How do you know about that?”

“I'm a journalist, Jack. I have my ways.”

“I'm not interested in being your Hero of the Week, sister, so you'll just have to find somebody else to interview.”

KC smiled. “If you reconsider, let me know. But that's not the only reason I'm here. I have a favor to ask.”

“Can you come back another time?” I asked, taking a bite of my pizza. It tasted like a cross between a piece of cardboard and an old shoe. “I'm trying to enjoy my lunch here.”

“Give it a break, Lime,” she said. “The pizza here tastes like a cross between a piece of cardboard and an old shoe. Plus, it's not me who needs your help. But if you're too busy to help a damsel in distress, then I'll pass her name on to somebody else.”

I laughed. I couldn't help it. “A damsel in distress? That's rich. But sure, why not? Send her over. Maybe she's cooked up an elaborate double cross that involves yours truly getting duped, because those cases seem to be my specialty.”

“Jeesh, Jack,” she said, “I didn't realize you were so … so …”

“Hard-boiled? Cynical?”

“No,” she said. “I didn't know you were so wordy. Do you always like to hear yourself talk so much?”

“Just bring her over,” I growled, putting my pizza down and pushing it away.

KC came back with a girl who had skin the color of a Hershey's Kiss, curly black hair that hung down to her shoulders and dark brown eyes that reminded me of a warm cup of joe. She was wearing a black skirt with a matching black top and black sandals with sparkly doodads across the top.

“Close your mouth, Lime,” KC snapped. “I wouldn't want you to swallow a fly. This is Betty Goodwin. She needs some help.”

“Why don't you am-scray, Katie, so that Betty and I can talk off the record,” I said. “Or does that rag you call a newspaper get kicks from publishing the troubles of innocent beauties … I mean babes … I mean girls.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Betty asked. “He doesn't look well.”

“He's fine,” KC said, pushing Betty into a chair. “He just pretends to be tough.”

“Tough, dangerous, handsome; call me whatever you like, Betty. And as soon as your friend skedaddles, we can get down to business.”

“Please stay,” Betty said, grabbing KC's arm.

“Don't worry. He seems a little strange, but he won't bite. You won't bite, will you, Jack?”

“Not Betty,” I said. KC rolled her eyes and exited stage right.

Betty glanced around the room before she started. “I feel kind of bad about telling you this,” she said. “I mean … I guess … I guess I feel like it's kind of personal.”

“Personal's what I do best, doll. Especially if it means getting my nose busted, so spit it out and I'll see what I can do.”

“Okay,” she said, taking a deep breath. “Well, my boyfriend is acting really strange. He'll run off at the weirdest times, and he won't tell me where he's going. Like last night, we were at my house, and we were just about to start a movie when he got a text message on his phone. I asked him who it was, but he wouldn't tell me. He just grabbed his things and left.”

“Is that the first time he's done something like that?” I asked.

“No, he's been getting texts and then running off for about two weeks, maybe three.”

“And he never tells you where he's going?”

“No, he just says he'll call later.”

“Why don't you dump him?” I said. “A girl like you doesn't have to put up with a chump like that.”

“But we're in love.”

“Love? When you get a little older and wiser, you'll learn that love is just another word that starts with an
L
, like loser, lonely and liar. But, hey, if that's the way you feel, I'll see what I can do.”

“I'm worried he's in some kind of trouble.”

I shook my head. I had to. This poor, gullible girl was about to grow up — and fast. In my professional experience, when a guy disappears and doesn't tell his main squeeze where he's going, it usually means he's got another girlfriend on the side.

“You got a picture of Romeo?” I asked.

“Here,” she said, handing over her phone. “But his name is Lance, not Romeo.”

“I'll make sure I write that down somewhere,” I said, taking a look at the photo on her cell. The guy staring back at me was blond, blue-eyed and had an easy smile that said he didn't have a care in the world. And why would he, with a girl like Betty on his arm?

“Meet me in the main foyer after school, and I'll tell you if I've managed to find anything out, capiche?”

“Ka-what?” she asked.

“Just meet me in the main foyer.”

“'Kay,” she said, and left.

I tossed my pizza in the garbage and went looking for Lance. I guess I was back in business.

Tuesday, October 1, 12:38 p.m.
Iona High, The Cafeteria

Lance wasn't hard to track down. Not only was he a couple of inches over six feet, but his carefully disheveled blond hair, square jaw and chiseled features made him look like a male model about to walk down the runway.

Plus, he was wearing one of those letterman jackets that advertised he was on the football team. I found him lounging around outside the gym with a bunch of his cronies, smiling at girls and looking smooth. I took up position down the hall and blended in by pretending to stare into space. My covert operation was going smoothly until Max Thorn stepped in front of me.

“Are you on a case, Lime?” he asked.

“Keep your voice down, Max,” I said.

“I knew it. Who's our target?” he asked, glancing around the hall.

FYI — Max is a nutty kid who thinks he's always on some kind of top-secret mission. He also thinks he's my sidekick because he's helped me out on a couple of cases. I have to admit he can be handy to have around sometimes, especially if you're asleep and sinking to the bottom of the Iona River, but the last thing I needed right now was Max Thorn asking me a bunch of questions.

“He's not
our
target, Max. I work alone, remember?”

“Sure, Jack. So who are you watching?”

“The blond pretty boy in the football jacket.”

“Lance Munroe?” he asked.

“That's the one. You know anything about him?”

“I don't have much intel on him, except that he arrived in Iona on July 8th, he lives at 10 Triton Court with his mom and dad and his golden retriever, Sam, and that he set every football record at his old high school.”

“That's all you've got, Thorn?”

“Give me time, Sarge. Give me a little time. I can find out more.”

“I guess I've been too busy solving cases for the down-and-out kids in this school to follow Lance Munroe around.”

“Yeah, it looks like you've been sticking your nose in all the wrong places, Lime,” he said with a chuckle. “What happened?”

“It's not important.”

“I gotcha,” he said with a wink, “it's top secret, but can you at least let me know what Lance did to get you on his trail? Was it kidnapping? Blackmail? Murder?”

“That's private information between me and my client, and I'm kind of busy here, Max, so why don't you make like a tree and leave.”

“Sure,” he said, “but I'd be careful, Sarge. Now that Lance is our star QB, he's a valuable commodity. He's got some important people watching his back. If you get too close, you might want to start watching your back, too.”

“I'll keep that in mind,” I said. “Now hit the bricks.”

Max left and I got back to watching Lance do a whole lot of nothing for the rest of lunch break. I had a hunch that this was going to be a paint-by-numbers kind of case, and that was okay by me. A boring case was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, October 1, 3:26 p.m.
Iona High, The Main Foyer

I tailed Lance between classes that afternoon, but he didn't do anything that was even remotely incriminating. When the final bell rang, I decided to skip tracking him down again and headed straight to the main foyer. Betty was standing in the far corner with KC, and she looked happy to see me. Unfortunately my investigation was a bust so far, and I had nothing to give her except for one of my dazzling smiles.

“Any news?” Betty asked.

“I've got nothing, nada,
niet.

“Knee-ette?” Betty asked.

“No news,” I said.

“Is that good news?” KC asked.

“Could be, but why don't you give me a little more time, and I'll see what I can dig up.”

“Please keep trying, Jack,” Betty said, grabbing my hand. “I just know he's in some kind of trouble. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Keep tabs on Lance,” I said, handing her one of my business cards with my number on it. “Call me if anything unusual comes up.”

“Sure,” she said.

“And whatever you do, don't mention any of this to Lance.”

“'Kay.”

“Anything I can do, Lime?” KC asked.

“Just make sure none of this ends up in your gossip rag. Remember, I don't want to be made into some kind of hero.”

“I think I can handle that,” she said, and we all went our separate ways.

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