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Authors: Ron Roy

The Canary Caper

BOOK: The Canary Caper
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for Confusion…

“One of us should run to the police station now,” Dink said.

Suddenly three things happened at once: The upstairs light blazed on. Dink heard a loud scream. And a police whistle blared through the open window.

Dink leaped to his feet. Mrs. Davis was up there, and so was the burglar!

But which one had let out that scream?

The
series!

The Absent Author

The Bald Bandit

The Canary Caper

The Deadly Dungeon

For Sarah
—R.R
.

To Matthew for being a great Josh
—J.C.

Dink Duncan opened his front door. His best friend, Josh Pinto, was standing on the steps. “Hi, Josh. C’mon in,” said Dink. “I just finished lunch.”

Josh hurried past Dink, wiping his forehead. “We sure picked the hottest day of the summer to go to the circus,” he said. “I just took a shower, and I’m still hot.”

Dink grinned. “You took a shower? Let’s see, that’s two showers this month, right?”

“Haw haw, very funny,” Josh said. He opened the refrigerator door and pulled up his shirt. “Ahh, that feels good!”

“It won’t feel so good if my mom catches you,” Dink said.

Josh grabbed the apple juice and flopped into a chair. “You’re funny, but it’s too hot to laugh,” he said, pouring himself a glass. “Where’s Ruth Rose? It’s almost time to leave.”

“She’s waiting next door.” Dink put his plate in the sink. “I have to run up and brush my teeth.”

“Forget your teeth—the circus is waiting!”

Dink grinned and pointed to a clown-faced cookie jar on the counter. “Grab a cookie. I’ll be right down.”

Josh made a beeline for the cookie jar. “Take your time brushing,” he said.

“Don’t eat all of them!” Dink said, leaping up the stairs.

“Dink,” his mother called, “are you running?”

“Sorry, Mom,” he called back. “We’re in a hurry. Thursday is half-price admission if we get to the circus by one o’clock.”

Dink brushed his teeth, yanked a comb through his blond hair, then charged back down the stairs.

“Donald David Duncan!” his mother yelled. “No running in the house!”

The phone rang in the kitchen.

“Got it, Mom!” Dink grabbed the phone, watching Josh stuff a whole cookie into his mouth. “Hello, Duncan residence.”

Dink listened, then said, “We’ll be over in five minutes.” He hung up.

“We’ll be over where in five minutes?” Josh asked.

“Mrs. Davis’s house. You know her canary, Mozart? He’s escaped.”

“What about the circus?” asked Josh. “Half-price, remember?”

Dink shrugged. “So we pay full price. Mrs. Davis needs our help.”

They walked next door to Ruth Rose’s house and rang the bell. Four-year-old Nate Hathaway opened the door. He stared up at Dink with huge blue eyes.

“Hi, Natie,” said Dink. “Is Ruth Rose ready?”

Nate’s lips, cheeks, and T-shirt were smeared with chocolate. He was holding a raggedy stuffed dinosaur.

“Sheef ungt fruz,” Nate said with a full mouth.

Dink laughed. “She’s
what?”

Ruth Rose showed up behind Nate.
“MOM, WE’RE LEAVING NOW!” she screamed into the house.

Josh clapped both hands over his ears. “Ruth Rose, you should get a job as a car salesman. Then you could yell all day and get paid for it.”

Ruth Rose stepped outside and closed the door. “You know perfectly well that I’m going to be President,” she said sweetly. “And it’s saleswoman, Josh.”

Ruth Rose liked to dress in one color. Today it was purple, from her sneakers to the headband holding back her black curls.

While they walked down Woody Street, Dink told Ruth Rose about Mrs. Davis’s missing canary.

“Mozart got out of his cage?” Ruth Rose said. “I hope he doesn’t fly over here. Tiger could swallow a canary in one bite.”

“Your fat cat could swallow a turkey in one bite,” Josh said.

Ruth Rose rolled her eyes. “Tiger is plump,” she said, “not fat. Race you!”

Mrs. Davis was standing in the doorway of her large yellow house when they arrived. “Thank you for coming right over,” she said.

Mrs. Davis held a handkerchief, and her eyes were red. “I didn’t know who else to call.”

“We don’t mind,” Dink said. “What happened to Mozart?”

“After breakfast, I hung his cage out back so he could have some fresh air. But when I went to give him his lunch, his cage was empty!”

“I’m sure he’s somewhere nearby. Don’t worry!” Dink said.

Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose ran around to the backyard. Mozart’s cage was hanging in an apple tree.

“Split up,” Dink said. “Check all the bushes and flowers.”

The kids searched every tree, shrub, and flower bed. Mrs. Davis watched from her back porch. “Any luck?” she asked Dink.

He shook his head. “I’m afraid not, but we’ll keep looking.”

“It’s such a beautiful day,” Mrs. Davis said. “I hope you kids have something fun planned.”

“After we find Mozart, we’re going to the circus,” Dink told her.

“The circus! Well, please don’t let me stop you!” Mrs. Davis said. “Mozart knows his cage. I’m sure he’ll fly home soon.”

But Dink could tell that Mrs. Davis wasn’t really so sure. “Okay, but we’ll call you later,” he promised.

They said good-bye to Mrs. Davis and headed for the high school. The
Tinker Town Traveling Circus had set up on the school baseball field the day before and would leave town Monday night.

The kids cut through a bunch of circus trailers and trucks on their way to the admissions gate. The sides of the trailers were painted with pictures of clowns, tigers, and elephants.

They arrived five minutes after one, but the ticket lady let them in for half-price anyway a dollar each.

“What’ll we do first?” Ruth Rose asked.

“Let’s eat,” Josh said.

“No way,” Dink said. “You already had lunch, and you probably gobbled down half my mom’s cookies. Let’s walk around and see what’s here.”

They watched birds do tricks, dogs ride on ponies, and a chimp dressed like Elvis “sing” into a microphone.

BOOK: The Canary Caper
6.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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