Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#47- The Adventure with the Mysterious Garage Part 3

A Character story about obedience.

REVIEW: Jason and his friend Steve accidentally stumbled on what they thought was the hideout for robbers. However, twice when the boys saw the suspected car drive into the garage, the garage was mysteriously empty.


Steve and Jason ascended the hill and plopped down to talk. Both boys felt a mixture of relief and puzzlement- relief that they were not caught when they opened to garage door, and puzzlement that the garage was empty a second time. And that was twice in just four days! Thoughts of this mystery so filled their minds that they couldn't possibly think of fishing. Soon they strolled back to Jason's house.
"You boys are surely back early today," Mrs. Jensen greeted them. "Nothing biting again?"
"Nope. Nothing," Steve responded. "We just got tired of fishing and gave up early." Jason nudged Steve and scowled disapprovingly at his lie. "Well, uh, I guess I'll head for home," he continued. "See you tomorrow. I'll call you later, Jason. Maybe I can come up with a plan that would catch some really big ones."
The rest of the morning Jason tinkered with this and that around the house, deep in thought. Finally Julie caught him alone.
"When are you going to tell me what you're up to?" she insisted.
"Never, that's when. Now please leave me alone. I have a lot of thinking to do."
"Come on, Jason. You can trust me. I won't tell anyone. Are you making a secret fort or something?"
"No, bigger than that. I just don't want anyone to find out. Anyway, Steve and I promised each other that we wouldn't tell anyone."
"But maybe I can help you with your plans. You helped me last summer at camp. Maybe I can help you now."
"I doubt it. This is nothing for girls to get involved in, believe me."
"Oh, come on, Jason. You don't want me telling mother that you're up to something, do you? She might not let you go 'fishing' tomorrow then."
Jason scowled at Julie. "That would be a dirty trick. In fact, this is beginning to sound like blackmail to me."
"O.K. I won't say anything. But please at least give me a little hint."
Jason sighed deeply. "Well, all right. But you promised that you would keep the secret. You remember hearing about the robberies this week?"
"Sure. It's been in the news almost every day."
"Well, they said the crooks got away in a red Chevy. On Monday, Steve and I think we saw that car."
"You did?!" Julie's eyes grew wide with astonishment.
"Yeah. In fact we saw it again this morning. It drove into a garage but after the door was closed the car vanished. I mean it totally disappeared. There weren't even tire tracks on the dirt floor. We can't figure out how the crooks do it, or what to do next."
"Maybe you should tell the police," Julie offered, catching the excitement.
"We tried that, but they lectured us about false alarms when the car was no where to be found. I think we need more evidence before we can report something positive. So what do you think we should do?"
"I think you should pray about it a lot," Julie affirmed. "It sounds too dangerous to get mixed up in."
"Yeah, maybe. But I don't want Steve to think I'm a chicken."
"Better to be a living chicken than a dead duck!"
"Don't talk like that! It's not THAT dangerous."
"Sorry." Julie fell silent for a few moments. "What do you think Dad would tell you to do if he were home?"
"I've asked myself that lots this week, but everything seems foggy. Anyway, tomorrow we're going to look around a little more and see if we can get any clues."
"Oh, Jason, that makes me nervous. Remember the wood duck Dad told us about before he left? I-I wouldn't want anything to happen to you."
"Yeah, me either! But we'll be careful. If we get more clues, we can tell the police stuff that can get them caught."
It was total darkness the next morning as the boys trudged past the high voltage tower toward the suspicious house.
"This is a great idea of mine, eh, getting there before the robbers?" Steve remarked in a low voice. "We can check out the garage before the robbers get there."
"It's early enough, that's for sure. I think I'll take a nap this afternoon." Jason yawned to cover his nervousness.
When the boys arrived, they were surprised to see the garage door open. With flashlight in hand, they began to examine the inside.
"Hey, this old barrel wasn't here before," Steve whispered. "And the floor doesn't look the same either. And I don't remember these oil drops here."
Just then Jason heard the sound of a car coming. The boys scrambled behind the garage and lay flat on the ground, too frightened to move. Soon they heard a car enter the garage and the door close. Then followed a grinding sound for several minutes, then silence.
After a long wait, Steve motioned to Jason and the boys crept around the garage to the front. Again they gently pulled up the garage door. The car was gone. Jason was past ready to leave, but Steve crawled under the door with the flashlight, so Jason waited outside. After several more minutes Steve reappeared, pulled down the door, and motioned for Jason to follow him up the hill. The sun was beginning to lighten the sky and Jason could see a grin on Steve's face.
"So what's up?" Jason asked, panting.
"I figured out the riddle," Steve said proudly. "I know why the car keeps disappearing."
"Really? How?"
"The floor of the garage has one of those hydraulic lifts attached to it, you know, like they have in a service station? So when the car goes down out of sight, the ceiling comes down and looks like the floor. Pretty ingenious, eh?"
"Wow! I never would have thought of that. But where does the car go?"
"I don't know that one, yet. It must go to a secret tunnel that is connected to the house on the hill. Anyway, by tomorrow afternoon, you and me should be heroes. You know why?"
"No, why?" Jason asked excitedly.
"We need some inside information to solve this case, right?"
"Right," Jason agreed.
"Well," Steve grinned, patting Jason on the back, "tomorrow morning when that red car goes into that fancy garage, you are going to be in that barrel!"
_____________


SOLUTION TO LAST WEEK'S PUZZLE: O=0 M=1 Y=2 E=5 N=6 D=7 R=8 S=9


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