Monday, July 26, 2010

Chapter 7: On The Case

“Sandy! Did you have to invite Brock over? This house is getting crowded!” I was whining but I didn’t care. While I was napping on the Pet Store floor, Sandy had called Howard and asked if he could pick us up. She than called Brock and told him we could use his help. THAN, she took my wallet and purchased two of each disgusting little rodent and amphibian that resided at the pet store. I would have yelled at her, but my head hurt too much. The living room looked as though we had brought the entire pet store with us, minus the squeaky dog toys and puppy coats. Howard had instructed me to lie on the couch until Brock arrived. I turned my head away from Sandy, only to find myself eye to eye with a shrew or something.
“Eeeee!” I jumped up from the couch and pointed my finger accusingly at Sandy. “You! You are in charge of taking care of these creatures! I will not touch them. If they die of hunger, it will be your fault!”
“Herbert Young, you’d better quit pointing at me or I’ll bite that finger off. You were the one who asked for my help. How was I supposed to know that your reason for dragging me to the pet store was so you could rest on their floor? I thought you were buying specimens! So I bought a couple!” A parrot squawked behind me and I jumped away from it as quickly as I could.
“Sandy, if I had wanted this many animals I would have moved to the zoo. This is ridiculous. How much did you spend?” Conveniently for Sandy the door bell rang.
“That must be Brock. I’ll let him in.” I sighed in frustration as Sandy left the room. I shouldn’t have yelled at her, but she had turned my safe house into a mad house. I should have yelled louder! Brock would understand.
“Dude!” Brock’s eyes travelled over the cages crowding the living room. His exclamation did nothing to make me feel better.
“This,” I said pointing to Sandy accusingly, “Is her fault.” The look Brock gave Sandy hinted more of admiration than reproach. “This is a bad thing Brock.” He had turned his attention to a red and black snake, that was probably venomous.
“This is awesome, Man! It must have cost you a fortune!” I glared at Sandy.
“I bet it did.”
“Herbert, stop being such a baby. I covered half the cost, and I know for a fact that Brock loves creepy crawly, squirmy things. I bet you’d hardly have to ask before he’d agree to take care of them.”
“Dude, you know it!” He now had his hand inside the cage with the snake. I started gagging from across the room. “How many animals do you have here?”
“Well,” Sandy began, “We have ten mice, two rats, two hamsters, two shrews…” I couldn’t help but role my eyes. “… two snakes, two rabbits, a ferret, and a parrot.” I could tell Sandy was trying to avoid making eye contact with me. “I paid half the cost and Brock will be paying a quarter of the cost.” This must have been news to him because he turned toward her with raised eyebrows.
“I am?”
“Of course you are, Brock. You promised you would help finance this new case, and so long as Herbert doesn’t kill all of these animals, I plan to train them as undercover secret agents.” Brock looked at me, shrugged and turned his attention back to the snake that was now wrapped around his neck.
“Is that why you bought all these animals?” I was kind of disappointed, having thought Sandy had done it to benefit my research.
“Herbert, I think it’s time we briefed you on this case.” And I was ready to listen. I was curious to find out what kind of investigation required animals. “We’ve come to suspect that there is a spy ring using our school as their base.” I shouldn’t have smiled. I really shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help it. What a ridiculous assumption! Sandy’s eyes narrowed as she watched the sides of my lips raise. “Herbert Young, are you laughing at me?” I coughed into my hand, trying to wipe the smile off my face.
“No, no Sandy! It’s just that I’m curious to know what led you to that conclusion. It certainly isn’t the type of thing one stumbles across every day.” Sandy was still glaring at me.
“No it’s not. And it’s certainly no laughing matter, Mr. Young.”
“Well at least give me the particulars, Sandy.”
“Not here. Your brother changes nationalities too often for my comfort. Let’s get these critters up to you lab and then we’ll discuss it.”

“Have you noticed how many Guamanians have joined our school in the last two years? According to school records we didn’t have any Guamanians until three years ago. At that time there was one. Our school is now 50% Guamanian!” I raised my hand hoping Sandy would let me interject. She glanced my way so I took it as an affirmation.
“Sandy, I dare say that if you check state records, you would see a similar, though probably not quite as drastic, increase in the Guamanian population.”
“But not 50%.”
“Well, no. But an increase none the less. Besides, why would they choose our school as their headquarters? With a total of 200 kids we hardly show up on the map.”
“But that’s exactly why they chose this school, Howard! Here they can remain unseen and out of the way, while at the same time gathering the information they need!”
“And what information are they after, Sandy? The secret to America’s greatness? Her fast food recipes? Guam is a U.S. colony. You can hardly expect that the tiny island is trying to free itself from our tyrannical grasp!”
“That’s just it, Herbert! I don’t think that these new students are actually from Guam!” I gave Sandy a blank stare. Where in the world was she going with this? “I believe they are Cubans, masquerading as Guamanians.” I was beginning to get frustrated.
“That’s a stretch if there ever was one, Sandy.”
“I don’t know, Herbert. It makes sense to me.” Trust Brock to agree to something so ludicrous.
“You don’t have to believe me, Herbert. All you have to do is focus on winning Class President and keep your ears open for anything suspicious. Brock, the animals, and I will do all the investigating. Agreed?” I had to pause and think about it. I really didn’t have much of a choice. Principal Eve’s had told me running for Class President was an assignment. And I didn’t want to disappoint my friends. My only real change in circumstances was the situation in laboratory. And that wasn’t all Sandy’s fault.
“Alright, Sandy. I’m with you. But let’s put everything on hold until tomorrow morning. It’s been a long, exhausting day.”

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