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“Brown, lime, yellow, red…….Oh no!” This can’t be happening!! Not to me, Nancy Drew! I ran out of paper in my handy-dandy notebook. How will I go on?
“Now I can’t write down the rest of the colors,” I mumbled, begrudged. This has to be the worst day in the history of the human race!! First Tex, who quite honestly makes me want to change my pants after I talk to him, yells at me because I rode Bob too much the day before. Then Shorty decides all the veggies I picked were over-ripe….
And then…….there’s Dave, the cute, chicken loving cowboy. He asked me if I had a boyfriend back in River Heights…..And I said yes. I really wish I didn’t say that. Now all he does is ignore me and give me this sad little puppy dog look every time I see him.
I mean, I DO have Ned, but things have been a little rocky between us lately. All he does is literally CRY to me about how much he misses me. I’ve recently started calling Ned, NeRd……but not to his face.
*You’re my cuppy-cake, gum drop, smuckle-duckle, you’re the apple of my eye…*
“Oh no,” I said for at least the second time that day. “Speaking of Mr. Cry-Baby.”
I can’t believe I actually kept that Strawberry-Shortcake song as my ringtone. Ya know, it’s really cute when you hear it the first couple of times, but when you hear it at least four times a day….It makes you want to pull your hair out. Yes. That ringtone HAS GOT TO GO. As soon as I get back to the ranch it was gonna change.
I turned the ringer on silent. I so did not want to comfort NeRd right now. I had my own crisis to take care of. I was out of paper and there was no way that I would be able to remember all of those colors.
I dejectedly walked to the opening of the Cliff Dwellings.
I was gonna ride Ole’ Bob back to the ranch, sneak past Tex (if possible), grab some paper from the roll-top desk and be back at the Cliff Dwellings in a jiffy.
I climbed down the rope, and as I walked back to down the trail to where I left Bob,
I did a double take…..
Bob was gone.
Ok. Now this is OFFICIALLY the worst day in the history of the UNIVERSE! I grabbed my Razr (yes, Razr. Don’t judge. It’s a very reliable phone when it comes to being a detective.) and opened it, only to find it saying “Good-Bye!”
The battery was dead.
I realized I had to walk back to the Trail Stop and then to Mary’s shop.
It was mid-day, around noon, and the sun was beating on my back. Thank goodness for Bet’s hat or else my brain may have been fried!
I had been walking about an hour, and I thought I could see the grave for Charley in the distance, when I reached to my side to grab my canteen…….
Wow. What a surprise. That was gone too. Then I remembered I had left it with Bob…the horse that got away….
Ok. So I was at the Trail Stop and I started to go to Mary’s shop.
I could die from either sun exposure or dehydration…..or both……
I was basically crawling now. I had no water and no energy and no horse.
All of a sudden I saw a man ride up on a white horse…except for the nose.
My knight in shining armor!!
I couldn’t see his face because the sun was causing a glare…plus my vision was starting to fade anyway.
It was a mirage. It had to be. Things like being saved by a man in shining armor is what happens in fairy tales. Not in real life.
“Nancy!! Nancy! Is that you??” Wow his voice sounded nice, like a safety blanket surrounding my whole body.
Wow. Did I have a good imagination or what?? He sounded vaguely familiar, but all I wanted to do was embrace that dark, safety blanket, and go to sleep….
And I did.
Oh man! What happened? I wondered.
Then it came back. Bob gone. No canteen. My mirage of my knight.
Yeah, I must be dead…..but why does death hurt so much.
My head hurt…a lot.
“She should be waking up soon.”
“I hope so. It’s been a couple of hours.”
Those were two voices I knew very well. A smile escaped my lips even though I was trying to remain inconspicuous to hear what they were saying about me.
Yes… definitely heaven.
I opened my eyes very carefully, to make sure the scene before me was real AND to make sure it didn’t disappear.
Frank and Joe Hardy. Are sitting on my bed. In heaven. Yes!!
I opened my eyes. They both looked at me at the same time, both of them with huge smiles on their faces. Two pairs of happy, concerned, questioning eyes peered at me.
And here comes the person that knocks me right out of the clouds, rained on my parade, the party pooper, or whatever other creative names you may have for him…..NeRd.
Ok. So I’m definitely not in heaven. I guess that’s good….right? RIGHT?
“Nancy! I’m so glad you’re okay! I’ve been so worried. After you didn’t answer your phone I called in the troops.” NeRd made a gesture to Frank and Joe.
So he sent out Frank and Joe to get me, because he’s too girly to do it himself, of course. I thought.
Frank and Joe definitely looked uncomfortable. They probably mirrored my expression. One of complete exhaustion, annoyance, and discomfort. NeRd looked happy…..like a kid who lost his teddy bear, and found it on the way home….dehydrated.
Then a thought occurred to me.
“Umm…..NeR…I mean Ned. How did you find me? I mean there’s a lot of desert out here. I don’t know how you could have covered this amount of area in so little time to find me. Which one of you guys had the white horse and the clothes that nearly blinded me?”
NeRd was the first to speak up. “Well……ummm…..Nancy-poo?”
Oh God, how I hated that name. “Yeah?”
NeRd was definitely nervous now. He was wringing his hands and I could see beads of sweat roll down his forehead. “I. Uh. Put a tracer in your cell phone so I’d know where you were. But you have to believe me! It was only to protect you in case you got into trouble. Like this time, if it wasn’t for the tracer you’d probably be dead. It’s because I….Well. I love you Nancy-poo.”
I just stared at him. I couldn’t even think before I spoke. But I really don’t regret the words….
“NeRd Nickerson. I have a couple things to say. Number one. I hate the Strawberry-Shortcake ring-tone and that stupid nickname, Nancy-poo.”
My voice sounded eerily calm and stable, but on the inside, a war was waging between the side that wanted to be with safe old NeRd and the one who wanted to be free from this wimp and be with someone who liked mysteries and supported me in all my conquests. The mystery side won.
“I hate the fact that you are and always will be a cry baby and the fact that you are so insecure that you had to put a TRACER in my phone so you’d always know where I was. I have one more thing to say to you. I DON’T love you. So go cry in a corner somewhere, hop on a plane back to River Heights, and go find someone who will wipe your tears. We. Are. Over. Okay?”
NeRd simply looked at me and slowly turned around and left.
Yeah I know. It was harsh, but oh well.
I realized then, that he didn’t answer the question about my white knight. Well, Frank and Joe could fill me in on that later.
Dave came in the room right after that. From the blush creeping on his cheeks and the look of deep chagrin, I could tell he had heard ever word.
Then all of a sudden, all three men left standing looked at me and smiled.
Oh no. I was now single.
I was fair game.
The rest of the day the guys were on their best behaviors. I’m guessing I was just some sort of prize that they got to win at the end of a game. See Who Could Woo Nancy Faster. I could see that kind of game out in stores. I don’t think a lot of people would buy I though….Hmmm.
Oh! Back to the story!
So yeah , as I was saying, they weren’t out right trying to “win my love,” but it was getting kinda weird.
Joe would offer to do all my chores for me, then Dave would fight with Joe about who was going to do MY chores….So while they were fighting….I did MY chores….I don’t even think they noticed.
The only one who didn’t seem to be working as hard for my love was Frank. He seemed to be his normal, quiet, polite, sweet, caring…..AHEM!! Uhh……his normal self. He pushes in my chair at the dinner table and lookes me right in the eyes when I talked to him. He had the most gorgeous eyes, ya know? So deep, chocolate brown, it was like when you looked into his eyes, you FELL into them. Umm…..I’m supposed to be solving a mystery right??
Ohh yeah!! Ok.
After I recovered from my dramatic dehydration episode, I went to go see Tex and to see if Bob had been found. And what do you know it, Bob was tied up to his normal post right next to his name tag. I saw that he still had his saddle on, so I unhooked at and threw it over my shoulders. Then I found it.
A letter, a note, a threat. It read:
NANCY DREW! QUIT STICKIN’ YER NOSE WHERE IT DON’ BELONG!! YA HEAR!!!
OR IT MIGHIN’ BE WORSE NEXT TIME. THE HORSE WON’ BE GONE, YOU WILL!!
My first thought:
Wow. Someone needs to learn how to spell.
My second thought:
I should really start keeping track about how many times I say or think “Oh no.” It might be interesting….
I just stood there thinking for a moment about how I was going to deal with this note. So Bob didn’t get himself untied….Someone untied HIM!!!
This was not good. I kinda felt sick, so I leaned against Bob’s post., and that’s when my most favorite person came out to see me. Tex.
“What’r ya doin out here? Ya shoul’ be resten’.” He said this with what looked like….Concern??
“No, I’m fine Tex, really, I am. But I was just wondering. Bob got himself untied, and it looked like he ran away. So, who brought him back?”
“Oh, well, that’ll be Dave over there. He brought Ole’ Bob back ’bout five minutes before ya were brought in,” Tex said this in sort of a whisper. “I don’t think he wanted me to know I saw em. He wus actin’ all sneaky like.” With that, he gave me a wink, and went back the way he came.
Oh no. So that leaves Dave out as my knight, and puts him at the top of my suspect list.
Ok. So that leaves, Frank, Joe, and Shorty as my knight.
I’m pretty sure Shorty didn’t do it, because he was supposed to be cooking and Tex would have noticed if he left. I’m pretty sure Tex has x-ray vision (hehe Rach!), so he would have definitely told me. Right?
So I went to go talk to Joe about my knight.
I walked into his room and saw him making, what else, a cheeseburger on a portable George Foreman grill.
He looked up when he saw me and his eyes instantly glazed over….that was weird.
“Hey Nancy. You wanna cheeseburger?” He asked this in a sort of sing-song voice which kinda creeped me out.
“Umm…No thanks Joe. But I wanted to ask you a question---”
“Anything for you, Nancy-poo.”
My face turned bright red. Did he not hear me when I told NeRd that I hated, absolutely HATED, that name? Well, I was gonna have to get through this first, then go blow off some steam.
“Well, do you know who brought me back to the ranch? Who ever it was, was riding a white horse, and a gleaming white t-shirt. So who was it?”
“Well, I. Ummm. He made me promise not to tell.” He gave me that little puppy dog look that I was getting very sick of. After all, I had to deal with it the other day when I rejected Dave.
“Please, Joe? I really want to know…” I batted my eyes in what I hoped looked like flirting.
“Umm… Nance? Do you have something in your eye? Cuz your blinking kinda fast.”
That was not what I was hoping for.
“Uhhh….Yeah, but I got it out. So who was it?”
“Well, ok. I’ll tell you. It was……..Frank. He was too shy to tell you. I would have told you I was your savior if I had saved you.” When he said this, he rolled his eyes.
But my heart was beating so hard. Frank didn’t tell me because he was modest and he didn’t wasn’t to seem like the big hero.
I like modest guys…They’re so….modesty.
I had to go find Frank, so I just up and left Joe to his cheeseburger, and took off.
I was stopped, frozen in my tracks when I heard a blood curdling scream.
I ran into the kitchen, to where I heard Franks scream.
What I found was…..Well….
Frank was leaning over the sink gasping for air, while Shorty was holding a jar of EXTREMELY Hot Peppers. Shorty had conned Frank into trying one of those and when Frank ate one, he was so shocked by the hotness, that he screamed. I’m actually surprised he didn’t cry. I’m sure I would have.
After Frank recovered from his burning mouth and Shorty recovered from almost peeing himself laughing, everyone dispersed to various place of the ranch.
I knew I had to talk to Frank about being the knight and where that put “us.” But right now, I needed to get some paper and head back out to the Cliff Dwellings. And that’s what I did.
As I was riding out to the Cliff Dwellings, I noticed a cloud of dust that was definitely not mine.
Someone was following me, and whoever was following me was probably the person who left that note and left me in the desert to die. And I certainly didn’t wasn’t to lead them to the Cliff Dwellings.
I took the trail that led to Cougar Bend. This person still followed me. He was still a-ways behind me so when I arrived at Cougar Bend, I lassoed myself up onto the ledge and waited for the sounds of my pursuer arriving.
About a minute later, I heard the horse and the sound and grunts of him jumping down from the horse.
Not too long after, I heard him almost directly beneath me, and I readied myself.
I jumped on him.
I jumped and landed on my target with an “Ouff!!”
There was dust everywhere, but I had enough of a head start and the element of surprise to grab my lariat and tie my captive up.
After I tied his arms and legs together, I flipped him on his back and I stared into the shocked eyes of…..
Wow. How in the world did that happen?
“Nancy!! What’d you do that for? I was trying to find you!!” Frank was almost yelling, but if he was yelling, I guess he had a right to…..I mean I DID just jump on him and tie him up…….And he wasn’t in the most comfortable of positions, believe me, I would know.
“I thought it was someone who was following me.”
He looked up at me with confusion written all over his face.
I told him the whole story about being left out in the desert to die and the note that threatened my life.
His look of confusion quickly shifted to anger, fear, and then anxiety.
After I was finished explaining, he said, “Could I get these ropes off of me now? I don’t think I can feel my hands anymore…..”
“Oh my gosh!! Yeah of course!”
After I finished untying him, and he regained feeling in his extremities, it was my turn to do the questioning.
“Why are you out here Frank? Well, I guess more accurately, why were you following me?”
Frank looked a little embarrassed, then he let it all out……
“Well…I did follow you, but it was for a good reason. Yes I did save you….I’m your ‘knight’ I guess. Ned did call us in to find you and when we got here, I realized how bad the situation was, I was the only one who set out to find you. It was almost dark and all the other dudes were too chicken to go out when it would be dark soon. So I took my chances and who did I see crawling on the ground about 100 yards from Mary’s Shop? You. You looked so fragile and vulnerable. You kept saying ‘mirage’ and ‘my knight.’ Then you passed out. I snatched you up so quick and took you back to the ranch. We did everything we could to treat you, and I made everyone who saw me bring you in promise not to tell you…..”
I could feel my eyes tear up, but I really didn’t know why. “But why didn’t you tell me,” I whispered.
“Well, I didn’t think you liked me that much and…I thought maybe you liked Joe….more?”
This was worded exactly like a question. And my response was the answer.
“I don’t like Joe as much as I like you……I like you a TON more.”
“Well that’s a relief and that’s what I came out to tell you. Joe told me he told you, so I realized I needed to explain. I really like you, Nan…..A lot.”
He said this with such passion. I was momentarily speechless, which is very hard to do. I stared right into those deep brown eyes and I leaned forward. Our lips were just inches apart, when we were rudely interrupted……
And I mean VERY rudely.
Now where have I heard that before?
Oh yeah, now I remember. On almost every single mystery I try to solve.
The person was behind me and Frank had a clear view of him…or her.
His face was a mixture of anger and confusion….again.
I slowly turned around to identify this culprit since they didn’t speak yet.
What I found was beyond belief.
Dave was standing over me with a gun to my head. He was looking at me with such anger and hatred I felt like I would melt onto the sandy floor beneath me.
But standing behind Dave was Bess and George…..But Dave seemed like he had no idea they were behind him. He was too focused on keeping the gun trained on me.
Frank and I were still sitting on the desert floor, and we were in no position to spring an attack on someone who was holding a gun about two inches from my face.
Just then, I received a text message and Poppin’ Champagne by All Time Low could be heard……
It’s hard to believe, but no one has said a word since Dave cocked the gun.
But Dave started the conversation.
“Who’s thingie majig is that?” Called out Dave.
I decided to tell him because I was a firm believer in honesty was the best policy and…I really wanted to find out who texted me when I thought I had no service.
I sort of raised my hand and said, “Umm… It’s my CELL phone. Someone texted me.” I decided to take a chance. “And if I don’t reply, they might think something is up.”
Frank looked like he was going to laugh, despite our situation, and Bess and George remained unnoticeable in the background, but I could tell they were both nodding their heads in unison…..I was really confused.
Was that a new dance fad or something? Well, I had bigger things to think about.
Dave looked at me like I was trying to trick him, which of course I was, but he obviously thought I was telling the truth and nodded his approval for letting me see my new text.
I opened my Razr and there was a text from BESS?!?!?!
Why would she text me from twenty feet away and why can’t she just knock Dave upside the head with something and help me out?? Oh yeah…Cause he has a gun….
Dave motioned for me to show him the text and when I did, he looked just as confused as I felt when I read it:
Rmember wen we sat on ur frnt prch and we tlkd bout what our jobs wld be if u wer hld hostage and WE, me n G, had 2 save u?? well. I wnt u 2 do tht in bout 2 mins….
Huh? I barely remember tht.. Oops!! THAT (Text talking is WAY too addictive) summer…..
It was about a year ago and we were sitting on my porch and discussing that very thing.
At first I laughed it off, but when I saw their serious faces, I really didn’t know how to answer and I told them that…..
But they had an awesome plan, and they wanted me to put that into play right now……
And I actually think it’ll work……
I did what the best actress or drama queen would do…..I pretended to faint.
And what did Dave do? He did exactly what I wanted him to do.
He automatically dropped the gun and fell to his knees beside me to tend to me.
I opened my eyes just enough to see Dave leaning over me, with what might pass as concern in his eyes, and…Frank.
I think he could see through my charade because he was slowly inching his hand closer to the gun Dave momentarily abandoned.
I looked in the other direction and I could see Bess and George advancing on Dave’s hunched form. I just had to remain still for a couple more seconds….They were right behind Dave now, and Frank’s hand was almost wrapped around the gun…….
Bess mouthed to me:
I sat bolt upright and head-butted Dave and he went sailing backwards, Frank had the gun, and Bess and George were each scrambling to get a hold of Dave’s arms before he recovered. I got into a squatting position, and, not to my surprise, Dave had shrugged Bess off and was advancing toward me with George tugging on his other arm.
Then all of a sudden, when I was just about ready to wipe his feet right out from under him…Bess beat me to it. She landed a round house kick right on his back and sent him soaring back…To me.
It felt like everything was happening in slow motion…..
When Dave was soaring towards me, he had such an awful look in his eyes….One of heartbreak and of anger….
As he was flying through the air to meet me, he changed his posture from one of surprise and hurt to one of power and threats…..He held his hands out in such a way that if he had landed on me, he would have squeezed the life out of me.
I felt frozen. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t even breathe…..
Then, to my astonishment, he doubled over in pain, and landed just a few feet away from my feet.
I slowly stood up and saw the blood seeping from his arm….
Dave was mumbling something, “Nancy, I wanted to find the treasure for you…I love you. Why would you cheat on me..” Then he lapsed into unconsciousness.
I looked over at Frank….To where he stood against the rock wall…..Holding the gun.
I must have been so scared that I didn’t hear the gun fire……I ran over to him.
He looked like he was in shock…..I grabbed the gun from him and realized the barrel was cold.
If the gun was fired…It would have been hot or at the very least warm.
Then I recognize the fact that Frank hadn’t changed his posture or expression, and he was looking in Bess and George’s direction.
I turned that way too to see what was so fascinating, when I saw Bess and George huddled together…..
And Bess holding The Smoking Gun.
I stared in shock until they both noticed Frank and I had not moved for what felt like ten minutes and could have very well been ten seconds. We were both just staring at them….
Bess and George slowly walked over to us like we were going to run away if they moved too suddenly.
Bess spoke first, and thankfully, she put the gun back into it’s holster…wait….HOLSTER????
“Nancy. Frank. Umm…..” She looked over at George as if to say Help me out!
But all George did was shrug.
“Umm…..George and I are part of the ATAC…You know…The organization that Frank and Joe are in? Except that we weren’t on ‘active duty’…….until about a week ago and they called and said some suspicious stuff was going down on Shadow Ranch--”
George cut her off, “So we decided we wanted you to go down with us and help us out…..Believe me. We were going to tell you about ATAC when we got down here, but you got here first and we didn’t get here until about two hours ago…..But of course you managed to get the job done before we could.”
I gaped at them with my mouth open wide enough to hit the floor. They were detectives, too. For some reason, this made me really happy, and I enveloped them in a HUGE hug.
When we let each other go, I heard a groan from behind us. It looked like Dave was waking up, so Bess, George and I, wow it felt good to say…err…think that, tied him up and set him on the extra horse that Bess and George brought. They were gonna lead him back to the ranch where Sheriff Hernandez was waiting….
Then Dave would go to jail…..And hopefully get the help that he needed.
Bess, George, and Dave set off into the sunset, with me waving to them from Cougar Bend.
Then I remembered Frank.
I turned to him and he had the same expression from two minutes before.
I grabbed his hand and led him toward the horses…..It was then that his expression changed.
He realized that I was holding his hand, and looked down at me with shock written all over his face.
I smiled up at him and whispered, “Let’s go find some treasure.”
To which he, subdued, nodded to. We got on our horses and rode to the Cliff Dwellings, where I proceeded to write ALL the colors down and we both walked to the door at the end of the maze.
I put all of the keys in….Which Frank had helpfully found on our way, when I thought they were useless.
The door opened and we stepped into a bright room filled with………
The door opened and we stepped into a bright room filled with all of Frances’ favorite flowers…Amazingly, they stayed fresh…Probably because of the air seal on the door. In the center of the room, surrounded by flowers, was a sculpture of Frances’ likeliness. At the bottom of the statue was a note that read:
YOU HAVE FOUND MY TREASURE……MY TREASURE IS YOU!!!
I USED THIS SCAVENGER HUNT TO PROVE TO YOU HOW MUCH I REALLY LOVE YOU AND HOW YOUR FATHER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO KEEP US APART. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND I HOPE WE HAVE A GREAT LIFE TOGETHER!!
“Oh wow,” I exclaimed just above a whisper…It was a beautiful sculpture and some how I just knew Dirk was the one who made it.
I turned to Frank.
“Makes you think about the weird ways of love, huh?” I asked this as a joke….Not really…But Frank treated it as a serious question anyway.
He grabbed my arm and tugged me so I was facing him…
So that I could only look into his eyes, at his lips, at his nose, at his angelic, almost perfect face….
“Yes, it does,” he whispered only loud enough for me to hear……Like there were other people with us, but just him whispering to me, and only me, sent chills down my spine.
Then he lowered his face to mine and gave me the most blissful and flawless kiss I had ever received…..
When he brought his head back up, I whispered, “You know what Frank Hardy?”
“What Nancy Drew?”
“I think that you are my lucky charm….And I’m going to take you everywhere I go, so I can solve all of my mysteries.”
Frank laughed…..And, wow, was that a great laugh….Like a deep booming laugh, but softer and more caressing.
“Now, Ms. Drew I must agree with you there.”
He then brought his head down for another kiss…
And this kiss….
The one I was experiencing right now…..
It was magically delicious.
I am so sorry for not writing sooner, but a lot of things have been going on as of late.
First off, Dave was the person behind the phantom horse and all the other misgivings around Shadow Ranch. He told the police that he was planning on getting the treasure for himself by scaring away the Rawley’s and looking for the treasure in peace…..But then I came along, and he claims that it was “love at first sight.” He wanted me to find the treasure, and me and him would live happily ever after. But when he saw me with Frank, he lost it and decided that if he couldn’t have me, no one (mainly Frank) could.
Then there is Bess and George…..I really don’t have a lot to say about them…..
They told me that they had made up the scenario at my house in case it happened in real life. I thought it was a joke…..But it was for real. They are ATAC, but they just joined a little while ago. I was upset that they didn’t tell me at first, but I’m optimistic because now they understand what I’m talking about when I drone on and on about my cases. ☺
And then…..The Hardy’s…..
Joe apparently got over his “Nancy Obsession” after I came back with Frank. I’m not sure that’s true because every once in a while I catch him staring at me with those puppy dog eyes…..*Shiver*
And Frank. Yes, we are boyfriend and girlfriend now, and I hope it lasts longer and works out better than my relationship with NeRd…..
Oh yeah. I hope he doesn’t bother you when he gets back to River Heights.
Oh! I almost forgot! That statue that Frank and I found, was painted on the outside, but pure gold in the middle!! Can you believe it?? We gave it to the Rawley’s since I was found with materials from their property, and, in turn, they gave it to the local museum….And by local, I mean Phoenix.
And now Phoenix is putting up an exhibit in honor of Frances and Dirk….
So everything turned out Ok in the end….Except for Dave, but he’ll be getting help in the institution in Phoenix, too.
Ok, gotta run or I’ll miss my plane with the Hardys to our next case…..Wow, feels good to say that!!
We’re off to find Jake Hurley’s mine! I don’t know all the details, but you’ll know when I do!!