- “Where were you thinking about exploring tomorrow,” Mike asked Agnes.
- “For one thing, there are a lot of lighthouses here, and a lot of beaches,” said Agnes as she pulled out a stack of pamphlets. “Let’s go through these and pick out a few places that look most interesting. I’d probably have us running from one end to the other and we’d have to miss our chance for a fish boil.”
- While the rest of the family discussed the merits of lighthouses, museums and beaches, Mal went outside and petted Rufus, who was tied to a tree. “I guess we’re both on a leash, huh Rufus?” Mal brought out the bag of dog food and poured a generous amount into one of the two bowls.
- Water, he thought. Where can I get some water out here? While Rufus was making his way through the huge mound of food, Mal started walking around the building. It didn’t take him long to find a water spigot that was probably used for watering the inn’s lawn and plants. He turned the handle. Sure enough, water flowed out. All right! Mel thought.
- Rufus was already licking his food bowl clean by the time Mal ran back to retrieve the water bowl. “Ok, boy. Since you’re finished, let’s go get you some water.”
- Mal picked up the bowl and untied Rufus. Remarkably, Rufus didn’t run away; instead, he bounded over to where Mal had come from, sensing that much-needed water would appear for him to wash down the enormous quantity of dry dog food he just consumed.
- A Valuable Discovery?
- Mal ran over to the spigot and filled the bowl. Rufus quickly slurped it up, so Mal turned the handle again to re-fill the bowl. He noticed that the metal pipe was loose where it came out of the wall, so he bent down to take a closer look. As he wiggled the pipe, Mal could see that a piece of paper was lodged in the hole between the pipe and the wall.
- Rufus finally finished drinking by this time. Anticipating that Rufus would race off any moment, Mal led Rufus back to the tree and tied him up again. Then Mal ran into the dining room. The adults were busily engaged in conversation, but Mel was terribly bored. She was genuinely happy to see her brother.
- “Mom, I’d like to show Mel something outside, ok?”
- “Ok, just stay close. Did you feed Rufus?”
- “Yep. Gave him water, too.”
- Mal and Mel ran outside to the water spigot.
- “What do you think it is?” Mel asked.
- “It could be a treasure map,” Mal blurted out.
- “Mal, you’re such a ninny,” Mel said. “You’ve been thinking too much about those sunken boats.”
- “I don’t know. We’re awfully close to where those boats sank. Let’s see if we can pull it out without tearing it,” said Mal hopefully. “Here, you jiggle the pipe while I try.”
- “No, YOU jiggle the pipe, and I'll pull it out. You’d just yank and rip it,” Mel declared.
- Mal had to admit, if only to himself, that Mel was right. He didn’t have the greatest sense of balance, that’s for sure. Certainly not like mom. Mal felt a twinge of guilt at how he felt about her earlier.
- “Ok. I’ll jiggle it. But be careful. It’s probably really old.”
- Mel slowly worked the paper loose. It looked kind of old, but not 50 or 100 years old. She carefully unfolded the paper to reveal...a map.
- “Wow, see! It IS a map. What did I tell you, Mel? Who’s the ninny now?”
- Mal took the map and held it up closer to the light that was attached to the wall near the roof, above the spigot. The pencil marks were quite faded, but it clearly was a map.
- “Gee, what should we do, Mal?”
- “We could hide it and see if we can figure it out tomorrow, or maybe wait until we can take diving lessons if it shows where there’s buried treasure in the water.”
- “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Mel. “We should take this inside and show it to mom and dad right away. Do you think the owner knows anything about this? After all, they own this place. The treasure would probably belong to them.”
- Mal was glad that Mel was thinking treasure too. “Ok, I guess we should let them see it.”
- The twins ran back into the dining room where the adults were still talking. Grownups sure do like to sit around and talk, Mel thought. I hope I don’t get like them.
- “Look what we found!”
- Mike was closest to the door. He held out his hand. “Let’s have a look.”
- “Do you think it’s a treasure map?” Mal asked, clambering up on a chair.
- Mike cleared away the center of the table and laid the paper out so Mort and Agnes could see it as well.
- “It’s pretty faded, drawn in pencil,” Agnes observed.
- “Take a look here,” Mort said, pointing to some writing on the bottom. “Whoever finds this map will also find the treasure.”
- “The handwriting isn’t very neat, and the map seems to be fairly, um, well, it’s not very well drawn. This could be the road out front, because there’s the big tree and this sort of looks like this inn,” said Mike as he pointed to the various figures of the map. “This arrow appears to be pointing right here, to this dining room where we’re sitting!”
- “Let’s ask Tom or Karen what they think,” Mort suggested.
- Karen came over to pour more coffee and ask if Mel or Mal wanted any more milk.
- “What do you make of this, Karen? Mal and Mel brought this in,” said Mort.
- Karen looked at the map, thought a moment and then smiled. “Let me bring Tom over and we’ll both explain. He’ll be amused. It’s been hidden for quite a while.”
- “Wherever in the world did you find this?” Tom asked.
- “Outside. In the water faucet,” said Mal.
- “In the water faucet?” Karen asked. “But the paper isn’t wet.”
- “It was loose in the wall. We jiggled the pipe and pulled it out of the wall,” Mel explained.
The Map's Story
“It’s an interesting story, but probably not what you think,” Tom started. “About, oh, a dozen or so years ago we had a group of college students staying here for the weekend. A few of them came up a day early to set up different games for exploring Door County.”
- Karen continued, “They asked us if we would mind their “planting” the last clue for a scavenger hunt on the property. They promised that they wouldn’t do any damage and that the clue would point to this restaurant. Whoever found the map was to be crowned king or queen that evening and the “treasure” was free dinner. It sounded like a lot of fun, so we offered to host the dinner for the winner, rather than having the committee pay for it.”
- “That was quite a night,” Tom said. “A really big storm hit. Lightning, thunder, wind howling, rain...you name it. They called off the scavenger hunt and just enjoyed the evening here. And Karen was crowned queen for the evening. I guess everyone forgot about the last clue.”
- Karen walked away while Tom was talking. She remembered that she had saved the gold crown. “You never know when a “real” king or queen might be joining us, so I saved it just in case,” Karen said as she placed it on Mal’s head with a flourish and a bow.
- “Gee, thanks, Mrs. Karen,” Mal said as he quickly picked up and ate a piece of cherry pie that Mel hadn’t finished. Mort and Agnes didn’t notice, or perhaps they just pretended not to notice. Mal realized that Mike saw him, though, and was pretty sure his grandpa winked at him before turning away to say something to Tom.
- One of the pamphlets described a restaurant that had a living grass roof where goats sometimes could be found munching or otherwise passing the time. All five family members agreed that a breakfast of Swedish pancakes would be a perfect start to the following day.
- “Very practical,” said Mike. “Sure beats going up there with a lawn mower or hedge trimmers.”
- “Whitefish Dunes State Park sounds interesting,” said Agnes. “And it’s next to Cave Point County Park. It doesn’t say anything about bats, so I guess Rufus will be ok.”
- “I think goats, dunes and caves will do it for us tomorrow. We don’t want to miss the fish boil this time,” Mike said. All agreed. Even Agnes.
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iNTRODUCTION TO BOOK 2
INTRODUCTION TO THE BIOFABLES SERIES