George and Bess stared in disbelief when they found Nancy waiting for them at the airport arrival gate. “How did you get here so fast?” demanded George. “We thought we were finally rid..I mean, we were worried that we would have to get along without you.”
Nancy plunged into a long-winded account of her adventurous journey. When she got to the part about the large expanse of bubble gum, Bess gasped. “You didn’t use all the peanut butter, did you? I have been dying for a peanut butter sandwich. Oh well, you didn’t by any chance save any of that bubble gum, did you?”
“Bess!” yelled Nancy. “Will you forget about food? We have a mystery to solve. Now here’s my….where did George go?”
Bess whirled around.. George was nowhere to be seen, but there was a folded slip of paper where she had been standing. Nancy read it aloud.
To Whom It May Concern:
While you were standing here arguing about the peanut butter, a man sneaked up behind us and kidnapped me in connection with the mystery. He has a lot of money and isn’t bad looking so I’ve gone over to the side of the enemy. Happy Hunting!
Nancy stuffed the note into her pocket to be used later as evidence. “Bess, we’ve got to find George. She doesn’t know what she’s up against.”
“What is she up against?”
“I don’t know. But if that guy is as rich as she says, I’d like to get a look at him.”
The two girls decided lunch was more important than George. So they stopped at an attractive little tearoom called “The Red Teapotskaya.” Nancy happened to have an expert command of the Yugoslavian language and ordered for both of them. As Bess reached for her fourth piece of cabbage pie, Nancy bolted up and dashed for the rear of the restaurant.
The minutes ticked by. Bess waited patiently, then started on Nancy’s dinner. Just as she finished dessert and began on the sugar bowl, Nancy appeared, white and trembling.
“Nancy!” exclaimed Bess with her mouth full of sugar. “Did you get any new clues?”
“No,” muttered Nancy, clutching her stomach. “I was throwing up in the bathroom. I think I have the flu.”
This new development forced Bess to postpone her second dessert and assist Nancy to the hotel. A surprise was awaiting them at the door of their suite. Three young men were standing there.
“Ned Tickertape!” exclaimed Bess. Instantly Nancy seemed to feel better.
“Wait a minute!” she bellowed. “You’ve got Dave Sevens. Stick to your own territory.”
“Bess thought it over. “What will you take for Ned?”
“I’ll give you a dime.”
“Fifteen dollars,” Nancy bargained.
“Thirty-five cents.” Bess wasn’t giving up.
Suddenly Ned burped.
“Ugh!” Bess shuddered. “You can have him.”
“Boys- and girl,” said Nancy in her pompous-detective-like voice. “We must find George and save her from a fate worse than death.”
“That’s all right,” put in Burp Meddlesome. “I can always find a new girlfriend.”
“Well, that’s true, but she hasn’t paid me back for my plane ticket yet. And besides, I have a feeling that finding her will provide a clue to help us solve the mystery….” Everyone groaned.
“---and get a reward that we can split among us so if anyone wants to be cut out….”
Everyone assured her that they would help her to the very end.
“Well, what do we do first?” inquired Bess.
“Hmm, for one thing, we’ll investigate all the dog bone factories in the area,” said Nancy. “Burp, you get a phone book. Dave you go rent a car. Ned, you check out all the local dog pounds and see if you can find any more suspicious looking bones. Bess, you…”
“I’ll go get us some refreshments,” said Bess quickly. As soon as they were all gone, Nancy lay down and took a nap.
By the time she awoke, Burp had copied the names and addresses of 3 dog bone factories, along with directions for getting to them, Dave had parked a battered green roadster in front of the hotel, and Ned was rushing in with a collection of dirty rubber bones.
He was excited. “What a clue!” He exhibited a yellow bone with a message inside:
Winski’s Gourmet Shop
12 East Slovakia Blvd.
We handle everything for the discriminating Slovakian dog.
Nancy was ready for action. “Okay, team, time to move in!” She caught up her detective kit.
Burp grabbed his size 15 FF cowboy boots. “You think we can solve the case today?”
“No! I said it’s time to move in. We need to find another hotel fast, because I think Bess may have gotten us thrown out of this one.”
Bess followed Nancy out the door, brandishing the remains of a Plaster of Paris leg of lamb. “How was I to know it was just for display? Next time, make sure the hotel has a 24 hour restaurant attached.”
The five chumps squeezed into the roadster, with Ned driving and Nancy navigating. The gourmet shop was about 4 blocks away and it took them most of the afternoon to get there.
An old lady with snow white hair and twinkling blue eyes greeted them as they rushed into the shop. Nancy was elated to find four rubber bones for sale, identical to the one Pog had dropped on her toe.
“I’ll take all four of these,” she ordered, pulling out her Rent-a-Czech credit card. In addition to the bones, the group purchased a leash and harness for Dave, who was always wandering off and getting lost, a rubber mouse for Burp to squeak on the plane ride home, and a rawhide bone to tide Bess over until dinner.
As soon as they returned to the car, Nancy began to tear open the rubber bones with her handy detective knife. Each one contained a folded piece of paper!
“Inspected by Operator 27,” she read. “That’s no help.” She gave the bone to Burp, who tossed it at the car behind them.
Ned checked the next bone. “This one contains a recipe for cabbage rolls.” Nancy tossed the bone out the window while Bess stored away the recipe for evidence.
The third bone contained nothing but an advertisement for ear syringes. In the fourth bone, was a number.
“16-27-L-M-93,” read Dave Sevens. “It sounds like a code.”
Ned pulled up before a long white building. “Well, here’s the dog bone factory.” He was busy cleaning out his ear with the end of the rubber bone.
The 5 chumps scrambled out of the roadster and headed for the rear delivery door. What would they find inside?
Nancy, clutching the code paper and an assortment of rubber bones, led the way into the darkened factory. No sooner had they stepped into the room and closed the door, than 2 men in ski masks emerged with a large burlap sack. The men grabbed Ned Tickertape, stuffed him inside and disappeared in the darkness!
“Well, this looks like the place.” Nancy was pretty sure. “Everyone start looking for clues.”
Bess dropped to her hands and knees and began to sniff the ground. Nancy sniffed the air in the corners for a moment and then hurried over to a dark corner. She tripped over a cast iron dog bone and fell into a pit full of boxes.
No one could find her. The remaining 4 chumps waited for over an hour. Bess’s stomach began to rumble. Finally Burp heard a noise. A hidden door on the south wall opened and Nancy emerged, clutching a box.
“Nancy!” cried Bess. “Are you all right? What about Ned? Did you solve the mystery? Did you happen to notice any rest rooms?”
Nancy brushed a patch of dust off of her sleeve. “Well, I found the storeroom!” she announced gleefully. She dragged an old man forward.
“Professor Ironbeard!” exclaimed Bess in disbelief.
“No, this is Professor Ironbone!” explained Nancy.
"For years now, he has been locked up in this dog bone factory, hidden away by his evil twin brother in Quiver Hites. Professor Ironbeard inherited the family fortune, once his brother was MIA for the last 7 years. Professor Ironbone hoped that someone would find one of his bones and save him from his life imprisonment."
"What's the reward?" asked Bess excitedly.
"Er...that is one of the shortfalls of mysteries sometimes. They don't always pay off," declared Nancy. "But we do them out of the goodness of our hearts, anyway."
"Yeah, well, the goodness of my heart is not going to pay for my trip here. Or my other expenses. Or my valuable time," said Burp. He had quite an attitude.
"And of course, we lost George and can't find her," said Bess loyally.
"True," said Nancy. "But my main concern is that she owes me for the airplane ride. So I say we start a new mystery and see if we can find her."
Stay Tuned for the Quest of the Missing Sap.