TABLE OF CONTENT
HELP. COME NOW. IM IN TRUBBLE.
THE MASK GUYS
I CAN TAKE THIS TO THE POLICE SHE SAYS.
I WAIT FOR THE POLICE ALL DAY.
THE SUN IS DOWN BUT THERE IS STILL LITE IN THE SKY.
THINGS GET UGLY RITE AWAY.
THE OLD LADYS LEGS WORK LIKE MY BRAIN
THE NEXT TOWN IS RICO.
THE CLOUDS GO LOWER.
RISE AND SHINE! EVERYBODY UP!
OK SAYS BET.
THE ONLY REASON I HAVENT BEEN FOUND OUT YET
IT IS A BIT LATER
I AM SKATING DOWN THE STREET
I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY SIDE
STEVES PLACE IS TALL AND POINTY
THE NEXT BIT IS CRAZY.
IT IS NOT EASY TO GO HOME.
THE TRAILER IS NOT VERY BIG.
I REMEMBER GOING SKATING WITH MY SCHOOL
I AM SLEEPY
I AM WET UP TO MY NEE.
WOLVES ARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK.
SO I AM CRAZY.
THE RIVER IS BESIDE ME AND THE MOON IN FRONT.
ITS COMING FROM UNDER MY COAT.
HELLO! I SHOUT.
SUSAN DEAR—ARE YOU THERE?
KATY GOES OUT TO HER TRUCK
HOURS LATER IT IS SO LATE IT IS EARLY.
HIS NAME IS BROZ.
WE HAVE A BATHROOM CONVERSATION
IT IS AN EASY DROP FROM THE BATHROOM WINDOW
VI TURNS AROUND.
SO AFTER ALL MY SKATING AND RUNNING AND HIDING
WE TRY DIFFERENT PHONES.
BUMP BUMP SLIDE BUMP.
BUNNY! HE SAYS.
I KNOW SOME OF THE TRUTH RITE AWAY.
HI THANKS FOR CALLING OTOOLE CENTRAL.
HERB DOESNT BELIEVE WHO I AM RITE AWAY
HERB IS LISTENING TO THE NEWS ON THE CAR RADIO
No thats not rite. I have to do the last word again. I rub it out. Im working on my spelling. Mr Wing says its way better than when I came to Creekside last summer. But Im still pretty bad.
I think about what else I shuld rite. I only have 1 small sheet of paper and there isnt room for much. The pencil is a stub—I hold it in my thum and 2 fingers. The room is cold and my breath makes puffy little clouds when I breath out.
BE CARE FULL. BAD GUYS WITH GUNS.
Thats the most important thing. The name on the male box. I saw it when I got here. I was feeling sick from the long drive in the dark and when the guys in the masks pulled me out of the trunk of the car I fell down on my hands and nees and started throwing up. The mask guys jumped out of the way and went Eww. When I finished throwing up I felt better. I took deep breaths and wiped away my swet. And thats when I saw the male box at the end of the drive. It was nite and the car lites were shining on it and there was the name in brite red letters on the gray metal of the male box. NEWMAN.
I want help to come to the rite place. I stand up on my bed and stare out my little window. Theres snow piled up aganest the bottom of the window cause I am in the basement. And theres bars running up and down the window like jail bars. I rite down what I can see thru the window past the bars and the piled up snow.
WOOD FENCE. WHITE BARN. THING THAT GOES ROUND.
ROAD WITH 40 SINE.
That’s the speed limit. The sine is past the fence down the road from the house. Not a lot of cars go by but when they do thats how fast they go. 40.
I get down from my bed and read over my note. Theres nothing else to put in. Pine trees and clouds and snow is the only other stuff I can see and that wont help anybody find me. Theres a bit of room at the bottom of the paper so I print my name.
Its a pretty good note. Anyone reading it will know theres a guy named Bunny who needs help. They will look for a farm with a white barn belonging to Newman. If they are police they will come. And if they are not police they will go to the police.
I put the note in my pocket and wait for Vi. She is the nice 1 of the bad guys. There are 3 others or maybe more—its hard to say how many they are cause they all look the same when they wear masks. Vi doesnt wear a mask. Also she doesnt yell at me or push me around. Thats how I know shes nice. She told me her name and said she wanted to help me. What we are doing is rong, she said. WRONG. Our cause is rite but this is wrong. Kid napping is wrong.
Is that what you are doing? I asked. Kid napping?
Yes she said.
And who are you kid napping? You she said.
Oh rite I said.
That was this morning.
Last nite I didnt see her. I only saw the guys who took me out of the car. 2 of them. Pretty big guys with parkas and gloves and those ski masks with holes for the eyes. They dragged me out of the trunk and into the house and took off my skates witch I still had on from skating at city hall with my brother Spencer. The skate laces got into a not and one of the guys had to take off his gloves to undo them. He had white hands with dirty nails. The 2 guys dragged me down the hall and then pushed me down the stares. I was still feeling pretty bad. My head hurt and my legs didnt work rite. You know when your foot is asleep and you cant stand up? Like that only both feet. I fell all the way down the stares and lay at the bottom. The guys rumbled down after me and threw me into the room.
I didnt know what was going on. Thats normal for me. But this time I didnt have any idea at all. I mean nothing. I shivered all nite long.
In the morning an other guy came to see me so there were 3 guys in my room. The new guy was bigger than the other 2 and fat and his ski mask was red. They watched him. He didnt watch them. He was the boss.
I thot about standing up but I was feeling creeky. Also I thot that if I stood up the boss guy wuld nock me down and if I stayed sitting then he wuldnt. And if he nocked me over when I was sitting down then I wuldnt fall as far. Anyway I stayed down. He stood in front of me and asked questions about Mr Clean. At least thats what I thot he said.
Who? I asked.
I wasnt sure I herd rite. He talked English ok but with an axent. He missed some words and he said other ones kind of funny.
The guy on TV? I said. The bald guy?
He wanted to know where he kept things.
Mr Clean? I said again to make sure. It really didnt make sense.
Yes Mr Clean he said. Where would Mr Clean keep things?
He pounded one hand into the other like it was a baseball glove. He turned and said something to the other 2 guys.
Yes Yes they said nodding. Mr Clean. Mr Clean.
They were all talking together.
It was cold in the basement. We wore parkas and our breaths made clouds.
I tried to remember the last time I saw Mr Clean on TV. He was bent over and he was rubbing a stove and making it shine. The woman with him was smiling. It was all pretty lame.
Hes got a bucket I said. He keeps stuff in there. Sponges and cleaning stuff.
They wernt interested in Mr Cleans bucket.
Somewhere else said the boss. Where does he keep papers?
I felt dum witch I am used to. I wished Spencer was there to xplain what they wanted. Hes smart and good at xplaining. He xplained what was going on at the cottage when we found the pictures and stuff. I didnt know why DJ was so xited until Spencer xplained to me.
I did my best here.
Mr Clean doesnt have any papers I said. Xept maybe a coop on. Do you mean a coop on? By 1 and get 1 free? I think he has those. What papers do you want?
And then he said—the boss guy said it and the others nodded there heads like they were saying uh huh—he said The Anthem. With capital letters like that—like it was important and I shuld no it. Like it ment something.
I nodded. I no what the anthem is.
O Canada I said.
Cause that is our anthem. We had to learn the words in French and English in Grade 4. I remember some of them. Carton brass a ton eh something Il say portay la craw. Or something. Pretty cool. Something about a cross witch is not the same as in English. In English we stand on gard a lot.
When you put it like that it sounds dum eh? It sounded dum when I said it. But the boss guy nodded his red mask and said Yes yes yes. And the other 2 guys nodded there black masks. And then the door opened and Vi came in.
This was the first time I saw her. She didnt have a mask. And she said my name.
Hi Bunny she said. Im Vi.
Hi I said. I stood up. It seemed like the rite thing to do. So there we all were standing up in the basement. It culd of been a party but there was no snacks and we all had our coats on.
I was hungry and I wanted to go to the bathroom. No wait—I wanted to go to the bathroom first.
Vi was tuff but pretty. You know. Like she wuld fite you and look good doing it. Her parka was fluffy.
Hows our hoss stage? she asked me.
Thats what you are Bunny she said.
Oh I said.
I didnt know what a hoss stage was then. I do now.
Vi was the first 1 who called me by name. Later they all did but she was the first. And she talked normal. Like me I mean or Spencer or DJ or the Creekside guys. She didnt have an axent is what I am saying.
Has Bunny told us anything? Vi asked. Has he helped us?
Hes going to help us now said the big boss guy with the red mask. He is going to tell us where is the anthem. Arent you Bunny?
He said my name a bit different from her. Vi said Bunny like I do. He was more like Bun neee.
That is what we want said Vi. Where wuld your grampa keep the anthem?
What? I said. Is this about Grampa? My grampa?
Of course she said. Your grampa has our anthem and we want it back.
Oh I said.
David McLean is your grampa rite? she said.
Not any more I said. He dyed. But he was my grampa and that was his name.
The guys in the black masks were nodding and saying McLean McLean. I got it now. They wernt asking about Mr Clean. They didnt care about him or his bucket.
I didnt understand you I said.
He got mad and pushed me. My legs were still feeling num and I fell down hard and hurt my sholder.
Careful! said Vi.
You are stupid! he shouted at me.
I know—I shuld not of stood up I said.
So many things have happened to me because of Grampa. When he dyed he gave me a task—a thing to do. He had tasks for the other cousins 2. DJ went to Africa to clime a mountain and Adam found a painting and Steve had to go to Spain and like that. Webb went up north to do something I didnt understand. My brother Spencer had to get a kiss from an old lady actress witch was funny and also strange because his task got mixed up with mine. My task was to get a tatoo. It was a big deal for me. I got the tatoo all by myself and all sorts of things happened because of it. I am in a gang—sort of—who are pretty cool guys thanks to Grampa and his tatoo. And Jade is my frend thanks to Grampa. These are good things that happend. Also I am in Creekside—witch is not good. We call it Creekside or Hall but it is jail. There are fences around it and you have to get a note from a PO befor you can go away and you have to be back when the note says.
A PO is a prole officer. Mine is named Roz.
Jail is not all bad. Benj and Lukas are cool and Mr Wing is an awe some teacher who likes my riting a lot.
But jail is mostly bad.
I am not in jail because of Grampa. He didnt send me there. But I got my tatoo for Grampa and I wuldnt be in jail if I didnt have the tatoo. Ive been away since befor Christmas. Roz said I had to be back by New Years or else Id be in trouble. I dont know how I can get back now Ive been kid napped so I gess I will be in trouble. More trouble I mean—Im in trouble now.
Heres what happened. Everybody in Creekside went home for the holidays xept for Benji who doesnt have any parents and Asa who lives far away. I didnt stay home for long tho. The day after Christmas mom left for a crews and dad flew out to BC to do weird camping stuff and me and Spencer drove up to Grampas cottage with our cousin DJ. There are 7 grandsons and a bunch of us got together up there to remember Grampa.
DJ is the oldest cousin. Hes like 18. Im 15 and Spencer is 16. Mom talked to Anty Ann who is DJs mom and they both said DJ culd look after us at the cottage. I didnt mind. DJ is bossy but OK. And he is just DJ after all. If he asked me to do something I didnt want to do I wuld say no.
So anyway there were 5 of us grandsons at the cottage—DJ Adam Webb Spencer and me. We were making a fire in the fire place when we found all this cool stuff—pass ports with Grampas picture on them and money from other places. Lots of money. And golf balls—I remember them. This stuff was secret. It came out of the wall. There was even a gun. I know because I fired it. I didnt think it wuld go off but it did. Bang. I was surprised.
They all got xited about the stuff we found. DJ and Adam and Webb did—and even Spencer did a bit. I didnt care. Grampa was dead. He culdnt use the pass ports any more or shoot the gun or play golf. They kept talking tho. They culdnt decide if Grampa was working for us or for them. I didnt say much. I didnt want to spoil things by asking dum questions like—What work was Grampa doing? And—Who is us? Who is them?
Later Spencer xplained that the stuff we found in the wall was spy stuff. That was Grampas work.
Like James Bond I said.
Remember the picture in that movy? Spencer asked me. You said it was Grampa.
That was a spy movy?
Last time Spencer came to Creekside to visit me he showed me a home movy with a picture of Grampa in it. At least I thot it was Grampa. Spencer wasnt sure. He showed the picture to mom and dad a few days ago and they wernt sure ether. So Grampa was maybe a spy.
But I still didnt get about us and them. Whoever he was working for was us wasnt it? I asked Spencer.
It’s about how much you trust Grampa he said.
We talked more about it on the way back to Toronto the next day. DJ was driving me and Spencer and he talked a lot. He had plans for finding out about Grampa. He was dropping us off on his way to the air port. I have to go to the air port he said. Thats the sort of guy DJ is. An air port guy.
I just wanted to go skating. Thats the kind of guy I am. And Spencer said OK. So DJ dropped us at city hall and we went skating. This was around dinner time. It was dark. I got some skates and zoomed around. I like skating. Spencer went to get some food and I was skating back ward and the next thing I new I had a bag on my head. I felt a pain in my side like somebody stabbing me. I yelled and then went to sleep and woke up in the trunk of a car at the Newman place feeling like blah.
Was it only yesterday?
wanted me to tell them about Grampa and papers but I didnt know much. The big boss in the red mask got mad.
Where does McLean keep papers? he shouted. Where is the anthem? Where?
He took a gun out of his pocket and started waving it around.
Talk! he shouted. Or I will shoot you!
I wuld of been scareder but I had to go to the bathroom. Its hard to be scared when you really have to pee.
Vi stepped in between the boss guy and me.
She pushed him out of the way even tho he was much bigger than her.
The three mask guys went off and talked to each other. I didnt understand what they said but I herd the word Spencer.
Spencer is my brother I said.
So they started to ask me about Spencer.
Does he know where is the anthem? asked the boss.
I dont know I said.
Spencer is a smart guy. He doesnt always see stuff but he knows stuff. He didnt see Grampa in the video we looked at. Even tho it was clear to me.
I wanted to call him but I didnt have my phone. It was in my pocket when I was skating but I didnt have it now. Did Spencer know where I was? Probly not. Was he worryed? Probly.
We will call Spencer the boss told me.
Can I talk to him? I asked.
No said the boss.
He left with the other 2 mask guys. It was only me and Vi.
Sorry Bunny she said.
No it isnt. We shuld treat you better. I believe in our cause but I dont want to hurt you.
She was talking soft. Her eyes were big and wet like she was about to cry. Im sorry she said agane. What can I get you?
Uh I said.
Wuld you like something to eat?
Yes I said. But uh first—
I was hopping up and down.
Oh she said.
There was a black mask guy standing at the top of the basement stares. He nodded down to me. The bathroom was small and dusty. The stone floor was cold on my winter sock feet. I didnt care at all.
When I got back to my room Vi had a paper and pencil in her hand.
Rite a note she said. Put down what you know about what is going on and I will deliver it. Do you want to go to the police? I will take it to there. What we are doing is rong. I am on your side she said.
I didnt know what to say.
Trust me she said.
And she left.
She is wearing a scarf now.
Sure I say. Or give it to somebody who can give it to the police.
I dont want you to get in trouble I say.
That is okay she says. I do not like what Lubor is doing to you. He is mean.
Who is Lubor? I say.
I dont know how to spell the name. It may be Lewbor or Luboar or something else. But Lubor is what it sounds like so that is how I am riting it.
Lubor is the boss of this sell says Vi. He is in charge of us.
What is a sell?
We are. All of us in the unit says Vi. Lubor is in charge. When he said we were going to Toronto to kid nap someone I thot we wuld be nice. I didnt know how mean we culd be she says.
She reads the note again and nods to her self.
Is this all you know Bunny? she says. Do you know where is the anthem? Where your grampa wuld keep it? In his house? In his bank?
No I say. Spencer mite know but I dont.
She puts the note in her pocket. I hate that Lubor she says.
He is the big guy in the red mask?
Yes Bunny. I am on your side not his.