Authors: Gary Paulsen
By the time the two men caught Herman and calmed the dogs down, Amos and Dunc were safely hidden behind some boxes in the back of the panel truck.
While the two men were loading the dog cages into the truck, Dunc recognized one of their voices. It was the phony Dr. Keene’s.
“Never mind how that cat got in there. Let’s get the rest of the dogs and get out of here. The judge is expecting us.”
“Did you hear that, Amos?” Dunc whispered. “I told you this was big. Even the judge is in on it.”
“I coulda guessed,” Amos whispered back.
The two men stacked the cages of the remaining dogs in the truck and bolted the door with a grinding clang.
The truck started moving.
It was completely dark in the back of the truck. Amos held his hand up close to his face. He couldn’t see it.
“Nothing. I was just making sure you were still here.”
“Where else would I be?”
“What is it this time?”
“How long do you think we’ve been riding around back here?”
“About an hour or so.”
Amos took in that information and sat quietly in the darkness for a few moments.
“What if they don’t stop? I mean, what if they decide to keep driving—say, to Mexico?”
Dunc stretched his legs as far as he could in the small space they had. “They won’t. We turned onto a gravel road about fifteen minutes ago. That means we’re headed for the country.”
The truck bounced along on the bumpy dirt road. It hit a pothole, and all of the boxes and cages slid over to Amos’s side.
“What’s in these boxes? I can’t move them.”
Dunc felt around on the top of one. He found a loose board and pulled. A soft wet nose found his hand.
“Dogs. It’s more dogs. They must have brought the ones from Doc Woods’s house too.”
“You don’t suppose …” Amos felt
around the other crates until he reached a loose board. The dog inside snarled and snapped at his hand.
“Just my luck. It’s Scruff.”
The truck lurched to a stop. Amos bounced off the side and landed seat-first on top of Scruff’s box.
Scruff grabbed a mouthful of Amos’s rear end.
The truck doors flew open. The driver held a spotlight on them.
“What’s going on back here?” Dr. Keene and the driver stared at them. The fake doctor stepped up in the truck. “I know you boys. You work down at the pound.”
“Yes, sir.” Dunc moved forward and tried to cover. “And that’s exactly why we’re here. You see, we believe in the personal touch. We always travel to the first home of each and every dog that leaves the pound. We feel we owe it to the animals to make sure they get a good home with—”
The other man reached for Dunc. “Get
out of there, squirt. You too.” He motioned for Amos to follow. “The boss ain’t gonna be too happy about this.”
“What is it that I won’t be happy about?”
The boys turned.
It was Ms. Craig from the pound. Sort of—only she didn’t wear glasses, and her hair wasn’t gray. Instead she had long blond hair and wore an evening gown. She had big diamond rings on every finger.
“Them.” The man pointed to Dunc and Amos. “We got ourselves some stowaways, Ms. Van Buren. What you want I should do with ’em?”
Dunc didn’t give her a chance to answer. He reached for the latch of the nearest cage. A big dog lunged for his freedom, barely missing Ms. Van Buren when he hit the ground.
Amos joined in. They unlatched cage after cage until every dog in the truck was free.
“Catch them! Catch my dogs!” Ms. Van Buren screamed and ran after the escaping
dogs in her high heels. “My precious dogs. Stop them!”
From out of nowhere the police appeared. A squad car blocked the exit, and five uniformed officers grabbed the driver and Ms. Van Buren and placed them under arrest.
Amos jumped down from the back of the truck. “Boy, are we glad to see you guys.” He pointed at Dr. Keene. “While you’re at it, arrest him too. He’s in on this up to his eyebrows.”
“I’ll decide who to arrest around here.” The door of one of the police cars opened. Judge Simmons stepped out. He pointed a long bony finger directly at Dunc and Amos. “Officers, arrest those two.”
Amos sat on the floor in Dunc’s room with his chin in his hand. “What a rip-off. The first time I’ve ever been arrested, and they didn’t even fingerprint me.”
“That’s because technically we were never really under arrest.” Dunc sat down beside him. “The judge only said that because you were about to blow Officer Keene’s cover.”
“I’m still not sure I understand why he was impersonating a veterinarian anyway.”
“Like the judge said, he pretended to be
a doctor so he could get inside Ms. Van Buren’s organization. He found out she raises show dogs and was so anxious to own winners that she hired people to steal dogs for her. She used the city pound as a holding place until she could transport them to her kennel in the country.”
Amos frowned. “How did Doc Woods fit into all this?”
“Since he’s a real veterinarian, Officer Keene went to him for advice. He needed to find out what kinds of dogs Ms. Van Buren would be interested in.”
“I’m glad he wasn’t a criminal.” Amos stood up. “Well, I guess it’s time.”
Dunc looked at his watch. “Yeah. We better get down there.”
“I still don’t think the judge should have sentenced us if we weren’t ever really arrested.”
“I guess he got upset because we showed up at the raid last night and things started moving a little faster than they planned.”
“Okay, a lot. But two months’ community service at the dog pound won’t hurt us. My dad says it will mold our characters.”
“My dad said something different, but I can’t repeat it.” Amos stretched. “I just wish the judge hadn’t told Fifi’s owner that we wanted to donate all the reward money to the city pound. I had my eye on something special for Melissa down at Wilson’s jewelry store.”
“No. Something better. I found these imitation gold earrings with the initial
on them. She would have loved them.”
“Don’t worry, Amos, I have just the thing to take our minds off our problems. I heard about a robbery at one of the ware-houses down at the waterfront. While we’re at the pound, we can be working on a plan to catch the crooks.”
“But, Amos, this one is really interesting. The only thing the thief stole was a case of shaving cream. We could—”
“Forget it.” Amos moved to the door.
“—get these fake beards, and—”
Amos started running. He slid down the stair railing and flew out the front door.
“Amos?” Dunc looked out the door a moment and shrugged and smiled. “He’ll come around—he always does.”
When Dunc Culpepper and his best friend, Amos Binder, first see the parrot in a pet store, they’re not impressed—it’s smelly, scruffy, and missing half its feathers. They’re only slightly impressed when they learn that the parrot speaks four languages, has outlived ten of its owners, and is probably 150 years old. But when the bird starts mouthing off about buried treasure, Dunc and Amos get pretty excited—let the amateur sleuthing begin!
Dunc and his accident-prone friend Amos are up to their old sleuthing habits once again. This time they’re after a band of doll thieves! When a doll that once belonged to Charles Dickens’s daughter is stolen from an exhibition at the local mall, the two boys put on their detective gear and do some serious snooping. Will a vicious
watchdog keep them from retrieving the valuable missing doll?
Dunc and Amos are researching the Civil War cannon that stands in the town square when they find a note inside telling them about a time portal. Entering it through the dressing room of La Petite, a women’s clothing store, the boys find themselves in downtown Chatham on March 8, 1862—the day before the historic clash between the
. But the Confederate soldiers they meet mistake them for Yankee spies. Will they make it back to the future in one piece?
Dunc and Amos meet up with a new buddy named Lash when they enter the radical world of skateboard competition. When somebody “cops”—steals—Lash’s prototype skateboard, the boys are determined to get it back. After all, Lash is about to shoot for a totally rad world’s record! Along the way they learn a major lesson:
kiss a monkey!
Dunc and Amos are planning the best route to get the most candy on Halloween. But their plans change when Amos is slightly bitten by a werewolf. He begins scratching himself and chasing UPS trucks—he’s become a werepuppy!
Dunc and Amos have a small problem when they try hang gliding—they crash in the wilderness. Luckily, Amos has read a book about a boy who survived in the wilderness for fifty-four days. Too bad Amos doesn’t have a hatchet. Things go from bad to worse when a wild man holds the boys captive. Can anything save them now?
Dunc’s not afraid of ghosts, although Amos is sure that the old Rambridge house is haunted by the ghost of Blackbeard the Pirate. Then the best friends meet Eddie, a meek man who claims to be impersonating Blackbeard’s ghost in order to live in the house in peace. But if that’s true, why are flames shooting from his mouth?
Deciphering a code they find in a library book, Amos and Dunc stumble onto a burglary ring. The burglars’ next target is the home of Melissa, the girl of Amos’s dreams (who doesn’t even know that he’s alive). Amos longs to be a hero to Melissa, so nothing will stop him from solving this case—not even a mind-boggling collision with a jock, a chimpanzee, and a toilet.
In order to impress Melissa, Amos decides to perform on the trapeze at the visiting circus. Look out below! But before Dunc can talk him out of his plan, the two stumble across a mystery behind the scenes at the circus. Now Amos is in double trouble. What’s really going on under the big top?
Camouflaged as piles of rotting trash, Dunc and Amos are sneaking around the town dump. Dunc wants to find out who is polluting the garbage at the dump with hazardous and toxic waste. Amos just wants to impress Melissa. Can either of them succeed?
Dunc and Amos are at it again. Some older residents of their town have been bilked by con artists, and the two boys want to look into these crimes. They meet elderly Betsy Dell, whose nasty nephew Frank gives the boys the creeps. Then they notice some soft dirt in Ms. Dell’s shed, and a shovel. Does Frank have something horrible in store for Dunc and Amos?
Dunc and Amos head for camp and face two weeks of fresh air—along with regulations, demerits, KP, and inedible food. But where these two best friends go, trouble follows. They overhear a threat against the camp director, and discover that camp funds have been stolen. Do these crimes have anything to do with the tattoo of the exotic red flower that some of the camp staff have on their arms?
It’s Christmastime, and Dunc, Amos, and Amos’s cousin T.J. hit the mall for some serious shopping. But when the seasonal magic is threatened by some disappearing presents, and
Santa Claus himself is a prime suspect, the boys put their celebration on hold and go undercover in perfect Christmas disguises! Can the sleuthing trio protect Santa’s threatened reputation and catch the impostor before he strikes again?