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Authors: Franklin W. Dixon

The Bicycle Thief (7 page)

BOOK: The Bicycle Thief
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“Thanks,” Frank said. He held out his hand. They shook.

Adam and his family left.

“Hey, Frank!” Cissy said. “I know. We can make missing posters for your bike! I got some new colored pencils, and I can bring them over tomorrow after school, and then we can put posters all around Bayport! I'm sure someone knows where your bike is.”

“Yeah,” said Frank. “That sounds like a good idea.” He tried to smile, but his heart wasn't in it.

Cissy gave him a hug. “See you tomorrow,” she said. Frank and Joe said good-bye.

“I guess we should go get your bike and go home,” Frank said to Joe.

Together, Frank and Joe went and unlocked
Joe's bike. Then they began the long walk home. Neither of them had won the 2011 Bayport Junior Bike Rally, Frank's arm was all scraped up, and worst of all, his bike was still missing. This was the worst day ever at the park.

Walking home seemed to take forever. It was so much quicker to ride a bike! In his head Frank did some math.

“Six months!” he suddenly said out loud.

“Six months what?” said Joe.

“That's how long it'll take me to save enough allowance money to buy a bike.”

Six months without any more bike races. Six months without being able to bike to school or to the playground or to the store. Joe thought about it.

“I can lend you everything I have saved!” said Joe.

“Oh, wow! Thanks! How much is that?” asked Frank.

“Uh . . .” Joe pulled his pockets inside out. “Two dollars, seventy-three cents, some lint, and two sticks of gum?”

Frank sighed. It was going to be six months before he had a bike again.

The sun had just set when the Hardy house appeared down the street. In the flickering glow of the streetlights, Frank couldn't believe his eyes. He stopped. He stared. He rubbed his face and then looked again. He closed his eyes, counted to ten, and looked one more time.

“Frank . . . are you okay?” Joe asked.

“No,” said Frank. “I've gone crazy. I'm pretty sure I'm seeing things. There's my bike!”

Frank pointed to the porch. Sure enough, a small red bike was leaning against the railing, all chained up.

“How is that possible?” asked Joe.

“I don't know!” said Frank.

He ran over and inspected the bike. It was definitely his, from the dinosaur stickers on the frame to the words “Bayport Bandits” on the wheels!

“It's a miracle!” Frank said.

“Oh, hi, boys!” Aunt Gertrude opened the front door. “I was wondering when you would get home.”

“Aunt Gertrude!” Frank and Joe yelled at the same time.

“Hey, Aunt Gertrude,” said Frank, “do you know how my bike got here?”

“Sure do, Frank. I put it there.”

“You put it there?”

How is that possible?
Frank wondered. Had his Aunt Gertrude stolen his bike?

“After Joe came and got the patch, we expected you home pretty quickly. So when it started to get dark, I got worried. I drove down to the park, but I couldn't find you boys anywhere. Then, just as I was about to leave, I saw your bike sitting unattended by the ranger's station! I was worried someone might steal it, so I picked it up, threw it into the back of my car, and brought it home.”

After all that, the bike was at his own house! Frank couldn't help but laugh.

Joe looked at the bike, and then looked at Frank. “The 2011 Bayport Junior Bike Rally rematch, tomorrow!”

“You're on!” said Frank. Then he looked up at Aunt Gertrude.

“Thank you, Aunt Gertrude!”

Frank rushed up the stairs and gave Aunt Gertrude a big hug.

“Oh!” She laughed. “Well, thank you, Frank. Now you boys get inside. Dinner is almost ready. I made vegetarian lasagna tonight!”

“Just one minute, Aunt Gertrude. There's something we need to do first.”

The boys walked into the backyard and pulled down the hidden rope ladder that led up to their secret tree house. The tree house was where they did all their best thinking, and also their best lemonade drinking, hiding from homework, and designing the spy gear they would have in the future. It was also where they kept their case files. Their father, Fenton Hardy, was a former member of the Bayport Police Department. He had always taught them to keep good records, because you never knew when you might have to look back for information.

“What should we call this case?” asked Frank.

Joe thought for a moment. “‘The Stolen
Bicycle'?” he said. Then he shook his head. “No. We should call it ‘The Bicycle Thief,' since we spent all afternoon looking for the thief, and the bike was right here!”

THE BICYCLE THIEF,
Frank wrote in big letters. Then, underneath it, he wrote:

CULPRIT: EVERYONE!

BOOK: The Bicycle Thief
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