The Preposterous Adventures of Swimmer (15 page)

BOOK: The Preposterous Adventures of Swimmer
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“What nonsense!”

“Nonsense nothing!” Penny cried. “It's the truth, 'cause I was there. That Jules and his ugly black dog chased us for miles, and if Swimmer and Scruff hadn't fought him—”

“I don't believe you!”

Penny stamped her foot. “I don't care what you believe! And I don't blame Swimmer for running away from you! Why, you're nothing but—but—”

“An old blatthead!” cried Swimmer, coming angrily from the flower bed where he'd been trying to hold his tongue. “That's what you are—a skrink and a blatthead!”

That blew it, as Swimmer realized on the instant, but by this time he didn't care. It was good to get it off his chest.

Then suddenly Clarence was having it out with Dr. Hoffman and getting it off his chest too, and so was Mr. Hogarth and even Mr. Tippet. Only Mr. Owl was quiet. He stood listening, black eyes crinkling, smiling his secret smile while the others stormed and threatened and blamed even after everything had been said twice.

Into the middle of this fracas came Ripple, shaking her head. “No!” she managed to say. “No! No!”

There was an abrupt silence. Dr. Hoffman stammered, “You—you're not Swimmer!”

Ripple took his large plump hand between her two small ones and peered up at him earnestly. “I … am … Swimmer's … mate.”

“You—you are Swimmer's
mate?
” Dr. Hoffman's voice cracked on the last word and went up a full octave. “How astonishing!” he said and sank down on the grass beside her. “Why didn't someone tell me about you?”

Mr. Owl sat down on the grass with them. “Perhaps,” he murmured, “it is better this way. Her name is Ripple. Isn't she wonderful?”

“Absolutely wonderful!” Dr. Hoffman agreed, and it was obvious to Swimmer that a hard hunk of ice had suddenly melted. Old Doc had really flipped.

And why shouldn't he? Swimmer thought. After all, anyone with half a grain of frog sense could see that she was cute as a water bug and bright as a chickadee. As for the rest of it, even a one-eyed newt …

“Clarence,” said Dr. Hoffman, as he looked about approvingly. “You've bought this place, haven't you?”

“Yes, Doctor.”

“Seems just right for our needs. Will you lease it?”

“Of course, Doctor.”

“Then get the house in shape. Add more rooms if necessary. You'll need space for a housekeeper, and there'll be Miss Primm—and Penny here—” Dr. Hoffman paused and glanced at Penny, who suddenly smiled. “You know, redheads do have spirit!” But he scowled at Swimmer. “I'm not sure about you. Maybe, if you can learn to control that devilish tongue of yours—”

“Sure, Doc. To get what we want, we've all got to make con—con—what's the blatted word again?”

“Concessions,” said Clarence. “Why don't you and Ripple go and play in the trout ponds while we take care of some business? The ponds are all yours, now.”

About the Author

Alexander Key (1904–1979) started out as an illustrator before he began writing science fiction novels for young readers. He has published many titles, including
Sprockets
:
A Little Robot, Mystery of the Sassafras Chair
, and
The Forgotten Door
, winner of the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. Key's novel
Escape to Witch Mountain
was adapted for film in 1975, 1995, and 2009.

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this ebook or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 1973 by Alexander Key

Cover design by Jesse Hayes

ISBN: 978-1-4976-5259-0

This edition published in 2014 by Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.

345 Hudson Street

New York, NY 10014

www.openroadmedia.com

EBOOKS BY ALEXANDER KEY

FROM OPEN ROAD MEDIA

BOOK: The Preposterous Adventures of Swimmer
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