While on the road with Phil last summer, I made up a couple of stories about a police dog named Lucky and a ne’er-do-well known as Upton O. Good.
At the time, Phil challenged me to create a third story about Lucky that included the following elements: a train full of police dogs, an invisibility potion, and donuts for everyone at the end.
For some reason, those elements didn’t initially coalesce into a coherent story. But this week, faced with a deadline to produce something for Phil’s probable future cousins, Phil and I went back to my previous notes and we cranked out the tale below.
The Case of the Disappearing Donuts
for Karen, Melanie, and Parker
by Greg and Phil
The town of Pendleton, Oregon is protected by a police force of smart, brave humans and dogs. They are really good at solving mysteries and catching bad guys. Last year, however, they had lots of trouble protecting their donuts! They might still be hungry today if not for Lucky, the German Shepherd who leads the Pendleton K9 unit.
The first time the donuts disappeared, it was actually kind of funny. The chief was talking about road repairs and traffic changes when someone noticed that the donut plate was empty.
“Hey, Peabody, why didn’t you save some for the rest of us?” quipped Officer Fernandez.
“It wasn’t me,” protested Officer Peabody. “I didn’t eat a single one!”
“Then what’s that white stuff on your shirt?” asked Fernandez suspiciously.
Peabody looked down. “Um … I think that’s whipped cream from my hot chocolate,” he said sheepishly. Everyone else laughed.
At the all-squad meeting the following week, people watched the donut plate a bit more closely. As the chief began to talk, the donuts seemed to float right out of the room, as if a ghost were carrying them! This time nobody was laughing. In fact, the entire squad was too startled to say or do anything until all the donuts were gone.
“What –- what just happened?” said Officer Yamada at last.
“It has to be some sort of practical joke,” said the chief. “Let’s not worry about it right now. Besides, you guys have been eating too many donuts lately. Maybe this is God’s way of putting you on a diet.”
“But what if somebody is using an invisibility cloak or something?” Officer Costa wondered. “They could use it to steal things that are much more valuable than donuts!”
“You mean like whole cakes?” asked Peabody uncertainly.
“Jewels! Money! Computers! Paintings! Cars!” Costa replied harshly. “Things like that, you nitwit!”
* * * * * *
As it turned out, Officer Costa was almost right about the invisibility cloak. Pendleton’s most notorious thief, Upton O. Good, had discovered an invisibility potion, which he could pour on anything he wanted to make invisible. Himself, for example.
Good decided that, before stealing anything big, he would try to understand the potion better by using it on some different objects. One day he made an entire train car of police dogs vanish as they returned from a training session in the mountains. Fortunately, as the dogs got off the train, a rainstorm seemed to wash away the potion’s effects. Another time Good dumped the potion on Lucky, who remained invisible for three days until, unable to do his regular police work, he went for a swim in the Umatilla River.
After climbing out of the river and shaking himself dry, Lucky noticed that he was back to normal again. Why had the river reversed the potion’s effects, just as the rainstorm had done? Suddenly Lucky had the answer: the potion was counteracted by WATER! Now, how could he get the humans to realize this?
Meanwhile, Good had had so much fun making Lucky disappear that he decided to do it again. The next day, Good first used the potion on himself, then snuck up on Lucky at the police station and sprinkled him with the potion.
This time Lucky knew exactly what to do. He went to his water dish, waited until some officers were in the room, barked to get their attention, and dipped his left front paw in the water dish. It appeared again, like magic! Then he dipped his right front paw, and then his rear paws, and then as much of his belly as he could fit into the dish. Gradually Lucky’s whole body came back into view.
“Holy donuts!” exclaimed an officer. “It’s as if the water makes invisible things visible again!” Lucky barked to tell the officer that she was right.
Now that the human police knew about the water trick, it was time to set a trap for the donut thief.
At the next meeting, a large plate of donuts was set out as usual, and the chief started talking in his usual way. But just as the first donut started to move, the officers drew squirt guns and fired them toward the plate. The dogs provided reinforcement by lifting their legs and spraying.
In a moment their old nemesis appeared in front of them, soggy and grumpy.
“It’s Good!” yelled one officer while another raced forward to handcuff him and escort him to a jail cell.
To celebrate the capture, the chief bought a fresh batch of donuts. There were enough for everybody -– even the dogs.
“Hey, where are the Boston creams?” asked Fernandez. He sounded upset, but was smiling.
“You’d better ask Lucky,” answered Peabody. “He’s the best detective we’ve got!”