No burglars broke in that day and everything seemed fine when it was time
to start the next stake-out at nine o'clock. But John was edgy. He kept
telling Mike about the funny feeling he had in the pit of his stomach and
how he was sure that something was going to happen that night. Nothing did
though. Ten o'clock came and went. So did eleven. Suddenly it was midnight
and still nothing had happened. But John's stomach kept on feeling funny.
It even started to make noises.
"I think I'm hungry," he announced at twelve thirty.
"Great," said Mike. "Let's go down and raid your fridge."
They checked out the kitchen but there wasn't anything decent at all.
The peanut butter was wiped out from the night before and John's father
had eaten all the cookies watching TV.
"What I wouldn't give for a bowl of ice cream," John sighed.
"I've got some popsicles over at my house," said Mike.
"Excellent. That'll do just fine."
They went to John's bedroom to get flashlights for the trip across
Mike's back yard. While they were there John pulled some old clothes from
"I've been thinking," he said. "What we should do is
pretend we're burglars when we go over to your house for the popsicles.
We could sneak around for a while and try all the windows and doors like
real crooks would do. That way we'd be able to figure out all the possible
ways into the house and we could set some booby traps."
"Sounds good," agreed Mike. "But what are the old clothes
for? The pants have holes in them and the shirts are ripped."
"That's the whole idea," explained John. "If we're
going to be burglars we've got to dress like burglars. We have to do it
They did it right all right. They cut some extra holes in the shirts
and mussed up each other's hair. John drew tattoos on his arm with felt
pens and they both decided not to wear any socks. They looked suitably
scruffy as they crept across the back yard to Mike's house. They spent a
good half hour casing the place before finally deciding on the dining- room
window as the best bet.
"Now all we gotta do is to punch a little hole in the glass here,"
John whispered to Mike. "Just a little tap with my trusty flashlight
so I can reach in and undo the lock..."
"You can't bust our window!" Mike hissed.
"It's okay," John told him. "We'll just put it on the
expense account as research. Your dad'Il understand."
"Are you kidding? He'll kill me." Mike grabbed for John's
arm to make sure.
"All right, all right, forget about busting the window. Go around
to the back door and let yourself in with the key. Come in to the dining
room and unlock the window from inside and then come out the back door again.
I'll wait here for you."
"What do you want me to do that for?" asked Mike.
"So we can climb through the window. What did you think? We'll
just pretend we broke the glass. It isn't as good as busting it for real
but I guess it'll have to do."
"Why don't we just go in the back door?" asked Mike.
"Listen, if we're going to be burglars then we've got to do this
right," said John. "Burglars always use the window."
Mike sighed. He went in through the back door, unlocked the window
in the dining room, then came back outside again. John was waiting impatiently.
"Okay, this is it," he whispered. "Cover me. I'm going
in." He eased up the sash and climbed through. Mike watched the street.
A few moments later John stuck his head out again. "The coast is clear,"
he hissed. "Come on."
Mike pulled himself through the open window. John was standing in
the middle of the room flashing his light around.
"What a set-up," he growled. "We'll clear two G's easy."
Mike had to smile. John did sound like a real burglar.
"Come on," John continued. "Let's hit the kitchen."
The pickings were good. There were three kinds of popsicles in the
freezer and a bag of chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard. They sat down
at the kitchen table and ate their loot right away.
"It's a good thing for your dad we're on his side," said
John between bites. "If we were real crooks we could make a fortune
To prove John's point they decided to make a list of everything they
could have taken if they had wanted to. The list got pretty long, but they
still kept thinking of things to add.
"Oh, and there's some jewelry Mom put away in the drawer of her
dressing table," Mike remembered. He added that to the list.
"Don't forget the colour TV in the study," John said.
Mike put it down. He was about to ask John if they should pretend
to steal the radio too when he heard a noise. He stopped writing and listened.
A few moments later he heard it again.
"Somebody's in the house," he whispered.
John had heard it too. For a moment he looked a bit worried but then
he smiled and sat back in his chair.
"There's somebody in the house all right," he whispered.
"But I bet I know who it is. It's Sally and Ben."
"Of course," said Mike, relieved. "Just like this morning.
They're probably just making an extra night check and saw the window open."
The boys got up from the kitchen table and crept silently down the
hall, pausing just outside the dining-room door to listen. They heard two
voices inside. And footsteps.
"It's Sally and Ben all right," whispered John. "Come
on, let's give them a little surprise."
But when they burst through the door and into the dining room they
didn't find Sally and Ben at all. They found two burglars instead!