So there I was, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Every night was the same routine—get in our pajamas, brush our teeth, and hop into bed. But, one warm night in June as I lay awake, I felt as if something important was about to happen.
I began to doze when suddenly I heard whispering sounds from the trees beneath my second-story window. I quietly got out of bed and peeked out the window into the front yard. Four big men stood by our huge oak tree but they were barely visible in the light of the crescent moon. I almost gasped, but I bit my tongue remembering the window was open. I noticed one of the men had disappeared. Shortly after, I heard a crackling sound of our old, rusty door lock. I thought to myself, "We are being robbed!"
I grabbed my flashlight and quietly crept downstairs to the kitchen. As usual, a packet of gum was on the counter. My mother loves bubble gum. Suddenly I had a great idea. Opening the packet, I took out a piece, chewed the gum, spat it back into my hand, and then stretched it into a web before placing it on the hall floor. I did this with a few more pieces, hoping the robbers would step in the gum and slow down. Meanwhile, my mind raced furiously while I chuckled listening to the robbers’ unsuccessful attempts to break in. My dad forgot to oil the front door. Finally, I had a brilliant idea.
Silently, I went to the back door. Through the sliding glass, I could see our large, green backyard and part of our basement entry. Quietly, I slid the glass door open and tip-toed outside. A warm breeze blew when I stepped out on our patio. I softly walked to the basement, opened the door, and turned on my flashlight.
The basement was spooky when I first walked in, but soon I got used to it. The cement floor was cold to my bare feet. Since this was my first time in the basement, I looked around. As far as I could see, there were boxes. Just in my reach on a shelf, there was a bandana.
Silently, I collected about 30 small metal nails and screws and dropped them into the bandana. Then I tied the cloth closed with a thick string. After I had done this, I scurried back to my room and quickly came back holding my allowance money. I scattered the quarters and dollar bills from the living room all the way to the entrance of the basement. I descended into the basement just in time and hid in the darkest corner. Through the floor, I just barely heard the door burst open and a deep voice say, "Finally."
The robbers began searching for valuable objects. Then I heard a ghost-like voice say, "Wait guys, I stepped in gum."
There were about five long minutes of small rummaging sounds. After that, a very scratchy voice cackled, "Look. I found money!"
Next, the most Southern voice I ever heard said, "You found money, Bob?"
A deep, booming voice responded, "Money?! Out of my way, John. Scram, Billy!"
"Be quiet, Joe. There might be babies in this house."
By now, I was sweating. What if Cera, my four-year-old sister, woke up crying? What if Kasey, my seven-year-old sister, got up and came downstairs. What if the bandits weren’t fooled? These thoughts made me shiver so much I wished I had brought a sweater. But, I knew now there was no turning back.
I was focused on these thoughts until I overheard John, the robber with the ghost-like voice, say, "Look, another buck!"
"Wait," said Joe, "this is fishy. Why would people leave money on the floor? It’s very fishy. I say it’s a trap. I’ll stay here."
"Suit yourself Joe," said John. "Look! Another buck!"
Now I could clearly hear their boots squish on the dew-collecting grass. I heard one of them say, "No more money and none of us missing. Joe was a fraidy-cat."
I now began to shake the nails and screws which sounded like coins. Pretty soon, three robbers were in the basement searching desperately for more money. I shook the bandana one last time and set it on the cement carefully. I slipped silently behind the nearest utility shelf and slowly made my way to the next one. When I was halfway behind the center shelf, I heard one of the robbers say, "Maybe the money is in this bandana."
I heard them trying to break the string, but their efforts were in vain. When at last I was at the end of the last shelf, I silently crawled up the stairs. None of the robbers noticed. Climbing out of the basement, I quickly turned around and shut the doors. My eyes scanned the ground searching for something to keep the bandits in the basement. Beside me on the right there was a thick beam. I slipped it between the handles.
Three seconds later, the door shook and one robber shouted, "Hey, wait a sec! The door’s jammed. How’d that happen? We got in here just fine….Hey! Let us out!"
I felt good that I saved our house and that I could get back to bed. Suddenly, a pair of hands seized my shoulders roughly and turned me around. At once, I knew who it was. It was Joe. I had forgotten about him. I turned white while Joe looked from me to the basement and back.
Before I knew what I was doing, I kicked Joe in the shin and ran back into the house. He sprung after me. I was glad I kicked him for he was limping about three feet behind me. I sprinted through the house, flung open the front door, and rushed out.
Up in the old oak, the wood of my tree house shone in the moonlight. I ran and quickly climbed up the rope ladder. Joe wasn’t far behind. Inside, there lay a coiled clothesline and a few books. I immediately thought something.
At one side of the tree house, where the window was, about twenty nails stuck out of the frame of the window. I wasted no time in seizing the books and dropping them on Joe’s head to slow him down. I heard a huge thud as Joe fell off the rope ladder. I heard Joe cry out, "I’ll get you for that!!"
Soon he began to climb again. While he struggled up, I climbed out the window and tied one end of the clothesline to a nail. I zigzagged the rope from nail to nail and tied the end of the clothesline to the last nail. By that time, Joe was almost to the top of the ladder. I could hear him puffing and blowing. He still hadn’t seen me. Meanwhile, I had climbed on other branches until I could reach the rope ladder. Fortunately, I had put my knife in the pocket of my PJs before I left my room.
I waited until Joe got into the tree house. Then, clinging to the left side of the ladder, I cut the rope that held the ladder on the right side and slid down to the ground. As soon as Joe saw what happened, he flew into a rage. With the window webbed shut, he couldn’t get out.
I dashed back inside and gave a wild yell that woke the house in five seconds. Running to the phone, I called 911 and told the operator my story. My parents came out of their room, wondering what all the commotion was about. I told them the story about the robbers and the money and the basement and the tree house.
Soon the police arrived and I had to answer all kinds of questions about the burglars and how I trapped them. First the police went and got John, Billy, and Bob out of the basement and shoved them in the police car. Next, the officers pondered how to get Joe down from the tree house without him escaping. Dad said we had a tall ladder that hadn’t been used much. Once the ladder was braced against the tree branch, the police ordered Joe to come down, guns pointed at the doorway. Joe climbed down and was immediately handcuffed. It was amusing to watch Joe being shoved into the back of the police car with three other grumbling robbers.
After a night of no rest, the best thing was soon set before me – my bed!