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Joe Sherlock, Kid Detective, Case #000004: The Headless Mummy
By Dave Keane
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Dave Keane
All right reserved.
Nightmare on Baker Street
My fourth case as a private detective arrives while I'm having a nightmare.
Not a good sign of things to come.
This nightmare starts out as many of my bad dreams do--with a cricket stuck in my nose. They call this kind of dream a recurring dream, which means you dream it all the time. And for some strange reason, I always dream about crickets crawling up my nostrils.
Sounds weird, I know. But it gets worse.
As I flop around, trying to snort the insect out of my nose, the floor suddenly turns into a sea of ants. I start to sink into the ants like quicksand.
It keeps getting worse: Suddenly I'm not wearing pants.
Then I hear my little sister's voice.
"Not that ridiculous grasshopper dream again," Hailey says, slapping me on my forehead like she's playing a game of Whack-a-Mole.
I am so startled by my sudden return to the real world that I fall off the edge of my bed. I proceed to slap myself all over to knock off any leftover imaginary ants.
"Ants, too?" she chuckles. "Sherlock, you are so messed up."
"Thanks for waking me up," I say simply.
"Doreen heard you screaming," she explains.
"Who the heck is Doreen?" I ask. It's at this point that I notice the surgical glove she's holding.It's filled with water and tied off at the wrist. Hailey has painted a face on it with big red lips and long eyelashes. "And you think I'm weird?" I whisper.
"Say hello to Doreen," Hailey says in the kind of voice people use when they talk to babies. "She's our long-lost sister." Hailey tickles the glove on the chin.
Maybe my nightmare hasn't ended after all.
I wait a moment for my head to clear. "That's just a plastic glove filled with water."
"Sherlock!" she says, pretending to be angry. "Look what you've done; you're making our baby sister cry."
"She probably just sprang a leak," I say. Hailey is supposed to be my assistant, but she's actually more like a monkey wrench dropped into my brain's delicate gears.
Hailey rocks Doreen in her arms and hands me a slip of folded paper.
"What's this?" I ask.
"Mr. Klopper from down the street dropped it off while you were napping," she says with a shrug. "He said it's very urgent."
"Why didn't you wake me up?" I ask, jumping to my feet. "I wasn't napping, you know. I just fell asleep."
"There's a difference?"
"Yes!" I snap. "A nap is something you do on purpose. I fell asleep by accident."
"Oh, brother," Hailey says, waving at me like I'm being silly. "Besides, Doreen says you need to catch up on your beauty sleep."
I hold my breath as I unfold the paper. I know before I even read Mr. Klopper's note that the painfully long and boring wait for my next case has finally ended.
Excerpted from Joe Sherlock, Kid Detective, Case #000004: The Headless Mummy by Dave Keane Copyright © 2007 by Dave Keane. Excerpted by permission.
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