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Jake was quiet on the drive home from the hatchery. Gilbert said he would send a postcard advertising a free bag of chicken feed once they’d captured the culprits. Then Jake would know to come in.
After three long days, the postcard came. Jake could hardly wait to get to the hatchery. It took some convincing, but his mom finally agreed to take him when he showed her the coupon.
“See, it expires tomorrow so we have to go.”
“Alright, we’ll head there in the morning.”
Jake was torn between relief that he’d convinced his mom to go, and impatience to get there as soon as possible.
The next morning, they were on their way. Jake was wondering how he was going to get his mom to go somewhere else as she pulled into the parking lot.
“Can you get the feed on your own? I need to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner tonight.”
He nodded and sighed in relief as he hopped out of the car.
“I’ll be back in a half hour.”
Jake pushed through the doors and walked to front desk.
“Hello, my mom and I got this coupon in the mail for a free bag of feed. I’m here to pick it up.”
“Well hello again dear! Yes, Gilbert told me to be on the lookout for you. You can just head right down to his office. You remember where it is?”
“Y-yes. Thank you.”
He fairly raced down the hall and knocked on the office door.
Jake quickly opened the door and walked in the room.
“Hello Jake,” said Gilbert.
“Well,” Jake began after closing the door. “Did you catch them?”
Gilbert rubbed his sleepy eyes.
“Yes, we caught him.”
“Him? Who is he? What doed he want with Pecky?” Jake looked around the room. “And, where is Pecky? Is he ok?”
“Whoa,” said Gilbert putting his hands up. “Slow down. Pecky is fine. I’ll take you to him so we can fill you in.”
Gilbert led Jake down the hall and into another room.
Relief washed over Jake when he looked at Pecky and saw for himself that he was unharmed. He looked around the room, expecting to see the villains tied up in the corner or at least in a cage.
“Where are they? I thought you said you caught them?”
We caught someone, it just wasn’t who we expected.
“Come on,” said Gilbert. “I’ll take you to him.”
Jake picked Pecky up and followed Gilbert. They traveled down a hallway and down a long set of stairs to a brightly lit room where a man, small and wiry, was sitting.
“Hello, Dr. Warner,” said Gilbert. “Would you like another cup of coffee?”
Jake’s eyes bulged and he spluttered. Was Gilbert really offering this suspected chicken napper coffee?
It’s ok Jake. The situation has changed.
“Hello Jake,” Dr. Warner said with a small, sad smile.
Jake stared from Pecky to Gilbert and back to Dr. Warner. “What is going on?”
Dr. Warner sighed, removed his glasses, and cleaned them with his shirt. “I’d better start at the beginning.”
“Yes,” Jake said. “The very beginning.”