The treasure hunt gives the Baron family the opportunity to use their exceptional steam-powered submarine, freshly biggened and ready for adventure! But things are seldom straightforward for the eccentric Baron family, and this treasure hunt is no exception. W.B.'s trademark bad luck has him suffering monstrous marine misfortune and marauding monkey misery.
Can the Baron family embark on their newest adventure without the eggy and depressing Aunt Dorcas? Will the Barons find the treasure they seek? Will they save the country from financial ruin? Where does the monkey fit in, anyway? Do we like asking questions? Not really, but inside you'll meet someone who likes asking questions and then answering them (despite his claims to the contrary, he really does like it).
Oh, did we mention the pirate's curse?
Then, without warning, he switched off the Gravity-Switcher-Ma-Thinger.
Everyone and everything fell from the ceiling to the floor. No one was seriously hurt, though a bookshelf did land on my head. But my head had been through worse. My head attracts heavy things in the same way that P’s head attracts lightning. I wish I had inherited M’s head, which didn’t really seem to attract much of anything.
With our living room now in shambles, M stood up and went to the door, adjusting her glasses and hair before opening it.
“Hello,” she said. “How may I help you?”
Two of the largest men that I’d ever seen slowly lumbered into our home. They looked like a pair of gorillas that had been shaved and stuffed into suits, though that would be a pretty lousy thing to do to a gorilla.
One of the men was holding a piece of paper up to his face and reading from it very carefully. I could tell by the creases in his forehead that reading was not one of his favorite things to do. In fact, I could actually hear the sounds of his brain straining to understand the words, and it was not a pleasant noise. It sounded very squishy, like someone stepping on an old pumpkin.
“Mr. McLaron Baron?” he finally said to my mother, in a rather dopey sounding voice.
“No, but you’re close,” M told him politely. “I’m his wife. What can I do for you, sir?”
The large man looked back at his paper and struggled to read for a moment, his eyebrows bouncing like a pair of rabid caterpillars, before looking up again.
“Mrs. Sharon Baron?” he said.
The other large man pointed to me and Rose.
“And those two is Rose Blackwood and Waldo Baron?”
I winced. I really hate it when people call me Waldo. It’s pretty high on my list of my least favorite things to be called, along with “weirdo,” “chubby,” “dummy,” “clumsy,” and “Julia,” which is what the weird old man at the grocery store calls me.
“Yes, we are. And who might you be?” my mother asked the men, emphasizing the correct grammar.
“It don’t matter who we are,” one of the large men said gruffly. “We’re gonna need you all to come with us.”
“Yeah,” the other one echoed. “We’re gonna need you all to come with us.”
“Alright,” said my father, who stepped forward to follow them out the door, despite the fact that he wasn’t wearing shoes.
My father is a genius, but sometimes he can be very scatterbrained and naive. I’d like to blame it on all the times that his head’s been struck by lightning, but he’s always been like that. He’s just a unique person, which I suppose is a nice way of saying that he’s a bit of a nut.
“Wait, McLaron,” my mother said as she caught my father by the arm. “I don’t think we should go anywhere with these men until they tell us who they are, as well as what they want and where they’re expecting us to go.”
“I told you,” one of the men grunted as he scratched the inside of his nose with his thumb. “It don’t matter who we are.”
“Yeah, it don’t matter who we are,” the other one echoed.
“Yeah, it don’t matter who they are, Sharon,” my father told my mother. “Let’s go with them. You’re always so suspicious of large and dangerous looking strangers who come to our door and give us mysterious orders. I don’t understand why.”
As you can see, it’s not particularly difficult to convince my father to do something. Usually all you had to do was repeat yourself a few times. Luckily, my mother had much better sense than my father, or we’d all be in a lot of trouble.
“What happens if we refuse to go with you?” my mother asked the men.
The two men began to pound their fists into their palms.
“Oh, you’ll be going with us,” said one of them. “We guarantee it.”
“Yeah, we guarantee it,” the other echoed.
“Why do you always repeat what the other guy says?” I asked. “Do you think we’re not hearing him?”
The echoing man blushed, but then he pounded his palm with his fist even harder.
“You’re coming with us, or we’re going to play the song ‘Camptown Races’ on your spines,” he growled, and then whistled the first few notes from “Camptown Races.”
“Camptown Races” was a catchy tune that we’d been singing around the Baron Estate for the past few weeks. It was currently our favorite song, and whenever one of us started to sing it, the others had to join in. We sang it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; we sang it when we did our chores; and we sang it before we went to sleep at night. So when the large man whistled the opening notes to the song, I couldn’t help but hum along. Rose Blackwood snapped her fingers, M tapped her feet, and P pulled two spoons from his pocket and began to slap them rhythmically against his thigh. Soon we were all tapping and humming, clapping and snapping, singing and whistling, while the two shaved gorillas began to whoop and twirl as we had ourselves a little Camptown Races hoedown. One of the men showed us a new dance called “the stinky onion,” which was a lot of fun to do until I somehow managed to get my head stuck in the fireplace.
The fun always stops when my head gets stuck in the fireplace.
“While I do love ‘Camptown Races,’ I’m sorry to say that it’s not possible for you to play that song on our spines,” my father told the two large men when we had all finished dancing. “You see, a spinal column wouldn’t produce the proper variety of notes due to its shape. Now, if you were to take our rib cages, you might be able to play them like a xylophone if you—”
One of the men grabbed my father’s lips and pinched them tightly together so he couldn’t speak. They clearly weren’t interested in learning which parts of our bodies they could use as musical instruments.
“You talk too much,” the man told him.
“Mmmmphllegnnnmm,” P agreed through his smushed lips.
The men then began to pull my father towards the door by his mouth.
“Stop that!” M cried.
“Let go of him!” warned Rose Blackwood. “Or else.”
“Or else what?” asked the man pulling my father’s face.
“Yeah, or else what?” the other one echoed, then he blushed as he glanced at me.
“Yhhmomehmhuhhff?” my father asked.
“Or else . . .” Rose began, and then looked to me for help.
Back when she was still trying to be a villain (like her evil brother), Rose Blackwood carried a gun. But she didn’t carry one anymore. Now she was an inventor’s assistant, which was a much more respectable job, though it meant she only carried inventor things, like small tools, and pencils, and rulers, and goggle cleaner, and throat spray for when my parents’ throats hurt from too much maniacal inventor laughter.
Suddenly I had an idea. I don’t get them often, but when I do get them, they tend to be doozies.
“Or else this!” I cried, grabbing the Gravity-Switcher-Ma-Thinger and pressing the button on the end.
Suddenly, everything and everyone on the floor was once again on the ceiling, including the two shaved gorillas.
“Oh dear, I forgot to tell them to wipe their feet,” M said with a sigh. “Now there will be scuff marks all over the ceiling.”
The two men were unable to wipe their feet, since they’d both been knocked unconscious by the confusing fall up to the ceiling. They hadn’t expected to fall up because no one ever expects to fall up. It would be like expecting a tap dancing duck to suddenly pop out of your birthday cake. You can hope for it, but it probably isn’t going to happen.
A The Splendid Baron Submarine themed gift pack. Includes some pirate-themed goodies, Go Fish, and ghostly treats as well.
Giveaway begins November 15, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends December 15, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Prizes provided by Amberjack Publishing