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TREASUR2 9' Detective and the treasure map

"How much is this?" Seven-year-old Michaela asked holding a
wooden box in one hand and a handful of coins and dollar bills
in the other.

"Two bucks." the homeowner said.

Michaela asked her grandfather, "Is it okay if I buy this,
Papa?"

Papa replied, "It looks just like the box you bought a few weeks
ago at a garage sale. It ended up leading us to a hidden
treasure."

"So, I can buy it?" asked Michaela.

Papa replied, "Well, the other treasure hunt was fun. Sure."

"Goodie!" Shouted Michaela as she offered the money to the
homeowner.

When they got the box to Papa's house, he found that the lock
was too rusted to pick. So, he ended up cutting it off. Inside
the box was an old brown parchment paper rolled up. Inside of
the paper was a wad of burlap tied up with strings. Papa cut the
strings and out fell a shiny gold coin. Papa examined both sides
of the coin and concluded, "It looks like the same solid gold
double-eagle as the other treasure."

But Michaela was more interested in the brown paper. "Hey, that
looks like another treasure map."

Papa asked, "Does it point to the same treasure?"

Michaela examined the map and replied, "No, this looks like a
lake. There was no lake in the other map."

Papa exclaimed, "Hey, I've seen that lake before... on the map
of California."

Papa unfolded his map of California and pointed to a salt lake
near the border with Mexico. It's called the Salton Sea. The
hand-drawn map of the lake looked a lot like the Salton Sea.

Michaela exclaimed, "There's a big red "X" on the southern tip
of the lake. "X" marks the spot! Can we go there Papa?"

Papa looked at his watch. "It's too lake to go treasure hunting
today. We'll go first thing tomorrow."

Michaela exclaimed, "Goody!"

They went to bed early and woke up early the next day. But when
they did, the map was gone!

Michaela exclaimed, "It was right here! Where did it go?"

Papa thought a moment, then replied, "I think I know. I think
Lucifer Snidely broke into the house and stole it."

Michaela asked "Who's Lucifer Snidely?"

"Time is of the essence, Michaela. I'll explain in the car."
replied Papa.

They hurried to the car and drove toward the Salton Sea, then
Papa explained, "Lucifer Snidely is the world's richest man. But
he's also the world's most greedy man. I'm sure that when he
read about your last treasure in the newspaper, he paid someone
to follow us. And when he found out you bought another treasure
box, he stole it, intending to steal the treasure."

Michaela replied, "But how will we find the treasure if HE has
the treasure map?"

Papa smiled, "You don't need the map. You already know where the
treasure is."

Michaela replied, "X marks the spot on the southern tip of the
Salton Sea."

When they arrived at the southern tip of the Salton Sea, they
got out of the car and ran to the beach with their shovel, ready
to dig for treasure. But instead of a treasure, there was a hole
in the sand. The treasure chest was there but it was open and
empty.

Papa grumbled, "Lucifer Snidely got here ahead of us. He stole
the treasure."

Michaela, the world's greatest detective knelt down and examined
the box. "Look Papa!" Michaela exclaimed, "There's another
treasure map drawn on the wood of the cover."

They took the treasure chest to the car and compared the map on
the cover to the map of California. The drawing was a round
lake. There was a dotted line drawn through the lake from top to
bottom.

"What is that?" ask Michaela.

"I think that's a border," replied Papa, "Maybe the state border
with Nevada."

Sure enough there was a round lake on the California map on the
border with Nevada. It was...

"Lake Tahoo!" read Michaela.

"Fasten your seatbelt, Michaela. We're going to Lake Tahoo."
Said Papa as he started the car.

Michaela looked out the window and said, "Papa, if Lake Tahoo is
north of here. why are we driving west?"

"It would take all day to drive there," replied Papa, "So, we're
going to fly."

They drove to San Diego airport and bought a ticket to Reno
Nevada. They flew to Reno, then rented a car and drove to Lake
Tahoo.

"Do you remember where the treasure is?" asked Papa.

"X marks the spot on the southern end of the lake right on the
border." replied Michaela.

They got out of the car and walked to the beach. But instead of
the treasure, there was a hole. The empty treasure box was in
the hole.

Michaela asked, "We flew here. How could Lucifer Snidely get
here before we did?"

Papa replied, "Snidely is so rich that he owns his own jet
plane."

They took the treasure chest to the car and compared the map on
the cover to the map of California.

"Is that another lake?" asked Michaela pointing to the map.

"No," replied Papa, "This body of water looks like San Francisco
Bay."

Michaela pointed, "X marks the spot on this island."

Papa replied, "That looks like Alcatraz Island."

They returned their rental car to the Reno Airport and flew to
San Fransisco. They took a taxi cab to the wharf on the bay and
took the tour boat to Alcatraz Island.

"Do you remember where the treasure is?" asked Papa.

"X marks the spot on the southern end of the island " replied
Michaela.

When they got to the beach on the southern end of the island,
all they found was another hole and another empty treasure box
with a map in the cover.

In the boat on the way back to San Fransisco, they compared the
map to the California Map. Papa recognized the place.

"That's Morro Bay," said Papa.

Michaela pointed to the map and asked. "Is this an Island?"

Papa replied, "No, that's a huge rock, called Morro Rock."

Michaela said, "X marks the spot on the beach near Morro Rock."

They took a taxi cab back the San Fransisco Airport, then took
an airplane to San Louis Obisbo, then they rented a car and
drove to Morro Bay. Sure enough, again they found an empty hole
and another empty treasure chest. But this time, there was no
map drawn on the inside of the cover.

Michaela pouted, "Well, it looks like that was the last treasure
chest. We didn't get any of them!"

"Nonsense!" Said Papa, "There's always a way!"

They went back to the airport

Papa asked the manager, "Have you seen a private jet plane
belonging to Lucifer Snidely?"

"Yes," he replied. "He took off for San Diego just a couple of
hours ago."

So, Papa bought two tickets to San Diego. When they arrived in
San Diego, they looked in the phone book for the name SNIDELY.
Michaela pointed. "SNIDELY CANNERY. 101 Bayside Drive." read
Michaela.

By the time they got to San Diego bay, it was dark outside. The
address was an old tuna fish packing plant that looked like it
had been closed for years. Michaela shined her flash light on
the sign. It said "SNIDELY CANNERY".

Papa and Michaela found an open window above a dumpster and
climbed into the plant and turned on their flashlights. Michaela
whispered, "If I had a vault, I would put it in the manager's
office."

So, they went to an office with windows on the second floor.
There they found the vault. But the vault was locked and
protected by a keypad similar to the keys on telephones with the
numbers one through nine. Papa went to touch the keys, but
Michaela whispered "Psssst!"

"What is it?" asked Papa.

Michaela whispered, "If you push the wrong button..." Michaela
pointed down at the floor.

Papa shined his flashlight on the floor. There were hinges
around the edges. If Papa pushed the wrong buttons, the floor
would collapse and the two of them would fall down a slide and
end up in San Diego bay.

Papa said to Michaela, "You're the world's greatest detective.
YOU push the right numbers."

The tiny computer screen beside the keypad showed:

9 - 1

Michaela whispered, "That must mean 'nine minus one'". So she
pushed:

8

There was a click and the screen turned green for a second, then
displayed:

2 x 2

"That means two times two, "Michaela said as she pushed:

4

There was a click and the screen turned green for a second, then
displayed:

13 + 1

Michaela pushed:

1 and 4

There was a click and the screen turned green for a second, then
displayed:

How many states in the United States?

Michaela pushed:

5 and 0

There was a click and the screen turned green for a second, then
there was a clank, a growl, and a hum as the vault door opened
by itself.

Inside the vault were four bags stuffed with gold coins, one bag
from each treasure chest. They were so heavy that Michaela and
her grandfather had to make two trips to the car. But they
finally got the treasure that Lucifer Snidely had stolen from
them. And Michaela finally had enough money to open her own
private detective agency office.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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