Chapter 1 – Oreo Is Missing
Gracie looked out the kitchen window and wondered who mother was talking with. She and Susie were finishing drying the dishes and putting them away. “Look Susie, do you know who that is?” Gracie asked pointing to a large gray cat perched on top of the gate.
Susie stared out the window at the large cat and then shook her head and answered, “Not a clue.” The gray cat jumped down from the fence and ran off toward the barn. The girls watched their mother hurry toward the house with a worried look on her face. They hung the dish towels on the rack and met their mother at the door. “Who were you talking to?” They asked in unison.
“What?” Mother seemed flustered, “Oh. That is your uncle Smokey from town.” Mother sat down in her favorite chair and clasped her paws together and told them, “My sister is sick and asked that I come and take care of her. She’ll be fine but has to rest for a few days.” Mother jumped up and exclaimed, “I’d better pack a few things for the trip. Smokey will be back after he talks to Big Daddy.” The two girls stared at each other and gasped TRIP. Who was going to take care of them and what about their brother!
Mother leaned out of her bedroom door and said, like she could read their minds, “I know you girls will be just fine. It’s Scotty I’m worried about.” She paused, thinking hard, and then firmly stated, “You both will have to make sure he stays out of trouble. Don’t let him out of your sight until I get back.” Then mother turned away to finish her packing. Gracie thought she was going to pass out and Susie bent over moaning. This was the worst possible situation ever. It was unimaginable. Their brother was a nightmare on four feet. Both girls opened their mouths to protest as mother rushed by and out the door. She called to them, “I’ll be back in a few days.” Uncle Smokey was waiting by the gate for mother and together they hurried down the road toward town.
Gracie and Susie staggered to their bedroom and collapsed on the bed. What a way to ruin a good day. Susie contemplated out loud, “Maybe we can tie him to the tree out front.” Gracie wrinkled her nose and asked, “Think we can lock him in his room until Mother gets back?” Suddenly the front door was banged open so hard that the windows rattled and the four footed nightmare rushed into their bedroom. Panting hard to catch his breath, the nightmare gasped, “Big Daddy wants you to come to the barn. Hurry! Oreo is missing.” Scotty, their brother, or Pickles as he wanted to be called, was excitedly hopping from one foot to the other, wildly motioning for the girls to hurry. Gracie and Susie jumped off the bed and chased after Pickles, both wondering what else could go wrong today.
Chapter 2 – Big Daddy
The girls caught up to Pickles just as he entered the old red barn. The barn was dark inside and it took a minute for their eyes to adjust. “You’ll get used to the smell – well sort of.” Pickles mumbled the words because he held his paw up to cover his nose. “Big Daddy is the biggest, muddiest pig I’ve ever seen.” “Shush.” Susie cautioned her brother, “He might hear you.” The back of the barn opened out to the pigpen and Susie and Gracie were surprised to find all the farm animals gathered around. The horse, the cow, the goat, and the sheep were standing looking over the fence. The chickens and ducks were perched around on bales of hay. The girls could hear someone crying. When they reached the fence, a very large, mud covered pig raised up from the middle of the pen. Susie took hold of Gracie’s arm, not sure what to expect. Big Daddy slowly waddled toward them, making low grunting sounds as he walked. “Thank you for coming. I think we have a missing piglet.” He spoke in a very low voice that seem to vibrate all the way from his spiraled tail. “The Misses counted snouts this morning, and we’ve searched all over the farm, but no one can find Oreo.”
The crying became louder as a smaller pig walked from the shadow to join Big Daddy. “I was sure he was here last night but now I’m not.” The Misses sobbed, “None of the children remember Oreo at supper. With twelve little ones to feed, I may have lost count.” Again Oreo’s mother started crying and moved back to the corner of the pen. Big Daddy said, “We hear you girls are good at finding things and The Misses and I are hoping that you can find Oreo.” Before the girls could answer Big Daddy added, “Oreo isn’t the only baby animal missing. We were just told that all the farms in Benton County have had baby animals disappear like our Oreo.” The girls realized the reason Uncle Smokey went to the barn was to warn all of the parents about the missing babies and to watch their children. Gracie and Susie assured Big Daddy and The Misses that they would do everything possible to find their missing piglet Oreo.
The girls hurried from the barn already planning their next steps to find Oreo, not noticing Pickles crowding close behind and listening to their every word. Once they were home, the girls quickly changed into their Rescue Girls outfits of blue jeans, long sleeved green shirts, boots that laced up. They took down their Rescue Girls back packs, filled with everything they might need – ropes, flashlights, snacks, and their special pad and pencil to write down clues. They were Rescue Girls and ready for their next case to find Oreo the missing piglet.
Chapter 3 – Twitter
The first item on their list was to interview all the farms animals and find out who was the last one to see Oreo. That would give them a place to start looking for clues. They marched back to the barn and announced if anyone had seen Oreo yesterday to form a line. The first animal to come forward was the cow, Jersey Girl. Between munches of hay she mumbled that Oreo had been playing in the yard when she went into the barn for morning milking. Next in line was Twitter who was hopping up and down on his long knobby-kneed legs, flapping his wings and stuttering, “I – I – I sawed him.” Twitter was rudely butted out of line by Tin Can, the old white goat with an attitude. Tin Can was pushy, impatient, and at times just rude. “After lunch he passed me going down the hill.” Tin Can loudly gruffed and then he turned away not giving the girls a chance to ask him any questions.
Twitter was becoming more agitated and loudly stuttering, “I – I – I.” Feathers were flying from his bony wings as he wobbled back and forth. “Calm down Twitter.” Susie said, “It’s your turn now.” Twitter’s eyes were rolling around in his head and he gulped air and then told them, “I saw him sleeping under the big tree by the road late yesterday afternoon. I remember because I saw a truck coming and hurried to cross the road.” He shook his head and mumbled, “I still don’t know why the chicken crossed the road.” For years Twitter had been running back and forth across the road in front of cars and trucks trying to solve the riddle. Gracie decided the strange bird had inhaled way too many exhaust fumes. Susie jumped off the hay bale she was sitting on and asked, “Twitter will you show us exactly where you saw Oreo sleeping.” Susie knew that was the spot where they would find their first clue.
“F – f- f- follow me.” Twitter stuttered and took off half running and half flying with both feet and wings in motion. The Rescue Girls hurried after the departing bird. “Come on everybody.” Loudly mooed Jersey Girl and all the farm animals joined in the race with cow bells clanging, chickens clucking, and ducks quacking. Even Tin Can joined in the noisy stampede down the hill. When Twitter reached the end of the pasture, he jumped on top of the fence and pointed his bony wing to the base of a large tree on the other side of the road. “Oh my.” Jersey Girl uttered, “Why did Oreo go outside the fence.” The farm animals never went on the other side of Farmer White’s fence, it was a rule.
Gracie opened the backpack and took out a large spy glass and crawled under the fence searching the ground for clues. The grass was still trampled where Oreo took his nap. “Look. Large shoe prints on the side of the road.” Gracie exclaimed. Susie picked up a crumpled piece of waxed paper that was nearby and asked, “What is this?” Jersey Girl answered, “That is what the man uses to cover the milk in the cans he picks up and loads in the milk truck.” “And Twitter heard a truck coming.” Gracie added. “Look at the tire tracks. It looks like the milk truck stopped here and then it backed up.” Susie pointed to the ground. “Find that milk truck and you’ll find Oreo.” Tin Can snorted with his head pushed as far as possible through the fence.
Chapter 4 – The NGA Club
It was now late afternoon and feeding time for the animals, so they turned and started back up the hill to the barn. There was nothing more to discover by the tree so the Rescue Girls followed the animal parade up the hill wondering how they could get to town and find the milk truck. When they reached their home, they sat down on the front porch both certain that Oreo had been kidnapped. He was such a cute piglet, all black with one white stripe around his middle. Mrs. White said he looked just like an Oreo cookie when he was born and the name stuck. Shadows were beginning to creep on the porch and the girls were so deep in thought they didn’t notice when a large dog approached.
“Master Sleuth requests your presence at the NGA secret club meeting tonight. Come along.” The large dog ordered. Startled by the strange dog, both girls nearly fell off the porch. “What. Who. When.” Susie’s gray fur was standing straight up and her voice shook. Where had this big dog with a lot of battle scars come from? “No time to waste. We need to get to town before the meeting starts.” The dog was impatient to leave. “Just one minute.” Gracie had recovered from the shock and stood in front of the stranger with her hands on her hips. “Who are you? What is the NGA club and who is Sleuth?” She demanded. “You’re wasting time. I’ll explain on the way. My name is Sergeant. Now let’s go.” The dog told her.
The girls looked at each other, realizing their solution of getting to town was to go with the dog named Sergeant. The girls grabbed their backpacks and followed after Sergeant, anxious to find the milk truck and Oreo. With all the excitement of the day, Gracie and Susie had completely forgotten about their brother. Once past the farm house Sergeant jumped off the road and began cutting across fields of hay. He explained as they hurried that the NGA club was the place animals came when they needed help and Master Sleuth was the NGA club president. Susie whispered to Gracie, “Think they have a secret hand shake.” Both girls giggled, all the while not noticing a black shadow following close behind.
When they came to town Sergeant led them past houses and buildings and stopped in front of a small shed that looked like it could topple over any minute. The door hinges were broken and the door leaned to one side, creating a triangle entryway. “Wait here.” Sergeant ordered as he slipped inside. Gracie stepped up to the door and could faintly see the letters N G A. The boards were covered in dirt and she took a wipe out of her backpack and rubbed. “Susie.” Gracie said and laughed and pointed. Susie turned and looked and started laughing too. Gracie had uncovered the rest of the words. It read – No Girls Allowed. Gracie picked up some dirt and recovered the words. “This is our secret.” She told Susie. Just then Sergeant stepped out and announced, “Master Sleuth will see you now.” He stepped aside for the girls to enter the NGA secret club meeting.
Chapter 5 – KFC
Gracie stepped through the door and Susie followed. The small shed was dark inside; the only light came from the triangle opening. “Over here.” Sergeant motioned and the girls crowded close together. “Welcome to the NGA club.” A low rumbling voice came from in front of them. They could barely make out a low wide shape with short stubby legs and long ears that hung to the ground. A voice behind them whispered, “Look at that stomach, it drags the ground.” Both girls spun around to see a black cat with a red scarf tied around his head and the eyes cut out; a matching scarf was tied around his shoulders hanging in back like a cape. Susie gasped as she recognized her brother and her mother’s favorite scarves.
“Sergeant, who is that masked cat?” Master Sleuth barked. “Master Sleuth, Sir, I don’t know.” With a menacing growl, Sergeant moved toward the masked cat. The masked cat announced himself, “I’m K – F – C.” Then the masked cat spun around, crouched and jumped into a karate stance, tripped on the cape and fell backward on his tail. Laughter echoed in the small dark room. Master Sleuth chuckled, “Well, Kentucky Fried Chicken, what is your business here.” “Sir – ah – Master Sleuth – ah – that’s our brother.” Susie tried to explain and looked around and was surprised at the numbers of eyes filling the room now that her’s had adjusted to the dark. The masked cat jumped up and proudly corrected Master Sleuth, “I am Kung Fu Cat.” Then he brushed himself off and retied his cape. The ‘Kung Fu Cat’ announcement caused even more laughter in the small club house. “Order – Order.” Loudly barked Sergeant. “We’re wasting time. The NGA club is called to Order.”
Gracie groaned and turned over in her bed, squinting at the bright sunlight. She shoved at Susie and asked, “Are you awake?” Still half asleep, Susie mumbled something back. It was late last night when the three cats finally made it home, escorted all the way by Sergeant. “Go check on K F C.” Gracie gave Susie another push. Susie stumbled out of the bed and looked in the next room and said, “He’s still sleeping.” Then zombie like, she fell back in bed. Gracie sat up and found the pad and pencil. “Susie wake up. We need to write down everything we learned at the NGA club last night.”
1 – Animals started missing two months ago.
2 – All are babies.
3 – Only the farms closest to town.
“And Oreo is the last one to disappear.” KFC said leaning against the bedroom door. “What’s for breakfast – I’m starving.” KFC was still wearing his red cape but his mask now hung around his neck.
The girls were finishing their breakfast when they heard a huge commotion coming from the barn. The chickens were running and squawking. Jersey Girl was mooing loudly, “Don’t spill the milk.” Tin Can was yelling, “Give me back my paper.” Suddenly KFC raced out of the barn with his cape flying behind, carrying something in his hand. He headed straight for home and in one flying leap he cleared the gate and ran inside the house. Tin Can was in hot pursuit with head lowered and horns pointed ready to turn KFC into shish-ka-bob cat. Tin Can hit the gate at full speed and bounced back.
Chapter 6 – The Plan
“That goat is CRAZY!” KFC exclaimed as he straightened his cape. “Look at this.” He told his sisters and laid the newspaper he had stolen from Tin Can on the table. Gracie read, “A new Wal-Mart is opening?” “No. This.” KCF pointed to a small ad at the bottom of the page.
The ad read:
Free admission to the new Children’s Petting Zoo with every fill up.
Hanson’s Gas & Grocery.
“Well?” KFC waited. Like a light bulb had been turned on the girls understood the importance of the clue. “Good work little brother.” The girls held up hands to high five him. “It’s K F C.” He corrected them as their paws met in mid air. “We need to get word to Master Sleuth.” Susie exclaimed then added, “Sergeant said Twitter knows how to find him. Pickles – ah – KFC – send Twitter to go and get Sergeant.” Gracie folded the paper and put it in the backpack.
The Rescue Girls and KFC were anxious to find out where the next clue would take them and were waiting on the road past the farmhouse when Sergeant came barreling out of the hay field. Dirt flew as he skidded to a stop and asked, “Twitter said you know where the babies are.” “We have a good idea and need the NGA club’s help.” Gracie turned to KFC and added, “Thanks to our brother.” Under his mask KFC grinned like a Cheshire cat. “Let’s get moving. Master Sleuth is calling an emergency club meeting.” Sergeant turned and entered the hay field with the three cats close behind.
The NGA club was packed full and in the daylight all the different animals could be seen. Excited voices filled the room when the Rescue Girls and KFC entered. Master Sleuth hurried over, “Twitter said you solved the case.” Gracie took the newspaper from the backpack and pointed to the ad. Quiet filled the room as Master Sleuth read. When he looked up, his eyes had a fierce look and he growled, “Does anyone knows where we can find Hanson’s Gas & Grocery?”
“I do sir. We graze in the pasture across the road.” Answered a wooly white sheep. Excitedly Susie questioned the sheep, “Is there a large building nearby?” “Yes. A brand new one was built when the grass turned green.” The sheep replied. Susie turned to Master Sleuth, “That’s about two months ago and when the kidnappings started.” Angry shouts from the animals filled the room. Let’s go get our children. This is war. We’ll show them they can’t take our babies.
Master Sleuth quieted the club members. “We need a plan. First, we’ll send in scouts to find out if the children are there.” He pointed to a pair of rabbits, “Hip and Hop, that’s your duty.” The two rabbits jumped to attention and saluted and replied, “Yes Sir.” “The rest of the club will wait in the pasture across the road and the sheep can form a circle to hide us.” Master Sleuth pointed to the sheep, “That’s your job Curley.” Curley affirmed the sheep would do their part. “Sergeant, go get Old Thunder in case we need extra help and meet us at the pasture.” Sergeant saluted and was out the door in a flash. “Everyone follow Curley to the pasture and stay hidden as much as possible.” Master Sleuth ordered the NGA club.
Curley led the way and Master Sleuth came next, then the Rescue Girls and KFC, with the NGA club members following behind. It was an amazing how sleuthful all the animals were, hiding between buildings, crouching behind bushes and sneaking across vacant lots. “Master Sleuth moves pretty fast for a Basket Hound.” KFC panted as they hurried to keep up. Susie shook her head at her brother and corrected him, “He is a Basset Hound.” When they reached the pasture, Curley arranged the sheep in a large circle to hide the NGC club members. “Off you go.” Master Sleuth pointed to Hip and Hop then added, “Good luck and be careful.” Time seemed to stand still while the NGA club waited. Gracie heard whispering and turned to see Sergeant reporting to Master Sleuth and pointing toward some large trees nearby.
“Here they come.” Someone whispered and all the animals crowded in as Hip and Hop squeezed into the circle. The rabbits were excited and out of breath. Hop spoke first, “They’re all there – every one of them.” Gasps of relief were heard from the crowd. Then Hip continued, “But they are all locked in cages and can’t get out.” Taking turns the two scouts described the layout of the building. “There is one door on the end that is kept locked except at feeding time and two tall windows on each side.”
“We go in at feeding time.” Master Sleuth declared and then he assigned each NGA member a baby animal to rescue. The Rescue Girls were assigned Oreo. They were to sneak in, unlock the cage, and escort Oreo across the road to the pasture. Word was being spread to all the parents where to come to get their children. Master Sleuth asked the Rescue Girls if they would take Oreo home because it was too far for Big Daddy to come. “Attention NGA club.” Master Sleuth called out. “Good luck, do your best and if you get into trouble, call for Sergeant.” The sheep moved apart and the club members quietly made their way to the other side of the road to wait until feeding time and the door in the building was opened.
Chapter 7 – The Rescue
The NGA club was watching from behind the building when a tall skinny man in dirty coveralls walked out of the gas station. He had a large ring of keys hanging from his pants pocket that jangled as he ambled toward the building. No one made a sound as the large door was unlocked and swung open. When the man had his back turned getting the feed for the evening meal, Master Sleuth send in the club members one at a time. First to go was Curley, then Hip and Hop, followed by a large red squirrel, and then a small black and white dog. Gracie and Susie were the last to go, stepping very carefully not to make any noise.
When the baby animals saw their rescuers start to open their cages they began to cry for their mothers, not understanding the need to be quiet. The man turned around and yelled, “Keep your yaps shut or no food tonight.” Then he shut his mouth, startled to see the building full of animals opening pens and releasing the captured babies. He started yelling and waving his fists at them and then he reached for a large pitch fork. The NGA club members sprung into action; there was no need to be quiet now. As soon as the cages were open, the members started hurrying the baby animals out the door to freedom, running in circles to avoid the shouting man with the pitchfork. The man franticly turned in circles, jabbing wildly with the pitchfork, but the animals were too quick for him.
Oreo’s pen was the farthest back and the girls were trying hard to get it open. The man ran outside and slammed the door closed, locking Susie, Gracie and Oreo inside. Finally the door to the cage sprung and Oreo was free, but now they were trapped inside the large building. Susie looked up at the tall windows and told Gracie, “Stay here with Oreo. I’m going to get help.” Susie leaped on one top of the cages and then to the window sill and pushed the window open. Gracie put her arms around the frightened piglet and watched as Susie disappeared out the window.
Outside was animal pandemonium. Susie could hear Master Sleuth barking out orders. The man in the oily coveralls was madly running around chasing the animals with the pitchfork. He grabbed a baby goat by the tail and swung it into his arms. Seeing the baby goat captured, Master Sleuth’s howling changed to a warning signal. Sergeant raced up with his large teeth barred and grabbed the man by the pant leg. Startled by Sergeant’s attack, the man dropped the baby goat and started wildly kicking at Sergeant with his free leg, which caused the large German Shepard to pull on the man’s pant leg even harder. Susie jumped to the ground and raced over to Master Sleuth and yelled as loud as she could, “Gracie and Oreo are locked in the building.” Master Sleuth turned toward the trees and howled three long howls.
All of a sudden, down the road came the milk truck headed directly toward Sergeant and the screaming kicking man. The driver was hanging out the truck’s window with his mouth wide opened not believing the animal madhouse before his eyes. He hollered, “Hold on Fred, I’m coming.” And the milk truck sped up.
Twitter was watching everything from the fence and saw the milk truck coming fast and as it drew closer, he made his ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ run. Twitter waited one second too long to start his run and hit the side of the milk truck, bounced up and tumbled up into the window in front of the driver loudly squawking, with feathers flying, and long legs kicking. Then Twitter tumbled over and out the other window landing with a bounce on the dusty road. The driver lost control of the speeding milk truck and it went airborne and flew into the ditch that ran alongside the road. The milk truck flipped over and milk cans flew out, the lids came off and milk spewed everywhere like white geysers from the cans. The truck ended upside down in the ditch with the driver hanging out the window, dazed from the crash. Gallons of foamy milk filled the ditch creating a white river.
Suddenly the ground began to rumble and shake, frightening Susie. From out of the trees charged a massive black animal with the largest head she had ever seen. Two horns curled on top of the enormous head and when the animal’s huge hooves hit the ground – it sounded like thunder. But even more terrifying was what was riding on its back. Holding on with one hand and the other raised in a fist of defiance rode the masked KFC with his red cape billowing behind. The masked rider yelled, “Charge – Make Way – Old Thunder Rolls.” The huge black beast and masked rider were headed straight for the side of the new building and gaining speed. The beast lowered its enormous head and then without slowing down crashed through the side of the building and then out the other side. The holes created by the large beast were as big as a buffalo.
“Go get Gracie and Oreo and hurry.” Master Sleuth pushed the stunned Susie into action. Quickly she followed the path of the buffalo and ran to get her sister and Oreo. With Oreo squeezed between them, the Rescue Girls hurried the frightened piglet across the road to the safety of the pasture. The pasture was crowded as anxious parents were reunited with their missing children. It was the most wonderful sight the girls had ever seen. Hugs, kisses, and tears were everywhere.
But across the road Sergeant and Fred were locked in battle. Sergeant was not about to allow one more baby to be taken by this rotten kidnapper. Huffing and puffing and shaking his massive head, Old Thunder rolled to a stop. From his perch high on Old Thunder’s back, KFC saw Fred pick up a broken board from Old Thunder’s crash through the building and start to hit at Sergeant. “Old Thunder.” KFC yelled and pointed at Fred. Old Thunder got the message loud and clear. He pawed the ground twice with his huge hoof, blew steam from his flaring nostrils, and with head down he charged straight for Fred. The ground shaking noise caused Fred to turn around and instantly Sergeant released his leg hold on the kidnapper and take a step back. Fred was able to gulp one ‘HELP’ before Old Thunder head butted him high into the air and he flew and landed face first into the muddy milky goo right next to his partner in crime.
Sergeant raced over and looked at the two men sprawled in the milk filled ditch. With lips curled back and teeth barred, he gave a menacing snarl and stared directly at them. “OK – OK.” Fred moaned, “We won’t ever take any baby animals again.” Satisfied the two men understood the message loud and clear, Sergeant backed away and ran across the road to the pasture and join in the celebration.
Chapter 8 – The Riddle Is Solved
Twitter had never been more excited. He kept running around the pasture and shouting, “I know. I know. I know.” Everyone finally quieted and someone asked him, “Know what Twitter?” “I know why the chicken crossed the road!” Twitter puffed up and loudly squawked, “The chicken crossed the road to save the baby animals.” He was so proud that he had finally solved the riddle of ‘why did the chicken cross the road’. Then all the animals cheered loudly saying that Twitter had single handed taken out the milk truck and its driver. All the parents thanked the NGA club again and headed for home with their children snuggled safely between them. KFC hugged his new best friend, Old Thunder, and promised to come and visit him soon.
Sergeant escorted the Rescue Girls, KFC, and Oreo to the road by the farm house and as they stepped out of the field, they were surprised to be greeted by all their friends waiting on the road. “Oreo.” The Misses loudly cried when she saw her missing piglet. As they walked home, Susie and Gracie locked arms and sang their Rescue Girl song. “Rescue girls are the best. Rescue girls pass the test.” From behind them they heard a small voice say, “KFC found the clue. KFC helped out too.” The girls stopped and turned around and each locked an arm with their brother. Then the three marched home chanting, “Rescue Girls and KFC found the babies and saved the day.”