“Hi, Mrs. Davis, is Petey home?” I choked out while trying to catch my breath.
Over her shoulder I could see my best friend, Petey, tripping down the stairs. At ten years old, we were both adjusting to recent growth spurts. “Did you hear about the jewelry store robbery last night?” we both asked at once.
“They say a rare ruby was taken!” added Petey. “It’s like a Hardy Boy mystery right in our back yard!” We swapped stories about what we each knew of the exciting event as we finished his chores.
“Hey, I hear the other guys are goin over skatin this morning. You wanna head down there when we’re done?” I asked.
After finishing the work, we grabbed our skates and dashed out the door. The shouts of boys could be heard as we approached the local winter hangout. Our friends were skating around the pond having a blast, and we were anxious to join them.
Moments later Petey and I were racing across the pond when we heard a big commotion coming from the other end. Looking back over our shoulders, we saw the boys swarm together around Charlie -- the youngest one of the group.
“What do you think it is?” we could hear them asking as we approached.
“Where? What are you looking at?” I asked as we joined them.
“There’s something frozen in the ice, but we can’t tell what.”
I leaned forward to take a closer look. It couldn’t be…could it? “Quick guys! We have to get it out!” I ordered.
Everyone jumped into action chipping away at the ice with the back of their skates but without much luck. The object was simply too far down.
“Listen.” Petey spoke up. “I think the only way we can get down to it is to melt the ice.”
“Melt the ice! Are you crazy man? We’re standing on it!” the boys all hollered at once.
“I’m just saying,” Petey backed away. “It seems to be the only answer.”
Seeing my friend under attack, I came to his defense. “He’s right! Someone go and fetch some hot water – and lots of it! It might refreeze quickly so we have to work fast.”
A couple of the guys who lived close by soon returned with steaming buckets of water. Being as this was Petey’s idea, we decided we should be the ones to do the deed. We ordered the others to move back to safety.
“You ready Pete?” I went over the plan. “I’ll pour the water. As soon as it’s free, reach in and grab it, ok?”
“Got it, Davey! We’re going to be famous after this!” He grinned broadly while rubbing his hands together in excitement.
“I know Petey, I know. Just focus now ok?”
I lifted the first bucket and started to slowly pour out the water. The ice groaned and cracked beneath our feet. I looked up at Petey and briefly exchanged a worried glance.
I continued pouring and watched the ice melt away as planned. “It’s working! I can see it – it’s visible now. Get it Petey! Quick!”
Petey leaned forward, he did. He got right down on all fours and reached his bare hand into the cold water. “I got it Davey! I got…”
Thinking quickly, I dropped the bucket and grabbed Charlie’s hockey stick. “Petey! Grab on to this!” I yelled while watching his body slowly slide forward toward the now open water. With one hand, Petey reached up and clutched the stick.
“Give me a hand guys!” I screamed, then realized the others were already right behind me. We all heaved on the stick and gradually pulled Petey’s body away from the open water. Once we were a safe distance away, we collapsed on our backs breathing heavily.
Petey was the first to sit up. A smile slowly spread across his face as he ceremoniously lifted his left hand and opened his fingers one at a time revealing the stolen ruby!
We boys had never been so excited! The newspaper ran our story the very next day calling us heroes. The jewelry store even offered to give us a reward which our parents were quick to accept on our behalf -- college savings they said. We didn’t care. Just retrieving the ruby was all that mattered. Finally something exciting had happened in our lives. We could hardly wait for the next big thing to come our way.
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