Jane and Tim were feeling excited as they walked home from school in the village of Greenfield. There were four reasons why they felt good. They had the weekend to look forward to, it had stopped raining, the sun was shinning. But most of all the big fair that came every year was set up in the field behind their home. The local village store. Both of them were almost running by the time they reached home.
” When we’ve changed let’s go over to the fair and have a look around,” said Tim as they entered the kitchen.
Jane glanced at Tim, ” Yes that’s a good idea, I’ll change before you.”
“Oh no you won’t” said Tim running into the hall and then up the stairs. Jane was only a short distance behind him when she collided with her Dad in the hallway. Mr Green was very surprised and dropped the half-dozen boxes of corn flakes he’d been carrying. But before he could say anything Jane had disappeared upstairs. But she did call down to him ” Sorry Dad”. With a sigh and shaking his head her Dad picked up the boxes and continued into the store.
Jane didn’t take long to change and as usual was waiting for Tim. She stood with a wicked grin on her face as Tim came running into the kitchen ” I beat you” said Jane.
“Alright one of these days I’ll win” said Tim who was feeling Grumpy towards his sister. Jane didn’t give him long to sulk. ” Let’s go” Jane said opening the back door and running down the long garden. ” Did you tell Mum and Dad Jane?” “No we won’t be long” said Jane with great confidence. Surprised at Tim’s thoughtfulness which was certainly rare. Both of them were very pleased the fair was so near, they could hear the music as they got to the garden gate. ” Oh isn’t it exciting? I love the fair ” said Jane. Tim looked a little worried. ” So do I, but we haven’t got any money with us” He put his hands into both trouser pockets, Sighing loudly. ” What’s new Tim, you’ve never got any, don’t let that stop us now we are just going to have a look. Mum said she’d either come with us or give us some money” Jane said as she continued towards the fair. ” Ah well that’s alright then, hey wait for me”. Tim said feeling happier now as he tried to keep up with his Sister. Jane was more interested in getting to the fair. ” Well I hope they just give us the money, we won’t have any fun if our parents come.” Tim added as he caught up with Jane. Who’d already reached the caravans and generators. The fair hadn’t opened for the evening yet but there were already a lot of children moving excitedly around the fair. None of the fair staff seemed to mind them wandering about. Tim caught up with Jane again having to make his short legs work twice as hard as his big Sister. Who was looking at a very nice but unusually large caravan , that seemed out of place among the others that were smaller and duller in comparison. As they were about to move on, a loud voice could be heard coming from inside the caravan. Neither Jane nor Tim would admit to being nosey. But of course they couldn’t help over hearing what was being said. Glancing around neither of them could see anybody else nearby, so they stood as quietly as they could to listen getting near to the side of the caravan. The first voice was male who sounded deep and sinister spoke in a whisper. ” Now the package will be delivered tonight at eight o’clock. When there will be lots of people about. Nobody would take any notice of anybody carrying a large cuddly toy.” As they strained to hear a second voice who was also whispering spoke it was female. ” True but I’m feeling uneasy, I sense we’re being watched.” Jane and Tim looked at each other surprised at the comment surely they hadn’t seen them. ” But its a good idea if its works Dale.” “Well Joy I think it will work keep it simple. But if anybody gets in our way they’ll be dealt with. This is our big chance to make a lot of money. Dale replied in a voice that made them feel very uneasy as they both shuddered. ” Agreed said the female Joy. I’d better go before I’m missed, see you later”. At this point a door just a few yards from where they both were standing opened suddenly. so Jane and Tim had to make a quick exit both of them almost diving under the caravan just in time. All they could see was a pair of legs, around one ankle was a gold coloured ankle bracelet, as the female called Joy quickly walked by. They stayed very still because a couple of minutes later the man with the deep voice, who they knew was called Dale. Started pacing up and down the caravan, his footsteps booming loudly above them. Then silence and a few seconds later the door slammed open and shut with a bang. Again all they could see were the legs. He was Wearing a smart pair of trousers and very shiny shoes, he went in the opposite direction to Joy. Tim strained to see more of the man but couldn’t Jane and Tim waited until all seemed quiet, then carefully got out from underneath the caravan. Almost lost for words, which was very unusual for them. But this didn’t last for very long. Jane spoke first “That sounded very interesting, I think we’d better have a look around.” ” Couldn’t we go home and have some tea first, I’m hungry. I didn’t like the sound of that Dale” said Tim cautiously looking around him where he stood. “Huh your always hungry we’ll take a look around first then have tea and make our way back later.” I didn’t like the sound of that man either”, Jane had to admit reluctantly.Tim agreed ” Oh alright, but I’m hungry” This time Jane ignored him. As they walked amongst the caravans it felt like eyes were upon them. Jane was now some way ahead of Tim. He was busy looking and hiding behind every object making himself even more noticeable. While Jane was walking about the fair with care. More people were now arriving, she looked at her watch it was five thirty. Tim caught up with Jane yet again ” Isn’t it a good fair?” But he never had a chance to say anything else. ” Come on Tim, it’s tea time.” And with that Jane started running in the direction of home. Tim was left with his mouth open, he was soon running after her. He wasn’t keen to be left on his own at this fair. When they got back home their Mum had just finished cooking the tea. And was just wondering where Jane and Tim had got to. At that moment they came bursting in through the back door, Tim fell on top of Jane. “Hi Mum” Jane said pushing Tim out-of-the-way. ” Sorry we’re late for tea” Tim added struggling to his feet clumsily trying to help his sister up to. “I can manage thank you”. Said Jane getting up herself annoyed with her brother as usual. ” We’ve just had a look around the fair.” ” That’s alright Jane, we were beginning to wonder where you had got to.” Said a worried Mrs Green. I thought you were going this evening” said Mr Green who’d already started his tea. Jane and Tim looked at each other smiling. “We are Dad but we couldn’t wait to have a look around first,” said Tim ” Come and sit down and have your tea before it gets cold then you can go back.” What time is it officially open?” said Mum ” Oh about six thirty, we’ll need some money” said Jane. Dad smiled as he sipped his cup of tea. As his two lively children sat down to eat, one of the few times they were quiet.
At six fifteen Jane and her little Brother made their way back across the field. They were very pleased Mum and Dad had decided not to come. Their Dad had told them he was too old to go on all the rides. And both of them had skillfully assured their Mum as it was so near there was nothing to worry about if they went alone. They could hear the music and see the multi-coloured lights even though it was still daylight. Coming closer the fair sounded alive, roundabouts many other rides and stalls were very busy. There was also a strong smell of popcorn, hot dogs with onions and candy floss. Tim’s mouth was moist with hunger even though it wasn’t long since he’d had tea. ‘Yum Yum’ thought Tim, “I love hot dogs” he blurted out, Jane ignored him. It was a crowded now, the fair was certainly a popular event in Greenfield. Being a small place the youngsters there often felt there wasn’t much to do. ‘It’s boring’ was the common cry, so something like this created excitement. Though Tim and Jane never found it boring themselves. If anybody had been watching they’d wonder just what the two of them were up to as they pushed their way through crowds Ducking down to look at the legs of the many teenagers, mums and dads in the crowd. Then glancing over the stalls to see the legs of the of the fair people. After about half an hour Jane said with a sigh “I don’t know how we’re going to find them with all these people here.
” Can’t we go on something. Then have a hot dog with lots of onions?” said Tim ” don’t you think of anything but food? Tim thought for a moment then proudly said ” Not often Jane.” With a deep groan only her Brother could make her do. Jane made her way to the octopus. Come on then let’s get on this ride. ” Great” added Tim excitedly and as always got in the car before Jane. Luckily there was only a few in queue. Soon they were in one of the small cars swinging about. Soon the ride started and their car began to rise in the air. Suddenly Jane heard a distinctive voice. ” Tim did you hear that voice?” said Jane. but Tim was to busy enjoying himself on the exciting ride to listen to anything, especially his sister. He had just spotted Old Ben and Scratcher for a few seconds in the crowds below as the car swung around, ” Hey there’s Old Ben and Scratcher.” As Jane went to speak again the car swung sharply around again and the Octopus arm swooped quickly down, so all Jane could do was scream, her breath taken away. A few minutes later they were getting off the ride their legs feeling like jelly. ” Cor wasn’t that great Sis” Said Tim very happy he’d been on such an exciting ride. Jane took a deep breath and spoke. ” Didn’t you hear what I said Tim?” ” No! What was that?” I heard the voice of the man in the caravan!” ” Oh so he must be nearby”. They glanced at each other than looked around intently. At this point Scratcher came weaving through the throng. Barking loudly at their feet making them both jump. he then turned away from them still barking. They knew he wanted them to follow him. It was great to see him as he was thought of as a good friend. They pushed their way through to a clear area on the edge of the fair site, where Old Ben was standing. ” Hello Old Ben” they both said together. ” Well hello you two, enjoying the fair?” As he looked at them he could tell something was wrong. ” What’s the matter?” Jane had to tell someone. ” Yes there is Old Ben, we need to talk to somebody and I’m glad you’re here as we think you’re the wisest man we know.” Tim agreed whole heartily. ” That’s very kind of you, but what about your Dad? ” Oh we didn’t mean he was thick, but you do know a lot it’s easier to talk and to explain things to you. And you and Scratcher are our friends. Old Ben laughed ” It’s alright Jane I know what you mean. Now what’s the problem you want to talk to me about this time?” ” Not here” said Jane sounding very secretive. A little puzzled Old Ben suggested it was fine where they were standing, as there was nobody else about. Only a noisy generator that would muffle any voices, including their own. Jane and Tim excitedly told Old Ben all about what they’d overheard. And the gold ankle bracelet worn by the female called Joy. And the deep voice of the man called Dale, with his pin stripe trousers and very shiny shoes. Old Ben listened and he thought for a few minutes. Scratcher was getting bored and was running around their feet. “It’s very interesting”, said Old Ben at last. Tim thought he’d fallen asleep standing up. ” It could be all very innocent but I doubt that. I reckon you’ve stumbled onto something here.” ” Do you really think so?” Jane said feeling rather pleased with herself. ” Yes but at this moment, I don’t think the police would be interested. We do need more evidence”! ” So should we try to find these two and follow them?” Tim said also feeling pleased with himself now and ready for action. ” I did hear Dales voice not long ago” added Jane pleased that Old Ben believed them and wanted to help. ” Interesting What’s the time please Jane?” asked Old Ben. Jane glanced at her watch “It’s just seven-thirty. Then Jane realises why Old Ben had asked. “Oh yes that persons bringing the cuddly toy, is supposed to be here at eight.” ” Yes if you two want to go back over to the fair and try to spot those people.” He continued ” I’ll stay around outside where it’s quieter, to try and see if I can spot this person with the cuddly Toy, not easy here.” He said thoughtfully. ” OK Old Ben we do appreciate your help.” ” We sure do” said Tim. ” Be careful” ” We will,” they shouted back. They both ran back to the noisy and now very busy fair feeling a lot happier and determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Scratcher was still barking excitedly. as they mingled once more with the crowds enjoying themselves. Tim was drawn to the hot dog stand ” I must have something to eat Jane.” ” You only had your tea two hours ago,” said Jane turning her nose up at the smell. Tim smiled broadly as he handed over the money and the man in return gave him his large hot dog with onions. He put lots of ketchup and mustard all over it. He took a bite, as he did onions mustard and ketchup oozed out and dripped down his jacket. ” Oh what a mess” said Tim who got a grubby tissue out of his pocket and tried to rub it off only making it worse. Jane just laughed then as she looked towards the dodgem cars, she could see a young woman by the pay kiosk. There was something about her that made Jane want to move closer. She grabbed Tim’s arm once more just as he was about to take another bite. ” I think I’ve spotted her.” Jane was speaking as she kept a close watch. Making sure she didn’t lose track of her. Tim had just managed to finish his hot dog and wasn’t going to waste it. As they drew near Jane could see the ankle bracelet, then heard her voice they confirmed this was Joy. She finished her conversation and walked off towards the ghost train. As she approached the ride the young person Joy seemed to go out of her way to bump into a young man carrying a very large soft toy teddy bear. He had a little girl with him. There were a lot of people getting in the way, but Jane could still see Joy walk off with the soft toy. The man and child blended into the crowds and were gone. Old Ben came into view Jane saw him , he waved to her. She realised it was definitely the delivery. Tim wasn’t able to see as he was to short, so Jane kept him informed of what was going on. ” We’d better follow him Tim,” Jane moved forward as fast as she could. Tim struggled to follow. As they pushed their way through Jane saw her speaking to a smart-looking middle-aged man who looked out of place in his pin striped suit. As Jane and Tim drew closer they both seemed to disappear through the side of the ghost train ride. When they reached there they couldn’t find any entrance. A little out of breath Old Ben came to join them Scratcher was still barking. ” Where did they go, I’m sure this was where they went inside.” Jane said looking confused. ” Yes they did here” Tim pointed at the picture of ghosts and skeletons painted on the trailer wall. Jane looked puzzled. Tim touched a skeletons skull, a hidden door clicked open. ” Well that’s very clever , I wouldn’t have seen that” said Old Ben. As it opened he raised his arm to indicate to be quiet. He told scratcher to stay outside, this he didn’t like at all. He went in first through the secret entrance into the dark interior of the ghost train ride. They could hear the sound of an approaching ghost train cars and the screams of fright from those brave enough to go on it. ‘This is very spooky’ thought Jane as they walked in virtual darkness. But luckily there were small safety lights which gave some illumination. The voice of the man called Dale could clearly be heard it sounded near. Tim tripped over something ‘in this horrible place’ he thought . Who normally enjoyed ghost stories, but this place seemed phony to him. The voice stopped speaking. They all ducked behind a polystyrene figure of Frankenstein or that’s what it looked like to him in the dark. Just at that moment a shadowy figure appeared from another hidden door. A stream of light made their eyes hurt. The man named Dale came cautiously out. The way the light caught his face made him look hideous and glistening. In his hand they could see he had a gun. They all shuddered watching him from behind the false monster. The man spoke , as he did Joy joined him. Both of them looked almost as scared as no doubt Jane Tim and Old Ben were feeling. ” Who’s there ? I’ve got a gun and I won’t hesitate in using it!” Both of them looked tense as the words echoed around them. Jane felt he meant what he said. The three of them kept perfectly still almost afraid to breath. But they could hear Scratcher barking as usual outside. ” That dog barking outside is annoying” Dale said, as it seemed to distract his thoughts. He slowly backed away, pushing the joy as well. Then as he neared a doorway, both of them quickly disappeared inside slamming the door shut. As they all sighed with relief and for once glad Scratcher was barking so loudly. A car full of screaming youngsters whizzed by them, taking them all by surprise. They almost jumped out of their skins. Realising they must have gotten out through another entrance, Jane and Tim decided to go back the way they had come. Old Ben said he would try the door of the secret room. It didn’t take Jane long to get out, but Tim had difficulty. Outside Scratcher had been impatiently waiting but was quiet for once. But as soon as he saw Jane he was back to his lively self he started barking once more. He seemed to want Jane to follow him. Tim who had managed to get lost stumbling about, eventually came out. As he did Scratcher came running up to him as well. In his excitement he tripped Tim up. ” I’m sure he wants us to follow him” said Jane watching Tim struggle to his feet once again. Scratcher was showing why he had his name, having a quick scratch before he ran off. ” Oh alright” said Tim feeling cross. But he didn’t have much time for that as Jane had already gone, trying to keep up with this lively dog.
Startled people were quickly moving out of his way, too surprised to say anything. It was a funny sight to behold as a forced passage was made through the throng and amongst the stalls and rides at the fairground. The two adventurous youngsters were to intent on following their favourite dog to notice the chaos around them. ” I wonder where he’s taken us ” Jane said out of breath. ” I don’t know, but I wish he’d slow down” Tim uttered as he panted,’ he looks just like Scratcher’ thought Jane chuckling to herself. Just as they were getting fed up he stopped. They were now on the edge of the field, the fair to their surprise some distance behind them. In front of them they saw the two suspects getting into an expensive looking sports car. Within seconds they were speeding towards the main road that was nearby, skidding and sliding on the grass as it quickly gained speed. Jane managed to get the license plate number. Scratcher gave chase and soon had gone out of sight. it was then that Tim noticed the Large Teddy Bear was laying on the grass. ” Hey Jane they must have been in a big hurry” He pointed to where the toy lay, but it was very conspicuous on the grass, but Tim had to be melodramatic as usual. He found the energy to run over and pick it up. Jane followed him over. ” Be careful, we don’t know what’s inside” Jane smiled I bet their mad about dropping that.” ” It’s heavy and feels solid in the middle” said Tim pressing the tummy of the toy disregarding his sisters advice. Jane looked concerned, ” We’d better find Old Ben” she suggested. But as Jane spoke he came up to them breathing heavily. Within a minutes a police car came up to them with sirens blaring and lights flashing stopping next to them.”Are you two alright?”Old Ben eventually uttered. ” Yes fine how about you?” “I am now” he smiled. I guess you called the police said Jane. ” I did I managed to get into the room we saw them disappear into and I found one of those mobile phones and thought it was time they were informed.” ” Well it looks as though they’ve got away” said Tim. ” I’m not surprised” whispered Old Ben. As they were speaking the police were getting out of the patrol car. And came across to them. ” Evening Sir, you must be Old Ben””Yes that’s right officer” he managed to say before the policeman continued. I thought you would like to know, the two suspects seem to have slipped away for the moment. A description of the motor car fitting the one seen speeding away has been found abandoned near a local airport. Oh I must apologise I didn’t introduce myself, I’m Sergeant Jones.” I could give you their description and I remember the license plate number if you want it. ” That would be most helpful young lady, thank you.” said a surprised Sergeant Jones. Tim came forward. ” I found this on the ground just where we saw the man and girl get into the car.” He handed it to the policeman. ” Thank you young man” ‘Tim liked that, young man’ he thought stepping back. The Sergeant continued, “Hopefully this will clear up the mystery.” As he spoke the soft toy slipped out of his hand and fell to the ground. Before anybody could move the bulging tummy burst open. Jane And Tim had to laugh. Tim was glad he wasn’t the only clumsy one. But their laughter didn’t last long as the contents spilled out onto the grass. They all stared in amazement as hundreds of gleaming sweet sized objects lay in front of them. Old Ben spoke first” They must be diamonds.” ” Diamonds!” exclaimed Jane. Tim picked one up one up and looked at it closely. How it glistened in the bright light of the summer’s evening. ” Amazing.” Sergeant Jones quickly got a large and small plastic sacks out of the police car. He first put the teddy bear into the sack. He was joined by another policeman who was with him and they picked up all the diamonds putting them into the smaller polyethylene bag and sealed it. And the other policeman took them back to the car and put them in and then stayed with the them. The Sergeant contacted headquarters to report the find. Jane Tim and Old Ben stood patiently in a state of shock, on what they’d stumbled upon. The policeman finished talking on the radio and came back over to speak to them. ” Well it seems almost certain that with your help…” Just then Scratcher came running back barking, ” Oh we mustn’t forget your dog. ” Scratcher “said Tim. ” Ah Scratcher” said the policeman who cleared his throat and continued, ” we may have broken up a major diamond smuggling syndicate” “Gosh that’s great.” So the fair was a front for the gangs operation” Old Ben pondered, he was a wry old fox. ” Yes Sir, that would appear to be the case on the limited information we have been able to gather so far.” The policeman was surprised at the comments from somebody who looked like a tramp, a very polite one though. But he also thought, looks can be deceiving. He added ” But we’ll know more when we’ve completed our investigation and have caught those involved. I expect there will be a reward.” Great” said a very happy but tired Jane. ” I must go but in conclusion I’d appreciate it if you call into the local police station tomorrow and make your statement Old Ben. I think the youngsters have been out late enough. As For you two well done, I’ll call around your home tomorrow and get your statements with your parents present.” ” Certainly Sergeant I’ll see the youngsters get home .” with that the policeman went back to his car and headed towards the fair. They turned to watch him go and it was a fantastic sight. The flashing lights of the police car were converging with the lights of the fair. I think you’d better get home, your parents will be wondering what’s happened to you” Said Old Ben. I wonder what happened to that Joy and Dale? Do you think they got away” added a concerned Jane. ” Old Ben spoke wisely, ” I have a feeling they have for now, but their bosses will not be happy the diamonds were lost” ” I don’t suppose those two are happy about that either” added Tim. Old Ben smiled broadly, ” No Tim I don’t suppose they are, now homeward bound please. It’s getting dark” ” Oh yes we’d better go now come on Tim. Thank you Old Ben.” I’ve enjoyed myself tonight bye.” This will be a big story for Greenfield I don’t think Mum and Dad are going to be very happy.” Jane said as they turned to head home, just then Scratcher came running back barking. He was followed by another dog. ” It looks like he’s found a new friend.” said Tim as both dogs ran around Old Ben happily together” I think we’ll leave them to sort themselves out. ” Yes Jane a good idea. They laugh.Tomorrows going to busy. ‘Thought Jane’ as both of them headed back to face their parents.
This is the second of my children’s short stories.
The Foureyed Poet.