Mom came into the kitchen where we were all sitting. I was nervous that Grandpa would tell her all our secrets. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my mom; I just didn’t trust what she would do once she found out. I knew one thing for sure, she would tell Dad. Dad would take things over and probably call the cops.
“Okay,” Grandpa said to Mom. “Let me ask you something. Suppose you gave someone the wrong gift but it turns out they loved the gift you gave them. However, you need the original gift back. So, what do you do?”
Mom looked at us a little weird. Her lips crook to the side and her eyes rolled up in her head. This was her thinking face.
“Can you not just get another one, exactly the same?” she finally said. Grandpa told her that was out of the deal. We had to get the one back we had given.
“Then just get one identical and swap it out without them knowing.”
That was genius I thought. I’m sure Grandpa did too because he smiled and rushed her outside. We all said thank you and when she was gone we started planning. First thing was we had to get a bottle that looked exactly like the one Amanda stole. That wouldn’t be too hard. It was just a plain brown bottle.
Grandpa told us not to worry about the bottle. He would take care of that. He did ask which one of us was the best artist. Sam was by far the better artist but I didn’t know why that mattered. He saw the confusion on my face and told us that someone would have to etch the map on the new bottle.
“But if we do that then they will still have a map.” I said.
“Not if the etched map is not just like the real one,” Grandpa said.
Finally, I understood what he was talking about. He was a genius, and Mom was a genius, I was super happy I came from them. Amanda would have a bottle with a map on it but it would be the wrong map. That way we would be in the clear to search without fear of them finding the treasure first. Also, they would be none the wiser.
Tommy couldn’t spend the night because his mom was getting off early so after the talk about the bottle he headed home. I could tell he was confused. Part of him wanted to stay with us and discuss the plan more, while the other part wanted to go home and spend time with his mother. I told him he should go on home and that we were done planning for the night.
After Tommy left, Grandpa headed for the front door. I asked him where he was going and he said he was heading home. I told him his home was here. He looked at me for a second then headed to his room. I was starting to worry about his memory. I thought about it for a while and decided to keep an eye on him. If it got worse I would tell Mom about it.
Sam and I stayed up late that night. We wanted to talk about the plan but we promised Tommy we wouldn’t. We did talk about how we would execute the part of the plan all three of us had already discussed. The tricky part was thinking how we could actually etch the outside of the bottle. It would be tricky and I didn’t want Sam to cut herself. Dad had lots of tools but we weren’t allowed to touch them. Even Grandpa wasn’t allowed to mess with them if it wasn’t an emergency.
It looked like the original was carved very carefully with a knife but I didn’t want her to use a knife. This may have been a bigger problem than we imagined. We decided not to think about it anymore and play a game. Sam loved Monopoly so we played it. It wasn’t my favorite game but she let me be the racecar so I didn’t mind so much. By the end of the night she had all the properties and almost all my money. Ten more minutes and the game was over. She won.
We went to sleep after that. I didn’t feel like getting my butt kicked in some other board game. Besides, it had been a long day and tomorrow would probably be even longer. I didn’t really have that much trouble getting to sleep. But I had weird dreams all night. I dreamed I was a pirate. Actually, I dreamed I was the pirate stranded on the island. I kept trying to get a message to Sam but I couldn’t.
I walked all across the island and found a cave. Inside the cave it wasn’t dark at all. Instead there was a light that came from a small opening in the roof and it lit up all the walls. When I looked closer the walls were lined with diamonds. I tried to get them but ended up cutting myself. When I woke up my hands were hurting.
I got ready for the day and went downstairs. Since Sam and I stayed up late it was already past ten when I woke. Sam was eating some cereal when I got down there. She had just got up too. Mom came in and got on to us for staying up so late. She said Grandpa and Tommy went on a mission and she was to tell us to go to the recycling plant and find a bottle. She said Grandpa told her he was making a gift for Grace and needed the right bottle.
I knew exactly what he wanted and we hurried and ate our cereal. The recycling center was a few miles away so Mom offered to drive us there. We accepted because that was a little too far to walk and we wanted to get back soon in case Grandpa and Tommy were back. I still didn’t know where they had gone. On the way there, Mom asked us what we were really up too. I wanted to tell her the truth but I didn’t think it would be a good idea. So I told her that Grandpa really liked our bottle with the candle in it and he wanted one to give Grace. I think she bought it.
When we arrived at the recycling center Mom stayed in the car while Sam and I went inside. There was a man behind a desk with a name badge. His name was Danny, according to the badge. He wore of a set of work pants and shirt that was dirty from grease and oil. He asked if he could help us and we told him we needed a bottle.
“What ya need a bottle fer?” he asked in a deep southern accent.
Sam said we needed a certain bottle for a summer project we were doing for school and was hoping he could help us. She even told him we would pay for the bottle. Danny looked convinced and said he didn’t want any money and for us to follow him. He took us to the glass recycling part of the building and showed us tons of bottles waiting to be crushed.
My jar dropped when I saw all the bottles. How on earth would be find one that looked like the one we had. What I thought would be the easiest part of the plan was looking like it was going to be the hardest. Sam stayed cool though and asked if they had a place for brown bottles. He looked at her like she was speaking Chinese. He said no, all the bottles were in the same place.
Sam kept calm and we began to search though the piles of bottles. After a few minutes Danny came up with an idea. If he were to turn on the recycling machine we could watch the bottles go by on a conveyer belt and that would be faster than what we were doing. That sounded great to us.
He had to give us special protection gear for this. We put on a leather apron that came down to our feet, a face shield that would protect us from shards of glass if any bottles fell off and broke, and big leather gloves. We wouldn’t be in the room where the bottles got broken up, instead we were right next door and would watch the bottles as they went by.
It was pretty cool actually. When we got in place Danny turned the machine on and the bottles came through a little door on the left side and headed toward another little door on the right side of the conveyer belt. We stood in the middle and watched them go by. The little door on the left only allowed a dozen or so to come through at a time. This way we could see every single bottle as they flattened out across the belt.
Most of the bottles were soda, some were beer, but there were hardly any brown ones and even fewer that were the right size. On one hand this discouraged me but it also made it easier to find. Sam finally saw one but we both agreed it was not the right size. About a minute after that I grabbed one that I thought would be perfect but it had a chip in the neck. That wouldn’t work.
While we were looking I saw Mom though the window in the door. She was talking to Danny, then she saw us and waved. I thought we were in trouble but she sat down and began to read a magazine. Sam found another one and we thought it was it until I held it, the bottom was concaved and the original had a flat bottom. I wasn’t even sure they made flat bottom bottles anymore.
Just when we were about to give up I saw one coming though the small door. It was under a few clear ones. I reached my glove hand through the rest of the bottles and grabbed it by the neck. I caused one of the clear bottles to drop and it shattered on the floor. When I pulled the brown bottle out we inspected it. It was the right size and color. It looked pretty old and the bottom was flat. I think we had a winner. Sam agreed.
We took it outside and showed it to Danny. He said we could have it and didn’t charge us anything. I told him I broke one bottle inside the little room. He told us not to worry about it but Mom overheard it and made me get a broom. Danny came with me and helped me clean up my mess. Although Danny looked like a mean person, he was actually very nice. When we were done cleaning he told us to come back if we ever needed anything else.
When we left I was anxious to get home to see where Grandpa and Tommy had gone. I saw his truck when we turned onto our block so I knew he was back. Mom pulled into the driveway and Sam and I ran inside. He was sitting in the living room watching TV. Tommy was already at work.
“Where did you guys go?” I asked as I ran into the room.