The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
Hear it (MP3) 6:11
This chapter is entitled (what else?) THE FOUND CLUE
By Kate DiCamillo
It was Boppo, of course. His hair was standing up on top of his head in a way that was not at all attractive. It made him look quite mad.
“You should do something about your hair,” said Nancy. “It makes you look crazy.”
“I am crazy!” shouted Boppo. “Plus, I just walked sock-footed over an ominous gorge. It's enough to make anyone's hair stand on end.”
“I can't believe you followed us,” said Nancy, “The stealth! The daring!”
“Yes, well,” said Boppo, “I have some advice for you: never underestimate a clown.”
“What's that noise?” said Joe.
“Do you mean that tick-tick-ticking?” said Boppo.
“Yes,” said Joe.
“I hear it, too,” said Nancy.
“I thought you kids might like a little show,” said Boppo.
“No thank you,” said Nancy. “It's dark. And we're in a hurry.”
“Oh, everyone has time to be entertained,” said Boppo. He laughed and put a hand in one of his pockets.
“You're not going to juggle, are you?” said Joe.
“Please don't juggle,” said Nancy. (Nancy, you will remember, is highly moral; and highly moral people find juggling objectionable).
“You don't have time to juggle,” said Joe. “We called the authorities. They're on their way. You're in big trouble, Boppo.”
“Oh, I think not,” said Boppo. “Watch very carefully now, dearies. Don't take your eyes off of your friend Boppo.” Boppo pulled a meatball from his pocket.
“Oh, I hate it when you juggle meatballs,” said Joe. “It's so boring.”
“And messy,” said Nancy.Boppo pulled another meatball from his pocket. “Shhhh,” he said. “Keep your eyes on the clown.” He reached into his pocket a third time and he pulled out a ticking, humming thing.
“It's a bomb!” said Nancy.
“I guess you can't say juggling is boring now,” said Boppo, “can you?” The clown began to juggle the two meatballs and the bomb.
“Oh, Joe,” said Nancy, “what should we do?”
“Let's be patient,” said Joe.
“Patient?” said Nancy. “Patient! What if while we're being patient the bomb goes off?”
“Shhhh,” said Joe. “It will happen. You know it will. It always does.”
“But it's a bomb!” said Nancy.
“Just be ready to use your catlike reflexes,” said Joe.
Boppo juggled. Boppo laughed. The meatballs and the bomb flew through the air faster and faster: meatball, meatball, bomb; meatball, meatball, bomb. The twins braced themselves. And then it happened, just as it always did.
Boppo fell asleep. Mid-juggle. He simply dropped to the ground in a deep and profound and peaceful slumber. A meatball fell on top of him and then another. But before the bomb could hit the ground (or the clown), Nancy (oh brave, moral Nancy!) made use of her catlike reflexes and reached out and grabbed hold of it.
“Good job, Nancy,” said Joe. “Toss it here.”
Nancy threw Joe the bomb. Joe turned and threw it off into the darkness. “Teamwork!” said Joe. There was a thump. A wham. And then there was total silence.
Boppo whimpered and then began to snore.
“Narcoleptic clowns are a really sad phenomenon,” said Joe.
He bent over Boppo.
“What are you doing?” said Nancy.
“I'm searching his pockets,” said Joe.
“Oh, but, Joe; that's not moral.”
Joe pulled several red noses out of the clown's pocket. The noses were followed by a rubber rat. The rubber rat was followed by a book of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. “Clown pockets kind of give me the creeps,” said Joe. And then he said, “Wait a minute. Here it is! Our clue, Nancy. Here's our destiny. The card.” He stood. He held it over his head.
“Lovely,” said a voice, “just exactly super-de-dooper. I'll be taking that then. Such helpful children.”
Audio recordings provided by National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and the Butler Center for Children's Literature at Dominican University have developed a companion educational resource center (external link) to support “The Exquisite Corpse Adventure.”