A Boy Called Duct Tape
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Pablo Perez is a 12-year-old kid without much going for him. His classmates have dubbed him “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying.
Pablo’s luck changes after he finds a $20 gold coin while swimming with his sister in a river near their home. Pablo later buys a $1 treasure map at the county fair. The map shows the route to the “lost treasure” of the notorious outlaw Jesse James. Pablo can’t help but wonder: Is there a link between the map and the gold coin?
He is determined to find out, and he, his 9-year-old sister, Pia, and 13-year-old cousin, Kiki, hire an ill-mannered cave guide, Monroe Huff, and begin a treacherous underground adventure in search of treasure. Their treasure hunt is made more perilous because they are being followed by the evil Blood brothers, who want the treasure for themselves. The Blood brothers will stop at nothing to claim the treasure as their own.
sure …” was as far as Kiki could get. She seemed uneasy. “Is it a room full of ghosts, Pablo?” Pia asked, her eyes fixed on mine. I was quick to answer. “No such thing as ghosts.” I could offer no more of an explanation because I was also clueless about the name. “Then why did someone write Room of Ghosts?” Pia continued, her dark eyes filled with uncertainty. “I agree with Pablo. The mapmaker wanted to scare people away from searching for the treasure,” Kiki said. “They’re doing a good
I said, the pain in my chest fading. I unfolded the treasure map on the cave floor in the white glare of my headlamp. Everyone gathered around it and studied the cave’s intricate network of tunnels and rocky lairs. The map did not show a fork in the corridor leading from the Hotel Lobby to the next site, the Boulevard of Chandeliers. And it didn’t show the burrow we had just crawled through—it showed one continuous line with two dead-end spurs, one to the right, the next to the left. It was
said, craning her neck toward the high ceiling, the beam from her headlamp skipping from one formation to the next. Even though they looked cool, I had the feeling that one of the stone clusters might break loose at any moment and come crashing down on us. Some of the heavier formations had pulled away from the ceiling at some point in time—Maybe during that tremor a few days ago, I thought—and now lay in scattered pieces on the tunnel floor. Pia and I stepped over and around the remains of some
heard of the grunge look?” I thought that was a pretty good comeback on such short notice. Jimmy laughed. “Pablo Perez—the king of grunge.” I pushed my duct-taped sneakers further under the computer desk. Each August, since fourth grade when Dad was killed by a drunk driver, Mom would remind me that money was tight and my new Walmart sneakers would have to last the school year. They never did. Duct tape to the rescue. Jimmy stooped down and gazed under the table at my feet. He jabbed a finger
small cavern. Monroe rounded the corner, then leaped back and forced his back against the wall. “Stop!” he whispered. “What …?” I asked, almost gagging on the word. Monroe put his finger to his lips and shook his head. He mouthed the words “Don’t talk.” Pia and Kiki came together in a frightened embrace. “I saw … something,” Monroe whispered. “Some … thing?” I asked, my heart banging in my chest. “Some … one,” Monroe said quietly. “But I can’t be certain. No more than a glimpse.” Clinging