The 39 Clues


November 19, 1969

Grace Cahill Must Go!

by J.R. Tipscootch

In all my years as an opinion columnist for the Attleboro Gazette, I have never been so outraged. I demand that Grace Cahill leave our charming city. It’d be better for all of us if she moved somewhere a bit more remote . . . like the North Pole.

It seems as though every week I’m writing about another crazy thing Cahill did. If it’s not a late-night party that ends two weeks after it starts, it’s a dangerous science experiment gone awry.

But this new security system business is the last straw.

Last week, the postman accidentally left a letter for Grace in my mailbox. Like a good neighbor, I decided to deliver it to the correct recipient. Little did I know I would be risking my life!

I trudged up the hill to that fortress of theirs. (For the record, I’ve always hated that the Cahills can look down on the rest of us!) I was winded by the time I got to the top and stopped to catch my breath. I reached out to grab on to the gate for balance and then ZAP! Something shocked me! That maniac Grace Cahill has installed an electric gate. What does she think we are? Wandering cows she has to keep off her property?!

My cry of pain alerted the audio sensors as well. A robotic voice boomed from an invisible speaker and began repeating, “Intruder Alert. Intruder Alert” over and over again. “I’m not a blasted intruder!” I shouted. “I’m a neighbor!” There was a pause and then the voice announced, “Voice Recognition System Activated. Visitor Identified. J.R. Tipscootch.” The gates swung open and I heard, “Visitor. Please proceed to the main door via the eastern pathway.”

I looked ahead of me and saw three walkways cutting across the vast lawn. I had no idea which way was east! Who talks like that? What kind of weird game was this? I thought about dropping the letter and getting the heck out of there, but I wanted to give Grace a piece of my mind! I decided that it couldn’t possibly matter which path I took, so I turned right.

Wrong! The moment my foot touched the gravel, I heard another alarm and, suddenly, a trapdoor opened under my feet. I slid down, down until I landed with a thump in some concrete room. A dungeon. Seriously. Grace Cahill has her own private prison. This can’t be legal. This is 20th century America, not 12th century England. I started shouting at the top of my lungs and didn’t stop until Grace’s daughter, Hope, appeared.

“Get me out of here at once, child!” I shouted. But I stopped yelling when I saw the scared look on her face. It’s not her fault that her mother is a power-tripping sociopath. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Tipscootch,” she said. “Mom’s been a little worried about security since Dad died. I think she went a little overboard, though.”

Without saying a word, I shoved the letter at her and left by the back door. I have never been more outraged in my life. What in God’s name is Grace Cahill doing with that sort of security system? Everyone knows Nathaniel was killed in a plane crash. What could she be worried about?

I don’t care how much money Grace Cahill gives to our schools and libraries. She has to leave before someone gets hurt.