The mad mad mad mad trea.., p.1
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       The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt, p.1
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           Megan McDonald
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The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt

  Artichoke Island

  Mad Molly and Scurvy Stink

  Tall, White, and Shiny Bright

  Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Secret Codes

  -... .-.. .- -.-. -.- -... . .- .-. -..

  Sign of the Pirate

  Hours and Glasses

  Crabby, Crabbier, Crabbiest

  Going for the Gold

  10 Things You May Not Know About Megan McDonald

  10 Things You May Not Know About Peter H. Reynolds

  As long as ships have sailed the seas, there have been pirates. And as long as there have been pirates, Stink Moody has wanted to sail on a ship to an island. A treasure island.

  A ferryboat wasn’t exactly a pirate ship — but still! Stink reached into his survival kit (aka his backpack). Compass, flashlight, small notebook, Treasure Island, pirate flag, pirate rule book . . . spyglass!

  From the upper deck of the ferry, Stink peered through his spyglass with one eye. The eye not covered with a pirate patch, that is.

  All he could see was blue, blue, blue. Blue sky. Blue water. Blue . . . T-shirt? His sister, Judy Moody, was blocking his view. “Hey, Judy. You make a better door than a window.”

  When Judy moved, Stink focused his spyglass on the horizon. “I think I see it,” said Stink. “Vegetable Island! I mean, Artichoke Island.”

  “You mean Ocracoke Island,” Judy corrected him.

  “Whatever,” said Stink. “I just want to meet pirates and look at shipwrecks and see real gold and find treasure.”

  “Yeah, right. We’re only in North Carolina for a few days.”

  Through his spyglass, Stink spotted Mom and Dad down on the lower deck. “Ahoy! You there, on the poop deck,” he called.

  “What’s the poop deck? Wait, that’s where all the seagulls poop, right? Let me look.” Judy grabbed the spyglass from Stink.

  Stink swung his arms in the air and sang like a pirate:

  “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest —

  Yo-ho-ho, and a bucket of fun!”

  “Hey, Stink, there’s a boy on the poop deck staring up at you. That tall one wearing the turtle T-shirt. Next to that girl with the glasses. She looks smart. And she’s staring at you, too.”

  Stink sliced the air with his invisible sword.

  “Fifteen chests on the dead man’s bum —

  Yo-ho-ho, and a packet of gum!”

  Stink pretended to walk the plank on the upper deck. The boat hit a bunch of waves. Judy hung on tight to the rail. Stink slumped to the deck, making pukey stomachache faces.

  “What’s wrong?” Judy asked. “Are you going to puke?”

  “Arrrr! Never say ‘puke’ when a pirate’s about to puke.”

  Judy tried to think of something — anything to take Stink’s mind off the pukes. A joke! “Stink. What do you call pirate throw-up?”

  “I said please DON’T say ‘puke.’”

  “I didn’t say ‘puke.’ I said ‘throw-up.’”

  “You’re like the Girl Who Cried Throw-Up or something.”

  “Okay, then what do you call pirate heave-ho?” said Judy.

  “I call it gross,” said Stink.

  “No, you call it Pieces-o’-Ate!” She laughed herself silly.

  “My feet itch.” Stink scratched his feet like mad. “And my teeth hurt. Do I have red blotches on me? Are my teeth falling out?”

  “Stick out your tongue and say ARRRR,” said Doctor Judy. “Stink, you’re already missing two teeth, and your face is sunburned.”

  “Tummy ache. Feet itch. Teeth falling out. Red face. And I’m cranky.”

  “I’ll say.”

  “That’s it. I have it.”

  “Have what?”

  “Scurvy!” said Stink. “I’m dead.”

  “Scurvy!” said Judy. “You’re just a little seasick. Close your eyes for a minute, and put your head between your knees. Here, Mom gave me crackers in case we felt like we might hurl.”

  Stink was quiet for a while, munching on crackers. Finally, when the boat wasn’t rocking anymore, he stood up. “I’m okay now. I feel much better.” Stink even waved his red Jolly Roger at his parents.

  “What’s with the red pirate flag, Stink?” Judy asked.

  “For your information, this was the flag of a real Moody pirate.”

  “A moody pirate? Rare! But weren’t all pirates pretty grumpy?”

  “His name was Christopher Moody,” said Stink. “He sailed around the Carolinas with Black Bart. He’s one of the only pirates with a red flag. It had a skull and crossbones, an arm with a dagger, and an hourglass with wings. That means, Your time is running out. Get it?”

  “Whoa,” said Judy. “A for-real pirate named Moody? Just think, Stink: Christopher Moody could be like our great-great-great-great-great-grandpa.”

  “Shiver me timbers!” yelled Stink.

  “Rare!” said Judy. “I have pirate blood in me.”

  “Girls can’t be pirates.”

  “Says who?”

  “Says Pirate Rule Number Six: No girls allowed on ships. It’s the Pirate Code.” Stink pulled out the Book of Pirate Rules.

  “See? There are ten pirate rules. Break one, and they feed you to the sharkssss.”

  “What about girl pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who dressed up like boys? Take that, Pirate Rule Number Six.”

  “Hey, don’t be knocking the Pirate Rules.”

  “I read about a girl pirate who got her ear bitten off in a fight. She picked up her chewed-off ear and wore it on a chain around her neck. No lie.”

  Stink lifted up Judy’s hair. “Looks to me like you still have both your ears,” he said. “And the only thing around your neck is the shark-tooth necklace that I gave you.”

  “Avast, ye hairy carbuncle. Ye be spit on the scab of life, ye scurvy nuncle!”

  “Land, ho!” called Stink as the ferry pulled up to the dock. He ran down the gangplank, singing like Captain Hook:

  “Yo ho, yo ho, the frisky plank,

  You walks along it so.”

  His legs felt all wibbly-wobbly.

  “Still got yer sea legs on, I see,” said a voice from the dock. A scurvy voice.

  “Huh?” Stink looked up, squinting. A large shadow blotted out the sun. The shadow had a dirty kerchief and a scraggly beard. The shadow had an eye patch and a gold hoop earring.

  The shadow was a pirate!

  “Name’s Cap’n Weevil,” said the pirate. “But me friends call me Scurvy Sam.”

  “I think I had scurvy on the ferryboat!” said Stink.

  “And who might ye be?”

  “Um, Cap’n Moody, here,” said Stink, pointing to himself.

  “But his friends call him Scurvy Stink,” Judy teased, coming up behind Stink.

  “And this be Mad Molly O’Maggot.” Stink pointed to Judy.

  “Thanks a lot,” Judy murmured.

  “Welcome to Pirate Island,” said Scurvy Sam, winking one eye.

  “Pirate Island? I thought this was Okey Dokey Island,” said Stink.

  The pirate laughed. “Folks ’round here call it Pirate Island, on account o’ Blackbeard himself haunted these parts back in the day.”

  “Whoa,” said Stink. “Are you a for-real pirate? I mean, are ye?”

  “O’ course I’m real. Yank me beard if ye like, mate.”

  “Um, no thanks.” Pirate Rule Number Eleven: Do NOT get on the wrong side of a pirate, or he just might take your head off.

  “Get yer maps here,” Scurvy Sam called to people getting off the ferry. He handed one to Judy.

  “Listen up, all ye scumbuckets and scallywags,” Scurvy Sam announced. “This be the weekend of the Third Annual Pirate Island Tr
easure Hunt. Fun and mayhem start first thing in the morn.”

  “Really?” asked Stink.

  “Really?” asked Judy.

  “Would I lie t’ ye?” asked the pirate.

  “O’ course,” said Judy. “Yer a pirate.”

  “Ye got me there, lassie, but I’m not pulling yer leg this time. C’mon down to me pirate ship at Silver Lake Harbor. X marks the spot.” He pointed to a big red X on the map. “I be givin’ out the first clue to the treasure at ten hundred hours sharp. That’ll give ye time to grub up and to catch forty winks before morn.”

  “What do we have to do?” Stink asked.

  “Follow the trail of clues, laddie. First to collect sixteen pieces o’ eight wins the gold doubloon.”

  “A doubloon is a gold coin,” Stink told Judy. “It takes sixteen pieces of eight — silver dollars — to make one doubloon.”

  “I knew that,” said Judy, even though she didn’t.

  “A pirate doubloon!” said Stink. “Is it real gold?”

  “As gold as a pirate’s tooth,” Scurvy Sam joked. “If ye win, ye get a ride with me aboard Blackbeard’s own pirate ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge Two. If ye dare.”

  “Sounds like a barrel o’ fun,” said Stink.

  “’Taint easy,” said Scurvy Sam. “Where there’s pirates, there be tricks and tons of monkey business. Yarr.”

  Dad walked up with their luggage. “C’mon. Time to get to the inn.”

  “And wash up before we grub up,” said Mom, wheeling a suitcase.

  “Did you hear?” said Stink. “A real treasure hunt. Right here on Pirate Island. Can we do it?”

  “Can we, can we, can we?” asked Mad Molly and Scurvy Stink.

  “Lights out at eight o’clock,” Mom said when they got back to the Clam On Inn after supper. “That goes for flashlights, too. Pirate Rule Number Four.”

  “Not you, too!” Judy groaned. “It’s vacation. Can’t we stay up late? Bedtime isn’t a pirate rule.”

  “No mutiny on the SS Moody,” Mom said, shaking her head.

  Stink checked the pirate rule book. “She’s right.”

  “C’mon, kids. We’ve had a long trip today,” said Dad. “You’ll want to have lots of energy for tomorrow’s —”

  “Treasure hunt!” screamed Judy and Stink at the same time.

  Before they knew it, the two of them were catching forty winks.

  Stink was the first one out of bed the next morning.

  “Stink, you’re wearing that striped pirate shirt again? Didn’t you even take a bath?”

  “Pirates don’t take baths,” said Stink. “Here, smell my armpit.”

  “Gross! You smell worse than a pirate’s monkey on a poop deck!”

  “Yarr,” said Stink.

  After Mom and Dad woke up, drank buckets of coffee, and read the paper for a year, they took Judy and Stink to Silver Lake Harbor, where the treasure hunt was about to begin.

  “I see it!” said Stink. “I see the pirate ship!”

  Before them loomed the tall poles of the three-masted square-rigger, the Queen Anne’s Revenge II. Sails flapped like kites in the wind. Kids and families gazed up at the ship in awe.

  A ship’s bell clanged several times in a row. Just then, a pirate swung down on a long rope from the yardarm (like Tarzan) and landed on deck with a loud ker-PLUNK (not like Tarzan). It was Scurvy Sam!

  “Ahoy, ahoy, all ye treasure seekers,” he called. “Welcome to the Third Annual Pirate Island Treasure Hunt. Listen up, scallywags. There be five clues in all. Each clue’ll lead ye to the next. When ye think ye figgered out a clue, turn it in to the nearest Assistant Pirate. They be wearin’ a red sash and givin’ out pieces o’ eight. First one to figger out all five clues and turn in sixteen pieces o’ eight wins the gold doubloon and a ride with me on the QAR Two.”

  Scurvy Sam held up a silver piece of eight. “I’ll be givin’ ye yer first piece o’ eight. The last one is hidden, and it be harder to find than a bow tie on a pirate.” Everybody laughed.

  “If ye be the one to find it, make haste back to me at Pirate Headquarters. No wooden nickels allowed!” Scurvy Sam cackled. “One last thing — ye have until noon tomorrow. When ye hear the ship’s bell, c’mon back to see if anybody won the gold. Everybody who joins in goes home with loot — a big bag o’ pirate booty.”

  After a lot more ahoys, avasts, and aye-ayes, Scurvy Sam unrolled a parchment and read aloud the first clue for all to hear.

  “Good luck t’ ye. May ye have strong winds at yer back, only bilge rats for enemies, and a barrel o’ fun. Let the plunderin’ begin!”

  Judy and Stink said good-bye to Mom and Dad. “Dad and I are going to the beach. If we don’t see you before noon, we’ll meet you in front of Barnacle Bob’s hot-dog stand at twelve thirty,” Mom said.

  “Have fun!” said Dad.

  Stink and Judy pushed their way through the crowd, past the big bald man with a small boy on his shoulders, past the lady with three dogs, past the twin kids with Popsicles. When they got to the front, Scurvy Sam was handing out the first piece of eight and the first clue. A girl with braces stepped on Stink’s foot while reaching for her coin.

  “Stink, don’t look now. It’s Tall Boy and Smart Girl. The ones from the ferry yesterday.” Judy cast a squinty-eyed look their way.

  “Hurry up. Read the clue again,” said Stink. “We have to beat them.” They read the clue three times.

  “Tall as a tree,” said Stink. “It’s gotta be the pirate ship. The masts are tall as a tree, and the sails could be the bride’s thingie.”

  “It can’t be the ship, Stink. Nobody’s even allowed on the ship unless you win the gold.”

  “Then I think it’s a flagpole. A flagpole is as tall as a tree.”

  “Well, I saw a church in the town, and it has a tall steeple. And it’s white. A flagpole isn’t dressed in white.”

  “It is if it’s painted white,” said Stink. “Like the one I saw in front of the post office.”

  “But it doesn’t have a bridal veil,” said Judy.

  “It does if it’s flying a white flag,” Stink said.

  “All I know is that churches have brides.”

  Judy was right. Churches did have brides. What a bilge rat.

  “And you could say churches are up all night,” said Judy. “You know, they’re always open in case people need them.”

  “Flagpoles are up all night, too,” said Stink.

  “But they take the flag down at the end of the day.”

  “Scumbuckets!” Stink said. Judy was right again. “But what about the weeping? People cry when somebody dies, and the flag is put at half mast.”

  Stink had a point. “But people cry in churches, too,” Judy said. “Like at a wedding. I say church.”

  “Flagpole,” said Stink.



  “Hey! I call Pirate Rule Number Eight. No fighting,” said Judy.

  “That’s only aboard ship,” said Stink.

  “I give in,” said Judy. “Let’s go to both places.”

  Judy craned her head back and squinted up at the flagpole outside the post office. “Stink, this flag isn’t white.”

  “It’s white between the red stripes,” said Stink.

  “Oh, brother. C’mon, let’s go to the church,” said Judy. But when they got to the church, it was locked.

  “Aha! So it’s not up all night,” said Stink.

  “At least it’s tall and white and has brides,” said Judy. But no Assistant Pirate with a sash was anywhere in sight.

  “Think. What else is tall?” Stink looked up, down, and all around. He saw the lighthouse sticking out of the trees. “A lighthouse is tall!”

  “And painted white!” said Judy.

  “And it has a light that’s shiny bright!” said Stink.

  “And it’s up all night!” said Judy. “And if it stops, ships will crash on the rocks.”

  “To the lighthouse!”
said Stink, pointing the way.

  The lighthouse stood tall, blinking in the sun. Stink squinted to read the plaque. “This lighthouse is so old.”

  “I know,” said Judy.

  “It’s almost two hundred years old,” said Stink.

  “I know.”

  “This lighthouse is so tall,” said Stink.

  “I know.”

  “It’s like seventy-five feet tall.”

  “I know.”

  “King Kong was only twenty-five feet tall.”

  “I know.”

  “You can see the light if you’re fourteen miles away at sea.”

  “I know.”

  “They used to have to light it like a candlewick, in whale oil.”

  “I know.”

  “Every lighthouse has its own pattern of blinks, so ships will know where they are,” said Stink.

  “I — what?” Judy asked.

  “Some even use Morse code. Didn’t you know?” asked Stink.

  “No, I didn’t know lighthouses blinked out a secret message in Morse code. Rare!” said Judy. “Stink, you’re a genius.”

  “So how do we find the next clue?” Stink asked.

  Judy wasn’t listening. She was watching Tall Boy and Smart Girl talking to a park ranger. A park ranger wearing a pirate sash! “Let’s go talk to that lady Assistant Pirate.”

  The park ranger had short curly hair and a Smokey-the-Bear hat. She smiled at Judy and Stink. “What’s the password?” she whispered.

  “Um . . . lighthouse?” they whispered at the same time.

  “You just earned five pieces o’ eight!”

  Five! The ranger reached into a bucket and poured coins into Stink’s hands. They jingled all the way.

  Stink dug into his backpack, pulled out a shiny red pouch, and tied it to his belt. “This’ll be for all our pirate booty. We have six already!”

  “Ye better guard that booty with your life,” said the ranger. “There be pirates all over these parts!” Then she handed them the next clue.

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