Nick and Martin were in the Lane, kneeling in front of a tank of water. Martin had some red food coloring and blue food coloring.
"Now see here, Nick," Martin was saying. Nick looked bored, "When I put this food coloring into the water, the blue food coloring, or cold water, will sink and the red food coloring, or hot water, will rise." Martin put the red food coloring at the bottom and the blue food coloring at the top, "See how they mix?"
"Pretty colors!" Nick laughed. Suddenly, the two heard a crash from Chris's house. They hopped over the fence into his back yard. He was dragging a trashcan full of stuff outside.
"Mom, c'mon! That's the coolest part!" Chris complained.
"What's going on?" Martin asked.
"My mom's making me get rid of my stuff," Chris said.
"Woah, that sucks," Nick frowned. Chris shoved his box of magazines into Nick's hands.
"You gotta hide 'em," He said.
"Hide them?" Nick questioned, "Where?"
"Anywhere stupid," Chris said.
"Oh, ok!" Nick said, running off.
"What were those?" Martin asked.
"My magazines," Chris said. Martin turned red.
"Your what?" Izzy asked, leaning in the doorway.
"Nothin'," Chris said. Izzy eyed him.
"Really?" She asked.
"Yeah, Iz," Chris said. Izzy gave him a look that plainly said 'You're lying.'
"Martin?" Izzy said, turning to him. Martin whispered to Izzy what they were.
"What?!" Izzy yelled, "Chris, you're in trouble."
"Oh, please don't tell!" Chris begged, "I'll give you five dollars!"
"Make it 20 and you got a deal," She said.
"What?! No!" Chris said. Izzy shrugged.
"Fine by me," She said, "Oh Mom!"
"Wait wait!" Chris cried, "Alright! Fine, 20 dollars." He handed her them money.
"Pleasure doing blackmail with you," She snickered and walked inside. Martin held up his hands in a mocking surrender. Nick came back.
"All hidden, Chris!" He said proudly. Chris sighed in relief.
"Good, where are they?" He asked.
"Well they're..." Nick thought for a minute, "Uh...I forget."
"Are you serious?" He asked.
"Oopsies," Nick laughed nervously. Chris groaned.
"Just try to remember where you put them," He said. Nick thought some more.
"Nope, drawing a blank, Chris," He said, "Sorry."
"Try retracing your steps," Martin said.
"Oh, I can do this that, Martin!" Nick smiled.
"So, I was walking along here," Nick said. He was pretending to hold a box while Chris and Martin followed him, "Then I saw a pretty butterfly. So I began to chase it, but I smacked into this here tree." He did so, "Then I watched the birdies."
He watched the birds flying around his head.
"Get to the point!" Chris said.
"Chris, please, be patient," Martin said. Chris rolled his eyes.
"Oh, then I saw June, so I started running!" Nick said, reenacting it, "And I tripped and fell, sliding in front of this sewer!"
He fell down in front of a sewer hole. Ryland was on her way to practice when she stopped to watch what the three were doing.
"The sewer?!" Chris cried, running over and kneeling beside it, "They're in the sewer?! Nick, you idiot!"
Ryland watched with sudden amusement.
"Seems appropriate," Martin said, "You do realize, Chris, that they'll now be illegible? The words will be smeared by the water, soaked."
"Who cares about the words? I'm worried about the pictures," Chris said. Ryland cleared her throat, figuring out what Chris was talking about. Martin turned red.
"Uh, R-Ryland," He gulped. Ryland was red with anger.
"Care to explain what you're doing, Martin Vincent?" She asked.
"I'm not doing anything," He said, "Chris is."
"Tattle-tail," Chris glared.
"I wish I had a tail," Nick said.
"Trust me, Nick, it's not all it's cracked up to be," Chris said.
"Chris, do I need to tell your mom?" Ryland threatened.
"No," Chris snapped, "Izzy already blackmailed me and I'm broke, so beat it!"
Izzy walked up.
"Hey Rye, I got 20 bucks, let's go get some candy," She said.
"Whoops, sorry," Ryland said, "I have practice."
"Oh, ok," Izzy shrugged. The two walked off. Chris saw no sign of his magazines.
"Maybe if we examine Nick, we'll find traces of something to help us," Martin said, "We might find some clue or hint."
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Chris said.
"Come, follow me, Nick," Martin said, leading him to his garage. Chris followed.
Nick and Chris were sitting on the table in the garage while Martin was in his house.
"Thank you, Father," He said, coming out, "Father said that we indeed may use his old microscope."
Martin pulled it out and blew all the dust off, making Chris sneeze.
"My, I've always wanted to use this amazing piece of scientific equipment," Martin said, staring at it in amazement.
Chris rolled his eyes. Martin set it up and set a big piece of glass on Nick's lap. He pulled out a brownie.
"Now, you see this brownie, Nick?" Martin asked.
"Yeah, I see the brownie," Chris grumbled.
"Brownie, yummy yum yum!" Nick cried happily, "Is that one of Aunt Bella's brownies?"
"Yes indeed," Martin nodded.
He set it on the glass and Nick smacked his face on the glass to eat it. Martin set another piece of glass on top of Nick's now squished head.
"See anything?" Chris asked. Martin zoomed in with the microscope.
"Good lord, Nick, have your ever even heard of soap?" He asked.
"Soap scares me, Martin," Nick said, his voice muffled. Chris rolled his eyes.
"Ah, here we are," Martin said, zooming in on Nick's ear, "It looks like...sand?"
"Sand?" Chris asked.
"Oh yeah, the sand box!" Nick said.
"The sandbox?" Chris said., "Like the one in the park?"
"Yes, I believe so, Chris," Martin said, "Nick must have buried your magazines there."
"Hurry up, then," Chris said.
"All we need is some shovels," Martin said.
"Oh oh oh, my dad has one of those!" Nick said, jumping up and bursting through the garage door.
"NICK!" Martin cried, "Please! Father is still upset from the last time you did that!"
Chris rolled his eyes again.
"Sorry Martin!" Nick yelled as he returned with two shovels, "See? Shovels."
"Now let's go," Chris said. They ran off to the park.
Janet was digging in the sandbox, pretending to be a pirate.
"Wow, look at this treasure!" She said, imagining that there was gold in the hole she had dug.
"What you find, huh?" Chris asked accusingly, trying to take the shovel from her hands, "What?"
"Hey, let go!" She growled angrily and ripped the shovel from his hand, hitting him in the face, "Go away, I'm playing pirates!"
Martin chuckled silently. Janet stuck her tongue out. Chris moved Janet aside and started digging.
"Hey!" Janet growled, "I found the X! The treasure's mine!"
She pounced on Chris and started beating him up.
Nick, Martin, and Chris were walking along, Chris with a black eye. Chris was grumbling to himself.
"You did kinda bring it on yourself, Chris," Martin said, "You know how rough Janet can be."
"Zip it," Chris snapped.
Nick literally zipped his mouth shut. Chris rolled his eyes. Nick mumbled thoughtfully like he was trying to say something, but his mouth stayed zipped shut.
"What?" Chris asked.
"You may unzip your mouth, Nick," Martin said. Nick did so.
"I said maybe I hid them in the woods somewhere," Nick said, "I remember going there."
"Then let's go!" Chris said.
The started running to the woods but ended up passing by Jakob 2x4. He was holding a box, along with Plank's 'son' Woody.
"Wow, look what I found, guys!" Jakob said, "Pretty cool, huh?"
"Whatcha got there?" Chris asked suspiciously.
"I found it!" Jakob said, "In the bushes in the park."
Chris jumped on Jakob and took the box.
"Hey!" Jakob said. Chris ignored him as he opened the box.
"What?" Chris stared at the empty box.
"Cool box, huh Chris?" Jakob asked. Chris looked at Jakob.
"Just a box?" He said.
"Yup," Jakob said, "What else would be in there?"
"Uh, nuthin'" Chris said. Jakob stood up and walked off with the box on his head.
"Our dads didn't understand their dads either, Woody," Jakob said.
"You hid the magazines in a different spot?!" Chris yelled at Nick.
"Yup, pretty smart, huh?" Nick smiled proudly. Chris growled.
"Why you little-" He said, grabbing Nick's collar.
"Chris, please, calm down," Martin said, "We'll find them."
Nick was once again retracing his steps.
"So, I was walking along here," Nick said, "Then I saw a pretty butterfly. So I began to chase it, but I smacked into this here tree. Then I watched the birdies."