Annie's Travel Adventures Book 3:
Power Up
Your Brain
My Mathematical
Christmas Adventures

A. J. Kryka


© Copyright 2015 A. J. Kryka Sr.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.

ISBN: 978-1-941696-06-4 (e)

ISBN: 978-1-941696-07-1 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-941696-08-8 (sc)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015914787

First Edition 2015-09-19 Published by Anton J. Kryka Sr.
Salem Township, Michigan USA

Books by A. J. Kryka

Annie's Travel Adventures:

1. Turn On Your Ears
     or My Adventures as a Duck

2. Get Your Eyes Open
     or My Photonic Adventures

3. Power Up Your Brain
     or My Mathematical Christmas Adventures

The first chapters of each of these books can be viewed at


1. History or Camping With Mother

2. Surprise Birthday Party or Friends

3. Taking Notice or Grandmother in Jail

4. Jailhouse News or Courthouse Blues

5. Silly Laws or Ike's Plan

6. Jailbreak or Emergency Exit

Day One: Moon Walk or Judgment Day

  7. Moving Home or Ceiling of the Sky

  8. Relocation Explanation or Daylight Blues

  9. Into the Tunnel or Invisible Door

  10. Old Friends or Less Gravity

  11. Strawberry Patch or Solar Eclipse

  12. Chemistry or Stern Words

  13. Tree Farm or Air Words

  14. A Familiar Place or Shopping

  15. Talking Gravity or Courthouse News

  16. Courthouse Hostage or Acting the Part

  17. New Evidence or Moon Witness

  18. Cross Examination or Jump

  19. Crash Landing or Jump Again

Day Two: The Dark Side of the Moon or Lunatic Tock Time

  20. Bumpy Flight or Hard Landing

  21. New Colony or Old Liar

  22. Turkey Rescue or Forgotten Code

  23. Killing Time or Tenure Torture

  24. Age Old Lecture or Questions

  25. By The Numbers or Equation Remembered

  26. First Request or Last Request

  27. Under Attack or Self-Defense

  28. Jail Break Again or Last Battle

Day Three: The Bright Side of the Moon or Hot Rod Racing

  29. Surprise Packages or Special Delivery

  30. Home in the Dome or Telephone Call

  31. Waking Up or Disarming

  32. The Shocking Truth or Baptism

  33. Abducted or Freedom

  34. A New Trial or Off to the Race

  35. A Million Fans or Two Places At Once

  36. Size Matters or Start Your Engines

  37. Un-Stock Car or Road Equations

  38. Just Getting Started or Shifting Gears

  39. Mistakes and Learning or Surprise Arrivals

  40. The Road Less Traveled or Santa's Helper

Day Four: Christmas Day or Special Delivery

  41. Christmas Morning Blues or Birth Announcement

  42. Full Circle or Very Special Delivery

  43. Birthday Party or The Perfect Present

Chapter 1
Camping With Mother

My name is Annette, but everyone calls me Annie.

Most of my life was spent with my grandfather. I learned thousands of things from him. Someday I hope to be as smart as he is.

I have been on two big adventures. Grandfather has been a part of those adventures, but I have a feeling that he had many adventures of his own before I was born.

Just before my first adventure, I met Ike in Grandfather's garden. Ike is Grandfather's guardian angel. He is also a number-one champion flycatcher and bug eater. Ike is a toad.

Ike became my guardian angel too.

When Grandfather went away on a sailing ship one night, Ike and I followed him. We both wanted to help him. That turned into a big adventure. Eventually, we did help my grandfather—and found my grandmother. Then we all came home together. It's good to have a grandfather and a grandmother.

For a few months, I spent my days with Grandfather and Grandmother. Grandmother knows a lot of things too. You can count on her to solve math problems in her head and cook a very tasty meal. I'm not as smart, and I'm not as skilled as they are, but I sure try to learn everything I can.

When Grandmother went away on a railroad train, Ike and I secretly joined her on the trip. That turned into my second big adventure. Travel can also be very educational. Anyway, on that trip, we found my mother and brought her home.

A month after that adventure, I spent two weeks with Mother. Mother and Grandmother called it a school vacation. I think Mother needed the vacation more than I did. Father wanted to come along, but he was busier than ever with his job.

Anyway, Mother and I went on a hiking and camping trip in Alaska. Alaska is a wonderfully wild wide-open place. It was going to be a mother-daughter only get-away.

When I unrolled my sleeping bag the first night, I found Ike inside. He wasn't supposed to come along, and Mother wasn't very happy at first.

"Ike, what are you doing here?" Mother asked.

"I am here to protect Annie—and you from evil," Ike stated.

Ike has been at my side ever since we met. He has protected me from many kinds of evil. He saw it as his job to continue doing that.

"This was supposed to be a trip for just Annie and me," Mother said.

"Don't worry," Ike said, cheerfully. "I won't interfere with your trip. I won't be any bother. I'm just here to make sure that you are both safe."

Mother tried to explain that this was a mother-daughter only trip and that that meant no guardian angels, no toads, but no one could stop Ike's passion for protecting his friends. She finally gave in.

Ike was helpful on the trip. On the first day, Mother's flashlight came unhooked from her backpack as we crossed a stream. Ike dove into the stream and found it. Even though the stream was only knee deep, neither Mother nor I would have found it. When Mother and I ran out of things to talk about, Ike would add some bits of wisdom to the conversation. This opened up new areas to discuss.

He was also very good at campfire sing-alongs. Most importantly, he was very good at keeping pesky bugs away from us around the campfire. Mother and I have a lot less mosquito bites because he was along.

The second night of our trip, Mother said, "I'm going to have a baby this winter."

"Mother, I would love to have a baby sister!" I said. "I could teach her—"

"Or him," Mother added.

"There are lots of things I can teach her or him," I finished.

"This is wonderful!" Ike said.

"Ike, do you think you can handle being a guardian angel to one more person?" I asked. "I'm sure my brother or sister will need your help."

"If I cannot handle this added responsibility, I will find the perfect guardian angel to help me," Ike stated.

After that trip, Mother and Father spent a lot of time together. I went back to spending lots of time with my grandparents.

I turned eleven years old that summer.

Chapter 2
Surprise Birthday Party

Most of my other birthdays had been spent with just my father and my grandfather. Grandfather would try to bake a cake. Father and Grandfather would excitedly sing happy birthday, but they usually sang in two different keys. For this one, my parents, my grandparents, and Ike had planned a big surprise party.

The morning of my birthday, Mother and Father didn't leave after driving to my grandparent's home. We all went into the backyard. Then Becky and Captain Bart with his crew sailed into Pirate's Cove. Pirate's Cove is what Grandfather calls the end of the pond nearest his house.

"We're all taking the train to New Hope for your birthday," Grandmother announced. "We've planned a big party in Hopeville. All of your friends will be there."

"Oh my," I said as everyone smiled at me.

"I hope that this will make up for all your birthdays I missed," Mother said as she gave me a hug.

"You didn't need to go to all this trouble," I said.

"Trouble is your middle name, Annie," Ike said. "Besides, we wanted to do it. We all love you, Annie."

"Thank you, thank you all," I said. I think I was blushing.

"The train is pulling in," Father said, pointing past Grandfather's garden.

The train stopped. The conductor got out and looked at his pocket watch. "All aboard for Annie's birthday party," he called out. "We don't want to be late."

We walked around the garden and headed to the train. Of course, the squirrels flew, but they still let me be the first to board the passenger car.

With Mother, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, Austin, Holly, Becky, Captain Bart, and two hundred flying squirrels, we filled that car.

The train started moving. In a few seconds, we crossed Grandfather's bridge into New Hope. This bridge is the intersection of two four-dimensional spaces. I know this. I know the math. I know I've gone through it before, but this time I was awake. Yet all I saw was a sky blue tunnel for a few seconds. Then we were in New Hope.

The passenger car was very comfortable. The last time I was on this train I was riding in a boxcar with Ike.

We stopped in the tunnel near Dusty's home. Dusty is a dwarf from my second adventure. Dusty and his family live in a cave connected to the train tunnel. Dusty, Debra, Dustbin, Misses Dwight, and Dunstan the Elder got into the second passenger car. Dustbin was old enough to be walking by himself.

Battie waved at me as she flew by my window. Battie was a bat whose wings were so small that she couldn't fly. Ike had given her his flying sash, and now she loved flying. Two other bats flew alongside her. They were her aunt and uncle. They all flew into the second car.

Our next stop was Hopeville. We all got out.

The whole town was throwing the party. There were "Happy Birthday" signs up everywhere. I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling.

There were so many there to celebrate my birthday that I would have to think very hard to name them all. I'm not going to try to do that. I'm sure I will forget someone. However, I just have to mention a few of them.

Annabel Ant and her sisters rode around on Ike tickling him all day. Ike had gotten a new flying sash from Grandfather. Every now and then, he would take to the air to give them a spinning, twirling thrill ride. They loved it.

Terrie and Tim, two of the turkeys who had traveled with me in my first adventure, had married. They then opened a dance and slingshot shooting school in Hopeville. Of course, Terrie taught dancing. Tim taught the proper use and handling of a slingshot. They also had two children, Tim Junior and Little Terrie.

Freddy—Guardian Frederick Fox from my first adventure, Friendly Freddy Fox from my second adventure—had joined Terrie and Tim in their business. He wasn't any good with a slingshot. He handled class scheduling and turned out to be a pretty good dance teacher too.

Rita and Rick had gotten married and had a son named Rudy. Rita Reindeer had been a prisoner in Freelock City. She became one of my traveling companions in my first adventure after our escape from that city. At the end of the adventure, Grandfather had given her a flying necklace so that she could be one of the flying reindeer from the North. Rick was a flying reindeer from the North who had helped my grandfather in my first adventure. On this trip, Grandfather gave Rudy a flying necklace.

Ryan McDonald and Rachel Gallen had married. Ryan had been captured by the Gray Army in my first adventure. They had put him under a hypnotic spell. Beelinda Bee broke the spell by stinging him. In my second adventure, Ryan drove the stagecoach on the North South Road. Rachel was the oldest daughter on the Gallen's Farm near the end of the South Road. Ryan still drove the stagecoach, but they had a small farm just south of Hopeville.

Henry and Helen were courting. In my first adventure, Henry Horse had been a prisoner in Freelock City along with Rita. He helped us escape from there and became a good traveling companion. Helen had been a prisoner of the Gray Army in Freework City. She helped lead the stampede out of that city. Hadwin and Harwin, Helen's twin brothers, teased Henry about dating their sister, but you could tell that they liked him. Henry, Hadwin, and Harwin had pulled Ryan's stagecoach in my second adventure.

There were pistol and rifle shooting contests, and of course, there were slingshot and spear-throwing contests. The Vohteerians put on an archery contest, and the dwarves held an axe-throwing contest. It was funny to watch a Vohteerian throw a battle-axe, but at least, they always threw the axe in the right direction. The dwarves were very awkward at archery. Their hands usually got tangled up in the bowstring. But it was all in good fun, and everyone enjoyed the contests. I turned out to be pretty good with the bow and arrow.

Valter, one of the leaders of the Vohteerians, gave me a bow and a quiver of arrows as a birthday present. Most of my other presents were small personal items, like the red bandana I got from Millie and Mel. They were two of my teenage monkey traveling companions in my second adventure.

Everyone had plenty to eat, and there was one giant birthday cake. A hundred of my friends sang happy birthday. Some of them were even singing in the same key. Betsy told me to cut the first piece of cake for myself. Then she took over cutting pieces for everybody else. I think Billy Jackson had six pieces before his mother stopped him from having any more. Billy had been taken to the reeducation school with me in my second adventure.

There is one thing I need to add. The battle of Hopeville had been very quick. When the Vohteerians and dwarves had arrived in Hopeville, most of Karab's soldiers gave up without firing a shot. Commander Harman did spend five days inside his tank. He locked himself in and refused to come out. When he came out on the sixth day, he had lost his mind. He didn't even know who he was.

Most of the soldiers returned home to Central City. Corporal Clifford stayed in Hopeville. He got a job working in the store run by Billy's father.

It really was wonderful to see everyone and hear all about them. I couldn't have wished for a better birthday party.

This was an exciting end to a wonderful summer.

Chapter 3
Taking Notice
Grandmother in Jail

Have you ever noticed that you don't always notice everything that goes on? You might see something, but it doesn't really hit you. It doesn't really register in your brain.

Well, Grandfather has always grown a beard in the fall. I knew this, but for some reason, I actually noticed it this year.

Grandfather and I were out on the porch working on some math problems. Grandmother had gone to do some errands. I suddenly noticed that he had a full beard. It was at least three inches long.

"Grandfather, why do you grow a beard in the fall?" I asked.

Grandfather turned to me and said with a chuckle, "Are you trying to avoid this next math problem?"

"No, I'm not, Grandfather," I said. "I just suddenly noticed that you have a full beard. Why do you grow a beard in the fall?"

"Well, it's kind of a tradition," Grandfather replied. "My father and grandfather always did. Their fathers did before them. I'm just following in their footsteps."

"Your beard is so white," I said. "It looks like you have a cloud around your face."

"It's a little more solid than a cloud," Grandfather joked. "It keeps my face warm when the cold winter winds come."

"Grandfather, it's December twenty-first, the first day of winter," I stated. "Yet we can sit out on the porch without coats. Those 'cold winter winds' don't happen where we live."

"You've seen through my disguise, Annie," Grandfather joked. "I guess I'll have to stick with 'it's a family tradition.'"

Suddenly, a question popped into my head, and I had to ask it. "Grandfather, why don't women grow beards?" I asked.

"Annie, I don't know," Grandfather replied. "I don't know much about genetics. Perhaps, women are just more civilized than men."

"But Grandfather, you know everything about everything," I said.

"No, I don't know everything, Annie," Grandfather sighed. "Some things I just have to take on faith. I believe that things are the way they are for a reason. Sometimes, many times, that reason is a mystery to me."

"But you know all about chemistry," I said. "Isn't that how genetics works?"

"Yes and no," Grandfather replied. "When you dig into genetics, you bump into a lot of chemistry, but that isn't all there is to life."

"What do you mean, Grandfather?" I asked.

"Annie, life is more than a bunch of atoms that just happened to bump into each other in the right way," Grandfather replied. "Atoms can join together to become ions and molecules. Ions can join with millions of other ions to become big molecules. But it takes a lot more than that for these big molecules to say, 'I'm alive.'"

"Can these big molecules talk?" I asked, thinking about all the creatures and things with whom I have spoken.

"I don't know," Grandfather chuckled. "I've never had a conversation with one." Then he went on, "But I do know that life is more mysterious, more miraculous, than a bunch of big molecules. There are atoms and molecules all around us that are not alive. There is life all around us that is more than just atoms. Some things are greater than the sum of their parts."

"Grandfather, that doesn't seem very mathematical," I observed.

"It isn't," Grandfather agreed, "but I think we've steered away from your studies long enough. Your grandmother should be home soon. She won't be happy if we haven't made it through a few more of these graph problems."

Just then, the telephone rang.

"Work on this next problem, while I answer the telephone," Grandfather said.

"Yes, Grandfather," I said.

Grandfather got up and went into the house.

I set up a new graph on the chalkboard. I was halfway through plotting the points for a line when Grandfather burst out of the house.

"Annie, get into my truck!" Grandfather yelled. "We've got to go get your grandmother!"

"What's wrong?" I asked as I followed Grandfather to his truck.

"I'll tell you on the way," Grandfather replied abruptly. "Get in."

I slid into the passenger side and buckled my seatbelt. Grandfather got behind the wheel and started the engine. He buckled his seatbelt and put the truck in reverse. He backed around so that we could head forward down the driveway. Then he put the truck in gear and turned to go down the driveway.

Grandfather turned left onto the main road and had the truck in third gear in just a few seconds. We were going faster than Grandfather usually drives.

"What's wrong, Grandfather?" I asked again.

Grandfather kept his eyes on the road as he answered. "Your grandmother has been arrested."

"What for?" I asked.

"One of her errands was to pay our property taxes at the county courthouse," Grandfather explained. "After she had paid the bill, she wished the clerk a 'Merry Christmas.'"

"What's wrong with that?" I asked.

"The courthouse is a government building," Grandfather went on. "There are some crazy laws in this country, this state. One of the new ones supposedly deals with the 'separation of church and state.'"

"What does that have to do with Grandmother being arrested?" I asked.

"Christmas is a reference to a group of religions called Christianity," Grandfather continued.

"Yes, I know," I said.

"Well, according to this law, any reference to religion in a government building is a crime," Grandfather concluded.

"Why, that's silly," I said.

"I agree," Grandfather said. "So now we need to get your grandmother out of jail."

Chapter 4
Jailhouse News
Courthouse Blues

Grandfather kept his eyes on the road as he drove. He was going much faster than he usually drives. We did not say much else to each other the rest of the way.

It should have taken a half hour to drive to the courthouse at the county seat. I think we got there in about fifteen minutes.

Grandfather found a parking place, and we hurried into the courthouse.

As we stepped through the doors into a lobby area, I saw a police officer behind a dark-brown wooden counter in front of us. Grandfather headed for the counter. I kept up with Grandfather, staying at his side. The officer had on a dark-blue uniform. He reminded me of Officer Frank Blue-Snake.

"I'm here to see my wife," Grandfather said to the officer.

"What's her name?" the officer asked.

"Joanne Baker," Grandfather replied.

The officer looked down at some papers in front of him on the counter. After a few seconds, he looked up at us and said, "She's in the detention center. Go down the hallway to your right. You'll have to check in with the officer there."

"Thank you," Grandfather said. Then we headed to the detention center.

At the end of the hallway, there was another officer sitting at a standard dark-brown desk.

The officer looked up as we approached. "What can I do for you?" he asked.

"I'm here to see my wife, Joanne Baker," Grandfather said.

"She's in cell number three," the officer said. "You'll have to empty out your pockets and pass through the metal detector.

The officer put a blue plastic bin on the edge of the desk. Grandfather began emptying his pockets into the bin.

"You might want the girl to stay out here," the officer suggested. "This is no place for a young girl."

"It's no place for an old girl either," Grandfather stated. "She'll be going in too."

"Okay," the officer said as he put another bin on the desk. "Empty your pockets."

I was still emptying my pockets when Grandfather stepped through the detector. The alarm sounded. Grandfather stopped, and the officer got up.

The officer looked Grandfather over and said, "Your coat has metal buttons, sir. You'll have to take it off."

Grandfather hurriedly took off his red jacket.

I stepped through the detector. No alarm sounded.

I turned around and waited for Grandfather. He hung his jacket on a coat rack and stepped through the detector again. This time the detector was quiet.

The officer led us back to cell number three. He pointed to the cell and said, "You've got fifteen minutes. I'll be at my desk."

Grandfather and I approached the bars of the cell. Grandmother was sitting on the bed in the cell.

"Nick! Annie!" Grandmother said as she got up and came toward us.

Grandfather put one arm through the bars and gave Grandmother a hug. Grandmother put her arms through the bars and hugged us both.

"I'm so glad to see you both," Grandmother said.

"Joanne, what have you gotten yourself into?" Grandfather asked.

"It wouldn't have been anything," Grandmother said, "if that no-good county attorney, Archer—"

"Aaron Archer?" Grandfather questioned.

"Yes," Grandmother said.

"I knew he was going to be bad news when he ran for office," Grandfather stated.

"Anyway, I was just paying our taxes," Grandmother continued. "Clara, the clerk, and I were just chatting. After she gave me my receipt, I wished her a Merry Christmas, and she said, 'You too, and have a Happy New Year.' That's when the pleasantness ended. That attorney had an officer arrest me. Both Clara and I were taken to see Judge Janus."

"What happened with the judge?" I asked. The only judge I've ever dealt with was in Freelock City. That one didn't turn out very well for Ike and me.

"Well, Clara was suspended without pay for two weeks for saying, 'you too,'" Grandmother said. "Clara said, 'Good. I could use a Christmas vacation.' Then Judge Janus gave her two more weeks off without pay."

"What about you?" Grandfather asked.

"Judge Janus gave me a ten thousand dollar fine for inciting a riot," Grandmother answered. "I didn't want a twenty thousand dollar fine. So I kept my mouth shut and called you."

"We don't have ten thousand dollars," Grandfather said sadly. "We just paid our taxes. I'm going to try to talk with Judge Janus and see if we can work something out."

"Thank you, Nick," Grandmother said. "I know you'll do the best you can."

"Your fifteen minutes are up," the officer called out.

"Go talk nice to the judge for me, Nick," Grandmother said. "I don't want to spend Christmas in jail."

"I'll see what I can do," Grandfather said.

"We'll get you out of here somehow, Grandmother," I added.

"We'll be back," Grandfather said as we let go of Grandmother.

We refilled our pockets. Grandfather put on his jacket. Then we headed back down the hallway.

We were walking past the officer behind the counter. He asked, "Are you headed somewhere else?"

"Yes, we're going to see Judge Janus," Grandfather replied.

"She may be too busy to see you," the officer advised.

"Then we'll wait until she does see us," Grandfather stated.

We headed up some winding stairs and then down a long hallway. Halfway down the hallway, Grandfather stopped at a door. It was marked, "Judge Janet A. Janus."

Grandfather opened the door, and we stepped in.

The room was a waiting area. There were chairs around the walls on three sides. On the fourth side, a tall man was sitting behind a desk. Grandfather and I approached the man.

"Good morning, Mister Baker," the man said. "I suspected that you would be coming here."

"Stanley, can I see the judge?" Grandfather asked. I didn't know that Grandfather and this man knew each other.

"Yes, she's actually expecting you," Stanley said. He then got up from behind his desk and opened the door on the side of the room. "Mister Nicholas Baker to see you, ma'am," he called through the doorway.

"Yes, let him in," a voice said from inside the room.

"Do you want your granddaughter to wait out here?" Stanley asked as he stepped aside to let Grandfather through.

"No, she stays with me," Grandfather said. "She just might open her mouth and tell you what she thinks. I don't want another family member arrested."

Stanley grinned and let us both into the judge's office.

Judge Janus was standing at a window. She was dressed in a black robe and had her hair in a ponytail. "It is good to see birds flying free," she said to the window.

Then she turned to us and said, "Good morning, Nicholas. Is this your granddaughter?"

She was about Grandmother's age, but she was short. I could look her in the eye without looking up.

"Good morning, Janet," Grandfather said. "Yes, this is my granddaughter, Annie."

"How do you do, Annie?" Judge Janus asked.

"I was doing very well up until an hour ago, your honor," I said.

Judge Janus nodded her head. "I understand," she said. "Nicholas, have you seen Joanne?"

"Yes, we went to see her first," Grandfather said. "I wanted to get the facts before hearing the legal purpose for her arrest."

"I quite understand," Judge Janus said. "I wish I could have thrown the case out with a simple warning. I'm a Catholic." She shook her head and went on. "There is very little I can do with this matter. Archer doesn't have much common sense, but a few court cases have set a legal precedent. That is what he is following. And, that's what I have to follow too."

"What does that mean?" I asked. I truly did not understand what she was talking about.

"It means, that a few people who have no faith, are requiring that no one else be allowed to even mention their faith," Judge Janus said. "To top that off, our elected law makers in their infinite stupidity set up an agency to regulate what is proper speech on government property. If you report to Archer that, inside this building, I mentioned that I am a Catholic, I would be forced to fine myself."

"That is silly," I said.

Chapter 5
Silly Laws
Ike's Plan

I couldn't help what I said. The idea of a judge fining herself did sound silly. Judge Janus looked at me. She had had a very serious expression on her face. Suddenly, her face turned into a grin.

"That's exactly what it is," Judge Janus said. "Silly. However, if I didn't fine myself, I'd be removed from my job by a higher court."

Judge Janus was quiet for a moment, and then she added, "That isn't even the silliest part. The name of the federal agency that regulates speech is the Speech Health Union for Teaching the Untrained Public." Then she spelled it out, "S - H - U - T—U - P."

"Shut up," I said as I realized what words the letters spelled.

"Exactly," Judge Janus said. "Its hidden purpose is to show that 'government is smart; and people are stupid.'"

Judge Janus paused and then added, "The thing that everyone seems to miss is that people vote for the people who are supposed to be in charge of running the government."

I found this very interesting, but Grandfather got back to the real point of our meeting. "Is there anything else we can do?" he asked. "We don't have the money for the fine."

Judge Janus looked very sad and sighed. "I'm afraid not," she said.

"But it's going to be Christmas in four days!" I said. "Grandmother shouldn't spend Christmas in jail."

Judge Janus looked even sadder and said, "Do you have any way to raise the money?" she asked. "I know your inventions have made lots of people rich. Can you borrow any money from them?"

"I've stopped patenting my inventions, because most of my patents have been legally stolen from me in court," Grandfather said. "I do receive some royalties from a few patents, but I could never get that much money together. As for rich friends, I don't have any."

"I am very sorry, Nicholas, Annie," Judge Janus said. "There is nothing I can do."

"But there must be something you can do!" I said.

Judge Janus looked like she was about to add something. Grandfather frowned and said sadly, "Thank you for meeting with us. We'll go now."

We left the judge's office and went back to see Grandmother. Grandfather explained our discussion with the judge.

"Then I guess I'd better make myself comfortable here for a while," Grandmother said as she sat back down on the bed in her cell.

"We'll figure something out," I said, fighting back a few tears. "You can't stay here for Christmas!"

"We'll see, Annie," Grandmother said as she got off the bed and came back to the cell door. "Don't cry, Annie. These kinds of things have a way of working themselves out. I'd pick the lock on my cell, but I don't think I'd get out of this building."

In my second adventure, Grandmother had picked the locks on the zoo cages that had held my friends.

We gave each other a last hug. Then Grandfather and I left the courthouse and headed home. We didn't speak at all on the way. I was trying to figure out what else we could do. I'm sure Grandfather was doing the same.

When we got back home, I asked Grandfather if we could skip lessons for the rest of the day. He agreed and then went out to the backyard and sat in the swing. I went out to Grandfather's garden to find Ike.

"Ike, are you here?" I asked. "I need to talk with you."

"What's up, Annie?" Ike asked as he hopped out from behind a bean plant.

"Grandmother is in jail, and we can't get her out," I said as I sat down on the grass next to the garden. "Grandfather doesn't have the money to pay her fine. It reminds me of Freelock City. I'd gladly do pooper scooper duty again to get her out."

"Hold on, Annie," Ike said. "What crime did your grandmother commit?"

"She said, 'Merry Christmas' in a government building," I explained.

"What!" Ike exclaimed. "That can't be true. How can that be a crime?"

"Well, it is!" I said. I was almost crying. I had been strong all morning for Grandfather and Grandmother. Suddenly, I felt weak and confused. I looked over to the swing, but Grandfather wasn't in the swing. He must have gone into the house. Turning back to Ike, I added, "We've got to get Grandmother out of jail!"

"Then we will," Ike stated.

"How?" I asked.

"Tell me about the jail, Annie," Ike said. "I need some facts."

"Well, Grandmother's cell is on the first floor of the courthouse on the east side of the building," I started explaining. "The cell has a small glass window with bars on the outside. There is a police officer on guard just down the hallway. The front of the cell is iron bars."

"Could I fit through the bars?" Ike asked.

"Yes, easily," I replied.

"Go on," Ike said.

"We also went to talk with the judge," I continued. "She was a short, very nice lady—about my size—but she couldn't help us. Her hair was up in a ponytail, and she was wearing a black robe. Her office was on the second floor on the west side of the building."

"Do you think you could act like a judge?" Ike asked.

"Sure," I said. "If it will get Grandmother out of jail, I'll be a perfect judge."

"Good," Ike said. Then he laid out a plan.

When Ike had finished his plan, I asked, "Ike, once we get Grandmother out of the cell, how do we all get out of the courthouse?"

"I haven't gotten that far yet," Ike admitted. "Perhaps, we'll find an emergency exit."

Chapter 6
Emergency Exit

When Father and Mother came to pick me up, Grandfather explained Grandmother's situation to them.

"I'm not sure what else to do," Grandfather concluded.

"We've got to get Mother out of jail," Father said.

"But how do we do that?" Mother asked.

"This whole thing is just plain crazy!" Father said.

Father, Mother, and I went to our home. At supper, Mother and Father kept asking each other what they could do, how they could do it, and would anyone loan them ten thousand dollars.

The food was good, but no one tasted it.

I noticed that it was just starting to get dark outside. I asked Mother if I could go to bed early.

"Yes, Annie," Mother said. "I'm sure it's been a long day for you. Perhaps one of us will dream of a way to help Grandmother."

I went through the motions of getting ready for bed. I brushed my teeth and put on my pajamas. Before I got into bed, I opened the window in my bedroom.

Father and Mother came in to kiss me goodnight. Mother noticed the open window and said, "Perhaps we all need a breath of fresh air on this strange day."

"Goodnight, Mother," I said. "Goodnight, Father."

"Goodnight, Annie," they both said as Mother turned off the light.

One minute later, Ike landed on my windowsill. "Annie?" he whispered.

"Yes, Ike, I'm almost ready," I whispered back.

I quietly got out of bed and took off my pajamas. Before putting on my pajamas, I had put on a clean set of clothes. I slipped on some socks and my tennis shoes. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and then went to the window.

"Take my hand, Annie," Ike whispered.

I took Ike's small hand. Ike exhaled and jumped into the air.

Ike and I sailed through the night sky. We were going to the courthouse to free Grandmother.

At least, the travel parts of saving Grandmother would be easy. With Ike wearing Grandfather's flying sash machine, we were at the courthouse in just a few minutes. Ike can fly very fast if he needs to.

Ike flew around to the west side of the building, and we found Judge Janus's office.

Ike hovered at the windows. We found one window that hadn't been closed all the way. I pushed the window up, and we flew into the room.

The judge's robe was hanging on a coat rack in a corner of the room. I slipped it over my head. I then removed a container of Mother's face powder from my pocket and applied it all over my face. I had borrowed it from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom while brushing my teeth. Mother doesn't use it very often, but I noticed that Judge Janus wore makeup. I then put on some of Mother's lipstick.

I opened the door a crack and peeked into the waiting room. The room was empty. We opened the door and went in. I opened the door to the hallway and peeked out.

"There's no one in the hallway, Ike," I whispered.

"I'll fly up high as your scout," Ike whispered. "No one will notice me with these high ceilings. Now comes the part where you are an acting judge. Break a leg."

"Okay," I said. Break-a-leg is an acting phrase for do your best. Ike didn't really want me to hurt myself.

Ike flew up to the ceiling. I stepped out into the hallway and quietly closed the door behind me.

I went down the hallway and then down the stairs. Ike hovered at the ceiling just ahead of me.

I put on a serious looking face as I started across the lobby. As I passed in front of the counter, the office on duty said, "Judge Janus, I thought you had gone for the day."

I remembered how Judge Janus had spoken and made my best impression of her voice. "I had some paper work to finish. I also wanted to see how Misses Baker was doing."

"She's still in the detention center," the officer said.

"Thank you, officer," I said.

I finished crossing the lobby and went down the hallway to the detention center. The officer there was working on a newspaper crossword puzzle.

"Hello, Judge, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.

"I'm here to see Misses Baker," I said in Judge Janus's voice.

"Okay, she's in cell number three," the officer said and went back to his crossword puzzle.

"Six-letter word for liberty starting with C," the officer said to himself.

"Choice," I said as I went around the metal detector and headed to Grandmother's cell.

"That looks right," the officer said as he penciled in the word.

Ike landed in front of Grandmother's cell. Two seconds later, I was standing next to him.

Grandmother was lying on the bed, but she wasn't asleep. I came closer to the bars, and she noticed I was there. She sat up on the edge of the bed.

"Janet, have you come to let me out?" Grandmother asked.

"Yes, Grandmother," I whispered in my own voice.

Grandmother looked at me more carefully. Then she got off the bed and approached the bars. "Annie?" she asked quietly.

"Yes, Grandmother, it's me," I whispered. "Ike and I are here to get you out of jail."

"Annie, this is going to get you into trouble," Grandmother said, but she was smiling at me.

"I know it will, but we can't leave you in jail for Christmas," I said. "Can you pick the lock on your cell with Ike's sword—like you did at the zoo in Central City?"

Ike jumped up to my height and hovered there. He then drew his sword and handed it to Grandmother.

"Hello, Ike," Grandmother said as she took the sword.

Grandmother reached through the bars and started working at the lock. "Ike, you could have come alone," she said. "That would have saved Annie a lot of trouble."

"Possibly," Ike responded, "but Annie has been here. She knew where to find you. I would have spent hours looking around this big building for you."

There was a click from the lock. Then Grandmother pushed open the door to her cell.

I wanted to give Grandmother a hug, but many things started to happen at once. An alarm started sounding. The officer down the hallway yelled, "What's going on?" Then part of the back wall of the cell disappeared.

I heard the officer's shoes on the floor coming toward us. I could see Grandfather through the opening in the wall. He was standing in the bed of his truck. "Quickly, come this way," he called out.

Ike and I dashed into the cell toward the opening in the wall. Grandmother slammed the cell door and then followed us.

"Jump down into the truck," Grandfather said.

Ike and I jumped into the back of Grandfather's truck. Grandfather steadied me as I landed.

"I told you we would find an emergency exit, Annie," Ike said.

The bed of the truck was only a foot below the opening. Grandmother stepped down with Grandfather's help. Then Grandfather pushed a button on something that looked like a watch on his left wrist.

Suddenly, the hole disappeared. I couldn't even tell where the hole had been.

"Let's get out of here," Grandmother said.

Grandfather jumped over the side of the truck. He helped Grandmother down, and then he lifted me down.

We all got into the truck. Grandfather drove. I sat in the middle with Ike in my lap. Grandmother sat on the passenger side.

"Where are we headed?" Grandmother asked.

"To the Moon," Grandfather replied.

No one said anything more. We got onto the main road and headed north.

The steady noise of the truck engine soon put me to sleep.

* * * * * * * *

Day One:
Moon Walk
Judgment Day

* * * * * * * *

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