“A troll doll with mint green hair, yo-yo, bubble-gum baseball cards, a—”
Eight-year-old Nancy Drew glanced up from the list she was reading.
“What was that? A bullfrog?” Nancy asked her two best friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne.
“That was George burping for the third time since lunch,” Bess complained. “It’s grossing me out!”
“I can’t help it,” George insisted. “It’s the first time the mac and cheese in the lunchroom had onions in it.”
Nancy shuddered as she remembered that day’s lunch. Since they had been in kindergarten, Mrs. McGillicuddy, the lunch lady, had made the yummiest macaroni and cheese. But today it tasted like dirty socks. Not that Nancy had ever tasted dirty socks!
“Maybe Mrs. McGillicuddy’s blue hairnet was tied too tight,” George suggested.
Nancy giggled at the thought. There were other lunch ladies, but only Mrs. McGillicuddy cooked. She was the only one with a blue hairnet too.
“Maybe she just had a bad day,” Nancy said.
“And when Mrs. McGillicuddy has a bad day,” Bess sighed, “we have a bad lunch.”
Nancy, Bess, and George stood in the school yard together with their third-grade class. More classes from every grade were filing into the school yard. The students of River Heights Elementary School hardly ever got out of school a half hour early, but today was a special day— the day Principal Newman would dig up the school time capsule.
“Good thing the kids made a list of everything inside the time capsule before they buried it,” George said. “Keep reading it, Nancy.”
“One plastic whistle ring, one Boys Will Be Boys magazine,” Nancy went on. “And last but not least, one Margie doll wearing her famous glittery gown, Beauty in the Ballroom!”
Bess swooned at the mention of Margie. But George shook her head as if she didn’t get it.
“Every girl except me has a Margie doll,” George said. “What’s the big deal about the one in the time capsule?”
“Are you serious?” a girl’s voice shrieked.
Nancy whirled around to see Mira Zipsky standing behind them, her hands on her hips. Mira was the proud leader of the River Heights Margie Girls, a fan club for the Margie doll.
“The Margie doll came out thirty years ago,” Mira explained. “That means the doll in the time capsule was one of the first Margies ever!”
Another Margie Girl, Tori Alvarez, stood next to Mira shaking her head. Like Mira she was dressed in mostly lavender—the official color of the Margie doll.
“You may be a detective, Georgia Fayne,” Tori said coolly, “but when it comes to dolls you’re clueless.”
“All three of us are detectives,” George said, pointing to herself, Nancy, and Bess. “We call ourselves the Clue Crew—and you can call me George!”
“George hates her real name, Georgia,” Bess said with a smile. “She also hates dolls.”
“Unless they’re shaped like soccer balls!” George added with a smirk.
Mira looked from George to Bess. “Are you sure you two are cousins?” she asked.
Nancy couldn’t believe it either sometimes. Bess had blond hair and blue eyes. Her clothes were always neat and pretty, even when she was fixing or building something. George had curly, dark hair and dark eyes. She wasn’t a fashionista like Bess, but a computer geek and proud of it!
“Do any of you have a Ballroom Margie?” Nancy asked.
“I wish!” Mira scoffed.
“That doll would be a valuable antique,” Tori added. “If any of us had one, we’d be the number-one Margie Girl club in the whole country!”
Antonio Alfano pushed his way through Mira and Tori.
“Did someone say valuable?” Antonio asked. “That means only one thing. Cha-ching, cha-ching—and a brand-new bike!”
Nancy, Bess, and George rolled their eyes as they turned away from their classmate.
“Antonio belongs to a club of one,” George muttered. “Biggest pest in Mrs. Ramirez’s class!”
Principal Newman took his place behind a microphone stand. He tapped on the mike to see if it was on, then said in a loud, booming voice: “Boys and girls, please welcome our special guest, Mona Mandrake, the president of Sapphire Toys.”
A smartly dressed, brown-haired woman joined Principal Newman at the mike.
“Her company makes the Margie doll!” Mira gasped.
“Our hero,” Tori sighed.
“After we dig up the time capsule,” Principal Newman went on, “Ms. Mandrake will take the Margie doll back to New York to be put on display at her office.”
Mona leaned closer to the microphone and said, “Of course I’m not old enough to have owned the Margie doll in the time capsule, but I can’t wait to see a true classic!”
“Me neither!” Bess said excitedly.
As Nancy turned to smile at Bess she saw another person she didn’t know—a tall man with slicked-back hair standing alone in the school yard. His bushy eyebrows twitched as he glanced down at his watch.
Who’s he? Nancy wondered. Her thoughts were interrupted as Bess tugged at her arm.
“Nancy, Mrs. Ramirez is handing out maps to the time capsule,” Bess said excitedly. “Let’s get some!”
“Okay!” Nancy said, excited too.
The map had been drawn by the students who buried the time capsule exactly thirty years ago. That and the key had been kept in the principal’s office all this time.
Everyone in Mrs. Ramirez’s class rushed to get a copy of the map. Everyone except Antonio.
“Why doesn’t he want to play?” Nancy whispered.
“Probably because nobody wants to play with him!” George answered.
After everyone had a map Principal Newman blew a whistle to begin the hunt. Kids scattered in all directions, studying their maps to the buried time capsule.
“The arrows lead around the swing set!” Bess said, jabbing her finger at her map.
“I think it’s the water fountain!” Nancy said, tilting her head to study her own map. “Or the bike rack?”
Nancy almost dropped her map as Antonio brushed past her. She looked up to see him race straight for the willow tree behind the basketball hoop.
“King of the Time Capsule!” Antonio shouted, jumping up and down under the tree. “King of the Time Capsule!”
“Congratulations, Antonio!” Principal Newman said, handing him a gold-painted shovel. “You found the time capsule so you get to dig it up.”
“How did Antonio know where it was?” Nancy complained. “He didn’t even have a map!”
Excited students and teachers gathered around the willow tree. Just before Antonio started to dig, Nancy noticed something about the ground. The dirt looked fresh—as if someone had dug there yesterday, not thirty years ago!
The school band played a loud fanfare as Antonio jammed the shovel into the ground. The kids jumped back as dirt flew in all directions. Suddenly there was a loud clunk!
Using the shovel, Antonio uncovered a metal box. The principal took over, picking up the box and placing it on a long table.
“We want Margie!” shouted the Margie Girls.
“Of course you do,” Mona Mandrake cooed. Principal Newman stuck a key into the lock. Everyone cheered when the lid of the metal box popped open.
“Let’s see what’s inside, shall we?” Principal Newman called out. He smiled as he pulled out toys one by one. “A troll with mint green hair! A pack of bubblegum baseball cards, a Boys Will Be Boys magazine . . .”
After the last toy was removed, Principal Newman mumbled something to himself. But through the microphone it came across loud and clear: “That’s funny. There’s no Margie doll.”
Nancy stared at Bess and George.
Did the principal just say what she thought he said?
© 2011 S&S, Inc.