He is the only boy in his entire town.
His best friends are two pet chickens.
Criminal instincts run in his family.
And one more small thing about nine-year-old Dylan—the crime of the century has just fallen into his lap.
|Product dimensions:||5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.64(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
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By Frank Cottrell Boyce
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2006
Frank Cottrell Boyce
All right reserved.
You've probably never heard of Vincenzo Perugia.
But we know all about him. He was a famous art thief and we used to be in the same line of work. My sister Minnie even had a picture of him on her bedroom wall. She reckons that when Vincenzo stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum in Paris on August 21, 1911, that was the most immensely perfect crime ever. The Mona Lisa was the world's most famous painting, but Vincenzo did such a neat job no one even noticed it was missing for two days. Then they did notice, and everything went mental. Everyone went to the Louvre to look at the empty space where the painting had been. They lined up to look at an empty space! Even Vincenzo Perugia lined up. And when they got to the front of the line, they all looked at that empty space and thought about what used to be there. I can understand that. Sometimes something vanishes, and afterward you can't stop looking at the place where it used to be.
And all this time Vincenzo had it in his little room--the Mona Lisa was in a trunk next to the bed. Sometimes he took the painting out and played it funny songs on his mandolin. He didn't try to sell it. He didn't steal any other paintings. He didn't want to be famous or rich. He just wanted the Mona Lisa. And that's where he went right. That's why it was the perfect crime.Because he didn't want anything else. And that's probably where we went wrong. We wanted something.
Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel, Manod
Blue Ford Fiesta--Ms. Stannard (Twix)
Scania 118 Low Loader--Wrexham Recovery
Note: Oil is different from antifreeze
My dad, right--ask anyone this, they'll all say the same--my dad can fix anything. Toyota. Hyundai. Ford. Even Nice Tom's mam's diddy Daihatsu Copen (top speed 106 mph), which is about the size of a marshmallow so you need tweezers to fix it.
And it's not just cars.
Like the time when we were at Prestatyn and Minnie wanted a swim but I wouldn't get in the water because it was too cold. She kept saying, "Come in. It's fine once you're in." And I kept saying, "No."
Dad got up, went to the trailer and came back with a kettle of boiling water. He poured the water in the sea and said, "Dylan, come and test it. Tell me if it's all right or does it need a bit more?"
I said, "No, that's fine now, thanks, Da."
"Not too hot then?"
"No, just right."
"Give me a shout. If it gets cold again, I can always boil up some more."
Then Minnie splashed me and I splashed her and we stayed in the water till the sun went down.
He fixed the sea for us. Now that is a thing to be admired.
My big sister, Marie, never came in the water even after Dad fixed it. She said, "Have you any idea what sea water can do to your hair?" And later on when we were playing Monopoly in the trailer, she said, "Did you really think that one kettle of water could warm up the entire Irish Sea?"
I said, "Not the whole sea, obviously. Just the bit we were swimming in."
"Yeah, like that would really work," said Minnie. "Let me explain the physics . . ."
"Minnie," said Mam, "Euston Road. Three houses. Two hundred and seventy pounds, please." Typical of Mam, by the way, cleverly changing the subject like that.
Obviously I know now that the kettle didn't warm up the sea, but that's not the point. I got into the water, that's the point. Dad looked at that situation and he thought, I can't do anything about the physics, but I can do something about Dylan. So he did.
He's keen for us all to learn how to fix things too. That's how I came to be helping him with the oil change on Ms. Stannard's blue Fiesta (top speed 110 mph). I don't know how I came to make the mix-up about the oil.
Dad said it would probably be best if I didn't go near the workshop again. Or near a car again, really. He was quite calm about it. He said it was the kind of thing that could happen to anyone. Anyone who didn't know the difference between motor oil and antifreeze, that is.
After that, Mam said I could take over the petrol log. That's the massive red book next to the till where we write down all the petrol sales so we can track supply and demand. The book is red, with gold patterns on the front. It looks like a Bible. Mam got it in a trunk sale (Trunk Crazy at the Dynamo Blaenau Soccer Club ground) for fifty pence. It's got over a thousand pages. We only use about a page a week, so it should last us twenty years. Bargain!
No disrespect to Mam, obviously, but she was probably too busy with the new baby to make the most of that job. She just wrote stuff like, "10:20 a.m.--four gallons unleaded." Whereas I put down all the detail--the make, the year, name of the driver, anything. I'd stay out on the asphalt forecourt in front of the shop from after school till teatime. Sometimes Nice Tom would come and sit with me, and if he said something like, "Mr. Morgan's back left tire is baldy," I'd put that down too. When Dad saw it, he said, "Dylan, you have made a fifty-pence petrol log into a database. That is something to be admired."
A database is very useful. For instance, when Dad read, "Mr. Morgan: back left tire is baldy," he sourced a new tire and offered it to Mr. Morgan. So a job that would . . .
Excerpted from Framed
by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Copyright © 2006 by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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