فصل 09

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فصل 09

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CHAPTER nine

The Caper Mystery Is Solved

It’s 1: 00 a.m. and the party is finished. The last guests leave and the four friends start clearing up.

“The party was a success,” Tony is saying, “and so was our plan. Now we know the driver of the car but the seniors don’t think we know anything. Trish, you’re a good detective! I’m going to call you Miss Marple!” They all laugh.

“Yes, you are like Agatha Christie’s detective, Miss Marple!” jokes Ricki. Trish smiles.

“Sorry, everyone,” says Stacy with a serious face, “but in fact we don’t know Eric is the driver, all we know for sure is that the red car is his.

Maybe another person drives it sometimes. We need more information.”

“And we need more proof to connect Eric with ‘Caper’,” adds Tony. They sit in silence, thinking.

“There must be a clue in the e-mails that can lead us to the culprits,” says Stacy. “Caper. C-A-P-E-R… hmmm. Eric Caplin. But I where’s the connection?” She writes the name “Eric Caplin” on a piece! of paper and studies it.

Eric Caplin

Caplin Eric

E C C E

E Caplin Eric C Er Cap CapEr I

“Look!” she shouts suddenly, “Caper!”

Stacy shows them the paper. “Look at Eric’s name. Eric Caplin. Do you see the connection?”

“I don’t see anything,” says Tony, puzzled.

“Stacy, you’re right!” shouts Ricki. “Look, Tony, Trish, she’s right! ‘Caper’ is Eric’s user name on the computer. He uses the initial parts of his name for his user name. In this case the first three letters of his last name, and the first two letters of his first name: C-A-P-E-R. Congratulations, Stacy! You’re too clever to go out with an idiot like me. “Good work, Stacy!” says Trish, “Now, let’s catch ‘Caper’!”

“How, Trish?” asks Tony.

“We’re going to send him an e-mail,” she replies.

“But he mustn’t know it’s from us,” says Ricki.

“Yes, you’re right, but we can send the message from my dad’s computer and use a false user name,” replies Trish. “He’s going to think the message is from Pat!”

“How?” asks Stacy. “We don’t have Pat’s password.”

“We can trick Eric. We can write to him with a new user name and tell him that it’s Pat’s new user name. We can say that he has a new user name now because the old one isn’t safe.”

“What are we going to write in the message?” asks Tony.

“It’s too late to write the message now,” replies Trish.

“We have to think about it carefully. Let’s meet tomorrow afternoon at my house to prepare the message. Tony, can you give Stacy and me a ride home?”

“Sure, I have my mom’s car tonight. It’s parked outside. Come on, girls, let’s go. Ricki, see you tomorrow.”

“Okay, guys, bye. See you,” replies Ricki sleepily.

On the way home in Tony’s car, Tony and the girls are talking about the party. Tony comes to a red light and puts his foot on the brake. But something is wrong. The car doesn’t stop. Tony pushes and pushes on the brake pedal, but nothing happens.

“Tony! Tony! What are you doing? Stop the car!” shouts Stacy.

“I can’t!” cries Tony. “The brakes aren’t working!”

Another car is coming towards them very fast. Tony turns the wheel hard to avoid the other car. The girls see the black post of the traffic lights in front of them. Stacy screams as the car smashes violently into the traffic lights. They all fall from their seats. A few minutes pass. They sit immobilized with shock. Trish recovers first and turns to look at her two friends. Tony is slumped over the steering wheel.

He isn’t moving. His eyes are shut. He looks very pale.

“Tony!” cries Trish. “Oh my God! Tony! Tony!”

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