Box of Shocks

Box of Shocks by Chris McMahen Read Free Book Online

Book: Box of Shocks by Chris McMahen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chris McMahen
Tags: JUV013060
    When Stuart sees what I’m doing, he throws down his cucumber sandwich and runs across the sand toward the bridge, shouting, “You’d better get off there before the police show up!”
    â€œThe police don’t show up for stuff like this,” I shout back. From the main deck of the bridge, I crawl out and then slowly, carefully stand up, balancing on the outside beam.
    â€œBut there’s a sign! An official-looking sign! ” Stuart shouts.
    â€œDon’t worry, Stuart,” I call back, trying to keep my balance. To steady myself, I grab a wire with one hand and curl my toes over the splintery beam.
    â€œWhy would they put up a sign if they weren’t going to arrest you?” Stuart isn’t going to give up. He reminds me of Mom and Dad. I bet Mom wishes I was more like Stuart. I stop for a second and watch him try to scramble up the sandy bank, but he keeps slipping back down.
    â€œIf the police show up, I don’t know you, Oliver! Do you understand?” Stuart’s finally reached the top of the bank, and he’s running toward the bridge in his baggy swim trunks and rubber beach shoes.
    â€œYes, Stuart. I understand,” I shout back.
    So here I am, ready to do the most dangerous stunt ever. All I have to do is jump. Gravity will do all the work, and it’ll be over in a few seconds.
    Then I look down.
    I don’t like what I see.
    From way up here, the water looks dark and angry as it swirls past. It doesn’t look like a river—it looks like a gigantic serpent waiting to swallow me.
    Okay, so jumping from this bridge may not be as easy as it looks from the shore. I can’t jump right away anyhow. I have to figure out what I’ll bring back for my Box of Shocks. What can I take from this bridge?
    I pick at the old wooden beam for a minute, but a splinter of wood isn’t good enough. It has to be something bigger. Something better. My hand slides over one of the bolts that run through the beams. A bolt would be perfect! There must be a hundred or maybe a thousand of these bolts holding the bridge together, but the one my hand rests on is loose. By jiggling it a bit, I’m able to slide the bolt out of the beam. Then, just before the bolt is all the way out of the beam, I stop. What’ll happen if I pull this bolt all the way out of the beam? Will the bridge fall apart? Will it suddenly collapse into the river, taking me with it? That’s a chance I have to take.
    As I pull the bolt free of the wooden beam, I hold my breath. I don’t hear any creaking or cracking. The bridge isn’t shifting or swaying. Maybe this bridge will be fine without this bolt—my bolt. Yes, my bolt. This bolt is now mine. I clutch it tightly in one hand while I hang on to a wooden beam with the other. Now that I have my bolt, I have to jump. I’m ready.
    Or am I?
    Stuart sure isn’t any help.
    â€œIf I were you, I’d come back down, Oliver! I mean it. The sign says…”
    â€œI know what the sign says, Stuart!” I yell.
    â€œThen why are you disobeying it?” Stuart yells back. “I don’t understand you. Why do you want to do something like this?”
    I ignore Stuart and look back down at the river. The water doesn’t look any closer. The longer I look, the higher I seem to be. This is way higher than I’ve ever been before. It’s way higher than the diving board I went off for those diving lessons Mom made me take at the pool. It’s even higher than the time I climbed the tree in Grayson’s backyard. And now I’m supposed to jump? I begin to wonder if this is such a great idea after all.
    Out of the corner of my eye, I see Stuart standing on the riverbank, jumping up and down and waving his arms like his armpits are on fire. He’s shrieking, “Oliver! Look out! The police are coming!”
    I turn quickly and see an RCMP cruiser driving onto the bridge. As I spin around, I

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