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Excerpt

Excerpt

Willie's Redneck Time Machine

Today

An order for ten thousand duck calls just got phoned in, and not a single soul is here to be found.

The Duck Commander warehouse is empty. Everybody’s at lunch.

This is a problem, but only you seem to mind.

You’re waiting on John Luke to show up so you can go shopping with him. It’s Korie’s birthday party tonight, and the two of you still need to get her presents.

Look, it’s not your fault she didn’t tell you what to get her. She said she didn’t need anything, but you know for a fact if you don’t get her anything, you’re totally in trouble.

Last time she “didn’t need anything,” you didn’t get her anything. That didn’t go over so well.

The problem is, there’s this large order for Triple Threat duck calls, and it looks like you have only ten left in the warehouse. You told Jase and Si, but they nodded and then went out to find some burgers.

You’re trying to run a business, and they’re trying to find burgers.

You also need to figure out a birthday present. As you walk through the warehouse, you try to come up with ideas. Your ideas are usually pretty amazing.

Maybe she’d like some kind of nice jewelry.

The ladies love the sparkly stuff.

Maybe a getaway trip with the girls.

You think about this, then change your mind.

How about a getaway trip for the two of us?

’Cause that means you’ll be able to go somewhere fun too.

Yeah, that’s a good idea. Or maybe stick with some chocolates. Like several boxes’ worth of them. Or what about one of those giant teddy bears they show on TV? Nah, maybe not.

You find a box of miscellaneous junk and pick out a two-foot dagger in a sheath. This is from a church play you guys put on around Thanksgiving. You take the blade out of its leather holder. It’s very real and very sharp. Maybe it would make a very awesome present.

That’s a very dumb idea.

All of a sudden, you hear Britney Spears singing in your pocket. Your cell phone is going off, and the song “Oops! . . . I Did It Again” is set as the ringtone. Someone played a trick on you, changing your ringtone, and you haven’t been able to change it back yet. You don’t recognize the number, so you ignore the call, then make a mental note that you need to fix the ringtone ASAP. Or get John Luke to.

You’re almost back to your office when you see something you’ve never witnessed before. Something that’s seriously out of place.

It’s a wooden outhouse—rectangular with faded old wood and a roof shaped like an upside-down V. It’s like one you’d see in the middle of the woods, the kind Uncle Si and your dad, Phil, told you they used when they were kids—the kind you wouldn’t want to enter even if your life and bladder depended on it.

Except something’s different about this outhouse.

On the roof are two things that look like large bulbs. As if the outhouse has antennas. There’s also some kind of control panel on the door.

“What in the world . . . ?” you start to say.

Obviously someone is playing another trick on you.

The outhouse is right in the middle of the warehouse, right where a forklift might be heading at any moment.

Someone has to be pulling your leg.

It’s close to Korie’s office, so maybe it has something to do with her birthday. Surely she didn’t buy an old outhouse at one of those antique shows she goes to.

You walk up to it and check it out. Yeah, it’s real. You tap on its side. The wood is thick and dense and has grooves in it. The door has a hole cut into it, maybe for ventilation. It’s in the shape of a duck.

This is totally a prank.

You press the control panel right below the opening, but none of the buttons work. It looks a bit like one of those computer games for little kids with about a dozen different buttons and a small screen.

You circle the outhouse and see that it’s unlike any you’ve ever seen. And you’ve seen a few in your life. It reminds you of a Port-A-Potty, and you’ve got memories of some of those. Especially some of those Port-A-Poops in the early days, the ones that were falling apart, the kind with horrible smells, the kind that really . . .

Well, yeah, you don’t want to think about that.

At least this one doesn’t stink.

Why would anybody use one of these when they could just go outside?

You’re about ready to open the door when you hesitate.

Wait a minute . . .

That’s exactly what they want you to do.

You look around to see if anybody’s spying on you. To see if there’s a camera anywhere. But nobody and nothing can be seen.

“I know this is a prank,” you call out. “Very funny, Jase!”

Your voice echoes in the silence.

“Oh, and if you’re watching me, go make a thousand Triple Threats while you’re at it.”

Nobody responds. You stare at the closed door of the wooden outhouse.

So why aren’t you opening it?

You picture it filled with something. Water, maybe. Or balloons. No, not balloons—that’s not creative enough.

Maybe something like shaving cream.

No, you could get out of the way of that.

Maybe some kind of animal. Yeah, that’s what you’d do if you pulled the old Port‑A-Potty–in–the–warehouse prank on someone.

Maybe it’s an opossum or a snake. What if it’s a skunk? Surely they wouldn’t put a skunk in the warehouse. That would be going too far, even for them. Maybe it’s some kind of bird. Or maybe several different animals.

Bats. I can see Jase getting some bats and putting them in this thing.

But it’s not your birthday. It’s Korie’s. So why would someone be pranking you?

You put your ear close to the door. Not on it, of course—just close enough to hear. But you don’t hear anything. There’s nothing moving inside. You look into the duck-shaped opening on the door, but you can’t make out a thing.

“Dad?”

You turn and see John Luke standing there.

“Are we going?” he asks.

“You know what this is all about?” you ask him.

He shakes his head. As he does, you notice something funny about him.

“Did you change your hair?” you ask.

“Yep. You like it?”

You just stare at him. “You have a mullet.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Why’d you get a mullet?”

“’Cause I’m gonna bring it back.”

“Mullets are never coming back,” you tell John Luke. “I had one in high school, and—believe me—they’re staying in the past.”

John Luke pulls at the long hair sticking out below his ears. You roll your eyes.

“So did Jase put this thing here?”

“I don’t know,” John Luke says.

You nod. You know when your son’s up to something, and right now John Luke doesn’t have that look on his face.

“Did you open it?” he asks.

I’m not opening that door.”

“Why not?”

“’Cause I think someone’s pulling a prank on me. Look at that thing. An outhouse? With antennas? Come on. In the middle of the warehouse?”

“I’ll open it,” John Luke says, grinning as he starts to tug on the handle.

“Wait a minute,” you call out, stopping him.

“What?”

You haven’t heard anything. You haven’t seen anything. You haven’t even smelled anything. Which is definitely a plus.

“I think we should wait,” you tell your son again.

John Luke waits, then decides to keep opening the door.

He tries the handle, but it won’t budge. Then he tries pressing a few of the buttons—some of the same ones you pressed—and the door moves on its own.

“How’d you do that?” you ask.

“Press the red button. The one that says Open.”

Oh.

As the door swings, you squint, expecting some kind of something to come out.

But nothing is there.

“See, it’s empty.”

It looks just like . . . an outhouse might look.

There’s a bench with a hole in it. It’s that simple.

John Luke steps into the structure. “It doesn’t look used,” he says. “No poop on the seat.”

You look back once again to see if someone is watching you. Then you hear the door shut.

You wait a moment for John Luke to come out. But he doesn’t.

You wait for another second. But no.

Then something weird happens. Those antenna-like things on top of the outhouse turn red and start to blink. They flash like this for a few seconds, then stop.

Again you wait for John Luke to emerge, but he never does. So you decide to open the door. Button pressed, the door swings wide open on its own.

“Hey, come on. Get out of there.”

You look into the same space John Luke stepped into.

It’s empty.

Nobody’s there.

“John Luke,” you call out.

You peer into the dark corners but don’t see anything. There’s no way he could be hiding anywhere inside because it’s not big enough.

“Hey, John Luke, where’d you go?”

You circle the outhouse but don’t see any sign of him.

Ah, this must be the prank. Some magic trick.

Maybe someone hired a magician for Korie’s birthday. A magical outhouse. There’s something you’ve never heard of before.

“Okay, pretty funny. I’m impressed.”

You get back to the entrance and open the door again. You look inside.

John Luke is nowhere around.

He’s totally vanished.

You laugh, knowing someone’s watching you. Your brothers are having a good ole time.

“Very funny.”

You glance around and wait. But nobody says a word. Nobody comes out of the shadows.

Nothing happens. For one minute. Two minutes.

“Come on, John Luke. Seriously.”

Silence.

You sigh and look back at the door.

You gotta do something.

Do you step inside the outhouse to check it out yourself? Turn to page 29.

Do you stay outside and wait to see who’s playing a trick on you? Turn to page 63.

Willie's Redneck Time Machine
(Be Your Own Duck Commander #1)
by by John Luke Robertson and Travis Thrasher

  • Genres: Christian
  • paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Kids
  • ISBN-10: 1414398131
  • ISBN-13: 9781414398136