“Aaar, Pegleg Joe, methinks we be lost,” Frankenbeard said.
“Ye may be right, brother. But how do ye know for sure?” Pegleg Joe asked.
“Me first clue be that I don’t know where we are, and me second clue be that I don’t know how to get back home. Do ye?” Frankenbeard asked. Pegleg Joe shook his head, the very picture of a sad and lost pirate. “So, from these various clues, I deduce we be lost, brother.”
Success! Another mystery solved by the Aaardy Boys, the twin pirate sleuths known across six of the seven seas for their powers of deduction and extreme cowardice. But now that that mystery had been solved, a new mystery awaited them, unfolding like a poorly constructed origami swan. “Frankenbeard,” Pegleg Joe asked, “how do we get home?”
Frankenbeard scratched his beard. “Might that information kiosk provide the information we need?” He pointed to a circular kiosk in the center of Mystery Mall. The twins had been dropped off at the mall by their father so they could pick up pirate supplies, like pieces of eight, a dead man’s chest, eye patches, peglegs, Jolly Rogers, secret treasure maps, spare parrots and mizzen masts. Pegleg Joe also wanted a new poster of his favorite pop quintet, Davey Jones and the Lockers. Now that they had completed their shopping spree, they were ready to be picked up at the North Entrance. But, alas! Frankenbeard’s compass was on the fritz once more, perpetually pointing SSE. Everywhere they turned a new and unfamiliar corner. Everywhere they turned, the compass read SSE.
“By the seven seas!” Frankenbeard exclaimed. “I don’t like the looks of that lady. She reminds me of me math teacher.”
“Aar,” Pegleg Joe agreed. “I am reminded of the selfsame teacher of the mathematical arts. Aar!” The lady at the information kiosk was indeed a frightening sight. Everything about her was severe. She had severe eyebrows; severe horn-rimmed glasses perched on the severe bridge of her severe nose. Her severe stare was directed at a severe-looking paperback book in her severe hands. Her severe hair was in an even more severe bun. The twins hesitated just short of the threshold of the Thresholds N’ More! Store. “Aar,” Pegleg Joe said. “Ye should ask her for directions, twin brother.”
Frankenbeard stared at Pegleg Joe, aghast. “Me? Why not ye?”
“Because ye be the one who noted the fact she looked like our math teacher.”
“Aaar, true, but ye be the older twin.”
Pegleg Joe now stared at Frankenbeard, aghast. “By a mere millisecond.” He sighed. “Fine. We both go together.”
“Fine,” Frankenbeard agreed. Neither made a move. The severe woman in the information kiosk turned the page of her severe paperback book with her severe fingers. The twins stood there, frozen in fear. And they may still be there today.
Just kidding, their father found them five minutes later.


“Shiver me timbers, what be that creaking noise?” Frankenbeard whispered.
“Aar, I believe the timbers of the boat be creaking, brother, which causes me timbers to shiver, too,” replied Pegleg Joe, Frankenbeard’s twin brother. They were sleeping in their shared cabin on their galleon, the Stratemeyer. Frankebeard’s hammock was hung directly above Pegeleg Joe’s, and the rest of the cabin was taken up by an enormous oak bureau. Their father, Fenton the Fierce, was the only other person who manned the Stratemeyer, and he was away on pirate business.
“Ahoy, twin brother matey, maybe we should investigate,” Frankenbeard said. “I’ll just hop out of me hammock and have a look-see.” He didn’t move.
“Yar, maybe it’s just the wind creaking on the deck,” Pegleg Joe said. “Yar,” he added.
Frankenbeard scratched his chin. “That does not sound right, me brother. It sounds to this pirate sleuth’s ears more like the creaking of footsteps. Yo ho ho.” The creaking continued apace, and in their fevered minds it seemed to get louder. “Maybe it’s an intruder!” Frankenbeard exclaimed. “One of the sixteen men from the proverbial dead man’s chest!”
“Aar, ye may be right, Frankenbeard,” Pegleg Joe said. “Perhaps we should investigate, to protect our booty. And Dad’s booty.”
“Agreed,” Frankenbeard said. Neither made a move. “Maybe,” Frankenbeard said, “it’s a guh-guh-guh…”
“Don’t say it!” Pegleg Joe shouted. “Ye know how afeared am I of ghosts!” The creaking boards seemed to grow louder and louder (though actually it hadn’t changed at all) and Pegleg Joe emitted a very un-piratelike “meep,” and fell from his hammock.
“Quiet, Pegleg Joe, or we’ll walk the plank, metaphorically speaking,” Frankenbeard whispered. Pegleg Joe froze in place on the ground. For a moment, there was no sound, except for the harried breaths of the Aaardy Boys. Then, the creaking commenced, and they shrieked and scrambled to their bureau, hiding in the drawers. Frankenbeard crawled in next to his socks and pirate Underoos and Pegleg Joe snuck behind his torn trousers and replacement peglegs. The creaking continued throughout the night. Frankenbeard and Pegleg Joe cowered in their respective drawers, ready for action nonetheless.
The next morning, they discovered the creaking had been caused by an old rocking chair they had been reupholstering on the deck the day before. They moved it to a flatter surface and the creaking stopped altogether. The Aaardy Boys spent the next twelve nights in the bureau, just to be safe. One can never be too careful when it comes to the supernatural.


“Shiver me timbers!” Frankenbeard shouted. “This be one mysterious beach.”
“Don’t neglect me timbers, shiverwise,” Pegleg Joe, Frankenbeard’s twin brother also shouted. “Methinks this be a beach filled with danger.” They were walking along Little Stone Beach, on vacation from their usual pirating, but not from the sleuthing the pirate twins were known across the seven seas for.
It was easy to see why they felt such a sense of mystery coupled with danger. The beach was populated by sea monsters, and sea monsters only. Sea monsters of every shape, size and stripe, and some polka dots. Hector, the Creature from the Burnt Sienna Lagoon; Beverly the Sea Serpent and a teenaged gill man named Chadwick were just but a few of the strange beings cavorting along the shores of the beach. They didn’t appear to be terrorizing, annihilating or otherwise bothering anyone or anything, but seeing as how they were sea monsters, it was likely they had evil up their gilled sleeves.
“Yo ho ho, Frankenbeard, we best investigate. Yo ho ho.” Pegleg Joe said nervously. Frankenbeard removed his magnifying eye patch and crouched to the sand, casting his eye across the beach, inspecting each grain of sand individually. Pegleg Joe pulled out his Clue Parchment and quill and began writing down every last detail of the beach, down to the last drop in the ocean.
“Excuse me,” a murky-skinned ten-foot tall sea monster laying on a regular-size beach towel who looked a bit like a dragon or an eel said. “You’re blocking my sun.”
The twin pirate sleuths ignored the protestations of the monster and proceeded with their investigation.
“Pieces of eight!” Frankenbeard exclaimed. “A clue! A clue!” He pointed toward the south end of the beach.
“What is it, pirate brother?”
“I think it might be a guh-guh-guh ghost!” The twins tiptoed and tip-pegleged to the end of the beach. As they walked tentatively, one brother would shove the other brother ahead, not wanting to be the first to encounter the ghost. Behind them, sea monsters had started up a volleyball game. They debated about inviting the pirates to join, but since they were acting weird and anti-social, the monsters decided to ignore them.
When they were almost fifteen feet from the potential beach ghost, they stopped dead in their tracks. Neither pirate wanted to move closer, neither could bring themselves to move at all. “Aar, Joe, you be the matey who investigates first.”
“Aar, Frankenbeard, I say you be the matey who investigates first.” The two were averting their eyes from the space where the ghost was floating. Finally, the two wordlessly decided to both run screaming from the beach, to their galleon parked up the road.
Which was a shame, really, because the sea monsters were going to share hot dogs with them, and roast marshmallows and sing around a bonfire, and could not understand why the pirates had been so afraid of an abandoned sail.