“Foster! Is that you?”
I was standing in dismay, looking down the street where Panda had disappeared around the corner, when I heard my name. “Foster! What are you doing here in Tokyo?” Imagine my surprise when I turned and there was a penguin with sunglasses on, standing beside me! “Who are you?” I asked hesitantly, not knowing if he could be trusted.
“Dude!” the penguin replied, sounding a little offended. “Don’t you recognize me? We met in the Swiss alps when you and Panda saved us from going to the North Pole!” Suddenly it all came back to me. “Yes!” I exclaimed joyfully. “The last time we saw you guys was when we were in Patagonia. I didn’t recognize you with the sunglasses. How did you get here? And what’s up with the shades?”
“Well,” began my old friend, “We witnessed a crime in Patagonia shortly after you guys left. We had to testify in court, and then they put us in the witness protection program and relocated us to Tokyo. I guess you could say we’re incognito.” I couldn’t hide my amazement. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “That’s really cool! So where are the others?” “Oh, they’re around,” he replied. “We’re all in disguise, that’s all. Hey, where’s Panda?”
I explained our adventure as we stood in line for a delicious snack. “Oh, I heard about that,” my friend said, when I told about how Panda had won the Olympic medal for karate. “So that was you guys?” I replied in the affirmative, When I got to the part about Panda getting ahead of me and disappearing around the corner, he nodded knowingly. “Okay,” he said, “that explains it.” I looked at him quizzically. “Explains what?” I asked.
“Well I got a text from my buddies a few minutes ago and they said they had just heard two men in orange jackets telling a panda to follow them down one of the side streets.” I was both encouraged and dismayed. At least I knew Panda was okay, but who were the men in the orange jackets and what did they want? My penguin friend’s voice broke into my thoughts. “We’ve dealt with those guys before,” he remarked. “They operate a theft ring, specializing in gold. And they go everywhere in a taxi.”
My friend pointed to a police officer nearby. “Come on, Fos,” he said, “That officer is a friend of mine. Let’s go ask if he’s seen them.” The officer listened carefully to our questions. “Actually,” he replied, “I did just see a taxi go by with a panda in the back.” He pointed us in the right direction and, after thanking him we immediately hurried to find Panda.
It wasn’t long before we caught up with them. The taxi was stuck in traffic so we were able to talk to Panda as he looked out back window. “Don’t worry, Panda,” I said encouragingly. “We’ll rescue you! The penguins know the streets and they have connections!” Panda nodded to show us he understood. We figured he was trying not to let the men in the orange jackets know he was talking to us, so we tried not to attract any attention.
Fortunately when the traffic started moving again, we were able to catch another taxi for ourselves. Since they’d been in Tokyo the penguins had learned Japanese, so this was a great help. “Follow that car!” my friend instructed.
We followed the taxi to a fancy apartment building. The men in the orange jackets were taking Panda up the escalator!
We followed them up several flights to a luxurious room that was completely filled with gold! Panda was sitting on the sofa, but the men were nowhere in sight. “Pssst! Panda!” I whispered from my hiding place behind the sofa. “Are you okay?” Panda nodded. “Yes, I’m fine,” he whispered back. “But we have to act fast. Those men will be back any minute!” He quickly related the story of how the men in the orange jackets had put him in the taxi and brought him to the apartment. “They’re running a gold theft ring,” he said. “They wanted my Olympic medal.”
“Did you give it to them?” I asked as we left the living room and came into another gold filled room. “No,” Panda replied. “They noticed I didn’t have a pocket and it never occurred to them to check under my black belt.” He jumped up to look out the window. “I think they’re coming!” he exclaimed. “Let’s get out of here while we have the chance!” Together we made a break for the escalator.
We managed to get away just in time! We knew we had to find the police and turn the men in.
After awhile we managed to catch up with two of the penguins’ officer friends. “Come on, guys,” they said. “We’ll need to take the car!
We all jumped into the police car and fastened our seat belts. One of the penguins gave directions to the officers. “Turn right at the next cross street,” he said. It wasn’t long before we were in front of the multi-story apartment building. “You guys had better wait in the car,” the officers said, as we pulled up to the curb. “We’ll take it from here.”
While we waited in the car, Panda and I told the penguins about our adventure in India, when we helped the police capture a drug ring. “Wow you guys should join the police yourselves!” the penguins remarked approvingly. Panda and I looked at each other. “Well, actually, we did that once,” Panda said modestly. “It was really exciting but Mom wouldn’t let us make a career out of it.” The penguins shook their heads. “That’s moms for you,” one of them declared knowingly. We were still reminiscing about our previous adventures when our officer friends returned. We all cheered when we saw the men in the orange jackets in custody. “Thanks for your help, guys,” the officers said. “We couldn’t have done it without you!”
After taking the prisoners to the station, the officers dropped us off to get a snack. The penguins and I decided that fish sounded good, but Panda said he would wait until we got to the vegetable market so he could get some delicious bamboo. We enjoyed our meal, still talking over old times. We finally decided we should start heading for home.
We walked past several newsstands on our way to pick up our trampoline, and we were amazed to see ourselves on the front page of a variety of newspapers. The penguins weren’t mentioned in any of the news reports, because they couldn’t attract any attention to themselves. “I guess you’re famous now,” one of our penguin friends remarked. Panda and I exchanged glances. This could only mean one thing: Mom had probably read about us by now! “We’d better get home or we’re going to be grounded again,” Panda said, and I agreed. We said goodbye to our friends and started for home.
As we soared over the breathtaking Tokyo skyline, we made a mental note to go back someday and learn more about the city. We thought it would be fun to see if the Tokyo Tower is like the Eiffel Tower, which we had seen before on our trip to the Louvre.
When we got home we immediately jumped up on the bed for a nap. It was great to relax after an adventure of international intrigue!
Note: The background photos for this adventure are from Pixabay.com and Unsplash.com.