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Authors: Joan Lowery Nixon

Sabotage on the Set

BOOK: Sabotage on the Set
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Sabotage on the Set
Casebusters #10
Joan Lowery Nixon

For Carol Ann Schmitz in friendship

—J. L. N.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9


back door as he dashed into the kitchen. “Mom!” he yelled. “I’m going to be rich! Rich

“Sean! Where have you been?” Mrs. Quinn put down the phone. “I was about to start calling your friends to try to find you.”

Brian and his best friend, Sam Miyako, looked at each other, then back at Sean.

“What do you mean, rich and famous?” Brian asked.

Sam said, “Mrs. Quinn, now that Brian and I don’t have to go out hunting for Sean, could I please have more cookies?”

Mrs. Quinn pushed the cookie jar toward Sam, but her attention was on Sean. “Well?” she asked him. “Why didn’t you come right home after school? Where were you?”

Sean tugged his backpack off, dropped it on the floor, and flopped into the nearest kitchen chair. “I told you, Mom. I’m going to be rich. Wow! Think of all the baseball cards I can buy!”

“Mom just asked where you were, not what kind of wild daydreams you’re having,” Brian said. He got up and started toward the back door, but Sean stopped him.

“Wait. I’ll tell you all about it,” he said. “Some big movie company is going to make a movie right here in Redoaks.”

Sam raised an eyebrow and looked mysterious. “Not with the jinx, they won’t.”

Sean ignored Sam. “The movie’s called
New Guy in Town
, and guess who’s starring in it? Dakota Wayne! And Justin Moore!”

“Dakota Wayne? Cool,” Brian said.

“Everybody knows who Dakota Wayne is,” Sam said. “He’s famous. But who’s Justin Moore?”

“I know who he is,” Brian said. “When he was five he was the coach’s son on that TV show
Our Family Tree

“Yeah, but he’s nine now—the same age as me,” Sean said and grinned. “Some people who said they were casting directors for
New Guy in Town
came to our school today and visited our class. They said they wanted some of us to be extras, but they kept staring at me. Then they measured to see how tall I was, and they said I had the right coloring and height and weight and all that stuff, and … and …”

Sean took a deep breath, and in a rush of words said, “And they want me to be Justin Moore’s stand-in! And they’ll pay me! Can I, Mom? Can I?”

“You’d get more money if you were Dakota Wayne’s stand-in,” Sam said. “All those Save Joey movies made him famous.”

Brian chuckled. “Sean would have a hard time being a stand-in for Dakota Wayne. Dakota’s fourteen now and tall. Tiffany said that Dakota has grown so much, they only use extra-tall actors around him to make him look shorter.”

“Who’s Tiffany?” Mrs. Quinn asked.

Sam snickered, and Brian felt his face grow warm. “Uh, she’s just a source of information,” he said. “Tiffany reads movie magazines and knows all that movie stuff.”

Sean leaned toward his mother. “Mom, Mom, Mom! You didn’t answer. The casting director is going to call you tonight. Could I please, please take the job?”

“Sean, you know I’ll have to talk this over with your father,” Mrs. Quinn said. “There’s a great deal we’ll need to know. Will your job on the movie interfere with your schoolwork? Will one of us have to supervise you on the set? What will your working hours be?”

Sam interrupted. “And will the weird jinx on the movie put Sean in any danger?”

Everyone stopped talking and looked at Sam.

Sam didn’t say anything.

Finally, Brian asked, “What weird jinx?”

“I told you about it before. I thought nobody was interested.”

“We’re interested. C’mon, Sam. What’s the jinx you’re talking about?”

“I thought everybody knew about the jinx,” Sam said. “Tiffany should stop reading movie magazines and listen to that movie entertainment show on television.”

“Sam!” Brian threatened.

“Okay, okay,” Sam said. “The way I heard it was, some people in Hollywood are saying that
New Guy in Town
will never be made. The director began his career with some real blockbuster hits, but lately he’s had a run of flops, so he’s counting on Dakota Wayne’s popularity to bring this one off. Only …”

Sam paused until Sean demanded, “Only

“Only, right from the beginning they’ve had trouble,” Sam said. “There were a lot of arguments about the script, and the head scriptwriter quit. Then a Hollywood set for
New Guy in Town
was destroyed in a fire. An expensive camera fell over and was smashed. Another was stolen. Props disappeared.”

“Good gracious!” Mrs. Quinn exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “So they moved the whole thing up here to Redoaks to film on location.”

“Who are the people making the movie?” Mrs. Quinn asked.

“Donner Productions,” Mr. Quinn answered as he walked into the kitchen. “It smells great in here. What’s for dinner?”

“Dad! You’re home!” Sean yelled and jumped to his feet. “I’m going to be rich and famous—that is, if you and Mom let me.”

“Hey, you’re good, Mr. Quinn,” Sam said. “You know practically everything that’s going on in Redoaks. Is that because you’re a private investigator?”

Mr. Quinn laughed. “It just so happens that I was getting some information I needed at the police station, and a number of officers were signing up to work as off-duty security on the set,” he said. “I heard all about the movie. The story deals with a New York City kid whose father moves his family to a small town. The boy misses his friends and can’t adjust until, through his little brother, he discovers the real meaning of friendship. Frank Hightower’s a good director, so it could be a very successful family movie.”

“If it’s made,” Sam said. “You know … the jinx.”

“Jinxes are nothing but superstitions,” Mr. Quinn said. “We don’t believe in jinxes.” He opened the oven and glanced inside, taking a deep breath. “
, lasagna.”

“Ten more minutes until it’s ready,” Mrs. Quinn said. “Sam, would you like to stay for dinner?”

“Thanks,” Sam said. “I was hoping you’d ask.”

“Sean, suppose you set the table,” Mrs. Quinn said.

“But, Mom, I’ve got to tell Dad about—”

“Later,” she said firmly. As she took a mixed-greens salad out of the refrigerator, she added, “You’ll have plenty of time to tell him during dinner.”

Sean tugged a stack of plates from the cupboard and arranged them around the table. “Mom, I’ve just got to be Justin Moore’s stand-in, no matter what.”

“No matter what?” Sam made his voice low and scary. “Don’t tell me you’re not even a little bit afraid of the jinx?”


had been passed around and everyone had begun eating, Sean burst out with his news. “The casting director is going to call tonight,” Sean said. “You and Mom have got to let me take the job! Please, Dad!”

Mrs. Quinn’s forehead wrinkled with concern, but Mr. Quinn said, “The school board had planned to meet today to discuss the requests by Donner Productions. Donner wants to film some of the scenes on the Redoaks Elementary School grounds. I’m sure the school board will set up regulations regarding the education of the children who’ll work in the film. And there are California state laws to follow, as well, so there’ll be studio teachers on hand.”

“I have some questions about letting Sean take the job,” Mrs. Quinn said. “It’s bound to disrupt his regular studies.”

Mr. Quinn smiled at Sean. “His grades have been very good. I’m sure we won’t have to worry about them slipping during the two or three weeks that Donner Productions will be filming in Redoaks. The studio teachers will see to that.”

“Dad’s right!” Sean said, wondering if the studio teachers were tougher than Mrs. Jackson. “I’ll study harder than ever.”

“It might turn out to be a valuable learning experience,” Mr. Quinn said.

“Yeah, Dad!” Sean said.

“And I think we’ll all agree that ninety percent of what Sean earns will go into his college fund.”

Sean looked at his father and gulped. There went his dreams of becoming a big-time spender. “Uh—okay, Dad,” Sean said.

“All right,” Mrs. Quinn said. “If you think it’s the right thing to do, John, then I’ll agree.”

The telephone rang, and Sean jumped, dropping a glob of lasagna onto his lap.

Mrs. Quinn answered and in a few moments said, “Carol Carter? Oh, yes. The casting director. Sean said you’d call.”

Everyone at the table grew silent, listening intently. But Sean squirmed and fidgeted while his mother asked one question after another. Finally, she said, “Very well. We’ll have him there on time.”

Sean gave a humongous sigh and blissfully slid down in his chair.

“The entire junior high basketball team will be extras?” Mrs. Quinn asked, then said, “Yes, if Brian would like to work as an extra, we’ll sign for him, too.”

Brian and Sam grinned at each other and slapped a high five. “Tiffany was right,” Brian said. “She told me they were going to surround Dakota Wayne with guys taller than he is.”

“Who’s Tiffany?” Mr. Quinn asked.

Brian winced. “Uh, just a girl,” he said.

As Mrs. Quinn finished the conversation and hung up the phone, Sean and Brian pelted her with questions.

“When do they start filming the movie?”

“Do extras get paid, too?”

“What was all that stuff about the basketball team?”

“Dad said two or three weeks. Do we have to go to school at all?”

Mrs. Quinn laughed and waved her hands for quiet. “Sam, you might as well get in on all this,” she said. “You’re on the basketball team, so you and Brian and the others are going to be extras, if your parents give permission. And, yes. Extras get paid by the day.”

“How much?” Sam asked.

“You’ll have to find that out from your parents,” Mrs. Quinn said. “Carol Carter will be telephoning them this evening.”

Sam scrambled to his feet. “Please excuse me, and thanks for dinner, Mrs. Quinn. I’d stay and help with the dishes, but … uh … you know.”

BOOK: Sabotage on the Set
7.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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