The House of the Twelve Keys
Part 10. The Bitter Bank
“13!” Raj called out as he typed.
The computer countdown hit 0:00.
The screen was suddenly filled by the monster’s face. “Hurry! There are only three more challenges left and the last is the worst… it’s… it’s…” The computer began to shake violently.
“It’s gonna blow up!” Raj yelled.
They turned and ran. The wall swung aside revealing an open safe, like the kind in an old bank.
“Inside!” Pat said. They leapt in, they swung the door closed. It locked with a click. A small light buzzed to life above their head, revealing a shelf filled with coins. Loonies, toonies, dimes…
“Hey, this is more like it!” Raj said. “Money!”
“And look,” Pat said, “A cute little piggy bank!”
A pink piggy bank sat in the middle of the floor.
“I got one like that at home,” Raj said. “It’s where I keep my allowance. I love dropping in coins. The sound of saving is so wonderful!”
“Agreed. Any idea what we’re supposed to do?” Pat wondered.
The piggy bank growled suddenly, flashing a mouthful of sharp fangs.
“Good piggy,” Pat said, trying to calm down the bank. The pig lunged at her hand, and she pulled it away. When the pig moved, it revealed a key.
“The key has a number written on it,” Pat said. “3.40?”
The pig retreated and settled over the key, staring viciously at the friends.
“We need to move that pig,” Pat said.
“Without losing any fingers,” Raj said.
Raj tapped his chin and looked from the pig to the coins on the shelf. “Hey, that 3.40 on the key has to be a clue.”
“Three dollars and forty cents?” Pat suggested. “Maybe that’s the amount we need to add to the bank?
“It’s not the worst thing we’ve had to do.”
Raj grabbed a toonie, a loonie, a quarter, a dime, and a nickel. He carefully placed each coin into the pig’s back.
Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink.
The pig smiled as the last coin clinked and then fell over, fast asleep.
“Nice work!” Pat said. She gave Raj a high five. The sound woke the pig up. It snarled, and it quickly hid the key again.
“Argh!” Pat said. “Let’s be quiet this time.”
“Um. There won’t be a next time,” Raj said.
“The loonies and the toonies are all disappearing!”
Sure enough, the last toonie evaporated before their eyes, leaving behind a small puff of dust.
“The top quarter just blew up!” Pat said. “There’s only a small pile left.”
Another quarter went “poof” and disappeared.
The bank began to growl. Raj thought back to his own allowance.
“I’ve got it!” Raj said. “We can make the same amount from different coins. Grab a dozen quarters. I’ll get the rest.”
Pat slipped the remaining quarters into the slot just as the pig began gnawing at her pant leg.
Raj took the last three dimes and two nickels. He quickly slammed them into the slot. The pig gave a satisfied sigh and fell over, asleep.
Pat quietly picked up the key. They tiptoed around the pig and placed the key inside the lock. Pat turned it and the door opened with a loud clank.
“Uh oh!” Raj said.
They flew out of the door just as the furious pig lunged at them. They slammed it shut, the gnashing teeth still audible from the other side.
“That was close,” Pat said. “Too close,” Raj agreed. Then they both turned around and smiled.
That was one angry pig! What do you think Pat and Raj saw that made them smile?