Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

Mike didn't have long to wait before one of the Scouts came running to him from the trucks. "Scouter Mike! Scouter Steve asked me to give you this." The boy proudly held up a hacksaw.

"Thank you, Chris," Mike replied. "That should do nicely."

Mike took the offered tool from the boy and looked closely at it. The hacksaw was old but had a brand new blade. Like everything of Steve's, it was well used but also well maintained.

"Please thank Scouter Steve for this when you go back, Chris," Mike said.

"You got it, Scouter Mike," Chris said before he began to run back toward the parking lot. He turned as he ran. "Did you know that we're going to camp here tonight? That is so cool."

Mike was glad the boy was able to see things in a positive light. He looked over at Ricky and Martin. "Everything all right?"

Todd looked bored, but smiled. "Perfect, Scouter Mike. This guy hasn't moved a muscle."

"That's good news," Mike said. "Hopefully, he will be okay, then." Mike held up the hacksaw. "Right now, I've got to try and get us into the park so we can setup camp."

"I'll help," Ricky said, jumping to his feet.

Todd grabbed him and pulled him back down. "Scouter Mike told you to stay close to this guy. Don't you remember?"

Ricky looked sheepish. "Oh yeah, I forgot. Sorry Scouter Mike."

Mike looked at the boy. "Ricky, staying close to Michael may be the most important thing any of us can do right now. I really need you to concentrate and do that for me. If you forget again and Todd doesn't stop you like he just did, we could be in trouble."

Ricky's face flamed red. "I won't forget again, Scouter Mike." His voice was low when he spoke.

"Just remember, Ricky - you are the only one who can do this job and it could mean the survival of the Troop. That makes you the most important person here."

Ricky smiled at that and Mike knew the boy would be all right. He turned toward the gate to consider his next move.

It felt wrong to be breaking into the park, just like he hadn't liked going into the farmhouse hours earlier. But the safety and continued survival of the boys was at stake. That made getting into the park essential.

There were three chain link gates. Each one had a length of chain secured by a lock wrapped through the gate itself and the adjoining fence to keep it secure.

Should he cut the chain and save the lock or cut the lock and save the chain? There was a chance that they might find the key to the locks somewhere in the park. But they needed to get in now and Mike knew the troop had other locks in one of the Scout boxes.

The chain, on the other hand, could not be fixed with the tools they had available if he cut that. A length of chain could be handy later.

That decided it for him. He chose the most corroded lock and began to saw at the hasp. Old as the lock was, it was still hardened steel and the work was slow.

Mike could hear Scouts dropping off gear behind him as he worked.

"How are you doing?" Steve asked a few minutes later.

Mike hadn't heard the man coming. He twisted the saw in his surprise on a cutting stroke, snapping the blade.

Mike stopped sawing immediately and could only look dumbly at the broken tool. He looked up at Steve.

"Geez, did I do that?" Steve asked, looking shocked.

Mike shook his head. "No, that's my fault. I didn't hear you coming and your voice surprised me. I broke the blade."

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