impatience of someone with a job to do. “What are we waiting for? It’s dark enough. I can be up those trees, on the roof, and finished before Egan looks out his window.”
“Not yet,” Savannah cautioned. “I’ve been watching that house. Trust me, we’ll know when it’s time.”
Ten minutes later, her strategy became clear. The front door of 44 Honeybee Street opened, and out stepped Dr. Egan, along with his wife and their two children — an eleven-year-old girl on a razor scooter and a three-year-old boy in a stroller.
“What is it?” asked Griffin over the laptop.
“Right on schedule,” said Savannah with satisfaction. “The Egans take a family walk every night around now. They’re gone between forty minutes and an hour. Sometimes they come back with ice cream.”
Ben squinted out the window. “Anybody know the daughter? Does she go to our school?”
“I think she’s a sixth grader at the elementary,” Savannah replied. “Why?”
Ben looked uncomfortable. “I guess I never thought Dr. Evil could have a daughter who looks — you know — nice.”
“Don’t worry,” Logan assured all of them. “I’ll craft a character so perfect it will reveal her like an X-ray. If she knows where the ring is, so will we.”
“Don’t get fancy,” Griffin advised from the laptop. “She may be new in town, but you’re not. If you make up some cockamamy identity, somebody will come along and call you by your real name. And then you’re busted.”
Pitch grabbed the knapsack that held the surveillance equipment. “The coast is clear.” She reached for Ben’s arm. “We’re on.”
As they exited the house and scampered across the street, Ben felt the familiar pounding in his ears. Another operation. Even now, the word stuck in his throat. He was fairly sure normal people didn’t get mixed up in anything that had to be called Operation ______. But then he thought of Griffin and hurried along.
At the Egans’ property line, he and Pitch separated. Pitch melted into the boughs of a lush sycamore, and Ben headed for the lookout spot — the wood box on the front porch.
At the sound of his own footsteps on the plank deck, a chill ran along his spine. He was a scant five feet from Dr. Evil’s front door. If ever a place counted as behind enemy lines, this had to be it.
He slipped under the hinged lid and into the woodpile. A cricket chirped close enough to his ear to stop his heart.
Bugs! There are bugs in here!
In a flash, Ferret Face was out and munching on an earwig.
Go, little buddy! Eat ‘em all!
He stuck a wood chip under the lid, which gave him a view of the front yard and the street in both directions. Peering straight up, he caught sight of Pitch, high in the tree, affixing the first wireless webcam to a branch.
“First camera’s in place,” he murmured into his walkie-talkie.
“Roger that,” came Savannah’s voice. “How’s Pitch?”
He watched her scramble back down the first trunk with the ease of a squirrel. Her high-flying confidence was a mystery to Ben. “Nuts,” he said honestly. “She’s heading up the second tree….”
It was the last thing Ben remembered for several minutes.
Pitch wrapped the Velcro strap around the second webcam, setting it firmly in place pointed at an upstairs window.
Hanging on to the tree, she spoke into the walkie-talkie clipped to the front of her shirt. “Number two in place. Check it.”
“Point it down slightly,” came Melissa’s instructions.
Pitch tapped at the tiny device.
“Perfect,” Melissa approved.
“Great. I’ll place the microphone and then I’m out of here.” That meant she had to get to the roof.
She found a sturdy limb that reached toward the house and crept along it as far as she dared. Then, in a remarkable display of balance, she transferred herself onto the dark green shingles. The roof was sloped, but she stepped lightly, with sure feet, and made her way to the chimney.
From the backpack, she took