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Chapter 2: Roscoe's Treasure

About the serial story

The Monroe Times is presenting the serial story, "Roscoe's Treasure," provided by author Frances Milburn, The Watertown Daily Times and its Newspapers in Education coordinator Dawn McBride, and shared with members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. The story, written for third-graders and above, explores what happens when a family's dog named Roscoe returns home with a set of false teeth. The story unfolds in nine chapters on Wednesdays and Thursdays, beginning Nov. 12. Teacher materials are also provided for use in the classroom or at home.

The story so far ... Belle is very upset because the family dog Roscoe is missing, and she discusses her concerns with Dad while setting the table for supper. She remembers how Roscoe, a stray, joined the family. Dad tells her he'll try to find the dog the next day.

Written by Frances Milburn

Illustrated by Liv Aanrud

It was four days after Roscoe had disappeared, and I was watching Saturday morning TV. My brothers were at soccer practice with Dad, and Mom was working in her office. She owned a hair salon and did all her paperwork at home. I was convinced that Roscoe was gone for good and had cried myself to sleep more than once since he'd disappeared.

Suddenly, I heard a noise that sounded like whining. It was coming from the back door. Tearing through the kitchen, I threw open the door, and there was Roscoe. He pranced in, his tail wagging so hard that he couldn't walk straight. But as I bent down to hug him, I noticed the dog was carrying something in his mouth.

"What'cha got there, boy?" I asked, trying to get a better look. He turned his head away, keeping his treasure out of my view. I reached for it, and he moved away, as if to say, "This is mine, and you can't have it." I couldn't figure out what he had in his mouth. It didn't look like a toy or bone.

I went to the kitchen cupboard and got some dog treats. Holding one above his head, I commanded sternly, "Drop it." I heard the plop. While giving him the treat, I looked at the strange object, shiny wet with dog's saliva. There on the carpet was a set of perfectly shaped teeth with pink gums, circling a silver plate. It was false teeth.

"Yuck, where did you get that?" Distracting him with another treat, I used my foot to slide it towards me.

"Mom, come here. Hurry." Roscoe was trying to get his treasure back, but I was guarding it with my foot.

Mom, with work papers in her hand, raced into the kitchen from her office, a look of concern on her face. "What is it?" But then she saw Roscoe, and her face lit up. "Roscoe," she cooed, kneeling down to fuss over him. He pushed against her leg, licking her fingers. "Where were you, you naughty dog." He rolled over, and she scratched his belly. He had totally forgotten his prize.

I picked up the teeth, using the bottom of my T-shirt. "Look what he brought home." I stood in front of Mom so she could see. Forgetting Roscoe, she stood up and looked closely.

"A denture. Where in the world did he get this? Wait, I'll grab a bowl." She set a red plastic bowl on the table, and I dropped the thing into it. We stared at it. There were pieces of grass and dirt stuck between the teeth.

Since neither of us was paying any attention to Roscoe, he lost interest and walked out of the kitchen. Mom washed the thing and dried it. The teeth looked much better cleaned up.

"These things are expensive, probably several hundred dollars. I wonder how he got it? Somebody must be in a tizzy, wondering where his teeth are." She paused and looked at me. "Roscoe must've gone into someone's house to get these teeth."

"What are we going to do?" I asked.

She paused and looked at me. Then she slowly shook her head. "I'm not sure."

Just then, Dad walked in the kitchen with my brothers, home from soccer practice. The boys were dressed in shorts and T-shirts, each carrying his own ball and talking a mile a minute.

Dad looked at us. "What's up with you two?" he asked. "You look so serious."

"Roscoe's home," I said.

"Yea," Jordan yelled. "Where is he?" Just then our dog ran into the kitchen, tail wagging, ready for more attention. The boys bent down and rubbed Roscoe.

Mom pointed to the bowl and told Dad about the teeth. Dad laughed and laughed. "That is just the funniest thing. I didn't know Roscoe was such a hunter. Where's the rest of the animal?"

The boys came over and looked into the bowl. "Did Roscoe kill and eat something?" little Zach, only in kindergarten, asked with a quivering voice. "I didn't know he could kill anything."

"No, honey, Daddy is just teasing. These are false teeth ... from a person, not an animal."

"I didn't know people wore fake teeth," he added.

Jordan added, "Why would anyone use this thing instead of real teeth?"

"Well, son. No one chooses this," Mom explained, "but if his teeth decay and drop out, or he has gum problems, a person can have special teeth made to replace the real ones. It's usually older people whose teeth have outlived their warranty."

Roscoe pranced over to the table with his nose up, as if he knew his treasure was on the table and the center of conversation.

Wiping his eyes from laughing so hard, Dad looked back at the teeth and added, "I can understand how a dog would be attracted to the smell of teeth, but how did he get them? People don't just leave their teeth lying around on the porch or on a lawn chair. How do you suppose he got them?"

"It might seem funny," Mom said, "but what are we going to do?"

Suddenly, everyone stopped talking. We all stared at the teeth in silence.