Double Take: Things Are Not What They Seem

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9780310703396: Double Take: Things Are Not What They Seem
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'The 'QoolQuad Honor Code' is put to the test when Matt and his friends uncover a mysterious secret about Matt's nemesis, Hulk Hooligan. In part two of the Laptop series, the QoolQuad is back for another technological adventure when Matt is tempted to use the laptop to stifle an inevitable confrontation and beef up his own reputation at the same time. Matt and his friends are thrown into a pursuit that only ingenuity, creativity, and a lot of courage will get them through. Will Matt break the 'Honor Code'? Will he choose to help his enemy or save himself? Full of suspense and intrigue, anything is possible in this technological thriller.'

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About the Author:

Christopher P. N. Maselli has been sharing God's Word with kids through stories for nearly 10 years. He is the author of multiple award-winning projects. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Caught Red-Handed The thing about destiny is that sometimes it takes a ninety-degree turn when you least expect it. One moment a man thinks he owns the world; the next moment, he discovers it owns him. For most, this would be a tragedy. But for one man, this was inconsequential. He didn't mind being owned by the world, so long as everyone else thought he was still in control. But that's when destiny stepped in with a ninety-degree turn and changed everything. 'Peee-uu!' The Enisburg Junior High boys' locker room smelled like a combination of sweat and athlete's foot, but it was the perfect place to hide. During sixth period, no one ever used it---except for today. Thirteen-year-old Matt Calahan sat on a wooden bench between two rows of gray lockers, his laptop fired up in front of him. Matt's good friends, Lamar and Gill, were there, too---they had to be, or Matt was sure the plan wouldn't work. 'You sure the video camera's facing the right direction?' Matt asked Gill yet one more time. Gill was still holding his nose. 'Matt, you worry too much,' he said, sounding like a duck. 'I took care of everything.' 'Well, I hope so, because this may be our only chance to prove that Coach Plymouth is innocent.' 'The truth will come out,' Lamar interjected. 'I've known Coach long enough to know he didn't change anyone's grades just to keep 'em playing sports. Someone else is doing it, I'm sure. They're just letting Coach take the rap.' 'I hope you're right.' Matt ran his hand through his thick black hair. Lamar tapped a locker with his fingertips. 'I'll keep praying.' Matt checked his watch, then stood and peeked around the row of lockers. He spied the entrance to Coach Plymouth's office. 'Alfonzo should be coming by any minute.' 'You bring an extra battery?' Gill asked. 'Of course,' Matt said. 'You sure you got the camera hooked up to the closed-circuit TV system correctly?' Redheaded Gill lifted up his hands and held them out dramatically. 'Sorry,' Matt apologized. 'Just making sure.' Just two class periods ago, in his media elective, Gill had wheeled the AV department's video camera into the coach's office. The plan? He would fulfill his media class assignment by interviewing Coach about the upcoming basketball season . . . but then he would leave the camera in the coach's office, hooked up to the closed-circuit TV system. And so, when Alfonzo came by two periods later to work with Coach on his basketball moves in the gym, that would leave the office empty. Perhaps then they could catch the grade-changer red-handed . . . for the entire school to see. So far so good. Well, pretty good. Gill's interview with the coach hadn't gone so well. While Gill loved being in front of a camera, his interview skills needed some improvement. The entire interview went something like: Gill: Hey, Coach! How are you doing? Coach: Good. Gill: Good. Me, too. Coach: Good. Gill: So are you looking forward to the upcoming basketball season? Coach: Yep. Gill: Me, too. Coach: Good. Gill: So how do you think it'll be? Coach: Fine. Gill: Good. And so forth. Matt was sure his friend wouldn't be winning the Pulitzer anytime soon. 'This better be fast,' Lamar urged, his brown eyes connecting with Matt's. 'We can't stay out of study hall forever.' 'You guys should sign up for the AV department,' Gill offered. 'We get all kinds of time to wander the halls. We even hear about drama stuff before everyone else. Like I just read that they're holding auditions for a commercial downtown. I might go.' 'You're going to be on TV?' Lamar asked. 'Well, I might audition. The world needs to see my talent. This time next month, I could be famous.' A low whistle echoed in the locker room. 'Great!' Matt exclaimed. 'That's Alfonzo. He's going to get Coach out.' He rubbed his hands together. 'Gill, go watch and tell me when they leave.' 'Right!' Gill said and disappeared around the corner. Lamar let out a low breath. Matt thought Lamar seemed just about as nervous as he was. Of course, this was the first time they were using the laptop to solve a crime. Sure, they had stopped a bank robbery, but this was real Hardy Boys stuff. They had done their homework, and now they were hoping they had come to the right conclusion. If their plan worked, Matt's amazing laptop would save the day once again and Coach would be vindicated. Matt had received the laptop a few weeks prior, on his thirteenth birthday. It was the best present his parents had ever given him. For a long time, he'd wanted to ditch his paper and pens and write like a real writer---with a keyboard and monitor. What his parents didn't know---and what he soon found out--- was that his laptop had . . . well . . . 'special abilities.' Quite simply, Matt, Lamar, Gill, and Alfonzo had discovered that Matt could change the future with the words he typed on his laptop. The boys vowed to keep this discovery a secret; they had to protect the laptop from falling into the wrong hands. But they also saw the enormous potential in this particular birthday gift. And so they made another vow---they would use Matt's laptop to make dreams come true. Or, in this case, to solve a mystery so that the truth would be known. Because as Lamar always said, 'When God gives you a gift, you gotta use it.' A moment later, Gill came racing back. 'They left!' 'They left?' 'They left!' 'Good! Let's get started.' Gill ran off again and Matt wiggled his fingers, placing them on his laptop's keyboard. He typed: 'Shortly after Coach left his office, the grade-changer chuckled. He knew he had this grade-changing thing in the palm of his hands. It was too easy---nudging those grades over the top, doing the whole school a gigantic favor . . . all the while letting Coach Plymouth take the rap. Bad grade-changer! Bad! But he didn't care. He was a crafty one.' 'Maybe a little less editorializing,' Lamar suggested. Matt tipped his head toward Lamar. 'I have to get the creative juices flowing.' Matt continued. 'At once, the grade-changer left wherever he was. He knew the heat was on Coach and he wanted to double-check ... to make sure the grades he'd altered hadn't been changed back. He needed them changed.'

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