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Cody, Tip and the Rusty Truck Mystery
Chapter 1, Tip's Frenzy

First of a nine -part series

By Melanie B. Smith · 340-2468

“What is it, Tip?”

Cody Dillon yells to his dog but keeps his eyes on the video game he’s playing.

Tip is scratching at the front door and barking loudly. The dog runs to a window and scrambles onto a chair to look outside.

Cody hits one more misspelled word with his “blasting pen.” His score comes up on the screen — nine out of 10 correct. He thinks of the “get out of one chore” coupon his dad will give him for his good score.

“I’m going to use it to get out of sweeping the garage,” he tells himself.

Cody hears Tip again.

“Tip, why are you going crazy?” he mutters, getting to his feet to check on his dog. She doesn’t usually get all excited like that.

Cody hears the rumble of a big engine in the street and the squeal of brakes. He glances outside.

“Tip, it’s only the recycling truck. Settle down.”

Tip keeps barking and pawing the door as the truck stops at the curb outside his house. Cody and Tip watch a worker get out of the cab, pick up the blue bin and empty the newspapers, aluminum cans, magazines and other items into the truck.

Cody digs his soccer ball from a pile in his room, calling to Mrs. Lee, the neighbor who comes in after school to help out. “I’m going out to practice soccer!” he yells.

“Take the recycle bin to the back,” she calls.

As Cody opens the door, Tip scoots out and takes off.

“Hey, come back here!” Cody yells.

Cody groans, drops his soccer ball and starts after Tip.

“Stop, girl!” he calls.

Surprisingly, Tip does stop. She looks back at her owner and does a sort of twirling dance.

Cody has almost caught up when Tip takes off again. Cody lunges and catches his dog just before she dashes behind the recycle truck, which is rolling back as the driver changes gears.

Cody scolds his dog. “You scared me. Don’t run behind trucks!”

Barking again, Tip turns in Cody’s grasp to watch a vehicle with a sputtering motor far down the street. Cody can hear the noise from what appears to be a pickup as the recycle truck moves down the street. The pickup turns and speeds off.

“What’s with you?” Cody asks his dog, half expecting an answer.

Tip is pretty smart. She usually has a reason, almost a human reason, for what she does, Cody has learned. Well, that’s true except when she keeps sticking her head out the window of a car flying down Interstate 65. No human likes that for long.

Cody recalls how his dad jokes that one day Tip will take over his job as a newspaper reporter.

Any day now a computer voice recognition program will translate her barks into words, Cody’s dad says.

“Mom says Tip could be a military officer,” Cody remembers, smiling.

Of course, she was joking about officers “barking” commands, Cody thinks. He wishes his mom were home instead of so far away with the National Guard.

Tip squirms in her owner’s arms. Then she licks Cody’s face.

“Quit that!”

Tip, of course, doesn’t.

Instead she barks in Cody’s ear, drowning out the faint engine sputter.

THE DAILY’s NEWSPAPER IN EDUCATION LINK: According to the story, what items does the recycling truck pick up from Cody’s house? Can The Decatur Daily be recycled? Look at the bottom of page A2 of any Daily edition to find out.

(Alabama Standards: English/Language Arts — Demonstrate a literal understanding of print material.)

More: What other items can be picked up in Decatur’s curbside recycling program? Look it up online at Click on “Departments” and then on “Recycling.”

(Technology — Apply content-specific tools, software and simulations to support learning and research.)


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