Kidnapped in Sweden
The moment Travis Lindsay heard the ridiculous yell, he closed his eyes and shook his head. It meant the Screech Owls’ big defenceman, Wayne Nishikawa, had come up with a new call.
Nish had certainly been this loud before. He’d screamed worse when he fell through the ice on his snowmobile when the Owls had gone up north, and he’d yelped in real terror that day at summer hockey camp when he’d gone skinny-dipping with the snapping turtle. But the biggest difference was that this time Nish’s call was filled with joy rather than horror.
Nish, stripped naked again in the middle of a lake, was having the time of his life.
This time, however, the lake was frozen solid, and Nish wanted
the world to see him! This time he was fully expected to have absolutely nothing on, and this time he didn’t have to worry about drowning or an attack from a snapping turtle!
Did they have snapping turtles in Sweden? Travis wondered.
He shivered. He, too, was bare naked, and on a day so cold he couldn’t even breathe through his nose. If they did have snapping turtles, Travis thought, there was nothing to worry about today. If one was hiding anywhere around here, it would be suffering from lockjaw, frozen solid!
Travis couldn’t believe how quickly the air could change from unbearable heat to unbearable cold. A moment ago the sweat had been pouring off his face so fast it seemed as if Lars Johanssen, the Owls’ nifty little defenceman, had dumped the bucket of water over Travis’s head instead of over the white-hot rocks of the club sauna. The water had sizzled and steamed and the temperature had risen so dramatically that Travis had trouble breathing.
Now, standing outdoors, naked and skinny as the birch trees that grew down to the edge of this frozen Scandinavian lake, he had trouble breathing again. Travis’s nostrils were frozen shut. He was breathing through his mouth and the air was coming out in a fog as thick as the exhaust from his father’s car when they headed out for an early-morning practice back in Canada.
Travis looked around him. Except for Nish and Lars Johanssen, most of the Screech Owls — Data Ulmar, Willie Granger, Andy Higgins, Jesse Highboy, Dmitri Yakushev, Gordie Griffith, Derek Dillinger, Fahd Noorizadeh, Jeremy Weathers, Wilson Kelly, Mike Romano, the new third-line winger — were all still huddled next to the sauna building, their hands wrapped around their naked bodies like too-small blankets.
The Owls looked ridiculous. They were trying to use the building to shield themselves from the wind. Steam was rising from their heads and shoulders the way Travis had once seen it curl up from the team of horses that had drawn the Owls around the maple-sugar bush that belonged to Sarah Cuthbertson’s grandparents.
Sarah was here. Well, not here
— not now
, with crazy Nish standing bare naked out in the middle of the lake. But she was here in Stockholm.
Sarah would return to her own team after the tournament. Her parents thought the trip would be an excellent opportunity for her to get a feel for the larger Olympic-sized ice surface, where Sarah hoped to play for the Canadian women’s team one day.
Excerpted from The Complete Screech Owls, Volume 2 by Roy MacGregor. Copyright © 2005 by Roy MacGregor. Excerpted by permission of Screech Owls, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.