Freddy and the French Fries #2:

The Mystery of Silas Finklebean


By David Baldacci

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ebook (Digital original)


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In this sequel to “Fries Alive!,” Freddy Funkhauser discovers the lab of long-lost scientist Silas Finklebean, along with instructions on how to build a time machine. With Finklebean’s help, Freddie is determined to prove himself to bully Adam Spanker.


Text and illustrations copyright © 2006
by Freddy and the French Fries, LTD
All rights reserved.

Little, Brown and Company

Hachette Book Group, USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Visit our Web site at

First eBook Edition: January 2006

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

ISBN: 978-0-316-03394-7



Nine-year-old Freddy Funkhouser and his thirteen-year-old sister, Nancy, were counting up the receipts for the night at their family restaurant, the Burger Castle. As they were finishing, their father, Alfred, walked out from the kitchen, opened a large white umbrella, and instantly vanished.

"Omigosh," said Nancy. "Now he's really done it. This is worse than him blowing himself up all the time with one of his screwy inventions."

Suddenly Alfred reappeared, holding the closed umbrella. "My inventions aren't screwy, dear, just sometimes slightly ahead of their time."

"Cool, Dad," said Freddy excitedly. "You made yourself invisible."

"Not exactly. This umbrella refracts light particles and gives the appearance that the person using it has vanished. Here, try it."

Freddy opened the umbrella, raised it over his head, and disappeared.

"Oh, Dad, if only you could make it permanent," said Nancy, looking longingly at the spot where her brother no longer was.

Freddy reappeared and handed the umbrella back to his father. "Dad, that is, like, sooo awesome. Why don't you call it 'The Invisibrella'?"

"That's a really cool name, Freddy. I'm working on a bowl that will do the same thing."

"An Invisibowl?" Nancy said dully.

"Invisibowl. That's a good one too," Alfred said.

"It certainly has some interesting applications." He whispered to Freddy, "But it certainly doesn't top what you did."

Like his father, Freddy was an inventor. And he had invented something — or somethings — super special that had helped his family recently win a parade float competition against their rivals, the Spanker clan, who owned the enormous Patty Cakes Restaurant across the street.

"Where are they, by the way?" his father asked.

"Hey, guys," called out Freddy, "over here."

The five — or six, if you counted heads — figures came out from the dining area. They were all superpowered French fries that Freddy had built and brought to life with the help of a billion-jiggy-watts lightning bolt. Each Fry was a different color and didn't look anything like a human, so when they weren't working at the Burger Castle, Freddy had to disguise them with regular clothes, wigs, and makeup.

Theodore was an incredibly smart blue crinkle-cut Fry; Ziggy was a tiny yellow Fry; Si and Meese were skinny red shoestring Fries (with one body and two heads); Wally was an enormous purple waffle Fry; and Curly was a green curlicue Fry. The Fries were all disguised as guys except for Wally, who wore a polka dot dress, wig, and high heels. In the small town of Pookesville, where the Funkhousers lived, he was known as Wilma.

When they were at the Burger Castle, though, the Fries wore no disguises at all. The customers just assumed that the brightly colored Fries were in costumes because all the Funkhousers wore funny outfits too: Alfred was a tomato, Nancy was a bottle of ketchup, and Freddy dressed as a chicken and clucked in greeting to each customer.

"Boy, Mr. F," said a beaming Si, who was always happy. "That rutabaga meat loaf with a reduction sauce made out of pansies and candle wax with just a dash of that thingamastuff you made in your laboratory was a big seller today. What an aroma. Mm-mm."

Meese, who was always sad, scowled at his twin and said, "It smelled like elephant poop and gave me a headache."

Alfred replied, "Well, that strong smell halts runny noses on the spot."

"But we'd sell a lot more of it if you'd just change the name," said Nancy. "The 'Snot Stop Special' isn't really all that appetizing when you think about it, Dad," she added, rolling her eyes.

"That's nice, dear," said her father absently.

At that instant Howie Kapowie came running into the restaurant waving a piece of paper. Howie was Freddy's only friend — well, his only human friend, anyway. He was even smaller than Freddy and had rumpled black hair.

"Hey, Freddy, did you see?"

Freddy took the paper and read it while the Fries and Alfred crowded around.

"Wow," said Freddy. "A science competition."

"With a hundred-dollar first prize and your picture in the Pookesville Tatter newspaper," said Howie. He popped three cheese cubes in his mouth and chewed slowly while he fantasized about victory. "Do you realize how many cheese cubes I could buy with a hundred dollars?"

"Howie," said Freddy, "we can work on a project together."

"That's what I was thinking. I mean, after all, you're the real scientist, but I make a pretty darn good sidekick."

"Hey," bellowed Wally. "Maybe you can invent some food. Not just any food. A mountain of food. No, a whole mountain range of food. No, a whole mountain range of food that keeps growing back even after you eat it."

As he talked, Wally's eyes grew bigger and bigger and his butt and belly stretched wider and wider.

Freddy gave him a poke and whispered, "Ix-nay on the purpulis enormosis thing." Purpulis enormosis was the Latin name that Theodore had christened Wally with because, well, he was purple and enormous. And he, like the other Fries, could morph into virtually anything he wanted to. Nancy watched this spectacle very suspiciously.

While Howie and Alfred already knew what the Fries really were, Nancy was still clueless about their origin. Freddy wanted to keep it that way.

"I hear Adam Spanker's entering the competition," said Howie.

"In a battle of brains, I'm not afraid of Adam Spanker," said Freddy confidently.

Adam Spanker headed up a gang that struck fear into the hearts of children all over Pookesville. His father, Stewie Spanker, was the Pookesville police chief, town mayor, and he owned the Patty Cakes restaurant. It was hard to say who was meaner, the father or the son.

"You never know; he can be tricky," warned Howie.

"That's good advice," said Alfred Funkhouser. "Okay, we're heading home, Freddy. Do you want to ride with us?"

"We'll walk home, Dad," answered Freddy. "It's sort of a tight fit with Wall — I mean Wilma in the station wagon."

After Nancy and their dad had left, Freddy, Howie, and the Fries went into a back room where Freddy took off his chicken costume, and the Fries started to put on their human clothes. Curly pulled several baseballs out of his locker and started tossing them in the air. He entertained the customers at the Burger Castle with his juggling skills and liked to practice whenever he could.

Wally had just put on his high heels and was trying to cram his dress over his head when he stumbled and bumped into Curly.

"Whoops!" said Wally. The collision sent the baseballs Curly had been tossing bouncing down a set of steps leading to the basement. "Sorry, Curly."

"That'sokayWallyaccidentshappen," mumbled Curly. He strung all his words together because Freddy had made a mistake when constructing the green Fry's voice box and hadn't yet figured out how to fix it.

"I'll go get them." Wally threw his dress on the floor and rushed down the steps and through an open door at the bottom. A second later, they heard a big crash.

"Here we go again," said Freddy wearily. Yet not even Freddy could imagine how much trouble Wally would be getting them into this time.



Freddy got to the basement first. He looked down at the purple blob lying on the floor in front of him. "Wally, are you okay?"

Wally slowly rose on thick, quivering ankles.

"How do people walk in these itsy-bitsy thingie-wingies?" complained Wally about the ladies' shoes he wore. "My tootsies are like hamburger." Wally suddenly got a strange look on his face. "Hamburger! I am soooo hungry."

The other Fries caught up.

"Wally," said Theodore in his deep, scholarly voice, "you really need to become more proficient in navigating with that particular style of footwear."

"Theodore," complained Wally, "I'm sort of busy trying to figure out how to walk in these dumb shoes, okay?"

"What's that?" squeaked Ziggy, pointing at the spot where Wally had hit the wall.

"Lookslikeaholewithsomethingbehindit," mumbled Curly, examining the break.

Everyone crowded around Curly, but it was too dark in the hole to see anything.

"I'll go get a flashlight," Freddy said. Moments later he returned and shone a light in the hole.

"Wow," exclaimed Wally.

Si said, "It looks like a passageway. I bet at the end of it there'll be a pot of gold and nothing but good times."

"I'm sure there're monsters in there just waiting to eat us," Meese whined. "Black holes are never good for you. That's why they're dark and scary."

Freddy peered through the opening. "There is a passageway. I wonder where it goes?"

"Well, the aperture is too diminutive for us to proceed," opined Theodore.

"Yeah, and the hole's too little to get through," added Wally, scratching his head.

Theodore looked at the big purple Fry and sighed. "That's what I just said."

"Wecouldtrytomaketheholebigger," mumbled Curly.

"I'm not sure my dad would like that," cautioned Freddy.

"COMING THROUGH," roared Wally, who had morphed into a giant purple bowling ball and was rolling right at them.

Freddy and the other Fries jumped out of the way just in time. Wally hit the wall and broke right through it, disappearing into the darkness.

"Wally!" Theodore cried out as the others peered through the new, very large hole. "Did you suffer bodily impairment?"

Wally yelled back, "Nope, but you oughta see the huge boo-boo on my butt."

Following Freddy, Howie and the Fries cautiously entered the secret passageway.

"Wow," said Freddy as he shone the light around. "It looks like something inside a medieval castle in Europe."

"But the Burger Castle's not very old, is it?" asked Theodore.

"I didn't think so," said Freddy. "Before we bought it and turned it into a restaurant, it was a Laundromat. I thought those owners had built it, but maybe not."

They found Wally rubbing his very large behind.

"Are you okay, Wally?" asked Howie.

"I'm cool, little dude. Lucky I didn't hit my head and mess up my big brain."

"Yeah, lucky," said Ziggy as they continued down the windy passageway.

Theodore, who, unlike Wally, had two large computer chips for his brain, said, "I calculate that the direction of this tunnel is running north by northeast at precisely forty-five degrees."

"Wait a minute," exclaimed Freddy. "That means it's headed toward the Patty Cakes restaurant."

Wally rubbed his huge hands together and sniffed the air. "Yummy. I thought I could smell all that grease frying."

Ziggy grabbed Freddy's pants leg. "Uh, Freddy, can we get out of here now? It's sort of, well, spooky down here."

Wally reached down and picked up the little yellow Fry and put him on his broad shoulders. "Not to worry, little papoosie, nothing's gonna get you while big Wally's around."

Just then they heard a loud squeaking noise from the direction they were headed.


Freddy was knocked down and lost the flashlight, which went out, plunging them into darkness.

"Ouch!" cried out Ziggy amid lots of scuffling.

Curly mumbled, "Wouldwhoeveritisplease-getoffme?"

Si said, "Boy, I've always wondered what it felt like to be smashed to a pulp."

"We're all going to die, and I'm first in line," yelped Meese.

Freddy finally found the flashlight and turned it back on.

"Wally!" he said in a scolding tone.

The purple Fry had jumped on top of Howie and the other Fries while still holding Ziggy on his shoulders, causing Ziggy to hit his head on the ceiling.

Wally looked sheepish as he climbed down. "I went up there for a better look."

"Come on, guys," said Freddy. "We need to see where this passageway goes."

They cautiously moved along until they reached a doorway.

"Go ahead and open it," said Si. "I bet there's a million bucks just waiting on the other side for us to grab."

"No," said Meese frantically, "that's where the monsters are, I'm telling you."

Theodore was examining the door. "It appears to be locked."

Freddy pulled a small device from his pocket.

"Is that a new invention?" asked Howie.

Freddy nodded. "The Wriggle-Jiggle. It'll take care of that lock." The Wriggle-Jiggle was a coiled piece of copper wire attached to a small power pack. Freddy put it in the lock, turned on the power, and the wire wound in and around the lock tumblers, pushing them to their open position. They heard a loud click, and the door swung open.

"Pretty cool, Freddy," said Si.


On Sale
Jul 22, 2008
Page Count
176 pages

David Baldacci

About the Author

David Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author, and one of the world’s favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. His works have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at and his foundation at

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