It was not until Clarence, the new boy, came to town that folks began to notice a change in the neighborhood, and the things that were going on proved to be entirely different from anything they had known in the past. No longer were windows broken, and door bells rung, and flower beds ruined, and playthings missing. Instead, a number of good things seemed to be happening that gave the neighborhood a better name.
It all came about in this way. When Clarence Howell moved to the brown house on Polk Street, the "Night Owls" invited him to their club which they had built on a vacant lot, and gave him the privilege of joining their club. As part of the initiation, Clarence was to go down and turn on a fire alarm at a box four blocks down the street, while the gang enjoyed the excitement from a clump of bushes. Clarence reached the box, turned the key, and then raced up an alley, but the boys missed the fun, for a cop had been watching them, and chased them out of the bushes, very nearly catching one of the boys.
The next morning there were great headlines in the paper. The fire truck, dashing madly to answer what proved to he a false alarm, hit a boy riding on a bicycle and seriously injured him. He was in the hospital, and it was unknown, as yet, whether he would recover.
The "Night Owls" were scared, and a special meeting of the gang was called as soon as school was out. They had wanted to have a good time, but this was different. It would be murder if the boy died.
"Boys," said Bud Brinkley, the president of the club, "we've been carrying our sport too far. If that cop recognized any of us, it may be we'll land in jail."
"Too had about the kid. I never dreamed anything like that would happen," spoke up Bill Morey. "Wish we could do something."
"Why can't we take him some puzzles in a few days when he gets better? We can say we read about it in the paper, and thought he would enjoy something to pass the time," said Red Callahan.
"Listen, fellows," remarked Clarence. "I belonged to a club where I came from that had a good time, and didn't risk getting run into jail. Let me tell you about it."
And so it Lame to pass that when there was a door bell rung and the scampering of feet, there was something left on the porch when the door was opened. Perhaps it was a toy for some little sick boy; perhaps it was a can of beans and a loaf of bread for some poor woman; perhaps it was a bundle of magazines for a shut-in. And the neighborhood talked, but they were none the wiser. They only knew that good things were happening, and that it was the work of a mysterious group who enclosed a little slip which read, "From the Night Owls."
--"Imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good" 3 John 11.