Neil ran with the train trying not to overtake. He wanted to see the little people inside. But the wind blew away his cap making him stop. Suddenly he noticed. His hands were empty! Frantically he patted his jeans pockets. Nothing there – just like his jacket!
Neil swiveled and found his mommy and older brother near the ‘De Amsterdam’ ship. Mom was clicking Chris’s pictures towering over it.
“Mommy,” he shouted, “I can’t find my car.”
“Why did you bring it here?” she sounded tired, “Find it fast. Our bus leaves in 30 minutes.”
Neil wondered where to start. He looked around and shrugged. His toy car resembled any of the thousand cars here in Madurodam!
“So you lost it, huh. Now don’t come asking for my cars,” Chris sneered.
Neil grunted at him. The car was his tenth birthday gift.
He loved it, and now he had lost it!
“I will find it,” he tried sounding confident.
But he saw cars everywhere. Some were moving, others stood.
He saw more cars in the railway station parking lot. He couldn’t remember where he had left his.
When they arrived at Madurodam, Neil had been awe-struck. He counted 12 trains criss-crossing this miniature city. In the middle was Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. Aeroplanes cruised on its runway. Looking around, he recognized buildings he had seen yesterday on their tour of Netherlands.
There was the Dam Square surrounded by tourists and cars standing bumper-to-bumper. Had he left it there?
Neil sprinted back to it, but his car wasn’t there. Nor was it beside the canal with speed-boats and a bridge that split-up.
At the highway, he found no red car amidst the moving vehicles. It wasn’t by the beach with holidaymakers Neither at the windmill whose sails he had pushed around. The streets had a police car blaring by every few minutes. A stretch Limousine waited outside the church where a newly-wed couple waved at friends. At ‘Kaasmarkt’ he found circular cheese blocks being weighed and loaded onto trucks. But no car with ‘Neil’ written below.
“Neil, “we leave in 10 minutes.”
His mother was standing by the stadium. Behind her, tiny firemen were putting out a fire on a cargo ship. Their tour guide was herding other passengers. Unhappily he started walking out. Then he noticed Chris’s smirk. And he froze.
Last time he had his car; Chris was with him at the amusement park. They needed a coin to start the rides. Neil had used both hands to pull one out from his pocket.
“I’m coming mommy,” Neil shouted, bolting towards the park.
Neil found the roller coaster trudging up the steep slope. Someone had fed another coin. He heard people screaming as it
sped downward. But no car there either.
It had to be here. Determined, he bent down and searched. Lo-behold, there it was hiding under the tiny trees.
He turned the car over. The words ‘N-E-I-L’ gleamed back making him smile again.