Synopsis of Story~
The Hardys go on a mini-vacation to the sandy ocean shore down the coast from their Bayport, New York home. Once they arrive, they are warned to protect their valuables! Someone has been stealing from the multitude of beachgoers for weeks on end now! The authorities only know the ‘what, when & where’, the ‘why’ seems obvious enough…but they have no clue as to the ‘who’ & the ‘how’! Can Frank & Joe solve this seemingly unsolvable crime? Can they succeed where others have failed? Will they have enough time to bust the bad guy before they have to return home? Find the answers in this detective novel featuring the world’s most-loved brother detectives: Frank (age 4) & Joe (age 3) Hardy! Please don’t let the early ages trick you – they’re still the Hardy boys! Solving serious mysteries & fighting crime is what they do!
~A Little Hardys Adventure by Lily~
The Mystery at the Beach
We’re Goin’ to the Beach!
“Fenton-” Laura Hardy turned to ask her husband something as they went down the walk toward their car, having just locked up the house.
“No, we didn’t forget anything,” Fenton interjected with a smile. He had searched through the entire house one more time that morning, making sure that everything was safe. Every door was locked, all handheld appliances were unplugged, the timers were set to make the house look like there were people there…he was quite confident that they hadn’t forgotten any of those kind of things.
“Fenton-” the petite blonde began again.
“No fretting, honey. I’m sure everything’s fine! Just relax…we’re officially on vacation!” he slipped his arm around her waist and kissed the top of her head.
“Yes, I know that, but-“
“If you know that, then no ‘buts’, okay? You don’t need to worry.”
“I’m not worrying about the house, Fenton,” she finally managed a complete sentence amidst her husband’s well-intentioned reassurances.
He came to an abrupt halt and asked, “Then what are you worrying about? I know that tone. You’re hesitating about something. The boys are both in the car ready to go. The suitcases are in the car. We have our traveler’s checks with us. The house is all fine. The Mortons will be picking up our daily papers and mail. What else could there possibly be?”
“Shoes on your feet.”
“Shoes on my-” Fenton looked down and saw that indeed he had forgotten to change from his slippers to his loafers. He had almost done this a time or two before, since the slippers were designed much like his loafers. However, this was the first time he had gotten this far without catching his mistake. His face colored a little and he looked back up to meet Laura’s gaze. “You know, you have every right to let out that laughter you’re so sweetly holding in right now. I deserve it after teasing you so much about wearing your moccasin slippers to the store before, even though they looked like real shoes.”
Laura smiled, “No, I remember how it feels behind that reddened face. I’m not going to laugh at you…and you didn’t laugh at me, either, remember?”
“No, but I did tease you about it for a while.”
“Yes, but that’s one of your favorite things to do, love,” she smiled up at him.
“Yes, that is one of my favorite things,” he said as he pulled her into his arms for a kiss. She smiled and raised her head to meet his lips.
“What’re they doing, Frank?” three-year-old Joe Hardy asked his older brother anxiously while trying to lean forward enough in his seat to see for himself.
“Kissin’,” came the one-word reply.
“When’re we gonna go to the beach?” Joe wanted to know.
“When they’re done kissin’, I guess,” four-year-old Frank answered without much confidence. He and his brother had been sitting in the backseat of the family car for what seemed like forever. They had watched their parents go back and forth between the car and the house lots of times as they checked and re-checked every bag and package they had with them. Frank was beginning to wonder how many days they would have at the beach. It was supposed to be almost a week, but at this rate, there might only be a day or two left by the time they got there!
Finally, their parents reached the car. Fenton held the door open for Laura, closed it after she got in, and then went around to get in the driver’s seat. Then their mom asked their dad a question as he slipped on his sunglasses.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to drive? You didn’t get in until late last night. You could rest.”
“No…thank you, though, sweetheart. I’ve learned from our previous trips that even though I have to deal with the chaotic drivers on the road, it’s easier than twisting around and taking care of two very energetic little tykes in the backseat!” he reasoned with a good-natured laugh.
“Oh, so that’s why you keep turning down my offers to drive! And here I was worried that you didn’t like my driving!” she laughed.
“Hey, I’ve never had any complaints about your driving, well, except maybe that one time…”
“Which time?” she asked in surprise.
“You know…when we were dating…you almost drove the car into a ditch up in Connecticut?” he asked, watching her face so he could see her reaction.
“Fenton Hardy! That wasn’t a result of my driving skills and you know it!” she frowned playfully. “You weren’t exactly behaving yourself, if you’ll remember correctly.”
“I was injured,” he stated simply, as if that exonerated him from all accusations and responsibilities.
“That’s your excuse? You couldn’t drive because your right arm was injured, but what does that have to do with your left hand reaching over to pinch me while I was trying to concentrate on my driving?”
“Because if my right arm hadn’t been injured, then I would’ve been doing the driving. If I had been doing the driving, then my left hand would’ve been on the wheel. As it was, my left hand had nothing to do keep it busy…so it did what it wanted to do,” Fenton reasoned with a sexy grin.
“Are we going to the beach?” Joe asked from behind them.
Fenton and Laura shared a smile and then answered, “Yes, Joe.”
“See? I told ya we were still goin’!” they could hear Joe tell his brother, who remained quiet, waiting for some physical evidence to back it up. He didn’t have to wait but a minute longer as his dad started the car and backed carefully out of the driveway.
After they had traveled about an hour from their Bayport, New York home, the Hardy family stopped at a combination gas station/convenience store to stretch their legs and freshen up. After tending to various necessities, the family of four met back together in the small store.
“Can we have some candy?” Frank asked his parents with hope in his big dark brown eyes.
“If you’d rather,” Fenton hedged, knowing his elder son would pick up on the hint.
“What?” Frank asked as he waited with great anticipation to find out what choices he had.
“Well, you could pick out a candy bar…or…you could have an ice cream cone!” his dad announced with a grin, knowing how much Frank loved mint chocolate chip ice cream in a delicious, edible cone.
Frank’s face lit up with delight as he exclaimed, “Oh boy! Ice cream!”
“Ice cream!” Joe repeated with equal enthusiasm as he reached up to grab his dad’s hand in gratitude.
Fenton smiled down at his sons and said, “Ice cream cones it is then!”
Frank led the way to the ice cream counter, having spotted it as soon as they had entered the establishment. Laura was right behind him and lifted him up so he could see all of the different flavors available. He always liked to know his choices, even though he hardly ever chose anything other than his favorite.
“Chocolate chip mint, please,” Frank decided after a few moments’ consideration. Laura set him back down as the woman behind the counter dipped it up for him.
Fenton had lifted Joe up to see the flavors and so far, all Joe had managed to say was, “Ooo, yummy!”
Laura went ahead and ordered chocolate chip ice cream for herself, knowing Joe would be a while. And she also knew that Fenton always liked to order last because he hated it when the ice cream began to melt and make a mess.
The woman finished dipping up Laura’s order and now waited expectantly for Joe to make his decision.
“What’s the purple stuff?” he asked her.
“Is it good?”
“If you like raspberry,” she answered in a monotone.
“Go ahead and take your break,” another woman encouraged with a reprimanding edge in her voice as she came to take the order. The overly bored woman left without a word, obviously not interested in politeness. The new woman apologized, “I’m sorry for the rudeness. She’s always like that.”
“Why don’t you fire her?” Frank piped up, not appreciating the way the bored woman had talked to his brother.
The lady leaned down to speak ‘confidentially’ with the smart little boy, “I would love to fire her…but she’s the boss’s daughter and he’s the only one who can fire her.”
“If he sees her in action, or rather, inaction, maybe he’ll do just that,” Fenton responded.
“There’s always hope,” she replied, though her tone indicated that she didn’t really have any in relation to this situation. Brightening up she asked Joe, “So, what looks good to you, sweetie?”
“All of it!” he announced with a happy little chuckle.
She smiled and came right back with, “Well, I could put a teaspoon of each flavor into a cone for you. That would make a full cone…but I don’t think it would taste very good. Not all flavors go together tastefully. It might end up tasting yucky. Do you want to try the raspberry and see if you like it? I could give you a little taste.”
Joe wrinkled his little nose and shook his head. “No, thank you. I don’t think I’d like it now. What’s that pink stuff with the red chunks in it?”
“Cherry ice cream. The ‘chunks’ are black cherry halves…pieces of real cherries. Would you like to try that?” she encouraged cheerfully.
Joe shook his head. “No, thank you. Don’t like chunks.”
“You need to decide soon, son, your mother and brother are halfway done theirs already,” Fenton tried to help Joe move along. From experience, Fenton knew that this process could take most of an hour if he let it. Joe liked all of the ice cream at first and then one by one he would narrow it down until he made his decision. It didn’t have to take a full hour, though!
“What’s the yella stuff?”
“Yellow stuff? Oh, that’s lemon. You wouldn’t like it, sweetie. It’s got pieces, uh, chunks, of stuff in it, too,” she warned him. She went on to tell him about the ‘chunk-less’ varieties available.
After he tried the vanilla, the orange, the chocolate marshmallow, and the Neapolitan flavors, he pointed to the tub in the back right corner and declared his choice, “Chocolate!”
“Chocolate it is then!” the lady announced happily. Sometimes it could be annoying to wait for someone to finally make a decision on which flavor they wanted. However, she was almost disappointed that this little visit was nearly over. She enjoyed having pleasant customers like this family.
After dipping up a generous amount, but not too much for a three-year-old to eat without getting a tummy ache, she handed the cone to Fenton who reached it down to Joe.
Joe wrapped his two chubby little hands around the cone and opened his mouth wide to take a bite. Then, realizing the lady might not have understood that she was included when he said ‘thank you’ upon receiving the ice cream, he stopped, looked up, and said, “Thank you!”
“You’re welcome, sweetie,” she smiled and then looked to Fenton for his order.
“Hmmm, it does all look good, doesn’t it?” he joked in a friendly manner. He named his choice in the next breath, “Chocolate chip ice cream, please.”
The lady smiled and dipped it up for him. She wished them all a pleasant day and stepped back over to the mini deli to take another customer’s order.
The Hardys went to the front counter to pay for their purchases. While Fenton and Laura worked together to get the exact change from their pocket and purse, respectively, Frank looked at the huge gumball machine nearby.
The lady behind the counter waited patiently, looking out the window, wishing she could be out there in the fresh summer breeze.
“We’re goin’ to the beach!” came the big-smiled announcement from the little blond haired boy with the big blue eyes who peered up at her from the other side of the counter.
“You are? Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun!” the friendly clerk replied.
“Yeah, and you know what, you know what?” he asked, the excitement causing him to repeat himself for emphasis.
“What?” she encouraged as she smiled at him. He’s just so adorable!
Joe lost his train of thought for a moment as he got distracted by the various goodies on display at the register. Looking back up at the nice lady, he thought for a moment and then plunged back into the conversation, “We’re gonna be there alllll the way to nex’ week!”
“Wow! What are you going to do there all that time?”
“You like playing in the ocean?”
“Uh-huh. An’ I like playin’ in the sand…an’ eatin’…an’ watchin’ the dolphins…”
“Oh, I like watching the dolphins, too.”
“Really?!” he asked, delighted that she liked the same thing he did.
“Yes, really,” she assured him with a smile as she accepted the coinage from his parents.
Joe laughed happily and looked over to find out if his brother had heard this neat information, too. Wow, pretty colors!
As Fenton and Laura turned from the counter, they spied their two little boys standing there quietly as they admired the big gumball machine. Laura looked up at Fenton; he smiled but shook his head ‘no’.
“We can’t spoil them rotten before we even get to the beach,” he said quietly so the boys couldn’t overhear. “We still haven’t decided if Joe’s old enough for chewing gum yet. And I’m not certain that we got through to Frank about not swallowing the gum.”
Laura nodded in agreement and the four of them exited the store and walked toward their car. They had almost reached it when the earth suddenly began to tremble and a loud noise blared a short distance away! Frank and Joe turned toward their parents with fear on their little faces. What’s going on?!?!