HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
As Lou, Frank, Callie, Iola and I walked around the grounds, enjoying the festivities, we weren’t oblivious to things going on around us. Frank and I had studied the folder Nehemiah had given us very thoroughly. Frank had been driving so that gave me opportunity to read and memorize it on the way home to drop off the items Aunt Gertrude had bought. Then while I’d unloaded the vehicle, Frank had read and memorized.
So at the show we had to keep our eyes open and maybe even find a way to check out the inn somehow. Ugly Notting had bought the inn from a very nice couple, only we just now found that out. He’d had someone else buy it for him, but he was the one who’d used the money he’d stolen from his extortion and other crimes in New York City and New Jersey. He’d used one of his aliases. So now he was in Bayport, but we were determined it would be a short stay.
“That guy who was trying to get you to pick pockets, you ever see him around the owner of the inn, Ugly Notting?” I asked Lou.
“Nah.” Then he grinned. “You’ve got to call him that to his face!”
“Not a problem,” I said with a shrug.
“That would be a big problem if you did that,” Frank interrupted. “Why antagonize him? Wouldn’t it be better to just put him out of business?”
“I want to put him out of business and annoy him.” I grinned.
We were walking along the front of the inn and we paused right after we got past it. I glanced down the side toward a more secluded area and noticed an open double window. Hmmm. I had an idea. The area behind us would be a big enough clearing. “Any up for a game of toss?”
“Now?” asked Frank skeptically, his back to the inn, therefore not seeing the open window. He was keeping a lookout at the people going by in the distance.
“What kind of ball? I love football,” Lou stated.
“How about soccer? There’s a soccer ball in our car,” Frank said, now seeing the open window inspiration and the office inside. We couldn’t see much of it, but from where it was located and the visible furniture told us enough.
I ran and got the soccer ball in record time. On the way back, I saw Biff, Phil, Jerry, Chet, and Perry. Waving for each of them to come, we hurried back to the others.
Soon our impromptu game was in play. When I carefully kicked the ball toward the open window, Frank pretended to make a spectacular leap to block the ball, but it got by him as he intended. It was so smooth, you would have been sure he was really going for it.
“I’ll get it, but that counts as a goal!” I shouted with a grin.
I ran over to the window, pushing past the shrubbery growing in front of it. Almost expecting someone to appear angrily at the window, I reached up to grasp the ledge and pull myself up.
When no one came, I hoisted myself into the window opening. No one was in sight. Sweet. I landed pretty quietly and sprang to my feet. Locating the ball just inside the room, I went past it toward the desk. Probably someone forgot to close the window. When you see an opportunity to do something useful, you don’t pass it up. That’s what Mom and Dad taught us.
I had already searched as much as possible in one minute, when I got a big scare. A man stepped silently from behind a freestanding bookcase in the middle of the room. The desk where I was searching was along the opposite wall facing him with the window in between us.
He didn’t say anything for a minute. His hat shadowed his face, but I could see his beard and mustache. He carried a silver-handled cane in his left hand and wore a well-tailored suit. When he spoke, a Spanish accent filled his carefully chosen words. “Like father, like son.” He smiled.
“Wow, you scared me!” I exclaimed softly, recognizing my Dad’s voice even though he used an accent and was in disguise.
Dad and I quickly finished searching the room. Together we made pretty short work of it. Making sure we put things back exactly, we did come across some interesting items and info that were incriminating and would be very useful.
We went toward our individual exits. I found out later that Dad had provided the guard with a nap, after asking him directions, by applying the right pressure quickly and effectively on the necessary points of the neck.
I climbed out the window and joined the others. Then I tossed the ball to Lou, who did a pretty good play of adeptly stopping it and kicking it up to his knee in one quick motion.
We didn’t stand right there and discuss everything in front of the open window since we aren’t ignorant. With plans to meet at our house later, Lou ran off to check with his cousins, while the others went to go on some rides and try to win more games. Except for the Hardy brothers and girlfriends, who continued walking around. We needed to make some plans, do a little strategizing.
As we neared the hangar adjacent to the inn’s grounds, I suddenly remembered that person I saw right before Frank, Jamal and I had performed our acrobatic show in the air. Wonder who that was. Little problem though, since this sure seemed to be 1927 and I had been in 2015 at the time. Still, I was curious about the hangar and we made our way toward it.
Some thugs were standing outside the huge closed doors, but not in their line of vision was the side door. One that just needed a little lock picking. Then we were in.
Yeah, it was a big place. A lot to check out in a very short time. Those dudes could decide to come in, plus, let’s face it. We had no idea if anyone was in here also and who they were. I love sleuthing.
Each couple selected an area and we began searching. Two intriguing, mysterious places to investigate one right after the other – awesome!
We’d been searching a little while when I heard this unique scraping sound. Looking over, Iola and I could see Frank and Callie starting to move a large wooden filing cabinet. Why? Because my brother and his girlfriend are geniuses. Iola and I hurried over to help. The cabinet was pretty tall and must have been loaded with stuff. Finally we had victory.
“Whoa,” Iola and I whispered simultaneously.
All four of us looked in fascination at what we could now see. It was pretty cool. Then when Iola could tear herself away, she picked the lock on one of the filing drawers and opened it. You know why? Because Iola’s a genius, too. What she found there was also going to help a lot.
Then our focus went back to what had been revealed by moving the cabinet. Did I mention it was awesome?
How’s that for a cliffhanger in a hangar on a cliff?