HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
“Let’s check out this opening here,” Officer Marvin suggested.
He walked slowly over, watching us the whole time. We tried to look casual and curious. I had long ago placed Iola protectively behind me, to keep her safe as much as I could. And believe me, I’d give it my all.
“We need to get going,” I said.
The jerk who had coerced Lou into picking pockets sneered at me. “He’s who helped that pickpocket. Gave me a bag of rocks.”
Officer Marvin nodded. “That was a good trick, though.”
I shrugged modestly. “I try to do my best.”
“How about you use that gift a little more profitably for yourself?” Officer Marvin bent down near the opening to the secret passageway and drew his gun. “Never know when you might need to shoot someone,” he explained.
Iola’s hand tightened on mine. To stall, I asked Officer Marvin, “What do you mean ‘more profitably’?”
“Well, with a talent like yours that could be used in very useful ways some people would be willing to pay a lot of money for.”
“Go on,” I encouraged, feigning interest.
“I might know some people I could introduce you to. For a cut.”
The rich dude blustered to Marvin, “You going to trust him? He’s a Hardy. They’re like the Untouchables; they can’t be bought.”
Then Officer Marvin, calm as can be, shot the dude, who fell in a heap. “I’ve been wanting to do that. He’s been getting on my nerves.”
Iola gave a gasp and I stared at Officer Marvin, who looked unconcerned.
“Good thing I came in here and rescued you two from that thievin’, murderin’ crook.” He put his gun back in his holster and leveled a look at us.
“Don’t expect us to thank you,” I managed to say.
He spread his hands out as if to say ‘why not?’. “I saved your lives. Believe me, if he had a chance, he would have killed you. Or actually had someone else do so for him. You really made him angry, so he might have done it himself.”
“What about that other officer who wouldn’t do anything about the gangsters? Officer Jones?” I asked.
“He works for them.”
“How about you?” Iola asked.
“Spunky girl,” Officer Marvin said with a nod. “I work for myself. Then I can trust my boss.” He gave us each a scary look. “Most of the time.”
I hoped help would come like really soon. He was blocking the hidden entrance and we had no idea where the passageway led to. Most of all, we didn’t know exactly where Frank and Callie were right then.
“Well, what about this Notting character?” I asked. “Besides the fact that he doesn’t have any.”
Officer Marvin gave a laugh. “You’ve got style, kid.”
“Any chance of me talking you into joining our side, instead of vice versa?”
“Don’t know that I could be trusted.” Officer Marvin shrugged. “You don’t really know whose side I’m on, do you? Not that I’m of a mind to tell you.”
“So what are your plans?” I asked.
As he reached into his uniform jacket, I got ready. Not much cover nearby. Bluffing might be good to buy time.
“You wanted to know about Notting’s empire? Here.” He took out a packet of paper and tossed it to me. I let it land near my feet. My parents didn’t raise any morons.
“What are we supposed to do with this?” I asked.
“Your dad should know some honest law enforcement, judges, whatnot. Use that to take down Notting and his dirty little empire.”
“What are you going to do?” I asked cautiously. This could be a trick. He said himself he couldn’t be trusted.
He laughed. “You don’t know, do you?”
“That’s kinda why he asked,” Iola retorted behind me. I love that girl.
“They say that for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. That’s their job. Maybe that’s true of bad men, too. Good men and women need to stand up against pure evil, so do the not-real-good, too.”
Curious thing to say. “You mean, because there are worse bad guys than you out there and you want to stop them?”
He shrugged. “You can think that if you want. Maybe I stole a lot from Notting and want him to be sent up the river. Hard to say, isn’t it?”
We watched as he walked toward the opposite side door, keeping his eyes on us the whole time.
“See you, kids,” Officer Marvin opened the door, looked out then took off.
After grabbing the large envelope, Iola and I checked the rich dude then ran to the secret passageway. We hurried down the stone steps. Only the tied up thug was in sight. Then we heard shouting from the hangar. Recognizing voices, we returned up top.
“You two all right?” Frank asked, meeting us at the opening.
“Sure.” I grinned, thankful to see him and Callie.
“You’re not hurt, right, doll?” Lou asked as Iola emerged from the secret passageway.
“I’m fine, thanks,” she said, holding my hand.
“You sure are.” Lou grinned appreciatively at her. Grrrrrrr.
Dad stepped over to us right then. “Lou had followed the man who’d tried to get him to be a pickpocket. Once Lou saw him come here into the hangar, he came and got me.”
“Thanks,” Iola and I said. Wasn’t thanking him for flirting with my girlfriend, though.
“Notting’s been arrested and a whole lot of other corrupt people,” Frank told us. “When Callie and I heard what was going on, we had the disadvantage of being too obvious if we returned to the hangar from the passageway. We knew we had to get help and getting captured ourselves wouldn’t help. So we followed the tunnel, which branched off. The way we chose ended up coming out at the Bijou.”
Iola and I then told what had happened to us. As we were walking past the inn a short time later, some of the honest police officers of the Bayport PD were escorting Notting to a waiting patrol car.
“So long, Ugly,” I called as we went by.
Lou laughed with delight as Ugly gave me, well, an ugly look.
Someone bumped into me and to my shock, it was Chicago gangster Frank Nitti. “Hey, you might want to question that guy, too,” I quietly told some officers nearby as Nitti, who’d been meeting with Notting, tried to slither away. Then I saw Eliot Ness, along with fellow Untouchables, Bill Youngfellow, Rico Rossi, Jack Rossman and Lee Hobson. They came and talked with us briefly and exchanged handshakes. Talk about pretty cool.
Notting’s empire had been defeated. The gangster’s attempt to settle in Bayport and run his crooked operations was thwarted. So was his work at trying to frame Nehemiah. He had committed all of the crimes that he’d accused Nehemiah of. He had been going to get a crooked politician, yeah, they’re always at it, to go after Nehemiah and try to pin everything on him. The truth is always the truth, though, no matter who and when evil people twist it to try to say what they want it to say. The cool thing is, they can’t change the truth and that really angers them.