HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
As we neared Main Street on our walk across the grounds to the theater, I’m sure all of us were keeping a lookout for any suspicious characters. In addition to those we’d already come across. It was going to be interesting seeing Main Street, which for the hours of the show each day, was only being used by cars built in 1927 or before.
Chet had pointed out horses should be allowed, too, since they’re modes of transportation predating cars. He had a good point. In keeping with that, he had ingeniously and quickly constructed hitching posts, utilizing and covering parking meters.
It was pretty cool seeing one classic car after another parked or being driven. As much as I enjoy looking at them stationary, seeing them in motion, now that’s even better.
Callie and Iola, just as interested as Joe and me, watched in fascination.
“This is awesome!” Iola exclaimed, smiling. “Getting to see these cool cars!”
Callie and I agreed. Joe, however, looked like he saw these cars every day. Plus, after Iola commented, he looked over at her as if trying to interpret her words.
“The engines would be warm,” he stated very straight-faced. “But, the breeze would be nice and cool.”
Iola gazed at Joe a moment before throwing me a quick look. She covered with a laugh and reached for Joe’s hand.
“You’re right, of course!”
Joe blushed again and mumbled something.
Iola and I were looking at Joe, trying to figure things out. Callie, obviously for Joe’s red face, changed the subject by hurrying to say, “We better move it, or we’ll miss the first part of the movie!”
So we crossed the street and headed down the block. The Bayport Bijou was situated in the middle, with its marquee billboard displaying:
The Kid Brother
I went back to thinking what it must have been like living in 1927. That’s probably what Joe was doing. Reacting and all just as if he was actually in 1927. That had to be it, especially with him again taking Iola’s “cool” comment literally. Plus, I still thought he was possibly trying to get me back for that phone prank. That gave me an idea. I didn’t necessarily want to bring it up, but this could help give me some information.
“Hey, Joe, did you bring your phone?” I asked, sounding somewhat innocent with a little effort. I watched as he looked over at me, sorta like he thought I was nuts.
“My phone? No, I thought I’d leave the phone at home.” He raised an eyebrow.
That almost didn’t tell me anything. “Where?”
“Where I left it.” There was a big eye roll that went along with his words.
We were in the lobby of the theater by this time and still had to get to our seats before the movie started.
“Let’s go. We don’t want to miss the beginning of the movie.” Joe motioned with his hand for us to come on.
He was right that we could miss the very start of the movie. Whereas we’re used to trailers and stuff being at the beginning of a film, if you check into the definition of movie trailer then you’ll find out that there’s a reason it’s called a trailer. It came after the movie, as in trailing behind it.
The Bayport Bijou had maintained its elegance and looked unchanged from the early photos we’d seen of it. Ornate furnishings and fixtures decorated the theater in a classy style without being too much. What was nice in 1901 remained so in 2015. Pretty cool.
We settled in our seats a couple minutes later. Before long, the picture started up and watching the comedy up on the screen gave us a lot of laughs.
During intermission, I decided, after the lemonade on the way over here, that I could be more comfortable for the second half of the movie. So, I excused myself and went to the restroom. Leaving there a few minutes later, I paused in the large lobby and looked at the display of posters.
Raised voices drifted to me from the partly closed door to the office. I recognized one as the owner and also manager of the Bijou, Peter. He’s a really nice guy who’s been our friend for years.
“I’m telling you to get you and your goons out of here now. I’m never gonna sell this place to you. Not going to happen. Fuggedaboutit. Now get out of my face.”
The door opened the rest of the way, revealing Peter, with the stormiest look I’ve ever seen on him.
Another voice could then be heard, but I still couldn’t see what the person looked like.
“Listen up,” the voice snarled. “You’re only asking for trouble. I’m going to own this place, whether you like it or not. I’ve tried to be nice about it.”
“Well, you failed miserably,” Peter retorted.
“You’re going to be sorry,” the other guy snapped.
“You’re making me sick. Go somewhere else where people like and admire bullies. ‘Cause I don’t.”
“Maybe we can change your mind.”
I had a feeling there was more than one person in there threatening Peter. Taking a couple strides in the direction of the door, I called out as if searching for Peter.
“Hey, Peter! Got a situation with the popcorn! Peter?” I raised my voice more.
“Oh, hey, Frank, how you doin’?” Peter stepped out of the office. “I’ll be right with you, okay? I just gotta wrap up this meeting.” He cleared his throat. “These rats were just leaving.”
Three men filed out of the office, looking very unpleasant. The first one tried to use a friendly tone.
“Thanks for seeing us on such short notice, Pete. We always end up doing that. Showing up unexpectedly. Could happen again. Real soon.”
I nearly rolled my eyes at the thinly veiled threat.
“It better not.” Peter escorted the three to the exit, and I followed casually. “Oh, and one more thing, you three.”
As if they shared a brain, they turned simultaneously. “What?” the first goon snarled.
“I’m not changing my mind. So save yourself the trouble. Or are you not capable of getting that?” he asked.
After they left, Peter turned to me and clapped me on the shoulder. “So how’s it going, Frank? Need help with the popcorn situation?” He paused as I shook my head. “No? I didn’t think so. Is this an amazing event or what? You know, I was down there earlier. Really something. You, Joe, and Jamal were incredible in those planes!”
I smiled and nodded, while not forgetting what just happened. “Thanks. We’re really having a great time. What’s going on with those thugs?”
Peter shrugged. “Who, them? Just some jerks. Don’t worry about it. They should have gotten the message – I’m not selling.”
I wasn’t too sure they intended to accept that message. If not, they had trouble planned for Peter.
Those thugs were going to find out that Peter wasn’t alone in his fight.