HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
Once the fireworks in the sky were done for the night, I walked Callie to her car. She had arrived later than us this morning, since we had to get here earlier due to displaying the Duesenberg. A family who lived on her street wouldn’t have been able to come and enjoy the event if Callie hadn’t picked them up. Their car had quit on them, one of them was on crutches, plus an assortment of other trials, but they were a good, strong family who didn’t put their trust in material things.
As we waited for her neighbors to show up, we enjoyed a nice, lengthy, powerful kiss and hug goodnight. The brightest of the fireworks set off over Barmet Bay were nonexistent in comparison to what we felt.
Seemed like way too soon when her neighbors arrived. I greeted them and watched as Callie drove off a few minutes later. Then I turned and walked back toward the Duesenberg.
Joe arrived around the same time from walking Iola to her family’s car. Chet had found a Buick for a good price and had worked hard fixing it up. So he had wanted his whole family to ride to the show together. I’d seen it earlier and he had added some finishing touches that were impressive. He had done a thorough and great job on the car.
As we arrived at the Duesenberg, all of us Hardys climbed in. We’d all voted for Dad to get to drive the classic car home. Mom, Joe, and I were all going to get to drive it for the other days of the show. Aunt Trudy preferred riding in it, although she’s a great driver.
Joe was smiling and talking about the day as we drove along the marked off area, following other classic cars toward the exit going onto Main Street. Traveling through there was very cool with the parade of antique cars. Those staying at Inn the Bay simply left their cars in their spots on the grounds.
Along Main Street, people watched the parade, pointing and taking pictures. Joe was mostly focused on talking about awesome events of the show and wanting to help a few people we talked with today along with how we might go about that.
As we rode through downtown Bayport, I saw Joe glance out the window and do a double-take. I looked out into the dim lighting of the darkened night, also, but didn’t notice anything different good or bad.
“See something, Joe?” I asked my suddenly quiet younger brother.
“Well,” he said, “yes, as a matter of fact, I did see something. Compared to when we left this morning, some things are the same and some things are…different.”
“That’s quite a cryptic observation, little brother. Care to elucidate?” I threw a grin over at him.
“It is dark out, but I almost certainly saw a building that was not there this morning. They had just finished the foundation a few days ago. Now there’s a new brick building there.”
Joe looked at me with such trust that I could explain things and make everything better, I chose my words very carefully. Brick building….hmmm, he could be referring to the bank. Although the foundation wasn’t poured a few days ago. More like eighty-seven years ago. Ah, wait. Now he’s getting me back for the phone earlier. Maybe. I wasn’t entirely convinced of that theory.
“We’ll check it out tomorrow. Okay?”
He nodded and went back to looking out the window. When we pulled up to our home, I slid a look over at Joe. He seemed to be anxiously waiting to see the house and he looked relieved when it was fully in his view.
Dad opened the garage from the driver’s seat. Joe glanced over at me.
“When did we get an automatic invisible electronic beam mechanism to open the garage door?”
“This newest one we actually just got since the other one broke,” I responded. “Why?”
“Just checking.” He seemed to be in deep thought.
“Would everyone like a snack after showers?” Mom asked.
She and Dad had been talking in the front seat so they might not have heard the very unique conversation their sons had been having. Aunt Trudy had her earbuds in, hidden by her hair and clothes, but I could see the small player in her hand. So she wouldn’t have heard our conversation either since she was listening to music. Once we stopped in the garage, though, she turned it off.
“Sounds great,” Dad said with a big happy smile at Mom.
“Okay, everyone meet in the kitchen in an hour and a half,” she said.
We all climbed out of the Duesenberg and headed inside. Out of the corner of my eye, I observed my brother. He was taking everything in. Some things he kinda stared at like he had never seen them before. I decided to wait and see what he would say and when he would say it. That might give a clue as to what was going on with him.
He was quiet until he went into his room. I had been in the hall, listening a minute before going to my room. Then when he called, I stepped to the doorway.
“What?” I asked.
He turned and looked at me, looking puzzled and more than a little stressed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, frowning and stepping closer.
If this was part of his prank and he started laughing, so be it. I know my brother, though, and I could tell that was real concern in his eyes.
“My room looks the same in a lot of ways. Yet some things aren’t! I mean, yes, there are bookshelves, but not all the books are the same. Clothes on the back of the chair, that’s right. Whose clothes, though?”
I looked and they were definitely Joe’s. “Those are your clothes, Joe.”
He gave me a look then stepped over to his bookcase. Slipping one from the row, he felt the brown tweed cover.
“This is more worn than I remember it. But I do recognize the book.” He opened the book and turned a page to read the copyright. “1920. We got this brand new about seven years ago. The year this edition was published.”
“Are you feeling okay, Joe?” I asked.
He sat down on his bed, still holding the book. “What’s going on?”
“We’ll figure this out,” I assured him.
“Seeing you is very reassuring and makes things seem okay amidst all the differences.”
I patted him on the shoulder as I thought through possibilities for answers, preferably plausible, to what was going on. Knowing I could reassure my brother with true things that hadn’t changed, my tone and words were steady.
“Don’t worry, Joe. We’re in this together. We’re brothers. That’s what family is for.”