HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
Everything seemed pretty normal for the Hardy household. Except that the youngest son thought he was from 1927, which only he and I knew so far. As we all sat at the kitchen table and ate our almost-midnight snack, we talked about the day we just had as well as the next one.
“Peter called and we’re going to stop by there in the morning. He had some visitors again and this time there was sabotage. The police didn’t find out much about the culprits,” I said.
Everyone was concerned about Peter being bothered. Someone trying to pressure him into selling wasn’t acceptable.
“Did they get any clear video of the saboteurs?” Dad asked.
“Not really, but we’ll definitely be checking out what was recorded,” I said right before a big bite of lettuce, cheese and tomato sandwich.
“Good thing that you two won’t be flying so that you can help Peter sooner,” Mom commented.
Nearly choking at the thought of doing the air show, I picked up my glass and quickly swallowed some milk. I still wasn’t sure about whether or not Joe had amnesia. There are some poisons that can cause amnesia. So piloting a plane, forget about doing acrobatics in the air, would not be a good idea. Hopefully he would be fine for the grand finale of the car and air show, but if not, I had no problem making sure he was grounded, in a literal sense.
Joe looked over at me a couple of times and had a curious expression on his face. He would look over at Aunt Trudy then at me and casually raise his eyebrows. I wasn’t sure what that was about, though.
“Are you feeling alright, Joe?” Mom asked, her pretty face showing her concern.
Joe didn’t want to worry her, so he had wanted to find out more before telling anyone else. He figured since one other family member knew about it – me – then he could put off telling everyone else for the time being.
“I’m weary from everything today, but I’m okay.” He smiled reassuringly at her.
She returned the smile, but I could tell in her eyes that she knew there was more to it. I noticed Dad and Aunt Trudy surreptitiously studying Joe, also. Time to distract.
“Peter mentioned that he had an idea. We’re curious about that.” I glanced over at Joe. I had a feeling he wanted to ask something, although if he was thinking he shouldn’t then hopefully he would stick with that. He could ask me later. I made a mental note to check with him to find out.
“The Bijou still being pretty much the same is….cool,” Joe said with a grin at me. “I hope we can help.”
“I’m sure you can,” Dad stated with a nod. “If there’s anything you need me to help with, just let me know.”
Joe looked at Dad thoughtfully. “Thank you, Dad.”
Dad smiled at Joe. “We’ve always taught you two that you can come to us about anything.”
Joe nodded. “Whatever year it is.”
Dad gave a slight raised eyebrow look, but agreed. “Yes, any year. And on any day, too.”
Just as Joe was opening his mouth, our home phone rang, startling all of us. It was our landline, which we have for back-up or outages.
Tony was calling. He wanted us to meet him down by the wharf near where we keep our boat, the Sleuth. I had answered the phone, so I told him sure and that we would be there before too long.
“You’ve got an early and busy day tomorrow,” our dad reminded us as we got ready to leave.
“We should be back shortly. Hopefully,” I said. “He didn’t say what it was about, but it sounded urgent.”
“Be careful,” Mom told us.
“Aren’t we always?” asked Joe with that familiar twinkle in his eyes. Some things never change.
“I doubt it,” she teased back.
Aunt Trudy threw in some warnings as we were leaving, including watching out for gangsters. For some reason, I had a suspicion that might be a particularly valid warning.
We hurried to the docks in our car, not the Duesenberg, obviously. Joe had all kinds of questions about the vehicle, which I answered as I drove. Once we got closer to the docks, there were less streetlights, but that didn’t bother us since the moon provided us with a good deal of light.
“Tony said he had tried both of our phones and finally called the landline,” I told Joe. “My phone was off by accident. I meant to tell you that I checked and there’s no signal transmitting from yours, so we can’t find it with GPS, which stands for global positioning system.”
Joe drank in all the things I told him. If I tried not to overwhelm him with information, he’d ask a very good question requiring me to tell him more.
“Remember how to send a text?” I asked, having told him about that when I was explaining all about the phone earlier.
“I believe so.” He listened as I told him to send one to Tony for more information. A minute or two later, Joe said proudly, “I sent it!”
I smiled at my little brother’s enthusiasm. Now that was something that should never change.
“We just got a message back!” he said. He read out loud: “2 buildings down from Sleuth. Park car then walk. Possible hoods on other side of me.”
“So we’re coming the right direction, that’s good.” I swung into a parking spot and shut off the engine. “Ready, Joe?”
“Definitely!” Yeah, he was grinning.
“Let’s go,” I said after reaching for my phone. We’d have to get him one tomorrow. “We’re going to be careful.”
I interrupted him. “Don’t bother. Just actually do so.”
We got out and stealthily made our way toward Tony’s location. The moon definitely helped. We didn’t want to use my phone or the flashlights we were bringing with us unless absolutely necessary.
Moving forward quietly, we found Tony crouched near a stack of crates. He whispered excitedly to us as soon as we were right next to him.
“Those guys are definitely gangsters!”
“Why?” I whispered back.
My brother supplied an answer, but not a convincing one, yet a very interesting one. “They sure look like some of Nitti’s men from Chicago.”
Tony and I both looked at Joe.
“I heard them talking. One of them does have a Chicago accent,” Tony whispered. “They’ve been loading up those crates into that truck-” Tony interrupted himself to ask Joe, “Did you say Nitti, as in the Chicago gangster in the 1920s and 30s?”
“Yes.” Joe went on to name two more names. We were hidden enough that I took out my phone and looked those names up. Checking out the pictures in the search results, I then took a couple shots of the two hoods in question loading crates. After zooming and comparing, I showed Joe and Tony. The similarities were eerie.
They were the three guys who had been threatening Peter.