HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
Despite Lou’s efforts, I definitely enjoyed the fireworks with Iola. And bless Aunt Trudy’s heart, she took time from her date to talk with Lou. As in giving Iola and me at least a few minutes of semi-privacy.
Lou’s cousins showed up during the fireworks show. They were nice, friendly, and appreciated us looking after Lou, who had promised to tell them all the details later. We watched the rest of the fireworks then got ready to go home.
“Hey, thanks. I had a swell time today.” Lou grinned as he ran up to us right before he and his cousins left.
He practically ran into me, but I kept that from happening. I knew it was on purpose. I don’t know exactly when he found my wallet I’d put back in his pocket after he’d lifted it from me – did you follow all that? I knew that he had to have been waiting for a chance to return it to my pocket, without me noticing.
“Glad you had a good time,” Iola said with a smile.
“Sure did, doll.” Then Lou, the little squirt, winked at my girlfriend! He wasn’t done yet, either, he reached out his hand, and once she reached out her hand, he kissed it! She smiled.
“Oh, and Joe, I think you dropped this,” Lou said as he turned and handed me my wallet. “You need to keep a better eye on things.”
If only Lou was older and bigger then I could punch him. Instead I just smiled and accepted the wallet.
“And you need to keep your hands off what and who isn’t yours,” I informed him.
He just gave a smirk-grin and waved to us as he took off after his cousins.
I looked over at Iola, who was smiling at me. “That kid is too much.” I shook my head.
Holding hands, we walked toward the area where the Mortons’ vehicle was parked. The moon was out and glowed down on us. A gentle breeze flitted by, gently tossing Iola’s pretty hair. The air was comfortable, not humid at all. It just held the natural warmth of summer. Nice.
It took a while longer to get to the Mortons’ sedan. Talking, while walking slow, with some stopping, several times, to hug and kiss, attributed to that. It was great. Except for the gangster problem, this had been one awesome day.
I sensed that fireworks were still going off for Iola, and they sure were for me. Eventually we arrived where the Mortons were waiting, but they had been talking and Chet had been tinkering with the car, so it was all cool. After talking a minute or two with them followed by friendly goodnights, I headed for my family at the Duesenberg.
Frank was right ahead of me and I jogged up to walk with him.
“About time!” called Aunt Trudy to us when she saw my brother and me approaching. I grinned and waved.
“Have a good time, bro?” I asked Frank with a smile, which he returned.
“Fantastic,” he stated.
I reached out for a fist bump, but he must not have seen it because he didn’t reciprocate. So I just lightly punched his arm and he laughed.
Some of the cars were staying parked there for the night of those who were guests of Inn the Bay. As we followed the caravan of classic cars along the path of the bumpy grounds, I spotted the clueless cop who ignored our warning about the tommy guns and gangsters. He had believed them, not us. I was nearly positive they’d been real. Both the guns and the gangsters.
“There’s that police officer I told you about, Dad,” I said, leaning toward the front seat. “The one who took the gangsters’ word over ours.”
“Hmmm.” Dad slowed down and let the Duesenberg idle as we paused alongside the suspicious-acting police officer. “Hello, officer. My sons were telling me that they found some weapons in the back of a vehicle today.”
“Oh. That was nothing. Just some props. You know how kids lie,” he said disdainfully.
“No. My sons do not lie,” our dad stated. He leveled a frown at the other guy. Dad is a warm and friendly person – except to jerks. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t discount someone’s observation just because of your ignorance in the quality of their character.”
The cop shuffled his feet some. “Okay, Mr. Hardy. I’ll look into it.” Most police recognized Dad, with his success as a NYPD detective and now as a private investigator.
“Thank you.” Dad was about to drive off when another officer strode up.
“Everything okay, folks?” he asked. He slapped the first officer on the back. “Officer Jones isn’t trying to shake you down, is he?” The officer acted like he was joking, but I think he was truly concerned that Officer Jones had been bothering us.
“No, he was going to look into some possible gang activity at the show,” Dad explained.
“Ah, I see. Well, I don’t know how much good he would do. He doesn’t seem to be very observant. Are you?” Again the officer seemed to be joking, yet not, at the same time. He didn’t give Officer Jones time to say anything, not that he looked like he was going to. “I’d be glad to help out next time you see anything. Just look for Officer Marvin.” He gave a friendly wave and backed up as Dad put the car in motion again.
Well, that was intriguing. I gazed out the window as we drove home, thinking about all the different stuff that happened today, both good and bad.
In the moonlight, I watched as we passed by familiar buildings. A number of stores, a couple of houses, next would be the bank. I wasn’t really paying attention, but was mostly busy thinking. Still, in the back of my mind, an alarm went off. Something wasn’t right. What was it? There was one building that was supposed to be there….that wasn’t. What? How could that be? Someone couldn’t possibly have stolen the bank. Right? Maybe it was Carmen Sandiego? Or maybe even the good guys, the Leverage team that I’d heard helped people.
“See something, Joe?” asked my big brother.
“Well,” I said, “more like I didn’t see something. Or maybe I blinked and missed it. Compared to when we left this morning, some things are the same and some things are…different.”
Frank listened to me and I could tell he was trying to figure out my mysterious comment. “Help me with a little more information,” he requested with an encouraging smile.
“Did you see the bank?” I asked.
“No, I had been looking out my side. But I know they’re working on it.”
“Maybe they took it down to work on it?” I suggested facetiously.
We were just about home, so we decided to check it out tomorrow. Mom suggested snacks later after everyone got cleaned up. Sounded great. I was puzzled at what was going on, but I hadn’t lost my appetite.
At home, things felt homey and familiar. Or mostly familiar. When I got up to my room and looked around, I probably sounded a little freaked out when I called my brother. He was there in a second for me.
As I told him what was different, it was comforting to see his familiar strength and concern.
“Don’t worry, Joe. We’re in this together. We’re brothers. That’s what family is for.”
Something I was very thankful for.