SPINNING THROUGH PERIL
The inebriated driver hit the brakes, but it was way too late for it to have enough time to halt on the slippery roads. Everything, somehow, seemed to be going in slow motion. Too fast yet painstakingly slow at the same time. Suddenly a tall figure was there, scooping the two little boys up into strong arms and sprinting out of the way just in time as the car skidded past. It was so close they could feel the air from it as it rushed by. The drunk driver looked back, but didn’t see anyone in the road so he assumed it had all been his imagination and continued on to his home.
“Mac!” Joe yelled, looking up at his big cousin. Frank could hardly believe what had happened. One second they were about to be run over by some drunk driver and the next second they were safe on the side of the road. He looked up at their six foot four cousin, who also happened to be a Navy SEAL, and smiled at him, thankful that he was there.
“Well, what are you two doing out here?” Mac asked, raising his eyebrows as he looked at his two favorite little cousins calmly, while inside his chest, his heart thudded from the fear and adrenaline caused by what had almost happened.
“Lots of stuff! We’re too tired to tell you the whole story now,” Joe said, leaning his head against Mac’s strong chest. He was excited to see his beloved cousin, and that took away some of the tiredness, but he was still groggy from the cold combined with the shock of nearly getting run down.
Mac looked at them both, smiling affectionately. He hugged them a little tighter as his mind flashed on the scene that had just unfolded. That was too close. He had just arrived in Bayport, but when he found out that some of the roads were impassable, he had decided to hoof it to his cousins’ home. When he had spotted Frank and Joe walking along by themselves, he couldn’t believe it, and then when he had seen the car speeding toward them, he had feared he wouldn’t get there in time. He had been terrified that he was about to see them killed and not be able to stop it. Only a miracle would have allowed a man, no matter how fast he was, to have rescued two little boys with so little time and space for a rescue.
“What do you say about going home, then? That meet with your two’s approval?” At their nods, Mac started walking down the road, traveling much faster than Frank and Joe had been able to. His long legs carried them quickly to their street and then to their home.
“Hey, Frank,” Mac said, his deep voice quiet. Frank started, not realizing he had fallen asleep. He glanced over at his brother, who had his eyes closed, sleeping against his cousin’s wool dress coat.
“Huh?” Frank asked sleepily.
“You got the key?”
“Key to what?” Frank was still half asleep. Since both brothers were exhausted and finally felt safe, they had understandably nodded off.
“The front door of your house?” Mac’s blue eyes twinkled, as his good natured mouth turned up on the corners.
“Oh,” Frank said, and then got the key out that he had carefully put in his zippered pocket for safety, many hours before. As Mac bent down, his arms still securely holding his two little cousins, Frank unlocked the door. Knocking the snow off his boots, Mac carried them into the house, kicking the door shut. His eyebrows rose at the sight of the mess the boys had left in their hurry to get help for the trucker. Stepping around some of the stuff, he flipped on the light with his elbow. The lights came on, much to Frank’s surprise.
“Hey, the electricity is back on!” Frank smiled at Mac, “It went out right before we left.”
“Mmhhmm,” Mac said. “You know why it came on, don’t you?”
Frank frowned, puzzled at the obvious question, “Because the electric company got it fixed?”
“Because he didn’t know it was out!” Joe laughed, having just awakened.
Frank laughed, too, realizing immediately that Joe was referring to the Bugs Bunny way of looking at things, such as when he walked off a cliff, and was fine until he realized that there was only air beneath him.
Setting the two boys down, Mac reached over to the thermostat to turn up the heat. It was a little chilly in there and his cousins were pretty cold from all of their adventures out in the wintry air.
As he helped them get out of their coats and hats and gloves and things, they regaled him with details of their day. He listened with interest and questioned them when they got to the part about the police station as they tried to skim over the information they gave him about Smuff’s job to get them home safely. They didn’t want to get themselves in trouble, or Smuff, so he wouldn’t be even angrier at them and cause them problems.
“So the chief didn’t send you home with a police officer, he just let you go back out in the night?” Mac asked.
“Well, no…” Frank started.
“Oscar Smuff was supposed to take us home,” Frank explained, realizing if they didn’t tell Mac about Smuff, then he would be angry at Chief Collig, which wouldn’t be fair.
“So, why didn’t he?”
“He did, part of the way, until he got stuck, well, his car did, ’cause he doesn’t drive very well, then we got to walk by ourselves, which is what we wanted anyway, because he’s annoying, and he stinks ’cause his perfume is awful….” Joe rattled off; he wasn’t as cold now and was ready to talk a mile a minute.
“Cologne,” Frank corrected.
“Yeah, it stinks, and so we walked until Hank got hurt, and we helped him home,” Joe continued.
“Who is Hank?” Mac asked.
“A bully,” Frank said. Joe opened his mouth to tell their cousin more of what happened but Mac held up a hand.
“Why don’t you two go change into some dry clothes while I start some hot chocolate, okay?” Mac grinned as they nodded and hurried up the stairs. He was concerned about them getting sick. He put the wet coats and all in the bathroom, not real sure what to do with the items, before heading for the kitchen. He shook his head, thinking, those two really come across some adventures!
Frank and Joe were back down in no time. They had already tried the phone upstairs in hopes that it was working again, but it hadn’t been fixed yet.
“So why did Chief Collig assign this Schnook character to drive you boys home?” Mac asked, questioning the chief’s wisdom in doing so.
“I guess he thought even he should be able to handle that,” Frank said. Mac shook his head at Smuff’s incompetence.
“So what did your parents say about Melody leaving you two here by yourselves?” Mac asked, trying to fill in the details. He reached each of the boys a mug of cocoa. They eagerly accepted them and thanked him.
“Oh, they don’t know yet,” Joe said, before blowing on the hot chocolate. “Phones are out.” His blue eyes got wide and blurted out the question his brother had just thought of as well, “Hey, you have your phone with you, don’t you?”
“Of course.” Mac nodded his head toward the hallway, “In my right pocket.”
Setting his mug down, Joe hurried and retrieved the phone, before racing back into the kitchen. He handed it to his cousin.
Frank recited their mom’s number, which Mac punched into his phone and upon hearing it ring, handed it to Frank. He took it eagerly, anxious to hear his mom’s voice. Mac and Joe watched, knowing the exact second that Laura answered as a happy smile came across Frank’s face.
“Hi, Mom!” he exclaimed. “Yeah, we’re fine. Mac’s here!” He listened for a minute, his smile staying. “Hi, Dad!” Joe clapped his hands together, their questions and worry on whether their parents were both safe and with one another were now answered with happiness. After a few moments, Frank handed the phone to his little brother, whose blue eyes were sparkling with sheer joy. He spoke to his parents, and noted that they both sounded a little funny at first, but figured it was probably the phone.
After they had talked with their parents for awhile, Mac spoke with them briefly. Once he finished that call, he made another one, this time to the Bayport police station. Officer Con Riley answered the call.
Once he’d explained who he was, Mac proceeded to give the officer, a friend of the Hardys, the license plate number of the drunk driver’s vehicle.
“Did Officer Smuff return to the station yet?”
Con looked across the room to the officer in question, rolling his eyes at the sight of him, “Yeah, he’s here. Why?”
“He was supposed to bring Frank and Joe home. They’re home now, but no thanks to Smuff.”
Con muttered something about Smuff being a stupid idiot before talking to Mac again, “Really sorry about that. Frank and Joe okay?”
Mac assured him they were, and told him what had happened. Con was livid at his fellow police officer’s lack of character.
“Don’t worry, he will be hearing about this, as will the chief,” Con told him. “I was out on patrol when I heard about the trucker, and responded to the call. I was planning on coming over tomorrow to let the boys know about that since they would be asleep by the time my shift’s over at two this morning….Hey, wait up, Smuff, I want a word or two with you!” Con interrupted himself to shout as he saw Smuff heading for the exit. The blustery officer reluctantly stopped, although he had no idea why Con would be angry with him. He would soon find out.
Con returned to talking to Mac, “Could you let the boys know that the trucker has been rescued and is recovering in the hospital? A full recovery is expected.”
“Thanks.” Con said, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got something to do.”
“Have at it.” Mac hit the end button. He was impressed with Con’s attitude, and thankful the whole department wasn’t like Smuff. Mac wasn’t one to judge an entire organization on the basis of one individual.
Mac looked over at Frank and Joe, who both looked wide awake with no indication that they would be ready to go to sleep anytime soon. Proud of the two of them and what they had accomplished that day, he then relayed Con’s message to the brothers. They were very happy to hear this, having continued to pray for the trucker. Frank and Joe finished up their cocoa, while they talked with their cousin, telling him all about Hank.
The next day, the roads were cleared, and traffic eventually began to flow through Bayport once again. Fenton and Laura were able to make their way home finally, although it took awhile with the traffic and road conditions. When they arrived at their house, they were met by two very ecstatic boys, thankful to see their parents, safe and sound.
“Wait ’til you hear what they’ve been up to,” Mac commented casually, watching the happy reunion. Fenton raised a brow in curiosity. “You and Laura might want to be sitting down, Fenton. That’s all I’m saying.” Mac grinned.
Later as Fenton heard all that had happened, he was amazed and just listened to everything. Laura listened, too, but she was not silent when she heard about Melody deserting the boys. Frank and Joe tried to assure her that everything was fine and even preferable since the neighbor hadn’t been there.
It took a while before Laura calmed down. Mac took her aside later and told her about the phone call he had received from Melody when she had called that morning to explain her actions. It turned out that Melody’s big emergency was a sale her friend had told her about on the phone and she hadn’t wanted to miss out on it. She had planned to only be gone a short time but had gotten snowed in. Mac recounted his exact words of displeasure he had spoken to Melody. Laura was impressed with the job he’d done. She had no plans to ask that particular neighbor to babysit again. Melody was very lucky that Frank and Joe were fine.
Both Fenton and Laura were so thankful for Mac’s part in keeping the boys safe while they were gone, being there at just the right time to save them from the drunk driver.
“Hey, Mom?” Frank called to Laura. “I found this coat in the closet. We needed another one yesterday since mine had been wet from earlier, and there it was.”
Laura came in and saw her eldest son holding up the coat in question, “Your Aunt Gertrude sent that and wanted me to save it until she was able to send Joe’s new one. I had told her you boys had good coats already, but she was determined and you know how she is when she gets an idea. She certainly was right about this one.”
“We’ll have to tell her how much we needed it, and thank her,” Frank noted, looking again at the coat and recalling the amazement he had felt at the sight of it the day before. He would never forget.
“Hey!” Joe exclaimed, coming into the hallway from the living room. “Guess who was on the phone?” Frank looked at his brother, curious. He’d heard the phone ring a short while ago, but hadn’t heard who had answered it. Apparently Joe had.
“You’re not really going to make me guess, are you?” Frank asked as Joe waited with his information. Joe made a speculative face, but decided to give his brother a break.
“You’d never guess anyway,” Joe grinned at his brother’s mock glare. “It was Hank.”
“Yeah. He’s okay, not even any broken bones, just sprained and sore. He apologized, Frank.” Joe’s eyes were wide and surprised as he thought over Hank’s words, “He sounded like he really meant it. I told him I forgave him, and I was sure you would. He was surprised, but glad.”
Joe was quiet a moment, “Know what else he said?” Frank shook his head as Joe waited for a response, “He said that I was right, he was witless for being a bully. Do you think he could really change like that?”
“Sure, if he’s truly sorry and doesn’t want to act like that anymore.”
“I told him I wouldn’t call him ‘Whitless’ again,” Joe said, to which Frank nodded in agreement. “Unless he asks for it.” Joe grinned at the look of surprise on Frank’s face. Frank ruffled his little brother’s hair.
Later, with happy hearts, the family gathered around, thankful for miracles that take place. Thoughts of love, faith, light, bravery, dedication, promises fulfilled, life, and miracles were in each of their hearts. As they celebrated, Frank and Joe began to sing a tune their mother had sung to them since they were babies, their voices pure, clear, and harmonious.
Never ceasing ’til we’re found,
Gently surrounding us in love.
Heavenly blessings all around,
Straight from the One above.
NEVER THE END!