forgive the past with me
 

Chapter 14: Bring Home My Name

August 22, 1957

"What the hell, Danny? What are you all doing here?" Unay grinned as he asked the questions.

Dan shrugged one shoulder noncommittally, pressing himself into the wall of the building as he joined the man hiding in the shadows. "Just following some clues."

"I see. Good luck with that." Unay shook his head. "I've been following you for a while now. Seems to me you're just wandering around."

Dan grunted. "I guess we have been."

"So what have you figured out so far?" Unay looked at the young Mangan. "My old partner and his wife were pretty cryptic in the clues they left us."

"Partner," Dan repeated, shaking his head. "I still have a hard time believing that."

Unay shrugged easily. "Believe or don't believe. Makes no difference to me."

"Right." Dan grimaced. "Well, we haven't been very lucky so far. We have 'four' and 'give here' which we think means 'forgive her'. But we're still stuck trying to figure out the next two lines."

"Hmm. Not bad. 'Forgive the past.' The church was just 'give'. Post Academy 142—the clue there was 'past'. It's something Sarah used to say sometimes." Unay glanced around as a stranger walked past them.

Dan felt himself reeling as he heard his mom's voice in his head. "Forgive the past," he whispered after a moment. "You're right. I do remember her saying that a lot. Kind of her philosophy on life, how she managed to move on from the abuse she suffered."

Unay gazed at him thoughtfully and then shook his head as if to clear his thoughts. He seemed to refocus back on their current task. "I stumbled a bit on this particular clue, also. But if you stand at the corner and look at the building across from the post office," he pointed back to the direction he meant, "there's a little 'Visitors' Entrance' sign beside the door to the senior home."

"Visitors' entrance." Dan bit his lower lip slightly. "Which of those words should mean anything to me?"

"Visitors. Or visit. And the fact that it's at a senior home. But I didn't know that until I got to the next clue. There's a shop there. And that's when the whole thing fell in place."

Dan nodded. "What's the store? Or I suppose I should follow the clue and see for myself?"

"No need. It's Patrick's Shoe Repair." Unay regarded Dan inquisitively, narrowing his eyes slightly. "Does that name mean anything to you?"

Dan shook his head. "No. Should it?"

Unay looked down the street in the other direction and waited for another person to pass by. "Tim's father's name is Patrick. Your grandfather. They had a falling out long ago. I'm betting he has the ledger."

"But my grandfather died when I was four." Dan frowned. "I never even knew his name."

"No. Patrick Mangan is alive and well." Unay mumbled something under his breath. "At least, he still was a year ago."

Dan leaned back against the building. "Are you sure? My dad told me he had died."

Unay shook his head. "Like I said, they had a falling out. Patrick didn't like a lot of the choices Tim had made. I don't think they've spoken to each other since you were around four, but he didn't die. If these clues mean what I think they mean, then maybe your father did talk to him before he left for Korea."

"Oh." Dan tried to take in this latest news. If Unay was telling the truth, he had even more family.

"I take it you don't know him, then?" Unay frowned slightly. "I guess that's not surprising, seeing as you're with your uncle who had supposedly disappeared, and not with your grandfather who's been here all along."

Dan answered in a bit of a daze. "No, I don't know him."

"That's too bad. Because I'm pretty certain he has what we're looking for, but I have no idea where he lives." Unay's mouth lifted into a half-smile. "I was kind of hoping you did and could just lead me there."

"Sorry, no." Dan sighed. "So, now what?"

"I do things the old-fashioned way." Unay shrugged one shoulder and gave him a small grin. "Let's try a phone book first. If that doesn't pan out, I can look through the tax records."

"I need to get back to my friends or they'll worry. But ...." Dan really wanted to stay with Unay, meet his grandfather, and find this mysterious book.

Unay raised the eyebrow over his scarred eye. "Let's see what the phone book reveals, first."

 

"What took you so long?" Regan whispered.

Neil turned around. "Oh, so you've joined us again."

Mart studied him curiously. "Where did you run off to?"

Dan gave them all a half-frown. "I was, uh, talking with an old family friend."

"You did say your dad was from this neighborhood, didn't you?" Honey glanced around her, her eyes resting briefly on the tennis courts on their right, before turning to him and smiling. "Who did you run into?"

"Well ... it's not anyone you really know." Dan shrugged his shoulders. They didn't really know Unay. "Anyway, we had an interesting conversation and I found out—" He glanced at Regan, wondering how his uncle would take the news.

Regan looked back at him curiously. "What did you find out?"

"I have a grandfather." Dan sighed. He looked down the street, mentally mapping out the directions Unay had given him. He was glad to notice they were already walking toward Arden Street. There had been a few Patrick Mangans listed in the phone book, but only one who was also in the Inwood neighborhood. He just hoped it was the right Patrick Mangan.

Regan put a hand on Dan's shoulder. "Not on my side. Your father's father?"

Dan nodded.

Neil's bushy eyebrows shot up in surprise. "I thought your grandfather died long ago."

"Me, too. Apparently not." He frowned. "His name is Patrick Mangan and he lives on Arden." He pointed vaguely toward the left.

Honey grabbed Dan's hand. "Let's go."

Harvey sighed. "Mama won't like this. She'll chew that man's ear out if she ever meets him."

He heard Bob snicker. But it was true; Mama Rose would definitely have a few harsh words to say to the man if they ever met.

 

The teens and Regan crowded in front of 23 Arden Street, staring at the dark green door at the top of a set of brick stairs.

"Do you want me to go up there with you?" his uncle asked.

"No," Dan answered quietly. He wouldn't mind if his uncle went in with him, but Unay had asked him not to bring anyone else inside.

"Are you sure?" Jim glanced around the group. "Any one of us, or even all of us, would go with you if you wanted."

Dan shook his head. "I need to go in alone." Unay had told him he would meet him here. Dan wondered how he would hide from the rest of the group.

Neil shook his head. "You don't need to. But I understand you want to."

"I'm not even sure what it is I'm looking for. And I don't know him at all. My dad told me he died. Wouldn't it be weird of me to suddenly appear on his door step asking if my father left something with him?" Dan shook his head. He had been scared, terrified even, in the past. But this was a different kind of fear; the fear of rejection. Hadn't Honey mentioned something like that to him before?

He turned to the beautiful girl, who he still couldn't believe actually liked him. She nodded her head, encouraging him. "Go on. What's the worst that can happen?"

He sighed and stepped out of the crowd, slowly climbing the six steps to the front door. He lifted his hand and knocked. And waited. "What if he isn't home?" He knocked again, a little louder. He could hear footsteps coming from inside the house.

An older man opened the door a crack. His hair was gray, his eyes were brown, and the eyebrows above them were full and white. His face was clean-shaven and it looked an awful lot like his own. Is this what he would look like when he got to this man's age?

"Who are you and what do you want?" The man was already turning around to close the door.

"Daniel Mangan, sir. I think you might be my grandfather." Dan blurted the whole thing out quickly before he lost his nerve.

The man turned around again, opening the door wide. "Daniel Mangan? And your father?" He peered around Dan and his eyes rested on the large group of people at the bottom of the stairs.

"Timothy Mangan." Dan gazed up at the older man solemnly.

"Not his name. I know that! Where is he?" He looked at the crowd below again. "And who are all those people?"

"My father's dead. He died in Korea four years ago." It was only after he said the words that he realized he was talking about this man's son.

"That's what they'd have you think."

The man started to shut the door again, but Dan put his foot in the door, stopping him. "Are you Patrick Mangan, my grandfather?"

"Hmph. I suppose I am. I can't deny you look like your dad. I thought for sure that tramp he went and married had the kid with someone else." The man scowled. "Now get out before I call the cops."

Dan almost stepped back as if he'd been hit, but forced himself to stay steady, keeping his body in the doorway. It was no wonder his father had pretended this man was dead. "I can't do that. I need something and I think you have it."

"What could I have that you need?" The old man glared at him. "Don't try to tell me you need family all of a sudden."

"No. And, if I did, I wouldn't come crawling here looking for it." Dan breathed in and out deeply trying to keep his temper in check. He was not going to let this man get under his skin. He didn't even know him, didn't even know about him until just a few minutes ago. "I think my dad might have given you something. A book."

"Your father never gave me anything." Patrick Mangan still didn't let him any further into the house.

"So you don't have the book?" Dan frowned. Unay had been so sure. The ledger had to be with Patrick Mangan.

"What do you know about this book of his?" His grandfather stood in the entrance, scowling at him.

"It wasn't my father's. It belonged to someone else. Do you have it or not?" Dan glared at the old man.

"No." Patrick moved closer to him, trying to get him to back out the door again.

"Then where is it?" Dan clenched his fists. He wanted to just knock the old man out and ransack his house looking for it.

"Get out." Patrick glared back at him.

Unay was suddenly standing behind the old man. Dan wondered when and how he'd gotten there. He beckoned silently to Dan to come inside and shut the door.

Wordlessly, Dan stepped closer to the old man and Patrick backed up in surprise. Dan closed the door, blocking out the support from his friends and family waiting on the sidewalk.

"Patrick Mangan." Unay stated the other man's name.

The older Mangan turned around, startled at first. "Unay." Once he recognized the intruder he no longer seemed frightened. "How the hell did you get in here? What the hell happened to your face? And where is Tim?"

Unay frowned. "You know the answer, sir. He never made it out of Korea."

"What was he doing there in the first place? Since when does the I.R.S. have jurisdiction overseas? What could he possibly have been investigating there?" Patrick Mangan shot the questions out angrily.

"You know I can't answer that." Unay kept his voice calm.

Dan puzzled over the older man's questions. His father had gotten called to Korea because of the war. It didn't seem like anything about it was related to his job, but the two men in the room seemed to be implying that it did.

"And you want this book, too, I suppose?" Patrick asked, scowling.

Unay nodded. "Yes."

"Is that what's in the box? Take the damned thing. I'm sure as hell tired of holding on to it. Wish I could've destroyed it." Patrick glared at the investigator from under his bushy white eyebrows.

"Thank you. Where is it?" Unay glanced around the front entrance and then peered down the hall.

"Kid, move out of the door way." Dan's grandfather pushed him aside gruffly as he spoke and then bolted the door shut.

Dan stumbled a bit, caught off guard.

Unay walked up to them, quickly stepping in between Dan and his grandfather. "Where is it?" he repeated harshly.

"You're standing on it." Patrick Mangan actually chuckled.

Unay looked down at the floor, and then knelt down, feeling the floorboards underneath him.

Dan stood aside, seething over his grandfather's behavior, when the older man spoke to him again. "So, Grandson." He said the word disdainfully. "Any idea why your father never brought you here to meet me? Why he never let me in your house?"

Dan shrugged casually, donning just enough of the tough-gang-kid persona so that he could act like he didn't care. "You're a mean, bitter old man. You hate my mom. I dunno. Can't say I'm sorry he never did."

Patrick Mangan leaned against the front door. "I don't hate her. I despise her. And you can tell her I said so. Oh, wait. You can't, now, can you?" He chuckled again.

Dan felt himself staggering from the pure hatred coming from the older man. He couldn't even fathom what might have happened between his parents and this—this monster—to cause this kind of hate. He glared at his father's father, really glad he had never met the man before, and, at the same time, silently thanked his father for keeping this man away from his mom and him.

"Sarah was a saint. And even if she hadn't been, Tim loved her. That should have been enough for you." Unay was using a penknife to scrape around the crevices of one of the floor boards.

Patrick glowered at the man digging up his floor. "Sarah was a bitch. She seduced my son, got herself pregnant, and made him marry her. Then, she didn't even have the decency to stay home and take care of her husband and her son. She can rot in hell."

In the blink of an eye, Unay was standing in front of Patrick, the penknife in his hand held up to the older man's throat. "If you don't stop bad-mouthing her, I'll gladly use this to dig out your heart, you evil bastard, if you even have one."

Patrick stared wide-eyed at the investigator. "Easy now, Unay," he said, just a hint of a tremor in his voice.

Unay held the knife up in the air for a second and then knelt down and went back to his work.

Dan clenched his fists and then unclenched them again slowly. He forced himself to slow his breathing, a virulent mix of emotions churning in his mind. He couldn't imagine why his dad had brought the book here. Forgive the past, his mother always said. Maybe his dad had. He wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand, willing himself to stop the tears from falling.

He focused his attention on the scar-faced I.R.S. agent, his father's old partner, his father's friend. Unay soon had the floor board popped up and was pulling it off. And then a second. A metal case was in the floor and, when he lifted it out, Dan could see there was a combination lock on the box.

Unay stood up, carrying the case. He put a hand on Dan's shoulder. "Time to go."

"Are you sure it's in there?" Dan asked, eyeing the box.

"Let's hope so. Or else I might have to come back here." Unay shot a withering glance at Patrick Mangan.

Dan hoped that wouldn't have to happen. He was wishing he could somehow un-know that the old man was related to him. He turned back to the box. "Do you know the combination?"

Unay nodded, and then turned around, presumably to leave however he had gotten in. He turned back again. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have .... Will you be okay, Danny?"

"Just get him." Dan didn't have to explain further.

Unay tipped his hat at him and left, walking quickly down the hall.

"Get out already." Patrick told him, recovering his nerve now that Unay was leaving. He moved away from the door, waiting for the I.R.S. agent to disappear down the hall before unlocking it.

Dan glanced at the hole that was left in the floor. He was glad Unay had left that for his grandfather to deal with.

He walked slowly down the stairs to the sidewalk where his friends and his real family were waiting. He blinked back a few tears as he reached them. "Let's go home."

Honey came up beside him and reached for his hand. "And your grandfather?"

"Don't call him that. I wish I'd never met the bastard." Dan closed his eyes, and then opened them again. "Maybe I should change my last name to Regan."

Honey gripped his hand tighter.

The group looked around the neighborhood, no one speaking of Dan's visit with his estranged grandfather.

"What now?" Neil finally asked.

Regan locked eyes with Dan briefly and then turned to glare back at the house Dan had just left. He glanced at his watch, frowning. "We head back to the apartment. We still have to get to the airport later today."

Ned nodded glumly. "There's no way we'll find out what this was really all about, is there?"

Dan didn't answer. He couldn't answer. He still had a bitter taste in his mouth from learning about his father's father.

"Whatever it was we were supposed to find, it's probably long gone now, anyway," Brian commented.

"No, it's not!" Trixie shouted. "I refuse to believe that."

Dan looked up at her, surprised by her vehemence.

Her blue eyes gazed back at him. "I can't believe it's just over. We haven't even figured out all the clues on that paper. And whatever it is that we were hoping to find, I have a feeling it does tie back to Tony, doesn't it?"

"Trixie, maybe we should just drop it." Honey gripped Dan's hand tightly as she spoke. "We can't always 'get our man', can we?"

Dan lowered his gaze again and started walking toward the subway station.

Mart glanced over at Dan. "Whatever it is you're not telling us this time, I'm sure you have your reasons." He paused as they walked on in silence. "I wish you would tell us, though."

Dan nodded at his friend, understanding his—all of their—frustration. "I can't, really. But the right person got what he needed. I have to believe that."

"What exactly does that mean?" Barbara asked.

"What we were looking for ... it was there, in my—in that man's house." Dan kept his eyes straight ahead, not looking at anything or anyone.

"But what was it? And does it have anything to do with Tony and Blinky?" Trixie's voice was full of energy. She obviously wanted to see this through to the end. "And did your—did that man know what he had? Who has it now?"

Dan took a peek at Regan to see if his face revealed anything about what he knew. It didn't, of course. Dan sighed. "Yes, it has everything to do with Tony and ... Blinky." He understood now why Teddy stressed the name the way he did. He wondered briefly if Teddy had even known Unay's cover name before he himself had mentioned it.

"Can you tell us anything more?" Honey squeezed his hand again as she asked the question.

Dan shook his head and pulled his hand away from hers. "I can't. I really can't. I'm sorry."


chapter 15: some things got to be known