there's a gleam in your eye
 

Chapter 7: Everywhere Around the World

August 12, 1957

"I suppose it's the hospital for you again, Miss Trask?" Regan asked the middle-aged woman as the fourteen people crowded into an elevator on the 30th floor of the apartment building.

"Yes," Miss Trask replied. "I did want to stop by there for a visit, and I believe it's your turn to chaperone." She winked at the younger man. "Do you think you can handle this crowd?"

The elevator had come to a stop and the group spilled out. The doorman smiled at the large crowd. "Miss Trask, your cab is waiting," he announced. He held the door open for them as they headed to the street.

Miss Trask thanked him. She turned to the young people and then glanced at her watch. "Let's say we meet there around five this afternoon? Right outside, where the flags are. I'll take a cab, or maybe even walk; it's not that far from the hospital to the U.N. building."

Regan nodded at her as she climbed into the cab. "That sounds fine. Have a good visit with your sister." Dan watched as his uncle closed the cab door for her and then turned back to the crowd of teenagers. "So, how far is it from here to the United Nations?"

"It's over in Turtle Bay," Neil answered. "That's kind of a long walk, but we can't all fit in a cab either."

"Turtle Bay?" Ned echoed the name. "You guys have such fun names for the neighborhoods around here. I was just getting used to the difference between the Upper West Side and Midtown."

"Do they actually have turtles there? Is it by the sea?" Bob asked. "That would be neat."

Harvey laughed. "Manhattan has lots of different neighborhoods. Some are big and some only cover a few blocks. Turtle Bay is by the East River, so I suppose there could be some real turtles there, but I've never seen any."

Honey smiled at the boys. "How long of a walk?" she asked, eyeing Trixie's knee. "I've been there before, but we always took a car from here."

"I'm fine to walk," Trixie stated. "My knee doesn't hurt that much at all."

"From here? I'd venture about forty to fifty minutes," Neil replied, looking down the street at the direction they should head.

Regan shook his head. "That's much too far to walk then, especially since Trixie's knee was hurt yesterday. Can we take the subway?"

Brian smiled at his sister. "Let's keep the walking to a minimum. Doctor's orders."

"I guess forty minutes is a bit long of a walk," Trixie agreed reluctantly.

Jim nodded and took her hand. "Even if you are up to it, we'll be walking enough once we actually get there. I've heard the place is really spread out."

Neil turned toward Dan. "Danny's the subway expert. Do you know which line to take?"

Dan shook his head. "I've never been there. What street is it on?"

"East Forty-Third and First Avenue," Honey answered.

Dan thought for a few seconds. "We'll have to take the Interborough. Grand Central is probably the closest station."

"Wonderful!" Barbara exclaimed. "I've always wanted to see Grand Central Station for myself."

"Grand Central Terminal," Mart corrected her.

Neil punched him lightly on the arm. "You're right of course, but even the news anchors call it Grand Central Station sometimes."

The group took the short walk to Columbia circle. The visitors, both those from Iowa and those that lived in New York, admired the statue of Columbus that graced the center of the circle and the exhibition building that had opened the previous year, the New York Coliseum.

There were two subway entrances at the circle. Mart and Ned, in conversation amongst themselves, started heading down one of the stairs, when Dan gently pulled on Mart's sleeve to stop them. "Wrong entrance," Dan said, leading them toward the other stairs.

"This subway system is so confusing," Ned moaned. "How do you keep it all straight?"

Dan shrugged in answer to his question. "I don't know. I guess we just get used to it." He addressed the rest of the group. "We'll have to transfer to the Flushing line at Times Square, but then it's a straight shot to Grand Central Terminal."

 

As they exited the train, Barbara was disappointed that Grand Central Terminal looked just like any other subway stop they'd ridden through.

"We'll go upstairs and walk through the Main Concourse," Dan reassured her. "That's the part everyone likes to visit." They were still walking up to the main level when they heard some of the boys cry out in delight.

"Wow!" Bob exclaimed. "Oh wow!" The boy from Iowa could not believe what he was seeing.

The rest of the boys, and even the girls, were equally impressed. There, in the middle of Grand Central Terminal's concourse, stood a sixty-five foot rocket. They rushed the rest of the way to get a closer look.

"This exhibit is in honor of the International Geophysical year. The U.S. Army Redstone is a short-range ballistic missile manufactured by Chrysler Corporation," Jim read from a nearby plaque.

Brian pointed to another small placard. "According to this, they usually weigh over 61,000 pounds, are 69.3 feet long, and have a diameter of 5.83 feet."

"I remember seeing this on the news last month," Mart said. "But I didn't realize it would still be here."

"I don't think they'd go through all the work of putting a rocket in here and then not leave it displayed for quite some time," Ned stated, admiring the magnificent piece of machinery.

Dan nodded in agreement. "I forgot about the rocket being on display here, too, but I guess it would take some doing to get it in here and just as much to get it out."

In addition to the rocket, the teens and Regan also appreciated the concourse's beautiful windows and the famous four-sided clock of Grand Central Terminal. Once they were outside, Honey pointed out the other clock. "I don't know why this one isn't as famous as the one inside," she stated simply as they all admired the elaborate timepiece atop the terminal's entrance surrounded by sculptures of Roman gods. "That clock is all one pane of Tiffany glass, thirteen feet wide."

"All of it is one piece?" Di looked astonished at this news. "I always thought each number had its own separate piece of glass behind it."

"You're both right, in a way." Mart pointed up to the glass. "It's one of the largest examples of Tiffany glass, but it's like a stained-glass window, comprised of multiple pieces of glass."

"Of course, you're right, Mart." Honey had a slight blush to her cheeks. "And the number six on the clock is actually a window that can be opened."

"It's beautiful," Dan stated, staring at Honey instead of looking up at the magnificent clock and surrounding sculptures.

Neil looked around at the streets, trying to determine if they should turn right or left. "I think that's Madison there," he pointed to the left, "so we need to go this direction." He pointed the other way. "That next avenue should be Lexington."

Honey nodded in agreement. "That sounds right. This is Park here, so we're between Lexington and Madison and we should be heading toward Lexington." Then she added doubtfully, "I think."

Jim shrugged his shoulders. "If we were in the woods, I'd know exactly which way to go. In the city, I'm almost as helpless about directions as these two." He placed one hand on Honey's head and the other on Trixie's.

Trixie swatted his hand away playfully. "I trust Honey's sense of direction here better than I would in the woods."

"Golly, thanks," Honey said with a laugh. "But you're right. I am definitely better at navigating streets than I am trees."

"Me, too," Dan said, smiling widely at Honey. "When I'm on the city streets I'll find my way just fine. But the few times I've been up in the preserve on your father's land, I get turned around and come out somewhere I didn't expect at all."

They all started walking east toward First Avenue. Dan saw Di link her arm through Barbara's as she pointed out some fashion store windows to the other dark-haired girl.

In front of them, Ned was talking to Neil. "Any idea how far it is from here?" Ned asked.

"It shouldn't be too far," Neil answered. "I think there's only four blocks before we land in the East River."

Harvey snorted. "Yeah, but these are Avenue blocks. That's almost the same as three or four Street blocks each."

From behind him, he heard Trixie groan. "That sounds too much like a word problem. Puh-leese don't make us try to do math. It's summer time."

Barbara gazed around her inquisitively. "What's the difference between avenues and streets?"

"Avenues run north and south, streets run east and west," Harvey explained. "But while the streets are pretty close to each other, the avenues are further apart." He gestured with his hands, widening the space between them to indicate the distance between avenues. "So walking along a street from avenue to avenue takes longer than walking down an avenue from street to street."

Brian held up his hand. "Stop," he got out between snorts of laughter. "That made about as much sense as my sister usually does."

Honey giggled. "I thought I was the one that spoke in circles."

"You all tease your sisters something awful, but they're pretty smart girls," Ned said admiringly, turning around to address the boys who were behind him. "I'll never forget how they figured out who was stealing sheep when you were visiting us in Iowa."

Dan didn't really want to think about what could have happened in Iowa. He glanced back, and just a few steps behind Jim and Trixie, Bob and Mart were talking animatedly about something. From the few random words he heard he guessed they were still excited about the rocket they had seen in the terminal concourse. Regan was walking in back of them by himself. Dan felt guilty for leaving his uncle alone, but was pleasantly surprised to find that Honey was still next to him rather than dropping back to stay with Trixie and Jim.

"When is the last time you visited the U.N.?" Dan asked, trying to make conversation, any conversation, with the honey-haired girl.

"I think it was two years ago, right before Thanksgiving." Honey smooshed up her lips in that way she did when she was trying to remember something. "Yes, it was. There was an exhibit about slavery in the visitors' center." She shuddered. "What awful things happened— and are still happening around the world. It's so terrible."

"Maybe they'll have something more uplifting on display today." Dan had no idea what kind of displays or exhibits they would have at the building, but he remembered something he had heard recently. "Or maybe they'll have something about Mexico and that big earthquake they just had."

"There was an earthquake in Mexico?" Honey sounded sincerely interested. "I hope it wasn't in the same city that woman from the airport was from."

"I think it did hit Mexico City pretty hard." Dan wished for a moment that he had Mart's practically eidetic memory. "The news said it was a seven and a half on that earthquake scale, which is pretty big I guess. And they had another after-shock last week that was six and a quarter."

"I should probably watch the news more often." Honey blushed lightly. "I hate to admit it but I usually find it so boring."

He smiled. "I like watching the news. But I guess that might be because I hope to be a journalist some day."

Honey beamed at him. "That sounds so interesting. Have you always wanted to be a journalist?"

Dan thought about it for a moment. "I started writing a lot when I was nine. That was the year when my dad left for Korea, but I started even before he left." He paid close attention to his footsteps as a way of keeping himself from drifting back to the memories that had haunted him the previous day. "But it wasn't until my dad left... I kept watching the news to find out all I could about the war, and I guess that's when I realized I wanted to be a journalist."

He took a few more deep breaths to keep his emotions in check. Honey wasn't saying anything. "What about you? Do you know what you'd like to be when you grow up?" He turned to look at her and noticed she seemed sad.

Honey sniffed, as if holding back tears. "Trixie and I both want to be private detectives and open up our own agency." She smiled again and started to sound excited. "I feel like we've already solved a few cases, and maybe we can solve this one, too."

Dan wondered why she had sounded so sad at first, but he also worried about her and Trixie getting involved with Tony in any way. "Do you mean about that paper Trixie found in her purse?" He knew she did, but he couldn't help hoping she meant something else entirely.

Honey nodded. "And that little idol Trixie bought. I just feel like they're connected somehow, and I'm sure those guys that followed us on Saturday night and then attacked our cab yesterday are after that little wooden statue." Her voice rose in excitement with every word she spoke.

Dan knew Honey liked the adventures that seemed to follow Trixie around, and normally he would be completely supportive. But this was Tony. He was about to tell her to give up on this case, to just hand over whatever it was they wanted, whether it was the idol or the note or both, when Jim turned around.

"There we are... right ahead!" Jim called out. "See the flagstaffs?"

The group hurried their pace as they crossed First Avenue and turned left towards the arc of flags they could now clearly see.

"Wheeeew!" Ned exclaimed, as the crowd stood admiring the circle of flags. "How many are there?"

"Seventy-nine," Neil answered automatically. "Well, eighty if you count the United Nations flag itself." He pointed to the light blue flag with the United Nations emblem, a world map surrounded by two olive branches, in white. "I wrote a report on the U.N. for school in May."

"We go in here," Brian directed. He held open the door that led to the vast lobby.

The large group of teenagers and their lone chaperone crossed through the visitors lobby, admiring the many displays of artwork from around the world. A plaque near the entrance announced that they were now on International territory; the land belonged to each and every country that was a member of the United Nations.

They made their way over to the tour guide stands and were directed to wait, along with a handful of other people, for their tour guide to arrive.

It wasn't long before a young Indian woman approached them. She was wearing the tour guide uniform of a dark skirt and blazer, reminiscent of a flight attendant's uniform, but she had a beautiful sky-blue and silver scarf draped around her shoulders.

"Hello, everyone," she greeted pleasantly. Her accent was distinct but she was still very easy to understand. "My name is Shruti and I will be your guide today. May I ask that you please be patient while we wait for a few more guests? We will get started in ten more minutes. "

As they continued to wait, Trixie turned to Regan. "Do you mind if I don't go on the tour with you?"

Barbara heard her and spoke up. "It's your leg. It's hurting you, isn't it?" she asked anxiously. "We shouldn't have tried to come today."

Regan looked concerned, worried even. "If your leg is hurting, I'll stay with you. The rest of the group should be okay as long as they stay together."

A barely perceptible frown marred Trixie's features momentarily. Then she smiled again. "Thanks, Regan. It's really not my leg at all, though." She faltered for a moment, fingering her purse. "I was just hoping I could find someone to translate that poem for me while we're here."

Mart groaned loudly. "I should've known. Although that isn't such a bad plan," he admitted.

Dan stuck his hand in his pants' pocket and fingered the blue flyer from Pema's that was still folded up inside. He hoped Trixie would find someone here to translate the note for her, instead. Although he wouldn't mind checking out the night club, it was something he'd rather do on his own or just with Neil.

"In other words," Regan smirked, "you intended to go off sleuthing on your own while everyone else was on the tour?" His smirk turned into a gentle smile. "Come on the tour with us, Trixie. I promise that afterwards we'll still have plenty of time to look into a translator."

Trixie pouted, but went along with Regan's wishes.

"Can we visit the gift shops, too?" Barbara asked timidly.

Regan nodded. "Natch."

"The shop downstairs on the lower level isn't just your typical gift shop," Trixie told Barbara. "They have all kinds of hand-crafted items from all the countries." Her eyes opened wide as if she'd just had an idea. "They might even know more about the idol I bought."

Trixie started to pull it out of her purse, but a movement behind her caught Dan's attention. He put his hand on her arm to stop her. "Wait. Don't take that out here," he whispered more harshly than he had intended.

"Don't tell me you're starting to believe that wooden idol is actually valuable?" Brian chided.

Jim came to Trixie's defense. "It could have been what the thieves in the park were after. They followed us from that store the night before that, too." His green eyes held both admiration and worry for Trixie.

Dan frowned. "No, I still don't think it is. But why take any chances?" The man he had spotted glanced around briefly and then headed down some stairs. Dan could clearly see that he was not the same person he had seen with Tony the last two days. He was similar in height and build, and the color of his skin matched Tony's friend, but no scar ran across this gentleman's face, and he was dressed much nicer than either Tony or his partner had been.

Neil was still gazing around the room, trying to figure out what, or who, Dan had seen. Mart and Harvey walked over to stand next to Dan, and Harvey was just about to speak, when the tour guide, Shruti, announced that the tour was ready to begin.

Ned, Bob, and Barbara were at the front of their group, their eyes and ears trying to take in everything. "Mom wants me to tell her everything about the United Nations when I get back home," Ned announced to the rest of them.

Brian and Jim were right behind him. "That's a big order!" Brian laughed.

Jim shushed them as Shruti began to talk about the history of the building they were in.

Honey, Diana, and Trixie all had their arms linked through each other and beckoned to Barbara to join them.

Dan watched them as they walked behind their tour guide, and then slowly followed along. Mart, Harvey and Neil were with him as Regan turned around and gestured to them to hurry up.

Neil waited until Regan had turned back around. "Who did you see?" he whispered bluntly, his grey eyes still darting around the room.

"False alarm." Dan shook his head. "I thought I saw that scar-faced guy that had attacked the cab yesterday at Central Park."

The other boys looked at each other. "And you're sure it wasn't him?" Harvey asked.

Dan nodded. "When he turned around, he didn't have a scar."

"Could he have been the other guy?" Mart questioned. "The taller one?"

"No." Dan knew it hadn't been Tony. "This guy wasn't as tall. And he was wearing a fancy suit."

Mart seemed satisfied. "It does seem unlikely that one of those characters would be wearing an expensive suit and hanging out at the U.N." His voice was light, but the look he gave Dan said he knew there was more to be said.

"Let's just keep up with the tour." Dan's voice sounded hollow to his own ears. He picked up his pace a bit, and then turned back to the other four.

Neil nodded in agreement. "He's right. It probably wasn't one of those two. Still, it doesn't hurt to keep our eyes open. Come on; let's catch up to the others."


chapter 8: it was worth more than we understood