there's a gleam in your eye

Chapter 9: I Don't Care Much For Words Of Doom

August 12, 1957

With the evening's plans settled, the rest of the delicious kosher meal was enjoyed and the group headed back to the U.N. building to meet Miss Trask out front as planned. She good-naturedly agreed to visit the Latin club. About twenty minutes after boarding the train, the crowd of fourteen came out of the subway at 116th Street and Lexington Avenue. They walked the three blocks to where the club was supposedly located, and Dan was relieved to see a building with a bright red awning that wrapped around the corner to face both of the cross-streets. The word "Pema's" was stenciled on the bottom edges of the awning in white.

"I'm going to take that as a good sign." Honey pointed to the canvas over the entrance. "Same colors as our club jackets."

They crossed the street and walked through the large wooden door.

An older lady approached them, studying the crowd of teens with a wary expression. Dan noticed her dark hair was streaked with gray and pulled back into a tight bun. She wore a colorful dress embellished with embroidered flowers and designs.

Miss Trask made her way to the front of the crowd. "¿Habla inglés?"

The woman looked startled for a second, and then smiled. "No, lo siento." She glanced back at the room and shouted something out in Spanish.

It wasn't long before a young woman approached them. "You speak English, yes?" She pronounced the word with a j sound, "jyes". With her dark hair and eyes, tan skin, and thick accent, it was obvious she was from Latin America. Dan wondered if she was also Puerto Rican like Guillermo. The girl smiled warmly at them. "My name is Yara. Euphema said you asked for someone who speaks English."

"Well, I guess in a way we did." Miss Trask's blue eyes sparkled merrily. "Although really I think I just asked the hostess if she spoke English."

"Yes, and you speak Spanish, too?" the girl asked kindly.

"No, not very well I'm afraid." Miss Trask looked at the girl and furrowed her brow slightly.

"You are here for the music, ? We are still setting up but you are welcome to come in." She looked around the group and gestured to them to follow her.

Now that they were fully inside the club, Dan could see a crowded bar along one wall. Along another wall was a small stage, a simple raised platform. A piano was positioned on one side, and on the other were a conga drum, and another drum set that had only two small drums and what looked like different-sized cowbells. Microphones were placed across the front of the platform, and positioned to various heights. Directly in front of the stage was a clear section of hardwood floor, presumably for dancing. A dozen round tables were scattered around the floor, most of which were still empty at the early hour of six-thirty.

Even without the music going, the place had a lively and festive atmosphere. The conversations between the men at the bar were animated; lots of hand movements accompanied the words being spoken, and their laughter echoed throughout the room. A handful of small children were playing tag on the dance floor, running back and forth and adding to the laughter.

The young waitress pointed to a group of empty tables. "If you please, you can sit here." She helped them pull the tables closer together and reposition the chairs. Then she pulled a pad of paper and a pen from her apron pocket. "May I get you something to drink while you wait?"

Miss Trask smiled. "What would you recommend?"

Yara looked over the group and then turned back to Miss Trask. "For you, señora, if you care for a drink, we have a lovely sangria. Or perhaps a light beer? For the others we have juice or soda."

"When will the band start?" Neil pointed to the stage with his thumb, his expression excited. He liked almost all kinds of music.

"The first band usually starts at seven. Tonight it is just locals," she glanced over at the bar, "but they are quite good. On Thursday it will be more busy because we have Manny Oquendo and Vicentico Valdés."

"I saw the flyer for that." Dan pulled out the wrinkled blue paper to show the waitress. "Actually, we came here hoping Guillermo," he pointed to the name on the flyer, "might be here."

"Yomo? Yes, he is here almost every night." The waitress looked over at the bar checking to see who was there. "Pero it looks like he has not yet come in."

The waitress left with their drink orders. Dan watched her walk over to the bar, where she handed the paper to the thick-mustached bartender. Then she sat down on one of the barstools herself.

"This place is not at all what I expected." Harvey looked around the room.

Dan followed his gaze and had to agree. It was a bright and cheery place. The vibrant red and blue accents in the room stood out against the white walls and dark furniture. He had expected something similar to the jazz clubs he had frequented with his father: dim, smoky, almost seedy.

Bob snickered. "I have to admit, I thought it would be more bedraggled."

Ned sighed. "And I obviously watch too many westerns. I thought it would look more like a Mexican-run saloon out of the old west."

A shriek of laughter close by diverted Dan's attention and he smiled at the little dark haired kid who had tried to run around their group of tables to avoid being tagged by an even smaller child.

"Don't they remind you of Petey?" Di smiled widely and her violet eyes twinkled.

"They do," Trixie agreed. "I hope he and Maria are doing well."

"I'll have to ask Uncle Monty the next time I write to him," Di commented in response.

Honey and Trixie then told the Iowans and New Yorkers about the Orlandos and Rosita, whom they had met in Arizona in December.

"What if this Guiomo guy doesn't show up today?" Trixie moaned, now that the story had been told. It had been all of ten minutes since they had first walked into the dance club. "Can't we just ask that nice waitress? I'm sure she'd help us."

"I suppose we could," Honey agreed. "Do you have the poem?" She held out her hand to Trixie, palm up, waiting for Trixie to hand it to her.

"Natch," Brian answered on Trixie's behalf. When Trixie glared at him, he added, "Well, you do, don't you?"

"Of course I do." She opened her purse and pulled out the paper, but rather than putting it in Honey's hand, she placed it on the table in front of them.

Honey and Di, who were sitting on either side of Trixie, were peering over her shoulder taking another look at the words when the waitress walked by.

"Miss Yara, I was wondering if you might help us with something." Trixie picked up the paper the Mexican woman had given her.

"Yes, señorita?" She stopped and smiled.

"A woman gave this to me, but I can't understand it." Trixie handed the paper to the waitress. "I was wondering if maybe you can translate it for us, please?"

Yara smiled. "I can try, but maybe my English is not so good either." She placed the empty tray she was carrying back to the bar on a nearby table and took the note from Trixie. Her eyes grew wide as she read it. "This is not good." She shook her head. "Who give this to you?"

Trixie started to explain but Jim quieted her with a look. "Just a woman we helped out earlier this week," he said offhandedly.

"And she give this to the girl?" Yara's hands shook as she handed the paper back to Trixie. "You need to be careful, señorita. This warns of great danger."

Mart let out a laugh, startling the waitress further. "She's always in 'great danger', miss. But can you please translate it for us before she drives us all batty?"

"Yes, yes." Her voice shook and her accent seemed to grow thicker as she answered. She pulled up a chair and Honey made room for her next to Trixie. She took a couple of blank tickets from her pad and turned them over to write on the back. "This first part here, it makes not much sense. 'Hombre de cabeza dura, ojo parpadeando, un caballo grita en un camino sombreado.'" She paused, obviously thinking of how to translate the words to English, and then started writing. "Hard-headed man, blinking eye, a horse cries on a shaded street." She smiled wanly. "Do you understand?"

"Sounds like utter nonsense," Brian mumbled.

Yara frowned at that. "Yes, no sense. But this is a foretelling, una adivinación, una profecía." She wrote out the meaning of the next lines as she spoke. "'Escucha a las palabras extranjeras; ¡Ten cuidado! Un peligro enorme acecha cerca.' Listen to the foreign words; be careful! Lurks close an enormous danger." She looked around nervously. "How long you have this paper?"

"Two days now," Honey answered.

Yara looked worried. "I see. And this happened, yet? Did you see a horse maybe in pain? And you hear foreign speaking here."

Barbara gasped. "At Central Park, when that man attacked your cab, Trixie. I remember hearing the horse whinny loudly; otherwise I may not have turned around to see what was happening."

Someone from the bar called out to Yara. "I need to work. I come back and translate the rest for you when I have time." She tried to smile but it was obviously forced.

After the waitress left, Miss Trask shook her head dubiously. "I don't think you should take this so seriously. Yes, you may have heard a horse whinny, but the rest of it makes no sense. And I don't believe people can tell fortunes."

"But, but … she's only translated two couplets and they both have things that have happened." Trixie's voice began to rise as she spoke.

Honey put a calming hand on her shoulder and a warning finger to her lips. "Don't shout so, Trixie. We don't want to draw attention any more than we already are."

"I'm worried, too." Regan saw the look of hope in Trixie's eyes at his words and quickly continued. "Not about the words on the paper but how you will react to them. A horse? What day are you not around a horse?"

"Here in the city?" Mart asked skeptically. "I'd wager most days. I think it is rather a coincidence, but it's also kind of fun to think that first part was about what happened at Central Park yesterday."

"Hard-headed man." Bob scratched his head. "Someone stubborn?"

"Those guys going after Trixie's idol sure do seem stubborn," Jim noted.

"That's just the problem." Miss Trask shook her head again. "It doesn't matter what the poem says, you will find something that makes it appear true."

"I don't know." Neil spoke up from his end of the table. "Those are pretty specific things. And we've certainly heard many foreign words here in this restaurant."

Brian shook his head. "We heard foreign words at the United Nations, too. I'm not saying there isn't anything to it, but I do want to hear what the rest of it says first before I decide."

"Well, I think it's neat!" Ned's dark eyes gleamed with excitement. "A real fortune from a real fortune teller and it's already coming true. I can't wait to find out what the rest of it means."

"I'm not sure I want to hear the rest of it." Di shivered. "I don't know if I'd want to know what's going to happen ahead of time, especially if I can't make any sense of it and don't really know what to expect."

"I think it's rather spooky." Harvey frowned on one side of his mouth. "I don't care to think someone can tell the future like that."

A loud chorus of greetings from the men sitting at the counter interrupted their conversation. Dan turned to see the newcomer heading toward the bar. A young man with dark hair, a thin mustache, and a heavy guitar bag slung over his shoulder had walked into the room. Like many of the men at the bar, he wore a white dress shirt under a black tuxedo jacket, and sported a wide-brimmed dark hat on his head.

Yara went over to him, whispered something to him, and indicated the Bob-Whites' table with her eyes. The man left his guitar leaning against a barstool and sauntered over to the group. "I hear you are looking for me?" His accent was thick but he had definitely learned English in the last few years. He sat down in the empty chair left between Honey and Trixie that Yara had occupied earlier. "I'm Yomo. What can I do for you?" he asked, a wide smile forming on his face.

Dan looked over at the young Puerto Rican man. "Hi, Guillermo."

Guillermo looked at Dan curiously. "Do I know you from somewhere?"

Dan pasted on a friendly smile. "Name's Danny. I used to go to school with your cousin, Victor."

"Danny? You do look familiar." Guillermo looked him over and then snapped his fingers. "Yeah, I remember you. Danny … uh … Mannigan? You used to come home with Victor after school sometimes. Tía always called you a trouble-maker, but she meant it as a good thing."

Dan noticed Honey's raised eyebrow and could see the questioning look in her hazel eyes. He felt himself getting embarrassed. "That's me, Trouble-Maker Mangan."

Harvey snickered. "So the trouble-making started way back then? I think you need to explain."

Dan shook his head even as he suppressed a grin. "It was nothing, really."

Mart snorted. "Why am I not surprised?" He turned to Yomo. "So what mischief did Danny get into to earn him that moniker?"

"No, no mischief, like you say." Yomo's smile turned genuine. "But it's a long story. I haven't seen you in years, Danny. What brings you to see me?"

Trixie spoke up. "We, well, I was hoping you could help us translate something. Yara started to, but she's pretty busy with her job right now." She nodded over to where the waitress was taking an order from another table in the now-bustling nightclub.

"Yeah, she mentioned something about that. Let's see this so-called adivinación."

Trixie slid the original poem and Yara's started translation over to him. "She only had time to translate the first two couplets for us."

Yomo's eyes quickly skimmed over the paper, and then he read aloud.

Hombre de cabeza dura, ojo parpadeando,
un caballo grita en un camino sombreado.

Escucha a las palabras extranjeras;
¡Ten cuidado! Un peligro enorme acecha cerca.

Cuando las guitarras juegan,
los ladrones permanecen,
pero no se encontraron.

Desconocidos que se aproximan,
pasados secretos se revelan,
pero son los secretos que ya no se necesitan.

Ladrones y asesinos están en todas partes:
En la casa, en la isla, en el lugar de bestias muertas,
en los tejados, en las escaleras.

No se deje engañar por la diversión del diurno.
¡Lo nunca detiene, el trabajo de un villano!

Reluciente pistola, un viaje solitario,
Niña tonta, ¿qué has hecho?
No tengas miedo.

Hombre de cabeza dura recostado boca abajo,
una piedra destella brillantemente detrás del ojo.

Pero cuando piensa la aventura ha terminado,
El misterio ya ha verdaderamente comenzado.

Un estante móvil, rieles aceros;
un cuarto oculto detrás de los libros;
acertijos musicales aún no están claros…

Desde hace tiempo

When he had finished he let out a suppressed laugh. "Sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me, but sure, I'll help you." He looked over the words Yara had written. "Let's see here. Yara already did the first four lines." He pointed to the third verse. "It says, 'When guitars play, thieves remain, but are not found.'"

Dan glanced at the stage. Some guys were setting up to play. A couple of guitars were leaning against a chair and a mike stand. Guitars … His dad's guitars? Neil's? The guitars here? It could refer to anything.

Yomo started to speak again when Barbara interrupted him. "Wait, is anyone writing this down?" She reached for the notes that Yara had started.

"Here." Miss Trask opened her hand bag and passed Barbara a pen.

Barbara quickly wrote down what they had so far. "Okay, go on, please."

Yomo thought for a second. "'Unknowns approaching.' Wait, make that 'Strangers approaching, past secrets are revealed, but are the secrets that are no longer needed.'"

Dan started to get uncomfortable. He did not want the secrets of his past revealed. But if Tony was part of this puzzle, it was likely he'd have to share at least some of his secrets anyway.

Yomo looked at the next verse and grinned. "Well, that's sure true."

"What?" Trixie nearly shouted. "What's true?"

"It says, 'Thieves and assassins', or maybe that should be 'murderers' … 'Thieves and murderers are everywhere: in home, on the island, in the place of dead beasts, on the rooftops, on the stairs.' Can't say as I've ever gone anywhere on this island that didn't have a thief."

Dan snorted. Thieves were definitely everywhere. And Tony was a thief and a murderer. He scowled at the thought.

"The place of dead beasts." Jim looked worried. "What does that mean?"

"Beasts or animals. Don't know," Yomo admitted. "It's all just nonsense if you ask me anyway. But don't let Yara know I said that. She's as superstitious as a sailor." He looked over at Barbara, and when her pen had stopped and she nodded, he continued. "'Do not be fooled by the fun of the day. It never stops, the work of a villain.'"

"All this stuff about villains." Di shuddered again. "I just wanted to hang out in New York and go window shopping."

Mart smiled over at the girl. "Ah, my fair Diana, you should know by now that a sojourn with Trixie is never without adventure."

"'Glowing pistol, a lonely journey. Silly girl, what have you done? Do not be afraid.'" Yomo grinned at Trixie. "My bet is you're the silly girl."

A pistol? Tony didn't carry a gun. Or at least he hadn't two years ago. Did he now? Dan furrowed his brow in worry.

"Glowing? What kind of pistol glows?" Bob shook his head but his eyes were wide with excitement. "This gets more and more crazy."

Harvey nodded in agreement. "Spookier, too."

Yomo shrugged. "Maybe 'gleaming', or 'shiny'? Sometimes it's hard to find just the right English word."

Regan frowned. "Not that I believe in this stuff, but that does sound like our Trixie. Maybe having this warning will keep her from doing anything foolish."

Brian snorted and reached across Honey to ruffle Trixie's hair. "Not likely."

Trixie was concentrating too intently on what Yomo was saying to be bothered by her brother's teasing.

"The next lines make even less sense. 'Hard-headed man lying mouth down, a rock flashes brilliantly behind the eye.'" Yomo shook his head, disbelieving.

"Utter nonsense," Miss Trask agreed.

When Barbara finished writing down the translation he went on. "'But when you think the adventure has ended, the mystery has truly started.'"

"Does that mean there's more than one mystery?" Trixie's voice rose and her eyes sparkled with excitement.

"God help us, I hope not." Regan shook his head. "I don't even want the first one."

"Thank you," Honey said to Yomo. "It was very nice of you to translate that for us."

"Wait, there's still some more." Yomo looked at Barbara again to make sure she was ready.

"I'll have to scribble in the margins, but go ahead." Barbara smiled, pen poised.

Yomo looked at the paper and shook his head. "I have no idea what this means, but here it goes. 'A mobile' – um –" Yomo gestured with his hands, trying to think of the word. "Shelf? Rack? 'A mobile rack, steel rails; a room hidden behind the books; musical riddles are still unclear.' Does that make any sense?"

Dan gulped. It made far too much sense. He'd never believed in fortune tellers or seers but somehow that woman, some woman he had never even met, knew about the room. Regan had glanced his way, but Dan quickly looked down at the table, not wanting to catch his eye.

"It doesn't make any sense at all, I'm afraid." Trixie scratched her head.

"And then below that it just says 'for some time' or maybe 'for a long time', all by itself." Yomo shrugged. "Maybe she got interrupted?"

Trixie shook her head. "I don't think so, but maybe."

"Well, thanks again for translating it for us." Barbara gave the pen back to Miss Trask and the small papers with the translation to Trixie.

"No problem. Happy to help out. But I hope you don't take it too seriously." He stood up. "Are you going to stay a while? A few of the guys and I are going to play." He gestured to the stage. Some of the men from the bar had migrated there and were setting up their instruments and adjusting the microphones.

"Can we?" Barbara pleaded to the two chaperones. "It would be wonderful to stay and listen and maybe even dance."


chapter 10: and he knew he did belong