there's a gleam in your eye
 

Chapter 11: Just Pay Some Attention

August 13, 1957

The teens and their chaperone soon crowded on to the subway along with what felt like a million other people, most of who were dressed in business suits. They couldn't all fit in one car and barely squeezed onto the train at all, but Dan called out to the other group to make sure and switch trains to the South Ferry line when they got to Chambers. Everyone made it to the ferry dock, and they managed to just catch the nine o'clock ferry leaving Battery Park.

Half of the crowd had never seen the Statue of Liberty up close before. Bob, Ned, Barbara, Regan, Diana, and Jim were all first-time visitors, but even those who had visited the island previously were spellbound by the statue's beauty.

Once they actually reached the statue on its massive pedestal, Regan hung back for a bit and peered up at the statue from under the brim of his hat. "No taller than the apartment building, right? So why does it look so much taller?"

Dan gently pushed him forward. "Come on, Uncle Bill. It's perfectly safe."

"I'll go if you go," Di offered. "I'm not all that fond of heights either. I don't mind in the apartment so much, but this is different."

Regan glanced at the dark-haired girl and nodded. "Let's do this."

The group made it to the observation deck at the top of the pedestal, still underneath the statue, and even Di and Regan felt it was worth going that far. Then they had to climb the spiral stair case to get to the crown level. Everyone made it to the top, but they couldn't all fit onto the observation platform at once.

Dan reached the platform and looked out across the upper bay but didn't pay attention to the scenery outside. Instead he was remembering the last time he had been to the monument. He had been eight years old and he had been there with both his parents. Life had been good and simple.

Honey came up right behind him. "Have you been up here before?"

Dan nodded. "A couple of times. How about you?"

"Yes. This is my fourth time." Honey gazed out the window as she answered. "I came twice before with my school and once with my parents."

"The Sleepyside school took a field trip all the way out here?" Dan had gone to school in Manhattan and never had a field trip to the statue.

"Oh, no, not Sleepyside Junior-Senior High." Honey frowned slightly. "It was my boarding school."

Someone at the front of the line started back down the stairs and Dan and Honey moved over a bit.

"Where was your boarding school?" Dan didn't know much about her boarding school days except that she didn't like talking about them much.

"Saint Elizabeth's over in Englewood. Except the last year I was at Briar Hall." She leaned forward to look out the window better.

"Englewood?" Dan was trying to think of where that was. He couldn't recall ever hearing of that neighborhood.

Honey turned her head toward him. "In New Jersey."

"Oh." Two other people started down the platform and Dan and Honey moved over again to make more room for the rest of their group.

Dan wanted to ask her more about boarding school, what it was like, why she hated it. Instead, he watched a boat out on the water; a Staten Island ferry judging by the orange color and the direction it was headed.

Dan started down the stairs before finally asking what was on his mind. "Honey?"

"Mm hmm," she answered.

"What would you do if you ran into one of the boarding school girls now?" He knew the question might sound strange, but he was curious how she would confront her past.

"You mean here, on Bed- I mean Liberty Island?" He couldn't see Honey's face behind him on the staircase, but she sounded puzzled.

"Anywhere, really."

Honey didn't answer right away and Dan's thoughts drifted momentarily to his mother as he continued down the narrow winding stairs. She hadn't gone to the crown with him and his dad, not because of a fear of heights, but the fear of being in such a confined space. Dan admired the inner scaffolding of the statue and the colors of the steel in the framework and the copper of the statue's shell. He liked the spiral staircase and didn't think of it as narrow or tight at all, but he and his dad never could convince his mom to enter.

Honey's voice broke his thoughts as she finally responded. "Well, I guess I would just say 'hello'."

Dan turned around briefly to glance at her before continuing down the stairs. "I guess that would be the right thing to do." He smiled, even though she couldn't see him.

"Yes, it's the only proper and polite thing to do." She snickered. "Although, honestly, I'd only be doing it to show they can't get to me."

Dan raised an eyebrow. "What do you think they would do?"

"Hmm." She paused for a moment, as if considering the question. "If they saw me first, they'd either completely ignore me or, most likely, they'd tease me or say something nasty. They'd try to find some way to put me down." She spoke in such a calm matter-of fact tone that he couldn't really tell how she felt, but he was pretty sure she was more upset about it than she sounded.

They were almost at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Ned and Bob were just in front of him, deep in their own conversation, and just behind Honey he could hear Jim and Trixie talking together, too. When they reached the first viewing level at the base of the Lady's feet he was glad that the two boys in front decided to stop and enjoy the view from there once more. He reached for Honey's hand, wishing she wasn't wearing those dainty little white summer gloves. He led her outside to the viewing deck and around the corner to the northeast side. Although it was a Tuesday and the crowds weren't as heavy as on weekends, there were still a large number of tourists on all four sides of the balcony.

Honey's blue skirt billowed gently in the wind. Dan was about to ask her more about boarding school, about the girls that had taunted her, but she asked him a question instead.

"Did you get along with the boys from your old neighborhood?" He could tell from her expression she was trying to figure out why he was asking her about her old school mates.

"Yeah, we got along fine." He shrugged. The boys from his old neighborhood weren't the ones he worried about running into anywhere. "But I take it you didn't get along with the girls from your school?"

"No, I didn't." Honey wasn't looking out at the view but had turned to face him. "So is that where you met Yomo, or his cousin I guess? From your old neighborhood?"

"Um, yeah. I went to school with his cousin, Victor. We hung out together sometimes, played hockey occasionally." Dan smiled and Honey turned back to the view.

The two of them stared out toward Battery Park, watching as a ferry pulled into the pier. He wanted to tell her about the boys that did worry him, about the past of which he was so ashamed. She was still holding his hand and she tightened her grip slightly. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and enjoyed the feel of her hand in his. "What about you? Did you have any friends you would hang out with after school?"

"Well, Trixie and Di, of course." Honey frowned. "But I suppose you meant before Sleepyside?"

Dan nodded. "Is there even an 'after school' when you're in boarding school?"

She spoke low and it was hard for him to hear. "No, not really."

He wished she would open up to him, but he understood; some things were just too painful to talk about.

"So why did Victor's mother call you a 'trouble-maker'?" Honey smiled up at him, revealing that small dimple in one cheek. "And what did Yomo mean by saying it was a good thing?"

Dan frowned momentarily. "We didn't have a lot of people from Puerto Rico, or from anywhere in Latin America, I guess, at Saint Agnes. I became friends with him, but a lot of the other kids would pick on him and call him names and stuff. I'd stand up to them, and got in more than one fight for it. That's probably why his mom called me a trouble-maker." Dan shrugged.

Honey turned back to the view. Dan worried that maybe he shouldn't have mentioned fighting. Girls didn't like that kind of thing. He was glad he hadn't elaborated on the number of bloody noses and black eyes both given and received in those fights.

"That was nice of you, to be his friend when so many others wouldn't." Honey smiled at him again and renewed her grip on his hand.

Dan gazed at her, thinking how beautiful she looked with her light blondish-brown hair framing her face.

"When your parents died," Honey's voice faltered a little, "did you go straight to living with the Diamonds?"

Dan gulped. Here was his opportunity to tell her about the gang. "No." It was all he could manage to say at the moment.

"Did you end up in an orphanage?" Honey's voice squeaked a bit at the end of the question.

"No." He hesitated but she waited patiently, still grasping his hand. It gave him strength. "Knowing that my mom had been in an orphanage, I didn't want to risk it. I ran away."

Her eyes widened. "Where did you go? Did you stay here in the city?"

He looked down at his feet. "Yeah. I knew this kid … he …."

"There you guys are!" Jim and Trixie came up to them and Honey let go of his hand. He felt the absence keenly.

Trixie smiled at the two of them. "We're getting ready to leave. Come on."

Reluctantly, Dan followed Honey who was already walking toward Trixie. When Dan was closer, Jim whispered to him, "We should have a little talk later when we get home."

Dan frowned; he quirked an eyebrow at the older boy. "We were just talking."

"And holding hands." Jim's voice was disapproving.

"Please, please tell me you've gotten at least that far with Trixie by now." Dan shook his head but his frown turned into a grin. "You have. I remember you were holding her hand just yesterday when we were heading to the United Nations." He wished Honey was still holding his hand. And he wished he had told her about Luke, about the gang.

Jim blushed. "Well, just make sure it doesn't go beyond that."

Dan wanted to challenge him on that. Why shouldn't it go further? He knew he should approach the overprotective brother carefully. Careful, however, just wasn't his style. Honey and Trixie were a few paces ahead of them. "Do you ever think about kissing Trixie?" he asked casually.

Jim turned to him, surprised, almost angry, but then suddenly he smiled. "All the time," he admitted. "And I suppose you think about kissing Honey?"

"Naturally."

"Hey, wipe that grin off your face." Jim scowled, but only half-heartedly. "Okay, you've made your point. Just …."

Dan patted Jim on the back. "I know. She's your sister. I … I'll treat her right."

 

The early-afternoon ferry ride back to Manhattan was crowded. Their group got separated but Dan made sure he stayed with Honey. He glanced over at Jim and was glad to see the other boy wasn't glaring back at him even though he stood next to Honey at the railing. With so many people around, he didn't want to continue their conversation. Instead, he just enjoyed watching the water with her.

By the time the ferry docked at Battery Park, everyone was hungry. Dan vaguely heard the others talking about where to eat, but didn't really pay attention. He was about to try to talk to Honey again, when Neil put a hand on his shoulder. "You okay with that?" Neil asked seriously.

Dan had no idea what he was or wasn't supposed to be okay with, or why Neil sounded so serious, so he just nodded.

Mart rubbed his belly and addressed Harvey. "That last deli you took us too had great food, so I'm certainly up for it."

Apparently he had just agreed to another kosher deli, which was fine with him.

They headed north to get to the subway but had to make their way through a crowd of other tourists. Up ahead of him, Dan saw a shabbily dressed man shove another person aside rudely and then step in front of Trixie.

"Hey, you!" Jim called out to the man and tried to close in on him as he made a grab for Trixie's brightly-colored handbag. At Jim's shout, the man ran off into the crowd, abandoning the purse-snatching attempt. Jim and Brian took off after him.

As the man ran off, Dan recognized the scar running down his face. He looked around, worried Tony was also nearby, but didn't spot him anywhere. As he studied the crowd, once again, he couldn't help but think that there were easier purses to grab. Regan rushed after Jim and Brian. The rest of them waited where they were.

"Are you okay, Trixie?" Dan asked, reaching her side.

"I'm fine. I just hope they catch him." Trixie was indignant. "I wish I had run after him myself."

Dan nodded in agreement. "Did you get a look at his face?"

"No." Trixie shook her blonde curls. "Jeepers, I should have paid more attention."

Regan returned with Jim and Brian in tow, a glower darkening his features. He waited until all the kids could hear him and then started to lecture. "I just told these boys, and I want to make sure all of you understand it: Do not ever go running off from the group like that. Especially after a criminal." His eyes peered across at every person in their group. "Do you understand?"

The group remained silent.

Regan shook his head slightly and continued his lecture. "See here, he didn't even get Trixie's purse, so there was no reason to go after him." Regan placed his hands on his hips. "I don't want any of you getting lost and I certainly don't want any of you getting hurt."

"I'm sorry, Regan." Jim looked over at Trixie. "It's just that I got a good look at that guy and he was the same one from the park; the one with a scar running down his face."

Dan nodded. "I saw that, too."

"From all the way back where you were?" Trixie blushed. "How am I ever going to be a good detective if I didn't even notice that detail?"

"But, how …?" Di's voice trembled. "How could he have known we'd be here?"

Neil grimaced, his grey eyes darkening. "He knows which building we're staying in; he could have followed us from there and then just waited by the ferry dock for us to come back."

"I wonder if that's part of the prophecy coming true." Trixie reached in her purse to grab the translation.

Brian disagreed. "I sure don't recall anything as sensible as 'Battery Park' or 'Statue of Liberty' in that stuff the Mexican woman wrote."

"We think the first verse is about those thieves attacking our cab in Central Park. Then it says 'Listen to the foreign words. Be careful. Lurks close an enormous danger.'" Trixie looked around at the group.

"That has to just be about getting this poem translated," Harvey suggested.

"Even the bit about enormous danger lurking?" Ned sounded skeptical.

"Sure. That just means that danger was going to happen soon. And see here, it did." Bob waved his arm around, gesturing toward Trixie and up the street the thief had ran.

Honey shook her head. "That sounds too … general. I don't know that it meant this incident specifically."

"I agree." Mart shook his head. "It could have been a general sense of danger looming, and not really referring to any particular danger. What's after that?"

Barbara read over Trixie's shoulder, half quoting from memory since she had written most of the words down. "'When guitars play, thieves remain, but are not found.'"

"That doesn't sound like it has anything to do with what just happened." Neil looked thoughtful. "But there were lots of guitars at Pema's last night."

"I didn't see any thieves around there," Jim stated.

"Actually, last night when we were leaving, I had that prickly feeling on the back of my neck, like we were being watched," Di said quietly. Dan glanced sharply at her and saw the worry in her violet eyes.

"I had that feeling, too," he admitted. "Twice I thought I saw something in the shadows, but when I turned around to look, nothing was there."

"Maybe the thieves were there, then." Honey scowled. "I don't like how they keep showing up everywhere."

Dan glanced at Regan. He was being quiet, letting the teens talk among themselves, but Dan sensed his apprehension.

"Okay. Let's just go on to the next verse." Trixie sounded anxious. "'Strangers approaching, past secrets are revealed, but are the secrets that are no longer needed.'"

Brian shrugged his shoulders. "I don't even know if I'd call that scar-faced man a stranger anymore at this point."

"There's obviously nothing in the prophecy about this." Regan had lost his patience; Dan could tell by the tone of his voice. "Let's just go on to lunch rather than waste our afternoon trying to make sense of that silly poem."

"It is not silly," Trixie protested. "That verse may not have been the one, but here, listen to the next one." She handed the small paper to Barbara. "You read it, please."

Barbara nodded as she took it. "'Be careful! Thieves and murderers are everywhere.'"

Mart shook his head. "That's not necessarily about this either. Thieves are everywhere in Manhattan."

"If you weren't so impatient, if you didn't interrupt, if you'd listen for a minute, Barbara would tell you the rest. Go on, Barbara," Trixie urged.

"''Be careful! Thieves and murderers are everywhere; in house, on the island, in the place with dead beasts.'" Barbara shook her head. "Honestly, Trixie, I'm not sure I understand either what that has to do with this."

"We just left an island, didn't we?" Trixie tried to convince the others.

"Yes, we did," Harvey pointed out. "But Manhattan itself is an island. Who's to say it doesn't refer to this island?"

Honey looked upset. "Trixie, deep down I know you're right. But what about the 'in house' and 'in the place of dead beasts' parts?"

Di shuddered. "I really don't want to know what 'dead beasts' refers to."

Dan didn't think the prophecy had anything to do with the purse-snatching attempt, but if Honey was supportive of the idea, he could be, too. "If, and I do mean if, that line refers to what just happened, the 'in house' could mean that he did follow us from the building on Central Park West. The 'on island' probably refers to here, not Bedloe Island, since we are on the island of Manhattan now."

Regan eyed Dan warily. "I don't suppose you have any notion of what 'in the place of dead beasts' refers to?"

Dan shook his head no. He looked over at Neil and Harvey. They both shrugged.

"Actually, I might." Ned pointed to a nearby sign.

"'Battery Park Veterinary Hospital'." Bob let out a low whistle. "I know that should mean living beasts, but obviously pets die at hospitals, too, don't they?"

"You may be right," Honey said. "It fits."

"See?" Trixie's voice was triumphant. "I told you."

Jim nodded in agreement. "I'm not sure about the 'in house' part but the other two kind of make sense."

Brian sighed. "You win, Trix. But I still say it's just a queer coincidence."

Regan frowned. "I'm not buying it. But let's just forget about it for now, Trixie. All of us are safe." He looked around at the group. "Let's just go on to the deli Harvey mentioned."

"But keep your eyes open," Dan cautioned. "He could try again." He was pretty certain the scar-faced man, or even worse, Tony himself, would make another attempt at getting Trixie's purse. He wished she wouldn't carry the paper or the idol around with her everywhere.


chapter 12: them boys ain't exactly like strangers