there's a gleam in your eye
 

Chapter 22: To Then Begin Again

August 17, 1957

"Yes, Stacy?" Mr. Wheeler was on the phone, but he had asked the teens to gather together for an announcement. "Thank you, Stacy. I don't know what I'd do without you sometimes." He laughed lightly. "See you Monday."

He hung up the phone and turned to the teenagers. "We should head to the airport soon if Ned, Bob, and Barbara are to make their flight." He moved over to the armchair and settled into it, lighting a pipe.

"Yes, we should get going." Ned looked sadly at the three suitcases that had been packed the previous night and now stood by the door.

"It's been so wonderful here." Barbara sighed. "Thank you so much for letting us visit and stay here."

"Yes, thank you, sir." Bob dutifully gave his thanks as well, but the frown on his face showed his disappointment at having to leave.

"Yes, we should head to the airport. But that would be kind of silly." Mr. Wheeler smiled conspiratorially.

"Silly? Why would it be silly, Daddy?" Honey looked at her father, baffled at his expression.

"Why? Because their tickets have been changed. They don't have a flight to catch this morning anymore." Mr. Wheeler grinned.

"What?" Trixie's jaw dropped. "But ... how ... what?"

Mart whooped. "I think he's saying that they get to stay longer. Am I right, Mr. Wheeler?"

"You are. I knew you'd want to stay at least long enough to find out what happens to those thieves who wanted the idol. I may find out today, but likely won't know for sure until Monday or Tuesday. So, you'll be flying back on Thursday instead," he told the Iowans. "And I've already talked to your parents, and yours, too," he looked at Brian, Mart and Trixie, and then Diana, "and you are all welcome to stay longer." Mr. Wheeler turned to Neil and Dan.

"We get to stay?" Bob started dancing. "We get to stay!" He grabbed Barbara's arm and pulled her into his crazy, spontaneous dance.

Barbara laughed. "I thought you didn't like dancing."

"We really get to stay?" Ned still didn't believe it.

Mr. Wheeler nodded. "Yes. Everything's been arranged. I talked to all of your parents, all that is except you boys." He turned back to Neil and Dan. "I wasn't able to get a hold of anyone at your home."

"Yes, sir. The phone would be left off the hook until after Sabbath." Neil quickly explained that they always lifted the receiver off of the phone on Friday afternoon before sundown so they wouldn't be disturbed during the day of rest. "I can call Pop tonight after Mr. Armen brings Harvey by."

"Do you think he'll let you three stay, too?" Brian asked.

"I think so. He doesn't really need our help at the store as much as he claims to." Neil grinned. "I'm sure he'll be agreeable to the idea. Pop and Mameleh probably like having us out of their hair."

Mr. Wheeler smiled. "I've gotten to know Trixie, and I know she would be disappointed to leave before she can get this case completely wrapped up."

"Devastated. Morose. Woebegone." Mart ticked the words off on his fingers.

Brian held up a hand to stop the barrage of words. "And you would feel the same."

Mr. Wheeler laughed. "I have some business that came up unexpectedly here in the city, so I'll be able to stay with you at least a couple of days, maybe longer." For a fleeting moment, Dan thought he saw a look of worry cross the older man's face, but it was quickly replaced by a smile.

"Daddy, you're the best." Honey went over and hugged her father. "Thank you."

"Will we be able to stay at Mr. Whitney's place for the extra days?" Jim asked.

"Yes. I spoke to his secretary. Or I should say my secretary spoke to his secretary." Mr. Wheeler winked. "That was what Stacy was just confirming with me. It really wasn't fair of me to call her on her day off, but I didn't know how else to get in touch with the Whitneys. She apparently knows his secretary well. Anyway, he and his wife are still in Italy and staying there for the rest of the month. We can continue to borrow his suite until then."

"Maybe I can see some of those museums I've been wanting to visit after all." Di grinned, a twinkle in her violet eyes.

"Good." Mr. Wheeler pointed with the end of his pipe to the three suitcases by the door. "Sorry to give you the extra work, but you may as well unpack again." He turned to Regan and Miss Trask. "I have to go to the police station later."

Trixie jumped up excitedly. "Can we come?"

He shook his head. "I'm afraid not, Trixie. I think I'd better go on my own."

Dan could see how disappointed Trixie was and had to admit he was disappointed himself. He hoped Tony would at least go to jail for his part in all of this, but it wasn't as satisfying as if he'd go to jail for murder. He frowned slightly.

"Mr. Wheeler, sir?" Regan addressed his employer. "What about the horses?"

Mr. Wheeler chuckled. "Don't worry so, Regan. The horses are fine. And they can wait for you to come back another week. I'd rather you stay here and help keep this crowd under control."

"I think you're stuck with us just a few more days, Uncle Bill." Dan grinned at his uncle, and then turned his smile to Honey. He winked at her. "At least until Thursday."

 

"It would be a good day to visit Irma. She did say she'd be up for it as long as it was a short visit." Miss Trask smiled at the restless teens. "And it might get your minds off the idol and the diamond."

"Sure." Honey didn't sound that enthusiastic. Dan didn't blame her; he wasn't either. He wanted to know what would happen to Pedro, Blinky, and Tony now that everyone knew the idol had hidden a precious stone of some sort.

"That's a great idea." Neil tried to drum up enthusiasm from the others. "I'd be happy to go meet your sister."

"Me, too." Brian sounded sincere, and Dan felt a little bit guilty.

"It'd be swell, Miss Trask. You've been visiting her almost every day on your own. We'd be happy to come along." Dan tried to smile.

Miss Trask's blue eyes twinkled merrily. "Really, children! Don't think I don't know how much you'd rather be at the police station with Mr. Wheeler sorting out this whole idol business. But it will be better for all of you to spend the time somewhere else than sitting on your hands around here."

 

Honey hesitated as they passed through the lobby, seemingly reluctant to go further into the hospital. Miss Trask took her arm and the two of them whispered together quietly for a few minutes. Dan watched them with interest. He thought Honey had been unenthusiastic about the visit because, like the rest of them, she wanted to find out what was happening with the idol. But now he realized there might have been more to it than that.

"Come on." Regan put his hand on Dan's elbow, trying to usher him along.

Dan shrugged out of the light hold and glanced at him. "Just a minute."

His uncle looked over at Miss Trask and Honey and then turned back to Dan. "She'll be fine." He smiled in reassurance.

He shook his head. "I know. But ... just go on, Uncle Bill. I'll be there. Or here." He was pleading, but prepared to defy his uncle if Regan refused to let him stay behind with the honey-haired girl.

Jim caught up to them just then. "I hate hospitals." He shuddered.

Dan glanced at the other boy and then back at his uncle. "Jim and I will both stay here with her. We don't all need to go in. Miss Trask herself said that her sister doesn't care much for big crowds."

Regan worked his lower lip. "All right," he said, finally.

The three of them walked over to Honey and her governess, where the rest of the group was also gathering.

"Margery, Jim and Dan want to stay here in the lobby. With Honey. If that's okay with you two?" Regan looked at Honey, and then turned his gaze back to Miss Trask.

Honey smiled gratefully.

Miss Trask also smiled. She patted Honey on the arm. "That's probably a good idea. I hadn't realized this was ....  It's a good idea."

Dan wondered what she had been about to say. He caught a glimpse of Honey's eyes and realized she was on the verge of tears.

The rest of the group went through a set of double doors that led down a wide corridor and were soon out of sight.

"I hate hospitals." Jim repeated his earlier words. "Can we get out of here altogether?"

"Oh, yes, please. I hate this place." Honey shuddered, and it reminded Dan of Jim shuddering earlier.

"The Rockefeller Institute is right next door. We can go walk around the campus, I think." Jim shrugged his broad shoulders.

Dan shook his head. "How about Saint Catherine's park? That should just be on the other side of First Avenue."

"A park sounds much better than an institute." Honey bit her lip. "Let's leave a note with the desk, there." She pointed to a person standing behind a large counter.

Jim nodded and sauntered over to the information desk in the hospital lobby. He came back shortly. "Let's get out of here."

They walked quickly out of the building and across the street.

"So what's the aversion to hospitals, Jim?" Dan really wanted to ask the question of Honey, but knew she wouldn't respond well to such a direct query. Apparently Jim didn't either. The red-headed boy glared at him as if he'd asked the stupidest question in the world. And then it dawned on him; both of Jim's parents had died in the hospital, unlike his own. He only wished his mom could have gotten to a hospital in time. They might have been able to save her. "Sorry."

It was a somber threesome that soon entered the gates of the park. They found an unoccupied bench facing a playground and sat there, Honey in the middle of the two boys.

"Well, we're a sad trio now, aren't we?" Jim raised an eyebrow. "But thanks."

"Yes, thanks." Honey spoke quietly.

"Was that the same hospital ...?" Jim let the question hang in the air.

Honey nodded.

Jim stared down at the top of Honey's head. "Didn't Miss Trask realize?"

She shook her head. "She didn't know. My parents apparently never told her all the details."

"Told her what?" Dan knew he wasn't being as sensitive as he could be or should be.

Honey sniffed. "That's the same hospital I had to stay in when I was sick. Before we moved to Sleepyside."

"Oh." Dan puzzled over this information. "I didn't realize you'd been hospitalized at all. From what I heard ...."

Honey looked at him curiously. "What did you hear?"

"Just that you had been stressed, suffering from anxiety or something." He frowned slightly. "No one ever told me the whole story."

Honey sniffled again. "Maybe some other time."

Dan sighed. He could hardly fault her for not wanting to talk about it. He turned and faced the playground, watching some kids on the swings.

 

"It was a diamond." Mr. Wheeler had barely made it back from the police station and in the door before the teens were pouncing on him for information. He had been gone for hours, and they had all been disappointed when they returned home and he still hadn't. Everyone was pretty anxious to find out the full story.

Mr. Wheeler settled into his big armchair. "The idol and the diamond are now in the hands of the Peruvians. And Pedro is being sent back to Peru to face the authorities there."

Mart raised an eyebrow curiously. "He's not going to stand trial here?"

"No. The Peruvian police were actually already in New York hunting for Pedro Sánchez." Mr. Wheeler motioned for the excited teenagers to sit down so he could tell them everything. Regan and Miss Trask sat with them, just as curious as the rest. "There is a record of a shipment of thirteen of those little wooden statues, all of them assigned to that antique dealer where you bought yours, Trixie. Pedro and his cohorts had concealed diamonds in each of them.

"You mean there are more of those little idols with diamonds hidden in their heads?" Neil whistled.

"Yes. But the one Trixie had was the one that held the centerpiece of the necklace: a perfect blue-white diamond weighing about ten carats. The diamonds were from a necklace that had been stolen from Museo Larco, a museum in Lima, Peru. The necklace had been part of a collection of items found in a temple deep in the jungle." Mr. Wheeler shook his head at the young girl. "How you have the knack of getting mixed up in these things is beyond me."

"So, this Pedro guy is being deported to Peru, but what about Blinky and Tony?" Regan asked.

Mr. Wheeler frowned. "According to the officer I spoke to, Pedro said the other two had nothing to do with it. And the police have no evidence to connect them to the crime at all."

"No evidence?!" Trixie nearly screamed. "The three of them were in on it together. I can attest to that, and I did in my statement."

"That doesn't seem right at all." Barbara's dark curls bounced in indignation.

"I'm sorry, Trixie. A young girl's word isn't enough to convict them, especially when she went willingly into such a horrid establishment." Mr. Wheeler's face hardened in determination. "But I don't accept that very easily either."

"And you're doing something about it, right Daddy?" Honey had confidence in her father's power.

Dan didn't. "Not much to do if the cops have no interest in pursuing the case."

Mart nodded along with him. "He's right. The police are going to cover up any evidence. They don't want to go after Tony or Blinky."

"That's a pretty strong accusation." Mr. Wheeler peered thoughtfully at the two boys.

"What's next, then?" Jim looked at his adopted father expectantly.

"What about the prophecy? It didn't say anything about the police, did it?" Honey looked at Trixie.

Trixie pulled it out of her purse and reviewed the notes. "Here—oh, this wasn't about you in the park at all, Dan. 'Hard-headed man lying mouth down, a rock flashes brilliantly behind the eye.'"

"The idol was the hard-headed man!" Ned exclaimed. "And the diamond was the rock flashing behind the eye. That makes much more sense."

"What's after that?" Neil asked.

Trixie read, "'But when you think the adventure has ended, the mystery has truly started.'" She looked at the others. "Could the 'mystery' be something more about Tony and Blinky?"

"It could be just about anything," Jim pointed out.

"But it must be." Bob's eyes darkened. "We have to get those creeps arrested, too. Otherwise it won't seem like the mystery is really solved."

"There was something else, wasn't there?" Mart looked at Trixie expectantly.

"Right. And this is another confusing part. Let's see. 'A mobile rack, steel rails; a room hidden behind the books; musical riddles are still unclear ....' And after that it says 'For some time.'" Trixie's eyes moved around the room, addressing all the other people there. "It doesn't make any more sense to me now than when Yomo first translated it."

Honey gazed thoughtfully at the paper in Trixie's hands. "'Steel rails' could refer to the subway. And a room behind books might be part of a library."

Di looked at Honey with admiration. "You are so smart. I would never have thought of that."

Mart rolled his eyes at Trixie's expression of determination. "I take it you'd like to take the subway down to the library and see if anything happens?"

That could throw them off the trail of the real room hidden behind the moving bookshelf. Dan mentally crossed his fingers that they would all buy that theory, and with Trixie's nose for trouble, maybe there would be another mystery that had absolutely nothing to do with him.

Jim snapped his fingers. "Those little shelves with wheels they use to carry the books back and forth, could that be the 'mobile rack' it refers to?"

"Et tú?" Brian shook his head.

"I guess a trip to the library isn't a bad thing." Mr. Wheeler winked. "Maybe you'll find something in the music section."

"You're not actually encouraging this nonsense, are you?" Miss Trask scolded her employer, but her blue eyes twinkled with amusement.

"I'll be right back." Dan uttered the words and quickly left the apartment.

He walked across to the other apartment and climbed the stairs to the bedroom he was sharing with Jim and Mart. He slid open the desk drawer and pulled out the binder, flipping it open to the first page.

The others were going to end up on a wild goose chase. Dan knew what the last verse was about and had for some time. He owed it to his friends to be upfront with them for a change. And if Tony was getting another get-out-of-jail-free pass, maybe, just maybe, solving the mystery of his dad's music would prevent that, and Tony would be in prison where he belonged. Dan stared solemnly at the pages inside the binder. This was going to be hard. He didn't know if he could go through with it after all. Dan started to close the cover. Then he opened it again. I can trust them with this. I have to.

Convincing himself, he unsnapped the rings and carefully removed the first three papers. Then, before he could change his mind, he closed the notebook and put it back in the drawer.

With a deep breath he went back to the Wheelers' apartment, papers in hand.


The End