Michael Coyle published two historical mysteries, Tales of the Black Lion, and The Sons of the Fathers. He began writing when he retired from a 45 year career in business. He has since taken creative writing courses and attended the Colgate Writers Conference on four occasions. He lives with his wife in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. His thire book “Dawn of a New Day” is due for publication this spring.
Kit Copperfield’s Caper with Kids
My job was to mingle with the crowd. If I saw something I checked it out, made sure it wasn’t like it looked. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it was nothing. You know, someone with a coat over his arm, a cane that might not be a cane, or a guy clutching something in his pocket.
This time it was the exception. I was standing right next to him because he was wearing a long coat, too much for the current temperature. The coat flopped open, and the weapon came out, an assault rifle. He started to raise it. I slammed the barrel downward. I spun him around. I jammed my knee unto his crotch. He dropped his hands. He dropped the gun. He dropped to the ground. By the time he hit the floor, two of my associates were there. They cuffed and dragged him off the floor by his collar. One of our guys had the weapon.
I retired from the New York State Police, but within the first few weeks I became restless. My daughter, Dixie, was in law school. I had a good pension, but I knew I could use a few extra bucks. An occasional job in the area of security or investigations would suit me fine. It would help with my financial obligations, and keep me from going nuts.
The agency, Brown and Grey, was well respected and well connected. Their reputation for getting good results and for confidentiality brought in the best clients. They offered me a chance to work for them on an as needed basis. Of course, because I was only five feet-four, 115 pounds, and a woman, not every job was an opportunity for me. On the other hand, the boys, Brown and Grey, knew of my record on the New York State Troopers (The NYS police were divided into groups called Troops, so they were called Troopers). I had received some accolades for my work as a detective, so Brown and Grey would call me in, not only when they needed someone who didn’t look like a cop, but also when they had a problem that wasn’t exactly black and white, or brown and gray.
Oh, I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Kit Copperfield. I say that I’m descended from David Copperfield, you know, the Dickens kid, and you would be surprised how many people believe me. As a matter of fact, other than my deceased husband, and my daughter, I don’t know of any other person who was born with the name.
My husband’s father, Homer, came from somewhere in the Deep South, who knows how long ago. Homer the second, my husband, joined the NYSP, charmed me, married me, fathered a lovely little girl, named her Dixie, and got shot dead by a bank robber. Since then, it was me and Dixie and the Troopers. They all loved me, and I loved them all.
The recent capture of the assassin was so successful that Brown and Grey gave me a bonus, in green. Based on this, I thought it was about time for me, and Dixie, to do a little shopping in the Big Apple. I phoned her at Albany Law School, and told her that I’d pick her up after classes on, Friday. It was all set, then I got a call from Suzi at Brown and Grey. “Kit can you hold for Mr. Brown?”
“I’m here, Suzi”
“Mr. Brown, I have Ms. Copperfield on line two.”
“Kit, we have something that is right up your alley.”
“What is it, Bob?”
Maybe I forgot to tell you that Brown and Grey are Bob and Ray, yes, just like the old comedy team. Come to think of it they kind of sound like those guys did when they did the commercial for Piels beer..
“Kit, we have a missing girl on our hands.”
“Isn’t that better handled by the cops? They have the systems to deal with this sort of thing.”
“This is different. Very prominent family, and the girl wasn’t kidnapped. She ran away with a guy.”
“Is she eighteen? You know that there is nothing we can do if she is.”
“I’m told that she pretends she is, and she acts like it, but she is only seventeen. The other complication is that the boy is also from a very well-known family, in politics. Everyone wants to keep this private. We need you to go to New York and meet with both families on Saturday morning. Can you do it?”
It sounded like an all-expenses paid shopping trip for Dixie and me. “I’ll be there. My daughter and I were planning to be in New York this weekend anyway. There is no problem if she comes along is there?”
“Not at all. We’ll cover all the expenses.”
“I’ll call you on Saturday evening with an update. You won’t mind if we call you from a good steak house, will you.”
I drove from my house in the Finger Lakes to Albany, arriving about three in the afternoon. Dixie was waiting at her apartment with her luggage. That girl doesn’t travel light. “We’re only staying for two nights, you know.”
“Mom, one case is empty. I’ll fill it up for the ride home.”
On Friday night we stayed in New Jersey. I phoned the client to setup a meeting for the next day. On Saturday morning we took a train into Manhattan. We booked a room at a boutique hotel about three blocks from Times Square. Dixie hit Fifth Avenue, and I took the subway downtown to Wall Street. I was to meet with the clients in an office provided by a big law firm.
The parents of both of the runaways were present, arguing about who caused the situation.
“Your son should have been trained to behave better.”
“Your little sweetie vamped him. I don’t know what part of her body she used.”
“Now just a minute, you can’t talk about my daughter like that.”
I jumped in. “Folks, folks, if we don’t settle down, and start being polite to each other, we won’t get anywhere. These kids are just like kids everywhere, full of hormones. So, in this case, we should try to focus on why these kids took such a drastic step as running away.”
It didn’t take long to get the answer. The fathers were not only political rivals, they were also business competitors.
As things settled down I suggested we establish some rules of conduct for our meeting. First there was a possibility that a crime had already been committed. The boy, Hayden, may have committed statuary rape, whether he thought the girl was eighteen or not. Since there was also a possibility that illegal drugs were involved, I got both sets of parents to agree that the focus of my work would be the safe return of each of the kids, and that no criminal charges would be brought by anyone.
The second rule was that even though the fathers were at swords points about everything, they should all tell me all they know about the situation, and that everything they told me should be true. I agreed to keep to myself anything I was told. The last thing I wanted was for one father to use the situation to obtain an advantage over the other. All was agreed and so I said, “Let’s get started. The boy’s name is Hayden, what is the girl’s name”
“My daughter’s name is Heather.”
“Ok, now whose office is this?”
Heather’s father said, “It is not either of ours. We have borrowed it from a mutual friend, a lawyer.”
“Swell, let’s start with Hayden’s family, mothers first. Mama you just sit over here. The rest of you clear out until I call you.”
Hayden’s father protested. “Shouldn’t you interview my wife and I together?”
“I don’t think so. You may each have a different perspective. The more different perspectives I have, the better chance I have of locating your children. And, while you are waiting, I suggest you pull out your phones and check on any credit cards or bank accounts your kids can use. I assume that in every case you also have access to these cards or accounts.” Interviewing all four parents and looking at financial transactions showed me that there was more than just a Romeo and Juliette story here.
It turned out that:
(1) Mrs. Smith (we are using Smith and Jones here for obvious reasons) and Mrs. Jones were roommates and Sorority Sisters in College. They had become close friends. The competition between their husbands was a problem in both marriages.
(2) Each of the kids had a joint bank account with their mother, and each had withdrawn a thousand dollars on the day they disappeared. With two grand in cash, they could get quite far away before they had to start using their credit cards. So far there had been no credit card transactions by either of them.
(3) These were smart kids, maybe too smart for kids
(4) Each kid had a passport, but they usually didn’t carry them on their person. The parents felt the passports were safe at home, but they would check. I thought it was dumb they hadn’t already checked.
(5)The fathers had known each other since childhood, and had been in competition with each other since they were old enough to be Boy Scouts. Not that they actually were Boy Scouts. Boy scouts went to camp. These guys went to the country club.
(6) Both kids had cars, but that was the first things the parents checked. Both cars were in their garages. The kids must have been using public transportation or had rented a car. The first ting Monday morning Brown and Grey operatives would check all the possibilities.
The whole set up seemed crazy to me. It looks like the mothers were supportive of their children’s relationship. On the other hand the fathers had forbidden the kids from seeing each other. The fathers were fierce competitors in business and in the political arena, but they had a Wall St, lawyer who was a mutual friend, and who lent them the office for this meeting. I needed to talk to this big shot lawyer friend. I wondered if he was a Democrat like Heather’s father, or a Republican like Hayden’s father. “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch the name of the person who lent you this office.”
“He is the lawyer, Victor Johnson.” (Once again a false name for the same reason.)
Saturday night I called Bob Brown. I explained the difficult family relationships. I told him, “If I had to live in that situation, I’d run away too.” We talked for some time and put together the elements of a plan. I spent Sunday contacting the operatives we needed to canvass those facilities that might provide us with a lead. Nobody travels without leaving some trail. We needed to find out where that trail started, or, if we got lucky, where that trail will end.
My other thought was that these were kids, and kids talk to their friends. I sent several our more subtle folks out to find and pump their friends.
On Monday morning I called Victor Johnson’s office. I was told that he was working at home and, when I indicated that it was urgent that I speak with him today, they gave me his home number. I phoned and a woman answered. “Do you have an appointment, Ms. Copperfield?”
“I do not, but I was hoping Mr. Johnson would see me. It is about the disappearance of Hayden Smith and Heather Jones. I am a private detective hired by the parents to locate the youths. I believe that Mr. Johnson would be able to help me since he knows both families.”
“One moment, please.”
It was only a moment. “Ms. Copperfield, this is Victor Johnson. I will be pleased to meet with you. Come as soon as you can.”
He gave me the address, and I called a cab,
When I reached the house I was greeted by a middle aged, robust man in a corduroy jacket. “Ms. Copperfield, come right in. I don’t know how I can help you, but you have as much of my time as you need.” He showed me to a room that was a home office, study, and library all in one, but it wasn’t a law library. The shelves contained great literature, history, biography, and philosophy. Johnson saw my amazement at his collection and smiled at me. “The law library is in my office downtown. I haven’t had my nose in a law book for years. By the way, this is my son Franklin. He is just out of school and is joining my firm. We are home today so that I can get Franklin up to date on some of our clients without being constantly interrupted. But I do not consider you an interruption, by any means.”
I said hello to Franklin and he said. “How-do-you-do Ms. Copperfield. I believe that I know your daughter, Dixie. I just finished at Albany Law, and we were in some of the same classes. She is a lovely woman.”
Franklyn was a type, all best money could buy, all the best clubs, and a place in daddy’s New York firm. I thought that he was handsome, sophisticated and self-confident, but not as smart as daddy.
“So nice of you to say so, Franklin. I don’t recall Dixie mentioning your name, but we really don’t see much of each other. I live in Canandaigua, in the Finger Lakes, and she has her own place in Albany. She loves Albany Law. “
“Albany Law is a fine school, and Albany is a nice town,
I smiled and mad a little joke, “Well. if you plan to settle there I’ll mention it to Dixie.
Daddy spoke up, “We’re grooming Franklyn for the New York office. ”
I said, “Say Franklyn, were you a pal of either Hayden Smith or Heather Jones?”
“The two of them are a bit younger than I am, but I knew Hayden from the Club. He is a very good golfer. I also spoke with Heather on occasion around the pool. She made quite a sensation there, if I may say so. Fellows of all ages were attracted to her.”
I said, “You wouldn’t have any idea where they would go to, shall we say, be together?”
Lawyer Johnson said, “Good grief, you don’t think they have eloped? There are damned few places that a seventeen year-old can get married.”
I said, “I know, and we have those spots covered. Our agency does a lot of tracking down young lovers. It’s SOP for us in these situations. That being said, I don’t think they intend to tie the knot at this time. I think the plan is to teach their parents a lesson in being parents.
So the bottom line is that you don’t have any idea where they might have gone?”
“Not at all.”
“Well than, perhaps you can give me the names of some folks at the Country Club who might know more.” Franklyn gave me a few names. I thanked him and daddy, and told them that I might be back, and took my leave.
As soon as I could get to a secure phone I dispatched one of our guys, who looked like he belonged to the posh set, off to the club too snoop. Then I had an idea. I called Brown. “Young Hayden is apparently interested in golf. There’s a tournament in Hilton Head this week. Is there someone near there that could show some photos around, and see if the kids just took off for a golf vacation?”
Tuesday all the reports that came in were negative. The bet was that the kids had borrowed a friend’s car. We kept the pressure, soft sell in nature, on the friends. On Wednesday, our golf guy (I think he paid Brown for the job), got out his PGA cap, his pink golf shirt, his checked Bermuda shorts , and headed for the tournament. Early Thursday morning he phoned me. “Kit, they are here.” Thursday, before noon, I dumped my bag with the bellhop at the hotel in Hilton Head. There was a message from Brown waiting for me, one word “Bonus.”
I met with our operative, Burt Woods, (no relation to Tiger) at the bar. When a meeting is detective to detective, we always meet in a bar. Burt started his report. “You’re not going to believe this but they each have their own room in this hotel. They are not sleeping together.”
“Are they in the hotel now?”
“I don’t think so. I saw them go out to Harbor Town this morning. The golf will end around six, and they’ll probably stay till the last ball is sunk. They are real enthusiasts. Our best bet will be to catch them at the last green.”
Burt was apparently somewhat an enthusiast himself. He thought sitting on the eighteenth green all of the afternoon would be fun. But there didn’t seem to be a better solution, so we went to watch golf.
On the way, Burt asked, “Don’t you think we should notify the parents?”
“I would like to talk to the kids first. The fact that they have separate rooms supports my idea they are trying to send a message to their crazy parents.” So we waited in the hot sun.
Six fifteen rolled around and the last golfer headed for the bar. I would have liked to do the same, but there was no sign of our young couple. I asked Burt, “What do you think happened?”
“I have no idea. I was sure this would work. Maybe one of them got sick or something and went back to the hotel early.”
I said “Let’s go.”
Back at the hotel, my room was ready, so I checked in. During the PGA tournament it’s almost impossible to get a room without a reservation made months ahead. Brown and Grey don’t seem to have to worry about that, just like there were tickets to the tournament waiting for Burt at the desk when he checked in the day before. The questions in my mind were (a) how did the kids get here if they didn’t rent a car and (b) how did they get a room and tickets. My bet was that someone set this whole thing up, but (c)why?
As I turned from the front desk, Burt took my bag and handed to the bellhop. “Put this in Ms. Copperfield’s room please, Jack. Kit come this way I want you to meet someone.” It was a big guy dressed in a suit with a bulge under his arm. “Kit this is Bill Reed, the house detective.” I knew that Brown and Grey were very kind to the staff of certain hotels. Bill would get a generous check in the mail with the request that he share with other important members of the staff. The head waiter, bartender, and Jack the bellhop would get their share.
I shook his hand. “Nice to meet you Bill.”
Burt said, “Tell Kit what you told me.”
“Ye know, Burt asked me to keep an eye out for your kids, but ye know I haven’t seen them since the left this morning. I checked their rooms and their stuff is still there so I guess they’ll be back, but I been watching them for a few days. They’re usually down at the pool by this time.”
I said, “Well okay, let’s wait for a while. Maybe they stopped for something to eat.”
Bill said, “I don’t think so. They got a dinner reservation for seven. It’s almost that now.”
“Bill did you see what they were driving.”
“I did. It was a Buick convertible wit Jersey plates. Here’s the number.”
“Burt, get out to the golf course and see if the car is still there. Remember, this is still a confidential investigation, so be careful about asking questions. Bill, thanks for your help. Please keep everything quiet, and you know we’ll appreciate it.”
I went upstairs and dialed the office. The night team was on duty. I asked them to check the Jersey plate number as soon as possible, realizing that it would be morning before any info was available. Then I went to the bar. I ordered a CC manhattan on the rocks. I don’t know how people drink martinis. Gin gives me a huge headache. The bartender placed the amber liquid in front of me. “Ms. Copperfield, I have a phone call for you.”
I took the phone. “Kit, why don’t you have a cell phone?”
“I don’t need one, Burt. You can always reach me at the bar. What’s up?”
“The car is still here. It looks like a rental. We’ll have to see who rented it.”
I told Burt to come back to the hotel and meet me in the bar. I finished my drink and the bartender brought me another one without my asking. “Ms. Copperfield, I have another phone call for you. “Kit, why the hell don’t you get a cell phone? “
“I had one Bob, but I lost it the first week. I can’t afford to spend that kind of cash for a phone every week.”
“Come back to New York. The parents got ransom calls today.”
A new type of case, a new set of procedures, a new group of operatives. I was sure that, back in New York, Bob and Ray were working to put together a new way to deal with the kidnaping. I wasn’t sure that I would still be on the case. When I got to the office on Friday morning there was quite a gathering of what they call “the kidnap squad”. These folks were trained to negotiate for the release of the captives. They work under the theory that if the kidnapers are successful without some difficulty, they will be back for more. They have found that this absolutely true in cases they have handled in Central and South America. Most of those cases are assigned by insurance companies that sell Kidnap insurance to business people who travel or live in those areas.
As I entered the room, Bob stopped the conversation and introduced me to the group. “Kit has been working this case as a missing person up to now. We suspected that the victims had eloped or something like that. Kit let us have your thoughts. I know that you’re not usually involved with this type of case, but somehow this doesn’t sound like a typical kidnaping.”
I had been thinking this over during my flight. “It’s odd as hell, Bob. These kids have been missing for a week. We found them on Wednesday. They were happy and free on Thursday morning. I was setting up a situation where I could casually meet them on Thursday afternoon to see wat was going on, but they disappeared sometime late morning or early afternoon that day. I have to admit it, right under my nose.”
Bob said, “Well what do you folks think” Various opinions were expressed. With the final idea being that:
(1) Someone saw an opportunity develop and took advantage of it by grabbing the kids
(2) Someone who knew the victims lured them to the golf tournament for an opportunity to grab them.
(3) The kids themselves made the ransom calls.
I weighed in for number two. “These appear to be good kids with nutty parents. I think someone they know set up a vacation for them. They knew their fathers wouldn’t let it happen so they each grabbed some cash of their own and headed to Hilton Head. They had separate rooms. They spent their days at the golf course and around the pool. It was the most plutonic elopement of all times. But I don’t think they could have set this up for themselves. They had a car but they didn’t rent a car. By the way, the car had phony plates on it. Some body wanted them to have a car that couldn’t be traced back to anyone. Someone probably made the hotel registration. If we can trace these things we’ll find a kidnaper.”
Bob said, “Okay, let’s check these things out. Kit, get the troops moving.”
I called Bart, who I suspected was still enjoying the golf. He has a cell phone so it wasn’t hard to reach him in the first tee. He agreed to check on the hotel reservation. I suggested that he also get a list of any other hotel guests from the New York City area. Sometimes you can catch a big fish with a net. Then I got hold of the guy in charge of contacting the car rental companies. “Please have your folks go back and see if any of them have a car missing or if someone rented a car to be picked up by Hayden Smith. By one o’clock I had an answer from both sources. The hotel reservation was made over the phone by a Robert K. Kent with a credit card. A car picked up by Hayden Smith, to be returned on Monday next, was rented by Robert K. Kent, with the same credit card. The card was issued by my bank. I ran down to my branch and talked to the branch manager. “Let me see what I can find out Kit. He was back at his desk in a few minutes. “The card was issued in response to a mail promotion. Mr. Kent is a longtime, large depositor. It appears he just returned a promotion card.” I looked up the address and phone number in the phone book.
On the phone Kent told me that he didn’t request a credit card from that bank. He did get a bill of sorts from that bank, but he didn’t owe anything so he tossed it. He planned to ask about it the next time he was in the office. I drove by Mr. Kent’s house in Manhasset. His mail box was on a pole at the end of a long driveway, not visible from the house. I was beginning to get the picture. It was a picture of a very clever person.
I returned to the office to drop off the company car and call for a hotel for a room. There was a message from Bart Woods. I called back and he answered immediately. Maybe I should give a smart phone another try. “Kit, I knew it was too early for even you to be at the bar, and I needed to let you know I wasn’t spending all my time watching golf . I checked around at some of the other hotels down here, and there was a Robert K. Kent at a place about a mile away from where the kids were. He checked out on Tuesday. The bellhop said he was tall, well spoken, expensively dressed, about twenty-five, beard and mustache, and a big tipper.” A ray of hope. What next?
Next I thought, a cocktail. Then Suzi buzzed me on the conference room phone.” Kit, you have another call, a Victor Johnson.”
I grabbed the phone. “Mr. Johnson, what can I do for you today?”
“Ms. Copperfield, I’ve heard about the latest developments in the disappearance. As close friend and consultant to the family, I would like to be brought up to date.”
“What exactly is the latest development you have heard about?”
“Why, the kidnaping, of course.”
“I see. Well, Mr. Johnson, if you don’t mind me asking, just what is your relationship to the family?”
“Not at all, my wife is a second cousin to Loren Smith, and I’m Godfather to Heather Jones. By this time you must have noticed some discord between the fathers. I’m sort of a mediator to try and keep the marriages together.”
“Okay, the kids were last seen on Thursday morning. They never returned to their hotel for their things, and haven’t been seen since. Brown and Grey have assembled their kidnap team and are working on a strategy right now. One of the things I would like to do is talk to some of the kid’s friends. I would like to start with Franklin.”
“That would be a great idea. Franklin is a very close friend to Hayden and Heather.” This was news. I thought Franklin told me he didn’t know either of them well. “Unfortunately he is out of town at the present. He’s a big golf guy and is down on Hilton Head until Monday. I do have his number. You could give him a call.”
Daddy gave me Frankie’s number, but I didn’t want to call him just now. Just so you won’t think I’m a total Luddite, the first thing I did was find a computer and look up the website for the Johnson Law Firm. Franklin wasn’t listed among the firm’s attorneys, yet. Then I called Dixie. “What’s up Mom?”
“Honey, does Albany law have a year book or something like that?”
“Why do you ask?”
“I’d like to get a photo of a recent grad, Franklin Johnson.”
“I know where to get that. Give me a half hour, and I’ll send you one by email to your office.”
Suzi was still in charge of the place. I told her what to expect. “How many copies do you need?”
“If I could get ten in a nice folder, that would be great. And send a copy to Bart”
“The ten copies will be a breeze. The folder may be more difficult.” But Suzi worked her magic and, after I called Bart Woods and filled him in, I was out the door.
The next morning saw me on my way back to Hilton Head. Bart picked me up at the airport. “I showed the photo Suzi sent me to the folks at the hotel where Kent is staying. He’s still registered there. They say it looks like him except for the beard and stash. On the other hand, at the kid’s hotel he was seen at the pool and eating with the kids, no whiskers.”
“Let’s stop at Kent’s hotel and see if we can spot him.”
He was there at the bar. It looked like he was waiting to meet someone. Bob Brown had got me the phone number that was used to verify Kent’s credit card. We leased the bellboy’s phone for $20 and called the number. The bearded Franklin Johnson answered. Bart said “You are lucky you have just one the Indian sweepstakes.” Franklin hung up. And then we got lucky. Someone, who looked like he might have been involved in the Indian sweepstakes climbed on the stool next to Franklin. They started talking, and Burt and I mad plans to follow the guy when he left.
I borrowed a car and a cell phone from the hotel, courtesy of Bill Reed, and Burt and I set off and on piggy back. We tailed the guy to a small bungalow just off the Island. He parked the car, and we waited. As dusk began to fall we figured we should assail the house , but we needed more than just the two of us. Suzi failed in this event. There just weren’t any B&G folks available on such short notice. Then we called on Bill Reed. At about eight he and two other huskies showed up. Time to move in, but we didn’t have a warrant, so we improvised.
I went to the front door and knocked. I asked if Hayden and Heather were home. The guy grabbed me, and hauled me in the house. I yelled, “Help.” My scream was heard on the street. We had a reason to move in. Burt came to the front door and started banging. Bill and his pals were picking the lock on the back door. The front door opened and Burt was issued in at gun point. As he closed the door, I turned and pushed the guy with the gun. The other guy grabbed me and the two huskies came up behind the bad guys and smacked them on the head. The hoods went to their knees and then down face first. By the time they came to they were tied tight.
“What now?” Burt asked.
“You guys just wait here. Remember that Brown and Grey are paying you by the hour, so just relax and keep a sharp eye on these guys and the road. We don’t want to be surprised if there are any other accomplices. I’m going to get Franklin, and bring him here.”
Franklin was the one who was surprised when he saw me. It was easy to convince him to accompany me. When we got back the kids were having pizza and Pepsi, Franklin started accusing the two gangsters of forcing him to participate in the Kidnap plan. It seemed he owed them some substantial money from a gambling situation. Of course the thugs said it was Franklin’s idea. I phoned Brown and suggested that he get the parents down for a meeting the next day. More pizza and Pepsi was ordered.
Brown brought donuts coffee, orange juice and four confused parents early the next morning. Their first question was why the kids did what they did. Hunter said, “Well, Franklin said he had won this fabulous trip to the tournament, and he couldn’t use it. We knew you wouldn’t let us go so we just went. Maybe we were trying to show you that you couldn’t control us. We didn’t know we were going to be kidnaped.”
Brown took charge. “I think that the reason we are here is we have to decide what to do now. Three people could be charged with kidnaping. One of them is Franklin. If we charge these two monkeys we have to charge Franklin as well. Do we want to do that?”
Mr. Smith said, “What you are saying is that we may want to let these two go to keep Franklin out of jail.”
Brown said, “Exactly! Think it over. It’s your call.”
The four parents decided to take another cup of coffee and go outside to discuss the situation. Shortly they were back. Smith was he spokesman. “As long as these two agree to disappear from the face of the earth as far as we are concerned, we are prepared to consider the whole matter a misunderstanding.”
I thought that maybe the families might be getting closer together.