To read chapters 2-3, click here.
"Gosh, what’s taking Candy so long?" asked Donny.
"I'll go check on her," suggested Kara. Kara walked into the women's bathroom and found a note taped to the stall door Candy was in. She checked under the door to find no one was in it. The note was folded nicely with the names 'Kyle and Robert Markes'. Kara brought the note out to Donny and the rest of the crew.
"This was on the door of the stall she was in." Donny opened the note and read it aloud.
Dear Markes boys~
Your friend Candy is with me. Do not worry. As long as you forget about this "non-case", you can have her back. Do not go to the police and do not try to find her. You will not succeed. Do not make me kill another person.
Kara looked Sean directly in the eyes. Sean heard hurt in her voice.
"Okay, Kyle, if that really is your name! What is going on here? Why is Candy missing? Why did we get chlorowhatevered? Why did the bus go over the edge of the overpass?" Sean took Kara to a bench near the 50's Primetime Café. He held her hand.
"Kara, my name isn’t really Kyle Markes. It’s Sean Mitchell. I am really an undercover detective trying to solve a murder case. We have reason to believe that the prime suspect is your father."
"My father? A murderer? No way!"
"Has your father been acting strange lately?" asked Donny.
"Well, he has left at seven in the morning and returns at eleven at night but he does that when he is at home, too," answered the disgruntled daughter.
"I guess we don’t have to worry about this now, let's go find Jolly and Smiley and go have fun riding some rides," suggested Sean. The three stood up and walked over to some trees the security guards were standing under. Jolly was on his cell phone.
"- that's right. An eighteen-year-old girl, approximately five feet, nine inches with brown hair and green eyes. Her weight? Somewhere around one-forty five. Seal off all roads out off the property and all parking lots. I want a cop car at every stop light watching for any suspicious activity," Jolly was speaking. "Yes, I will get back to you when I hear more. Carahou out." When he turned off his cell phone, he turned to the three teens waiting.
"What's up, guys?" asked Smiley.
"Can we go ride some more rides?" asked Kara.
"What one, next?" asked Jolly. Sean pulled out his trusty map.
"Well, we are near Star Tours," Sean answered.
"That sounds like a good one. Where is it?" asked Donny.
"Right through there. Do you see the big ATAT Walker from the old Star Wars movies?" pointed out Sean.
"Oh, yeah," Donny said as he started walking. The group walked to the ride and rode the virtual reality coaster. After the ride, the group of friends walked over to Aerosmith's Rock and Roller Coaster. After riding the coaster, the group decided to go again, because they liked it so much. After the third time riding, everyone was getting tired so they decided to go back to the hotel. When the group arrived at the hotel, it was getting close to dinnertime, so they all went out for dinner at the Pepper Market. Someone was at the table at all times as to make sure no one peppered Donny's food. When everyone was sitting down at the table, Kara and Sean talked about the case and aliases.
"So, if your name is fake, is everyone else's name fake?" asked the curious girlfriend of the young detective.
"Well, let's see." Sean thought. He looked at Donny. Donny nodded. "This is Donny Michaels, my life long friend and my partner from back home in Grand Rapids. My Uncle Seamus is really a Disney World security undercover detective named Smiley and his fake brother, Rupert, is really Smiley's partner, Jolly. That is all."
"So, why were you lying to me the whole time?" asked Kara.
"We have reason to believe your father is a murder, Kara. We have specific evidence against him. I don't personally think its him but the rest of the guys do," replied the youngest detective.
"I see," Kara said solemnly.
"How long is your family going to be here for?" asked Donny trying to change the subject.
"My father hasn't told us. I think I'm going to call it a night. Will you excuse me?" asked Kara as she stood up. She reached for her charge card.
"Don't worry about it, Kara. I'll pick up the tab," said Sean. She walked over to
him and kissed him on the forehead.
"Thank you, goodnight."
"You'RE welcome," Sean's voice cracked as he acknowledged her thanks. The other three guys at the table cracked up into laughter. Sean shot them a nasty look that said "Shut up. I don't see you guys getting a kiss right now."
"Well," said Jolly as he threw his napkin on the plate, "we need to go to headquarters. If you guys need anything at all, just give us a call. This is my home phone number, this is Smiley's, and here are our cell numbers." Jolly finished writing the phone numbers on the paper and handed it to Donny. All four stood up and exchanged handshakes. They paid for the five dinners and left. Jolly and Smiley went to their car and left while Donny and Sean used some time walking through Panchito's Gift Shop and the Jumping Beans arcade. After spending forty-minutes browsing through El Centro, the boys decided to head up to their room to catch up on lost sleep.
Sliding the room key into the computerized lock, Kara opened the door and flipped on the light switch. Hearing a noise in the bathroom, Kara went to go find what was making the commotion. She went into the room and slid back the shower curtain. She jumped when she found someone behind the shower curtain. She soon realized the person was Candy. Candy was tied in a fetal position with duct tape. A sock was stuffed in her mouth and her eyes were covered with a towel. When the curtain was pulled back, Candy started to struggle. Kara took the gag out of Candy's mouth and took the blind off. She started to take the tape off. As soon as Candy realized who was helping her, she started to cry.
"Oh, Kara," Candy sobbed. Once all the tape was taken off, Kara helped Candy out of the bathtub and to one of the beds in the next room. Kara put her arms around the college-aged girl to comfort her. She noticed a note on the bedside stand.
Kara, your mother and I will be back about eleven o'clock. If you were to need us,
we have the cell phone.
Kara reached over for the phone and dialed the extension that put her through to Donny
and Sean's room.
"A husband and wife are arguing about who does more work in the family life. One morning, the husband says to the wife, 'Go make some coffee.' The wife says, 'You go make the coffee.' The two argue for about ten minutes until the wife says 'I can find it in the Bible where it says the husband should make the coffee.'
"'Where does it say that?' asks the husband. The wife goes into the back room and comes back with an open Bible. The Bible is open to a specific page. 'Show me,' commanded the husband. The wife pointed to the first word in bold on the page. 'Hebrews'."
Sean burst out into sudden laughter. By the time they had arrived at their building, both boys were laughing so hard, their sides hurt.
"Where did you hear that hilarious joke?" laughed Sean.
"At our church's trivia night in November. The guy that was asking the questions told us the joke when they were waiting to hear the winners of the tournament," Donny explained. As they were coming around the corner of the building, Donny saw someone up by their room. The figure was knocking on the door, peeking in the window and peeking in the peephole.
"Awwwe, not again!" sighed Donny. The detectives snuck up the stairs and got behind the figure. Sean grabbed him underneath his arms and behind his head as to no allow him to go anywhere. Donny ducked under his arms and stood in front of him.
"Don't hit me, boys!" cried a familiar voice. Sean let go and came out in front of the figure to find it was his uncle, Merle Mitchell. He hugged his Uncle Cap.
"Hey, Unc! What are you doing here?" asked Sean.
"I thought I would come up and help with the case. I knew you would need an extra hand," Cap explained.
"Sorry about the attack, Uncle Cap," explained Donny. Sean slid his key into the lock and opened the door. All three entered the room. As they sat down and turned on the television, the phone rang. Sean picked up the phone.
"Hello? Oh, hi!" Cap and Donny looked at him.
"Who is it?" Donny mouthed out.
"Kara," Sean mouthed back.
"Really? Okay, we'll be right there."
Sean hung up the phone and put his shoes on.
"What's up?" asked Donny.
"Kara said she found Candy tied up in her bathroom," explained Sean. Donny fumbled to get his shoes on.
"I get here, and right away, there's action," laughed Cap. The trio ran next door to the Winkler room and Kara opened the door before a first knock ever occurred. Donny ran into the room and greeted Candy with a kiss and a hug. Sean watched as tears began to stream down his best friend's cheeks.
"Are you okay?" cried Donny.
"Yes," answered Candy.
"I thought I would never see you again," Donny said. Everyone sat down. Donny pulled out his pocket notebook and a pen and began to write as Candy told her story.
We were at Disney-MGM Studios theme park today. Kara and Candy went into the bathroom. Kara finished and left. As Candy was washing her hands, a woman in her early fifties entered the restroom. She was tall, dark haired, strong, and had a hairy upper lip. She put a knife to Candy's throat and dragged her out of the bathroom. Leaving the park, the woman pulled Candy into a red Silverado, license plate number 92288. When they arrived at the hotel, the woman blindfolded her and brought her into many different rooms. Candy saw that the woman was wearing a Disney Cast Member tag with the name Juanita on the tag with the words CUSTODIAL CREW underneath. Candy ended up in the Winkler's room. Kara arrived back at approximately 7:49 pm. She found Candy in the room's bathtub with a towel over her eyes, a sock in her mouth, and her legs and arms duct taped together. As soon as more information is available, it will be written down.
Just as Candy finished her story, a knock was heard at the door. Kara got up and opened the door to reveal Jolly and Smiley.
"Candy, we'll have to bring you in for questioning. We're going to have to ask you to lie low for a few days," Jolly explained. The girl ran over to Donny and seemed to disappear in his arms as they hugged a temporary goodbye.
"I'll call you later, okay?" Candy asked.
"OkAY," Donny's voice cracked. As Jolly, Candy, and Smiley left, everyone burst into sudden laughter.
"Hey, don't laugh at me," Donny complained.
"You laughed at me when my voiced cracked after Kara kissed me!" exclaimed Sean. “Besides, all you got was a hug!”
"That was different," Donny objected.
"How so?" asked Kara with one eyebrow raised. The other three laughed; Donny didn't. "Well, after that, I'm not going to be able to rest for a while. What do you say we go to a park?"
"What time is it?" asked Donny.
"About 8:15," Sean answered looking at his watch.
"Well, the parks will be closing soon. Why don’t we go over to Downtown Disney for a couple hours?" suggested Donny.
"Let's do it!" said Cap excitedly.
"Sean, would you like to introduce me to your ecstatic companion?" Kara asked taking his hand.
"Oh, yeah. Kara, this is my Uncle Merle Mitchell. We call him 'Cap'," explained Sean.
"Is he really your uncle or is this another lie?" asked Sean's skeptic girlfriend.
"No, Cap is really my uncle," Sean answered truthfully.
"Where do you get the nickname 'Cap' out of Merle?" asked Kara.
"Well, growing up, Uncle Cap never got married. He never knew really how to take care of children. Since he never had any kids of his own, he didn’t have any toys around his house for me to play with when I was over, so he would always give me a few out of his hundreds of baseball caps from his collection to play with. That is where his nickname came from," explained Sean with a sparkle in his eye.
"I see," said Kara. The group of four left the room and walked down to the bus station. As they walked out of the room, they saw the Downtown Disney bus just arriving at the station. The group sprinted to the bus station to get there in time. They made it and boarded the bus as it was beginning to pull away. When the quartet arrived at the Marketplace, they walked until they found a cool store to explore. Kara walked over to a pin station. Sean took out his wallet and bought himself a lanyard and two pins: one that had a blinking light on it and one that said 'Rock N' Roller Coaster' on it. Donny also bought himself a lanyard and a blinking light pin. Kara bought herself a Tinkerbell lanyard and a Minnie Mouse pin. The mustached man that was running the register took the money and acted rude to the foursome. The group walked around the rest of Downtown Disney; through Pleasure Island, the West Side, and the rest of the Market Place. About nine thirty the gang took a bus over to the Boardwalk resort. While on the bus, Donny noticed a man that looked just like the man at the register at the Pin Station in the Market Place. He got off at the Boardwalk with the four friends. The group walked the span of the boardwalk playing the old-fashioned carnival games, eating popcorn and cotton candy, and watching magicians, ladies on stilts, and guys on unicycles. Sean realized that the magician at the Boardwalk looked like the man from the Pin Station only with a goatee and a curved mustache instead of a straight one. At about ten o' clock, the group walked over to EPCOT Center which was only about half a mile from the Boardwalk. When they arrived at EPCOT, they hurried through the park to the bus station and took a bus back to Coronado Springs. They stopped in the lobby at the room service counter to get Cap a cot, a pillow, and some blankets for the hotel room. The girl behind the counter told Cap she would send someone up with the supplies in a few minutes.
The group of four walked up to their rooms; Cap and Donny went into their room and Sean stood outside the hotel room with Kara to say goodnight to her.
"You know, I really enjoy being with you, Sean. Thanks for being such an awesome boyfriend," said Kara. She leaned over and kissed Sean on the cheek. "Goodnight." Kara went into her room and silently shut the door behind her. Sean turned to go to his room.
"Wow!" he sighed to himself. He noticed two faces in his hotel room window; Cap and Donny had the door cracked open as if to listen and had their faces pressed against the window. There were fog marks on the window below their noses and their tongues were sticking out like a dog's. Sean walked into the hotel room and playfully punched them on the arms.
They pulled the shades and closed the door. Within three minutes, a knock at the door was heard followed by a Spanish accented voice declaring "Room service!" Donny opened the door to reveal a woman in maid uniform.
"Here is your bedding, sir," the woman said in a very authentic Spanish accent.
"Thank you," Donny said, glancing at the woman's name tag. The name was Juanita. "Juanita, what do you know about a kidnaping that happened earlier today?"
"All I know is that I was terrified. It was the most awful experience that has ever happened to me," Juanita explained.
Sean looked her over. The only differences between Juanita's present appearance and the appearance described by Candy was there was no hair above the custodian's lip, her arms were hairless, and she had a blackened right eye.
"Juanita, tell us. Why did you do it?" Donny asked the female custodian.
"Why did I do what?" the Mexican asked.
"Why did you kidnap that young girl?"
"Sir, I was kidnaped this morning. Was someone else kidnaped?" Donny and Sean exchanged glances.
"Ma'am, why don't you sit down? We have some questions to ask you," Merle instructed the maid. The maid did as the senior detective instructed and started to tear up.
“Tell us what happened,” Sean instructed.
“Well,” began Juanita in a near-sobbing voice. “It was a little after lunch this afternoon. I was cleaning rooms in the Casitas when I was approached by a man that was curious for some directions. I gave him the directions he asked for. Then he...” at this, the Latino woman broke out into tears. “He dragged me into the room, made me give him his clothes, and told me that if I went to the police or told anyone, that he would kill me. I called the wardrobe department asking for a new costume. When they asked what for, I told them I dirtied the old one and was washing it in the hotel’s Laundromat. They sent someone over and I put the new clothes on. I continued to clean rooms the rest of the day and run errands for room service.”
“What did the man look like?” Merle asked the crying woman.
“He was a little taller than me, with glasses, a crooked back, and a bald head. He had a moustache but that was it when it came to facial hair. He was walking with a cane and talked in a raspy voice. That’s all I noticed about him,” the woman explained scared for her life.
“All right, Ms. Juanita. You may go but before you go home for the night I would ask you that you would go to the police and make a report. Make sure it anonymous so you don’t have to fear for your life any longer,” Donny instructed.
“Yes, sir. Do you need anything else?” she asked.
“No, thank you for the bedding and your time,” Merle called after the maid as she left the room, shutting the door behind her.
“Did you get all that in your journal, Donny?” asked Sean.
“Yeah. She spoke so quickly though, it was hard to keep up.” They all laughed. Sean helped Cap set up his cot and blankets in the corner while Donny got ready for bed. Donny finished and climbed into his bed while Cap fell asleep in his cot. Sean was in the bathroom nook brushing his teeth and washing his face with his Oxygen pads. He turned off the light as he was working his way to his bed. He was passing Donny’s bed when Cap heard something hit the floor. He scrambled to turn on the light so he could see what was going on. Sean was on the ground nursing his foot. Donny sat up in bed.
“What happened, bud?” asked Donny groggily as if he had been sleeping for two hours.
“I tripped over my shoes and twisted my ankle,” Sean answered with a grimace.
“How bad is it?” asked Cap.
“I can walk. It hurts though.” Sean hobbled over to his bed and arranged the pillows in a pile so he could keep his ankle elevated. Cap turned off the light and everyone went to sleep.
Ring, Ring! Ring, Ring! Donny remembered that he had called for a wake-up call the night before while Sean was pampering himself with his Oxygen pads. He picked up the phone.
“Hello?” he answered in the same groggy voice.
“Ha, ha! Rise and shine! We gotta lot to do, so get up! See you real soon!” came the recorded Mickey Mouse voice from the other side of the telephone. Donny got up and got into the shower. The phone also woke up Sean and Cap. Sean turned on the television to watch the weather to see what the conditions would be like for the parks, today. He tuned the channel to the nearest news channel to find breaking news coming straight from the Coronado Springs Resort. Merle and Sean sat up instantly.
“So, what is the story, Kristin?” the anchorman asked the reporter on scene at the hotel.
“It seems that one of Disney World’s employees was murdered here last night, Rick and Sue. Whoever the murderer was, they were good at concealing any clues. No finger prints were found on the body and no apparent sign of death has been found. The victim is forty-three year old Juanita Martinez. It seems that Martinez was killed shortly after delivering something to a hotel room. Authorities will continue to investigate. I am Kristin Macholin, back to Rick and Sue in the news room. I hear that a giraffe was struck by lightning at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park earlier this week?”
“That’s right, Kristin,” Rick said in his media announcer voice.
“Donny,” Sean called into the small bathroom.
“Umm, there was just a report on the news. It was airing from Coronado Springs.” Donny turned off the shower and reached out for a towel. Wrapping it around his waist, he pulled back the shower curtain and stepped out of the shower.
“What about?” he asked starting to get dressed.
“They found a body on the hotel grounds this morning. It was the body of Juanita,” Sean explained grimly. “They found her between here and El Centro so she must have been killed right after she left here.”
“Cause of death?”
“They don’t know yet.”
“Merle, your turn,” Donny called. “You know, that’s one less person we can use as evidence but something to use to hit Winkler with once we catch him.”
“Actually Donny, I have reviewed the evidence and have come to the conclusion that Mr. Winkler isn’t really the criminal,” Sean explained. Donny motioned to Sean to have a seat at the desk and did likewise. “First of all, when Kara gave me her room’s phone number on the back of a business card, the card did say “Louis Winkler”. I believe her though when she says that it was her dad’s friend. Second of all, a couple of the times something bad happened to us, we knew where Mr. Winkler was. Finally, I am going out with his daughter and some of the times when I was with her, bad things happened. If she really was Rebecca McGrogen and he was Louis McGrogen, do you think he would put his own daughter in danger?”
“I don’t know, Sean. People could go to extremes just to cover up a couple murders,” said Donny as Cap got out of the shower.
“Sean, it’s your turn,” he called.
After he was done showering, Sean called Kara inviting her to Animal Kingdom for the day. She agreed. They met outside El Centro at the bus stop. It took about five minutes to get to the park and another two minutes to get into the park. Walking into the park, a poll between Donny, Sean, Merle, and Kara was taken as to which part of the park they would go to first. The decision was unanimous: they would start at the back of the park in Africa and work their way forward. Arriving hot and sweaty in Africa, the gang decided to start with the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Upon arrival at the gorilla exhibit, Sean said,
“Hey, look Donny! How did you get in that exhibit? I didn’t know you were related to monkeys!” Donny responded to the sarcasm with a playful kick on the shin. They saw beautiful birds, fish, and hippos as well. Upon exiting the forest trail, Kara grabbed Sean’s hand and pulled him to the Kilimanjaro Safari. They waited through the line for fifteen minutes until they got onto the Safari vehicle.
“Jambo, everyone!” their African-American guide shouted over the intercom once the safari got underway.
“JAMBO!!” everyone shouted back.
“I am Richard, your guide on the Kilimanjaro Safari for the next three weeks. During the three week period, we will be seeing animals such as lions, rhinos, giraffes, and, of course, the elephants. We just gave birth to a new elephant here at the Animal Kingdom park named Janawatu. He weighed about 257 pounds at birth and stood at approximately one meter high. His mother, Big Red, came directly from the African savannahs. If we are lucky, maybe we will see Big Red, Janawatu, and his big brother, Little Red,” explained Rick.
“To your left is the African rhinoceros. This guy is a member of the white rhino family. These are frequently killed in Africa just for their horns. As of the year 2001, sixteen thousand African rhinoceros existed in the wild. Coming up here is the African lion. They can weigh anywhere between 330 and 550 pounds and hunt any animal smaller than them.
“Next, on your right, is the cheetah. Reaching speeds up to ninety-five miles an hour, this cat is the fastest animal on the face of the Earth. This animal is also dying out. Many people kill it for sport while others kill it for skins and trophies.
“Simba One, come in Simba One!” came a voice from a transistor radio over the intercom.
“Readin’ ya loud and clear, Simba Two,” Richard answered.
“Simba One, we have poachers up ahead in the elephant territory. You had better get there quick!”
“Ten-four, Simba Two. Hold on everyone!” yelled Richard as the vehicle sped off through mud, water, dust, and savannah grass toward the place ‘Simba Two’ directed. As the safari truck came to a bridge, Richard braked. “Nobody move. This bridge is old and if we make any sudden movements, this thing could come down.”
The truck had made it about halfway over the bridge when the bridge started to rock violently.
“Hold on, everyone!” yelled Richard again as he sped off the bridge. “Whew! That was a close one. Oh, oh! Here is the poacher’s camp. Attention, Simba Two. We found the poacher camp. Do you have sight of the poachers from your eye in the sky?”
“Yes, Simba One. They are making headway toward the fences. You’d better hurry.”
Richard gunned the motor and the vehicle sped off, kicking up mud four feet high.
“Nice job, Simba One. We captured the poachers. Thank you for all your help.”
“Hey, no problem, Simba Two, our eye in the sky. My name is Richard and I have been your guide for this Kilimanjaro Safari. I hope you enjoy your time at Animal Kingdom and if this is your last day at the Walt Disney World Resort, have a safe trip home,” concluded the African-American safari guide as the truck pulled up to the unloading area. As they were walking out of the exit queue of the ride, Donny pulled out a map to the park.
“All right, guys. The next ride is the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.”
“What is the description of the attraction?” asked Merle.
“‘Ride this train to the Conservation Station where you can learn about habitats, watch an animal surgery in progress, and watch feeding time. Afterwards, meet our animal friends at the Affection Section. When you are ready to come back to Africa, just ride the train back!’ Sounds interesting. Is anyone else interested?” Everyone else was.
They arrived at the train just as it was pulling away from the station. Sitting in the last car, the only other person was a man with red hair that spoke over the intercom.
“Jambo, everyone and welcome to the Wildlife Express Train, one way trip to Rafiki’s Planet watch. When you are ready to come back to Africa, feel free to re-board the train or you will be spending the night with the natives. Of course,” explained the man as the train was passing some thatched huts, “you could always stay in our new resort. It’s due to open next month.” At this joke, everyone laughed.
“Coming up is the place where the animals stay at night. Each animal species is trained to hear a specific sound. A lion may be trained to hear a bell while a giraffe may be trained to hear a trumpet. At closing time, each animal’s sound is played. That is the sign to each species that it is time to come in for the night. Also here is where the animals are fed. At the Conservation Station, you can see an Animal Hospital and if you are lucky, see an animal being operated on.
“The last part of this building, as you can see, is a fenced in area. This is where our new elephant baby lives when it is not with his mother. If we are lucky, maybe he will be in the cage. Oh, there he is! Hi, Janawatu!” the man called. Janawatu greeted the train, blowing through his trunk.
“We are now arriving at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Please remain seated until the train comes to a complete stop and the side of the train is lifted,” instructed the red-haired man. “I hope you enjoy your time at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. See you later!”
The group got off the train and walked the trails of Habitat Habit! toward the Conservation Station.
“Boy, I sure hope that the Conservation Station has air conditioning. I am sweating,” complained Sean. When the group finally arrived at the large building housing the veterinary clinic for the animals and the other attractions, they were greeted by a rush of cool air. They took a bathroom break and headed into the large warehouse-like room that house all the different animal exhibits. Kara found a little room with a light over top of it that people kept going in and out of. It was labeled: 3D SOUND SHOW. She urged the rest of the group into the room. As she was closing the door, a man in his thirties ran up and asked,
“Can I join you? This is my last day here and this is the one thing I haven’t done. My plane leaves in four hours so I need to hurry. Plus, all the other rooms are full.”
“Sure,” Cap agreed. They shut the door, put on the headphones and pushed a button on the walls to begin the sound presentation. They were greeted by Grandmother Willow from the Disney movie, Pocahontas, who explained how to save rainforests and endangered species. Halfway through the presentation, Sean felt hands around his throat. He opened his eyes to see the man in his thirties trying to strangle him. The man was strong and was choking Sean so he couldn’t even talk. To get Donny’s attention, Sean kicked him on the shin. Donny opened his eyes, ripped off his headphones and smacked the guy in the face. The guy bolted out of the room with everyone else hot on his tail. The guy disappeared in through a door marked ‘EMPLOYEES ONLY’. Sean rubbed his neck.
“You all right, man?” Donny asked.
“I’m fine. Let’s go. We’ve seen everything here.” Kara put her arm around Sean’s as the group started their five minute walk back to the train. When they got to the train, they decided to sit in the last car again. The same guy with the red hair was there and as the train started to move, he began to talk into the intercom again.
“Hello, and welcome to the Wildlife Express, destination in Africa. Please stay seated at all times and keep your arms, hooves, tusks, and tails inside the ride vehicle at all times. Thank you.” This joke also received a plentiful amount of laughter. He turned off the microphone and sat down next to Merle.
“Hello,” the man said.
“Hi,” everyone responded.
“Where are you all from?” asked the train’s jokester.
“I’m from New Jersey,” Kara said. Both the cast member and Merle stared at her in disbelief.
“You don’t...” they began in unison.
“-Have an accent. I know. Everyone tells me that.” Kara laughed.
“We are all from Michigan,” Sean put in.
“Really? Where?” asked the man.
“The Grand Rapids area.”
“I have family there. I grew up north of there,” informed the red-head.
“Cool,” Donny said.
“Oops! Excuse me,” said the man. Standing up, he reached for the intercom.
“Please remain seated until the train comes to a complete stop and the side of the train is raised as to allow you to exit. If this is your last day at the Walt Disney World Resort, we hope you had a great time and a safe trip home,” the man instructed. When it was time to go, the group exited the train, bidding fare-well to the cast member. Working their way over to Asia, the group had to dodge other visitors watching the Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. Suddenly, Donny saw a familiar face in the crowd. It was the man that tried to kill Sean! He sprinted off into the crowd. The man turned around and started walking towards Asia. When Donny caught up to him, he grabbed the mysterious man by the shoulder and yanked him around so he could see his face. He was shocked to learn that it wasn’t the mysterious man after all. The person gave Donny a dirty look.
“Ha, ha. I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else. Umm, have a nice day,” Donny apologized. Sean and the rest of the gang ran up, panting behind him.
“What was that all about?” panted Sean.
“I thought that guy was our sneaky murder attempter,” Donny responded.
“The one from the 3D sound show?” asked Sean. “By the way, attempter isn’t a word.”
“Yeah.” Once everyone had caught up, they realized they were in Asia. Merle suggested they walk through the Maharajah Jungle Trek. On this trail, the group saw tapirs, birds, Komodo Dragons, tigers, and giant fruit bats. Upon arriving at the giant fruit bat exhibit, Kara refused on entering the room.
“Awwe, come on, Kara!” urged Cap. “Why won’t you come in?”
“I’ve had bad experiences with bats and these are reminding me of them,” Kara explained.
“We won’t be in here long,” Cap pleaded.
“NO!” Kara screamed, bursting into tears. “You don’t get it, do you? I’ve had bad experiences.” Sean walked up to his girlfriend and embraced her.
“You guys go on. We’ll meet you outside by the Kali River Rapids at eleven-forty five,” Sean suggested. They walked out of the exhibit, Kara’s face in her hands. He brought her to the Anandapur Ice Cream shop at the entrance to Asia and bought her an ice cream cone. Sitting on a bench outside the Kali River Rapids, Sean looked at the crying Kara in her teary-red eyes.
“Tell me about it, Kara. Tell me your bad experiences.”
“Well,” Kara sighed. “When I was growing up, this guy would abuse me. When he was close to getting trouble with the law and thought I was talking, he would abuse me with a baseball bat.”
“Do you have any bruises?”
“Yeah. Some on my arms and legs,” she responded. She showed Sean her arms and thighs. “That’s how I got those.”
Sean leaned in for a hug and got a kiss on the cheek.
“Kara, I promise that I would never treat you like that,” Sean said. She wiped her face off as Donny and Cap were seen walking towards them.
“What, you leave us for ice cream? And you don’t get us any? Some friends you are!” Cap said in a mock hurt voice.
“Here, Unc!” said Sean as he dipped Cap’s nose in his ice cream. Cap made an attempt to lick the tip of his nose but his efforts were in vain. Everyone laughed.
“Well,” Kara sighed, standing up. “Everyone ready to go on Kali River Rapids? I heard it is a cool ride.” Everyone agreed and followed Kara to the ride entrance queue. They stood in line for approximately half an hour. When they finally got on the ride, they were so hot that they were ready for some wet relief. Getting into the boat that held approximately seven people, the group strapped in along with a couple on their honeymoon, a man all by himself, and the bald guy with bushy eyebrows and a fake-looking beard. The man by himself helped Sean into his seat and strapped him in. Then they were off!
As the raft went through the mist up the lift hill, Donny and Merle discussed where they would go next. Getting to the top of the hill, the raft tipped over the peak and started through its wet journey. Banking around a tight curve, the raft bumped into a fake rock. The sudden shock of momentum threw Sean out of his seat. Donny reached out to try to save his partner and Kara screamed. All attempts to save the young detective were in vain as he fell overboard–right into the oncoming path of the raft. Sean’s eyes grew wide as he saw the raft heading straight for him. It rammed into him, pushing him underwater.
When Sean fought his way to the surface, he was pulled downstream, once again in front of the raft. He swam to the nearest bank and tried climbing up. Every part of his body was out of the water except one of his legs. The raft rushed toward the bank Sean was pulling himself onto. His leg was suddenly sandwiched between the rocky cliff bank and the raft. Sean heard the bones in his leg crack and felt piercing needles shoot through his leg from ankle to thigh. The raft spun away and downstream. Time seemed unreal as Sean laid on the bank until Disney paramedics showed up. With them was his uncle, Donny, and his girlfriend. Putting him on a stretcher, the two paramedics carried Sean to the ambulance that would bring him to Disney World’s hospital. There, the medics did an X-Ray, finding that Sean had broken his leg in four places. He would be wearing a cast for about three months..
Wheeling his buddy out of the hospital, the medics loaded the whole group of friends into the ambulance and brought them back to Coronado Springs.
Donny was instructed to make sure that Sean get a lot of bed rest.
Once the group was back in Donny, Sean, and Cap’s hotel room, Sean’s pal and uncle lifted him into bed. Kara sat at his bedside and the two guys sat on the other bed.
“You guys go back to Animal Kingdom and find out what happened,” Sean said.
“We’re staying here with you,” Kara said.
“You guys need to find out if that was sabotage or if it was an accident,” the wounded teen explained. “Before this happens to anyone else.”
“I’ll stay with him, you guys go,” Kara offered.
“We’ll give you a call each hour,” Cap said as he leaned down to give his nephew a kiss on the forehead. “Love you, Sean. Feel better.”
Once Donny and Cap closed the door behind them, Kara got up and pulled the curtains and put the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door.
Sitting down at the newly temporarily crippled young man’s bedside, Kara watched her best friend until he fell asleep.
“Chief, we have had a really tough case. We’ve abandoned the fact that the perpetrator may be Winkler but we are positive that the perp is here at the resort,” Donny explained to Kerkstram on his cell phone as they entered the Animal Kingdom park.
“Why do you think that, Donny?” Tampa Bay’s chief of police asked.
“Well, my girlfriend was kidnaped, Sean has been chloroformed, our bus crashed on our way to a park, and now my partner has a broken leg due to a freak accident from a ride here at Animal Kingdom,” the elder detective explained.
“I see,” commented Kerkstram. “Is Cap Mitchell there?”
Donny handed Cap the phone. Cap pointed to a bench and mouthed out the words ‘Meet me here when you are done.’ to his accomplice. Donny nodded and walked up to the closed queue line at Kali River Rapids. He walked around the barricade and headed to the ride loading area.
“Excuse me,” a young woman aged at about twenty five in Animal Kingdom uniform pardoned. “You aren’t permitted to be here. This area is temporarily closed. I’ll have to ask you to leave or you will be removed from the Walt Disney World resort.”
“I am a privately hired detective. May I see the person in charge of this ride?” Donny asked. The girl spoke into a walkie talkie at her belt and looked at Donny.
“Follow me,” the girl motioned to the young detective. She led Donny through a series of hidden paths until they arrived at the ride control and monitoring building. Once inside, the girl, named April, introduced Donny to the person in charge.
“Hello, Donny,” the ‘head-guy’ shook Donny’s hand. “My name is Hap E. Won. I am in charge of this ride, today. How can I help you? There was a serious accident on this ride today and we are investigating the cause.”
“That is exactly why I am here, Mr. Won,” Donny explained. “I am a private detective in Walt Disney World investigating a crime. My best friend and partner was the one that was flung from the ride and I was wondering if maybe you would allow me to see and inspect the ride vehicle for clues.”
The tall, dark haired Asian man looked Donny up and down.
“Donny, is it?” he asked. Donny nodded. “I suppose maybe you could come and check out the tube. Follow me and don’t wander please.”
Won led the concerned friend and detective through another maze of trails to the ride repair unit of the attraction. Walking over to a tube, the Asian employee motioned to the vehicle.
“Search away, young man. I will be back later.”
Donny started at the sides of the tube and found that the tube wasn’t made of rubber but rather of both rubber and metal combined. Next, he went over the seats of the tube. Going over the locking mechanism, he inspected the shoulder harness. Everything seemed in working order. When arriving at the belt that served at extra protection, he found that the belt had been cut in half.
“So if the shoulder harness is in perfect order, why was Sean launched from his seat? Does it have anything to do with that weird guy that strapped Sean in?” Donny said aloud to himself.
“Maybe because whoever it was that strapped your buddy in just clicked the belt instead of making sure the harness was locked down.” Donny looked up and saw a man in mechanics uniform standing next to the sliding door at the entrance of the maintenance barn. He held out his hand.
“Timothy Grinn. Most of my friends call me Toothy,” the mechanic said, wiping off his hands on a dirty rag out of habit. Donny gave him a strange look. “They call me Toothy because when I smile, a lot of my teeth show. Shall we continue on the analysis of the problem?”
Both men climbed underneath the ride car, which was raised on a platform. Looking up at the underside of the vehicle, Toothy concluded that the main problem in the determining factors of Sean’s flight was the harness.
“The way I see it was that Sean wasn’t strapped in right. When the collision occurred, the backup belt snapped and he flew out of the harness. It was obviously sabotage, whoever cut the belt. It was pure luck that you’re buddy decided to get out right where the car runs into the wall, though,” Toothy explained. “That is the reason we make sure guests strap themselves in is because if someone else does it, they may do it incorrectly due to the bad angle they are seated at.”
“Do you mind if I take some pictures?” asked Donny holding up his Nykon camera that was given to him after his father died.
“Go right ahead,” Timothy Grinn gave permission. Donny snapped off a few pictures of the perfect harness parts and the obviously cut belt. Once he was done, the mechanic guided him out to the regular part of the park where he found Merle on a bench with two sodas.
“What did Chief Kerkstram want to talk to you about?” asked Donny to the elder detective.
Merle chose his words carefully.
“He said that if things don’t shape up and if you guys don’t stay out of trouble, he is going to have to send his own detectives to come solve the case and take you off the case–permanently.
Sean awoke approximately three hours later to his room’s phone ringing. Kara, who was sitting on the opposite bed watching television, picked up the phone.
“Hello, Donny Michaels and Sean and Merle Mitchell’s room. This is Kara speaking. Oh, hi Candy! Donny is at Animal Kingdom. Yeah, if you want to come see him. Sure. It would cheer him up if you brought them along. Alright Candy. Talk to you later. Bye,” Kara hung up the phone.
“Who was it?” asked Sean groggily.
“Candy is allowed back on property. Jolly thinks it is safe now to let her come back to work. She starts back up tomorrow. She is bringing Jolly and Smiley to come see you,” Sean’s girlfriend explained as he drifted off to sleep.
Sean woke up to knocking heard on the door. He opened his eyes to see Candy, Jolly, and Smiley enter the room. They walked over to Sean’s bed and looked down at him. Sean lifted his hand to shake the gentlemen’s hands.
“Sorry guys. I’m kinda out of it; they loaded me up on Vicaden,” Sean explained. That made everyone laugh.
“We brought you some things, Sean,” Candy said. She stepped aside to reveal a bouquet of flowers on the desk. Jolly handed Sean a quart of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie Sundae ice cream. Smiley had bought Sean a Finding Nemo DVD to watch on the way home on his portable DVD player.
“Thank you so much guys,” said Sean trying to sit up.
“The DVD is from all of us,” Kara said.
“So you are back to work tomorrow, Candy?” asked Sean.
“Yeah,” Candy answered with enthusiasm. “I am very excited.”
“You know, I am feeling better,” Sean explained moving his cast. “Do you think we could call Donny on his cell phone and have him meet us somewhere at Animal Kingdom?”
“You have been cooped up in this room for quite a while today. I guess you could get out and go ride some rides,” Kara allowed. She picked up the phone and called Donny. Within five minutes, the group was out the door, Kara pushing her best friend in a wheelchair.
“Who was that?” asked Cap as Donny hung up his cell phone.
“That was Kara. Candy, Jolly, Smiley, Sean, and her are on their way. We are going to meet them at the Island Mercantile in about twenty minutes,” Donny explained. The pair slowly worked their way over to the giant store, sipping their sodas. Upon arrival at the Island Mercantile, the pair looked around the store at sweatshirts, hats, and other merchandise with the Disney insignia on them. While inspecting a sweatshirt, he felt a gun barrel-shaped object poking his back.
“Stick em up!” a female voice trying to sound gruff and manly from behind said. Donny whirled around and hugged Candy.
“I missed you!” he said. She agreed as Donny, Merle, and Candy exited the store. Outside, the trio met Kara, Sean, Jolly, and Smiley.
“Unc, these are our fellow detectives and friends, Jolly Carahou and Smiley Roberts. They work for Walt Disney World as private detectives,” Sean introduced. After exchanging handshakes, the group was off to Discovery Island to see the 3D show, It’s Tough To Be A Bug!: starring Flik and Hopper. In the show, the audience was greeted by a cornucopia of arthropods such as the stinkbug. At the climax of the show, Hopper attacked the audience with the help of his minions consisting of hornets and spiders. The hornets stung the audience. The stinging was simulated by emitting jets of air through the back of the bench into the backs of the guests.
After the show was done, the group exited the theater, dropping their 3D glasses into the goggles recycling bin. When they exited the Tree of Life’s roots that the theater was housed in, the seven were greeted by a blast of humid, hot Florida air. Looking off to the east, Sean noted that an intense storm was approaching. Pulling the map out of the pocket in the back of Sean’s wheelchair, Donny suggested an idea to the group.
“There is a roller coaster in Dinoland, USA we should ride before the storm gets here. It’s an outdoor coaster, and if it arrives before we ride it, they may close it temporarily.”
“To infinity and beyond!” Sean yelled pointing the way to Dinoland, USA. Everyone laughed and followed the two teen detectives; one pushing the wheelchair and one riding in the wheelchair.
Upon arrival at the roller coaster, Cap and Jolly ran over to DINOSAUR! to get seven Fast Passes for the group.
Fast Passes was a ticket that literally eliminated the lines to get on attractions. When the two arrived at the roller coaster called Primeval Whirl, the group got in line, waiting for fifteen minutes in the hot, humid air. The Cast Member in the scientific-looking uniform helped Sean and Kara into their car. The ride was off as the duo started the roller coaster. The next car was packed with Jolly, Smiley, and Cap. The final car was occupied by Kara and Donny.
Primeval Whirl was a “rodent” coaster. When the car went around a curve, it spun freely. During the last hill, all coaster cars went backwards.
When all seven of the friends were off the coaster, they were laughing so hard they were breathing as if a pillow was covering their faces. They finally got their laughing under control and headed over to DINOSAUR!
Upon arrival, the detectives and company found that lines were almost non-existent due to the oncoming storm. The lucky group waited in line for a mere seven minutes. They basically walked right into the pre-show as it was starting. The scientist was explaining that the trip back in time was really a mission to retrieve the mysterious dino known as the Iguanodon. After the pre-show, the group was escorted out of the mini-theater and into the laboratory where buggies that would take them into the time of the dinosaurs awaited. Sean and Donny were brought to an elevator that would bring them down to the level where they could load onto the ride. The Cast Members made room for Sean in a buggy. The group loaded up and they started on their journey.
The car started forward and stopped approximately forty feet later where a Cast Member was checking to see if seat belts were fastened correctly. After the woman okayed them, the car resumed forward. It turned a corner and started moving in a circular pattern. The lights started to blink between red and blue and the wall in front of the car opened.
“All right, group,” came the voice of the scientist from the pre-show. “You’re in! You have five minutes to get our dino and get out before the meteor that wipes out the dinosaur population hits. Let’s find that dino!” The car rumbled forward at top speed in the pitch dark.
“There’s a big dino ahead. Computer, identify that dino!” the scientist asked. The headlights came on and the car stopped.
“Velociraptor,” the computer responded in a monotonous voice.
“Not our dino! Keep moving!” the scientist ordered. The car began moving at top speed once again through the jungle, dodging trees.
“There is another big dino ahead. Computer, identify that dino,” the scientist asked.
“Brontosaurus,” the computer’s monotonous voice replied once again.
“Still not our dino! Keep looking,” the scientist urged. Lightening flashed and revealed a meat eating dinosaur swallowing a smaller dino off to the right. Kara flinched.
“There is another one up ahead. This has to be our dino!” the scientist exclaimed.
“Carnotaurus,” the computer’s drawl came. “Twenty seconds to impact.”
“There’s still time!” the scientist yelled. By now, little pieces of rock began raining out of the atmosphere and to the ground. The car shot down a hill and the computer identified another dino.
“Pterosaurus.” The car swerved around many curves. “Five seconds to impact.”
“Forget about it! Just get out of there!”
The car suddenly came to a stop.
“You are out of battery power!” the scientist yelled into the radio.
“Carnotaurus,” came the computer. Lightning flashed as the giant T. Rex-like dino was illuminated. Suddenly, the car shot forward. They were about to be stopped or crushed by a falling tree when it stopped in midair.
“Iguanodon,” came the computer’s voice.
“FORGET ABOUT IT!!” came the scientist’s yell.
The car shot down a hill and stopped back in the labs. A television set was hanging from the ceiling showing scientists chasing an iguanodon around the lab’s halls.
“Welcome back! I’m glad to see you here! And look, you brought someone back with you!” came the scientist’s voice.
When the car came to a stop back in the labs, a Cast Member helped Sean out of the car and into his wheelchair. Cap, Kara, Donny, Candy, and Jolly walked up the stairs into the Dino Institute Shop while Smiley and Sean took the elevator to the top of the stairs. When Smiley and Sean caught up to the rest of the group, they were looking at the picture that was taken when the second Carnotaurus popped out.
All of the group was laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asked Sean. Looking at the picture, he noticed that everyone was laughing or looked unaffected by the surprise except him. Sean had a look of sheer horror on his face that looked as if he were staring death in the face.
“That picture must have been altered because, umm...” Sean tried to think of an excuse. That just made everyone laugh even harder. To keep the memory forever, Donny purchased the picture. The group walked over to the entrance of the shop and found that the storm had begun unleashing its powerful fury on the area. Cap looked at his watch.
“It’s five fifty-seven,” he commented. When everyone looked at him weird, he explained, “It always rains like this at this time of day.” Venturing out into the storm, the group made their way out of Dinoland, USA. The park was literally empty of all guests. A man riding on a golf cart past the group yelled as he drove by,
“The park is closing now. Please exit the park.”
The group walked out and waited for their bus back to Coronado Springs. The bus arrived at about six-fifteen to bring them the short distance to their temporary abode. Arriving at the hotel, the group ran to Donny, Sean, and Cap’s hotel room. Candy and Kara ran next door to the Winkler room where they could freshen up and allow the boys to dress in something a little dryer. Jolly and Smiley left for home for the night and Cap went to El Centro to purchase the current day’s edition of the Orlando Sentinel. When the girls returned to the boys’ room, everyone was warm and dry. Donny stepped out of the room and into the hall taking out his cell phone and two-waying Cap.
“You can’t be away from me for five minutes?” he asked teasingly.
“Oh Cap, I’m addicted to you,” Donny returned the joke.
“What’s up?” the oldest detective inquired.
“Sean and I are going to take the girls to the Maya Grill, so if we aren’t here when you return, that’s where we will be. We’ll be right back after that though, because Sean needs his rest. We have a big day tomorrow.”
“All right, bud. If you need money, we still have four thousand dollars left in the safe from the TBPD.” Cap reminded.
“Thanks, Cap,” Donny said as he re-entered the hotel room.
“Well, since you girls are so great,” Sean began, “We decided to take you out for dinner tonight.” Donny walking into the room was a signal to Sean when to start.
“Awwe,” both girls cooed.
“Where are we going?” asked Candy.
“How about the Maya Grill?” asked Donny.
“Sure!” both girls exclaimed in unison. They walked out of the room, Candy pushing Sean. Donny walked to the safe and opened it using the combination 08-12-93. He removed sixty dollars and joined the group outside in the hall. The rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to poke through the clouds. The three other teens were leaning on the railing and looking down into the courtyard watching some young boys throwing a football around.
“Ready?” asked Sean.
“Yeah, let’s go!” Candy exclaimed. The kids made their way into the elevator and through the lobby. When they arrived at the Maya Grill, a Mexican host seated them. Their waitress brought them their sodas and took their orders. About halfway through the meal, Kara had to go to the bathroom and Candy went with her. Once the girls had left the table, Sean looked at Donny.
“I was talking to Carl earlier when you and the girls, Jolly, and Smiley came to the park today,” began Donny. “He said that if things don’t shape up, he’s removing us from the case.”
“He can’t do that!” Sean almost yelled. People seated at the surrounding tables looked at him. He chuckled and waved.
“Ha, ha, hi!” he greeted.
“Anyways, try to be careful that we don’t get in any more trouble, okay?” asked Donny. The girls were making their way back to the table as the conversation ended. The group finished the meal and the waitress brought the bill. Everyone had ordered the smallest portion available of their meal on the menu so the price came out to $40.62. They paid the bill and either walked or wheeled out of the restaurant. Sean’s watch only read 8:07 so the group made their way over to some benches surrounding Lago Dorado, the man-made lake that called the resort grounds home. They watched the sunset and sat talking about their favorite parts of the day. Sean’s favorite part was NOT breaking his leg for obvious reasons. At about nine-thirty, the group split up and went their separate ways for the evening. When Donny and Sean arrived at their hotel room, Donny slid the key through the bar code-reading lock and opened the door. Donny wheeled his partner into the room and closed the door. Helping Sean out of the wheel chair and onto a pair of crutches, Donny commented,
“You should call your mom and see how she is doing. She is probably waiting to hear from you.”
“Good idea,” agreed Sean. He hobbled over to his bed and sat down, disposing his crutches to the ground and picking up the phone. Dialing his home phone number, he counted three rings before his mother picked up the phone.
“Hello?” Sean’s mom answered the phone.
“Hi, mom!” Sean greeted.
“Sean! What a surprise. I was starting to wonder if you would ever call.”
“I’m sorry. We have been so busy on this case lately. I mean from being with my girlfriend to being in the hospital,” Sean hurried through this part.
“BEING IN THE HOSPITAL?!” Sean’s mom yelled from the other side of the phone. “What happened, now?”
“My leg was broken in four places due to a sabotaged ride,” Sean explained. “Donny was in the hospital earlier this week, knocked out, due to a bus crash.”
“That is the only thing I don’t like about your being a detective; people are always trying to wipe you out,” his worried mother put in her two cents.
“I’ll be fine,” Sean promised.
“And what is this with you having a girlfriend?” his mother asked with a skeptical tone in her voice. Sean laughed.
“It’s the main suspect’s daughter,” Sean giggled.
“ Do you know what happened the first time your father did that? He ended up getting married to her. So, didja kiss her yet?” his mother asked teasingly.
“Sorry. Well Honey, this is taking up my long-distance time. You understand, right?” asked his loving mother.
“Yeah, you need that time for your business. I understand. I’ll talk to you later, mom. I love you!” Sean said.
“Love you too. Say hi to Cap and Donny for me. And Sean?”
“Be careful. Bye,” his mother warned.
“I will. Bye,” Sean hung up the phone. Sean looked over at his friend. Donny was doing his nightly devotions.
“Mom sends her warm greetings,” Sean explained.
“Okay,” Donny said from behind his NIV Bible. “Hey, listen to this. Jeremiah 30:11 reads ‘I will discipline you but only with justice’. I guess God is saying that even if we don’t catch Mr. Engler’s murderer, he will discipline him on Judgement Day. I wonder if the murderer is aware of God’s omni-presence.”
“What do you mean?” asked Sean.
“I mean, I wonder if the murderer knows that God sees all. Even if no one knows that the person killed Mr. Engler, God knows.” Donny explained.
“That’s pretty powerful stuff,” Sean commented.
After the boys were done with their devos, Donny replaced the money that wasn’t used at dinner in the safe and helped Sean into his pajamas. Turning on the television, the boys watched a show on the Disney Channel featuring Tia and Tamera Mowry. At ten o’ clock, the boys turned off the television and went to bed. At about eleven o’ clock, Sean woke up to Merle coming in. The older gentleman didn’t turn on any lights but dressed in the dark. Afterwards, he walked over to Sean’s bed, leaned down, and kissed his nephew on the forehead. He walked to his cot in the dark and laid down.
“Uncle Merle?” Sean said into the darkness after it was quiet.
“Mom sends her love,” Sean said.