“Is that all!” Handler asked exasperated, “I’m getting nowhere!”
“Well, I think we did pretty well, considering you just say a couple of words, skip away, and suspect us to figure out what they mean. What did you expect?!” Maggie said, flicking her blonde pony tail saucily over her shoulder as she spoke.
Pointedly ignoring her first comment, he answered, “I have to find out if the Olleys really do own a space ship.”
“A space ship?!” Maggie and Alfred wondered in chorus.
“Yup. I’ve gotta hunch one might have to do with what we want, but I can’t find a might of evidence. It’s time we take a bigger step. Say, Maggie where’s the computer?’ She showed Handler, and they all pulled up chairs to see what he would do.
The mouse clicked madly as he skillfully navigated through various menus. Maggie suddenly realized that James Handler was now in Lance’s private computer system. He had hacked their computers! So this was the bigger step he had spoken of. Maggie furrowed her eyebrows, and bit her lip until it turned a pale white.
Handler went to the page of sales for the year and scrolled through. “Well, the Olleys didn’t buy any ships this year. I’ll check a couple years back,” his words followed his actions, and Handler triumphantly pointed out their name.
“You were right!” Alfred marveled, “How do you know such things?!”
“Just lots of experience,” Handler shrugged as if it were nothing.
“Too much,” muttered Maggie uncomfortably.
Handler snorted, thoroughly disgusted, “You’re like- the only person who doesn’t appreciate my skills!”
Alfred hurriedly interjected by saying, “Come along now, its already past twelve, and I’m tired enough as it is.” They left in their usual unusual ways and trooped, exhausted to their various types of beds. Whether it was on a cot under the stars or a plush mattress, they all slept long that night.
Saul arrived at the news office early Monday morning ready to settle down to a few grinding hours of work before Alfred and Maggie came. He decided to finish the report to the Police since his secretary seemed too busy to do so.
Sitting down at the desk situated by the door, Saul ran the curser over an icon and selected an option titled “Recent Sights”. His bushy grey eyebrows began working up and down furiously as he followed the several new links. “Some one has used this very computer to hack another’s!” he growled under his breath. “But who? Only Maggie and I know the password… but it was already logged on when I got here.”
Could he trust the workers beneath him? What exactly had they been doing after hours? All this went through his mind at a dismal rate, and he jumped to a very wise decision. After a brief phone call he changed the said password on the computer. “There,” the boss sighed in relief, “Now that is safe, but what is next? I’ll have to keep my eye on those two youngsters.”
Not much was said as the “two youngsters” were overly drowsy from a fun packed weekend, and Saul found it better for him not to speak.
Maggie squirmed as she caught her boss watching her for the second time that day.
Seeing the car leave he jumped into his own and followed close behind. His eyes narrowed as the red Geo Metro turned a corner and disappeared the opposite direction. He put a small hand radio to his mouth and muttered, “Lost him.” A crackling voice replied, ordering, “Get back on that trail.” The young man punched a button on his dashboard, causing a screen to appear in place of the CD player. A beeping red dot slowly moved across the map displayed and the slick car sped forward, once more on the chase.
It was usually a peaceful, quite neighborhood but today, on this early Monday morning, it was very silent. Most everyone had stumbled to work, and those who had not, were otherwise occupied. From time to time a dog would bark in some distant yard on its thrilling expedition of scaring a grey squirrel up a tree, but the only other thing stirring was a man sitting at a bus stop who was thoroughly bored and impatient.
The sound of a vehicle turning down the street broke through the air, and he eagerly leaned forward.
In fact there were two men there, but they neither knew each other nor spoke to one another. The second, who was slumped on the bench in a hoody and white rimmed sunglasses, hadn’t looked up from his iphone for the past half hour.
A mail truck came into view and pulled up beside the curb a little way down.
A middle aged woman in blue uniform stepped out. She scanned the numbers until she found the correct one and fished a key out of her pocket. The glint of the metal against the sun light caught the man’s attention, and he casually approached, acting as if waiting to check his mail. His beady eyes watched her every move from under the brim of his black fedora.
She drew out a handful of letters and shuffled through them, giving a full view of the addresses to her unknown companion.
“Olley,” he mused after she had gone. Handler glanced around, pulled out his pocket knife and easily picked the lock on the selected box.
He took the new snow white envelopes and made off with them. Sitting in his car, he looked at each return address until he found a particular one with the name Lance Gas written in the corner. Handler slit it open and unfolded the crisp business letter. “The amount of space ship fuel will be delivered Saturday 7:00 sharp, just before your departure. Signed, Lance in Co. President.” James Handler grinned in sly satisfaction.
Taylor closed her journal as her mom entered carrying a small suitcase by her side. “Here you go, Taylor,” she said placing it on the floor, “You will need to pack enough clothes for a couple of days.”
Thoughtfully, Taylor asked, “Mom, have you seen a letter from Kaylie Bright anywhere? She said at church that she’d sent me one, but I haven’t seen it.”
“I’m sorry dear; in the furry of packing I may have misplaced your letter. It will turn up soon,” Taylor’s mom answered on her way out.
Taylor opened her suitcase and laid it on her bed. Choosing a few items of clothing she folded them neatly then added some other essentials.
“Taylor,” Mrs. Olley called from the kitchen, “Could you help me with dinner, please?” Taylor latched her suitcase shut and placed it by her door.
“Coming,” she sang out as she walked down the hall.
He stopped his slick car a safe distance away and followed on foot. His shoes made not a sound as he walked briskly along the side walk. Ahead, Handler stole around a corner and slipped between two buildings, waiting a moment in the cold night breeze. Deciding that he was not being followed after all, he returned on his way. At the same time a young man swung out from behind a house and grinned at the back of his foe. He expertly followed his every move with long strides and always kept just out of sight.
Handler was sitting in a little red Geo Metro parked across the street. He watched as a couple of houses down, a door opened and Mr. Olley walked out with his arms full of luggage. He set them down on the curb beside a black Toyota truck.
Handler raised a pair of binoculars and studied his fingers as Mr. Olley put in a string of numbers on the little keyboard attached to the car door. This was a new method of unlocking vehicles and it made the job all too easy, as James Handler had said. With a pen and paper he copied down each number that Mr. Olley punched.
Later, after Mr. Olley had finished loading his truck, Handler planned to break in under cover of night. This he was able to perform sooner than he had expected, but he waited until the night was at its darkest.
The air was a hazy grey black as Handler crept to the vehicle. He entered the number combination into the electronic keypad and popped the trunk with the lever inside.
A young man, complete in uniform, stepped out from behind a tree and watched as Handler, silhouetted by a street light, stealthily crawled into the trunk of the black Toyota.
The day before, when there was still sun light remaining on the close shorn lawn, Maggie found herself standing on Saul’s doorstep. She knocked once, then twice before he came to the door. “Oh, hello Maggie. Come in and have a seat,” he offered, leading the way the living room.
Maggie perched on the edge of an overstuffed sofa while her boss settled heavily into a chair across from her. “What brings you out this way?”
“I...well I needed to sort of confess something to you,” she faltered. Saul raised his eyebrows in question as a million different things went through his head.
Maggie cleared her throat nervously and began, “Early last week Alfred came to me with an idea, and I agreed. We hired James Handler to steal the secret recipe for Moon Pies from the Olley family. He hacked the Lance Company’s computers, stole mail, and is stowing away tonight!” Maggie broke down crying as she openly told what had been weighing down on her for many days.
“So that is who did it, I should have guessed it was that burglar Handler,” commented Saul.
“You mean that you knew!?” his secretary was completely surprised.
“Certainly,” her boss replied, “What other inside knowledge do you have?” Maggie told Handler’s plans which were soon relayed to the police. She was able to sleep well that night as she hadn’t for a good long while.
To be continued 2/2