Enchantment… Doesn’t the word make you think of that harp-like sound effect? Of bright sunshiny magic, and unbridled potential? No? Maybe I’m feeling homesick then. Today’s “three things” come to you from the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, courtesy of RC.
Remember, you can do catch-up reading at the Three Things Serial page. Now, the next episode.
10. Grandma, Big Feet, Woodpile
I was stunned by what had just happened. For a moment I couldn’t think what to do. Boris the Ballerina ran pell-mell into the night after a burglar, (or maybe something worse). I knew one person had already been badly hurt, or possibly killed, that night back at the theatre. Had that glint of metal been a gun? A knife maybe? Should I try to catch up with Boris, and what would I do if I did? The other man had seemed pretty big.
In the instant it took for those questions to run through my head, Andy and Mona came running up to see what had happened. They both looked frightened. As I described the scene their eyes got wider. And wider. Andy the Astronaut, ever the reluctant hero, at least when Mona was around, bravely plunged past his fear.
“I’m going after them,” he proclaimed. Then there was a heartbeat’s hesitation on his part. However, he took a breath and started running in the direction I had pointed.
As Andy rounded the corner, I heard a bump-tumble-crash from the woodpile in back of our building. A muffled “I’m okay!” followed the commotion, and the sound of Andy’s running feet began.
It took a moment for me to decide, because I didn’t want to intrude on Boris’ privacy, but I went upstairs to look at his apartment — I mean office. The door was standing wide open. I hesitated, and then went inside, Mona at my heels. She seemed more than curious. She was positively eager for a look inside the Russian’s home. When I stepped over the threshold I gasped. Everything that had a drawer had been ransacked. Papers, clothing, photos, and books were strewn around the room.
A collection of Russian nesting dolls was overturned and disassembled. Then I spotted a beautiful ceramic vase that looked like it had been deliberately broken against the corner of the table. When I picked up the top half I realized that the vase had been made with a false bottom. The bottom part had a stopper that secured a small opening. I could see how it might be easier to put something inside it than to get it back out again. It would have to be something quite narrow though.
Had Boris hidden something the strange vase? And maybe the man who ransacked the place had gotten in a hurry and shattered the vase to get whatever out quickly? But what and why? I mean, what kind of valuable would fit? Jewelry? Or maybe… Jeepers!
I clutched my pocketbook. I felt the bent key still inside. But the guy couldn’t have been looking for the key, because it dropped from the getaway car. But if it had been dropped by the old woman… maybe Boris also had a key to the same thing. Whatever it might be.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of male voices outside. Mona and I exchanged a “were busted” glance. We both felt guilty for going into Boris’ place without invitation, so we hurried quietly to the building’s entry foyer. I recognized Andy first because the streetlight caught his glasses. Boris was supported by Andy and another man — a large man with only one shoe. Then I realized that man was Frankie.
Mona rushed to Boris to make sure he was unharmed, and backed away awkwardly when everyone noticed how much attention she was showering on the retired dancer. He had not been attacked, but the chase was too much for his injured knee. Andy said that he thought Boris also twisted his back when he tripped, chasing the burglar.
“Frankie, I thought you went home,” I said. “And what happened to your shoe?”
“Oh I went back and got it,” Frankie said holding up the shoe. “I just didn’t stop long enough to put it back on.” When he saw my puzzled face he explained, “When I got home I saw a note from my cousin Flavio, asking me to go over to my grandma’s and help with something. So I was headed that way when some jerk half ran into me. Then Boris here charged up behind him. I figured the first guy was up to no good. But I’m not so fast. Coach used to say my muscles slow me down. Anyhow I knew I couldn’t catch the guy so I threw my shoe at him.”
I stood in mute amazement. He threw his shoe at a thief? Andy chimed in, “Yeah, beaned him good too!” I tied him up and we left him there for the police. Frankie went back inside to call the coppers to come and get him.”
Frankie held his shoe closer to me and I saw that there was blood on the heel where it must have hit the guy.
“Good thing I’ve got big feet! I get them from my grandma,” Frankie said proudly.