“Yeah, this is a great day all right. Isn’t this the most excitement ever?”
“Naw . . . this is nothin’. Did I ever tell ya about the time I ditched a gang in the city?” Larry looked into the branches of the surrounding trees, waiting for Oscar to answer his question.
“A gang? You ditched a gang?”
“Yeah . . . I was just walkin’ the sidewalk, mindin’ my own business, when I seen this shiny thing by the curb. When I went to see what it was, it turned out to be a dime.”
Oscar was impressed. “Ya found a dime? Most I ever found was three pennies outside the penny pitch game at the Firemen’s Field Days.”
“Yeah, I used to find money all the time.” Larry was warming to the story. “I grabbed it and went across the street to Lindstrom’s and bought me a two-scoop ice cream cone. I was just walkin’ along, lickin’ ice cream and mindin’ my own business, when I noticed four guys followin’ me.”
“Wow, do ya think they wanted your ice cream?”
“No—they wanted my smile—of course they wanted the ice cream.”
Oscar ignored the sarcasm. “What’d ya do?”
“Well, I walked along real casual like till I turned onto Oliver Avenue, then I turned on the jets and ran to a hole in the fence I knew about, squeezed through, and was gone before they even came to the corner. I’ll bet they’re still tryin’ to figure it out. Stuff like that used to happen all the time in my old neighborhood.” Larry was puffing up with self-importance.
“We had a robber get killed over on Enchanted Island.” Oscar couldn’t help himself; he couldn’t let Larry’s bluster carry the day without a story of his own.
“I don’t believe it.”
“I’m not lyin’.”
“No kiddin’? A real, honest-to-gosh robber?”
“Yes, sir. There’s a funny-looking house we call the hanging tower. The robber hung the owner of the house in the tower before the cops killed him in a shootout.”
“Are you serious? He murdered the owner?”
“Yeah. Everybody figures the crook was looking for a good place to hide his loot from a bunch of robberies when the owner caught him in the act. Fact is . . . they claim the robber hid his treasure before the cops got him. No one ever found any money, but one other thing is still a mystery. They found a chain attached to a little can. Dad called it a film canister, and it was hangin’ on a branch in a tree not far from where he got killed.”
“What’d that have to do with the robber?”
“It was brand new, so they knew it couldn’t have been there long. They figured it had somethin’ to do with the robber. Dad says that’s a real mystery for sure. He took me out there last year. I know all about it.”
“How far to Enchanted Island?”
“Shoot . . . it’s an easy walk if we pack a lunch.”
Larry bubbled with enthusiasm. “When do we go?”
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