Chums in the Dark, Part 5

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Andrew Solberg

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Dec 20, 1993, 10:45:31 PM12/20/93
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CHAPTER V

"Unexpected Guests"

Under the giant hamburger was a big sign with the words "Burger Chef."
Frank and Joe slowed their motorcycles. "This must be the place," suggested
Joe.

After parking their bikes where they wouldn't be seen, the two boys circled
the parking lot, checking the two dozen cars of the patrons, but none had
Mexican license plates. "No luck there," observed Frank as they headed to
the front door. "He's probably traveling by bus anyway," he added.

Entering the restaurant, the Hardys walked casually to the counter and ordered
two Cokes, two French fries, and two burgers, one medium and one rare.

When the orders came, Frank leaned over the counter and asked quietly, "Do
you ever get any requests for Mexican food?"

The waiter looked puzzled. "All we serve is burgers, Cokes, and French
fries," he said slowly. "I mean, someone wants Chihuahuas or something, the
way I figure it, they probably go someplace else, you know?"

Frank thanked him, and the two boys picked out a table near the entrance and
ate slowly. "You know, Joe," Frank declared, "all that Mexican getup could
have been a disguise to fool Dad. Our assailant could be the waiter himself!"

Joe was about to answer, when through the door of the Burger Chef walked Chief
Ezra Collig, the keen-eyed, robust man who was head of the Bayport police
force.

"Well, look who's here," boomed the jovial police officer when he spotted the
Hardy boys. "What are you boys up to tonight?" he asked, his face becoming
more serious.

"We're on a big case for our father," explained Frank. "Say," he added, "you
haven't heard of any Mexicans being in town, have you Chief Collig?"

"Jesus, haven't we got enough trouble with the spooks?" exclaimed the ruddy-
faced officer. "Nope, no Mexes," he continued. "Spooks, but no spics. Hey,
that's not bad!"

Frank and Joe exchanged glances as they both pondered over the meaning of the
code words the Chief had used.

"Well, boys, I'm just passing through," declared the Chief, as he eased his
bulk out of his chair. "I've got a case of my own. As a matter of fact, I'm
glad to find you fellows here instead of out at the Morton farm."

"The Morton farm?" exclaimed Joe, wondering how much Chief Collig know of
Iola Morton and the secret Zig-Zag Papers.

"Forget I said it, boys," said the Chief quickly. "Enjoy your burgers, and,
say, sometime this week, why don't you drop by the office. I might have a
little, uh, undercover work for you."

Frank and Joe chorused a promise to visit the Chief the first thing next
morning, and after the big officer left, Joe let out a low whistle, the
second of the story. "Boy," he whispered to Frank, "things sure do happen
all at once! What do you suppose Chief Collig has in mind?"

"I don't know," admitted Frank, "but I think we ought to take a trip out to
the Morton farm. Maybe we can get some idea of what's going on."

"That's a swell idea," exclaimed Joe, and the Hardys raced out of the Burger
Chef and gunned their motorbikes into action. Following well behind the
Chief's car to keep out of sight, the two boys exchanged theories about
Chief Collig's mysterious remarks.

"What has the Morton farm got to do with all this, Frank?" Joe shouted to
his brother over the roar of their machines.

"Maybe Chief Collig is going out to take the Zig-Zag Papers into safekeeping,"
suggested Frank. "Or maybe he's been alerted to an attempt to steal them.
Either way, I want to be in on it!"

"Frank," shouted Joe, "the highway the Chief's taking follows a big loop
along Barmet Bay. Let's take the shortcut by the Old Mill. We can beat him
by ten minutes!"

"Good idea," agreed Frank, and the Hardys turned their bikes down an old dirt
road that led past twelve of Bayport's thirty-four abandoned mills.

"Boy, those old mills sure are creepy," shouted Frank, remembering the time
they helped put the cuffs on Martin Bormann in his huge underground bunker in
_The_Nazi_in_the_Woodpile_.

In a few more minutes, they arrived at the back entrance of the Morton farm,
and, after wheeling their bikes along for a hundred yards to disguise their
arrival, they crept cautiously up to the barn. A dim light flickered from
within.

Frank produced a flashlight, and, carefully shielding it with his hand, he
and Joe made their way around to a pile of hay bales that stood under the
building's only window.

"Let's take a look," whispered Joe.

The Hardys climbed silently to the window's edge and peered in. There, to
their horror, they saw Chet and Iola, Biff Hooper, Jerry Gilroy, Phil Cohen,
Callie Shaw, and Tony Prito lying on the barn floor, naked! Their chums
were the victims of the same assailant who had attacked their father!

- * -


--
HWRNMNBSOL
"Sex between a man and a woman can be a wonderful thing if one
is between the right man and the right woman." - Woody Allen

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