The Holt Children And the Hidden Treasure: Book One (Chapter 3; A Strange Visitor)
A STRANGE VISITOR
“Any luck?” Ronnie asked as Pam and Joe walked into the house.
Joe shook his head.
“We thought we’d found something, but it turned out just to be a piece of metal,” Pam said, smiling.
“That’s too bad,” Betty said. “But right now, Ronnie and I are going somewhere.”
“Where to?” Pam asked.
“We’re going over to Caroline and Jason's house. They just stopped by here a few minutes ago and asked if we could come over.”
Pam nodded. “Where’s mother?”
“She’s upstairs sewing.” With that, Ronnie and Betty rushed out the door and two blocks down the road to their friends house. Now that Pam and Joe were alone, they decided to discuss the mystery. They hadn’t been talking long when the doorbell rang. Thinking it was her brother and sister, Pam opened the door, only to find a tall man with a brown beard and mustache standing in the doorway.
“Oh,” Pam said, putting her hand to her mouth in surprise. Incidentally, she noted a tattoo of a bear on his left arm.
“Is Mrs. Holt here?” He asked in a deep, bellowing voice. Pam nodded, and turned to find her mother. She came back a minute later.
“Mrs. Holt?” The man asked.
“Yes. Do we know each other…?” Mrs. Holt asked.
The man chuckled and shook his head no. “I’m Kevin Clark. Before I dropped by here, I was speaking to Mr. Forting. He told me that you were in possession of some newspapers about a train theft he had written a long time ago.” Mr. Clark paused a moment. “He asked that you give them to me.”
Pam and Joe looked at each other, both suspicious of the bearded stranger. “What do you need them for?” Pam asked.
Again the man chuckled. “I’m a private detective. I’ve been asked to find the gold that was stolen, and I need all of the clues I can get.”
Still Joe and Pam were not persuaded. “Then I suppose you won’t mind our calling him and finding out? Or do you have a letter to prove it?” Joe asked.
“That won’t be necessary. You can trust me.”
“Do you have an identification card showing that you’re a detective?” Pam spoke up.
“Indeed I do.”
When Joe and his sister still did not look persuaded, he said, “here, I'll even show you.” He reached into his pants pocket, and a look of surprise came over his face. “Why, I—“ He muttered to himself. “That is odd.”
“Is something the matter, Mr. Clark?” Joe asked.
“Yes, I can’t seem to find my card. I must have left it at Mr. Fortings house.”
“I’ll call him and ask him to see if he can find it,” Mrs. Holt offered, walking towards the telephone.
“Oh, Mrs. Holt, that isn’t necessary, but thank you. I’ll just pick it up on my way home.”
At this Joe and Pam looked at each other, raising their eyebrows. Their suspicion against Mr. Clark was increasing.
“Oh, are you sure? It might be easier if Mr. Forting has it ready by the time you get there,” Mrs. Holt said.
Mr. Clark smiled and shook his head. “I came here to pick up the newspapers, Mrs. Holt. That's all. I can get my card later.”
“But how do we know you’re really a detective if you don’t have your card?” Pam asked.
“Look, child. I haven’t time to play games. I asked for the papers, and I expect your to give them to me. I told you I've the permission to get them. I haven’t got all day,” Mr. Clark said, his face expressing his impatience.
“Fine. I’ll be right back,” Pam said.
Joe shot her a look meaning not to get them, but Pam only smiled faintly and shook her head, heading for the hallway instead of the stairs. Joe understood now. Pam shut the door behind her, and picked up the telephone. Dialing Mr. Fortings number, she stood and waited.
“Hello?” Mr. Fortings voice sounded through the telephone.
“Mr. Forting? This is Pamela Holt.”
“Oh, Pam! Did I give the wrong paper again?”
Smiling, Pam said that that wasn’t the reason. When she had finished explaining the situation to Mr. Forting, there was no reply for a moment. Finally he said, “a man name Kevin Clark, you say? Hmmm, no, I don’t recall anyone by that name ever coming over. In fact, no one's been here at all today.”
Pam thanked him for his help and hung up. To her surprise, when she came out, Mr. Clark was gone.
“Why, where is he, Joe?”
Joe shrugged and said, “he left in hurry, saying that he would come back later with his identification card and Mr. Forting to prove that he’s a detective, and that Mr. Forting gave him the permission to have the newspapers.
“Oh!” Pam said. “I just called Mr. Forting. He said that he hasn’t had any visitors tonight. So that man must have been a phony! Oh, dear, I’m glad that we didn’t give him those papers.”
“Oh, my,” Mrs. Holt said.
Joe nodded, just as the door opened and Ronnie and Betty walked in.
“You just missed out in the excitement,” Pam said, smiling.
“Oh, what happened” Betty asked.
Pam explained, and Betty said, "how exciting!" She clapped her hands together.
“I’m hungry, mommy,” Ronnie said.
Mother smiled and said that she was about to make sandwiches.
As they waited for lunch, Joe and Pam sat down in the living room to talk about the strange visit they had received from Mr. Clark. “Maybe he wants to find the gold himself,” Pam commented.
“It’s possible. I wish we knew where he lives.”
“What for?” Pam asked.
“You never know how it will help.” Joe shrugged.
“Lunch is ready, Pam, Joe!” Mrs. Holt called from the kitchen.
“Oh! Joe, what kind of ascent would you say that Mr. Clark had?” Pam asked as they walked toward the table.
“It sounded to me like a german ascent. How come?”
“Maybe he’s from Germany…maybe he is German! What if he lives in Germany?”
“I hadn’t thought of that. If only we could have seen his license plate on his truck. Maybe they’re from Germany. That would prove that he came here from Germany for sure!”
“It would! Oh, I do hope that we see him again!”
“That would be amazing. He may go back to Germany.”
“I doubt that. He’ll probably stay here in America until he gets those newspapers. He obviously wants all the information about it he can get.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right, Pam. I sure would love to go to Germany one day. That would be so neat!”
“Me too. Maybe we’ll visit there one day.”
Joe shrugged. Just then the door opened. “Dad!” Pam exclaimed, jumping up from her chair at the table. “You’re home early!”
Mr. Holt explained that he didn’t have anything else to do, so he was able to come home. At the lunch table, Joe and Pam took turns explaining to Mr. Holt of what had happened that day.
“Germany,” Mr. Holt said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “How would you children like to take a vacation trip to Germany for about four weeks?”
The children and their mother thought he was joking, and there were grins going all around the table mixed in with some, "I wish’s”.
“No, I’m serious. I don’t have to go into work for four weeks starting Monday. It’s for a vacation. I was thinking on going to Switzerland, but if all of you would rather going to Germany…”
Nobody could believe their ears. “Really, daddy, really?” Betty asked, jumping from her chair, clapping her hands. She began running around the room, and Ronnie soon followed suit. Mrs. Holt said nothing about how they had gotten up from the table not being polite, because she knew that they were excited.
Father smiled at his children’s excitement, and said, “We’ll start next Wednesday.”
“Wednesday!” Ronnie said, suddenly stopping his play. “Why, that’s only two days away!”
“Oh, no, Ronnie,” Betty corrected. “Daddy means the tuesday after that. We don’t have enough time to get ready in two days. Besides, daddy said that he didn’t get off until Monday.”
All this time, Pam had been sitting there in disbelief. Finally she jumped up and ran over to her father. “Oh, daddy, you’re the greatest!” She said, hugging him.
Mr. Holt smiled and hugged her. “Well, first, let’s make sure that that is where mother wants to go. What do you say, Karol?”
“Oh, I’ve wanted to go to Germany since I was just a little girl. I’d love it, Carl.”
“Then Germany it is!” Mr. Holt said.
Cheers went though the room, and all of the children hugged their parents affectionately.