When we last parted company with Stanley Squantro, Boy Detective, The Boy who could talk to walls, The Squantro Family had decided to work together to solve the mystery of the disappearance of seven year old Lily Bodkin, the little sister of Stan’s new friend, the sullen and rough-made Rod Bodkin, two years ago now, by using whatever information Stanley might attain by talking to the walls in the Bodkin’s house on Chaldean Ave.
The next morning Dad Squantro drove the kids to school instead of taking the bus. He had Stanley ride shotgun, though Brother Stevie had called it. He dropped Little Sister and Stevie off first at St. Cameron’s elementary, but made a left turn instead of a right out of the parking lot. Stanley didn’t comment, he was used to Dad taking unexpected action. Dad, however, offered an explanation anyway,
-You’re gonna be a little late for school, today. we’re going for a little ride. I wanna talk to you about a couple things.
They drove out to and and all around unincorporated Rauhoff (Rauhoff, by the way, being the name of the suburban town that Stanley Squntro lives in), with it’s open fields narrowing into forest canopied roads and long gravel drives leading in the imaginatron to mysterious hidden abodes or withered ruins. Here are some of the things Dad Squantro said to Stanley in the course of this leisurely drive, lazily puffing on one of his hand rolled smokes from the silver case Stanley had found for him so many times, and would again,
-Chaldean Avenue is the oldest street in Rauhoff. The walls of the houses there may be different than the houses you’re used to. A long time ago the word Chaldean meant a god. It’s a very old word, with very old meaning. So just be prepared, you know? These walls might speak a whole diffrent language, so to speak. Beyond that, and closer to practical reality, I suppose, is the fact that you’re taking it upon yourself to investigate a crime. You could come up against some information you’re not prepared for, and you won’t be able to just forget it. Ugly information, bloody information, information filld with fear. Are you ready for that, Stan?
-I wanna try to find out what happened to her. Rod would do the same for me.
-How do you know?
-I just know. It wouldn’t matter if he wouldn’t anyway. It’s not about that, it’s about Lily. I think I can handle it. I’m going in Squire Errant style.
-How would you describe that, exactly?
-Open minded yet wary, keep my wits about me, be bold, be ready.
-That sounds real good, Stan. I’m proud of you, Stanley, wanting to help someone you hardly know this way. You’re a good person.
Just then they noticed Rod Bodkin walking past them on the gravel road, heading toward Chaldean Ave. They passed him by, and Dad exclaimed,
-He’s cuttin’ school!
He stopped the car and told Stanley to go catch up with him. Stanley just opened his door and did as he was told without saying a word. That was often how these two partners in crime worked, that is, with a minimum, if not total absence of unneccesary verbal signalage.
Catching up with Rodney Bodkin, the shaggy, sullen youth was happy to see Stan, and him to come over to his house, as his parents were away for the day.
Of the thirteen houses on Chaldean Ave, only five were occupied. The Bodkin house stood two and a half stories up, a half acre from the gravel road via the gravel driveway. Once inside, Rod Bodkin went straight for the fridge and cracked open one of his Dad’s tallboy beers. When Stanley declined, Rod’s only response was a nonchalant “Suit yisself”. Strangely, rod downed his beer and promptly lay down across a couch and fell right asleep, leaving Stanley alone with the walls of House Bodkin.
To Be Continued!