|WHN Return To Fiji
Author: Mounty Swiss PM
Did you know that once – just once – Ironside didn't have the final say when his young co-workers ganged up on him? That was in February 1970, when they had returned from Fiji...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Friendship - Chapters: 10 - Words: 16,718 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 2 - Updated: 01-02-12 - Published: 11-26-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7584004
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
„Return to Fiji":
When he arrives in Fiji to spend his holiday with an old friend, the Chief is suspicious about news that his friend has gone to visit him in San Francisco. After sending for Mark and Ed to join him, Ironside himself promptly disappears, leaving the boys to put the pieces together themselves.
"What happened next" to "Return to Fiji" February 1970:
Did you know that once – just once – Ironside didn't have the final say when his young co-workers ganged up on him? That was in February 1970, when they had returned from Fiji, Ed and Mark with the impression of having missed a holiday.
And that's how it came to that:
When Ironside started to open some of the piled up mail on his desk, he noticed an envelope with several special stamps on it. It came from Europe – from Switzerland, to be exact. Curiously he opened it. It was an invitation to a criminalists' congress. "The way how you do an excellent job as a criminalist in spite of your handicap is a real encouragement for other handicapped people. We invite you and your staff to our congress with the kind request to give the other participants an account of your experiences. The members of your staff might add information from their point of view. We will be happy to bear the expenses for travelling and lodging." It was signed "P. Mayer, director of Zurich police."
"Okay children," the Chief exclaimed, "this time you've won: Let's travel to Switzerland!"
That Sunday evening, Zurich was looking magical under a thick layer of snow. Roads were tricky though, and Ironside and his people were glad that director Mayer had sent a mini-van to pick them up at the airport – including Ironside's wheelchair.
They were brought to a nice old hotel in town. "Mr. Ironside, you will have our best suite ... it's the only one with a phone and an integrated bathroom. Director Mayer insisted on that."
Mark stayed with the Chief while Eve and Ed got ordinary single rooms – not quite what Eve was used to.
The next morning, when Eve and Ed were about to enter Ironside's room, they bumped into Mark who was just coming back from town.
"I was out to get a newspaper at a kiosk. They don't have any American ones in this hotel."
"Good morning..." – "Chief," Eve wanted to say, but didn't, for Ironside wasn't there.
The door to the bathroom was ajar and Ironside was nowhere to be seen, and neither was his wheelchair.
Where could he have gone?
The window was wide open, too, and it was chilly in the room. There was an open map of the area lying at the table, and a wine bottle standing on it.
Uneasily Ed paced around. "I don't like that. I don't like it at all." For him, the adventures of Fiji were still a very vivid memory. "Under normal circumstances the Chief would at least have closed the window before leaving. And why should he have put a wine bottle onto a map? That's just not like him."
Had the Chief been abducted again? And without putting up a fight?
"Last time he hasn't either", reminded him Mark.
"But in Fiji, he's had a reason not to fight: To help his friend."
The three of them were stumped.
As a very young marine, before Vietnam, Ed had been sent to Germany for a short time. There he had learned some German. He was able to order a steak, but not very much more. But he could at least read the label on the wine bottle. 'Dinharder Blauburgunder' was the name of the wine. When they removed the bottle, they also found underneath a village called 'Dinhard'. It was situated in a region called 'Zurcher Weinland'.
"That's 'wine-country of Zurich'," translated Ed. "Dinhard is obviously the place where the wine comes from. "'Blau' means blue – it's a red vine, not a white one. But I can't place the 'Burgund' – that's someplace else entirely."
"It's in France, isn't it?" Mark knew.
That was Eve's chance to demonstrate her superior education: "'Burgunder' must be 'Pinot Noir' in French. It describes the species of the grapevine. It's planted in relatively cool regions. So this name doesn't tell us anything specific."
"But you do think that the Chief wanted to give us a hint where to look for him?" Mark asked.
Thoughtfully, Ed took charge. "Eve, please ask at the reception desk if he's left a message for us. If not ..." Ed's voice trailed away.
Swiss hotel personal usually spoke German and French, some English and Italian, too. Eve, knowing English and French, had the best chance of getting the needed information. She picked up the phone and dialed the number of the reception clerk.
"No message. He noticed a big man in a wheelchair though. The Chief left the hotel together with two other men. He can't describe those men, he had a lot to do with people checking out."
Ed decided: "I suggest that we consider the wine bottle on the map as a hint. Let's leave a message for Ironside in case we have misunderstood him, rent a car and then head to that village – Dinhard."
They drove through a probably lovely landscape, but they didn't see much of it, because the fog got thicker by the mile. Nevertheless there were children playing in the snow, sledding and skiing. Obviously, they had holydays.
It also started to snow. Ed, who drove the little rental car, had to be careful because of the small, snowy roads. He was very focused and drove as fast as he dared.
Unfortunately, Dinhard consisted of at least five hamlets plus several homesteads. They reached the hamlet which seemed to be the central one. At least there was a little grocery store. None of them had had any breakfast and they were getting quite hungry. Mark absolutely wanted to buy some food – you never knew when there would be another possibility. Eve went along with him because of her language skills.
Ed tried to relax for a moment. He walked a few steps and stretched his cramped arms and legs. Suddenly a siren went off. Ed was instantly wide awake. The sound came out of the post office a little further down the road. Ed ran towards it. He saw a green car back out of the parking ground in front of the post office. Half of the rear license number was covered by a rag, but Ed could read the last three numbers: 849. Behind the rear window there seemed to be a big, dark shadow...