"That'll be twenty five smackers," Violet Ferres announced, "each."
"Madam, the use of your tow truck was worth every penny," Dr. Fleinhardt assured her. "I am indeed grateful that the sun is shining, that our vehicle has been released from its mud-bound prison, and that we will momentarily be on our way back to civilize—ahem, CalSci."
"You sure you don't want to stick around and see what stolen treasures turn up in your mansion, Larry?" Don wasn't above a bit of teasing. "Hey, we might break something accidentally while recovering all the stolen goods, that the FBI would then have to reimburse you for."
"I will forego that pleasure, Don." Larry gritted his teeth, forcing his lips into a false smile. "Indeed, I would rather face my Physics for Pharmers class on an empty stomach than—" he broke off, catching sight of Violet Ferres' face ready to erupt in a thundercloud of her own.
"You got somethin' against farmers, with all yer education, mister?"
"I think we'd better get going, Larry," Charlie put in hastily. "Ms. Ferres, we can't thank you enough for all your hospitality and for your help with settling my friend's estate. And Dr. Fleinhardt will certainly be in touch with your cousin the real estate agent just as soon as the FBI releases the property from its investigations. C'mon, Larry," he said, tugging his colleague by the sleeve. Before something else comes out of your mouth that she can charge us for.
"But Charles! I will be charged six per cent of the selling price—"
Charlie looked his friend straight in the eye. "Bigfoot."
Larry froze. "Quite right, Charles." He spun on his foot. "Ms. Ferres, it has been a truly unique event in making your acquaintance, an event which I strongly believe and devoutly hope will never be equaled for the rest of my days. Good day, madam, and give my best to your cousin, the realtor. Please inform her that email consultations over the disposition of my property are to be encouraged, and will result in an increase of the profit that she will receive upon successful completion of the transaction."
Ms. Ferres beamed at this evidence of wealth soon to be bestowed upon her cousin, the realtor. "See you soon, city boys. And you, Mr. Government Man, you stickin' around fer a while?"
Don shook his head, not bothering to hide the grin. "Like to, Ms. Ferres, but I've got a feeling that it's going to be a mite crowded in these parts once my Forensics Team gets up here to look at all the loot in Cousin Isabel's place. You might want to consider re-opening Mikey's old hotel for a couple of weeks. Couple of hot meals every now and again might scare up some real money."
Violet Ferres got a gleam in her eye. "Might, at that," she agreed. "You got a good head on your shoulders, Mr. Government Man. Appreciate the thought."
Don turned to his team. "How about you two? Be useful to keep someone on the premises while cataloguing the stolen property. David?"
David got an alarmed expression on his face. He quickly turned and walked off, walked directly away from his team leader. "Hey, Larry! Megan! Charlie! Amita! Wait up! You guys have any room in that SUV?"
Ms. Violet squinted. "What's wrong with him?" She snorted. "You'd think he'd seen a were-wolf, or something like."
Don made a note of the desperation he heard in David's voice. He grinned. "Nah. Just Bigfoot, Ms. Violet. Just Bigfoot." Someday, this would be a useful thing to remember. And a great tale to tell someone's kids. Like David's.