Kevin takes the walkies out of Ralphy’s pack and gives one to Ralphy, one to Sammy, and one to Charlie, keeping one for himself. He tests the grappling hook one last time to make sure it doesn’t need more tape.
“Okay, Charlie, you and Sammy are on.”
Without a word, Charlie checked the hall by pulling out a plastic tube with a bend in it. He slid it through a hole no bigger than a quarter and looked at the reflection from the mirror placed at the bend. After turning it to see up and down the hall, pulled it back in and made his way out of the closet and into the hall toward the kitchen on the fourth floor. Sammy followed after.
An Italian woman was stirring something in a large pot that smelled like spaghetti sauce. He held his stomach and walked into the kitchen.
The woman looked at him concerned, “What samatta?”
”I was late for breakfast and didn’t get any. I’m awful hungry.”
She led him to the table in the dining area and sat him down, “You sit right here. Mama Leone got just the thing for a growing boy like you.”
Sammy puts on a sorrowful face and is about to walk into the kitchen when he hears Robin, “What’s wrong, Sammy?”
He turns and looks up at her with huge eyes on the verge of tears, “I was hoping Mrs. Randall could help me look for my Tonka truck. I lost it, and can’t remember where it is.”
She pats him on the head and takes his hand, “Let’s see if we can find it together. I’ll help you. Mrs. Randall is making her fudge today.” She looks up as Ralphy sits on the couch next to the kitchen and looks over the rail.
These kids are up to something.
“Mrs. Randall, I think you’d better take the fudge to the third floor. It always cools better in that kitchen.”
Sammy leads Robin down the stairs. Ralphy slumps on the couch and hits the headset in his pocket, “The goodies are moving to the third floor. Robin’s got Sammy. She ‘cepted him and is helping look for his toy.”
Kevin, who is half-way to the fourth floor kitchen replies, “Is the fudgies still there?”
”Nope. It’s like you said. She’s moving it down a floor.”
”Crap. Got to change where I’ms going.”
He turned and doubled back to the vent that leads to the third floor. Ralphy looks up to see Mrs. Randall being escorted by Nigel to the third floor. He clicks the radio in his pocket three times. Kevin scrunches his face.
That’s the signal. Nigel is walking with the fudgies. This is going to be more harder than I thought.
Charlie looks as Mama Leone brings out a heaping plate of spaghetti, “A growing boy like you needs food to keep him strong. You don’t skip breakfast again, okay?”
”Yes ma’am.” He takes a bite and looks at Mama Leone, “Nigel said this was a special day for someone. Whose birthday is it?”
She smiled and sat next to him with a plate of her own, “It’s little Vikki’s.”
Charlie almost choked on his bite.
How am I going to tell Kevin to nix the mission? If he steals Vikki’s fudge, she’s going to be mad!