Mystery and Crime Fiction posted July 16, 2018 Chapters: Prologue 1 -2- 3... 

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Darrin meets Gordon.

A chapter in the book Protect the Children and Kill Them


by Thomas Bowling

The boys finished breakfast and rushed out the door to explore the new neighborhood.

Darrin had something to discuss. “Susan, I'm thinking about buying a gun.”

“Darrin, you know how I feel about guns.”

“I know. I don't like them either, but we're talking about alligators. One was in the yard yesterday. What am I supposed to do, chase it with a broom? We have to be realistic. The kids' safety is at stake.”

“I hate it, but I agree. How are you going to keep it away from the children?”

“I'll get a gun safe and put it on top of the bookcase. I told the boys they could walk around the block and look for neighbors.”

“I hope you told them to stay away from the water.”

“I did.”

“And to be back by noon for lunch?”

“Yes, Dear.”

Darrin returned to his post as alligator scout. As the day wore on, he looked at his watch. 1:35. The boys were late. 'They must have made some friends.' Darrin decided to go for a walk and find them. Two blocks away, he spotted them. There were five other boys, two girls and an adult with them. Darrin waved to the boys and they ran to meet him.

“Sorry, Dad. We didn't notice what time it was. We met some cool kids.”

Darrin was curious about the adult. “Who was the man with you guys?”

“That's Gordon. He's nice.”

“Boys, you know you don't call adults by their first name. What's his last name?”

“I don't know. He said we should call him Gordon.”

“I make the rules for this family and the rule is children don't call adults by their first name. I don't want you hanging around him.”

“Why not, Dad?”

“Because I don't know anything about him. The other reason is 
because I said so. Stay away from him.”

The boys reluctantly agreed.

Darrin went into the kitchen. “I found the kids. They met some other kids and lost track of the time.”

“I hope you told them that noon means noon.”

“I don't think it'll happen again. There was an adult with them.”

“An adult? That's strange. Why would an adult be hanging around with children?"

"I don't know, but get this, he wants them to call him Gordon.”

“What did you tell them?”

“I said no way. They are to call him by his last name. Maybe it was just a one-time thing. He probably won't be back. I can't imagine a full grown man hanging around children.”

In the morning, the boys ran out the door, anxious to hook up with their new friends.

Darrin took up his post, protecting the neighborhood from alligators. Frank Kelly said there were no alligators in the area, but Darrin knew what he saw. Or he thought he did. He was beginning to doubt himself.

He saw some dandelions sprouting up. He kneeled down and picked them. When he looked up, a stranger was standing in front of him.

“Hi, I'm Gordon Talbot. Your sons said I should talk with you.”

“Yeah. Sure. Thanks for coming. I saw you with the kids yesterday and was just curious.”

“Let me put your mind at ease. I'm not a pedophile. Though you can't be sure these days. I'm a retired grade school teacher. I enjoy being around children. They keep me young and give me something to do.”

“That's good to know. To be honest with you, I was concerned with your interest in kids.”

“You have every right to be. You'd be amazed to know how many sex offenders live in his area. Go online. They have a list. You wouldn't believe who's on it.”

“It's a different world than when I was a kid.”

“A kinder, gentler time. You have some good sons. You need to protect them. Your boys tell me you have some concerns about alligators. I wouldn't worry too much about them. I've lived here for twenty years and never seen one around here.”

“That's what Frank Kelly told me. He said they stay around water.” 

Both men looked around to verify that no lakes had sprung up. Darrin shielded his eyes from the morning sun. “Another beautiful day in paradise.”

“One right after another. That's why we came to Florida. Oh, by the way, I'll tell the kids to call me Mr. Talbot. It may be awkward for them. Everyone else calls me Gordon.”

“Do you know what, go ahead and let them call you Gordon. I don't want them to feel different.”

“That's fine, but I think it should come from you.”

“You're right. I'll tell them. I'm glad we met. I feel better now that I know you.”

Gordon started to walk away. Almost as an afterthought, he stopped. “I get together with the kids, every Saturday. I try to do something with them to keep them busy. You know the old saying, Idle hands, are the Devil's playground. If you'd like to join us sometime, we'd be glad to have you.”

“Thanks. I'll take you up on that. Right now I'm settling into a new job. It keeps me busy. In a few weeks, I should be available.”

Gordon paused. “What do you do?”

“Insurance. Has anyone updated your policies lately?”

“Now that you mention it, I should have you look them over sometime.”

“Anytime. I'd be glad to.”

To be continued . . .

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