Read Along: Paradise Palms: Chapter 21
Tiger Lily had gotten frustrated after several miles of slow driving and took the driver’s seat. She had, however, continued to show Lin how to drive. They had switched seats several times and driven into town and down a few dirt roads that Lin hadn’t seen until they were almost upon them. Tiger Lily got a kick out of driving out to a dead end and watching Lin navigate what should have been a three-point turn to get back out again. They’d gone by lakes, rivers, and streams and past countless trees.
“I think I’m ready to go back now. This was fun, but I think we’ve got some work to do.”
They’d laughed, Tiger Lily had shared stories, when she didn’t think Lin would run into anything, and Lin had gotten a great taste for driving. She loved it. She would have to head into the Aitkin County DMV and apply for a license. Then maybe she could ask Tiger Lily to take her car shopping. The Lexus felt great and she was certain that this was the kind of car that she’d want, but would want to see other cars first.
“You’re right, let’s get on back,” Tiger Lily said as she unbuttoned her shirt and fanned herself with the open end. “I need to get into something more comfortable.” She smiled and winked at Lin.
Lin giggled. They’d shared a lot of little moments like that, but they no longer felt strange. She really thought she was beginning to understand the flirty nature of Tiger Lily and it was pleasant, not bizarre. She’d grown up an only child and that had afforded her the best of everything, but now she wished she’d had an older sister.
She turned the car back on to the main road. “I did turn the right way, didn’t I?”
“You did. Just go back to the flashing light and turn left and we’ll be on our way.”
Lin squinted and could just make out the flashing yellow light several miles up the straight, flat road. “Do you think we’ll catch him?”
“Who? Oh, you mean the person hacking the system? Yes, we’ll get him. The only way he could escape detection this time is with a physical break in the line. That’s not likely because he’s using the server and the dish. I’m still trying to understand what he’s doing, but being that he didn’t leave a trail, that’ll make it all that much harder to figure out. Once we know who is doing it, it’ll just be a matter of finding the person and knocking on his door.”
“I hope it’s that simple, but what do you think it has to do with Casper’s death?”
“Again we’ll have to wait until we talk to the person. Maybe with the way the woods changed it was all just an accident. Don’t you think?”
“I guess that’s possible. Oh shoot!”
“I forgot that I promised to make a copy of those videos for Sam.”
“Maybe he’ll forget,” Tiger Lily said with a shrug.
“I hope so. I’ll bet you’re right and he’ll want to show it to the police.”
“I had a thought about that; not Sam or the police, but with the cameras. Do you have any extra ones laying around?”
“I think I’ve got a few.”
“We should set those up. Don’t forget to turn at the light.”
Lin slowed down as she had forgotten.
Tiger lily continued. “We can set those up at different angles around the park at potential trailers and see if there’s any activity. That might lead us closer to who may be behind this all.”
“So you’re thinking that whoever is behind all this, will be awake and we’ll see their lights on or something?”
“Lights, or movement. Your cameras are all equipped with night vision. We could see if there’s any movement around certain trailers.”
“But where would we start? I mean, it could be from any trailer.”
“You know these people. You know who might be able to do this, if even a slight chance. Didn’t you say that Sam’s girlfriend had a computer? And she’s from the Soviet Union. I know that’s an outside chance, but maybe she has something to do with all this.”
“Girlfriend? That’s not possible. She just uses her computer to e-mail her friends and family, and to use a GSP tracking program to see where her parents are. I had to help her get that set up. She’s not smart when it comes to computers.”
“Think about it, Lin. What better way to throw you off her trail than to make herself look like an idiot?” Tiger Lily shifted in her seat to face Lin. As she did she pulled her shirt together, as she’d exposed her chest when she twisted.
“I’ve known Girlfriend for a while. We’ve talked, but she’s never tried to find out what I do.”
“Maybe she already knows.”
Lin chewed on that one for a moment. Girlfriend had been friendly, but not intrusive. “I don’t think so. I think she knows I like my privacy. I don’t think she’s a spy.”
“Still, I think we should have a camera on Sam & Girlfriend’s place. You never know. Who else do you think we should keep an eye on?”
Lin had to think had about that one. “Well, there’s Doc Brenner. He used to be a scientist or something. He almost never leaves his house. I remember one time Girlfriend and I were talking about him. She said he would hide out in his basement whenever she’d go over to clean and that he had this big radio system setup in his trailer.”
“Where is he located?”
“He lives in a double wide at the far end of the park. The only person to own a double wide.”
“Okay, we need a camera on him. Will we have a clear shot to his trailer?”
“I guess it depends on where we put the camera. If we set it up late at night, we can place it at the end of the driveway on a tripod, and just pick it up before the sun comes up.”
“See, you know these people better than you think. I knew we’d be able to figure this all out.” Tiger Lily buttoned up her shirt as they were almost back to the Paradise Palms.
Lin slowed way down for the drive. She’d turned onto many flat roads, but the drive into the park sloped downward, making it more difficult. She stopped and looked at Tiger Lily, and smiled weakly.
“What? You’re on your own. This should be just like anything else, right?” Tiger Lily patted Lin on the leg. “Just take it slow and easy and you’ll be fine. Trust me. I know you can do this.”
She didn’t take her hand off Lin’s leg as she eased off the brake and allowed the car to roll slowly down the hill. She kept wanting to stomp on the brake, and wound up riding it down the small slope. At the bottom she laughed and wondered why she’d been so nervous. Tiger Lily gave her leg a squeeze.
“See? You’re better than you thought.”
She took her hand off Lin’s leg and took off her seat belt as they pulled back into the driveway. Looking at the trailer through the car’s windshield felt so different. Suddenly Lin knew she had the ability and the desire to be away from the trailer. Once this pesky mystery was solved, it would only be a matter of time before Tiger Lily could take her car shopping and she’d be able to go anywhere she wanted. She’d spent her childhood chasing after a dream for her parents. She just wanted to stay put and live her own life. Now that she had accomplished that dream, she wanted more than to just sit in a trailer and wait for nothing to happen. The entire world had just been opened up to her and she had Tiger Lily and her car to thank for it.
Or was it more than that? She could also have the person hacking into their system to thank, for without that person getting into the system, she’d not have ever called Tiger Lily down and they’d never have become such great friends. Lin laughed.
“What’s gotten into you?”
Lin wiped her face with her hands. “Nothing. I think I’m just tired.”
“Well, we’ve got work to do. We’ll get to take a nap when it’s all done. We want to be up and fresh when this happens again because it looks like we’ll only have a few minutes, if it’s anything like last time.”
“I know. I’ll be ready. We’ll both be ready.”
“I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we take a shower and wash off the road dust, and then get a bite to eat before we dig in?”
For a second Lin thought she meant take a shower together, which her shower was more than big enough to allow, but no matter how much she thought of Tiger Lily as a sister, she wasn’t ready for anything like that. She wondered if that was indeed what she meant, but dismissed it.
“Okay, you take one first and I’ll find something for us to eat. Then when I get out we’ll eat and get to work.”
Tiger Lily, for only a brief second, looked as if she was disappointed. “Sounds like a plan. Let’s do it.”