“Yes, I am,” she replied. “Is he here?”
Fortunately Mr. Gonzales was there. He came to meet Nancy. She introduced the other girls, then asked him, “How would you like a three-man bodyguard?”
Mr. Gonzales burst into laughter. “Is it that bad? Have you uncovered some new evidence?”
Nancy explained why she had made the request, and he accepted her suggestion that the three boys stay with him.
“Now that you girls will have some escorts, how would you like to come to the Saturday night dinner-dance here?” Mr. Gonzales asked. “The food is always excellent, and the music exactly what you like.”
“We’d love to accept,” Nancy said.
The man looked at her and teased, “Don’t get yourself involved in some fix related to the mystery of Crocodile Island so you can’t get here.”
“I’ll do my best,” Nancy promised, grinning.
As she was about to drive out of the club grounds, Nancy saw Colombo. He apparently was headed for a bus. She stopped the car and called to him.
“Would you like a ride into town?” she asked.
“Indeed I would,” Colombo replied. “Thank you so much.” He opened the door to the rear seat and stepped in. “I’m glad I met you. I just received a phone call from my friend Sol. He wants me to meet him at a garage. He sounded excited.”
“He didn’t say why?” Nancy asked.
“No. When we get to the garage, why don’t you girls wait outside? I’ll go in and talk to Sol, He may have some important news from Crocodile Island.”
Deadly Golf Ball
In a few minutes Colombo brought his friend Sol outside and introduced him. To start a conversation Nancy asked him how he had managed to come to Key Biscayne from Crocodile Island.
The broad-shouldered, dark-skinned man replied, “I begged for a ride with a sightseer who wasn’t allowed to land. I waded out into the water and asked him to bring me to town. I was glad he didn’t ask me why sightseers were not allowed to see the reptiles that day, so I didn’t have to say anything. I hate to go back, but I need the money.”
Colombo asked him how he planned to return.
“I’ll hire a boat and pilot to take me out there after dark. Meanwhile I want to have a good time here. You know, it’s pretty dull in that place.”
Colombo said, “I know. Sol, I’ve told you these girls are detectives. Tell them your latest news.”
Sol nodded. “I think you know a good deal already. But if you can solve the latest mystery of Crocodile Hand, you’ll put Mr. Gimler and Mr. Sacco to shame. There’s no doubt that they’re covering up something big.”
Nancy asked him if he knew what it was, but Sol shook his head. “I overheard the bosses bragging about the huge amount of money they were making. I know very well it’s not from selling crocodiles to zoos and animal parks.”
Colombo suggested that maybe there were some under-the-table sales, which Sol knew nothing about.
“There could be,” his friend replied. “But I see the company’s books, and I’m sure they report every sale of crocodiles faithfully.”
Nancy was puzzled, and asked about The Whisper’s comings and goings. Sol knew little. “Mr. Gimler often goes out in it, but he never says where. Sometimes he brings back food.”
Bess remarked that it sounded secretive. “I guess Mr. Gimler doesn’t want anybody finding out what’s going on at the island.”
Sol agreed. “By the way, those of us who are still working there are likely to lose our jobs any time.”
“Why?” Nancy asked.
Sol said he had overheard the bosses say that they planned to sell out. They were going to offer all their shares of stock to Mr. Gonzales or some other people.
“That’s strange,” Nancy reflected. “Not long ago Mr. Gimler and Mr. Sacco were offering to buy Mr. Gonzales’s stock in the Crocodile Ecology Company.”
No one had an answer to this puzzle. Sol changed the subject. “Whether I lose my job or not, I’d like to get away from that place. It scares me. I have a feeling that the police are going to find out that something crooked is going on at the island and arrest the top men. Then I’ll be called in as a witness. Mr. Gimler and Mr. Sacco might even tell lies about me and I’ll be sent to jail!”