Joyce shrugged, “I guess we’re at a dead end on this case.”
Nancy spoke. “Maybe not,” she said. Then, turning to the manager, she requested, “Will you see if Colombo has returned?”
The manager, Mr. Burley, learned that Colombo was back and sent for him. He asked him to meet Nancy, Bess, and George in the tropical garden.
“Did something happen?” he questioned, when they met and sat down. He looked worried.
“I’ll say it did,” George replied. “Mr. Gonzales was hit on the head with a golf ball, which was deliberately aimed at him. It knocked him out and now he’s in the hospital.”
Colombo stood up, walked in a circle, and spoke Spanish so fast that the girls could not understand him. Finally he sat down again and said, “That is very bad. Please tell me more about it.”
Nancy took up the story, and when she finished describing the attacker, Colombo said, “He sounds like a man named Sam Yunki, who used to be a caddy at this club. Then he worked at Crocodile Island a short time. I don’t know where he is now.”
“When he was at the island,” Nancy asked, “was he one of the workmen who was close to Mr. Gimler?”
“Yes, he was. Very close. I’m sure Yunki’s the one who threw the golf ball at Mr. Gonzales. He’s an excellent shot.”
“Did you know him well?” Bess inquired.
“No,” Colombo replied. “I was never allowed to be near him.”
“That’s understandable,” George said. “Gimler and his partner wouldn’t have wanted you to become a pal of his.”
Nancy went into the clubhouse to tell this latest news to Mr. Burley. When she told him about Sam Yunki, he said, “I remember hearing about him. He was surly and uncooperative. That is—unless people paid him handsomely or tipped him generously.”
Nancy asked Mr. Burley if he knew that Yunki had worked at Crocodile Island after leaving the dub.
“No, I didn’t,” he said. “I heard he left here unexpectedly and no one knew where he went, not even the other caddies. Well, I’ll notify the police at once.”
Nancy rejoined her friends, who said Colombo had already gone back to work. As the three girls walked to the parking lot, George said, “We really picked up a good clue!”
When they reached home, their hostess was smiling. “I have another message for you girls,” she said. “Nancy, your friend Ned called again. I invited the three boys to come down as soon as they could. It didn’t take them long to make up their minds. They’ll be at the Miami airport this afternoon.”
Nancy gave the woman at hug. “How sweet of you to invite them! You know we wanted to farm them out as bodyguards for Mr. Gonzales, but now he won’t need them. He’s in the hospital.”
“What!” Mrs. Cosgrove cried out in alarm.
Nancy and the girls told her about the day’s events.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Mrs. Cosgrove said. “I hope Mr. Gonzales isn’t seriously hurt.”
Bess said, “We’ll call tomorrow and find out. The doctor said they would need to make some tests.”
Nancy, Bess, and George went upstairs to get ready. They gave their hair special attention and put on pretty dresses before going to meet the boys.
Miami airport was crowded, but the girls had no trouble finding the athletes from Emerson College. At once the couples paired off to exchange kisses. Then, while the boys were collecting their baggage and later as they all rode to the Cosgrove home, the girls told them of their adventures to date.
“I’m relieved that you’ve made such progress in your sleuthing,” Ned teased. “We didn’t want to come here to join a wild-goose chase.”
George said, “I haven’t seen any geese around, but there are crocodiles, alligators, snakes, fish that climb trees—”
“Oh, stop your kidding,” Burt interrupted.
“You’ll see,” George told him.
A few minutes later the young people reached the Cosgrove house. After dinner, Dave said, “Danny, what do you think our chances are of getting onto Crocodile Island? I can’t wait to see a crocodile. Nancy told us that recently it has been closed to visitors.”