From the outside, 13 year old Tony looks like he has quite the life:
A whole estate to himself.
A fangirl he flirts with online.
A pet monkey. (His third!)
Until you notice the wheelchair. Or that he only speaks with his mother by intercom. Or that he doesn’t seem to know who his real father is.
And now, to save his home from a mysterious trust, Tony will have to ride in a broken-down motorcycle with someone who may not be who he seems, and solve the biggest mystery of all-Who he really is.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’ve helped the disabled in the past, so I was attracted to the idea of a wheelchair-bound teen overcoming his obstacles to solve mysteries.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
While helping people, I’ve run across a lot of interesting personalities. Not the least of which was Capuchin monkeys, trained to assist paralyzed individuals.
Feisty, and not always the easiest to get along with.
Hawes handed over a worn leather helmet and goggles to match.
“This doesn’t look safe,” Tony said.
“Sure it is.”
Tony sniffed at the helmet before putting it on. “Where did you find it?”
“Out at the barn. Vintage. Might be your dad’s.”
Hawes pushed down on Tony’s helmet, squashing the mohawk.
“Why did you come back for me?” Tony asked.
“I’d look funny riding this tricycle without a passenger.”
“What’s the real reason?”
“Tony, you’ve got a need bucket sooo big,”—Hawes pointed to himself—“this shovel can’t resist.”
Hawes fiddled with what he called the choke and kick-started the engine. He walked the vibrating motorcycle over to the ramp.
“You sure you can drive this thing?” Tony was thinking about the road rash on Hawes’ own motorcycle.
“YOLO,” he answered.
(You Only Live Once.)
“That’s what stupid people say…”
Hawes twisted the throttle on the handlebar. BROMUMUM.
“…right before they do something stupid!”
Tony left his stomach on the porch as the rest of him skied down the ramp. Perhaps not very fast but, having not gone faster than a walking pace for most of his life, this felt like light speed.
They accelerated as they exited the circular drive, and the wheel to Tony’s sidecar left the ground.
Landed back with a thump.
The Bentley was entering the wide arc around his mother’s house, headed for the straightaway to the exit.
Hawes yelled, “We’ll never catch him.”
Tony thought about that.
(Nah, too risky.)
Or was it?
Tony pointed to the yard behind his mother’s bungalow. “Short cut!”
“Through the hedges?”
Hawes swung the motorcycle in that direction. “Your mother is going to haaaate meeeee!”
They crashed through the line of bushes, and the bike began to spit chunks of lawn all over the place.
“What’s that sound?” Tony asked.
That did not sound safe.
Hawes shifted gears with his right hand, then threw a thumb behind him.
Tony saw blue smoke coming out of the exhaust.
Not safe at all.
Tony braced himself for the second row of hedges on the other side of the lawn. The sidecar caught a branch and the motorcycle spun around and stopped.
Engine cut out.
Hawes tried to kick-start the Indian back to life.
Tony looked out his goggles. The Bentley was at the front gate.
Smoke exploded out of the exhaust pipe. Enveloped them.
The engine was back on.
Hawes put the bike into gear, revved the throttle on the handlebar, and PUKKAPUKKAPUKKA they went.
Tony fumbled with his computer tablet, cradling it with his weaker arm.
“Tony, is now the time to be playing Grasshoppers Hate Ants?”
“I’m accessing the estate’s automation,” he yelled back.
“What good will that do?”
“I’m telling the gate to power down.”
“You can do that?”
Hawes put them back on the road.
Three hundred feet left to go.
At the gate, Foulke was pulling while the sheriff was pushing.
The gate swung out
and bumped right up against the front tire of the Indian Chief as it rolled to a stop.
The sheriff looked at the lawyer as if waiting for instructions. Foulke hitched up his pants and walked over to the two on the motorcycle.
Would he argue with them?
Order them to move?
“Nobody is going to make me late for my cruise with the Mrs.” Foulke looked down at them. “Nobody.”
PV Lundqvist is a writer who loves mysteries and, in a former life, helped the disabled find meaningful work.
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