The shock on Nancy’s face stopped Sal in mid-sentence. She turned to see what Nancy was looking at.
“Edgaaar,” Viv screeched. “You’re back!”
“Just briefly,” Edgar said. “Can you call the gang together? I have news for you.”
Everybody was rounded up in less than ten minutes. Blue Sky, Paul G, Patsy, Strange Brew, Sowbug, and Dandelion needed explanations.
“Last winter,” Luna said, “as you’ve all heard, we had a bunch of difficulties. We had some interesting folks join the commune, and some of them weren’t who they said they were. We had an actress who stole stuff and set a fire, and we had a government agent who had come to spy on the group.”
“Never trust government agents,” Edgar said. “Especially if they wear shiny black shoes.” He spent a moment admiring his glistening ebony footwear.
“And most especially if they have a sense of humor,” Sal said.
“Anyway, Edgar was the government agent. He eventually told us who he was and said that he was more worried about the folks who were trying to steal from us and burn down our buildings,” Luna continued. “We and he suspected a lot of this had to do with our neighbor, Hillary Reagon. He said he was going back to DC to investigate what she was up to.”
“And, yes,” Edgar said, “I have been investigating Ms Reagon. She is very well funded. The Kitsch Brothers have given her a bunch of money to create a maple syrup industry up here, which she and they would control. She has been riling up folks in the Pekoe Party hoping they would cause trouble for the maple growers--and she’s also gotten a bunch of money from them. And she has had a special irritation for this commune which she regards as being in the way of her plans.”
“One of her plans,” Dan said, “being taking over this property and turning it into a maple tree farm.”
“Yes, absolutely,” Edgar said. “Which is why she recently found a guy who she thought would create problems for the commune and sent him over here.”
“Just one guy?” Marge asked.
“Just one,” said Edgar.
“Which one?” asked Patsy.
“A guy by the name of Don York,” Edgar said.
“Don!” several people yelled at once.
“What about Dick?” Chuck asked.
“Never heard of him,” Edgar said. “I’m pretty sure he’s not connected with the Reagons.”
“Whoa,” said Sowbug. “You mean it was a complete coincidence that Dick showed up when Don did?”
“Ya know,” Dandelion said, “There are guys out there that are just like that.”
“So, do you know anything about our new building burning?” Darren asked.
“Yeah, I was getting to that.” Edgar looked around the group. He had everyone’s attention. “Ms Reagon was becoming quite frustrated at how slow things were going in her attempt to cause trouble for you. When he said he had people irritated but not ready to leave, she suggested that he start a fire here, but he do it in such a way that it didn’t look like arson.”
“Well, he fooled the fire chief,” Nancy said.
“And how do you know all this?” asked Paul G.
“I know all this because we now have Mr York in custody,” Edgar said. “He was more than willing to talk about it because Ms Reagon didn’t pay him what she had told him she was going to. We’ve got a sting set up and we’re hoping to arrest Ms Reagon tomorrow on charges of inciting arson--twice.”
“Wow,” said Ken. “That’s great.”
Edgar stood up. “I’ve got to leave now. I’ve got an early day tomorrow. But I should see all of you after the bust.”
There was a lot of excitement in the commune the next day as the communards worked and waited for Edgar to come back.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to worry about Hillary Reagon and her creepy son anymore?” Grace said as they were cleaning the main hallway.
“Yeah,” said Marge. “I just think it’s too good to be true.”
“C’mon,” Ken said. “Ya just gotta believe. I think Edgar’s gonna make it happen.”
“Well,” Marge said. “I wish.”
“What do you wish?” Grace asked.
“I wish I could believe that,” Marge replied. “I just know how much could go wrong.”
Will and Nancy in the kitchen were worried about other things.
“It’s out,” Will said waving a blackened cloth around.
“I’m so glad you found it,” Nancy said.
“Yeah, I don’t know who left an oil-soaked towel near the stove, but we could have had a really nasty fire.”
“And another fire is the last thing we’d need right now,” Nancy said.
“No kidding,” said Will. “But I’m pretty sure this one would have really been an accident. I think someone was just careless this time.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Nancy said. “A fire is bad, bad news no matter how it starts.” She grabbed a tray of desserts. “Let’s get this stuff back to the pastry stand before Darren gets completely overwhelmed with customers.”
But no sooner than they got outside than Edgar pulled up.
Fifteen minutes later, he met with everyone available.
“So sorry, folks,” he said. “We thought we had her this time. And we do have her in the sense that the warrant is still out for her arrest. But someone must have tipped her off. Her place looks like she fled in a hurry.”
“So, no Hillary Reagon,” Luna said.
“No Hillary Reagon,” Edgar said.
“I knew it was too good to be true,” said Marge.
“The good news is that she and her son are on the run.” Edgar smiled. “Hopefully they’ll be too busy avoiding capture to bother you now. We will have someone watching their place so if they come back, we should be able to pick them up, pronto.”
“Well, better than nothing,” Dan said.
“Sorry, folks,” Edgar said again. “I’ve got to run.”
After he left, the communards looked at each other.
“Well, at least it should be quiet for a while,” Ken said. “What else can happen?”
“Don’t ask that!” Chuck said. “I don’t want to know.”
There was a moment more of silence before the door burst open.
“Hey! Look at you all!” a familiar voice said. “Did you miss me???”