“Who’s this Bill Schmitt guy?” Zelda asked. “I don’t know who he is, but he sent me a note asking me out.”
“He’s the former owner of this place,” Luna said.
“That’s news to me,” Peter said. He had been hanging around the farm to oversee the accountant who was working on the commune’s taxes. Even with the Reagons under wraps, he didn’t want a repeat of last year when a bookkeeper had walked off with the commune’s books. “The last owners of this farm were the McGillicutty family. Old Jake Donovan owned it before that. I’ve never heard of a Bill Schmitt around here.”
“That’s odd,” Luna said. “He told us that he sold it to a developer who ran out of money and I kinda remember that it had been foreclosed on some developer when I bought it.”
“That’s right,” Peter said. “I forgot about the developer because he really didn’t do anything with the property. But it was the McGillicuttys that sold the farm to the developer. I’ve been living around here for twenty some odd years now and there’s been no Schmitt guy on this property.”
“Why on earth would he come by and tell us that he was a former owner, if he wasn’t?” Luna asked.
“Yes, and why on earth would this guy ask me out?” asked Zelda.
“Those are very good questions,” Peter said. “I intend to find out the answers.”
“Wait,” said Dan. “Do you remember what your mother said to you about him at your birthday party?”
“Oh yeah. That’s right,” said Luna. “I forgot. My grandma sent a warning to me about him. Told my folks to tell me. Give me a moment.” Luna looked thoughtful. “Yeah, I think that’s it. She said Bill Schmitt was trouble. Trouble. That’s what she said. Trouble.”
“You know,” Zelda said. “That so doesn’t sound good.”
Zelda was all dressed up when Bill Schmitt arrived to take her out.
“You look great,” he said. He stood there a moment admiring her dress and bracelets and her long braided hair.
“Thank you,” she said. “I’m glad you like it so much. I’m only sorry that we’re not really going out.”
“We’re not? Why…” His voice trailed off and he looked around.
“William Smith,” the sheriff said. “You are under arrest for fraud, misrepresentation, and probation violations. Please come along with us.”
Bill Schmitt/William Smith took a good look at the two muscular deputies and walked peacefully out of the house with them.
“It turns out that our Mister Smith has made quite a career out of bilking older women,” Peter said. “He’s become famous for it in the northern part of the state.:
“Your grandmother was smart,” George said to Luna, “and Bill Schmitt was pretty dumb for mentioning her. I don’t think he expected you to be in touch with her.”
“Fortunately, she’s agreed to cooperate with the investigation,” Fred said.
“Yeah, I talked with her,” Luna said. “She knows that it’s unlikely that she’ll get her money back but she just wanted to make sure he wasn’t able to take advantage of anyone else. She thought that it was a good thing he’s going to be behind bars.”
“Still, he looked nice,” Zelda said. “It would have been fun to go out on the town with someone again.”
“I hope you get that chance,” Peter said. “But make sure that next time you get to go out with someone who doesn’t have a record.”