About That Orange House Dec06


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About That Orange House

The house was located in a small California College town that had been for many years a large and prosperous Orange grove.

Orange was a very nice little city that advertised itself as… Orange, The City with Appeal, which proved, that if nothing else, they had a sense of humor.

But time had passed and the older houses were getting run down as the Orange Orchards disappeared and were replaced by larger more modern homes.

Thus when Kelly had graduated with honors from High School and chosen to go to College in that area her father had been impressed by the low cost of the older houses.  So he had given her the choice… you may attend school in one of their Student Dormitories… or I will buy a nearby house and you may, with a little fixing up on your part,  have a house that is very close to School, but in a yard of its own, where you may choose to take in room-mates or live alone.

Having a house of her own was her instant first choice.  Now, after the first few weeks, she was thinking she should have looked it over very carefully before deciding.

There was something strange about that house and she was very curious, but also a bit frightened by the old creaky place.  Perhaps it was being alone after growing up in the big, boisterous, house with four older brothers.

When her Mom and Dad had found it and been so impressed by how cheap it was, they decided that the present economy was the reason and had not inquired further.

They all walked through it together and in broad daylight and agreed that it was charming. The outside wood was painted white with green on the shutters that each window had nailed open. It was an old wood framed house with an upstairs and even a small attic above that, which added to the outside old fashioned look of dormer windows and peaked roof.  She might have liked to un-nail the shutters, so they could be closed in bad weather, but perhaps they rattled when loose.  She would take it as she found it and make her changes when she knew what they might be.  But she loved the front porch with its old fashioned hanging park bench swing

The bottom floor had a nice large bedroom with twin beds and a dresser, its own bath and a large living room with a brick fireplace and a small dining room that led to a big kitchen with a huge old, white, enamel gas cooking stove. It looked like a post card picture of someone’s grandparent’s house.  Not hers, because her Grandparents lived in a small beach front apartment.

Her own parents still lived in that large modern home built on a few acres of Ranchland loaded with her pets, which were many, and of course their own ranch animals, mostly horses.

Kelly had to decide.  She would either take one large dog, Baily, to keep her company or nothing, so she would be free to come and go without having to leave the poor thing alone so much.

So Baily stayed home, which might have been a poor choice, but she would visit all of her pets and her parents when she was free from school for a long week-end.

The upstairs was left alone for now, as school was starting and those rooms needed too much work, like painting and new curtains, if she chose to rent them out to other students.

The stairs marched straight up from the front door entry to two doors at the top landing.  Someone had painted a neat A on one and a bent backward B on the other.  They each had one good big window and they were joined by a long bathroom that contained a very large white bathtub with huge claw feet. Her down stairs bath had a shower, which she preferred.  Anyway the tub was piled with old clothes that had been left behind a very long time ago by the quick look of them.

So Daddy made the deal and the house was hers and she was moved somewhat in by the first week of school.

From the first night, Kelly found that she was having trouble sleeping in her new house.  There was something about that Orange House that no one had bothered to tell them… At night it was a different place.

That night she tried to pull her head under the covers to hide from the odd noises and hoped to get some sleep.  But she wondered what could be causing those odd things to occur in the house come night time?

The next day her Dad explained that old houses get warmed by the sun in the day and the cold night air caused them shrink and creak.  Once she got used to the sounds they would not keep her awake anymore.

But these were not wood sounds they were a soft patter of feet and swishing sounds like the curtains dragging.  One time there was the clank of a pot and a smell of stew cooking.

Kelly crept from her bed and walked to the front porch to notice that the wooden porch swing chain was hitting the porch rail as the wind moved it.  Her reason for being there was to try to smell if the stew was being cooked by a neighbor.  But outside she could not smell it at all.  In fact she loved the quiet night air and brought her quilt out to sleep on the gently rocking swing.  A pillow on the rail stopped the clank and she went to sleep counting stars.

That afternoon while it was still light she went up the stairs to look for the real reasons for the night noises.  She was not even afraid of them now.  What a difference the sun made.

In the closet of the bent B bedroom she found a door that led up to the attic and climbed the stairs slowly, half wondering why they had not looked in it before buying the house. Did it have a ghost?

The smell of the stew was strong from the moment the top door was pushed open.  There was no light switch that she could find and the room was very dark, but because she was curious, Kelly kept moving slowly into the unknown darkness.  She bumped into a small table and rattled some dishes upon it.  After steadying it with her hands she found the bowl that had rattled with a spoon in it.

If only she had thought to bring a flashlight.  But in the dark the bowl was damp with juice that smelled like beef stew.  That frightened her and she dropped the bowl back to the table. Since when was she afraid of Beef stew?  Since it appeared in her house in the middle of the night when no one was here to make it! Did ghosts like stew?

Maybe someone here in the dark, who lived up here and cooked up here and only moved at night?  She stood very still and listened.  Her heart made the loudest noise.

There was a small window in the peak of the roof and she moved to see if it would let any light in.  The floor was so cluttered, that she scattered unknown objects as she slid her feet in that direction.  The attic room was small and she reached for the window frame to open a shutter but it was nailed closed and even though the sun was out no light leaked in anywhere.

Now as she turned to leave, her directions were confused.  Where had she entered?

A faint line on the door edge led her to the opening of the door to the closet.  If anyone was in here they were very quiet, still she was happy to leave this room behind.  Next time she would bring a large light on an extension cord and look everything in this room over very carefully.  To cook up here seemed impossible but there it was…  a table set with bowls for stew.  But a person did not seem to be in here now.  Had some homeless guys found this place and only came in at night?  She would lock up very carefully tonight to be sure they did not.

As she worked her way out she counted the doors and returned at once with a ring of keys that the realtor had provided and she would lock every single door as she left it.

No stew tonight for sure.

At first Kelly wanted to tell her parents about the attic, but decided they might worry and changed her mind.

She did tell her boy friend, Adam, though and he took it seriously.  If anyone found a way to use your house when it was empty and are still doing it now, you might be in danger there.  I will be right over until we can find out what is going on.

Adam arrived with a suit case and his overnight toiletries.  She was not to live here alone until he was satisfied that she was safe from intruders.  And that was that!  They phoned home to let the family know he would be here for a few days.

Adam would not let her go searching in the dark for unknown trouble that she was uncertain about, so she was much more comfortable now. But she was sure that Adam would be the one who had a surprise coming.

They had things under control by nine a.m. and Adam left for his already over planned Band practice day, and Kelly went to school.  She said she would be back by one so Adam planned to be there also.  He would bring a large light used for the Band’s out door appearances, along with a very long cable.  They would be in the attic by one thirty.  No one would have been in since Kelly locked it, so the problem would soon be found.

He didn’t believe in Ghosts and such and real people could be dealt with, so he let the Police know that she suspected some intruders.  So they would respond fast if they did call for help.

Adam was himself curious about this odd attic.  They met at the house just after one and decided to let the attic search be first, as lunch would be much more relaxed once they knew the score.  The cable was hooked up to the power in the bent B bedroom and drawn up the attic stairs to the attic door.  Kelly unlocked it and Adam carried the light in.

Under the glare of the bright light the room was nothing like it seemed in the dark.  Where was the table she had bumped into?  Where were the dishes her hands had discovered sitting on it? The cluttered floor was even swept into a heap in one corner of the room against the bricks of the fireplace chimney and the broom was left leaning on it.

In fact even the smell was different.  It was more like chocolate… maybe cookies or pudding?  But nothing like that was to be seen.  Adam was surprised, but not as much as Kelly was.

“Are you sure you felt a table in the dark?  Could you have bumped that box over there?  He pointed to a large wooden box off to the left.  Kelly went to it and peeked in there were no dishes or pots to cook in inside;  But lots of other stuff. Books, toys, cars and dolls …  some rather nice. But in her confusion Kelly was not as interested in them as she might have been another time.  Where were the soup bowls?  Where is the chocolate smell coming from? Who ever heard of ghost chocolate?

Most missing of all was any sign of a person being there even having been there if only it had not been so different today compared to last night.  Kelly was insulted that Adam seemed to think she had imagined the way she had described it to him.

“It was like this,”  Kelly kept repeating, “It was dark and I could see nothing.  Maybe I should have stayed out, but I was curious, mainly about the odor of stew.  Then I bumped smack into this table, set with dishes that rattled when I bumped it.  I put my hands out to steady the table and accidently put my hand into a large soup bowl.  I picked it up and juice spilled onto my fingers.  I smelled them.  It was beef stew. I was so surprised that I dropped the bowl.  It landed on the table without breaking and I left it there.  Where are they all now?  That’s what I want to know.  Who cleaned it all up and took the table away?

Kelly indignantly announced.

“So don’t tell me what I felt in the dark.  I moved to the window and my feet pushed small stuff from my path.  See over there?  It’s all over there in a heap.  I did not sweep it!  Who did?

“Then there must be another way in.”  Adam admitted.  “You said you locked everything.”

“I did.”  Kelly began to walk around the room and touch the walls for another entrance.  She paused at the brick chimney.  “How about from the roof into the chimney?”

“The end is in your living room.”  Adam pointed out.  “And it’s a long way back up.”

“ There must be a way in here.”  Kelly tugged at every brick.  Then she took the broom and moved the pile of stuff off of the floor by the chimney.  There under it all was a small trap door.

Adam sprang into action and began to pry it open.  It didn’t lead far as a kettle sat in the hole with two soup bowls and spoons.  The kettle was warm and smelled of hot chocolate.  Adam lifted the lid to let the chocolate steam rise up.

“Now we are getting somewhere.”  Adam smiled.

“Somewhere, but not very far.”  Kelly laughed.  “Where did the table go?”

“It’s under the kettle.  See?”   Adam lifted the kettle up and handed the dishes to Kelly, then lifted the table they sat upon. Down at the bottom of the hole a wall was out and the way in from the chimney was visible. Adam and Kelly bumped heads trying to see down.  So Adam stepped back rubbing his head, while Kelly stepped down to look into the side hole.

“It drops into the closet of B bedroom.”  Kelly climbed up to explain.  “But I locked both the closet and that bedroom… so now what?”

“There has to be more up here.”  Adam answered. “Where is the stove to heat the kettle?”

Now they both walked the room with hands on every loose looking board and the window shutters. Kelly paused to sift though the pile she swept aside.  There on the bottom was a small electric hot plate with a fuzzy worn cord.  “It’s here!”  she held it up for Adam to take.

He placed it on the table with the kettle and bowls.

“What else is in that debris pile?”

“Just junk.”  Kelly kicked it and a spider ran out and she shrieked.  Adam laughed.

“We know the spider didn’t make this hot chocolate so you must uncover something much larger.”

Kelly stood looking around, shivering.  “I think we should get out of here and not come back.”  She waved her arm around,  “This is just too much.  Next thing you know we will open another trap door and find a dead body!  I don’t want to look any more.  Daddy can sell this place and I will go live in a Dorm.

“You’re going to let a few little hidden pieces of furniture scare you away from your charming little house?”

“I’m afraid to live here… so yes.”

“But we can clean it all up and then lock it.  Whoever was living here will just leave when their stuff disappears.  We will never even see them.  They just took advantage of a house that was vacant for a long time.  Don’t just give it back to them.”

“If we clean these rooms and find two nice students to rent them.  No one will break in again.”  Adam was very convincing.  I’ll bet you can even find a renter for this Attic.  Let them use the hot plate and lots of guys would like it.  Look at the space for furniture.”

Let’s go have lunch and leave this place for awhile, so I can think.”

Adam walked to the still shuttered window and began to pry it open.

“Let me get a little day light in here first.”   There was a loud pop as the left shutter came loose.  Kelly jumped.  Adam took it clean off and then the other side.  He wiped the glass with one of the rags on the floor and they both saw a great view of the School Campus below.

“I might like to have this one.” he kind of joked.  “But you would probably feel better if a Football heavy weight lived here.”

“That just might help.”  Kelly decided.  “Unless I discover that one already does.”

They left the shutters off and opened the window for the breeze.  That was when Adam spotted the jacket on the roof.

He stepped carefully out to bring it in.  It was a school jacket with the School logo on the back.  The name in the collar said, “BRAD OLIVER”.

“Do you know this guy?”  Adam asked Kelly.

“No, not  yet.  Now what do we do?  Do you think he has been the one coming and going by way of this roof?”

“Let’s find out. But first, lunch.”  Adam closed the window and set the shutters back on the sill, so it would look normal from the outside.  They locked because they could.  No point in making it easy for this Brad fellow.

Kelly was feeling much better and lunch helped.  It was the uncertainty that had her so discouraged.  Adam made everything seem so simple.

In for the night, they took all of her keys and made sure every door and window was tight.  Even the outside yard gates were bolted shut.  The fence was made as secure as possible for its age.  And just to be sure they hung some Christmas bells on the fence to warn them if anyone jumped over it.

So they slept comfortably in the master bedroom feeling certain that the noise problem had been solved. But it was not to be…  Kelly sat bolt upright at the first loud clank which woke up Adam in the twin bed.

“Did you hear that?”  Kelly whispered,  Adam replied sleepily,

“I heard you jump awake and sit up.  What did you hear?”

“Heard that clank sound the swing on the porch can make.  But I’m afraid to go look.”  Adam put his feet to the floor as he told her to stay there.  He would go see if anyone was near the swing.  He returned to tell her that the swing was swinging in the wind that was all. He slid back to bed and closed his eyes.

“What wind?’  Kelly asked herself as she looked out the window at the still trees.  Oh well Adam looked out the door and no one was there, so that must be it.

Almost asleep Adam heard a deep moan and something drop on the ceiling.  He looked up but the room was empty except for them.  Who had moaned and dropped something.  It must be from the second floor.  He lay still listening for more but only some creaking, which was expected, and silence.  Then the foot steps on the ceiling…  he was sure he heard them go from one side of the room to the other. Someone was in the house.  He got reluctantly out of bed and picked up the baseball bat Kelly had placed by the door and glanced at Kelly sound asleep before leaving the room for the stairs up.  He heard nothing else and almost changed his mind about going up, but this noise was too much.  From the open bedroom door he thought he could hear heavy breathing… the huffing and puffing of someone carrying a heavy load.  Then a door opened with a series of creaks.  Adam stepped back into their room and closed the door down to a crack to watch as a young man stepped from the hallway loaded with a sheet made into a bulging bag hefted onto his back.

Before the fellow could get any further, Adam switched on the hall light and said,

“Brad Oliver, I presume.”  Brad jumped back startled by the sound of Adam’s voice.  Then he took a deep breath and stepped into the light Adam had switched on.  He regained his composure and smiled, having been caught red handed,

“And you are?”

“Just call me Adam.”

“I’d shake your hand but mine are full at the moment.”  But he put down the  bundle and put out his hand anyway.They were shaking hands when Kelly stepped out from behind Adam, still tying her robe, as she asked, “Is this the beef stew guy?”

“I was hungry.”  He smiled.  “I sure didn’t expect you to come up or I would have invited you to share it with me.  It wasn’t very good though, but it was the last can in my cupboard”

“Except for some chocolate?”  Kelly asked.

“Right! You found that too did you?  I thought I had hidden it.”

“Oh it was hidden alright.  It took us all afternoon to find it.”  Feeling a little bolder with Adam in front of her Kelly inquired,  “Just what are you doing in my house in the middle of the night scaring me silly.  I was almost ready to leave it.”

“I am sorry about that.  But you see, I lived in this house all last semester.  I was in the B bedroom and went to school each day, but while I was home for the last two weeks of summer the house sold and I just found out about it.  The realtor left me a note at the front desk of the school, which I didn’t get until you had already moved in.  She didn’t charge me anything because my job was to live here and keep an eye on things for them while it was on the market.  You know water the yard and anything to make it look good for a buyer… but try to keep my stuff to a minimum so she could show the place.

I saw her when I got back and she explained that the house had sold so she kind of tossed my things up into the attic and put my clothes in that big tub under the stuff that had been there for years.  I needed my school books and papers which she said were on the attic floor so I came in to get them when I could, but you were living here so I tried to sneak in and out when you were not here.  I entered by way of the roof and chimney.  But then you were here and the way down is over the roof to the front porch onto the swing and away.

Brad took a breath as he remembered the last night.  “Then, there you were sleeping on the swing, so I was stuck on the roof.  I went back in and slept until morning then I had to get to school.  You know how it is on those first days if you don’t show up your seat goes to the next person on the waiting list.  We both went to school and I tried to  clean up all of my stuff and get out.  But you came at the same times I had from school so it wasn’t easy.  This is the last.”  He pointed to the over stuffed sheet on the floor.

“And this!”   Adam opened the hall closet and took out the jacket that had the boys name on it.

“Where did I loose this?”  Brad asked in surprise.

“I  found it on the roof.”  Adam replied.  Brad had to laugh, he looked at Kelly and told her,

“Invite me to lunch sometime and I will show you all of the secret doors this place has.”  He looked at Adam.  “Invite your brother, too, he will be amazed at what I have learned about this house.”

“She has four brothers, but I am not one of them.”  Adam explained as he put his arm around Kelly.

“What I want to know.”  Kelly said “Is how do you get past all of my locking up.  The lady said I had all the keys.”

“Well when I got back to her she gave me her one master key so I could get my clothes and school supplies.  She had cleaned out the kitchen cupboards and tossed everything of mine out of sight. It hasn’t been easy getting it out of here.”   Brad almost complained.

“From now on it’s day time only.” Kelly insisted, “All of the creaking around in the dark is very spooky.”

“I have it all.”  He pointed to the sheet on the floor again.  “My clothes are a mess,  but at least I have some now.  And thanks for finding my jacket, Adam.”  Then Brad looked serious, “If you want to know about all of the secret doors I’ll come and show them to you.  I have even gotten a lot of the story about why they are there.  You might like to know about that too.  We might even find a couple more.”  Brad picked up the bundle and began the heavy huffing and puffing it took to carry it out to the car.

It was almost dawn but luckily the weekend, so sleep was still possible.  Kelly could hardly sleep as the quiet house was so quiet that it was almost spookier.  She wondered what that long ago first family had been like and why they had so many secrets to hide.

Adam had looked but had not found any more secret doors.  Still he was convinced that there had to be more.

“Why do you think this house has more secret? Adam. “

It’s simple.  All of the ones we know about take you from one place to another.  What is mssing is a large room where some sort of work may go on.  Without that, the others all just get you there.  But where do you want to be?”

I don’t think Brad found it either, so I’m just looking that’s all.”  He shrugged.  “The big prize is still a secret.”

“Where haven’t you looked?  I’ll help.  It is my house you know.  If it still has a secret it’s mine.”

“Okay, where is there the most space to be had?”  There can be no more above the attic.  But if you were going to put a large room someplace… Show me where”

Kelly turned in a circle, looking in all directions.

“Out back.  There is no other place.”

“I’ve been going over that possibility and so far nothing.”

“Is that why you were pounding that stick into the lawn everyplace?”

“And all I ever came back up with was mud.”

“So this house must have a basement.  “

Kelly’s eyes grew wide.

“It has everything else, so why not?  But only if you are certain about the back yard.”

So they began to search for a way to go down but up was all they found.

Adam explained it makes sense that one of the stairs up… goes down too.  But now I don’t believe it is a staircase.  At least I can’t find it. But suppose it is a room.  You know an elevator?”   The rooms were all too big to be an elevator, except one… the kitchen pantry.

So the two of them stood in the pantry and looked at the shelves made for food which Kelly had not supplied as yet.  Adam thought the light switch was a good possibility the power was there.  He tried all of the light switches and finally he spotted, not another switch, but on a shelf just above hidden by a cake plate he saw a round button so he pushed it.  There was a tiny spark of movement but nothing happened.  At least it still had power.  But of course the door was still open to the kitchen.

“Kelly come see this.”  Kelly stopped what she was testing and went to the pantry.

Adam pushed the button again as soon as the door closed around Kelly and the start this time rocked the empty shelves as the pantry groaned and began to descend.  When the door opened again there it was before them a grand big room with crystal chandeliers at least two dozen café tables, each with a white cloth and four golden chairs sitting around an empty crystal vase.  Easily as large as the entire main floor, bedroom, dining room, and living room, together, the far end featured a small stage and band pit with a drum set waiting to be played. “What is this?”  Kelly asked, “It looks like a restaurant but… How could all of this be here under my house and no one know about it?”
“The business was legislated out of style, Kelly.”   Kelly laughed,

“Whoever heard of a business being legislated out?”

“The people who opposed the 18th amendment to our Constitution ratified in January of 1920, which made drinking and selling of alcohol illegal, legislated right into business, secret places like this.  And it was a very lucrative business.  Look how many they could serve alcohol to hidden out of the public sight.  It was imported up from Mexico and served secretly in places like this one.  They had floor shows and dancing it was a real popular place, but once the Police discovered one, they closed it down. Evidently not this one.   Then in December of 1933 the 21 st Amendment repealed the 18th and Prohibition was over.  Restaurants and Bars flourished and there was no longer a need to be secretive. Here sits,  still out of sight,  one of the last of what they called, Speakeasy’s.  I’ll bet they put up a legal place not far from here.”

“They should have taken the tables and chairs then.  Don’t you think?’

“I know I’ll make it into a restaurant.” Kelly decided.

“Sorry kid, but you are now in what is known as a, Residential Neighborhood.  And just to keep you down…  you are too close to a School.”

“But we had better find a way to make your Dad back some of his money, even if it means selling tables and chairs on the WEB.

“Oh I can think of something better than that.”

“Like What?”

“Give me some time.  I’ll think of something.”  Kelly was certain.

“Let’s show Brad what we found in a week that he missed all semester.”

The lunch was set for next Saturday and Brad accepted.  Kelly thought it would be fun to put a beef stew in the Crock Pot to serve their first guest.  Surely he would recall the connection.  They didn’t invite anyone else, as this was for an important purpose and not what any of them would want to share willy nilly

Brad smelled the stew as soon as he entered the house and began to laugh,

“I hope this did not come out of the same can as I opened last time I dined in this house.”

“ No this stew is from scratch and I hope you like it.”  Brad walked boldly over to the stove and lifted the crock pot lid, then turned to Kelly,

“Oh I will.  I assure you I will.”

“Let’s let it simmer while we walk the house and you show us what you know about my house that I do not.”

Brad started at the fireplace in the living room.  A loose brick triggered a panel of half bricks to open and reveal a narrow passage to the upstairs rooms.  The three of them walked in a narrow row to step up to a low ceiling room that they could crawl into if they chose, but which was only really useful to hide large cases of food and drink.  The shelves at the back were all labeled, wines, red, white, rose’.  Vodka, Gin, Scotch, Bourbon, and Beer, which was the largest, with shelves for kegs and another for bottles.

Kelly and Adam looked at each other but said nothing.  Brad began to explain.

“I could not understand the need for so much alcohol storage, so I asked some questions of the old timers around the school like the janitors and repairmen and guess what? “

Kelly and Adam waited for Brad to carry on, and he didn’t even pause

“You see long ago this house was the only one on the little street that the workers used to manage these famous Valencia Orange Orchards.  The School was not here yet of course, but the man who owned the Orchards was far seeing and knew that the new arrivals to this State which was founded in 1850, very quickly after gold was discovered in 1848.  He observed the rapid flow of people to this State. He knew the land would fill with people and people required space for stores and homes, so the orchards were doomed.  He then awarded a large section of his land to a College and by 1934 both the School and Main Street were named for him and the growing School occupied the buildings of a former High School.

They sought from the beginning to create a School open to high achieving students from all over the world of all nationalities and colors and as you can see, especially as you chose to go to school here yourself, that they are still growing in 2014.

In 1920 the Country passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which made producing, selling or even drinking alcohol illegal.  It was called Prohibition.

It was so unsuccessful that by 1929 the 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealed it.  In those between years places that were secretly serving alcohol seemed to spring up everywhere.  They were called Speakeasy’s.  The folks who had once had a very good income growing and shipping Oranges turned to this popular new, but illegal, business.  This house became a Speakeasy.  It was on the main road but up out of the way so not suspected.  This was where they hid the booze they sold to the customers.  But through it all the IRS was after those in illegal businesses and soon even the men, some very well placed men in City and County Government jobs were hiding out to avoid prison.  That is the reason for places hidden in the walls for them were created.  This little innocent looking house was a focal point for the people who lived anywhere near.  They walked through the dying Orange trees to get here for an evening of fun, drinking, dancing and music.”  Judging by the room for the alcohol brought up from Mexico, they did very well indeed.

By the end of Prohibition they could get a restaurant or a bar and open to the public legally.  Most of the secret Speakeasy’s disappeared into the real world.  This one went back to being a home as more homes grew around it.

I imagine most of the people who have occupied this house never found the odd hiding places.  Why would they?”  Then he sniffed the air.  “Hey! That beef stew isn’t burning is it?”

“I don’t think it can in a Crock Pot,  but let’s go see.”  Kelly answered.  She quickly put the bread rolls and the butter and jam on the table took orders for drinks… Milk, Water or Soda?”  And they sat down to eat.

Kelly put all of her and Adam’s favorite veggies in the stew and none of the ones they disliked, so of course it was delicious.

Brad must have liked it too because he had two helpings, then he finished his milk and leaned back, to talk some more.

“You know I have been trying to find out where the actual Speakeasy was located because a rip roaring business like that needed people room.  So I figure it was in the back yard… But that is so open to the public view that they would have been closed down in no time.  He looked around this living room and dining area would handle a small crowd, but even then if they were drinking and loud music was playing, I have my doubts.  That was almost a hundred years ago or soon will be,  so there aren’t many left to tell me anymore.”

It doesn’t matter.  I was just curious, because the School was just getting started also and surely the students and teachers were patrons.  No one admits being told.”

“Well it was suppose to be a secret or it was jail for all, so of course the secret is quite secure.”    Adam mentioned casually as he got up from the table and took that one step toward the Pantry.  He glanced at Kelly,  was she going to keep it a secret still?  But she nodded and rose to join him.

“Come four steps this way, Brad, and we will quell your curiosity.”  Brad followed behind Kelly and with the three of them in the ample pantry, which may have at one long ago time taken 6 to 10 patrons on this short ride.  He pushed the button and they felt the room drop.  It was definitely not a modern elevator.  When the door reopened and Adam and Kelly stepped out, Brad stood staring in amazement at the gorgeous white gold and crystal room.

“I had heard about them.  But I thought they were dark and sneaky, but this… this is top of the line and had to be very popular.  I wonder where they stored the money they took in here?”

Neither Adam nor Kelly had wondered that.  Now they did.  Was there a safe in this hidden room or did the last person empty the safe and turn out the crystal lights forever.

The three of them walked the room to the stage and behind the red velvet curtain.  There were dressing rooms and office rooms and they saw nothing like a safe.

“Wait a minute.”  Adam ordered.”Let’s stop and think.  Where were the secret doors in the house concealed, wouldn’t they have some like that down here?”

Now they were searching for loose bricks and trap doors in the floor.  Down in the band pit there stood one lonely drum set, looking as if it was waiting for the rest of the band to appear and begin to make beautiful music together.  Kelly wandered down.

“Poor thing!”  she said to the drums “Why did they leave you behind?”  She picked up the sticks and began to tap out some rhythm.

“Ouch! That sounded terrible.”   she began again.  It went well until she reached for the big base drum and it went, “ clunk.”  “What’s wrong with you?”  she asked the drum.  Adam came to see what she was doing.  He tapped the drum and got the same clunk.

“It must not be sitting right.”  He said as he took hold to settle the large drum into a better position.  Something was preventing the top from vibrating correctly.  But it would not budge.  He got down on his hands and knees to try to understand what was in the way.

Since it would not move in any direction, he lifted it up and it came up easily.  The Big base drum was covering the Speakeasy’s Safe.  A square hunk of steel bolted to the floor was only revealed when he lifted off the entire large round drum from over it.

“There is your safe, Darling!”  he was looking it over when she got there, so he handed the empty drum top to her.   “Now if only you can remember the combination you may open it.”  Adam’s fingers spun the wheel.

“If it was my safe it would be something easy so I could work it.  Like the address of my house. 2714 Orange Avenue.”   Adam turned the dial to 2, back to 71 and over to 4.  Nothing.

“Make that 40 because I just wrote it and the O in Orange is next to the 4.”

Adam started over. Nothing happened again.  “Okay Kelly I can’t stand here all night guessing.”  Just try 27- 1- 40  He did, then quit…  “This is silly.”

“Please try just one more, okay?” Right19  Left 74 Right to 10  Adam began to turn the dial as she spoke…  then it popped open.  He looked up and asked,

“How did you come up with that?”  Kelly still holding the big drum in her hands said,

“It’s written here inside of the drum.”  So with the safe open they all three peeked inside.  It was stuffed with papers and Adam began to lift the hundred year old papers out carefully to a nearby table.  Brad was trying to read them.

“They seem to be cost lists for the alcohol and food.  Stuff was sure much cheaper a hundred years ago.”  Brad remarked,

“Here’s something else that has changed a lot over the years, also.” Adam told them as he set the stacks of old, extra large, paper money, ones, fives, tens , twenties and fifties into neat rows on top of the paper work.  “And it’s all illegal gain.”  He told them solemnly.   “Now what are you going to do with it.”

“I’ll be in my Finance Class tomorrow.”  Kelly replied. “ I’ll ask the Professor,  who does money law, if I find money in my own house or yard who does it belong to?  He’ll have a long winded answer like I must run and ad describing it in detail and wait six weeks for the original owner to reclaim it, then it will be mine.“ Then she winked at Adam, “ Since this safe has been locked for a hundred years… what are the odds?”

“And if a hundred and ten year old lady, men don’t live that long, comes over and describes it perfectly.  What will you do?’

“I’ll give it to her.  Maybe she will leave me a reward in her Will.”