“When will you go?” Mrs. Thorne asked.
“Probably tomorrow, weather permitting.” He stood up and looked at Mrs. Johnson. “I’ll be in touch after I make the trip.”
After the women left, Harry went back to his desk. He looked at the computer, shook his head, and shut it down. Perhaps this writing thing was not for him after all. Maybe he would stick to writing his memoirs for the kids. Taking a trip down memory lane might not be so bad. Locking the door behind him, Harry walked the few steps that took him home.
Harry left for the city early the next morning. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he felt sure he could do what needed to be done and get back home again before bedtime. Mrs. Johnson had given him her granddaughter’s home address as well as the work places of both young people.
It was about mid-morning when Harry reached the city and his first stop was to get a coffee at Tim Horton’s. After that he went to see the fiancé at the engineering firm where he worked. Barry Smith was a tall, thin young man with dark reddish hair, who claimed to know nothing about the statue, said he hadn’t seen it.
“Perhaps you saw it but didn’t really take notice of it. It might be worth a few dollars because it was gold-plated.”
Smith suddenly began backing away with his hands out in front of him. He showed signs of beginning to sweat and then started to tremble.
Harry was getting a bit suspicious. “Are you sure you didn’t see it?”
“You don’t understand,” Smith said in a hoarse whisper. “’I… I would never touch g-g-g…the stuff. Never! G-g-g… it terrifies me.” He twisted his hands together nervously. “I can’t even say the word without getting the shakes.”
Harry was a bit skeptical on that one. If the kid was putting on an act then he was in the wrong profession. “Are you trying to tell me that you’re afraid of gold? Really?”
His head moved up and down like a bobble-head. “It’s a real thing, a phobia. I go to group sessions but it’s not making any difference so far.”
“Really?’ Harry shook his head. “I guess you really can learn something new every day. Have you always had this… condition?”
“Since I was a kid but I don’t know why. Doc says something traumatic may have happened and I blocked it from my mind.”
“All right, then… I’ll just go talk to Amy. She might have seen it.”
Amy was a receptionist at a private clinic and Harry caught up to her just as she was coming home.
He stopped her at the door, told her who he was and what he was there for.
“Oh dear,” she said, her shoulders slumping. “I forgot all about it.” Then she started to explain about her fiancé’s phobia.
“I’ve already talked to him,” Harry said. “Do you know where the statue is?”
She nodded. “I wrapped it in a towel and put it at the back of the linen closet where I knew he would not see it and then I forgot all about it. I will call Gran immediately and explain everything.”
The day after Harry returned home, Ella came to thank him and pay for his services. “I am so happy at the way things turned out, especially for Ella’s sake. Now I understand why her fiancé seemed so nervous all the time. Imagine being afraid of gold. I never knew there was such a thing.”
Harry laughed. “Neither did I but I was pretty sure he was telling the truth. The kid was terrified just talking about it.”
“Thank you again, Mr. Hogan, and if I hear of anyone needing help, I will definitely tell them to come to you.”