Within three hours Frank Roberts was landing at La Guardia. He went directly to National Car Rental.
If the bastard who was breaking into his house and using his computer could access Sam’s credit card information, so then could he. Sam Larson had used his credit card to rent a car from National on October thirtieth. One day before the crash.
The bubbly brunette behind the National counter seemed inexperienced but anxious to please — probably a new hire and not all that familiar with the rules. Things were turning around in his favor. When it was his turn, he quickly pulled out his NTSB ID and did his best to sound authoritative. He asked to see the sign-in sheet for October thirtieth. Sam’s signature was on the sheet. “Is this car on the lot, now?”
“Yes, it is.
“I’d like to rent it, please.”
The bubbly brunette looked confused.
“Why that particular car, sir? We have plenty of cars. Would you like to see a brochure?”
“No, I would like this particular car, he said while pointing to Sam’s signature on the registry form. Is the car available?”
“Wait right here. I’ll ask the Manager.”
The bubbly brunette disappeared into the back office and reemerged a few minutes later with the keys.
It took him a few minutes to find slot G132 and even longer to stop laughing at the irony of Sam’s choice. Sam had chosen a DeLoreon like the one in the movie. It was the perfect choice for taking a trip back to one’s past. Like the movie, he was hoping for a happy ending.
Once in the car, he searched under the seats, the glove compartment, the trunk, everywhere, but found nothing. The cleaning crew had done a thorough job. Satisfied that there was no bit of information to be found in the car, he started the long drive to Park Slope and back to the past.
He scarcely remembered anything about the place which was strange when you considered it had set him on his current career path. If it had not been for Park Slope, he would not have become a flight crash investigator.
He was about ten or eleven when his parents moved toMaryland. He drove with the windows down and the radio off taking in the sights and sounds, hoping that something might trigger ancient memories.
Without even thinking about it, he drove to the place that had changed everything,Seventh AvenueandSterling Place. Hardly a trace remained of the tragedy that had taken place here. He parked the car and decided to walk the short distance to his old address. His feet still remembered the way.
His house was one of those old fashioned brownstones with the three front windows. The neighborhood had been inhabited first by white protestants, then Italians, then Jews, and then blacks. By the look of the neighborhood it had come full circle. Rehabbed houses sat cozy corner to urban blight.
Standing on the street looking up at his old building, and the one next to it, brought back wonderful memories of growing up here. He saw himself running through the streets of Park Slope playing tag with his friends, playing in a stream of water from an open fire hydrant, and eating ice cream cones in their secret hideout. The sun was brighter and the days were sweeter then.