Peter and his father have just arrived in a human town for a B.I.A. reconnaissance trip. Mr. Adehr needs to observe a young boy who is suspected of stealing. Enjoy!
“Ah, there he is. I was beginning to wonder,” Mr. Adehr said shaking his head. “He just popped in to that restaurant up ahead.”
“Good. I’m hungry,” Peter replied moving toward where his dad had indicated.
“Perfect. We’ll eat and I can get my observation accomplished at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
They rushed along to the corner of the next block where Mr. Adehr had seen the boy and his mother enter the small café. As they pushed open the door, a tiny bell sang to announce their entrance. The bell might as well not have been there for all the bustle of the café.
Mr. Adehr scanned the interior for the boy and directed Peter to a table near the booth occupied by the boy and his mother. Peter’s father positioned himself opposite the family to have a good vantage point. As always on these occasions, Peter sat adjacent to his father, so that he could see what was happening too, but also to keep clear Mr. Adehr’s line of vision.
The brisk but friendly waitress breezed over, took their orders, and was gone again. There was just enough time to get settled and for Mr. Adehr to casually set his small B.I.A. notebook on the table and begin jotting his first notes before their waitress reappeared with their hot breakfast.
“Thank you,” Mr. Adehr smiled at her. “We will need no refills and you can leave the bill at this time. We have appreciated your service but will no longer require your assistance.” He kept his voice low and kind.
The waitress’s eyebrows rose a fraction at Mr. Adehr’s dismissal but she left the bill and hurried away to her other tables, grateful for the reprieve.
“Now to work,” Mr. Adehr said as he swiftly tugged his left ear.
Peter remembered his amazement the first time his father told him that by doing so, his hearing in that ear would magnify enough to enable him to hear a nearby conversation that the ear would normally struggle to pick up. Supposedly, all elves could achieve the skill with practice but Peter had never tried long enough to accomplish it.
While they ate, Peter and Mr. Adehr kept up a light conversation for appearance. Every once in a while Mr. Adehr would pen something on his notebook, almost too quickly even for Peter to see. The boy and his mom seemed to get along well and the boy showed no obvious signs of being a ‘naughty’ candidate.
“Dad, why are you trailing this boy anyway?” Peter finally asked in confusion.
“He is suspected of stealing. We received an alert on him and the Captain wanted me to check it out. It could be a false alarm, though, judging by what I’m seeing. But, who knows? This isn’t exactly the atmosphere for him to reveal that kind of behavior, is it?”
“True, then how …,” Peter began.
“Shh. Wait.” Peter’s dad quickly closed his notebook, counted out the correct change for the bill plus a tip and left the money on the table. “Peter, he’s just asked his mother if he can go some doors down to a shop. I’m going to follow him. Listen, go out to the back of this café and wait for me. This shouldn’t take long.”
With that, Mr. Adehr tugged his ear and quickly left the café in the same direction the boy had just taken. Upon walking out into the clear morning again, Peter glanced both ways down the road but his father and the boy were nowhere to be seen. Pulling his cap further down on his head, Peter looped around to the back of the café.