“No, Sarah! Listen,” Hank said. “It didn’t happen the way Sparts said.”
“Well, how didit happen?”
Without warning, the door opened. A police officer, one a few decades younger than the guards, entered. He passed Sarah and Jimmy, stepped to the side of the bed, and took off his cap. Under his arm he held a stack of papers. “I’m real sorry about this,” he said. “Are you Mr. Henry Alexander Wipple?”
Hank blinked at him and forced down a lump in his throat. “Yes,” he said.
“Did you at one time go by the alias ‘The Valiant’?”
“What’s this about?” Hank asked. His voice had turned gruff and his body language defensive.
The police officer handed Hank the papers. Hank looked at them and then back at the officer. “What’s this?” Hank asked.
“I’ve always been a fan,” the officer said. “Your TV show made me want to be a cop.” He smiled, but then went solemn again. With regret in his voice he said, “You have been served.”
He nodded to Sarah and Jimmy and walked out the way he had come.
“What’s going on, Dad?” Sarah asked.
Hank looked at the papers. “…Probably trying to gather enough evidence…” he mumbled.
“Dad,” Sarah said. “What’s going on?”
Hank looked up. “Oh,” he said, “well, it seems Mayor Hess is suing me for 1.7 million dollars in…” His voice broke. “…in the wrongful death of his son. The body…the one on the news, the one in the old warehouse district…where they were building that shopping mall… They identified it as…as Bobby Hess.”
Hank closed his eyes and breathed out. “I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to do it.”
“Dad?” Sarah asked.
“You have to understand,” he said, “you have to understand…”
Sarah looked at her father. “Jimmy, I think it’s time for us to go,” she said, trying to pull him toward the door. “I don’t think we know this man.”
Before she could usher him out, Jimmy touched his grandfather’s arm. “Grandpa,” he said. “There’s still time. You can still be valiant.”
To Be Continued…