by Martin Maenza
A few days later, four of the group were in the fenced-in backyard area when a woman entered the gate. Happy Terrill, Uncle Sam, and Sandra Knight all looked up suddenly. Tom Wright recognized the woman. “Oh, Mrs. Jones,” he said as he rushed over to meet the lady. “Is something wrong?”
“Not at all,” the plump, brown-haired woman replied. “I just came over here to thank you.”
“For what?” Sandy asked. Mrs. Jones eyed the other three.
Tom noticed her gaze. “Oh, these are my roommates,” he said quickly. “I think I mentioned that there would be others when I rented the house from you last week.”
“You did,” Mrs. Jones said with a smile.
“I hope that’s not a problem,” Tom said.
“Not at all,” Mrs. Jones answered. “As I said, I came by to thank you all.”
“For what, ma’am?” asked Sam.
“My daughter goes to the school across the way,” the landlady said. “I wanted to thank you all for helping out the other day. If you hadn’t have been there, who knows what might have happened?”
“I think you’re mistaken,” Happy said quickly.
“No, I’m not,” Mrs. Jones said. “I put two and two together. Some folks rent a house from out of town, some heroes from out of town suddenly show up in Albany, plus one of them is as handsome as the man who rented the place from me.” She gave Tom a little wink, and he blushed.
“Ma’am, if you want, we’ll pack our bags and be off,” Uncle Sam offered. “We didn’t mean to cause you any trouble.”
“Nonsense!” the woman said. “I’d never ask you to leave. As far as I’m concerned, your secret is safe with me.”
“And me!” another female voice said. The group turned to see a red-haired woman standing near the gate.
“Martha Roberts!” Sandy exclaimed, recognizing the WGNY-TV reporter.
“Look, lady, if you’re looking for a story…” Happy started to protest.
“Not at all,” she said. “When I got the word on the newswire about the Freedom Fighters helping out at that school, I knew I had to come up to Albany and look around. In fact, I was counting on finding you.”
“You wouldn’t be thinkin’ of turnin’ us in, would ya?” Uncle Sam asked. “‘Cause we’re innocent of the charges!”
“I know,” Martha said. “I believe that, and I want to offer my help to you.” She reached into her purse and handed them a business card. “My home number in the city is on there. If you need my help or need a place to hide out, my door is open to you.”
Uncle Sam took the card with a polite nod and a smile. It felt good to have some allies on their quest for their freedom.