Miles Mitchell is the Private Eye with the Lifetime Pass to Walt Disney World.

Something lost at the Most Magical Place on Earth, need someone found or followed in Walt Disney World, call Miles Mitchell a Private Investigator with a Lifetime Pass for the place where Dreams come true.

Miles grew up in the parks, knows their history, trivia, and how to navigate them as easily as most people walk through their living rooms.

Follow Miles as he looks for a lost train, helps a couple get married against the wishes of an angry grandmother, conducts fake surveillance, and figures out why some vloggers just cant get along.

Just don’t leave a him a voice mail message to find a glass slipper, your son Nemo, or a black magical feather, he hates those calls.

How High Is Up

Sometimes my cases aren’t really cases at all, they are just using my skills to help out friends.  I am a big believer in karma, doing good has a good return.  You throw out a kindly boomerang, you get a kindly boomerang back.

At least that is the way I was raised.

My friend Daniel is a trusting soul, and I worry about him sometimes.  He recently started dating at really nice girl named Daphne.  Daphne is very down to earth, which is a good contrast to Daniel who is more of head in the clouds type of guy, I really like her.

Millie and I were walking up to Daphne’s house with a stack of pies and in swim gear. We had been over to Daphne’s a couple times before, once for a super bowl party and twice for game night, but this time it was different. This time she was having her family over for a barbeque.  We were there to give Daniel back up as he would be under the scrutiny of her family who was going to be there en mass.  Daniel had already met her parents, and that went well, but this time her brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins would be there as well, meeting Daniel for the first time.

We were early and greeted at the door by Daniel who was looking nervous. We had arrived early to help them set up things.  Daniel and I paired up setting up with the chairs and corn hole in the backyard, while Millie helped Daphne in the kitchen with spoons and spatulas.

I was sitting in the backyard drinking a beer when the guests started to arrive.  Daniel introduced and I made small talk.  Luckily Daphne had hired a caterer to cook hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill so Daniel was relieved of that duty and could concentrate on impressing the relatives.

Everything was going fine, except for Daphne’s nephews. The decided that Daniel was a fun-loving guy who liked to joke around.  As his oldest friend I knew this was not him, he was a quiet guy who was uncomfortable in large groups, and today was no exception but he was putting on great act. But I could see the three nephews, Larry, Darry, and Harry were trying to push his buttons; splashing him from the pool, surrounding him and pestering him with questions, shooting him with nerf guns that they pulled out of somewhere.

I was running interference for my bud as best I could, but someone arrived that changed the dynamic.  Daphne’s youngest brother arrived with his new fiancé. I was in the house when they came in.  Millie and I were introduced to both Peter and Wendy.  Peter was a bright young guy, with a warm smile and a friendly honest disposition but with a slight geek flavor.  Wendy, Peter’s fiancé was small and pretty, just past the line of being cute with long blonde hair that reminded me of something, something familiar that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Once the couple found their way outside to the rest of the family, I saw Daphne give a quick angry look towards the pair.  I was not going to ask what the problem was as I firgured it was none of my business, but my gal Millie felt no restraint.

“Problem with him or her?”

Daphne turned away from the door and looked around to make sure none of her relatives were around.  “A little of both, Peter is a good guy but never really dated a lot, he has always been a bit geeky.  Smart, funny, but geeky, he played D and D all through high school, but he is a great lawyer now, a legal genius makes money hand over fist setting up mergers and partnerships and all.”

“So, what is the problem?”  Millie asked.  I just leaned back and listened while nibbling at the fruit tray.  Millie without even looking pulled the tray away from me while keeping her eyes fixed on Daphne.

“Wendy.”  She looked around the kitchen again for listening ears. “He was dating another girl, real nice, had been with her since college, then blondie shows up three months ago, he breaks it off with Lily, which the family liked, and then last week he asked me about engagement rings.”

Millie summed it up quickly.  “Gold digger?”

Daphne gave the slightest nod.

Millie nodded, then looked at me and simply directed me with a phrase. “Go do your thing honey.”

I looked back and forth between the two women who were looking at me. Daphne in a pleading manner. Millie in an encouraging by direct way.  I shrugged, grabbed another strawberry from the tray which Millie allowed as a reward for acquiescing to her direction.

I went into the backyard and joined the group of cousins, aunts and uncles.  I got into the group that Peter and Wendy had joined.  Luckily, I did not intrude on the conversation as it progressed without me disrupting the flow. Peter was finishing up a story about some sort of business deal and the group turned their attention to Wendy, so I simply listened in.

“So, what do you do Wendy?”

“Oh, I work at Walt Disney World.”

Peter spoke up proudly. “She works for Disney Entertainment.”

Someone else asked what she did, and she promptly answered. “Oh, I am Tinkerbell, you know I talk to little kids and ride on floats.”

There were ohs and ahhs around the group, including a little girl who just looked at her with new fascination.

One of the female relatives spoke up. “I thought your hair looked familiar.”

Wendy smiled. “Yes, all I do is put my natural hair up.”  With that she used her hand and pulled up her long hair and put it into a bunch that formed the iconic bun of the Peter Pan’s best friend. “And I am ready to go meet customers in my little green dress.”

The little girl who had been listening to this was in awe, and whispered something to her mother, the mother nodded.  “Sorry Wendy, I know you are not working. But Abbie wants to know if she can have your autograph.

“Sure.”  Wendy said smiling at the mother but not the little girl.

A pen and paper was produced and Abbie handed it to her. I watched from nearby as Wendy signed the paper.  It was a big piece of paper and I could see she signed it ‘Tink to my friend Abbie.’

After that was done the conversation turned towards other topics and I drifted towards Millie and leaned in and kissed her on the cheek then whispered in her ear.  “Take off your shoes and go stand next to Wendy.”

Millie trusted me enough to not ask questions she just casually covertly took off her shoes and shuffled through the crowd and stood next to Wendy as they were both next to the grill getting a burger.

She came back with a burger which she had no intention of eating and handed it to me and whispered.  “Did that help?”

“Immensely.” I said kissing her quickly on the lips.  I sat down next to Daniel who was eating a burger as well and trying to explain what he did for a living to Daphne’s grandfather.  Selling information about Disney to people on the internet is a vague and nebulous job at best and explaining it to someone who retired before the internet became essential to business is next to impossible, but he was trying.  Peter and Wendy sat down at the same table and I firgured I would ask one direct question of Wendy before I ended my investigation and reported my findings to Daphne.

“So, you work in Disney Entertainment, as Tinker Bell, did you do any other characters before that.

Peter answered for her.  “Actually, my favorite character, she played Tigger.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes, I just loved bouncing around.” She winked and leered at Peter. “I love bouncing around don’t I sweetums?”

Peter blushed a bit at her statement, and I turned away a bit embarrassed at her crassness in front of a total stranger.  I finished my burger and excused myself from the table and helped Millie and Daphne cover up some of the food.  When they went to move some food inside before it melted, I followed along.  No one else was in the house and I motioned for Daphne and Millie so we should talk.

I explained to them what I had discovered, and Daphne said she would have to think about what to do.

We were interrupted by howling coming from outside.  In the yard we saw Daniel chasing the nephews with a pair of nerf swords yelling unintelligibly in anger. We learned the nephews had spiked Daniels burger with ghost peppers, Daniel had coated his tongue with hummus and sour cream and began chasing the little tricksters.

Daphne made her nephews apologize to Daniel and they were punished by their parents.  Daniel was cured with a tub of ice cream and a plunge in the pool. The rest of the day went smoothly, and things began winding down.  The evening came and most everyone had left. Only Daphne, Daniel, Millie, and I remained along with Peter and Wendy.  Everyone was relaxed when Daphne decided to lower the boom.

“So, Wendy, you work at Walt Disney World, that must be some commute to see Peter in Tampa.”

“Oh, it’s not that bad.”

“How lucky for you that your hair is just like Tinkerbells.”

As an outside observer I could hear the trap being set for her but Wendy was currently unaware of the danger.

“Just lucky I guess.”

“So how long have you been playing this part?”

Wendy looked at her. “What do you mean?”

Daphne looked at her sternly. “How long have you been pulling this Tinkerbell crap off?”

“I do not know what you mean.”

Daphne decided to direct her conversation towards her brother. “Did you know that all Disney face characters are required to wear wigs, not a single one of them shows their natural hair in costume, no matter how perfect it matches the character they are playing.”

“What are you saying?” Peter asked.

Wendy spoke up quickly. “I do not know where you are getting your information, but you are wrong.”  Wendy said. “You are just wrong.”

I shrugged again but Daphne nodded for me to disclose what I knew, and I did dispassionately. “Disney Cast Member never refer to Disney visitors as customers they are always guests.”  I could see Wendy getting angry, so I stayed calm.  “That ‘autograph’ you gave was all wrong. All character autographs are basically the same, any friend of a character is trained to do it the exact same way every time.”  I decided to reveal my source for this. “My mother had to do a sewing project where she had to embroider all kinds of Disney Signatures and yours does not match any Tinkerbells that I have ever seen.”

“Well, I was a little off today, that is all.” Wendy sputtered as a desperate defense.

I looked over at Peter who had a bit of suspicion in his face, I gave a little shake of my head.  Daphne nodded for me to continue so I did. “And I have known, plenty of Disney Entertainment people, they are always, ‘friends’ with a character, especially around kids.  It keeps the magic of the characters being real.  They never claim they are the character.

Wendy just sat there staring daggers at me.

Daphne spoke again.  “Also ‘Wendy’ if that is your real name, you are too tall to play Tinkerbell, isn’t that true Miles?”

I shrugged and stated the facts I knew, and the facts I had observed. “Tinkerbell can’t be portrayed by anyone over five foot two inches. You are about five foot seven, Millie is five foot eight. Even if you were slouching you are at least five foot six.”

Wendy looked shocked so I continued. “And there is no way you could have ever been in the Tigger costume, because you have to be a minimum of five foot ten.  Too tall for Tinker Bell, too short for Tigger.”

Daphne spoke up. “I think you are some sort of blood sucker trying to get my rich brother to marry you so you can get his money.  Tomorrow morning, I am going to hire Miles here to do a further background check on you, to see if you are just an opportunist or if you have a criminal record.”

Wendy stood up and turned toward Peter. “Peter take me home right now.”

We all sat there as Peter got up and followed the angry woman into the house and out the front door.

Daphne gave us a forced smile.  “More wine anyone?” She raised her own empty glass. “I could really use another glass,” she sighed “or maybe a box.”

The Details of the Defensive Distrustful Defender

I didn’t like this angle.  I looked around but I could not find a better angle, oh well this would have to do. Click, click, click. I played with the settings and clicked away again, three times again. I looked at the screen, better than I thought. That should do it I thought.  I found an empty bench and made notations in my notebook.  I put my pen away and sat back and took in the day.  It was one of those beautiful sunny winter Florida days.  The temperature was in the high 70s, there was a slight breeze and just a few puffy white clouds moving across the sky.  I smiled; I had a pretty good life somedays. Like today, I was doing work that I enjoyed, I was in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and I had a great gal that I was going to be spending the evening with watching a movie.  I closed up my notebook, put the large rubber band around it and stuck it in my messenger bag, next to my camera. I was still getting used to the bag, Millie had gotten it for me at Christmas and I still was unsure how much to put in it, or where to place things in it.  My old bag had been a black nylon job designed mostly for a laptop, but it was getting kind of ragged, with more repair sewing then orginal stitching.   I was grateful, and it looked really cool, kind of like Indiana Jones, but I was still getting used to it. I walked out to the parking lot and was looking at my phone for where my station wagon was and decided to walk instead of waiting for the tram. I was a few feet from my car when I noticed someone coming towards me through the cars.  “Excuse me do you know where Unicorn is.”  I stopped as the man in typical tourist garb came between the two parked cars, that is when I heard a car come down the row of parked cars a bit faster than normal.  I was tackled into the van, strong hands grabbed me and put a black bag over my head.  After only a few seconds I stopped struggling, when I felt the zip ties go on my hands the sliding door slam shut.  My wallet was grabbed, and they unclipped my bag. Professionals, multiple people, at least four, one the guy in the parking lot, one driver, and two in the back of the van. I was yanked off the floor and put me on a bench seat between two large people and seat belted.  Then a voice. “You will not be harmed if you cooperate and answer our questions, truthfully and honestly.”  The voice was a bland mid-western American accent.  I guessed it was the guy who asked me where Unicorn was. “Well, I would have done that without the bag over my head and the zip ties, so we got off on the wrong foot already. I hope you guys did not break my camera.” There was a pause and then I heard my camera start up and then a few test shots.  “It works fine.” A different voice then the one who initially spoke. “Well, that is good, I am guessing you guys would not have paid for it if you broke it anyways.  Hard to put in a claim with kidnappers.” The midwestern accent spoke again. “Do not think of it as a kidnapping,” there was a pause as he looked at something, “Miles Mitchell, think of it an invitation to a discussion we did not want you to turn down.”  I was about to speak when Mid-Western spoke again. “A Private Investigator, no surprise there.” I was about to say something funny, like ‘take a card, I am always looking for new customers’ but instead I stopped talking and thought.  These guys did not know who I was.  They did not know I was a private investigator, not even my name.  No one had sent them, whatever they wanted me for it was recent, like within the last twenty-four hours, no prep time and with their moves I knew these guys were professionals.  So why did they grab me, I was not working anything high profile or high priced right now.  In fact, the case I was working right now was downright silly and frivolous and of no consequences to anyone but a very specific person.  So, what had I done to make these guys take me on this forced jaunt.  I had the feeling they were telling me the truth about not hurting me, but it is hard to convince yourself that with a black bag over your head. I had been distracted the first few minutes by the bag and conversation now I took a breath and began to concentrate on the movement of the van, making turns and such.  We were already out of the parking lot by the time I was paying attention. I could tell we were stopped, and it was longer than a stop sign, it must have been the traffic light right outside the park on Osceola Parkway and Sherberth Road and we made a right onto Sherberth.  Then the turn around the power substation. Then we slowed down. Traffic? A little early in the day for traffic on this road. Then we turned off the main road to the right. Were we pulling into the dirt road after the substation? Maybe they were going to do some violence upon my person. Then we stopped and continued on, but I realized it was a smooth road.  So not the dirt road next to the substation.  Were we in that private resort right off Disney property?  Well, I was born on property and if this was the end, then I only died a couple miles from where I came into the world.  Not much of a trip from beginning to end, only three or four miles. I could see the headlines ‘Private Investigators Body Found Only Miles From His Birthplace’. See what I said earlier about not totally convinced this not a one-way trip. We made a couple turns, then we backed into a spot, the door slid open, someone said ‘clear’ and I was escorted roughly but efficiently out of the van into the sunlight and into an apartment and seated in straight back chair.  I could tell there were people standing around me, so I did not try anything.  I listened and could tell there was very little furniture in the room or wall coverings because the echo of an empty room.  One side of room was warmer, so I suspected there was a large patio door on my left side, and I was probably facing the kitchen. I decided to speak up.  “Where did the spokesman for your little team go.”  I had not heard him talk since we came into the condo, and I suspected he went to talk to the big boss. “So, you guys been here long?”  There was no response. “You know I can get you a good deal on a drapes and curtains, I know a guy.”  Still no response.  “So is the big boss close by, or did the team leader have to go call him?”  I heard a little bit of shuffling around the room and was trying not to tense in case I had annoyed them enough to forgo their mostly non-violent approach so far.  Being stiff when being hit was shown to increase to injuries, that is why so many drunks survived crashes, whereas awake and alert people got injured so badly, tension. I heard a person or maybe two people enter the room. Then the hood was taken off my head suddenly.  I blinked at the bright light and took in the room.  The guy from the parking lot was on my left and an older women in a dark pant suit was on the right.  The boss and the team leader I concluded. “Mr. Mitchell who is your client?” The team leader asked. “None of your business.” I stated. “But since you know my name, tell me yours.” The team leader looked to his boss, who gave a slight nod. “I am Scott and this is Ms. Gray.” There was a pause. “Who are you working for that brought you to Animal Kingdom today?” I sighed.  How far was I going to go with this?  “I cannot tell you, professional ethics and all that, but what I will say is whatever I am doing has nothing to do with you, or whoever you are working for.” Scott spoke without getting permission from his boss this time. “You were observed in the vicinity of certain individuals numerous times, taking pictures in their direction and then making notations in your notebook.” I shrugged, which is not really hindered when your hands are zip tied together. “I am sure there is a lot of overlap with people and where I was today, the park is not that big, but I assure you I was not taking pictures of anyone, you have my camera, go ahead and check it.” The boss lady nodded to someone behind me.  A younger woman dressed similar to the boss, but in a tan pants suit, a little more forgiving in Orlando sun, she had a tablet and handed it to the boss. I pegged her as tech support.  The boss looked it over and the room came to a standstill as she flicked through the information.  She handed it to Scott who did the same. That is when Ms. Gray spoke directly to me for the first time. “You have an impressive background Mr. Mitchell.” I was not sure how to respond mostly because I did not think it was true. “Thank you?” The unnamed female had been scrolling through my camera.  “The principle is not on here, in fact except for a few out of focus people there are not people on here at all.” Ms. Gray said a simple word directed towards her subordinate. “Explain.” The woman was about to but I spoke up first. “Frogs, I took pictures of frogs today, real frogs, statues of frogs, carved frogs, drawings of frogs.” There was silence for a few seconds as the tech scrolled through my camera. “Just frogs, all dated today.”  The techie said, putting down the camera on the kitchen bar top.  She started looking through my bag.  “No thumb drive either.” “Yeah, I lost my thumb drive a couple of months ago it was a really neat one, it lite up and everything.”  The assembled group who were looking at me with blank expressions. “Sorry I overshare sometimes.” Ms. Gray looked at her subordinates with a look of disgust and slowly started shaking her head.  I knew that look, the look of someone that had to clean up the mess of someone else.  And this was a big mess, a mess that could land people in jail for kidnapping.  Ms. Gray’s unhappiness told me all I need to know about my health for the rest of this meeting, I was going to be ‘okay’.  I leaned back in my seat to get comfortable, feet out, crossed them and put my zip tied hands behind my head. Scott, Mr. Midwestern Accent Man, the lead kidnapper, began to look uncomfortable. The woman who had gone through my camera just looked embarrassed out of association. I decided to let everyone off the hook quickly, because I am just a nice guy and I travel light in life, I don’t carry grudges.  Besides I never knew when I might need a favor from some professionals. I looked directly at Ms. Gray.  “Let me guess, you guys are probably State Department, maybe Homeland Security or some other alphabet agency which is allowed to work on American soil but is not too flashy about it.” Ms. Gray did not react which was what I expected so I was probably right so I continued. “Someone important is visiting Disney covertly, maybe with a very small security team, but you guys are doing a covert overwatch to ensure they don’t do something stupid.” There was a brief flash of surprise on Ms. Gray’s face, very brief but it gave me all the confidence I needed to continue. “The target’s security team spotted me taking pictures, I am guessing they were talking about me on their comms which you guys are eavesdropping on.”  Ms. Gray had regained control over her face not letting me see anything else. “They were going to take action on me, but you decided to beat them to the punch when you saw me being tailed out of the park.” I guessed at this last part, I had not seen anyone tailing me, but then again, I was not looking as I had not done anything lately to warrant any counter surveillance. Ms. Gray held up her hand to get me to stop, but one more question had popped into my head. “So, this tail I picked up sees me get tackled into a van and reports what to the rest of his security team?” Ms. Gray spoke in a perturbed manner. “You are more impressive than your file says.” I simply shrugged.  Then another idea jumped into my head and my mouth opened in shock and I spoke without really thinking about it. “The guy following me, the guy from the target’s security team is working for you also.” Scott spoke up confirming what I had just theorized. “He is going to report back to the security team whatever we want him to.” Ms. Gray walked over to me and motioned for me to put my hands in front of me.  I did and a folding knife flashed into existence and she cut the zip ties, freeing my hands. “Sit here Mr. Mitchell while I confer with my team.  I nodded.  I had been talking enough, I should probably shut my pie hole before I said something stupid.  As soon as they little group left the room I stood up and wandered around the room looking out the patio doors, and then I checked my camera for myself and saw that it was working fine.  My cell phone was nowhere around, they trusted me, but did not trust me that much. A few minutes later they came back into the room.  The tech woman did not return with them, just Scott and Ms. Gray. “I understand you are very familiar with Walt Disney World.”  This was not a question, but a statement. “Born and raised here.” “Indeed.”  She looked uncomfortable but proceeded.  “We would like to hire you as a consultant, a local guide as it were, but you will have to sign some non-disclosure paperwork and you will only be paid in cash, do you understand?” “Cash is good.”  I said simply Ms. Gray looked me dead in the eye. “If you thought the threats about talking about Operation Cashmere were serious Mr. Mitchell, those consequences would be a walk on the beach compared to what I will do to you if your employment with us leaks out.” I gulped. Even the name Operation Cashmere was classified if she referenced it so casually in this setting, I knew this was some serious stuff. “Totally and one hundred percent clear.” “You will be reporting directly to Scott.”  She said this last part and then turned and left the apartment without another word. I nodded and turned to Scott. “So can you guys take me back to my car or what?” It had been two days since I had been dropped off at my car, Scott, no last name given, gave me my cell phone and my wallet and an envelope containing a stack of hundreds.  He instructed me to keep my phone on and answer it when they called, and with that he was gone.  I kinda hoped they would not call again, the less I had to do with the government the better but I knew I was not that lucky.  I intentionally stayed away from the parks so I would not trip over whatever operation was going on.  So, there I was lying in bed at eleven am reading a book on Antarctica and I was interrupted by the phone, I did not recognize  the number but it was a Washington D.C. area code.  I answered it on the third ring. “Meet me at the safe house in an hour.”  The voice of Scott said without preamble. “Good morning, Scott.”  I said being a wise guy. There was silence on the other end. I decided to stay annoying. “And how is your mom?” The line went dead. These government types had no sense of humor. An hour and five minutes later I was back in safe house.  They had been busy, there was a whole cork board up on the wall, with surveillance photographs, a few blown up passport photos, and some printouts.  All with circles and arrows in different colors denoting god knows what because I was not told the code.  There were also maps of each of the parks in each of the corners. Scott was on the phone when I came in and motioned for me to sit looking at the cork board.  I yawned and tried to look disinterested in the display before me. “Things have changed we are no longer simply conducting surveillance; we are going to help the Emil and his son, defect.” “Emil huh?”  I was sure it was not his real name but it was good enough for me. “Emil is going to defect?  Defection are so Cold War.”  Scott did not laugh at my joke. I shrugged no sense of humor. “We need some input on getting our target away from their bodyguards and into a vehicle. “These bodyguards,” I said looking at the muscular gentleman who did not look happy in their passport photos. Scott mentioned they were from a covert intelligence agency that were known for not being nice.  I shuddered. Scott continued.  “We were thinking about doing it in Epcot near the International Gateway.” “Well, that would be the park I would pick, but you are still pretty far away from any vehicle traffic.”  I looked at the map of Epcot.  “I take it this is without the cooperation of Disney Security.” Scott looked uncomfortable.  “We would rather not involve them at this time.” I looked at the board now.  “Which one is your inside man on the protection detail?” Scott shook his head. “You are not authorized for that information.” I rolled my eyes in exasperation.  I sat down and thought while looking at the board. Then I noticed a dry ease board next to it.  I looked for permission to use it and Scott nodded and I wiped it down and began to draw a map from memory. It had taken two days to set this up, almost an entire day do recon and refine the plan. Then another day to get the pieces into place.  It came down to the appetite of a little boy and his love of ice cream.  I looked around where I was sitting, waiting to see if Emil had convinced his eleven-year-old to attempt to consume a Kitchen Sink Sundae at Disney’s Beaches and Cream Resort.  It was a challenge I would have rose to as an eleven-year-old,  8 scoops of ice cream with all the toppings, whipped cream all in a collectible red plastic bowl that looked like Mickey’s pants. I had no comms with the team, no one was going to come to my rescue if the bodyguards got their hands on me.  I had driven my own car on the operation, and I did not know anyone’s name except Scott and Ms. Gray.  They had complete deniability if something happened to me. Not that anything was going to happen to me, this was my home turf, besides, I was just going to draw attention to myself, a diversion. I watched the Emil the hopeful defector, and his son in matching red Mickey shirts with the primary bodyguard walk past my hiding spot near the volleyball court, followed by three bodyguards trying to be inconspicuous.  I joined the parade. I was wearing the exact same clothes I had been wearing at the Animal Kingdom when they bad guys security team thought I was doing surveillance on them.  I had another camera this one with a large telephoto lens.  I was not going to risk my own camera getting smashed by the bodyguards, so I borrowed this government prop with no battery and no memory.  The team did not want any record of what we were about to do. Our little parade would reach Beaches and Cream Ice Cream Parlor for Emil’s four o’clock reservation and when he ordered the Kitchen Sink in the collectors souvenir bowl our plan would kick off.  We already knew that did not have weapons as they had come through EPCOT which meant they had been checked by Disney Security for things that went bang. I held back allowing the bodyguards time to take up positions on the porch near Beaches and Cream and along the edge of the pool, Stormalong Bay.  I had picked this place because of Stormalong Bay.  The pool for the Yacht and Beach Club was immense and impressive, almost a water park in its own right, with a lazy river, and a really long water slide from a beached sailing ship along the lake shore. It was so amazing that Disney had to institute control measures to keep outside guests from crashing the pool, mainly brightly colored wristbands that changed from day to day. I was hoping to draw off two bodyguards, three if I was lucky.  Meanwhile the female agent had checked into the hotel and would be stationed with purloined entry bands for the resort pool so Emil and son could get into the water park directly from Beaches and Cream, stripping them of the remaining bodyguards. Walking the porch between the hotel and the pool area I rounded the corner and made a big show of taking photos of the first bodyguard.  Then I just kept strolling right past the guy. I swear I heard his nostrils flare as I walked by, he mumbled something in a foreign language into his earpiece as I went by.  Right outside entry door to Beaches and Cream was number two bodyguard I stopped, took ten fake photos from about twenty feet away and kept on stepping. I glanced into the water park area, there was the female tech in a modestly cut one piece bathing suit ready for part two as I completed part one of the plan. I could hear muscle head crack his knuckles as I sauntered by.  I spotted number three hired muscle on the porch and did my thing with the camera again and ambled by him.  This guy was quiet which unnerved me a little bit more than the other two, but I kept walking. I was able to take a quick peak over my shoulder and saw I had collected a tail of two gorillas.  Maybe number three was just slow.  I walked with purpose away from the porch towards the boat dock. I hoped to get my new tails on the boat with me, taking them out of the equation fully so they could not chase Emil and his son. Before I got to the boat dock the two muscle bound creeps grabbed my arm.  I did not think these guys were going to be as gentle as the government agents had been a couple of days ago.  Well, no plan ever goes perfect.  I dropped my faux camera and jerked my arm away and started to sprint away not making the turn onto the dock but towards the Swan and Dolphin, I did not want to be stuck on the boat dock with guys who had already put hands upon me.  I hated to do it but I turned my head and saw only one was chasing me, the other one was recovering my fake camera. If all was going according to plan, Emil had navigated through Stormalong Bay, past Hurricane Hannahs and was on a previously parked electric scooter with a pair of oversized sunglasses, a new Goofy hat with ears and Mexican poncho to hide his kid in his lap.  So instead of two people running away, they were going to present as one heavy person on a scooter slowly driving back towards Epcot.  I also had instructed Scott to guide them to drive underneath the bridge towards the Boardwalk hotel instead of up the ramp.  The ramp and the tunnel under the bridge went to the same place, but my thinking was ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ besides no one running away would take a narrow path when a wide-open path was in front of them.  From there they had two options, go back into Epcot, or take the Skyliner to the Caribbean Beach resort.  I like the Skyliner option the best; the father and son could get a quick rest and leave the protection detail behind by a good margin. At least I hoped that was how things were going.  I had my own problems; I was being chased by a bodyguard who wanted answers as to who I was working for.  I was not going to tell him if he caught me, but I had no intention of being caught.  I was halfway around Crescent Lake when I snuck a glance over my shoulder to see if the bodyguard was still following.  He wasn’t.  In fact, I spotted him jogging back the way he came, with his finger in his ear.  Probably getting yelled at by his boss for getting pulled out of position and being told to look for Emil and his kid. I stopped on the bridge to catch my breath and gave a half wave salute to the guy who was glaring at me, he responded with a not so Disney hand gesture. I took a deep breath and began walking towards the Dolphin where I had left my car. I got into my car, checked underneath my seat for another envelop full of hundreds and drove off.  As far as I was concerned my responsibility to the government was at an end.  I did not expect to hear from Scott or ‘Ms. Gray’ again, and any future contact with the feds I hoped would be limited to tax time. But I did hear from federal government again, sort of. I got a plain white envelope with no return address, but post marked for the Foggy Bottom area of D.C. containing a printed article. It seems a task force was assembled by the State Department on the evidence provided by a single eyewitness who was providing huge amounts of firsthand evidence and of human trafficking around the world. I smiled as I assembled an e-mail with multiple frog pictures.  A dad with a daughter who was absolutely crazy about frogs and Disney had hired me to take a picture of every Disney Frog I could find.  I found thirty-five in Animal Kingdom alone.


The Case of the Unhappy Camper

The Photos To Die For Case

The Case of the Misplaced Ice Thingy

The Details of the Defensive Distrustful Defender

The Complete First Collection of Miles Mitchell Mysteries

The Photos to Die For Case


The Photos to Die for Case

I stared out the window to ensure I did not get car sick.  Motion sickness was not usually a problem but I had been sitting in the back of this car for close to an hour reading and the driver was not the best and the rain was uneven making the ride, inconsistent.

“Almost there honey.” 

I turned away from the window and looked at Millie’s beautiful blue eyes and simply nodded. She had that look of love she got when she was putting me through the wringer and I was being ‘okay’ with it.  I nodded happily and smiled back at her. “Glad to hear it.” 

Millie turned back around and continued talking to the uneven driver, Sarah. Sarah spoke. “Now that we are over the bridge it is only five more traffic lights and then three stop signs and then past the green gate, to the green gate.”

Millie spoke with a bit of concern. “You sure you do not want me to plug the address into the GPS?” She said holding up her phone to show it was no problem.

Sarah waved a hand dramatically in response and the car took a little swerve to the right, not enough to hit anything but to make it felt, especially in the back seat. “No darling I have been here a couple of times and I have an innate sense of direction.”

The innate sense of direction resulted in three wrong turns, one which was down a dead-end street.  Luckily, there was very little traffic as we happened to be driving into a tropical storm.  Miles believed their arrival at the address was more due to running out of roads to go down then Sarah knowing where they were going.

Sarah dialed a number on her phone and simply stated. “We are here at the gate please open up.”  There was no response back but slowly the massive ornate metal green gate started to open.  “See no problem.”

I so badly wanted to say something sarcastic and biting but one look from Millie showed she agreed with me, and since I did not want to aggravate her on this trip and my comment would not gain back the thirty extra minutes we had just lost wandering around in a tropical storm, I held it in.  As we entered a large van with several people in the back were departing, I silently wished them well getting them to where they were going.

Why was I riding in the back of a Range Rover on the Gulf Coast of Florida going into the teeth of a tropical storm?  I blame Walt Disney and his love of pie. 

Self Promotion

My good friend Gary, meeting with the Kevin Smith and giving him my card. I regret not taking the day off and meeting a man I admire greatly. But if I ever cut a deal with Disney to turn the Miles Mitchell Mysteries into a series, I will fight to make Kevin my Executive Producer.

The Newest Miles Mitchell Mystery, The Unhappy Camper Case

There are some cases I shy away from, it is not a hard fast rule, more like a guideline, something that makes me pause before I say yes to a case.  One of those is bodyguarding, while bodyguard jobs pays well it is for the most part unrealistic for a guy like me.

I do not carry a gun, and I have not intention of ever doing so.  If the threat to the principal is real, I do not want to be between them and a bullet.  My mother taught me to avoid bullet wounds whenever possible.

The other reason people want a bodyguard it is as status symbol, and I do not want to be around those types of people.

But one time a couple of years ago when the money was right and certain other conditions were in alignment, mostly my wallet was empty, I did take a bodyguarding job. 

That is how one Monday morning I was looking for Site 505 off Big Pine Drive, at the Fort Wilderness Campground.

“Mr. Mitchell, I see you found the place.”

“I would not be much of investigator if I could not and remember just call me Miles.”  I said extending my hand to Ben Kingsley who hired me a week before.  I looked around at the campsite noting the huge rolling mobile mansion, the RV was huge and silver and looked immaculate.

“It is big, isn’t it?”  Ben Kingsley said as I looked over the ten wheeled vehicle. 

I simply nodded. “And this is where Mr. Wheeler will be staying for the duration of the job? I won’t have to help him move it.”  I said this last part as I had no clue how to drive one of these things and I never wanted to try.

“Oh no, the dealer actually moved it here for us and will move it when Mr. Wheeler’s vacation is completed, and in addition to this space we have rented the two spaces on either side of this so there is ample parking for your vehicle. He said this last part while looking at my 1996 green and wood paneled station wagon.

I smiled. I had just washed her, and she was looking pretty good, although the AC had been making a little weird noise lately.  I gave a slight shake to my head I would get it looked at after this job. “So where is Mr. Wheeler?” I looked around. “Inside?”  I said trying to look through the glare on the window.

“Mr. Wheeler is currently walking around the area; his doctor wants him to walk a couple of miles every day.”

“That should not be a problem here.” Miles said.  “The average visitor walks about eight miles a day.”

“Eight miles a day huh? I bet I will be doing sixteen in a two weeks.” A deep voice said from behind me.

“Mr. Wheeler I would like to introduce Miles Mitchell, Private Investigator and for the duration of your stay here your bodyguard.”

Mr. Wheeler stuck out his hand and Miles reciprocated. The grasp was firm, and I could feel the calluses. “Bodyguard huh, so that is what they’re listing your fee under for the accounting department.  More like a glorified babysitter to keep me out of everyone’s hair.” Mr. Wheeler paused looking over Miles. “Your real job is to keep me occupied and away from computers and phones so I do not mess up the partnership deal between my company and the Anno Funai Construction Company, my board thinks I am too volatile for negotiations and demanded I take this ‘sabbatical’ where I would not mess things up but still be available to sign papers should the need arise.”

I simply nodded, hopefully knowingly. The most I knew about big business deals was when I inadvertently used a coupon and the grocery store said it was double coupon day.

“And you Mr. Mitchell are here to confirm I live up to the ‘non-interference’ order that the board of directors has placed on me, so no phone calls, except to friends and family, and no computers.”

I nodded again and added. “You can just call me Miles.”

“Okay Miles, Mr. Kingsley has ensured all my physical needs are met, I have a personal chef coming in to prepare meals and such, while you will be assisting me in learning about Walt Disney World.”

“I can do that sir, have you ever been here on vacation before.”


“So, you know nothing about Walt Disney World.”

“I think you misunderstood me, I know nothing about vacations, I have never been on one before.”

“Never?” I said a bit surprised.

“Well, I went to New York City once with my family, but I had a few deals to seal and my family complained that I missed everything.”

“I see.”

The next few days we got into a routine, I would arrive at the campsite around nine in the morning, Ken Wheeler would be finishing his breakfast and then we would use Disney transportation to go to the different park. Mostly walking, me occasionally sharing trivia about the parks.

Mr. Wheeler was bored with it all and preoccupied, I imagine on the deal he was currently not a part of.  He talked about his company a lot, how he had built up from one man handyman business with a beat-up truck into a multi-million company.

My job was simple, it required me to be with him from 9 am till 7 pm, he paid for my lunch and dinner, and after walking his required miles for the day we would head back to his campsite where he would read from his tablet while drinking copious amounts cranberry juice, and I would retrieve whatever book I had from the library in my car. He did not talk much; he was always polite but not overly sharing.

It was one of these lazy afternoons when I asked him about the cranberry juice that he finally revealed something personal about himself.

“Miles,” He said in the tone of an older wiser man. “A long life of living on coffee and other bad health habits has effected me in an embarrassing manner, my doctor has told me I have kidney stones.”

I nodded. “I have heard those are a discomfort.”

“An understatement.” Mr. Wheeler stated wincing.

There was a pause in our conversation. “Do you trust me Mr. Wheeler?”

He snorted. “If I can’t trust my ‘bodyguard’, who can I trust?”

I looked at my watch and told him we were going to the Magic Kingdom.

Two hours later we had ridden Big Thunder Mountain three times, with some trading and moving around we rode in the last car every time.

Mr. Wheeler passed three kidney stones that night.

The next day Mr. Wheeler was noticeably wiped out but also happier and with a bit more spring in his step.

We returned to the Magic Kingdom the next day for our walk and it was during one of our sit down breaks I mentioned there were tunnels underneath the park.  It was the first time he showed anything other than polite interest in my trivia.  When I informed him of the backstage tours that were available, he jumped on them.  The next three days we took several backstage tours available in the parks.  I had more scheduled for the rest of stay except Epcot Dive Quest and only because Mr. Wheeler was not a certified SCUBA diver, I am, and have been for years.

But we could not get a tour every day and it was on one of these days that everything changed.

I guess it was inevitable given the nature of why he was here, he was losing a significant portion of control of his company.  Ben Kingsley called and told me to not show up until noon.  When I did arrive, there was Mr. Wheeler, Ben and two men in suits standing around the picnic table at the campsite. Mr. Wheeler was glaring at a stack of papers on the table and the two unidentified men in suits were standing there with their arms crossed.  I immediately clocked them as ambulance chasers, something slimy just emanated from them.

Mr. Wheeler saw me and turned his attention away from the papers and introduced the two new faces.  “Miles, I want you to meet Shark One and Shark Two.  My lawyers.  My lawyers who are telling me instead of a simple partnership with Mr. Anno and Mr. Funai I will now be the Junior Partner in a company I founded and built.”

The older shark spoke up. “Now Ken you are mischaracterizing this, you will be the Senior President of your company with all you responsibilities as before and your compensation will increase three-fold.”

Mr. Wheeler glared at the lawyer and turned towards me.  “Miles lets go.”  And with that Mr. Wheeler turned and walked out. I did not know what else to say just shrugged and followed the body I was paid to guard. 

The first rule of bodyguarding is to protect the principal, the second rule is not embarrass or interfere with your principal and his life. I had no right or justification or was even sure he should, turn around.  So, we walked away, him leading the way to the boat docks I assumed to go to the Magic Kingdom. 

But the first boat that arrived was one for the Contemporary Resort, so Mr. Wheeler angrily boarded that one[.  If he had waited an additional five minutes, we would have had a direct and faster route to the Magic Kingdom.  I could see the approaching boat, but we boarded the one that was here.

I do not know if I believe in fate or a predestination, maybe things would have worked out exactly the same way no matter what boat we took. 

Walking through the Contemporary Resort we made it into the Magic Kingdom with Mr. Wheeler still in a foul mood.  A complete lap of the perimeter of the park and the beginning of another one and Mr. Wheeler sat down on a bench halfway between Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain.  He asked me to get him a lemonade.  I suspect he just wanted to sit and fume.

The next part I was not present for, but these are the words of Mr. Wheeler.

I was sitting on a bench and a family stopped nearby checking their map. Well, the littlest girl not in the stroller decided to sit on the park bench and her older brother decided to tease her as children do.  He had a Mickey Ice Cream bar; she had a bag of pink cotton candy. 

This next thing I know the ice cream goes flying off the stick and ends up on my lap and the cotton candy gets dropped in front of me, in shock I stood up stepping in the cotton candy.

It was at this point she enters the fray.

“Don’t you dare.” She says shaking two fingers me. 

I was sputtering in anger but given this womans spoke with such force and determination the yelling I was about to do at the small children gets stuck in my throat.

The children are standing there shocked and scared at what just transpired, knowing they had done wrong.

“You two stop fighting and go tell your parents what happened.” The strange woman said as she took me by the arm and began leading him towards the bathroom next to the Pirates of Caribbean.

“Excuse me Ma’am where are we going?” 

“To a public restroom for you to clean yourself up, and you still have some cotton candy on you left shoe.”

I looked down and scraped the offending sticky pink stuff off my shoe on the pavement.

“The sooner we get that ice cream off those pants the less likely they will stain.” She looked appraisingly at the shorts.  “Tommy Bahama’s?”

I had no clue what brand name they were, I had an assistant buy my clothing. “I am not sure.” I said as the stranger directed me to the men’s room. 

“Just water and then pat dry with a paper towel, which should keep the stain from being permanent.”

I did as instructed and came out a few minutes later and the woman was talking with the parents of the children, he saw her give the parents a bit of money and they turned and ushered their children back into the bustling crowd. I looked her over as she watched the family walk away, she was a good looking woman with a pretty face and nice legs from what I could see from her calf length yellow skirt.

“Where are they going, I was going to give them a piece of my mind.” I said approaching the strange woman who had inserted herself into the problem.

“Oh, I imagine off to get some more Mickey Bars or cotton candy, nice people from Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

“But raising some brats.”

The woman turned on me suddenly in anger. “Brats?  You were involved in a small accident with some over excited children, and you pass judgement because you were slightly inconvenienced.”

I was shocked at her anger and then her anger dissipated as she took a deep breath. “Who are you here with Grumpy, Grumpy does not come to the Magic Kingdom alone.”

“I am not grumpy.”

“I am Snow White,” She said, motioning to her outfit which had the color scheme of the first Disney royal. “I know my dwarves.”

“I am no dwarf ma’am.”

She looked me over, in an appraising manner then spoke. “You most assuredly are a dwarf, you are a hard worker, probably to the detriment of your family, you gather all kinds of wealth in your ‘diamond mine’ but live well but simply. You sir are most assuredly a dwarf.”  And then she smiled mischievously. “Right now, you are Grumpy but even Grumpy had a heart of gold.” And she patted me right in the center of my chest. “Deep down.”

I was a little shocked but decided to go on the offensive. “And you are here with whom? Your husband, your grandchildren?

“None of the above. I just had a little down time today and decided to come over and soak in the magic.”

I snorted. “The magic of relieving tourists of the vacation money they saved a year for, if they saved at all, most of them will paying off this credit card debit for years.”

“You don’t believe in the magic of memories, the magic of laughter and wonderment?”

I simply snorted dismissively again.

“You are grumpy.” The woman closed her eyes and breathed deeply for a full ten count.  When she opened them, she was smiling, then she smiled even broader after she spotted something in the distance. “I am Maribel, and your name is?”

“Ken Wheeler. Wheeler Construction.” I said the second part almost reflexively.

“Well come with me Ken Wheeler of Wheeler Construction, a very dwarf like job I might add.” And she took me by the hand and lead me towards the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Meanwhile I had lost my client. The line for lemonade was longer than I thought and when I got to the front of the line the family in front of me bought the last bottle of lemonade, so I had to go to another concession stand and go thru that line. I was not worried, Mr. Wheeler was remarkably patient and like I had said earlier, I thought he wanted time to just sit and fume. But getting back to the bench I saw that Mr. Wheeler was gone, I was not concerned, he had probably just gone to the restroom, so I sat and waited ten minutes.  It was after fifteen minutes I started to get concerned.  At twenty minutes I started to look for him, I went to the restrooms in Pecos Bill, and then the restrooms near Pirates of the Caribbean. 


Mr. Wheeler had never left me before, I wondered if he went back to the campsite, I thought it unlikely but since he did not have a cell phone I had only two real choices, continue looking for him or return to the campsite.  I briefly toyed the thought about contacting Disney Security but that seemed a little excessive, although they could probably find him in a few minutes, they are just that good, but then I would have to explain why I was working as a bodyguard in their parks. And as understanding as Security is, I didn’t want them looking at me sideways for any reason.

Not knowing where to look I continued in the direction we had been going. I had rounded the corner around the Enchanted Tiki Room when I saw a balloon vendor sans balloons. They have a very unique costume and I had never seen one totally sold out before except once.  I shook my head and thought ‘no it can’t be her’ but I approached the vendor with a theory in mind.

“No more balloons?”

“Sorry no sir, but I can direct you to another vendor.”

“Sold out? “

The fresh-faced College Program Cast Member simply smiled.  “Yes, sir a lady dressed kinda like Snow White just came up and bought every single one, twenty-two balloons to one guest.”

I did not mean to say it aloud, but I did. “Maribel.”

“Yes, sir that was her name, she introduced herself, nice lady, and then she handed them off to her friend. I described Mr. Wheeler and he nodded that it was Maribel’s companion. The vendor gave the proper two finger pointing method, mandated by Walt Disney himself, in the direction of the castle.

I said, ‘thank you’ and started searching. I did not find them for an hour, and by then they had given away every single balloon and they were sharing a Mickey pretzel on a park bench acting like two old friends.

“Oh, there you are Miles,” he nudged Maribel. “I told you he was a good Private Eye.”

“And he is a great son, although he doesn’t call as often as he should.” Maribel said nudging him right back.

Ken Wheeler turned and gave a surprised look at Maribel. Maribel just smiled and nodded.

I rolled my eyes at her.

The rest of the day I simply played chaperone to Mr. Wheeler and my mother as they walked and talked around the park. I did not join them as they rode the Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan’s Flight.  I did join them at the Hall of President’s simply because I wanted to sit down in the AC.

I was dismissed when they made plans for dinner at the California Grill.  How my mother got a reservation so late in the day beats me, but she knows more people around property then I do.  I returned to the campsite and read my book from the library.  Ken Wheeler rolled in an hour later smiling. Something I had not seen him do much of, and the way the day began I had not expected it at all.

The next day started out as normal, but Mr. Wheeler insisted on we go to Epcot.  We walked the circuit of park twice and it was about one o’clock when we arrived at the Japanese Pavilion where my mother was waiting. I simply nodded as Mr. Wheeler asked if he could have lunch with my mother alone. But I had to get in a dig on my mother before she had her sushi. “Business must be slow if you can spend two days in the park, in a row.”

Maribel simply shushed me and allowed Ken to take her by the arm and lead her up the stairs to the restaurant.  I killed an hour and half and as they dined, then stayed six feet behind them as they strolled and talked, then Maribel left after an hour, and we continued walking.

The pattern was repeated for the next three days, a lunch meeting a stroll then parting with a kiss.  The kissing was between the two of them, I was left out of it, thankfully.  My mother knew I was working and even she had her limits as to how much she would embarrass me.  While her profession worked on shows of endearment, she knew mine did not.

It was on the fourth day that things changed.  I arrived at the campsite and there was a big meeting taking place, three cars were in the campsite, and they were standing around the picnic table with papers covering it.

This was none of my concern, so I pulled up a folding chair and broke out my library book.

I would occasionally glance up and note that Mr. Wheeler mood was improving, while the lawyers and accountants looked unsure but followed his lead in mood.

I sat there for an hour reading when the meeting abruptly broke up when Mr. Wheeler noticed the time and motioned for us to begin walking towards the boat docks to go to the Magic Kingdom. 

Once we were onboard the Castaway Mr. Wheeler spoke. “It seems that the Japanese company that was buying mine, or as they called it ‘partnering” has run into some trouble, the CEO has been caught in some sort of scandal and it has put them in a precarious position with his board of directors, so the deal might not be going forward in the way he envisioned.

I simply nodded.

“In fact, my people were hesitant to mention it, but it makes it entirely possible that I might be able to take over a controlling interest of that company.”

I felt this needed more than a simple nod, ‘Interesting’, was all I could come up with. 

Mr. Wheeler was energized, he practically vibrated while on the boat as we approached the Magic Kingdom docks.

We did the entry through the touchpoint, the green circles telling us we were okay to enter.  To tell the truth I kind of missed the old turnstiles gone since 2013. The push of the bar had been a tactile sensation taking you from reality into the magic of Disney.  Now with the touchpoint you only put your finger on the pad, and no click and no mechanical tumbling noise either.

But I was distracted from my nostalgia by keeping up with my principal as he made his way to Liberty Tree Tavern, where my mother was waiting. 

“Good news Maribel.” Ken Wheeler said as he kissed her on the cheek.

“I have good news too; I have tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba tonight.

Great we can celebrate; remember how I was telling you I might be losing my company.”

“Yes, I do.” Maribel said hopefully.

Well, that is not happening, in fact I think I can swoop in and take over the Anno Funai Construction Company, those guys that were trying to push me out.” Ken said gleefully.

Maribel simply answered with a ‘oh’.

“Shocking I know, but I tide has turned on those bastards who tried to put me out.”

I watched my mother, while her face remained neutral, I could tell she was upset, but I could tell Ken had missed the sadness in her eyes.  I felt bad, I had seen my mother go thru a range of emotions in my life, but I now was hurt, and hiding it by putting on her professional face.

“I am so happy for you.” Maribel said. As they walked into the restaurant I remained outside, I heard my mother move into professional small talk mode, like she was asking clients about their business.

I found a nearby bench and planted myself and I thought about what had just happened.  My mother never dated much while I was growing up, only a couple of times that I could recall, she was so busy getting her business up and running.  Even these last few years while the business was thriving, with a solid customer base and steady growth she had just defaulted to socializing in the world of business.

But now realized, she was lonely. And the chance of that her loneliness might be alleviated was destroyed by Ken’s news and he did not even see it. 

But I had.

The question was should I do anything and if so what. Technically this guy was my client not a friend I could give unsolicited advice to. Not that I like to give unsolicited advice to even my friends, I respect them a lot, and figure they know what is best for their own lives.

But had Ken Wheeler crossed a line, moving from just a client to something more when he began ‘dating’ my mother. 

My thoughts were interrupted when the couple came out of the restaurant, and I could see my mother beg off walking claiming she had some business matter to address but promised she would see him tonight for dinner before the show. 

Ken Wheeler was still full of excitement about his business, and he borrowed my phone and called Ben Kingsley to meet him back at the campsite in an hour.

We got back to the campsite and Ken Wheeler went into his RV.  I picked up my book but read the same page about three times when Ben Kingsley pulled up.  I did not realize I had made a decision about what to do until I stood up and approached Ben just as he was halfway to the RV.  “Can I have a word, Ben?”

“Sure, what do you need?”

I got right to the point.  “Mr. Wheeler is now taking an active role in these negotiations, so I cannot in good conscience continue my role, as it was to keep him from being active in the company business and this is his second business meeting in one day.” I took a breath.  “Therefore, I think my services are no longer needed and me being here is a moot point.”

“Well, if that is the way you feel Miles, that is a really honest gesture, but we will continue to pay you for the full week, just send an invoice to the company.”

“I will, Mr. Wheeler seems to really want to see you, so if you could tell him the situation, tell him I enjoyed working for him and I wish him well.”

“Sure thing.” Ben said extending his hand.  I shook it and he added. “I think he likes you he never complained about you once, which says a lot.”

I simply nodded and smiled and walked to my car, I was in it and driving before Ben’s knock on the RV door was answered.

I called my mother once I returned to my office and told her that my working for Mr. Wheeler was over.

Why did you do that Miles?” My mother asked a little crossly.

Totally a business decision mother, I was hired to distract him from being involved in the business negotiations, but he had two meetings today, so I do not think I was going to fulfill my duties, so I resigned.”

“Did you get paid yet?”  Maribel asked, always the pragmatic businesswoman.

“What are you really asking is did I burn my bridges?”  I said sighing. “No, I left on good terms and will be sending them an invoice soon, which I fully expect to be paid.”

Okay that is good.” She paused and I could tell she wanted to ask me something but did not know how to.

I liked him too mom.”

More silence from my mother’s end.

You going to end if after Cirque tonight?”

Another long pause. “Before, I do not think I will be able to enjoy the show.”  She changed the subject and ended the conversation with her normal chiding, I should eat better, maybe I should come back and work for her again if the PI thing did not work out. The normal stuff that we did every time I called her, but her heart was not in the nagging.

I invoiced Ken’s company, business was business, even if he had broken my mother’s heart.  The rest of the day I just kind of bumped around the office but as the time approached for Ken and Maribel to meet, I decided to go to Disney Springs, the newly revamped shopping and dining area. I had really enjoyed old Pleasure Island and was still getting familiar with the new layout, but I knew when and where they were meeting so I thought I would keep an eye on them and be there for my mother if she needed someone.

Changing shirts and putting on a ball cap I found a place to watch their meet up and see how it all went.

Unfortunately, my surveillance point was too good. I was sitting at a table, and they sat on a bench on the other side of planter from me, so I heard the whole conversation.

Ken was droning on about how many opportunities this would be for new projects and how much traveling he would have to do but he already owned a jet, so he was going to have to maybe hire a back up pilot.  That is when my mother stopped him.

“Ken, my dear sweet dwarf, I am going to have to get off the ride at this point.”

“I don’t understand.” Ken said being caught off guard by the statement.

My mother nodded. “No, you don’t if you did, we would not be having this conversation.”  She sighed. “How much is enough? I have struggled as well, built my business up from nothing like you. I put certain aspects of my life on hold, and denied myself a lot, just like you have.”

He nodded in agreement.

But now I have a strong, stable business, that while it still needs some tending, I do it on my terms, taking the jobs I like from the people I like.”  She smiled proudly. “I have enough.”

Ken looked bewildered.  

“My dear sweet Grumpy, you like the ride too much just like I did while building my business, it is fun, and exciting but that ride is over for me, and I cannot be a spectator as you go on riding.”  I saw a tear roll down her face and she backed away from him on the bench, dabbed it with an embroidered handkerchief, then she kissed him on the cheek and got up and walked away.

I gulped down the lump in my own throat, threw cash on the table to cover my tab and covertly caught up to her, leaving Ken Wheeler truly alone.  I glanced back once and saw a mixed look of shock and sadness on his face.

Late the next morning I woke in my mother’s guest room and heard her in the kitchen making waffles. It was her habit after going thru a reversal or bad time she made waffles, it was her coping mechanism. 

To tell you the truth she is a terrible cook and waffles is the only thing she can make that come out nearly edible. She did have her sketch pads on the table as well which encouraged me, she loved her work and sometimes let the waffles burn when she got distracted with an idea.

I was through my second waffle when there was a knock at the door. My mother motioned for me to get it and I stuffed one more forkful in my mouth and walked to the door. 

I peeked outside and recoiled a bit in shock.  But I decided to play it cool and yelled over my shoulder.  “Mother it is for you.”

She yelled back. “Just let whoever it is in, I am decent.”

“No mom you had better answer it.”

She came to the door with a pencil stuck behind her ear and a spatula in her hand. “Some sort of delivery?”

“Sort of.” I said flinging the door wide open.

There standing outside the door was Ken Wheeler, with Mickey Mouse ears on, holding a pickaxe with Grumpy.  Grumpy the Dwarf in the flesh or in this case full fur and felt costume standing right beside Ken.  “I am not Grumpy, this is Grumpy, he said pointing to the dwarf beside him.” He picked up the pickaxe that was at his feet and presented it to her with a flourish. “I am not going back to the mine.”

I turned towards my mother, who was grinning from ear to ear and crying at the same time.

That was over five years ago, now I am sitting here writing this down preparing for Ken and Maribel’s anniversary party.  They had a whirlwind romance and six months later got married in a very Disney wedding.  I gave away my mom, something I have been trying to do for years.