Short Story: Grandpa—A Retired PI

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

And now for something different: In the fast-paced world of Houston, a retired private investigator named Larry is ready to welcome his grandson, Greer, for the summer. But their reunion quickly turns into a high-stakes adventure when Larry discovers Greer’s life may be in danger due to his mother’s dangerous choices. As Larry reconnects with his past skills and faith, he finds himself on a journey of protection, truth, and maybe even redemption for himself and his family. Join him and Greer in a short tale of suspense, love, and unexpected wisdom as they navigate the challenges of a summer that will change them both forever.


Grandpa—A Retired PI

by

DiAnn Mills

Back in 1969, Larry spent three days at Woodstock and a few more in jail for disorderly conduct, but then he found Jesus. Now as he waitedat the Houston bus station for his grandson from Cincinnati, he hoped the boy hadn’t inherited the defiant gene.

         The bus squealed to a halt, and a thin boy wearing a backpack appeared on the bus step. Larry sighed. Sunny looked the same at that age with those huge, ocean blue eyes and light-colored hair. The boy hesitated as though questioning the days ahead.

         Larry made his way to Greer.

         “Hey, Gramps.” No eye contact.

         Greer’s manners mirrored his mother’s. “You’re all grown up for thirteen. Too old for a hug?”

         Greer frowned. “I’m ready to go.”

         “Where’s your suitcase?”

         “Everything is in my backpack. Dad told me to buy whatever I needed here.”

         “Should we stop at the store before going home?”

         “Nay. I grabbed my toothbrush and boxers. Only had five minutes to pack.”

         Odd, since Greers visit had been planned for the summer while his parents reconciled their marriage. Supposedly Greers frail emotions couldnt handle the fussing. Larry knew his daughter—the fussing most likely resembled a verbal firing squad.

         Greer reached inside his backpack and handed Larry an envelope. “Dad wrote you something, and there’s a check there, too.”

         Larry tucked it into his jeans pocket. “My car’s parked close by.”

         “Dad said you drove a Camaro.”

         “I now have a Jaguar. The other was too slow.” Larry chuckled.

         Greer didn’t crack a smile.

         They walked to the parking lot where his silver ride awaited. Once buckled up, Larry flipped on the radio.

         “What kind of music?” Larry said.

         “Eighties.”

         Interesting. Just before setting the radio, Larry realized he needed the truth. “How do you feel about spending the summer with me?”

         Greer shrugged. “Dad said it would be a good idea until Mom got used to her meds.”

         New information. “She’s ill?”

         “She’s mental.” Greer snorted. “She told you this was about her and Dad, right?” When Larry nodded, Greer continued. “That’s ‘cause she was seeing this other guy.”

         “Sorry.” His daughter needed help with her choices. “We’ll plan a good summer. Not too busy. Not too boring. I have a list of ideas that you can look over, including the shooting range. Feel free to add to it. I have a three-bedroom home and a pool. No animals. I’m allergic. I’ve been called eccentric and an old hippy.” He glanced at Greer. Not even a grin, which meant his mother had already described Larry.

         “Pool’s nice.”

         “I’m retired, so we can make our own schedule.” His phone rang, and he tapped his bluetooth earpiece. Greer might not need to hear his dad’s side of the conversation.

         “Larry, this is Dale.”

         “We’re on our way home. Hold on a minute.” Larry glanced into the rearview mirror. Was that car following him? At a stoplight, he took a closer look at the driver. “Okay, go ahead,” he said to Dale.

         “Something I need to tell you. Sunny and Greer have been threatened. Don’t let Greer out of your sight, and don’t use his last name.”

         “What’s going on?”

         “Your daughter got herself mixed up with the wrong guy.” Dale paused. “Look, if something happens to Sunny, I’ll be there for Greer. In the meantime, he’s yours for the summer. Get a prepaid phone.”

         “Name of the guy?”

         “Why?”

         “I have a right to know if we have a face to face.”

         “All right. Noah Talbert.”

         “What do I tell Greer?”

         “Lie.” Dale clicked off.

         Whoa. Larry sensed his ulcer kicking into gear.

         “Is he still mad at Mom? I know what this is about. I’m not stupid.”

         “What do you mean?”

         “Mom dumped her boyfriend ‘cause Dad found out, and now the jerk’s mad.”

         Larry swung into a grocery store parking lot. “How did you find out?”

         “My ears. Is it true you used to be a private investigator?”

         “Yes.”

         “And you can shoot?”
“Crack shot.”

         “You’re into religion. The Jesus thing is a myth.”

         “Really? Who told you that?”

         “Take a look at the world, Gramps. It sucks.”

         “Tomorrow’s Sunday. Be ready by 9:30 in the morning.”

         Greer stiffened. “No thanks.”

         “No choice. Should we buy a phone while we’re out?”

         “Nope.”

         “Thinking you’ll want to call your parents this summer.”

         “No rush.”

         Larry would address Greer’s response later. Right now, Larry needed time to think and pray. This throw-back from the 60s had some protectin’ to do.

         Greer said nothing the rest of the way home. Once there, Larry led him to the spare bedroom. He said he wasn’t hungry, thirsty, or tired. Greer closed the door to his new room, leaving Larry in the hallway.

         Larry settled into his ergonomically correct chair and accessed a secure computer site. He pulled up intel on Noah Talbert. One, bad, hombre. Suspected of murder, extortion, drugs. Authorities hadn’t found the evidence to put him away, and he matched the driver of the car that followed them earlier.

         The doorbell rang. He closed the lid just in case Greer got nosey. In the living room, he peered through a window. Dark brown hair tied at the nape. Sunglasses covered his eyes. Muscular build and about six feet. Yep, Noah Talbert had followed Greer to Houston. A little hot for a jacket, which told Larry, Talbert was packing. Larry marched back to his office and pulled his S&W from a desk drawer. The doorbell rang twice more followed by a pounding.

         Greer bolted from his room. “Who—” His eyes widened at the sight of Larry and the gun.

         “Grab my phone on the desk and dial 9-1-1. Stay in your room until I give the okay.”

         Greer hurried into Larry’s office.

         Talbert sat on the doorbell.

         Larry tucked his S&W into the back waist of his jeans and opened the door. “Can I help you?”

         “Sir, I’m doing a survey for Houston regarding senior housing. I’d like to come in and ask a few questions.”

         “You can ask right here.”

         “It’s a little hot, sir.”

         And it’s going to get hotter. “Who’s the mayor?”

         “What?”

         “You said the survey was for the city, so who’s the mayor? Or are you lying?”

         Talbert frowned. “Look, give me the kid, and I’ll leave you alone. Counting to three.”

         “Why?” Stalling made sense.

         “His mama has something belonging to me.”

         “What?”

         “Money.”

         Sunny had two weaknesses—money and men. “How much?”

         “More than you have. I need the kid for insurance.”

         “Not happening.”

         Talbert swore and drew his gun. Larry grabbed his weapon while adrenaline poured into his blood. Guns kill. No criminal would lay his hands on Greer.

         “You just made a huge mistake.” Larry fired into the man’s wrist but not before Talbert squeezed a bullet narrowly missing Larry’s knee.

         “Be glad you missed ‘cause I’d have been real mad. Just had that knee replaced.”

         Talbert dropped his weapon and seized a bleeding wrist.

         “You might have gotten away with a lot of crimes, but not this one.”   Larry held him at gunpoint until the police arrived. Once Talbert was in custody, Larry located Greer.

         The boy held his stomach as though he might be sick. “Gramps, you took down that guy.”

         “With a lot of help from Jesus—you know, the myth thing.”

         Greer swallowed. “Cant believe what you just did. Id like to stay here. Go to church and the shooting range.” He hugged Larry.

         Greer was about to find out about Jesus and how much fun life could really be. And maybe Sunny and Dale could patch up their marriage.

         This throw-back from the 60s had some prayin’ to do.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on Larry and Greer’s adventure. What did you think of their journey? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Comments 66

  1. I would love to read more. I agree with Judith that Greer, being an obstinate teenager, capitulated too quickly. For a short story though, it worked!

  2. Great short story, DiAnn! I think this could go either way – several shorts or a novel that captures their summer together and maybe beyond when he goes home to whichever parent that ends up being. Perhaps Greer runs away then and Larry sets out to find him. Or he runs back to Larry but with Mom straightened out, he must learn to adjust to that new dynamic.
    This could go in all sorts of directions, twists, and conflicts.
    Please keep it going.

  3. Larry reminded me of myself, except the PI part. God made sheepdogs too. Greer is a work in progress. Talbert ain’t finished. Sunny and her husband has a lot more need than patching up their marriage. When’s your next book coming out, and how is it you still continue to get better? Thought you would have peeked already. 🙂 Great, short, read. I’m hooked!

      1. LOL… Been noodling on it here too. I’m not sure there’s going to be much of a need for Sunny and her husband. My question is, “Will Larry be adopting Greer?” Something I’m seeing play out in real life. Doesn’t that always make for the best fiction? One of these days, I promise I’ll try my hand at it. So much to learn before then. God’s blessings, ma’am.

  4. Love it! A series of short stories about Larry and Greer would not disappoint. ❤️
    Teach that boy to love Jesus first, and to shoot straight as necessary.

  5. I’m hooked! I’ve read all your books and am always eager for the next one. Love that Gramps is a Woodstock veteran and a P.I. Greer is a typical teen but the combo of the two? I see a lot of action 😊 pls tell us there is more to come….a full book possibly??

  6. DiAnn, haven’t you learned yet there is no “The End” to anything you write?! I like Grandpa. Greer is typical of his age, but Grandpa definitely is not. I visualize a series of short stories, of different lengths, compiled into a book. When we’re reading, we need a place to stop when we must do something mundane–preparing dinner, for example–and short stories are the way to go.

    1. Peggy, I’m laughing. I’ve been thinking about this very thing. I like Grandpa! Sorta like me except I’m a mimi. Now I’m cranking out story ideas. 🙂 See you soon!

  7. You had me at Grandpa.
    And now I want more.
    Especially with so many grandparents and grandchildren spending much time together.
    Absolutely loved it and ready for more.
    Thank you DiAnn

  8. Drew me in right away. I was intrigued with the two generations getting along. The grandfather was a quick wit. Would love to know more about his active life as a PI. Thanks for the treat.

  9. Drew me in right away. I was intrigued with the two generations getting along. The grandfather was a quick wit. Would love to know more about his active life as a PI. You’re a great writer! Thanks for the treat.

    1. I second this idea! It would make a great series of short stories – though a bit longer than this one, please.

  10. P.S. Grandpa needs to meet Gramma Honey. Together they could do some real damage to the Kingdom of Darkness!!!

  11. This was great. A teaser for what his life as a PI was like. I’d like to know Larry’s story. And I like the happy ending. Thanks for the treat.

  12. DiAnn? Was it you that wrote that? How long did it take? Lord, You’re mighty and you showered Diane with some strong literary skills.

    Grandpa thought he was retired. When you’re a child of God, inspiration is always all around to go to work and impact the lives of others. In this season, Grandpa’s life doesn’t include subtlety. I don’t think he’d embrace it anyway.

    DiAnn, I hope you don’t think about putting your pen down anytime soon.

  13. Definitely want to hear more of the story. However, it seems the sullen teenager came around a little too soon because Gramps was able to take down the perp. I’m sure he was impressed, but the change was very immediate. I hope it lasts and the teen becomes an upstanding teen for others his age. But in the meantime, I want to know what happens with his mother, the bad fellow and Gramps! This is very interesting! Thanks, DiAnn!

  14. Good read! I’d like to read more!
    My ex-husband said he was at Woodstock & was high on something… he bragged to people around him that he could walk on water, & said as he walked towards the water, he slipped in the mud & went down face first! (GOD does have a sense of humor!)

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