Walter and his roommate, Ray Benedict, had a hunch something was wrong with the Aero Exhibition Company. One night the hotel clerk made a remark that the manager of the hotel was becoming uneasy. Mr. Eastman, the General Manager of Aero Exhibition, had not been around to pay the hotel bill, as he had promised.
Ray and Walter moved out of the hotel and set up housekeeping in one of the bath houses on Capo's Beach. They were sure now that they were just getting a run-around and would receive no instruction.
The other students ribbed Ray and Walter about moving to the beach, but later the laugh was on them. Eastman disappeared without paying the hotel bills and all the other students had to pay for their room and board.
"I don't know how, but Brodie protected himself so they can't attach his plane. He packed up in a hurry and is on the train back to Chicago. Ray and I are stranded. I don't have a nickel, and all I got for my $150 was five minutes instruction with my hand over Brodie's."
Ray Benedict came up with a plan. "My dad's been interested in aeroplanes. I think I'll write him and see if he'll advance me the money to buy a Benoist in St. Louis."
Fortunately for Walter, Ray's dad came through. Ray made a verbal deal with Walter. He'd pay Walter's fare to St. Louis, and his room and board if Walter would help him build the plane and work as his mechanic while Ray learned to fly. After that he'd take Walter on the fall exhibition dates.
"Then I'll give you $100 a month and expenses," he promised, "and after the exhibition dates are over I'll teach you to fly. "
Walter's dream seemed to be coming closer. Surely in a few months he'd really be able to fly, not just fix planes for others.