There I was: At Fats Henry’s party.
His bragging party.
The main hall of Henry’s castle was already full of visitors just waiting to catch a glimpse of his music box.
A rather silly reason for a party–if you ask this professor.
I was wearing a black mask. You see, it was quite advantageous to be disguised. Mr. Magi was also wearing a black mask.
We split up, so we could better keep an eye on things.
I was making my way over to Henry–weaving in and out of the crowd, a skilled maneuver, you know–when Mr. Ratherquite and his Ladies stepped in front of me.
“Sir,” Mr. Ratherquite said, “I’m quite happy to see you here.”
The professor was flabbergasted. “But can you recognize me? That’s the question. My mask should lend me unrecognizable.”
Mr. Ratherquite looked flabbergasted now. “Of course I recognize you. Don’t I, Ladies? Don’t I recognize him?”
Both ladies nodded and giggled.
“See, sir?” Mr. Ratherquite affirmed. “I know you are none other than Mr. Smiles Riot!”
Mr. Ratherquite said it loudly–too loudly–but, luckily, it was pretty much ignored. The remark did bring Daniel along.
“Isn’t Smiles Riot supposed to be in…” Daniel cleared his throat. “Aren’t we looking for him? Hasn’t he escaped from the mental asylum?”
“Why, yes, sir, he has,” Mr. Ratherquite said. “But we should keep it hush-hush. Right, Ladies?”
The red-haired lady smiled. “Yes.”
Daniel looked unsatisfied. “I’m going to call the police.”
The professor’s face went red, I believe. Or scarlet. Or purple. I’m not really sure. My options were dwindling. I was really thinking about demasking, and ruining the whole operation that Mr. Magi and I were about.
That would fetch the situation clean.
Then Daniel looked at me and said, “I’m calling the police. If you move, I’ll kill you.” And then he made a sudden shocked sound, like he couldn’t believe what he’d just said.
He was obviously serious, though. At least, I thought so.
And that’s when Mr. Magi passed.
“Look who we have here, Mr. Magi,” Daniel said.
Looking back, I’m not sure why Mr. Magi’s disguise worked better than mine. Not better, but you know what I mean. Maybe his stature was unmistakable.
“Who do we have here?” Mr. Magi asked, turning towards Daniel.
Daniel looked at Mr. Ratherquite and raised his eyebrows. “Tell him. Tell him now.”
“Sir!” Mr. Ratherquite objected. “I can’t–”
And then Daniel laid it all out in the open.
“He’s Smiles Riot,” he said, pointing to me.
Of course, the professor was smiling. Mr. Magi would recognize me. Our cover would be blown, but…it was better than going to jail.
I was a bit too premature in my judgement.
Mr. Magi’s eyebrows shot up, and he said to me, “Smiles Riot, I thought I might catch up with you here.”