The professor caught up with Smiles Riot at Cashew City.
In truth, I might have known that I would be the only one capable of catching him.
You see, we have a connection.
A family connection.
Smiles was eating a bucket of unsalted cashews (the professor’s very favorite, you know) when I walked up and sat at his table—across from him.
Smiles semi-smiled when he saw me.
“I was wondering when you’d show up.”
That got the professor. “You knew I was coming?”
He looked away. “Have you ever noticed how cashews realize things?”
Having speaks with Mr. Riot is always a trip—it frustrates this professor a bit, bits, and little bits.
Smiles nodded. “Oh yes. I think of them as tiny brains that add to your intelligence when you eat them.” He popped one into his mouth.
“So, Smiles,” I said. “Where’s the music box?”
Smiles didn’t even hesitate.
He unwrapped the music box (it was in some sort of pink cloth) and sat it on the table.
I must say, the box was rather ugly—leastaways, this professor thought so. The professor opened the box.
It was empty.
Then Smiles shook his head. “Sad, isn’t it? Everyone has been chasing me for that box, but look at it? They would have been better served getting intelligence from the cashews.”
“They’re also chasing you, because you escaped from Crackjaw,” I reminded him.
“Boris the Green would benefit from eating cashews,” Smiles remarked thoughtfully.
“Why did you steal it?” I asked.
“I saved Fats Henry the embarrassment of showing it at his party. Funny how it worked. I stole it because it was ugly. And I was chased because people thought it was valuable.”
Then the professor said his goodbyes and left.
I wasn’t about to turn him in, you know. Being a cousin and all…
The music box went with me.
When I returned the music box to Fats Henry, he was quite pleased. It turned out the music box was found buried in the ground on Fat Man Island by Bud Parker.
Henry thought the music box priceless—since it looked rather old. That’s why he threw a party to show it off.
Dadblamery, I say!