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"And That's How It Was, Officer"   By:

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When Uncle Peter decided to clean out the underworld, it was a fine thing for the town, but it was tough on the folks in Tibet.

"And that's how it was, officer"

By Ralph Sholto

David Nixon, Chief of Police, Morton City.

Dear Chief Nixon:

No doubt, by this time, you and your boys are a pretty bewildered lot. You have all probably lost weight wondering what has been going on in Morton City; where all the gangsters went, and why the underworld has vanished like a bucket of soap bubbles.

Not being acquainted with my uncle, Peter Nicholas, with Bag Ears Mulligan, with the gorgeous Joy Nicholas, my bride of scarcely twenty four hours, or with me, Homer Nicholas, you have of course been out of touch with a series of swiftly moving events just culminated.

You, above all others, are entitled to know what has been happening in our fair city. Hence this letter. When you receive it, Joy and I will be on the way to Europe in pursuit of a most elusive honeymoon. Uncle Peter will be headed for Tibet in order to interview certain very important people you and your department never heard of. Bag Ears will probably be off somewhere searching for his bells, and I suggest you let him keep right on searching, because Bag Ears isn't one to answer questions with very much intelligence.

So, because of the fact that a great deal of good has been done at no cost whatever to the taxpayers, I suggest you read this letter and then forget about the whole thing.

It all started when Joy and I finally got an audience with Uncle Peter in his laboratory yesterday morning. Possibly you will think it strange that I should have difficulty in contacting my own close relative. But you don't know Uncle Peter.

He is a strange mixture of the doer and the dreamer the genius and the child. Parts of his brain never passed third grade while other parts could sit down and tie Einstein in knots during a discussion of nuclear physics, advanced mathematics or what have you. He lives in a small bungalow at the edge of town, in the basement of which is his laboratory. A steel door bars the public from this laboratory and it was upon this door that Joy and I pounded futilely for three days. Finally the door opened and Uncle Peter greeted us.

"Homer my dear boy! Have you been knocking long?"

"Quite a while, Uncle Peter off and on that is. I have some news for you. I am going to get married."

My uncle became visibly disturbed. "My boy! That's wonderful truly wonderful. But I'm certainly surprised at you. Tsk tsk tsk!"

"What do you mean by tsk tsk tsk?"

"Your moral training has been badly neglected. You plan marriage even while traveling about in the company of this woman you have with you."

Joy is a lady of the finest breeding, but she can be caught off guard at times. This was one of the times. She said, "Listen here, you bald headed jerk. Nobody calls me a woman "

Uncle Peter was mildly interested. "Then if you aren't a woman, what ?"

I hastened to intervene. "You didn't let Joy finish, Uncle Peter. She no doubt would have added 'in that tone of voice.' And I think her attitude is entirely justified. Joy is a fine girl and my intended bride."

"Oh, why didn't you say so?"

"I supposed you would assume as much."

"My boy, I am a scientist. A scientist assumes nothing. But I wish to apologize to the young lady and I hope you two will be very happy."

"That's better," Joy said, with only a shade of truculence.

"And now," Uncle Peter went on. "It would be very thoughtful of you to leave. I am working on a serum which will have a great deal to do with changing the course of civilization. In fact it is already perfected and must be tested. It is a matter of utmost urgency to me that I be left alone to arrange the tests."

"I am afraid," I said, "that you will have to delay your work a few hours... Continue reading book >>

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