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November 06 , 2008

The Hard-boiled Egg


Walking close along the wall, to avoid the creaking floor boards, Philo Gubb, paper-hanger and student of the Rising Sun Detective Agency's Correspondence School of Detecting, tiptoed to the door of the bedroom he shared with the mysterious Mr Critz. In appearance Mr Gubb was tall and gaunt, reminding one of a modern Don Quixote or a human flamingo; by nature Mr Gubb was the gentlest and most simple-minded of men. Now, bending his long, angular body almost double, he placed his eye to a crack in the door panel and stared into the room. Within, just out of the limited area of Mr Gubb's vision, Roscoe Critz paused in his work and listened carefully. He heard the sharp whistle of Mr Gubb's breath as it cut against the sharp edge of the crack in the panel, and he knew he was being spied upon. He placed his chubby hands on his knees and smiled at the door, while a red flush of triumph spread over his face.
Through the crack in the door Mr Gubb could see the top of the washstand beside which Mr Critz was sitting, but he could not see Mr Critz. As he stared, however, he saw a plump hand appear and pick up, one by one, the articles lying on the washstand. They were:
First, seven or eight half shells of English walnuts; second, a rubber shoe heel out of which a piece had been cut; third, a small rubber ball no larger than a pea; fourth, a paper-bound book; and lastly, a large and glittering brick of yellow gold. As the hand withdrew the golden brick, Mr Gubb pressed his face closer against the door in his effort to see more, and suddenly the door flew open and Mr Gubb sprawled on his hands and knees on the worn carpet of the bedroom.
"There, now!" said Mr Critz. "There, now! Serves you right. Hope you hurt chuself!"
Mr Gubb arose slowly, like a giraffe, and brushed his knees.
"Why?" he asked.

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