Authors: John Bellairs
Suddenly Fergie spoke up. "Hey, prof! What're they gonna do to old Mrs. Pimlico, or whatever her name is?"
The professor sighed and blew out a stream of cigarette smoke. "She's going to stand trial on a kidnaping charge," he said calmly. "Johnny will have to testify, and I'm sure it'll be a disagreeable experience, but I will not be happy until that old bat is behind bars permanentlyâor at least, for twenty years. For the record, her real name is Amalia Sloane. She married Evaristus Sloane way back in the old days, when they were both young, and if those closemouthed people up in Stark Corners had told me about her in the first place, we might have been spared a good deal of trouble. I mean, we might have been on the lookout for her, instead of being taken by surprise the way we were."
"By the way, Roderick," Professor Coote asked, "did Sloane's wife stay with him during the time when he was away from Stark Corners?"
The professor shook his head. "No," he said, "she did not. As you know, he had to flee from the town because of the murderous deeds of his robot. At that time, he went to England, and she went somewhere else. But they stayed in contact by writing letters to each other, and over the long years Sloane dreamed up this idea of making a
robot, one that would loot bank vaults and make them both rich. Old Amalia was skeptical about this, but she was also greedy, so when they both wound up back in the United States again, she decided to throw in with him. As it happened, she had become an optometrist, and she decided to use her profession to find a victim for him. By a coincidence, she happened to set up her office here in Duston Heights. It was a coincidence that almost proved fatal to poor John here."
"She's a bad one, ain't she?" put in Grampa. "How can anybody be that rotten?"
"Oh, it's easy for some people," said the professor with a sour smile. "She has a heart like a brass door knocker. And now, for heaven's sake, let's talk about something else!" With that he pulled himself up out of his chair and went to get a cup of punch. As he was sipping, Professor Coote started to chuckle.
"Well?" snapped the professor, turning round and glaring at him. "What is it that's so incredibly funny? Eh?"
"Oh, not much, Roderick," said his friend, still laughing. "But have you heard what Cliff Bullard thinks about this whole affair? He remembered that you were the one who heckled him down in Fenway Park earlier this year, and so he thinks the whole thing with the robot was an elaborate practical joke that you dreamed up just to make him look foolish. He won't let anyone say in print that he suspects you, but the boys down at the
office say that is what he really thinks."
"Cliff Bullard hasn't had a thought since he was in diapers," snapped the professor. "By the way, Charley, I have two tickets for a Yankees-Red Sox game down at Fenway in May. Would you care to go with me?"
"It depends on where the seats are," his friend shot back. "If we're close enough to the field for Bullard to recognize you, I wouldn't be there for all the money in the world."
Everybody laughed, and the professor's face got red. "I'll wear a fake beard and a stocking cap," he growled sarcastically.
"Will you promise not to shout and scream insults?" asked Professor Coote in a taunting voice.
"I won't promise in writing," the professor said, and the laughter got louder. It was a good sound, and Johnny was glad to join in.
All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this ebook or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright Â© 1986 by John Bellairs
Cover design by Open Road Integrated Media
This edition published in 2014 by Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
345 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
Open Road Integrated Media
is a digital publisher and multimedia content company. Open Road creates connections between authors and their audiences by marketing its ebooks through a new proprietary online platform, which uses premium video content and social media.
Videos, Archival Documents,
Sign up for the Open Road Media newsletter and get news delivered straight to your inbox.
Sign up now at
FIND OUT MORE AT