Controversial Wood

Aunt Mabel and Uncle Horace are visiting us again for a few weeks.  Uncle Horace always enjoys telling tall tales about how, when he was young, he was involved in a kind of a revival of Vaudeville.  He was a ventriloquist, and his favorite dummy was named Chester Ruggles. 

 He guards Chester, to this very day, with his life.  He’s always sworn that unsavory underground characters still want to kidnap his best friend.  My wife, Clara, and I always try to convince him that he’s only imagining things, and that no one has anything to gain by stealing a mere puppet. 

 “Mere Puppet?! Mere Puppet?!” he gasps aloud.  “I beg your pardon, but for your information, my young charges,” he always proclaims, “The living legend of Chester Bartholomew Ruggles, Esquire, is no mere Puppet!”   

Aunt Mabel always remains curiously and conveniently silent throughout all the hoo~hah, having learned already throughout the course of their forty year marriage that Uncle Horace’s pet obsession defies utterly all manner of logic and sanity. 

Recently though, I got quite a scare, and I’m truly beginning to wonder if the old goat isn’t onto something with his idea that his inanimate friend is somehow special and worthy of notoriety. 

 Last Wednesday morning I wandered into my bathroom and noticed something quite particularly astounding.  Chester’s severed right hand, clad in his trademark blue and white plaid flannel shirt, was lying in the sink. 

Taped to the mirror was a ransom note, which clearly read:  “Dear Quackenbush, If you ever wish to see your friend Chester alive again, kindly please leave $500,000, in unmarked twenty dollar bills…by no later than midnight tonight.  This is not an idle threat.” 

Oh well, it just goes to show that often even the supposedly craziest of ideas may have some degree of merit to them.   




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