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Waffles And Mustard
by [?]

Higgins stepped inside the door. He walked to where Philo Gubb sat at an elaborate mahogany desk, and looked at the apparatus Mr. Gubb was using.

“What the dickens?” he asked.

On the slide of the desk were grouped a number of small articles, and a large and powerful microscope. Through the lens of the microscope Mr. Gubb was inspecting something that looked like frayed yellow-brown wool yarn.

“You don’t expect to find your missing party in that wad of wool, do you, Gubb?” asked Mr. Higgins jestingly.

“Maybe I do, and maybe the operations of the deteckative mind are none of your particular affair when conducted in the private seclusion of my laboratory,” said Gubb.

“Now, don’t get mad,” said Higgins. “It just struck me as funny. Looks as if you were hunting for fleas in a wisp of dog hair.”

Philo Gubb looked up quickly. As a matter of fact, he had but a moment before found a flea in the wool he was examining, and the wool was indeed a wisp of dog hair. The party Mr. Gubb had been engaged to find was a dog, and Mr. Gubb was–by the inductive method of detecting–trying to reason out the location of the dog. By the aid of the microscope, Mr. Gubb was searching for the slight indications that mean so much to detectives. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Gubb had not yet found anything from which he could deduce anything whatever, unless the flea in the wool might lead to the conclusion that the dog now, or once, had fleas.

“Tell you what I want,” said Mr. Higgins: “I want you to find Mustard.”

Detective Gubb swung suddenly in his chair and faced Mr. Higgins.

“I don’t want nothing more to do with that will!” he said.

“I’m with you there!” said Higgins, laughing. “When O’Hara made his will so that my client couldn’t get her rights at once he did a mean trick, and I dare say Mrs. Doblin will think so when she gets my bill. But, just the same, Gubb, you’re in the detective business more or less, and it strikes me you ought to take a job when it’s offered to you. You signed the will as a witness, and this man Bilton, commonly known as Mustard on account of his yellow complexion and hair, was the other witness, wasn’t he? Now, if you can’t give us the information we want, and Mustard can, it looks to me as if it was your duty, as a fellow witness, to hunt him up. But we don’t ask that. We’re willing to pay you if you find him.”

“Are you prepared to contract to say you’ll pay me just for hunting for him?” asked Mr. Gubb.

“We’ll give you two hundred dollars if you can produce Mustard here in Riverbank,” said Higgins.

“The job I’ve took on to hunt up another missing party will occupy me for quite a while, I guess,” said Gubb, “but maybe I might put in what extra time I can spare looking for your party.”

“Do it!” said Higgins. “I don’t say you’re the best detective in the world, Gubb, but you do have luck. You must have a magic talisman.”

“The operation of the deteckative mind is always like magic to the common folks,” said Gubb gravely.

“All right, then,” said Higgins. “Two hundred if you find him. And now, will you just come across the hall for one minute?”

Gubb left his microscope reluctantly. He was sick and tired of the O’Hara will, but he followed Mr. Higgins.

The second floor of the Opera House Block was laid out in small offices arranged on two sides of a corridor. One of these offices had been for many years the office of Haddon O’Hara, who specialized in commercial law, collections, and jokes, and he had accumulated a snug little fortune. It was said he could draw a contract no one could break except himself.

On the streets and in his home and at his office–except when at work on some especially difficult case–his face always wore a quizzical smile. O’Hara seemed to enjoy himself every moment. Walking along the street he would suddenly stop some citizen, enunciate a dozen or twenty cryptic words, laugh, and proceed on his way, leaving the citizen to puzzle over the affair, lose interest in it and forget it. A week, a month, or a year later O’Hara would stop the same citizen and utter ten more words, the key to the cryptic joke. Then, chuckling, he would hurry away. He had a lot of fun. His keen brain felt equal to making fun of the whole town and not letting the town know it. Money came to him easily; he had no wife; his pleasure was in his books–and he was probably a happy man. But he died. He died and left a will.