We looked at him. Dud is not a criminal, at least not that we know of. Didn’t seem to have that sort of style, you know. Dud’s the kind of guy who shares his sandwiches with stray dogs, opens doors for ladies, smiles at strangers even when he isn’t feeling well. In other words, a good guy. He sports a certain paucity of purloinity, if you will.
“Well, Dud,” said Herb. “Don’t make us beg you. Why do you feel like a criminal?”
“The dinger,” he said.
“The kitchen timer?”
“No. The dinger down at the hardware store … Mundo Slab. You know, the door dinger. It’s supposed to tell you when someone is walking out of the place with something they haven’t paid for, you know?”
“Well, I set it off when I go in.”
“Let me get this straight,” said Doc. “The door dinger goes off when you enter the store?”
“Can’t figure it out, but yeah.”
“So the door dinger is accusing you of smuggling something into Mundo Slab.”
“That’s about it. ”
“Lady down at the grocery in the city,” said Herb, “told me sometimes it’s your cell phone that does it. Or your shoes.”
“Are your shoes new?”
Dud looked down. “No. Had these for a couple of months.”
“Sometimes,” said Herb, “the dinger whatchit in the shoes gets active again after they put it to sleep. That’s what she told me.”
Ol’ Steve, our cowboy member of the world dilemma think tank, finally uncoiled from his coffee and eggs and drew himself up to a prodigious height without leaving his chair.
“Simple to fix, Dud,” Steve said. “Just wear boots.”
Brought to you by the prettiest navels outside a beauty contest club at www.pearsonranch.com/oranges.