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Chapter 16

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Chapter Sixteen
-- by Deb Moran --

No Sense Crying Over Spilt Milk --Yet

John knew the cursed diamond had to be somewhere between the Museum's first level and the exact spot where he stood.  Head down, he retraced his steps, crossing back over Lombard and up the granite steps two at a time to the main entrance of the Academy.  He hesitated before maneuvering through the fast-moving revolving doors.  Since the Ball had abruptly ended, most guests were hastily departing, and he began to rethink whether it was wise to just casually waltz back in.  Perhaps security had already discovered the diamond was missing.  There was no doubt that John was more than frantic about the whereabouts of his most prized haul, but, on reflection, there was little he could do about it now, he decided.  He stopped before he crossed the threshold and turned back towards the street.

Maybe he had given the jewel to Puh Si Willow or D.K. and simply forgotten.  "No question the Cat is getting too long in the fang for this line of work," he muttered to no one in particular.  But he could think of no other explanation.  Only course of action to take now was to hightail it back to Eddie's to rendezvous with the gang.  He walked the parking lot to his car and hopped in.

"Stay cool, Cat," he tried to calm himself as he sat in the driver's seat.    He rolled down the window for some fresh air.  "Breathe deep," he instructed himself.   John was so jittery he was having difficulty inserting the key into the starter.  Suddenly,  he felt a tap on his shoulder.

"Huxley!  Back so soon?  I thought you'd be in Sing Sing by now.  Fine mess you've gotten this Museum into.  Imagine the news headlines in the morning: 'Cat Takes a Bite out of Ball: Two Rare Birds Die,'" the irate man said as he waved his hand across the sky as if declaring a banner.  "I thought you were a vaulted man of science, but you've committed a great faux-paw against this institution.  Pack your formaldehyde.  You're done in this town."  Bruce  Leeson stormed away.

John sat cat-atonic for a moment, dumbstruck at this latest bizarre encounter.  "What the devil is wrong with everyone tonight?" he pondered.  Still purr-plexed, John finally turned the ignition and floored the gas pedal. Tires screeching, he gazed up at the sky.  Not surprisingly, the moon was full.

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