Over time, Squattedman had won the trust of a distinguished family from Princeton, the Alexanders. He would accompany them to all the parties that The Four Hundred attended. But it was difficult to discover his man among so many people. He soon found that the ideal place from which to carefully observe the members of the New York high society was a box at the Metropolitan Opera House. 

If you belonged to that privileged social circle known as The Four Hundred, the day to go to the Opera was Monday. It had been established so by Mrs. Astor because Monday was strategically located between Sunday and Tuesday, which could not be said for the rest of the days of the week. As Mrs. Astor used to say, Monday was a “sandwich-like day”. The other days were independent, not related to each other. Instead, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday worked as a team. They were like a close-knit family. (The logic of this reasoning was something that transcended the intelligence of ordinary mortals.) The problem with the opera was that there was always a group of Italians on stage screaming and shouting and making a ruckus, which hindered the conversations. Mrs. Astor exerted her influence with the Metropolitan’s impresario to make that, on Mondays, singers just hummed the melody instead of singing loudly. Squattedman, who in his French aristocrat character went by the name of François de La Rochefoucauld, had managed to get the Alexanders to lend him their box in the Met while they were in Princeton. From there he could afford to secretly observe the behavior of those four hundred suspects in search of some detail that betrayed “Cow Head”. So as not to miss any detail, one Monday he took to the opera a telescope instead of the classic pair of binoculars. The problem was that the telescope protruded half a meter from the box and people in the stalls and in the other boxes felt spied on. “Well, the pressure will make them nervous (Squattedman reasoned) and that could lead ‘Cow Head’ to make a mistake.” And, indeed, during the second intermission, someone in the stalls emitted a loud moo of disgust addressed to him. Squattedman immediately knew that he had found his man. He was so excited that forgot that he was looking at the suspect through a telescope and that there was a considerable distance between both of them. Instinctively, he reached out with the intention of grabbing him. He leaned over the railing too much and … fell to the stalls. He quickly regained his self-composure and hurried up to the suspect’s armchair jumping on the audience’s heads as someone who jumps from stone to stone to wade a river. But the suspect had taken advantage of the stir to disappear. 

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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