Following their apprehension, The Dry Cleaner and his partner sang like a Christmas choir. They confessed it all, explaining how they, along the criminal mastermind known as Velvet Blue, aka, The Man With the Blue Eyes, had stolen the rare coin and were intending to sell it to a foreign buyer. However, Velvet Blue, who’d recently been diagnosed with stage 2 cancer, was experiencing a unique moral crisis. Faced with his own mortality, he sought to turn over a new leaf. He insisted that the coin be returned to the museum. This idea didn’t go over well with his partners, but he was a man of new convictions. Velvet Blue double-crossed them, but realized he needed a plan. Knowing he was being pursued, he took on the guise of a drunk and tossed the coin into my collection urn (I knew I’d seen those blue eyes before). He then placed an anonymous call to the police informing them of the coin’s location.
The coin was returned to the museum. The Dry Cleaner and the Cordu-Roy spent the holiday, and several subsequent holidays, in the Combustible Penitentiary. Velvet Blue was never seen in Combustible again, though there were rumored sightings as far away as Belize and Madrid. As for the two juveniles who’d stolen the donations from a half dozen collection pots earlier in the month, they too confessed to the cops and returned the stolen cash.
Through it all, I somehow managed to finish the holiday shopping, though with scant seconds to spare. The cold winter wind and snow that blew against my face as I trudged home with colorfully wrapped boxes and bags in tow never felt quite as refreshing as it did that Christmas Eve.
NEXT: A new story arc beings.