RANDOLPH AND POLLY LIVINGSTON had just returned home from an enjoyable dinner at the Hendersons’. “Hmm, Lisa must have taken her usual night off instead of staying in like she had mentioned,” remarked Polly.
“Appears so. I’m going to get some coffee. Want some?” Randolph asked as he disappeared into the kitchen. Before Polly could answer, he returned with Lisa’s apron, scorched and burned with a hole right through it.
“Oh dear, what happened?” gasped Polly.
But just as the Livingstons’ fears were starting to heighten, Lisa came in from the back room, “Mr. and Mrs. Livingston! Oh, thank God you are home.”
“My dear, what happened?”
Lisa, obviously agitated, began to relate her tale of the evening. “I was in the kitchen, preparing some soup for myself on the stove, when I heard a noise in the living room. I peeked out the door and there was a man over by the mantle over the fireplace. I was scared, but I wanted him out of the house. So, I took off my apron and set it on fire with the stove light. The smoke built up and I yelled ‘Fire!’ and ran out into the living room. The man was so startled he ran out the back way immediately.”
As Lisa told the story Randolph was examining the mantle above the fireplace. Here he kept his most prized possession, an authentic Faberge Egg. Along with it were several masterful fakes. Upon fairly close inspection, however, a trained eye could tell these were not the real thing.
“Mr. Livingston, I noticed the authentic egg was missing. The burglar must have been able to tell the fakes from the real one.”
“Yes, you noticed that right away, did you?” asked Randolph.
“Because you always told me to be careful with that particular one when I clean. Every single day you say, ‘These others are fakes, I don’t care what happens to them. This one is real and very, very valuable. You must be extra careful when cleaning around this particular piece.’ This morning you pointed to the one that is now missing.”
“That’s right, I did,” Randolph picked up the third egg from the right and said, “No, Lisa, this is the authentic Faberge Egg. I rearranged them while I waited for Polly to get ready for dinner.”
“Rearranged them?” whispered Lisa.
“Lisa, why would the burglar take only the one egg, the second egg?”
Lisa looked around nervously and shrugged.
“Maybe,” he asked, “because he – or should I say she – thought it was the authentic Faberge Egg?”