X. The Million-Dollar Dog
To this day, Average Jones maintains that he felt a distinct thrill at first sight of the
advertisement. Yet Fate might well have chosen a more appropriate ambush in any one
of a hundred of the strange clippings which were grist to the Ad-Visor's mill. Out of a
bulky pile of the day's paragraphs, however, it was this one that leaped, significant, to
WANTED--Ten thousand loathly black beetles, by A leaseholder who contracted
to leave a house in the same condition as he found it. Ackroyd, 100 W. Sixteenth
St. New York
"Black beetles, eh?" observed Average Jones. "This Ackroyd person seems to be a
merry little jester. Well, I'm feeling rather jocular, myself, this morning. How does one
collect black beetles, I wonder? When in doubt, inquire of the resourceful Simpson."
He pressed a button and his confidential clerk entered.
"Good morning, Simpson," said Average Jones.
"Are you acquainted with that shy but pervasive animal, the domestic black beetle?"
"Yes, sir; I board," said Simpson simply.
"I suppose there aren't ten thousand black beetles in your boarding-house, though?"
inquired Average Jones.
Simpson took it under advisement. "Hardly," he decided.
"I've got to have 'em to fill an order. At least, I've got to have an installment of 'em, and
Being wholly without imagination, the confidential clerk was impervious to surprise or
shock. This was fortunate, for otherwise, his employment as practical aide to Average
Jones would probably have driven him into a madhouse. He now ran his long, thin,
clerkly hands through his long, thin, clerkly hair.
"Ramson, down on Fulton Street, will have them, if any one has," he said presently. "He
does business under the title of the Insect Nemesis, you know. I'll go there at once."
Returning to his routine work, Average Jones found himself unable to dislodge the
advertisement from his mind. So presently he gave way to temptation, called up
Bertram at the Cosmic Club, and asked him to come to the Astor Court Temple office at
his convenience. Scenting more adventure, Bertram found it convenient to come