Mr. Placket removed dog turds from the shallows of his son’s kiddie pool all morning. The obvious culprit would have been Mr. Placket’s son. Yesterday, Mr. Placket told me the Franklin Mint came over. But they were just stopping by in response to a letter his son, Timmy wrote to them concerning how they shorted him one golden buffalo coin in their last delivery. To show their good faith, some members stopped by with a small purple, velvet bag full of them. No, the culprit was something much more mysterious, and I was pretty sure I heard it coming from the storm drain. At about one o’clock in the morning I lifted off the cover of the one out front and jumped down, landing on something large and squishy. I heard a wince. When I looked down I saw Mr. Placket. “Cornelius, what are you doing down here,” I said. “Shhhh,” he said. “Or they’ll hear you.” “Who will hear me?” I said. There was grease on his face. “I don’t know what you call them, but they are responsible for everything around here. I’m going in,” he said. “What is that in your mouth? Is that lighter fluid?” I said. “You’re damn right it is,” he said. “They asked me to bring it.” I kicked him in the face, having felt unexplainably betrayed. His head broke into a million spiders, and they scurried off down the tunnel. “Douglas Finklesweater, get yourself out of there this instant,” my wife said. But she was one of them. And Mr. Placket had really been a decoy. When I climbed out I saw a seagull backing away from the manhole cover. “What do you want?” I said. The gull had a piece of dog turd in its mouth. It flew over the Placket’s kiddie pool and dropped it in. I gave chase, but it could fly faster than I could.