Who Trusts Himself Trusts A Fool

Buzz opens the door to the study without knocking, one of a half-hundred things he does that infuriates the old doctor. “Doc?” he sings out. “You in here?”

“Well, who the hell else were you expecting,” growls Dr. Philips.

“Now don’t be like that, old man, you know it’s bad for your heart.” Buzz settles himself lazily into a recliner and helps himself to some of the brandy. “Mind if I bend your ear for a second?” The doctor glowers at him, but he sails on, unabashed. “You see, I seem to have stolen some of the bank’s money, and I—”

Thump of glass hitting carpet as Dr. Philips drops his snifter. “You did what?

“Stolen, ah, some of the bank’s money, do keep up—”

“How much?”

“Oh, rather all of it, I suppose. Most of it in dribs and drabs, but with the audit coming up, I knew the balloon was going to pop sooner rather than later, so I cleaned out the rest of the vault today. Hrm, maybe three, three and a half million?” He grins happily. “Now, take it easy, take it easy, remember your heart!”

“By god, I won’t stand for this,” the old man manages, as he reaches for the phone. “If you think I’ll sit here and listen to you—”

“Oh, well, if that’s the way you feel, dear heart, you go right ahead, but I’d have thought you cared more for your daughter than that.”

Long, dangerous pause with his finger on the dial. “What does Sylvia have to do with this?”

Buzz laughs delightedly. “Why, nothing directly, but my goodness, what a scandal! To have her name dragged all through the papers like that? ‘Husband of Society Heiress on Trial for Embezzlement’? Why, she’d never live it down, you know she wouldn’t.” He swallows brandy, eyes cold and still above the rim. “No, better to hush it all up quietly, don’t you think? Now, if you give me the three and a half million, I can put it back in the vault with no one the wiser, and surely that’s cheap for peace of mind, don’t you think? Your heart, old man!”