Back safe and secure in my estate, I was anxious to be reunited with my seven sons, U. Fairfax, V. Lucius, J. Phineas, R. Buckminster, G. Talmadge, M. Prescott and D. Manfred. As I wandered about the wild frontier with my man-servant Standish, I grew to miss them greatly, even D. Manfred, the bastard off-spring of the late Mrs. Zweibel and the coal-hauler. After all, they are my children and heirs, and must have suffered from the theft of my fortune as much as I.
I summoned Standish to bring forth my sons, so that I could embrace them to my bosom and listen, as a good father would, to their tales of distress and woe, and rejoice with them at the recovery of the family fortune. I also wished to thank them for helping the constables capture my diabolical abductor, Black Scarlet.
"A cunning move, boys, luring Black Scarlet by answering his ransom demand," I said. "His greed was topped only by his hatred of me! Then again, the Zweibels have always bested their foes by being able to perceive their weaknesses."
My sons reacted with looks of confusion. "But Father," U. Fairfax said, "we did not have any-thing to do with your rescue and Black Scarlet's capture. We have been disinherited by you for so long, we figured there was no point in either collecting the recovered fortune or responding to Black Scarlet's ransom-note."
I was aghast. "You deplorable swine!" I screamed. "You couldn't be bothered to come to the aid of your own father? I, who raised you from mere sucklings? Did you never realize that you could have benefitted from the recovery of my fortune, and not have to live like indigent tramps?"
I was wholly unprepared for what my sons said next. They claimed that not only did they not pay my ransom; they did not live in poverty following the theft of my fortune!
"By my green candle!" I exclaimed. "How? And if you wretches did not put up the ransom-money, who did?"
Standish spoke up. "If I may be so bold, sir, do you remember the Power-ball sweep-stakes ticket I purchased after we were each paid for our labors at the Burger-King's restaurant? Well, not long after your abduction, I was able to redeem it for $187 million. I then used a portion of the winnings to lure Black Scarlet into the awaiting drag-net of police-men. Yes, sir, it was I who helped organize his capture and your rescue. And it also seems that I am quite wealthy now."