Felix jumps in to help his elderly neighbor when he sees her trying to cut her overgrown lawn.
As a thank-you gift, she forces him to take an odd old box, but Felix gets into a lot of trouble when her lawyer calls to ask for an urgent meeting.
Felix was looking at the monthly numbers for his handyman business when he heard the sound of a lawnmower. He looked out of his kitchen window and was shocked to see Mrs. McAllister, who was very old, trying to use her cane and steer her lawnmower at the same time.
Felix caught up to Mrs. McAllister, who was very sweaty and had a red face. The machine was turned off by her.
“Felix…is there…something…I can help…you with?” She gasped.
“Get out of the way, I need to help you! Mrs. McAllister, to be honest, your son should help you with these tasks. That’s not right to leave your old mom to fight by herself.”
Felix was called inside by Mrs. McAllister for a glass of lemonade after a long morning of cutting and raking the tall, wet grass. He was shocked by how dirty, filled with trinkets, spiders, and dust, her house was. Felix thought that his nice friend might not be able to take care of herself any longer.
“Here you go, dear.” It was Mrs. McAllister who set the glass of lemonade down on the table.
“I want you to have this too.” My family has had this old thing for a long time.
Felix made a face at the metal box she showed him. It was heavy for what it was, and the lid had a strange set of numbers.
“I don’t need a fancy gift for such a simple task, Mrs. McAllister.” She got the box back from Felix.
With a sad face, Mrs. McAllister frowned. She made him take something to help him feel better and went to get a bag of apples for his daughter Suzie. After that, she clearly felt very tired as she slouched into her couch and let out a loud groan.
Felix told Mrs. McAllister to rest and told her to call him the next time she needed help. That night, Suzie ran up to Felix with a big smile on her face.
“Dad, look what I found under the apples Mrs. McAllister gave us!” The same strange metal box was shown to him. “I think these dials are a combination lock, but I can’t open it.”
“I’m sorry, Suzie, I know you love old puzzle boxes and things, but we aren’t keeping this.” He put out his hand to take the box. “I’m going to return it to Mrs. McAllister.”
Felix wouldn’t give up, even though Suzie was very upset. He walked back to Mrs. McAllister’s house with the box, but she wasn’t there when he knocked. It made him grump as he tried the door handle. He told Mrs. McAllister over the loudspeaker that he was on his way in to safely return her box.
In the couch, Mrs. McAllister’s body was lying on its side. She stared blankly at the wall with her eyes.
Say “Mrs. McAllister!” As Felix ran to her aid, Mrs. McAllister was already gone, so they couldn’t help her.
Felix didn’t remember the box until a long time after the fact, when he found it in his pocket. He looked online on a whim for old boxes that looked like the ones he had. When he finally found a match, he swore.
It was worth $250,000 for this box!
Felix didn’t want to keep the box, but he had to because he owed that much money to Suzie and wanted to protect her future. For Suzie’s sake, he had to sell it. At the same time, Felix put the box somewhere safe. After a few days, Felix gets a strange call.
“This is Tim, the lawyer for Mrs. McAllister.” I’d like to get together with you right away. Are you free right now?”
Felix wasn’t sure about Tim’s hurry, but he agreed to meet the lawyer at a town café. Even though it made him feel bad, he was interested in why Tim wanted to see him. When he got there, he saw Henry McAllister, Mrs. McAllister’s son, sitting at a table with the guy who had to be Tim. This made him even more confused.
He got a mean look from Henry when Felix joined them. “Lexi, I’ll get right to the point. A small box with dials on the lid has been stolen from my mom’s house. It is a valuable family treasure. I gave you a chance to do the right thing because you were the last person in her house.
“You think I stole from your mother?” Andy yelled. “Mrs. McAllister gave the box to me as thanks for cutting her grass—a chore you should’ve done for her!”
“Mom would never have given you that box!” He poked Felix in the eye with his finger. “My great-great-grandfather was a famous politician, and he bought it from a famous craftsman!” There are only two like it in the whole world! I’ll give you $1,000 for the box when you give it back to me. Deal?”
“No.” Felix got up. “If you want to buy, you can do so when I put it up for auction. Hey Henry, goodbye.”
Felix took the box to a nearby sale house the next day to get an estimate of how much it was worth. Mr. Whitaker, a serious man with a snobbish accent, asked him to come into a back room for the evaluation. A woman named Ellen joined them.
“I can immediately verify that the craftsmen’s mark on the underside is authentic,” said Mr. Whitaker. “That means this is a pretty important piece, sir.” “One of only two in the whole world.”
Ellen bent down to look at the box. “That is quite lovely…may I see your provenance documentation?”
“Excuse me?” Felix looked up.
The woman had a muscle in her face that twitched. “You need to provide a certificate of authentication, or any verifiable document that proves the artifact’s authenticity and your ownership.”
He said, “Uh…I left all that stuff at home.” This review had gone in a direction he didn’t like. He got up and walked toward the door while taking the box off the table. “I’ll fetch it and be right back.”
“We can’t let you do that.” Ellen moved out of the way to stop him from getting to the door.
“We are obliged to notify the authorities of any…irregularities concerning items tied to historical figures.”
Felix became scared. He rushed into the hallway, dodging the woman and Mr. Whitaker. As soon as he got to the front desk, an alarm went off.
Felix felt like he was back on the football field in high school as he dove and slid past guards who were trying to stop him. People grabbed his arm, but he jerked it free and ran out of the building and down the street. From there, he ran until his legs were weak.
Felix walked around his living room as he thought about what to do next. To invest in Suzie’s future, he had to sell the box, but he couldn’t do that without some kind of paper work.
He wished he could talk to Mrs. McAllister about it. She would know exactly what papers he needs to show where the item came from and could probably give them to him as well. Felix stopped when he thought about how he could sell the box. In spite of his dislike, he had no choice but to do it.
Felix took some useful tools out of his toolboxes and then went to the garage to get his boltcutter. Felix broke into Mrs. McAllister’s house in the middle of the night after Suzie went to bed to look for the papers he needed.
Felix got a chill when he walked into Mrs. McAllister’s bedroom. This room still smelled like her. It made him feel weird and invasive to look into her private space, but he forced himself to keep going. When the bedroom light went on, he was in the middle of the room.
“Not so high and mighty now, are you Felix?” Henry made a noise from the door.
Felix looked up. Henry had his phone raised, and as he took pictures of Felix, the flash went off in his eyes.
He put up his hand to cover his face. You’re wrong, Henry. This is not how it looks. I only need—”
“The documentation for the box, I know.” Henry made a face. “Because that box is linked to my family, the auction house called me after you tried to scam them.” Yes, I did tell them you stole it—”
“That’s a lie!”
“But you can’t prove ownership without proper documentation.” Henry crossed his arms and stood taller, taking up the whole opening. “You also can’t sell it.” You have until 8 a.m. tomorrow to turn it in, or I’ll call the police.
Henry moved out of the way, and Felix ran away from Mrs. McAllister’s house. He felt very bad about what was going to happen. He wished he had left the box at Mrs. McAllister’s house the day he found her dead.
He should have had it, though! Felix didn’t believe Henry would do what he said he would do and give Felix the box. He had a lot of thoughts going through his head. He knew what he had to do by dawn.
He woke Suzie up and told her to quickly pack her bags. Then he called his mom and asked her to come over right away. After a while, they were all standing at the front door. He told them everything, and now they had to leave.
Fitz gave Suzie the box. “Get rid of it right away. You must not accept less than $100,000 for it, okay? Yes, this is the only way to get this mess cleaned up and still enjoy your life to the best.
Felix gave his daughter a tight hug and shut the tears that were coming to his eyes. It was one of the hardest things he’d ever done to say goodbye to her.
He looked into her eyes and said, “Promise me you’ll live a good life.” “Work hard in school to make something of yourself, and see the world to learn more.” “Take care of your grandmother; family is important, and old people should be respected.”
In the background, police sounds could be heard. A half hour after Henry’s due date, it was 8:30 a.m. He thought those sirens meant they were after him. There were more and more police sounds, and he saw Mom and Suzie pull out of the driveway. When the police captured him, it made him feel better to know that they were out of this mess.
Even though Henry made threats, the charges against Felix were hard to prove because of small legal issues. Now that the box wasn’t there, important parts of Henry’s case were not clear. Felix was locked up for four months while he waited for his court date. A guard told him one day that someone paid his bail.
Felix had a lot of questions. The man led him to the front of the jail, where Suzie was waiting for him. They went outside together. Mom had parked at the curb and was ready for them.
Felix told Suzie, “Okay, I can’t wait any longer.” as they got into the car. “What’s going on?”
“Well, I didn’t listen to you about the box.” Suzie gave a shy smile. “I found a way to open it instead.” That was a real award and a note from Mrs. McAllister inside. That box was very important to her, Dad. It was written in the note.”
Felix made a face. He still didn’t get why Mrs. McAllister made him take the box, but Suzie wasn’t done yet, so he didn’t have much time to think about it.
“So I showed the note to your lawyer, and then I took the box with all the papers to an antique dealer.” Suzie gave a big smile. “He gave us enough money for it to post bail and we still have $100,000 left!”