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The Proof

by Gordon McCormick

Mirz Vorten usually turned down dinner party invitations because he knew full well what happened to detectives, or investigators, when they got there. There was an unpleasant meal followed by someone dying and a murder investigation. As a private investigator Mirz felt that it was more prudent to get paid for his cases. This time however, things were different.

For a start it was a wizards convention and new spells would be available to the inquiring observer. Also it was right in the middle of the city and not in an isolated mansion in the back of beyond. No chance of a murder here, or at least the constabulary could be called in. Mirz had read too many murder mysteries to be caught out this time.

It came as a shock then to find two prominent mathematicians of Elselip's Post-Graduate College of Magic pointing wands of fireballs at each other by the time the final course was being served. Usually by this time enough fare has been enjoyed by all that the only thing left to do was sip brandy and watch the final course go uneaten with full stomachs.

"You give me my proof back or I'll blow you sky high!" shouted Arnoldo of the Strange Rings, not realising that a fireball would blow the entire house sky high.

"I didn't steal your damned proof and I don't want it anyway. It's garbage. It can't be proven!" responded Waldo the Slightly Peculiar, further infuriating Arnoldo.

The host, Djgetfur the Untitled, quickly tiptoed over to Mirz trying not to disturb the two maniacal wizards and explained the situation.

"Arnoldo claims to have discovered a way to prove that the square root of a prime number is always irrational, and that he has brought that proof along tonight with him to show the assembled wizards. However he says Waldo had stolen the proof and hidden it somewhere. Waldo, who doesn't believe that all prime roots are irrational is saying he knows nothing about it. He further claims that Arnoldos irrational accusations of him show that the root cause of the situation is that Arnoldo is square in the head. This retort is sure proof, according to Arnoldo, that Waldo, the prime suspect, did it."

Mirz looked around the table lethargically. Then he stretched his hand out towards the cake in the middle of the table and ripped it open. There, inside, was a crumpled bit of paper. Arnoldo snatched it up and roared out in triumph. "Ah ha! Now we know who's the liar Waldo. Now leave before I blow you up."

As the assembled throng moved away into the laboratory still bickering, and as Waldo was made the butt of several unfunny wizard jokes, Djgetfur stayed behind to speak to Mirz.

"How did you know where Waldo had hidden Arnoldo's work?" he asked, as all good detective sidekicks do.

"Easy, " replied Mirz, elementary being too long a word in his opinion, "the proof was in the pudding."