Chapter 10

SEAFOOD RACKET AND SMUDGE

'SEAFOOD SMUGGLING LION!' the newspaper headlines screamed the following day. Everyone was talking about the price of lobsters, crabs and prawns. How expensive they were and how fishermen smuggled them across the sea to mainland China to avoid paying tax.

TT ch10 v01 slinWhen I told Dad about finding cash in the birdcage and the mysterious man with the limp, he rubbed his stubble in thought. 'Smuggling is usually a family business,' he said.

Mrs Potts telephoned: someone was coming to adopt Smudge, so if I wanted to see him again, I should visit right away. I quickly tacked up Sukee and asked Ronny for one of BC's bones.

Smudge wagged his tail when he saw me. Gripping the bone in his jaw, he ran into a corner and gnawed it.

'Now we know why the hut smelt fishy, don't we Twinkle?' said Mrs Potts.

Her door bell rang, and who should enter but Tan Tan and the man with the limp. I bit my lip in surprise.

'Will he make a good guard dog?' asked the man, following Mrs Potts into her office.

Tan Tan looked sad. I sooo wanted to be friends when I started school after Chinese New Year but I didn't know what to say to him.

He talked first. 'I wish Smudge was mine,' he said, tickling his tummy.

I tickled Smudge's ears. 'Who's he for then?'

'My uncle,' said Tan Tan, pointing to the office.

'He ... that man ... he's your uncle?'

Tan Tan frowned, then laughed. 'Yes!'

My heart was bumping but I just had to ask. 'Is your dad a smuggler?'

Tan Tan's lower lip trembled.

That's when I understood everything.

'You can come to my house and ride Sukee any time,' I said, as cheerfully as I could.

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