In the van, Joe-Joe sat in the passenger seat, reading the rock and mineral book that Biscuit had given him. Knowing very little about these things, he wanted to study up before meeting each suspect. In all honesty, Joe-Joe wasn’t interested in rocks and minerals. In fact, he thought they were pretty boring. Biscuit looked over at Joe-Joe, who was now staring out the window.
“What’s wrong, Joe-Joe?”
“I just don’t get the fascination with collecting rocks and minerals. I mean, they’re rocks. We walk on them all the time and crush them beneath our feet. What’s the big deal?”
“Did you collect anything when you were a youngster?” Joe-Joe thought about it for a minute, then smiled.
“Actually, I did. I collected nuts. Not just acorns either, but various kinds of nuts. Whenever we went on vacation, I would bring home a new kind of nut and add it to my collection. I even labeled them and everything, kept them in cases, too. I’ve lost a few over the years, though. Some became trees in our backyard. Mother always wondered why a species of tree not native to our surroundings would suddenly start growing in our yard. I’d nurture it until it grew big and strong. Those trees had provided us with nuts for years. I loved collecting nuts. I knew everything about them, too.” Biscuit smiled.
“How many did you have in your collection?”
“Oh—around a hundred and forty.” Biscuit shook his head.
“You know, some animals might think that collecting nuts would be boring. A nut is just a nut, isn’t it? I mean, if you’ve seen one, you’ve probably seen them all.” Joe-Joe shook his head, ready to defend his nut collection.
“No! Each nut is unique in what it looks like and how it develops. It is actually a seed, and . . .” Joe-Joe paused and nodded his head, realizing what Biscuit was doing. “I get it, Biscuit. You’re saying that no collection is pointless to the collector. I loved collecting nuts. These animals like to collect rocks and minerals. I shouldn’t be so judgmental.” Biscuit hadn’t said a word, but his grin indicated he was glad that Joe-Joe understood where he was going with the topic.
“Give rocks and minerals a chance, Joe-Joe. Just like your nut collection, you had as a kid, you might find them interesting and worthwhile once this case is over. You may just begin to understand why these animals love to collect them so much.” Joe-Joe nodded his head, willing to be open to the possibility. Joe-Joe was ready to agree.
“All right, I’ll give rocks and minerals a chance. I won’t be so negative.”
“Thanks, Joe-Joe. That’s all I’m asking.”