The entire planet was in an uproar. Bob was missing! Kidnapped! But who would kidnap the most popular kid on the planet? Everyone loved him.
The BOB AND LOUIE tour had to be put on hold, of course. Louie was a good performer by himself, but people had come to see Louie AND Bob. Just Louie wasn’t enough.
Besides, Louie was worried. True, at first Bob had just been annoying and boring. True, Louie had just brought Bob along to make the trip more interesting. And because he liked the challenge of making Bob more interesting.
But Louie now realized something. He LIKED Bob. Sure, Bob whined a lot about going home. But Louie couldn’t blame him. Louie himself sometimes felt like going home. And someday he would.
And even though he whined, Bob was a trooper. He’d stuck with Louie on the tour, and Louie could see Bob becoming more interested, and more interesting.
Louie had grown used to Bob.
And now Bob was gone.
So Louie quit performing, and joined in the search for Bob.
And the search was huge.
Every country on the planet called out their army.
Every plane on the planet was in the air, flying over the countryside, looking for Bob. (They were soon told, though, that they would have to take turns. There were so many planes in the air that they were almost crashing into each other.)
Every kid on the planet had become a Bob detective, looking under floorboards, behind woodpiles, in holes, trying to find Bob.
And it was one of those kids, an eight-year-old named Norman R. Norman, who noticed something just a little funny was going on in an old barn outside of his town. A barn is where animals live. But he never saw animals coming and going from the barn. He only saw people.
He told his mother.