Professional Sleuth

The Stoolpigeon Plot

A Sam Spaulding Story

by Fred J. Ford

Crack Detective | May 1949 | Vol. 10, No. 2

In which Ol' Sheriff Spaulding swallows the bait, and Mike Murphy has to get him off a criminal's hook—if he can!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

The Big Baboon

“The nice thing about you, Sambo,” I said sarcastically—after Sheriff Spaulding had stormed into my weekly Lakeland “Ledger” newspaper office and planted his huge hindquarters on my wife’s typewriter stool—“is that you never lose your temper; never get mad.”

The Big Baboon glared across the room at me—I was sitting behind my flat-topped editorial desk—and while he hadn’t as yet cussed a single cuss, still I knew that Ol’ Sam was so hot you could have fried a fresh fish on his big bald dome.

Then Bess, my redheaded wife, secretary, steno-and-office duster—well, she pranced in. Bess likes our over-sized, overstuffed, over-rated, brave-but-only-half-baked county sheriff.

She failed to note his angry mood, said: “’Lo, Sam,” her usual greeting. Spaulding failed to reply, so Bess turned to me and gave forth a sound best described as a giggle gone goofy. And then she said: “What now, Mike? What ails my palsy-walsy?”

“Damfino, Brick,” I replied. “The big mucky-muck mushed in here, only a couple of minutes ahead of you, and all he’s done so far is to stare and glare.”

So Bess said: “What’s biting you, Sam? Speak up! I’m your good friend, you know. Ignore ‘Murder-Minded’ Mike Murphy, and tell your constant and fond admirer.”

That brought a one-word reply. Ol’ Sam roared: “Nuts!”

“He probably means that he’s gone nuts, Bess,” I ventured.

Ol’ Sam bellowed: “More nuts!” Scowling deeply.

“And being bugs, himself, he thinks everyone else is,” I continued, speaking mildly—attempting to roil him up. You see, I know all the best ways to do that little thing! And that did. It brought the sulky sap off that stool in self-defense, crying indignantly :

“Ye people think ye have a lot to contend with—puttin’ out an eight-page scandal sheet, once a week, filled with stuff ye buy or swipe from big-name writers, mos’ly—but if ye had to run a jailhouse for a month ye’d go wiggy-waggy, too. The same as me!”

I thought things had gone far enough, and that I should try to straighten the Big Boy out.

So I said: “I’ve never known you to have a great deal of trouble handling your guys and gals—once you had them in your clink, Sambo.”

“That’s ’cause ye don’t know. Plenty o’ ’em raise a heap o’ hell, over there. Jus’ ’cause I don’t advertise the fact, ever’time somebody does—well, that don’t mean managin’ a jug is a jolly job, by a damned sight!”

“Who’s in your remaining hair, now, Sam?” Bess quizzed, striking straight at the root of the matter—like she really can, but seldom does. And for a damned wonder.

“A young squirt who says his name is Joe Smith. Smith, hell! He’s a Pole, or a Swede. Or a something.”

“How do you know, if you don’t know, him? Maybe he really is Joe Smith. There are several Smiths in this world—and there might be a Joe among them. A guy by that name built Salt Lake City and—” I said.

“Bosh! O’ course there are Joe Smiths in this world—but this guy ain’t one o’ ’em. I’d bet on that.”

“What did he do to get into your copious can? And what is he doing, now, to get you so upset?” I next inquired, adding: “Tell, Poppa.”

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Chapter 2

The Little Cuss

That blew or Sam up again, higher than a barrage balloon—which he somehow resembles—but he finally cooled off and began giving us a few facts.

“Las’ Sunday night,” Sam began, “some dame phones in an’ tells me that there’s a couple of guys out by her house actin’ s’picious as the very devil. She says they are sneakin’ aroun’ an’ aroun’ a little groc’ry store that’s owned by a widder woman, who’s away; an’ she thinks they’re aimin’ to rob it.”

“So what?” Bess prompted, as Sam slowed down.

“So I dim’ in my car an’ rolled out there.”

“Jolted out there, you mean, Sambo,” I corrected—and got hell for that interference from both Sam and Bess.

Then: “I got out there jus’ as these two guys—a great big bird, an’ this little bit o’ a bum—jus’ as they start to bash in a back door. I pile out o’ my rig an’ promtly proceed to collar ’em. I get a good holt on both o’ them guys, before they realize they’ve got company; but ’mediately after that they begin rarin’ an’ tearin’ an’ jitter-buggin’ aroun’ until the big bird finally manages to jerk himself loose. He runs. I keep a good hold on the little louse an’ pull out my gun an’ holler for the bird makin’ off to halt. But he don’t, so I begin to fire. Miss him a mile, I do, ’cause the little punk keeps on squirmin’ an jumpin’ an’ leapin’ aroun’ a-purpose to spoil my aim. But I hang onto this little so-an’-so, I do—even if I have to give the big baby up as lost, temporarily.”

Sheriff Spaulding paused briefly, at this point, and a muttered malediction escaped him. One not intended for our ears, I guess. And then he continued:

“Anyway, I finally get this crooked little cuss down to the calaboose an’ start questionin’ him. Then’s when he tells me his name is Joe Smith; that he has no more home than a white chip in a stud-poker game; that him an’ this big bird was merely lookin’ for a place to sleep—an’ that if I ain’t satisfied to book him as Joe Smith, I can put it down as Joe Doe or Joe Roe, or I can go to hell!” Amusement glinted in Ol’ Sam’s dark-brown eyes, for a few moments, but vanished as he began talking to us again.

“I pumped this putrid pup for an hour or so more, but made no progress at all. Had other things I jus’ had to do, so I heaved him in a cell. Tol’ the turnkey to feed the young yap—an’ then see if he could get anything out o’ him. But Bert had no luck.”

Bert Fairchild is a combination turnkey and deputy sheriff who works for Ol’ Sam. (He’s got six other deputies, but they live out around the county in various smaller towns and none of them hang around the jail much.)

“Well, Monday mornin’ I tried again, but all I got was a lot o’ gas—an’ sass. This queer squirt tells me that he has no idee who his buddy was. Said he’d jus’ met him that Sunday afternoon, down in the jungles; an’ that all the name the guy had give him to call him by was ’Fatty.’ He’s a damn’ liar, o’ course.”

“What makes you so certain, Sam? The youngster could be telling you the exact truth,” Bess cut in to say; patting down a stray lock of her lovely red hair, and walking up close to Ol’ Sam. They are pals, and I’m strong for the big gent, myself—even if I do rib him a lot.

“Fatty ain’t this guy’s name, by one hell o’ a lot. He ain’t a fat feller, at all. I had a holt on him, an’ he’s huge, all right—an’ certainly solid—but not fat. Not him! Anyhow, when this big bruiser busted away from me, the little lug yelled: ‘Damn! Scram, Ham!’”

“Perhaps Pee-Wee Picklepuss is a poet, Sam!” I just had to remark, and drew one of our sheriff’s combination growl-scowls. Ol’ Sam has no special sense of humor. He don’t like my alleged wisecracks, not a-tall.

“That shows me he damn-well knows him, an’ is lyin’ like hell,” Spaulding continued; hard of voice and eye, now. “So I’ve been fairly busy mos’ o’ the time since, tryin’ to make him unzip his lip. Ain’t had no luck, though—so far. The little louse won’t sing a note; won’t even talk to me. any more. … I don’t know what to do, less’n I sort o’ third-degree the truth out o’ him. … Yep, guess I’ll have to do that.”

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Chapter 3


That’s all Bess and I heard about Ol’ Sam’s contrary little prisoner for almost a week, then the sheriff loped into our Ledger office and informed us that he was now holding this Joe Smith on an attempted-burglary charge; that the Justice of the Peace had set “a thousand-dollar bail hold-order” on Smith—and that the little chap couldn’t raise that many cents. Sam also swore out a “John Doe warrant” against the big boy who had wiggled loose, and escaped—he said—and was anxious to serve the same. “Would to, by cracky, an’ before very damn’ long,” he insisted, adding:

“If I have to take the little louse apart an’ read what’s in his mind, myself. I’ve got him where I can do it, too: in my basement cellblock, forty feet unnergroun’! I’ll use it for a bomb-shelter—when an’ if Loco Adolph Sicklebugle gets over here; but until he does this little louse stays there. Till all hell freezes over, less’n he talks!”

“Bess and I didn’t realize what a Big Bad Bird you are, Sam! Did we, Bricktop?”

Carrot-top said: “No, Shorty.” To me; then to Sam: “Are you really going to treat him rough—misuse, abuse the young man? You—your size!”

Sam declared: “He’s goin’ to talk. That’s all. I’ll cut off his grub, an’ I’ll cut off his terbacker—an’ I’ll cut off his head if he don’t come through with his buddy’s right name, an’ also tell me where to go to put my comealongs on him! No one guy’s goin’ to hold out on the interests o’ justice, this way. Nor on me. No, sir! An’ he can yell all it suits him to, ’cause nobody can hear him, upstairs, or out on the streets!

“Br-r-r-r-r!” I said. And shuddered.

Sam replied: “Mabbe ye think I’m kiddin’, folks, but I ain’t. Wait an’ see! An’ I’ll keep ye both posted on how I’m progressin’. Or on how I ain’t.”

“It’s apt to be ain’t, Sambo. If the lad hasn’t come in on his pal, so far, he’s not likely to—is he?” I quizzed, half sore at Ol’ Sam. I’ve never liked this third-degree stuff. Consider it to be bad business, and dangerous.

“It’s quite awhile yet before the grand jury meets, Shrimp,” Spaulding snarled at me, adding: “An’ long before then, the bird’ll have talked. Bet ye that he will!”

I wasn’t having any.

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Chapter 4

My Advice

Here, this recital of Ol’ Sam Spaulding’s trials and tribulations pauses only long enough for me to record several pertinent facts, such as:

Sam first cut off young Joe Smith’s tobacco supply—hoping to make the youth snitch on his pal—and then he chopped off Smith’s chow. Cut him down to a plain bread-and-water diet; still hopeful, and just as unsuccessfully. All of which Ol’ Sam honestly reported to Bess and me; but not for publication in my weekly Ledger, of course. That would never do.

“He’s still as stubborn as a stinkin’ Stuka stormtrooper!” Ol’ Sam related, sticking to his usual alliterative style!—but gumming his simile all up. We, however, knew what he meant.

Then three or four more days passed, and the sheriff blew in again. And, now, we saw that Ol’ Sam had a beautiful black-and-blue left eye.

“You ran into a cell door, I suppose !” I said to him—in a voice supposed to be a bit silky.

“Cell door, hell! I ran into that rotten runt’s right duke—so I did! I was pullin’ his right rar, an’ I guess he didn’t like it. Anyhow, he socked me a beaut, eh? But ye should see him! After he clouted me—well, I really went to work on him!”

“What did he tell you his buddy’s name is?” I asked—knowing very well that the kid hadn’t talked! (Else Ol’ Sam would have said so.)

“He ain’t come across with that info’, yet, but by cracky, he will. He will—or else!”

“I’m thinking it will be ‘or else,’ Sambo,” I said; explaining: “When any bozo holds cut this long, it means that there just isn’t air sharp-nosed, longe-tailed, cheese-eating stuff anywhere in him!”

“He’ll rat—before I’m through. Ye’ll see! He’s hungry. An’ plenty hungry. I’ve not fed the fool a decent meal in over three weeks. I—”

“You should be ashamed of yourself!” I finished for him.

“Ashamed, hell. I set out to make him tell me his pardner’s name, an’ I ain’t feedin’ him till he does! Nor’ll I quit slappin’ him aroun’. He’s too small an’ too weak to really clout, any more; but I’ll still continue to go down there ever’day an’ cuff him—till he does squeal.”

“He may do his sentence and be free some day, Sam. If so, you’d better watch your step. It’s one thing to whip a mule that’s locked in a box-stall, and quite another thing to tackle that same mule when he’s loose in a pasture! Then, too, there are a lot of good guns being manufactured in the world today, you know; and Smith might later on get ahold of one and mow you down with it. I wouldn’t go much further, if I were you. It just isn’t safe.”

That was my advice. Now, see how good it was!

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Chapter 5


The kid down in the can cellar continued to stand pat, in spite Ol’ Sam’s “increased pressure,” for several days more and then like a bolt out of the blue—as Bess would put it—young Joe Smith, or whatever the hell his right name was, hauled off and told all! And not because of Ol’ Sam’s pressure but because he wanted to! (Or so he said.)

“Sheriff, I’ve decided to tell you what you want to know,” Smith began, explaining thusly: “My buddy was ‘Big Bill’ Burney, and what a swell guy he’s turned out to be—leaving me in here to face the rap, alone, and not even sending me over a mouthpiece! No eats! No cigarettes! No nothing. He’s a Big Ham, like I sometimes called him.”

“That explains ye callin’ him ‘Ham.’ Keep goin’,” Spaulding said, making notes on the back of an old envelope. The kid did. At some length.

“You’ll find Big Bill hanging around Little Minnie’s Dollar Dug-out,’ down in Valley Alley, almost every night, Sheriff, and I want you to go get him. But you watch your step—because Big Bill is really tough! He’s done a lot of wrestling and boxing, and he’s strong as an ox. You’d better take a deputy along, I think. But you get Bill, and after you get him you shove the big bum right down here with me! Leave me to face this thing alone, will he? I’ll tell my big pal a thing or two—so I will—and then I haul off and tell him why I snitched!”

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Chapter 6

Little Minnie’s “Dug-out”

Ol’ Sam ignored Joe Smith’s advice about taking a deputy along with him to arrest Big Bui Burney, and went alone. Wasn’t he, Sheriff Spaulding, a big man, too? Hadn’t he a warrant for Big Bill? And two good Colt 45s? Since when had he needed anyone with him—to pinch any just one man? And wasn’t he forewarned that this bozo might prove tough?

Little Minnie’s “Dug-out” was a dive well known to Ol’ Sam, too; as was Little Minnie—who weighed nearly three hundred pounds, and had a whale-sized mouth! Sam didn’t know any of her dames, and didn’t want to know them. It was Min’s job to handle them, and he wisely let it go at that. She always called him “when things got too hot for her to handle, personally.” Which wasn’t often, Minnie was there, when Ol’ Sam barged in; and four other husky dames in scant garb, but heavily-rouged, sat at a table sipping highballs. Spaulding said: “Keep your seats. This is no raid. I’m lookin’ for a fugitive from justice. One William Burney. ‘Big Bill,’ folks mos’ly call him. They say he’s a hard guy. Any o’ ye seen him lately?”

One of the broads said: “He was in here for a while, last night. It’s too early for him. Only eleven o’clock. Bill’s working somewhere. Try again, about midnight.”

Little Minnie tried to catch this dame’s eye. Wanted her to shut up. Big Bill spent a lot of dough at the Dug-out and if he went to jail, or to the pen’—But she failed to get this jane’s attention and the already half-crocked female gabbled on.

“What you want Big Bill for, Sheriff?” she asked.

“For questionin’, Nosey,” Sam snapped back.

“The name is Rosey, not Nosey! If I was Min’ I’d—”

“You ain’t Min’, Rose! Shet your fool face. Sheriff Spaulding don’t come bustin’ down here, only when I call him—or he has a tip that—”

“I ain’t saying he does, Min’—but just the same, if I was running this dump he wouldn’t ever get his fat belly inside that door. I’d make him do his stuff outside. Outside, where he belongs! And I’d phone Big Bill and warn him that the law wanted him. So I would!” And Rose got up, shoved her chair back, and then staggered away from the table.

“Where are ye goin’?” Ol’ Sam asked.

“None of your business. Want to come along?”

“Don’t ye try phonin’ Big Bill an’ warnin’ him, Woman. Ye do an’ I’ll toss yer carkass in a cell. Come back here an’ squat!”

Rosey must have been quite a bit more than half-soused—or else a born cop-hater—for instead of obeying Ol’ Sam she walked over to the sideboard, grabbed up a stack of dinner plates, and began heaving them at the sheriff. The three other dames leaped away from the table and flew upstairs on wings of fright, while Little Minnie wobbled over to the battling female and did all she could to save the balance of her expensive chinaware—if not Ol’ Sam—but Rose just wouldn’t quit. The dame was dingy, but her aim was good; and it was while the sheriff was struggling to get handcuffs on the berserk female that Big Bill Burney walked in the back door. Bill saw merely some great big bird, apparently battling Rose and Min’, and so he waded in—swinging. And Big Bill could really swing!

Ol’ Sam told me, later: “The big so-an’-so mus’ have hit me with a hammer, first, Mike—but after that he only used his fists. An’ did he paste me? I never went down—an’ came back up—so damn’ many times before in all my life! But, I finally got a gun out an’ made him unner-stand what it was all about. Had to clout him over the noggin’ a couple o’ times with the barrel o’ it, first, though.”

Then Ol’ Sam cuffed Big Bill Burney to a still-cussing “Wild Rose” and took them to the clink. He uncuffed them, put Rose “in durance vile” in the “she section” of his jail—as he calls it—and then he took Burney downstairs to his basement lockup. To his bomb-proof, sound-proof little cellar, where young Joe Smith was still incarcerated and anxiously waiting for Ol’ Sam to bring in his big buddy.

The sheriff, of course, was covered with blood—both his own and Big Bill’s; and he even wore some of Wild Rose’s!—so he was a sight. And Burney did not look much better. He, too, was plastered with gore. Joe Smith took a good look at them, then began to laugh. To roar—when they finally got there.

“Yer snitchin’ pal’s laughin’ at ye, Bill!” Ol’ Sam said. “But he’s banged up a bit, himself, ye will notice!”

Big Bill sprang at Little Joe, then, saying: “And th’ damned little lousy snitchin’ rat is goin’ tuh be banged up some more! Squeal on me, will yuh, Rodent!”

And Big Bill Burney socked Smith a wallop that lifted the young man clear off the floor. Then Burney hit Joe again and again and again. And then again! And until the youngster was completely out and lay on the cement floor like a bundle of old rags. “That’ll teach th’ fink better’n tuh stool on me—and when he comes to I’ll bust him again!”

“Not tonight, ye won’t, Bill—’cause I’m lockin’ ye up in a cell. I don’t want ye to murder the squealin’ rat. Not down here, see. Wait till ye get him down to the pen’. Then I don’t care what ye do! Get in Number Two cell. The other one is his.” Burney obeyed. Ol’ Sam locked him up, walked over and looked down at Joe Smith for a minute or so, saw that he was breathing and would come around all right, then he started off. Big Bill yelled at Ol’ Sam.

“Ain’t yuh goin’ tuh lock that thing up, too?”

“No. He can’t get away, an’ I’m leavin’ him out a-purpose. Ye may want some water, or something, before I come down in the mornin’. If so, make him get it for ye.”

“I’d choke tuh death before I asked that rat tuh git me—” Big Bill began.

“Have it yer own way. I’m goin’ upstairs an’ take a bath. See ye both tomorrer, an’ if ye’ll plead guilty to this attempted-bur, glary charge mabbe I won’t swear out an attempt-to-kill-an-officer warrant against ye, Bill. Think it over.”

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Chapter 7

Trouble For Ol’ Sam

A friend of mine dropped into my newspaper office early the next morning and told me that Ol’ Sam had arrested Big Bill Burney, and he gave me some of the details about the doings out at the Dug-out—and also about Rose Kelly’s arrest. (That, at least, was the name the dame “done business” under, and really does not matter.) So when Bess—my red-headed wife—finally drifted down to work, about ten a.m., I told her about Ol’ Sam’s two pinches and said:

“Guess I’ll sneak over to the calaboose and get the whole story. From Sam. He’ll be too busy arraigning his two prisoners to come over here and tell us about it in time for me to write up the mess—which I want to use in tomorrow’s paper. And I want to kid Sam a bit. This guy told me that the sheriff took a damned good shellacking before he—”

“I hope Ol’ Sam wasn’t hurt much, Mike. Go ahead. And while you’re out be sure you stop at Reed’s Repair Shop and get your automatic. Jack Reed phoned me last night and told me to tell you that it was ready.”

I promised to stop for it—and did. And a good thing, too! But wait.

It was about 10:20 when I walked into the jail-office, and all was as quiet as could be. I knew it was Ol’ Sam’s deputy’s “day off,” so I figured Sam would be on the job, alone—and around somewhere. He was. But wait!

I waited. Several minutes, Read some reward notices—official “dodgers”—looked back and saw that the door leading into the main cellblock was locked on the outside; and then I walked back to the door that leads to Ol’ Sam’s basement block. That door was slightly open, I noticed. “So that is where he is,” I thought. I pulled this door open a bit more, to pass through it, then stopped. Sudden. Damned awful suddenly! For, from below, came a bedlam of sound: A mixture of fists-hitting-flesh sounds, mingled with vile curses.

“Trouble, sure enough, down there,” I said to myself, drew my automatic and checked it to make sure that Jack Reed had left it loaded. It was, so I grasped it firmly and crept down those basement stairs. One step at a time. More sounds, and more oaths, continued to roil up. Then distinguishable words.

“Beat up my little buddy, will yuh—yuh so-an’-so—yuh this-an’-that! Yuh big-bellied bum! Take that!” Then a crashing sound. Then a higher-pitched, younger voice, saying:

“You had a lot of fun beating me up, down here, when you had me all alone—didn’t you? Well, it ain’t so funny now—is it?” Followed by several sounds that could only have been made by fists beating on flesh. A flock of loud curses and threats, made by Ol’ Sam. Then a lull. Then more words. Explanatory words, now. Spoken by that younger, unseen voice, but loaded with venom.

“You couldn’t make me snitch, you big bully—in spite of you being damned near twice my size, and me half starved to death—could you? No, sir! I held out on you—plenty! Didn’t turn stoolpigeon until I had it all figured out that you would walk right straight into my trap! Until I had you doped out for a sap who’d fall like a Jap—mowed down with machine-gun bullets!”

Someone groaned. It just had to be Ol’ Sam Spaulding, I knew. Some way or other these two crooks had managed it so that they now had the sheriff in their power. And very completely. I went cautiously down another step. The sound of fists striking flesh, again—and again and again and again—and then came that younger voice again:

“No, Copper, I couldn’t beat you, alone—and I couldn’t possibly escape. So what? Hah! I sent you to get my good pal—my old buddy, Big Bill—knowing damned, well that the two of us could glom onto you when you came down with your hands both busy carrying our breakfast tray! And did you walk right into it! Hell, Sap—Bill’s first blow to your chin raised you a good foot off the floor! Funny—isn’t it? Funny as hell, now! Ha, ha—ha!”

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Chapter 8


So that was how this young slicker had managed the thing—was it?—and just what had I better do about it? I figured that they had Ol’ Sam down on the basement floor, at least—and, no doubt, about out. In which event they would have both of Ol’ Sam’s big .45s! What a mess this had turned out to be!

“Should you try it?” I asked myself. “Try it, alone; or sneak back upstairs, block the upper door on them, some way, and go for help?” That was what I had to decide—and it was a tough problem—and then these crooks decided it for me when one of them said:

“Let’s kill th’ big blankety-blank brute! If we don’t, somebody’ll find him an’ set him free—soon—then he’ll spill his guts, get more guns, an’ come after us again. Then he’d kill us—when he caught us!”

So they did have Ol’ Sam’s guns, eh? And from the tone of that voice I knew that they really meant business. That they would bump off my old friend. (I sass and otherwise abuse our grand old sheriff a lot, but I don’t want anyone else to do it. No, sir!) So I got an even firmer -grip on my swell Colt automatic—which has never jammed or otherwise missed fire on me yet—and made the bottom six steps in two noisy thumps.

The door which leads into Ol’ Sam’s basement cell-block was a regulation jailhouse door over which the sheriff had wired a lot of steel slats. This served to reinforce it, and I saw that in the event of a gun battle with these birds it would give me additional protection—since only holes about an inch and a half square remained to be shot directly through. Not, understand, that I thought these steel slats heavy or thick enough to stop a slug fired from either of the sheriff’s big guns, but they might very well serve to deflect any such red-hot hunk of quickly fired lead.

This door was pulled nearly shut and I proceeded to slam it closed, all the way. It would shut but not lock. Only Sam’s key would do that, and no key was in the lock or anywhere in sight. (The crooks had it, I found out later.) Anyway, I was too damned busy to look for a key or anything else—just getting the muzzle of my automatic through one of those little holes. I fired and yelled at the same time, I guess. Fired two shots, right between these two crooks’ heads as they stood right over a reclining Ol’ Sam, who I saw was bound and gagged—and I roared:

“Drop those guns, instantly, or I’ll mow you down!”

Each guy had one of the sheriff’s Colts in his right fist; and when they did not obey quick enough to suit me, I fired again. Hit the big bird, too, that time. Got him in his right elbow—aiming at his mid-ribs, I was—but it had the same effect! His gun flew out of his hand and clattered to the floor. He let out an agony scream, grabbed his shattered right elbow in his left hand and said; ‘I quit. Copper! Pal, drop your gat, too.”

But still-mad Joe Smith—who Ol’ Sam thought was a lousy stool-pigeon—wasn’t having any. No, sir. Young Joe was made of sterner stuff. He whipped around and sent three sizzling hot hunks of lead my way! A horizontal iron bar stopped one of these slugs, right in front of my “V for Victory” belt buckle; and the other two ate chunks out of those steel slats—which zinged all around my head. Those brave Russians over in Stalingrad, who survived, never came any closer to death than I did, right then; but the young devil wasted his last three shots by firing over my head. I was sure of him, now that his gun was empty; and I swarmed in on him before he could reach for, and get, the Colt that Big Bill Burney had dropped. He did reach, but I slammed a .38 slug at his hand, while the going was good, that caused his right thumb and a fore-finger to disappear. Then both crooks decided that I was bad medicine and called it a day. (That suited me, also, I might add!)

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Chapter 9

Ol’ Sam

Ol’ Sam? He’s in City Hospital yet, the Big Bum: But he’ll be out in a day or so—and am I waiting for him! Bess says I mustn’t rub it in—because that gag these two crooks put in Ol’ Sam’s mouth nearly killed him. But that is what I’m aiming to rib him about. You see, they tied Sam up with his shoe laces, belt and necktie—but they gagged him with a pair of his own stinky socks!

~ The End ~

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