|Back||1 2 3 4||Next|
"It's all the same whatever way you take it!" retorted Shluker. "Well, go on with your story. You went down to Charlie's dope parlors, and jabbed a needle into yourself, or took it some other old way. I get you! What happened then?"
"It was about an hour ago," resumed Pinkie Bonn with undisturbed complacency. "Just as I was beatin' it out of there by the cellar, I hears some whisperin' as I was passin' one of the end doors. Savvy? I hadn't made no noise, an' they hadn't heard me. I gets a peek in, 'cause the door's cracked. It was French Pete an' Marny Day. I listens. An' after about two seconds I was goin' shaky for fear some one would come along an' I wouldn't get the whole of it. Take it from me, Shluk, it was some goods!"
Shluker grunted noncommittingly.
"Well, go on!" he prompted.
"I didn't get all the fine points," grinned Pinkie; "but I got enough. There was a guy by the name of Dainey who used to live somewhere on the East Side here, an' he used to work in some sweat-shop, an' he worked till he got pretty old, an' then his lungs, or something, went bad on him, an' he went broke. An' the doctor said he had to beat it out of here to a more salubrious climate. Some nut filled his ear full 'bout gold huntin' up in Alaska, an' he fell for it. He chewed it over with his wife, an' she was for it too, 'cause the doctor 'd told her her old man would bump off if he stuck around here, an' they hadn't any money to get away together. She figured she could get along workin' out by the day till he came back a millionaire; an' old Dainey started off.
"I dunno how he got there. I'm just fillin' in what I hears French Pete an' Marny talkin' about. I guess mostly he beat his way there ridin' the rods; but, anyway, he got there. See? An' then he goes down sick there again, an' a hospital, or some outfit, has to take care of him for a couple of years; an' back here the old woman got kind of feeble an' on her uppers, an there was hell to pay, an' -"
"Wot's bitin' youse, Nan?" The Pug's lisping whisper broke sharply in upon Pinkie Bonn's story.
Rhoda Gray started. She was conscious now that she had been leaning forward, staring in a startled way at Pinkie as he talked; conscious now that for a moment she had forgotten - that she was Gypsy Nan. But she was mistress of herself on the instant, and she scowled blackly at the Pug.
"Mabbe it's me soft heart dat's touched!" she flung out acidly. "Youse close yer trap, an' let Pinkie talk!"
"Yes, shut up!" said Pinkie. "What was I sayin'? Oh, yes! An' then the old guy makes a strike. Can you beat it! I dunno nothing about the way they pull them things, but he's off by his lonesome out somewhere, an' he finds gold, an' stakes out his claim, but he takes sick again an' can't work it, an' it's all he can do to get back alive to civilization. He keeps his mouth shut for a while, figurin' he'll get strong again, but it ain't no good, an' he gets a letter from the old woman tellin' how bad she is, an' then he shows some of the stuff he'd found. After that there's nothing to it! Everybody's beatin' it for the place; but, at that, old Dainey comes out of it all right, an' goes crazy with joy 'cause some guy offers him twenty-five thousand bucks for his claim, an' throws in the expenses home for good luck. He gets the money in cash, twenty-five one-thousand-dollar bills, an' the chicken feed for the expenses, an' starts for back here an' the old woman. But this time he don't keep his mouth shut about it when he'd have been better off if he had. See? He was tellin' about it on the train. I guess he was tellin' about it all the way across. But, anyway, he tells about it comm' from Philly this afternoon, an' French Pete an' Marny Day happens to be on the train, an' they hears it, an' frames it up to annex the coin before morning, 'cause he's got in too late to get the money into any bank to-day."
Pinkie Bonn paused, and stuck his tongue significantly in his cheek.
Shluker was rubbing his hands together now in a sort of unctuous way.
"It sounds pretty good," he murmured; "only there's Danglar -"
"Youse leave Danglar to me!" broke in the Pug. "As soon as we hands one to dem two boobs an' gets de cash, Pinkie can beat it back here wid de coin an wait fer me while I finds Danglar an' squares it wid him. He ain't goin' to put up no holler at dat. We ain't runnin' de gang into nothin'. Dis is private business - see? So youse just take a sneak wid yerself, an' fix a nice little alibi fer us so's we won't be takin' any chances."
"But what's the good of that?" he demurred. "French Pete and Marny Day '11 see you anyway."
"Will dey!" scoffed the Pug. "Guess once more! A coupla handkerchiefs over our mugs is good enough fer dem, if youse holds yer end up. An' dey wouldn't talk fer publication, anyway, would dey?"
Shluker smiled now-almost ingratiatingly.
"And how much is my end worth?" he inquired softly.
"One of dem thousand-dollar engravin's," stated the Pug promptly. "An' Pinkie'll run around an' slip it to youse before mornin'"
"All right," said Shluker, after a moment. "It's half past eight now. From nine o'clock on, you can beat any jury in New York to it that you were both at the same old place - as long as you keep decently under cover. That'll do, won't it? I'll fix it. But I don't see -"
Rhoda Gray, as Gypsy Nan, for the first time projected herself into the discussion. She cackled suddenly in jeering mirth.
"I t'ought something was wrong wid her!" whispered the Pug with mock anxiety. "Mabbe she ain't well! Tell us about it, Nan!"
"When I do," she said complacently, "mabbe youse'll smile out of de other corner of dat mouth of yers!" She turned to Shluker. "Youse needn't lay awake waitin' fer dat thousand, Shluker, 'cause youse'll never see it. De little game's all off - 'cause it's already been pulled. See? Dere was near a riot as I passes along a street goin' to yer place, an' I gets piped off to wot's up, an' it's de same story dat Pinkie's told, an' de crib's cracked, an' de money's gone - dat's all."
Shluker's face fell.
"I said you were fools when I first came in here!" he burst out suddenly, wheeling on Pinkie Bonn and the Pug. "I'm sure of it now. I was wonderin a minute ago how you were goin' to keep your lamps on Pete and Marny from here, or know when they were goin' to pull their stunt, or where to find 'em."
Pinkie Bonn, ignoring Shluker, leaned toward Rhoda Gray.
"Say, Nan, is that straight?" he inquired anxiously. "You sure?"
|Back||1 2 3 4||Next|