, June, 1941
When Lady Luck Knocks On Willie Klump's Door, the Ingrate Detective
Checks Up On Her Fingerprints
Author of No Place Likes Homicide,
Scent to the Jug, etc.
WILLIE KLUMP was flush again. As owner of the Hawkeye Detective
Agency of New York, Willie's last case had thrown a sizable bunch of
scratch his way. The suit he wore, however, as he sat in his office
that fine morning, was a rusty blue ensemble that any hungry moth would
shy at unless it was on the verge of starvation. His shoes were scuffed
to the color of an abject coward's spine.
Willie had a face as innocent of guile as that of an hour-old sprout.
Unbelievable but true was the fact that he actually had a reason for
appearing seedy. It was uncanny how the word got around when Klump got
back on the gravy train.
Three days after a chunk of reward dough was in his pocket, he had
been interviewed by a smooth character who had proceeded to relieve
Willie of just half his fresh bale of hay.
How can you lose, Klump? the visitor had urged. Mink coats sell
for three thousand bucks! You buy a pair of minks up on the farm and,
before you know it, they got little minks who grow up and have little
minxes. In no time you sell a dame on Park Avenue a fur coatsix
hunnerd per cent profit!
Willie had been more than impressed. He had handed over five hundred
dollars for a pair of minks, which included their board and lodging for
a year. Two weeks later, he had received a phone call.
Mr. Klump? a citizen asked.
Sorry, them two minks of yours got sick and died. So long.
Thus ended the short but painful career of Trapper Klump. However, he
still had five Cs left and he intended keeping it. Nor was the
experience wasted. Unhappy though it was, he had learned to view
everyone with alarm.
A rough-looking citizen, with a cap pushed back over his
bullet-shaped noggin, slid into the office. Willie immediately put up
Aw, I don't look that hard, Mister Klump. The visitor grinned out
of one corner of his mouth. Look, I'm Slug McGee and I belong to the
Taxi Drivers' Benevolent Association. The boys are gettin' up dough to
throw a gallop in Cooley's Hall on East Thirteenth Street and we're
sellin' chances on a Gnash Eight. How about a book, Klump? Only
two-fifty for five chances.
Glad to help out worthy causes, Willie said and dug down.
He got a book of tickets and wrote his name and address on the stubs.
Tearing off the five tickets he was to retain, he looked at the numbers
which ran from 5010 to 5014. He shoved them into his pocket.
I never had no luck, Willie said. If you sell ten thousand of
those, and everybody but me and another guy holdin' the tickets drop
dead, the other guy will win.
You kill me, Klump, the taxi driver said. That reminds me. You a
bein' a private dick, musta heard about Hy Capstan, the fight manager,
bein' found croaked in his office just awhile ago. I wonder who done
it. They're suspectin' another pug maestro by the name of O'Berl.
What? Willie yelped. A murder, and me just sittin' here? Hy
Capstan? His boy fought just the other night in the Garden and kayoed
Palsy Walzi! Where's my hat?
On your dome, Klump. Well, good luck.
Slug discovered he was alone. The great detective had already left.
WILLIE found quite a fuss in an office building on Upper Seventh
Avenue. The remains of Hy Capstan still reposed on the floor of his
pugilistic clearing house. Some citizen had caressed him with a bronze
statuette of Gene Tunney. The corpse appraiser was telling the
assembled that Hymie had been across the River Styx for roughly four
hours. Aloysius Satchelfoot Kelly, from the D.A.'s office, was busily
Tunney never hit nobody harder, huh? Kelly was quipping when Willie
finally squeezed into the office.
Klump was aghast.
He knocked off Capstan? This is an awful scandal. Why, he was
supposed to quit boxin' and start readin'!
Willie took off his coat and draped it over a chair. Satchelfoot
Kelly picked up the haberdashery and tossed it out into the hall.
Follow it, you dime-store dick, Kelly growled. I won't stand for
you clutterin' up this case.
Willie went out into the corridor and picked up his mustard-colored
overcoat. Papers had fallen out of the inside pocket and were strewn on
the floor. A character from Cauliflower Alley helped him collect the
documents. He handed Willie a handful of auto raffle tickets and other
papers of doubtful value.
Everythin' here but a check for a short beer, pal.
Thank you, Willie said. I would be lost without these notes. When
I think up somethin', I have to write it down so I will not forget.
He went right back into the office again and almost tripped over the
corpse. There was a rough-looking taxpayer, telling all he knew. He had
big nubs over his peepers, which resembled purple dough surrounding
Yeah, the character was saying, O'Berl and Capstan had woids right
after the fight. The sport boys know that O'Berl climbs into the ring
after Palsy Walzi takes the count and tells Hy he was crossed up,
O'Berl was. He says he will kill Hy, see? The smart boys says that Hy's
battler, Mickey Finlan, wasn't supposed to lick Palsy, because Mickey
won the last time. There was almost a big fight between Hy and O'Berl
in a joint.
I see, Kelly snapped. Hy got nice odds on Mickey as he was
supposed to do a Brodie.
That should not be allowed, Willie Klump stated. It is not
Look, Willie, Satchelfoot said, holding up the investigation for a
minute. Like even the worst doctor, I got some patience. But you keep
outa this or you will see the beast in me.
All right, Kelly, Willie said. I won't stay here another minute.
Now ya hoit his feelin's. A pughandler grinned. You want crime to
spread in this burg, Kelly?
Willie went out of the office, walked into one right next door. There
were pictures of fighters all over the walls, besides a small
switchboard and two easy chairs. Shuffling to the chair behind the
board, he looked through a little square opening in the wall. He could
see and hear everything going on in the late Hy Capstan's tin-ear
TWO big boys from downtown were dusting the bronze statuette with
white powder. A man with a camera was taking pictures. Satchelfoot
Kelly straightened up from the corpse just as two men in white came in
with a long basket.
Only one set of prints on this statue, Kelly, a cop said. Wasn't
handled much, or maybe it was dusted off nice before the murderer swung
it. When O'Berl comes in, we'll nab his prints and compare 'em. He
won't have a leg to stand on. He's a coldblooded character, Mike is,
eatin' corned beef sandwiches with his victim.
That is silly, Willie muttered. They was hungry. Temperature ain't
got nothing to do with it.
At that moment, two husky cops in mufti tossed an unpleasant-looking
character into Hy Capstan's inner office. Mike O'Berl looked as tough
as a life sentence and he wore a crude mistake on the part of clothing
manufacturers. It had big checks and little purple dots, that on him,
was not becoming.
There! Satchelfoot Kelly yelped. Look at your vile deed, O'Berl.
You rubbed out Capstan! Don't start makin' a confession till I get my
fountain pen out.
Huh? Mike O'Berl gulped. Hy! Speak to me, pal!
If he does, Willie mumbled, I will sell him to Ripley.
You was here late last night, Kelly stated.
Y-yeah, b-but not s-so late, O'Berl protested. I come to Hy and
ast him like a pal to gimme some of the scratch he got for framin' that
fight. After that I went out and sashayed around town. This is awful!
It ain't good, Satchelfoot agreed sourly. Where was you between
the hours of three and five this A. M.? That was when Hymie was
That's easy, Kelly. I waserI won't tell you!
Willie saw O'Berl take out a purple handkerchief and mop the fretting
oil off his crank-face. He glared at the cops.
No alibi, Kelly said triumphantly. Get that ink pad and some paper
and we'll fingerprint the defendant. You are a cold-blooded killer,
Mike. You et with your victim and with each swallow you took, you
plotted this awful deed. Hy and you plotted to cheat the public. Mickey
Finlan was supposed to lose, but he didn't. He kayoed your Palsy Walzi.
Somebody cleaned up and some other characters were busted. Let's hold
Willie watched them take O'Berl's prints, then compare the results
with the marks left on the bronze statue.
The same, Satchelfoot! a cop said. Look at 'em through this
magnifyin' glass. Arrest O'Berl for the murder of Hymie Capstan!
Willie groaned. It looked to him as if Satchelfoot Kelly really had
solved a crime. It was unbelievable.
I want a lawyer! Mike O'Berl howled. I didn't kill Hy, but I won't
tell you where I was when he was killed. I got my reasons.
You better get two lawyers, Satchelfoot advised. From
A BIG calendar was fastened to the wall near the switchboard. It drew
Willie's attention. A certain date, ringed with a pencil, seemed to be
trying to tell him something.
When I was in to see Hy early yesterday mornin', I picked that
statue up to admire it, O'Berl said. It was awful pretty.
Gimme Headquarters, Satchelfoot said through the opening in the
wall of the office.
You bet, sugar, Willie piped in a convincing falsetto.
The dame in there has moxie, Kelly said. I will see her in a
minute or two. He picked up the phone. Hello, this is Kelly. I nabbed
Capstan's killer. Bringin' him in. Got his prints and
Keep your hair on, big boy, Willie squeaked. You have the wrong
number. This is Clara's Beauty Parlor in Yorkville.
Klump vacated the switchboard before Satchelfoot could get his head
through the opening in the wall. There was no doubt that the office
building took pride in appearances, for Satchelfoot banged his face
against the clean glass.
I'll kill that dame! Kelly raged. Somebody get me a towel. Oh, my
nose! When that cupcake gets a load of what 1 gotta say
Huh? a flat-nosed character said. She heard there was a stiff in
here and beat it downstairs and didn't come back.
Satchelfoot sat down on a chair and got first aid. As his ponderous
mental machinery began to turn over, he detected a familiar ring in the
voice at the board. He went berserk and ran out into the corridor.
Seeing Willie Klump leap into the elevator, he made a grab and almost
lost four fingers when the elevator man slammed the door.
William Klump, president of the Hawkeye Detective Agency, sauntered
toward his office, a pleased grin on his face. He had a calendar
stuffed into his coat pocket, though he did not know why he had stolen
it. He stopped in front of a jalopy salesroom and admired a Gnash
I guess Gertie would sit up and take notice if I stopped in front of
her house in that, he mused. But I never was lucky at winnin'
Arrived at his office, he pulled the calendar out of his pocket and
put it on his desk. He took paper and pencil from his pocket and tried
to think. Slowly he immortalized his thoughts.
No. 1. O'Berl is guilty. His prints were on Tunney and it was Tunney
who hit Hy on the head.
No.2. O'Berl had an alibi but wouldn't say where he was, so the alibi
was no good.
Hy cleaned up by betting on Mickey Finlan because Mickey was supposed
to do a dive. I bet some gamblers are sore.
No.3. Why did I take the calendar out of the office? Dates are funny.
Last night can also be this morning, if it comes after twelve midnight.
I must try and think. Why waste my time, though? O'Berl is guilty and
Satchelfoot arrested him. I must look for cases that are not solved.
Willie opened a couple of letters that a mailman slipped under his
door. One was from a shoe establishment that specialized in gum-soled
shoes. Another was from the Peerless Handcuff Company, announcing a
sale of fetters for the trade.
Willie was quite frugal by nature. He went to a little safe in the
corner and withdrew some sandwiches he had left over from lunch the day
before. After nibbling on one, he fell asleep.
THE president of the Hawkeye Detective Agency awoke with a start.
Paper, Mister? a little urchin yelled at him from the doorway.
Why, it is late, Willie said. Yes, I will have a paper.
On the front page of the organ of public opinion was a sour note.
Satchelfoot Kelly and another slewfoot were photographed holding a
prisoner between them. A headline screeched :
ARRESTED FOR MURDER
The article stated that the purse of one Mickey Finlan was held up
until the Boxing Commission could investigate the alleged malpractices.
O'Berl, it averred, had no alibi and was going to be held without bail
for the heinous crime. Of course Detective Aloysius Kelly had shown
uncanny speed in the solving of the Capstan liquidation.
Nerts, Willie sneered. I wish a client would call up or come in.
Huh, O'Berl was heard threatenin' to kill Hymie in the Garden. Why, I
heard thirty thousand people threaten to fracture an ump's dome when
the Giants was playin' the Brooklyns. Why, even I planned to kill
Satchelfoot three times.
The door opened. A middle-aged female citizen stalked in and banged
her reticule down on Willie's desk. She took a chair without being
asked and pointed her finger at Willie.
Are you a detective?
Certainly, Willie said. What do I look like?
I'm a lady! Anyhow, Mr. Klump, I want to hire you.
Willie beamed. There was still a sandwich left on his desk. He
offered it to his client.
What's in it? the woman said.
She had a build like Superman, with the head of a Tugboat Annie
placed on top of it. Her jaw was as hard as a Siberian winter and she
had a pair of eyes that could back up a grizzly. About her mink coat
was enough costume jewelry to sink a rowboat.
Roast beef, Willie said.
You got a nerve, Klump. My name's Mrs. Michael O'Berl.
Willie almost fell out of his chair. He knocked off Hy Capstan!
Didn't you know?
I been hearin' things, Klump. Mrs. O'Berl bit out. I got to have
proof. I didn't go to the cops because they are too sure, so I hunted
through the phone book for a private detective and saw your name. There
ought to be a law against you bein' listed. If my corns weren't
roasting, I'd go and look up a real detective.
I am very deceivin' in looks, Willie said. But I can show you
Let's get down to brass tacks. O'Berl is no chump. He didn't rub out
that Hy Capstan. He's so tenderhearted, he made me throw out a
mouse-trap once. I saw him go in and say his prayers after he killed a
fly. I'm goin' to find out if he's got an alibi and if it is what I
think, maybe he'd rather go to the hot seat than come home.
I don't get it, Willie bleated.
I want you to go around places where a fight manager would hang
out, Mrs. O'Berl instructed. Find out who his friends were. I want to
know why he won't alibi. There is a hundred bucks in it for you,
anyway. If you find out things, I double it.
I'll take the case, Willie said weakly, because he did not dare to
Okay, Klump, Mrs. O'Berl snapped. Here is fifty bucks retainer.
Start snoopin'. You should be ashamed eatin' that kind of sandwich.
Well, you look like a heathen. I am leavin' my phone number on that
AFTER she steamed for home Willie sat there, his brain addled. He
looked at the sandwich that had insulted Mrs. O'Berl, then scratched
his noggin to see if it would not start perking. The calendar on his
desk stared up at him.
Last night could also be this A.M., Willie repeated as he perused
his notes. Why did I write that? Suddenly he jumped up and slapped
both hands to his head. Corned beef, roast beef! I knew I was tryin'
to think of somethin', but it wouldn't shake loose. I got it! Where is
there a pencil?
William Klump sallied forth that very night. He ankled into a bistro
known to all the plungers in the sock market and picked himself a
table. He asked questions about Mike O'Berl. The waiter declared that
the murderer of Hy Capstan had left Bindy's at two o'clock the night
before. Nobody had seen him since that time.
To think he left the place to go and kill Hy! the waiter protested
to Willie. You just can't figure guys, huh? Maybe you are a murderer,
Me? Willie gulped.
He paid for his short drink and started making the rounds. Tavern
keepers do not like characters barging in who do not drink at least one
snort, so at three in the morning, Willie staggered along Lexington
Avenue. The sidewalk kept coming up and hitting the soles of his shoes
before he could touch it. His eyes were out of focus and there were
bees in his noggin.
A pair of citizens confronted Willie. One of them was Satchelfoot
Kelly. The other was Gertie Mudgett, Willie's torch on most occasions.
Satchelfoot had twenty cent's worth of adhesive tape on his face.
I can't believe it, Kelly, Gertie sniffed. He's got a load on that
would weigh down a stevedore. Willie, I am ashamed of you! What drove
you to it?
I went tohicthirty plashes. One li'l drink in each plashe.
Ihicbet shomebody shlugged me. Where am I, huh? O'Berl'sh
innershent. Sh! Don't tell nobody. Sho long, old palsh of mine, old
shnakes in the grash!
Somethin' is funny about this, Kelly said as he watched Willie make
a third attempt at turning the corner. He is tryin' to forget.
That ain't hard for Willie when he is sober, Gertie sneered. Well,
I'm through with that idiot. To think he would take to drink! Now I've
seen everythin', Kelly.
Willie had a terrible headache the next morning. His tongue tasted as
though the Italian army had retreated across it with no shoes on. What
made him feel worse was that he had found out nothing about Mike
All that morning Willie stayed in bed. Then a bright idea hit him. He
would go down and see Mike O'Berl.
HE HAD a hard time crashing the gate in the Tombs, till he asked an
official to call up the prisoner's spouse. She vouched for Willie being
in her hire.
Only until tomorrow morning, though, Mrs. O'Berl said. Then he is
Look, Mike, Willie said, when he reached the prisoner at last. You
did not rub out Hy Capstan, but who did? Look, was you ever in the
electric chair? It is awful. Come clean with an alibi.
I got an alibi, I admit, O'Berl snapped, but it is tongue-tied.
I'm takin' the easiest way out of this world, Klump. Now just go and
leave me alone. I'll take my chances with a mouthpiece. I have plenty
of trouble without you. Beat it.
A strange case, Willie groaned and went out. I hate Satchelfoot
like I do broccoli, but I would hate to think of Kelly havin' the blood
of an innocent man on his head. Satchelfoot is pretty dumb or he would
know what I know, but it wouldn't hold in court.
Willie was fired by Mrs. O'Berl the next morning.
You couldn't find a frostbite in Little America, Klump, Mike's
spouse said. O'Berl has an alibi, only it says 'Papa' when you squeeze
A doll? Willie blurted. No guy would fry because he was ashamed of
a double life.
You don't know me, Klump, Mrs. O'Berl retorted. Mike does!
Well, I'm a monkey's aunt, Willie said, hanging up.
Two days went by. Then Willie was hailed that afternoon as he passed
a taxi stand.
Hi, pal! It was Slug McGee. The gallop is tonight. You gotta be
there to collect the Gnash, Mr. Klump. Anyway, get yourself a cookie
an' go, as it will be some brawl.
I never was lucky, Willie said. But I might come to forget my
If you ain't got a friend, Klump, look me up when you get there. I
know some swell numbers.
What could I lose? Willie said.
He walked along and picked up a newspaper. It said that O'Berl had
been indicted for first-degree murder and that the D.A. was sure of a
conviction in record time.
Yeah? Willie said cryptically, even for him. A citizen might two
time his ball and chain, but not his chances for a ringside seat up in
the clouds. Anyhow, not a character named O'Berl.
THE dance held by the Taxi Drivers' Benevolent Association in
Cooley's Hall was something for the book. Willie Klump, all dressed up
in a new blue serge suit, had himself a time. Slug McGee had seen to it
that Willie had four dolls lined up for the evening's trot.
Willie was glad when the lights went on and the orchestra stopped
pounding away. His collar was wilted and his feet felt like two bunches
of bananas. He was swooning from perfume and there was lipstick on his
The master of ceremonies announced that the drawing for the Gnash
Eight was about to begin. Willie did not bother to look at his tickets,
for they were in the pocket of his benny out in the check room.
Win it, handsome, his girl of the moment trilled. You need it.
With the face you drew, you ought to have something. They're picking
the number now. It won't be long, sugar.
I never was lucky, Willie said pessimistically.
The winnah, folksseven-eleven- seven. How could the guy lose? The
lucky gentleman is Mr. Al B. Griper, One hundred and thoity-three
Crestona Avenya, Bronx, New York. Is Mr. Griper here with his ticket?
I never was lucky, Willie said. Nerts.
Here! a deep voice boomed and a big citizen, clad in a spiffy
tuxedo and wearing a nifty brunette on his arm, pushed through the
crowd. I am Al Griper.
Okay, pal. Just hand me your ticket.
Why, I ain't got it, Griper said. But my name and address are on
the stub. I mislaid the ticket someplace. Ha-ha! We ride home in the
new boiler, honey.
Now, Mr. Griper, you know the rulesno tickee, no washee, the
announcer said. Well, we can draw again, ladies an' gents. We will
Al Griper got nettled over the whole thing.
A gyp, huh? he roared. I take that jalopy, see? You wise guys are
playin' a game, huh?
Go away, Mr. Griper, the tough- looking announcer said. You bother
me. Gimme your ticket and you get the car. Otherwise, scram!
No kiddin'? said Griper.
The master of ceremonies took a clout on the chin, but he had
friends. One hung a sweet hook on Griper's chin. A pal of Griper's
knocked that citizen kicking. A neutral party took a punch at the
nearest person to him. Then everybody invited himself in and the riot
A fight! Willie Klump yipped.
Goody! the doll with Willie said. I bet it will be the best one we
ever had. Hit somebody, Klump. Don't be a wall- flower.
SOMEBODY hit Willie first and he spun around in a circle. When he got
his marbles picked up, he was near a door that said exit. He barged
through it and nearly went over the fire-escape. The sounds of battle
back in Cooley's Hall increased in violence. Willie heard a cop's
whistle. The president of the Hawkeye Detective Agency scampered down
and dropped to the safety of an alley. An empty bottle flew out of
Cooley's Hall and nearly brained him.
It is a mess, Willie said and got to the main drag. A police car
whizzed by, siren yelping. Three others followed.
Willie waited at the corner until the fight was broken up. A load of
brawlers were carted to the nearest clink and order prevailed. Then he
went into Cooley's and claimed his hat and coat. Escaping the taxi
drivers' ball as fast as he knew how, he sought the sanctuary of his
room over on East Forty-sixth Street.
He sighed and pulled out his Gnash Eight tickets, letting them
flutter to the floor.
I never was lucky, he mused.
His eyes stared at the little slip that fell against his boot. Willie
pinched himself and blinked, shut his eyes and counted to twenty. When
he opened his peepers, the ticket was still there. The number was 7117.
Willie gathered up his raffle tickets. There was six of them, whereas
he had purchased five. He thought back, though he always had trouble
thinking back further than yesterday.
Now, take it easy, Willie, Klump said to himself. The citizen who
started the fight had that number. I will call up Mrs. O'Berl and ask
does she know Griper. I may get that other dough she promised me.
Willie went out into the hall and called Mrs. O'Berl.
Somethin' funny turned up, he said. Do you know a guy named Al
Griper? This is Willie Klump.
You called me outa my bath, stupid. I could kill you.
One murderer in a family is enough, ain't it? Willie wanted to
Griper? she repeated, chastened. He's a gambler. He won ten grand
on the Pete Vizic-Little Montana scrap. Nobody gave Montana a chance.
Hy Capstan handled Vizic that time. So what?
So I am goin' nuts, Willie said. I'll be seein' you.
Not this way! she howled.
Willie ran back into his room and got his notebook and a pencil. He
Things are adding up. Griper bet on another long shot once. Why?
Because Hy was in the know and had that battle in the bag, too. Hy was
a pal of Griper's and tipped him off to clean-ups. Palsy Walzi was
supposed to win but didn't. Did Hy tell Griper to bet on Palsy Walzi?
Looks like it. Where did I get the lucky ticket? I know. The end.
WILLIE KLUMP hurried to the nearest drug store on Lexington and
looked up Griper. There was the citizen's address, as plain as the
idiocy on Willie's own pan.
Corned beef, huh? Now I will call the cops downtown. He dialed
Headquarters. You got a citizen named Mike O'Berl ignited for murder
down there. You better let him go, as I know who killed Hy Capstan. I
am Willie Klump. I used to work there.
You cut out the gags? a rough voice said, or I will have the D. A.
take away all tin badges.
Well, I am on my way uptown to arrest Al Griper, Willie said.
There will be some peace disturbed, so send a few cops up there to
arrest me. The address is One thirty-three Crestona Avenue, Apartment
Willie Klump hung up, had a coke and watched the clock on the wall
until it ticked off fifteen minutes. Then he went out of the drug store
and grabbed a cab.
In due time William Klump arrived at the door of an apartment marked
B3. Hearing voices, he glued an ear to the door for a minute.
Imagine them crossers, huh? Gypped me outa that boiler. I wish I
knew where I left that ticket. I bet you got it, goin' through my
pockets, Toots, and lost it.
Willie drew a deep breath and knocked. The doll opened the door. Over
his shoulder he saw Al Griper.
Who are you? the male citizen growled. You can't be as dumb as ya
Ierfound this, Willie said.
He handed the gambler the ticket for the Gnash Eight. Griper took a
gander at it and read off the numbers. The doll threw her arms around
Where did you get it, pal? Griper said. You're gonna be first to
get a ride in it. The Gnash Eight, huh?
M-mr. Griper, Willie faltered, it was found right close to the
body of Hy Capstan. You are wanted for the m- murder. You come quietly
Huh? Al Griper choked out.
Kill him, Al, the doll yelped. Oh, you dumb cluck!
William Klump had his moments when he was not such a dope. On the way
in, Willie had looked for the position of the light switch. Just as
Griper grabbed for his Betsy, Willie gave the rough persons a blackout.
Then the president of the Hawkeye Detective Agency stukaed to the
carpet and wriggled under a divan.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
S-stop, Al, Willie heard the torch screech. I am over this way.
Shoot for the door before he tries to get out!
Yeah, Toots. Bang! Bang! How did that creep get that
There was a terrible hubbub outside and Al Griper yowled:
Out the winder, sugar! The cops have followed this punk here. We
KLUMP slid out and grabbed at Griper's ankles, bringing him down with
a loud wallop. Then a flock of gendarmes broke into B3 and turned the
Stop where you are, everybody! a familiar voice barked.
Hello, Satchelfoot, Willie said. Grab Al Griper quick, as he
knocked off Hy Capstan. He hit him with the statue of Tunney, only he
held it by the dome and then wiped prints off it afterward. The ones
O'Berl put on it, when he picked it up like he said, was close to the
feet and was left on. This character dropped a raffle ticket out in the
hall near Hy's office. I was to a dance where he claimed a jalopy the
ticket was for.
H-huh? Satchelfoot gulped. You mean this guy
I didn't have anything to do with it, the doll shrieked. I am not
taking a rap with this mug. Yes, he went to see Hy late that night
I'll croak you for that! Al Griper howled.
Get out of them cuffs I put on ya,
Kelly said, and you'll be Houdini. How did I figure it was O'Berl so
quick? I wished I didn't always jump to conclusions.
You was dumb, Satchelfoot. Willie grinned. Else you would know
O'Berl wasn't sharin' corn beef with Hy that night.
I don't get it, Kelly groaned.
A guy named O'Berl, Willie said, eatin' meat on Fridayand the
Thirteenth at that? Why, Satchelfoot, you should be ashamed.
Ah, nuts, Kelly said.
No wonder Griper only bought one ticket, Willie said, with a lucky
number like seven-eleven-seven. He played hunches, being a gambler. Hy
told him to bet on Palsy Walzi and then fixed the fight and forgot to
wise up Griper. So Griper goes to see Hy for a settlement and he don't
get it, so out goes Hy. It is all very simple when you know. Griper put
a ticket on a corpse and it come home to roost. The day you throwed my
coat out, my raffle tickets flew out and went all over the floor. A
little pug helped me pick 'em up.
But O'Berl didn't have no alibi, Satchelfoot argued.
We will ask O'Berl when we get downtown, Willie said. Your face is
healin' up nice, ain't it?
AN HOUR later, Mike O'Berl spilled it, but not for publication.
Sure, I'm with a swell doll all that time. Then I hear he's been
murdered and the cops are lookin' for me. I asks the doll to front for
me. She says nerts, as she is a sweetie of a very tough character who
has to hide out in Newark. If her pitcher gets in the paper and he sees
it, her life ain't worth a promise from Hitler. He already has rubbed
out two dolls, she tells me. Then there's my wife. If she saw that, I
would not be able to settle for a compound skull-fracture and a severed
jugular. So you see, I was takin' my chances of a quick and painless
It sounds fantastic, don't it, Kelly? Willie grinned. But it
wouldn't if you knowed Mrs. O'Berl. Well, she will gimme that other
dough now for savin' Mike. And Mike should do well by me. If I tell his
You get two Cs, Klump, Mike promised hastily. Whew! I been
practicin' keepin' a stiff upper lip for the last mile for four days.
Well, I must be goin' now, Willie said. If the newspaper guys want
me, I will be at my office.
It ain't fair, Al Griper yapped after he had signed his confession.
Detectives should look and act like detectives.
Picket me, Willie said. Ha-ha! He went out and plodded to the
nearest subway, envisioning headlines in the next day's journals:
KLUMP DOES IT AGAIN!
The D. A. sent for Willie the next A. M. When Klump emerged from his
office building, a little character asked him to take a chance on a new
Nothin' doin', Willie said. I never was lucky. Why, only the other
day I er Hey, gimme five!
EText from pulpgen.com - 2007 Blackmask Online.