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Defective Bureau

By Joe Archibald

Willie Klump, the Hawkeye Hawkshaw, is a new type of Four-F—fast, furious, ferocious and funny!

WILLIAM J. KLUMP, President of the Hawkeye Detective Agency, Inc., sat on a hard bench outside of a row of frosted glass partitions on the other side of which certain citizens were being examined by M.D.s chosen by a draft board. Willie, although he had been weeded out before by the medics, was being given another chance to prove that he could help hold a beach-head on some foreign shore.

Gobbets of sweat the size of giant tapioca glistened on Willie's roundish countenance, but if he was nervous, the character sitting next to him was good for a straitjacket. He was a gee clad in expensive all-wool and he had a sparkler on the pinky of the hand that was busily stowing a string of licorice in his mouth. The draftee looked quite healthy, Willie thought. His long face was swarthy and he had a pair of shoulders that reminded the private sleuth of the physical culture ads.

"You think they'll take you?" Willie asked, to make conversation.

"My pals are bettin' four to one on me to beat the—I mean git turned down," the selectee said. "Er—if a fairy godmother comes along I'd ast her to swap your torso for mine with the exception of the faces, of course. I would be a cinch to stay Four-F. Have a bite of licorice, huh!"

The character wiped his face with a silk hanky and chewed at a pretty fingernail. Willie accepted a string of licorice a foot long and bit two inches off it and started chewing. Half an hour later he wondered why he got even more jittery. Butterflies were doing chandelles and Immelmanns inside his stomach and his ticker suddenly seemed to turn over on its side like a tanker that has just absorbed a torp.

"All right, you two guys," a tough individual wearing a white coat called out and Willie got up and shuffled into the horrible place.

The M.D.'s lost no time with him. One tapped his chest and got a funny look in his eye. He put the stethoscope in place and listened to the wild turbulence going on under Willie's breastbone.

"How did you ever get up the stairs?" the doc sniffed, and shoved Willie into another cubicle. Here they looked, at the detective's puppies and they shook their heads.

"How am I doin' so far?" Willie asked from as far down as his knees.

"By rights you shouldn't even be alive," a medic said. "Go on in and see the psychiatrist."

WILLIE did. When he was told to get his clothes on twenty minutes later, he was much relieved. A medic handed him a small card and grinned. Willie read the print on the little card. It said:

BERRYMAN & PLANTER
MORTICIANS

"I need a mortician?" Willie gulped. "My eyes bad, too?"

"They're twenty-eighty, and you can look that up," an M.D. said. "You got talipes valgus, a cardiographical phenomenon, and besides you are a psychoneurotic."

"Does that mean I am turned down!" Willie groaned.

"At the minute you could not qualify for a Girl Scout scrap drive, Klump. Whoever sent you back again?"

Willie sat down outside for a few moments and his ticker was beating his ribs as if it had suddenly got very angry with them. The pump felt as big as one of the shoes of "Satchelfoot" Kelly, of Police Headquarters, and no tom-tom ever went closer to town. Well, he would ask for the War Bonds Gertie was keeping for him so he could see the Mayo brothers and even John Hopkins.

"Hiya, pal," a voice said and Willie looked up and, saw the draftee with the dazzling dornick on his pinky. "I collect that bet. They turned me down with a tricky ticker, and who would ever figger I wa'n't in the bloom of health?"

"I got three times more the matter with me than you," Willie sighed. "Well, I'll rest another minute and then try and git home."

Two M.D.s went by.

"I would have bet that one would have been on Truk within six months, George," said one. "You never know, do you?"

"It is the life he leads, Eddie. Them night-club guys hear so much boogiewoogie and torch singin', their hearts gets pulled out of shape. Why, I saw a dame in one of 'em that made mine do tricks like a trained seal. But four in one day, George!"

William Klump finally decided to risk the walk back to his rooming house.

Once in the sanctuary of his four walls, he sat down and remained quiet. His pump started putting on the brakes and soon it seemed to have reached a normal tempo. While enjoying some health he guessed he had better call Gertrude Mudgett. He went out into the hall, dropped a nickel in the pay phone and twirled the dial.

"This is Willie, Gert. Don't talk, but listen, as I can't stand up too long. It might prove fatal. Meet me at the place we et last night at twelve-thirty. G'by."

"Are you nuts?" Gertie asked William Klump when they met. "The next time you don't gimme a chance to talk, I'll—"

"Now, look," Willie gulped. "You got to remember not to git me excited, Gert. I just come...

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