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Dog Collared

By Joe Archibald

When Willie Sees Red and Battles Saboteurs who Threaten the Navy Yard, He Wins the Fur-Lined Pooch for Sleuthing!

THE phone rang early one morning in the office of William Klump, president of the Hawkeye Detective Agency and Willie hurriedly dropped a cackleberry into a pot of boiling water atop a portable stove, then picked up the public utility gadget.

"The Klump Agency never sleeps," Willie said. "What? Huh?"

"Good morning, sir. Good morning. This is Pliny's Pick-a-Pal Pet Shoppe calling. We want to remind you, sir, that Miss Gertrude Mudgett's birthday is next Friday and if you are looking for a Pekingese, Pomeranian, poodle or pug to give her, we got everythin', sir. This is Pliny's new service and what do you think of it, Mr. Klump? Goodbye."

"Wait," Willie said. "I ain't in a market for no pooch. Or am I? How did Gertieā€”I mean how did they know she went with me steady?" Willie hung up and scratched his cranium. "Why, she was ravin' about havin' a mutt to keep her company the las' time I saw her though. Boy, they should be detectives and not me."

Willie munched on his boiled egg, deploring the loss of three hundred dollars he'd had left over from his last case until Gertie had pounced on it.

"I'll put it away toward our furniture, Willie," Gertie had said. "You ain't to be trusted with money. Anybody could sell you anything, even lockjaw germs."

Willie cleared his breakfast dishes away, washed his plate and cup and spoon. If all detectives looked like Willie, dishonest citizens would just give up and go to work. There was absolutely no chance for the average skullduggerian to tag Willie as a slewfoot, for Willie looked like something that had suddenly been lifted off a country fair lot and deposited right in the middle of Times Square.

That was his chief stock in trade, for if the government ever slapped an excessive profit tax on brains, Willie could simply write Uncle Sam and ask for a rebate.

Willie took a four-day-old letter from his pocket. It bore a Washington, D. C., postmark and in the upper left hand corner of the long envelope were the pulse- needling words, "Federal Bureau of Investigation." For the tenth time Willie read:

Dear Mr. Klump:

We are sorry to inform you that you lack the necessary qualifications to become a G-man. You have never passed a bar examination, and you got no farther than the seventh grade in school. We are sorry to hear that the army refused to accept you as a recruit because of poor eyesight but are confident they will draft you when they need you.

Very truly yours.

"I don't get it," Willie said in a nettled voice. "I didn't think all G-men was ex- bartenders, and when you get a big public enemy cornered, does he ask you what high school or college was you graduated from, before you have got a right to shoot him? It is because I have no pull in the government."

THE phone rang again. Willie answered it and recognized Gertie Mudgett's voice.

"Hello Willie," Gertie trilled. "Don't keep me waiting for our date tonight, will you? We both ain't any younger, are we? Why, I was sayin' to Millie Moran only this mornin', Pa's birthday is almost here ag'in an' it seems only yesterday I give him the quart of rye for his las' one. G'by, Willie."

"G'by," Willie said, and asked himself, as he hung up, "I wonder if she is hintin' about her birthday. All dames are gold diggers."

Willie Klump stayed in most of the day, hoping that a client would call up or knock on his door. No soap. He told himself he might just as well have opened a man-hunting bureau in the left wing of a monastery. Finally he reached for his hat and went out of the office.

Gertie was to be in a tavern on Third Avenue at six-thirty. They served the kind of corned beef and cabbage Gertie liked. Willie arrived ten minutes late, but he saw no signs of his torch. He slid into a booth and waited.

A waiter came out of a phone booth and called out:

"Is Chick Bean around?"

A long thin citizen in baggy tweeds and battered skimmer turned away from the bar and he wanted to know supposing he was.

"A guy says to tell him there is a murder just found out down on East Forty- third," the waiter growled. "And if this Bean is any kind of reporter, he'll. . . Oh, hello Chick. I didn't know you."

The reporter banged down his beer and dusted out of the tavern. Willie Klump snatched up his own hat and caught up with the scribbler at the curb. He climbed into the same cab.

"What you want?" the news hound clipped. "Beat it, as I got plenty of insurance now."

"I'm a detective," Willie said. "Just new at Headquarters." He flashed his badge.

"Yeah? Okay, but if you are a phony, the...

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