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Downed on the Farm

By Joe Archibald

With a Jackknife slayer on the Beantown griddle, Snooty
and Scoop, the cracked eggs of newsdom, beat it up to
Buckwheat, Maine, to put the heat on a home-fried suspect

ALWAYS this part of the year me and Snooty Piper have quite a time of it deciding where we will take our vacation. We go to the Greek's to talk it over, as somehow our minds get quite active when we are sampling Nick's extract of hops.

"How about that place up in New Hampshire, Scoop?" Snooty says to me. "The doll at the village library should have quite an appeal after another year of being cornfed. Where we was last year."

"Uh," I says and shudder. "You mean Poultney's Paradise—in—the— Pines? Where we slept on a hard mattress as thin as the hair on Dogface Woolsey's noggin? Where the telephone booth was a half mile down the road and—I would have to be paid to return to that fly trap, Snooty."

"Well, there's Revere Beach," the crackpot suggests. "It has everythin' there, even athlete's foot. Oh, we'll pick up a newspaper and look through the ads later. Our vacation does not start until Saturday and this is only Thursday. We must look for crime news for Evening Star readers."

"It would be easier to find shell craters in Switzerland," I sigh and sip my brew. "Why I even saw Leadpipe Loogan makin' a speech for war bonds in Chelsea yesterday. I asked him what became of the moll that Bigfoot Benny, the pickpocket, took away from him. He said she is rollin' bandages for the Red Cross, Snooty. Oh, what are we doing to help win the war, huh?"

"Look, Scoop," the incorrigible says and lifts a foot to show me the sole of it. I can see newspaper print through the big hole in it. "I have purchased war bonds every week until I have to have my socks retreaded. I have only two green suits to my name, one of which shines like it was rubbed with phosphorus.

"We applied for the Army and was found undesirables. Is that our fault? For three weeks there I let my hair grow, and had it bobbed, and shaved six times a day while going around to apply for a Salvation Army lassie's job handing out doughnuts. Let's go, Scoop."

We are walking out into Scollay Square when we meet a character in khaki named Hubert Swopp. Hubert used to run the elevator for Mr. Guppy until selective service put the finger on him.

"Hiya, pals," Hubert says. "Want to buy a souvenir from Trinidad? It is a machete and has bloodstains on it. They do everything with a machete down there but eat it. They cut down trees, manicure their nails; cut bread, harvest the crops, and shave with the things, Piper. Two bucks and a half, and it is a steal. If I wasn't so badly in need of moolah, I wouldn't part with it."

"Keep it," I says. "If you have a pair of Jap gold teeth or the shirttail of a Nazi, I will be interested."

"Those Latin boy scout knives can be had in South Boston at Honest Jimmy's for a buck, Hubert," Snooty says. "We will be seeing you, Private. It is our job to protect the home front so we can't be dilly-dallying with such as you."

WE HEAD south on Tremont, and finally walk up the steps of the Hub's gendarmerie on LaGrange Street. There seems to be quite some excitement. Iron Jaw O'Shaughnessy, who is listed as a detective at headquarters although he could not find a mosquito in a jungle, is rushing toward a police squad car which has already got three cops in it.

"This I must see," Snooty says. "Could you thread a small needle with a boa constrictor? Oh, Iron Jaw, what is the rhubarb all about, hah?"

"A murder. They found a corpse on a street in East Boston not far from the post office there. Come on. Hurry up! I—er— what am I sayin'? You two punks git out of my way—Piper, I'll—"

We get in the jalopy ahead of Iron Jaw. Snooty yips, "You invited us. I'll leave it to anybody here. All right, so you couldn't of got in here anyway and you know it. It is nice and cool on the running board."

The squad car with Iron Jaw listing it to port feels like a tanker stopped by a torp. We can hear the metal strip along the running board scrape concrete at times.

"The police department is learning to corporate, Scoop," Snooty enthuses. "It is about time the press was given transportation—look how many patriots are poolin' cars, huh?"

We almost lose Iron Jaw in the tunnel as a big truck nearly makes a sandwich out of him. When we arrive at the place where the corpse is, there is no back in in Jaw's plaid suit.

We soon find out that the defunct once lived and breathed under the name of Boo Boo Hiff, and that his portrait was in the files at the main hoosegow. There is a shiv protruding from the late Hiff's meridian when the appraiser of cadavers turns him over.

"Well, it is good riddance," Iron Jaw says. "He had a record as long as the road between here and Portland, Maine. Boo Boo was in the reformatory six times before he was sixteen. He has done two stretches in as many states. No clues nowhere. I see he carried an Evening Star, Piper. It's right over there. Anybody who reads that sheet should live so long. Ha!"

Yes, we remember Boo Boo as quite a finished recalcitrant. Boo Boo in his time had more rackets than Bill Tilden. He was very unhappy if he was not engaged in double-crossing somebody, even if it had to be his mother. Once Boo Boo beat a rap by singing about his grandma peddling bootleg gin in a go-cart, so you can see what a despicable taxpayer he really was.

Boo Boo came to the attention of the gendarmes only a month ago by tipping the cops off to a bangtail betting layout in the Hotel Quinsey. It seems the character who conducted the joint refused to give Boo Boo further credit. His name was Narragansett Ned Gumbio. He was partners with a notorious gee known as Roxbury Shuffola.

"All we gotta do," Iron Jaw says, "is pin this assassination on Shuffola, as he threatened to fix things for Gumbio who got three years in the icebox."

"It was open season on Boo Boo," Snooty sniffs. "I understand a certain town hall of a suburb even was granting hunting licenses for characters desiring to get hunk with Boo Boo. A score of suspects would not be an exaggeration."

"You keep out of this," Iron Jaw yelps. "Let me get a good look at the shiv, Doc."

The weapon that had completely extinguished Boo Boo was an oversized jackknife you could have skinned an overgrown moose with. The big blade is quite worn down from where I sit. Snooty Piper picks up the copy of the Evening Star Boo Boo must have dropped. "Yeah," Iron Jaw says, ignoring Piper. "See the stuff caked on this big blade, huh? It is what stays on a blade when you have cut tobacco with it a lot. Say, Roxbury Shuffola has a cigar store in Roxbury Square, hasn't he?"

"That's right. O'Shaughnessy," a cop says.

Snooty perks up and drapes the paper over his knees.

"Lot of laborers still buy tobacco by the plug, don't they?" the big flatfoot says. "It is some idea I got, boys. If Shuffola's tobacco cutter is out of order, he would use a big jackknife like this one, maybe."

"Iron Jaw," Snooty says. "You absolutely amaze me I didn't know half what was in you, did I?"

"Oh, it is just elemental, is all," the big slewfoot says. "A matter of careful induction, Piper. You can come along and listen to us grill Roxbury Shuffola if you want."

"That I wouldn't miss, would you, Scoop?"

ALL of us travel to Roxbury Square where Shuffola has a cigar and stationery store, and let the remains of Boo Boo be hauled to the Hub's freezer. Shuffola happens to be in a back room playing some stud poker. We interrupt him just as he fills an inside straight from his sleeves. Roxbury is a short chunky fugitive from rogues' gallery with a voice like an old sailor, and one of his ears has been scrambled somewhere along the primrose path.

"It's the cops," a poker player says. "Call me 'Smith'."

"Well, how many times do you flatfeet run police gallops?" Shuffola says and takes ten bucks out of the kitty. "Here, gimme five pasteboards."

"He thinks he is funny," Iron Jaw growls. "Where you are goin', Roxy, the admission is for free. The hell of it is in gettin' out again. We are takin' you in for grilling, as early this, A.M. a character named Boo Boo Hiff departed this world and not in the natural way, Shuffola. You remember how you told everybody you would fix Boo Boo's apples for what he did to Narragansett Ned's hayburner hostelry?"

"Everybody has threatened somebody sometime," Shuffola says. "I never got around to payin' Boo Boo off, O'Shaughnessy. In fact, me and Boo Boo got to be fast friends, and only last night we was out to a night club on Scollay Square with two babes. I can prove it."

"Can you prove Boo Boo was left intact when you bid him good night, Roxy?" Iron Jaw says.

"It was late. Boo Boo got into a cab and—look, I will say no more until I see a lawyer," Shuffola declares. "You have to hang the rubout on somebody, don't you? And it might as well be me? What proof you got, you big slob?"

"Shuffola," Iron Jaws says. "You sell much plug tobacco?"

"I got maybe a dozen customers uses it. Why?"

"You got a machine for cutting that tobacker in bulk?"

"Yeah, but it broke down couple of months ago. What with a war on, you can't get nothing new which is mechanical," the crude character points out.

"So you used a big shiv," Iron Jaw accuses. "An oversized scout knife, maybe?"

"Yeah, I got it right there on the counter." Shuffola picks up the knife and hands it to Iron Jaw. The big gland case examines it and grins like a wolf locked up with a pen of sheep.

"No stains on it, huh? Clean blade, Shuffola. Where was the one you first used? I will tell you. We found it in Boo Boo's brisket. Let's take a ride, Roxbury."

"It is a frame," Shuffola protests. "I give my old knife to—it was a sprout what lived next door to me. His family moved out of town and—"

"A likely story," Iron Jaw sniffs. "You come with us like a nice boy, Shuffola, or on a window blind, it don't matter which. You got to prove you left Boo Boo last night the same way as when you found him. Crime does not pay, Roxy."

"Get in touch with the canaries they were out with," Snooty says. I see he still has the copy of the Evening Star sticking out of his coat pocket. "If one left with Boo Boo, Shuffola is in the clear."

"They beat it an hour before we broke up," Shuffola gulps. "We got in a battle with the chiselers and chased 'em out into the street where they joined the Navy. Oh, this shouldn't happen to even a German police dog. Here I am innercent but look as guilty as if I did stick Boo Boo. Itzy, ring up that lawyer who married your sister."

"You must be desperate," the gee named Itzy says to Roxbury.

"Come on, Snooty," I says. "You can easily see Shuffola is guilty. Let's go home and look over them vacation booklets once more, huh?"

LATER, in our room in Oxford Street, we try to decide where we will spend two weeks in the quiet of the rural district up north. Snooty Piper says it is funny we did not think to look up a place in one of the best advertising mediums in the whole of Boston. He taps the Evening Star taken away from the scene of Boo Boo Hiff's last stand.

"Listen, Swap. Right here is everything to be desired. 'Still looking for that ideal vacation spot? Stop! Leave right away for Fimkin's-in-the-Firs. Home cooking. Peace and quiet. Canoes for hire. The business man's balm. The stenographer's Shangri-La. Dates will surprise you! Mrs. Oswald Fimkin, Prop., Buckwheat, Maine.' "

"I like this one," I says. "'McGurgle's Mountain Manor. Bask-in-the-Balsams. Southern fried chicken, Vermont style. Rates—' "

"Look, Scoop," Snooty says. "Any citizen who advertises in the paper that gives us our bread and oleo should be patronized. If we dared to do anything else, we could be fired if Mr. Guppy heard of it—and I think—he would. Anyway, who wants to climb a mountain to git to where is a vacation? We will go to Mrs. Oswald Fimkin's. Huh, stenogs—"

There is no use arguing with Snooty Piper. When he sets his feeble mind on a thing he puts glue on it first, and even Adam's off-ox couldn't pull it loose.

"Well, it looks like even if Roxbury Shuffola is not guilty, he will have to fry," I says. "We will not be around to save him. For once Iron Jaw will have no interference from the Fourth Estate."

"Huh? I could swear that character did not erase Boo Boo, Scoop," Snooty says. "But is he worth wastin' a two weeks' vacation on? Anyway there is such a thing as remote control."

Snooty Piper has a funny look in his eye. I also wonder why the crackpot folds up the copy of the Evening Star he has been carrying for hours and puts it in the bottom of his suitcase.

"You know, Scoop," he says, "maybe we should have purchased the machete from Hubert. It is very wild country in parts of Maine."

We have some odds and ends to clean up before we go to the North Station to purchase our tickets. Snooty goes down to the advertising department of Mr. Guppy's paper and quizzes a doll there for nearly a half hour. A wolf should go to Maine, I admit.

Iron Jaw calls up and says he hopes we enjoy ourselves and not to take a compass; if we see a snake that is diamond-backed, to be sure and pet it as it is good luck. There is only one sense of humor in the world worse than Iron Jaw's and it belongs to Adolf.

On the train Snooty says, "You know that ad in the Evenin' Star? The hayshaker who sent it in, happened to be in Boston. He called at the advertising department and gave them all get out, Scoop. It should have said 'rates,' not 'dates' were reasonable. Ha! I wonder if they got southern exposure in our room?"

We ride eight miles from the station in an old flivver with no springs and come to Fimkin's-in-the-Firs, which is a house older than any Washington ever slept in and has exposure in all directions.

Mrs. Fimkin is a scrawny maniac with a nasal twang that would blowout a fuse if wired for sound. She says we have to take what is left as we made no reservation and who did we think we was?

"We are not proud," Snooty says. "Show us our accommodations, Ma'am."

They are over the tool shed and backed up against a stable where lilacs certainly were not growing. Mrs. Fimkin said it was where the hired men slept in the days when there was hired men. We could get running water at the well which is only a hundred yards from the house.

"The rate for two here is forty-eight dollars per week," she says, gets it in advance, and goes out.

"Swindlers are supposed to come from the city," I says. "This is vice versa, Snooty. Well, you picked out this dump which is the worst yet. Did you ever see such flies, huh? Or is some P-38's goin' over?"

"It is the flies, Scoop," Snooty says. "Well, it is business I am on anyway. We'll demand our money back when I prove it was the old pigeon's spouse or one of his checker pals rubbed out Boo Boo Hiff."

"I'm glad to hear th—wha-a-at you say?" I gulp and get a touch of vertigo. "Snooty Piper, you are unsafe to be at large. What has this bunch of rubes got to do with—"

"I'll tell you later, Scoop. Did you see the boarders sitting on the porch? Stenogs, pffft. The youngest one must of took dictation from Horace Greeley. We could dig up livelier cuties in the village churchyard. They—listen—"

WE CAN hear Mrs. Fimkin and husband engaged in quite a tongue duel and can get a gander of Mr. Fimkin sitting in the kitchen from our quarters. The rube is mopping his bald dome with a blue bandanna.

"You gimme the jim-jams, Oz," the old girl yaps at him. "Ever sense you and Eb Pottlebush got back from Barston, you been sittin' like a cat on a hot griddle. Humph, went to look at poultry there when you got a whole coop of 'em. Went to see the gals, I bet. And you ain't told me yet what you did with the two hundred dollars you got from sellin' that ten acres of pasture land to Adoniram Quigle. I want half of it, you hear?"

"Gimme time," Fimkin says. "Who was them two fellers just come here?"

"Boarders, of course. Who'd you think they was, Nazi spies? You been up to somethin', Oz Fimkin?"

"Huh? Well, I got to git to the post office to sort out the afternoon mail," Fimkin says. "Got to git me a drink of hard cider first, by Godfrey!"

"He is our man, Scoop," Snooty says. "It was him left the Evening Star near Boo Boo's corpse, not Boo Boo." The crackpot shows me the newspaper he has packed all the way to Buckwheat, Maine. I can see where somebody started to cut out the ad for the boarding house with something.

"It is like with a machete, Scoop," Snooty says. "These heckers do everythin' with a jackknife except eat it. They cut off plug tobacco, slice apples, fix mowin' machines, skin hogs, whittle boats and—I says to myself, me and Scoop will come to Buckwheat for our vacation after I found out Mr. Guppy refused to give Fimkin a rebate for messing up the ad. The rube was goin' to cut out the ad and paste it on a letter to a lawyer, I'll bet. Somethin' took place before he did it."

"Put six aspirins in a glass of water and give it to me, Snooty," I says. "Why would a rube want to knock off a rough person like Boo Boo Hiff? And where would a hay-shaker meet up with Boo Boo in the first place? It is like placin' the war guilt at the door of a rescue mission. Even you can't answer that one."

"Not right away, Scoop. We will make Fimkin or his pal confess. I bet it will be the most interestin' motive for crime anybody ever heard, huh? I can't wait."

We go down and have lunch. Three of Mrs. Fimkin's clients have about cleaned up the supply of fricasseed fowl. Me and Snooty eat the necks and a pair of wings. We are quite sure the cacklers that once owned them were hatched out just after Dewey took Manila. One of the babes tries to ogle Snooty Piper. She is as fat as the take from the pari-mutuel machines at Suffolk Downs any Saturday.

"There is some nice tramps in the woods—tee-hee," the chick says.

"I'll bet they are hidin' too," Snooty quips. "Walking bothers my very close veins, ha. Pass the salt, Scoop."

"Maybe your friend is athletic," another boarder says. She is built along the lines of a bed slat and wears a fascinator over an ersatz transformation.

"On the contrary," Snooty says. "The army doctors give him just a year to live. That was eleven months ago."

"Let's not stop for dessert, Snooty," I gulp.

"Just as well," Mrs. Fimkin yelps from the kitchen. "It's all gone anyways."

We go out and sit under the firs and the mosquitoes blitz us. They come at us in formation like Mustangs and chase us into the barn. We are sitting on an old feedbox there when Snooty lets out a yell and climbs to a haymow.

"What is eatin' you?" I snap at him.

"Nothin' now," Snooty says. "But there is a rodent sittin' on your shoulder too, Scoop." I also screech and get up into the haymow where I sit right down in a nest of over-ripe eggs.

"Let's take the first train back," I says.

"We have police work to do, Scoop," Snooty says. "Let's go to our room as it is safer there."

We play gin rummy all afternoon. A little before suppertime we capture two big cockroaches and race them. I win two bucks from Snooty. Suddenly he says:

"Look, Scoop, it is Oz Fimkin going into the shed there. We might as well denounce him now. Come on."

AS WE walk into the old shed, Oz is sitting with his back to us. Snooty says, "Fimkin, we want you for the murder of Boo Boo Hiff in Boston! Don't make a m—"

The rube swivels on the seat of his homespuns and something tells me to duck. There is a terrible explosion. Buckshot passes through the air where my dome was only a couple of seconds ago. Snooty picks himself up and also a pitchfork and menaces Oz.

"That admits your guilt," Snooty says.

"I—er—who are you fellers?" Oz says.

"Secret agents," Snooty says. "We found prints on that jackknife that was inserted in Boo Boo. We will take yours and those of your partner in crime and match them up. Confess, Fimkin!"

"The next time you accuse somebody, Snooty Piper," I says, examining my hat which is as full of holes as a nutmeg grater, "he will most likely be holdin' a six-quart jar of nitro."

"I didn't mean to shoot. I got the heebie-jeebies, fellers," Oz croaks. "Yep, I did it. It was self-defense—"

"Sit down and tell us about it," Snooty says. Mrs. Fimkin barges in and wants to know who killed himself.

"We was all lookin' at a shotgun," I says. "We didn't know it was loaded."

"Supper'll be ready in ten minutes," the old babe says. "Don't be late this time."

When Mrs. Fimkin returns to her scullery, Oz Fimkin weaves a very amazing tale.

"Now look, boys, it was all because me and Eb Pottlebush couldn't resist reading post cards. I'm postmaster, you know," Oz says.

"One comes from a Mrs. Cuthbert Wunch and is addressed to her husband who is supposed to call for it here. It said the baby was worse and she was near destitute. Rent was due. She was threatened with eviction. She said to please send money. Well, me an' Eb figgered Cuthbert'd show up right soon for his mail but he didn't.

"Then another card comes three days later, by Godfrey. I know it by heart. Said, 'Dear Cuth: Doctor says no hope for our boy unlest money comes for medicine. Landlord has given me just a week to pay up or get out. You got to send me money—Bernice Wunch.' "

"Cuthbert finally showed up?" I ask.

"Nope. Three days later me and Eb read another card. It said Cuthbert's infant son, Lochinvar, was nearing a crisis. Bernice said she couldn't find work and was losin' all hope. She said to please send her the money.

"Well, me and Eb went lookin' for Cuthbert Wunch. All over. Couldn't find hide nor hair of the cuss. Eb says he must have run out on his wife and that somebody had to send help. Well, I says we can't sit by and let a poor woman and babe starve and be thrown into the street. I saw East Lynne oncet, and that show even wrung tears out of the truant officer."

"Huh," Snooty says.

"I sent Mrs. Cuthbert Wunch a hundred dollars," Oz Fimkin says. "Writ her a letter saying as how Cuthbert was havin' bad luck. Just signed it as a friend. I never heard no more. The post cards stopped comin'. Me and Eb got to wonderin' if the money went astray or somethin'. We just had to go to Barston and make certain. So we cooked up an excuse we was goin' to a poultry show, packed up and went.

"Well, me an' Eb worked in shifts fer two days standin' near the general delivery place in that dag-nabbed post office, and listened to every woman askin' fer mail. We figgered maybe Cuthbert had started writin' her by that time. Eb said it was funny she wouldn't have a address if she lived in a house or a tenement some place, but I says people do danged funny things. Maybe Cuthbert was a crook and didn't want the police questionin' a sick wife, so arranged to write her general delivery, I says to Eb."

"BUT what about Boo Boo Hiff?" I says tartly. "Up to now we have got nowhere like Rommel and—"

"Hiff? Yep, that was the name. One afternoon, me and Eb are ready to quit, when in comes a flashy-dressed cuss and asks fer mail for Mrs. Cuthbert Wunch and gets it. Me and Eb foller him. We don't git up the nerve to talk to him until we are maybe three blocks away. Then the feller went into that narrer side street and rips open a letter.

"Well, I finally says to him, 'Hey, you, what are you doin' with mail for that woman, huh? Who are you?'

"'Who are you, Junior?' the feller says nasty.

"'Who am I?' I said to the slicker. 'I happen to be the man who sent a hundred dollars to a poor woman whose husband deserted her. A friend of your'n, huh? Well, tell us where Wunch is as he owes us a hundred dollars fer sendin' his wife— ' Oz Fimkin paws at his face, and looks at the floor.

"You get the C note?" Snooty asks.

"Nope. That feller Hiff starts laffin'. He says what a joke and oh boy. He says Cuthbert Wunch was a fake name of a pal of his. They robbed a store together. The cops reckernized his pal, so he had to leave town until they kinda fergot about him. They was code letters Hiff sent. They meant somethin' else, but what they said. I demanded that the slicker give us back our hundred dollars. He laffed again. 'Did I ast fer it?' he says. 'You sent it like a present, you country bunkin'. Look, don't make me laff no more!"

"So you tried to use force?" I says.

"Me and Eb figgered to scare the slicker," Oz confesses. "I yanked out my big jackknife, opened the big blade, and I says to the slicker, 'Give me my rightful possessions or I will take action ag'in you.'

"Oh, Godfrey! The slicker attacked me and Eb pitched in. Don't ast me how it happened. The first thing me and Eb knowed was that Hiff fell down and never got up just after he pulled the knife out of my hand. We saw some blood and ran like all git out for the railroad station. There it is, fellers. Break it gentle to Effie, huh?"

"An accident," Snooty says. "Boo Boo took over the shiv, tripped up and fell on the sticker, huh? This'll teach you not to read no more post cards, Fimkin. What would Uncle Sam say, not to even mention the D.A.? What do you think, Scoop?"

"Me? I will be fully awake in a minute, Snooty. I know I am half asleep in the Bijou in Boston, and the feature will be over in a minute."

"To think the rubout was solved by the Evening Star," Snooty says. "Ah, the power of the press. To think a character like Roxy Shuffola might have fried if Fimkin here had advertised in the Sun instead.

"Well, we will take you back to Boston, Oz, and see justice is done."

"I am a grave robber too," Oz says. "I took his ill-gotten gains from his pocket 'fore we found out he was stabbed, fellers. Only eighty dollars left but—"

"Tell the rest to a lawyer, Cy," Snooty says. "That reminds me, Fimkin. We want our board bill back as we also know a swindle when we see it."

It is late the next afternoon that me, Snooty Piper, Oswald Fimkin, and Eb Pottlebush walk into headquarters in Boston and ask to see the D.A.

"This is the character who knows how Boo Boo Hiff was extinguished," I says to the desk Sergeant. "Shuffola is innocent. Fimkin here wants to put it in writing."

Oswald Fimkin does. The D.A. keeps counting his fingers and opening and shutting his peepers as if he was getting sties on them. He asks for digitalis. Fimkin looks at Exhibit A which was the rube's machete and admits it was his.

Iron Jaw O'Shaughnessy rolls in and yelps, "Well, I'll make Shuffola confess by mornin', chief. He's breakin' down and—what the—?"

"Hello, Iron Jaw," we chorus.

"O'Shaughnessy," the D.A. says. "Meet Oswald Fimkin of Buckwheat, Maine. It was his knife slew Boo Boo. Read this confession here."

"Why what is the matter with Iron Jaw?" I asks a few moments later.

"Huh?" the D.A. replies. "O'Shaughnessy always closes his eyes like that and lays dawn when he faints. Well, I doubt if there will be any more than an inquiry. Fimkin, you'll be on your way back to the farm to help in the war effort in a very short time, I am sure. Pretty slick work, Piper."

"You're gol darn tootin'," Snooty says and kicks a heel against the floor. "Rowdy dow, by cracky! Let's go to the Greek's, Scoop."

We are in our famous oasis fifteen minutes later. "Peace and quiet," I says. "This is it. Why did we think of any other vacation spot, Snooty?"

"You said it, Scoop. Gimme cuspidors and juke boxes, and you take the cows and chickens," Snooty grins.

Who says he is not one in a million?