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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 Iro...

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