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Dr. Heckle and Mr. Hide

By Joe Archibald

A double-identity radio writer pounded a spot ditty which put him on a deadly spot. And when Iron Jaw O'Shaughnessy snagged a sure suspect, Snooty Piper knew justice had joggled the mike. So the rummy reporter followed a trail of radio jingles to put the jangle of handcuffs on a windpipe warper.

IT IS what me and Snooty Piper call a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde rubout. At first, it looked as complicated as a road map to everybody but Iron Jaw O'Shaughnessy who can arrest a suspect quicker than Houdini could get out of police bracelets. The crime took place in an office building on Washington Street, near Harrison, where rents are quite reasonable and where tenants never do without mousetraps.

At first, we are all puzzled as to the identity of the citizen that was nudged into eternity as he wore a pair of smoked cheaters and a mustache as false as a Goebbels rumor. We reach the scene twenty minutes after the body is discovered by a towel supply truckdriver. It was plain to see when we view the remains that he has no more use for laundry service. The character has been strangled.

"A poet," Iron Jaw says. "He was knockin' one out just as the murderer called. I thought poets worked only in attics, huh?"

We take a gander at the stuff on the shoot of paper still sticking out of the portable and Snooty reads it.

We are little washday okies
Driving Blue Monday awa-a-y.
Our arms full of boxes of Soakies
That do all the work—hey—hey—!

"That is awful," I says. "You know what? This is a character who makes moolah with radio commercial jingles. Look there on the table. Two other masterpieces by Mortimer Merkle. Well, what do you know?"

The appraiser of characters that have violently departed this life peels the mustache off the corpse and scratches his noggin. He picks up the pair of smoked specs and appraises them also. Then he strips the deceased of all personal possessions and finds a civilian defense warden's identification in a wallet.

"This is not made out to no Mortimer Merkle," the M.D. says. It is to Professor Archimedes Random of the Yarvard faculty. We got a mystery here awright."

"A character leading a double life. Tsktsk," Snooty says. "I just read Random Harvest. It looks like Yarvard has a ceiling on profs' stipends and Archimedes couldn't keep up with the budget. Well, who is it? Mortimer Merkle or Archimedes Random?"

"You keep out from under foot, you fugitive from a first aid class," Iron Jaw growls, "or I will mash you like you was a cockroach which you ain't far away from!"

"I am glad the professor does not hear such grammar," Snooty says. "Look, he almost turned over and he is not near his grave yet. Well, let's start finding out who killed him, huh? As a rule the public likes to know who are its assassins and who aren't, so—"

Iron Jaw starts sleuthing and as a rule such a spectacle is worth five dollars ringside. The big flatfoot could not find the trail of a moose if it walked across Braves Field after a two-inch fall of snow and got its antlers caught in an exit.

"We had better call up both Yarvard and the boss of the radio advertisin' agency handlin' the jingles," Iron Jaw says. "They can fight over the corpse."

"It'll be a stiff battle," Snooty quips like the ghoul he is. "Ha!"

IRON JAW makes two phone calls and we wait. The Gridleak Advertising Agency is only six blocks away. J. G. Gridleak arrives first and gets priority on Archimedes Random. Gridleak is a portly taxpayer with a front balcony Mussolini would envy. He wears a gardenia.

"We should of said to omit flowers," Snooty cracks and Iron Jaw cuffs him one. Snooty almost goes out into Washington Street as the office is only about fourteen by six.

"That's him!" Gridleak says when the M.D. adorns the corpse with cheaters and bogus upper...

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