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by Murray Leinster

IT was hot. My pony jogged listlessly along, without interest or animation, while I was only concerned with the problem of getting to shade and water, but especially shade. The sun was hot enough to fry any one's brains in his skull, and my saddle burned my hand if I touched it where the sun struck it. There was a trickling stream of perspiration down either cheek, and a third stream down my nose. From time to time I smudged the dust across my face in an attempt to stop the streams, but the action merely interrupted their course.

It was in this peculiarly Texan atmosphere that I came upon Jimmy Calton. He was standing by the open hood of one of those mechanical miracles known as a "tin lizzy," holding a sooted spark-plug in a cloth in one hand and attempting to clean it with the other. He was swearing the while, dispassionately, in a curious mingling of good Anglo-Saxon and 'dobe Spanish.

"Hello, Jimmy," I said listlessly.

He looked up and nodded.

"Say, you look hot," he observed. "Come on an' ride a ways with me. Lizzy heah'll be runnin' in a minute, an' you can tie yo' pony on behind."

"Going anywhere in particular?" I asked.

"Over t' see th' coroner," he told me.

"Ol' Abe Martin got shot th' other day an' folks are sayin' Harry Temple done it. They got 'im locked up, anyways."

I dismounted stiffly and tied my pony to the rear of the machine, allowing him plenty of lead-rope. Jimmy finished wiping the last of the spark-plugs, apostrophizing the car in the mean time.

"You creakin', growlin', spark-plug- foul-in', blasted hunka tin," he finished lyrically, and put down the hood.

He went to the crank and turned it half a dozen times. The engine caught, sputtered, and began to run with a pretentious roar. Jimmy hastily reached for the wheel and adjusted the spark and throttle, then climbed in leisurely. With a grinding and a lurch we started off, my pony following docilely behind.

"Yes, tin, tin, tin," said Jimmy, doing mysterious things with his feet:

I have scorned yuh and I've flayed yuh,
But by the guy who made yuh,
You are bettuh than a big car,
Hunka tin!

We slipped into the car's second and highest speed, and began to run more smoothly. Jimmy looked behind to see that my pony was all right and began to roll a cigarette with his left hand, whi...

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