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Stan Tremaine, postal dick, had another one of his hunches about the mail truck shipment. He'd figured skulduggery of some kind, but he hadn't counted on his own. . .

Dispatch to Doom

Edward William Murphy

THE black passenger car slid to a halt at the curb in front of the post office. Arlen, the guard on duty, snapped: "Hey! Beat it! You can't park there!" He started over toward the car. Suddenly his eyes went wide, and with swift fingers he clawed at the flap of the holster at his hip.

Before he got the .45 out of the leather holster, a soft bloop sounded in the car. Arlen coughed and pitched forward to the pavement.

The car door swung open, and a man wearing a uniform exactly like the dead Arlen's climbed out. Quickly, he scooped the dead guard up and pitched him into the back of the car.

In a moment the car was rolling across Pearl Street, leaving the uniformed man behind.

Hardly had the car slid into the shadows of the steel-elevated structure when a heavy armored mail truck turned into Pine Street. The driver jumped the curb deftly and brought the truck to a halt close to the red brick side of the post-office building. He opened the door and jumped out of the cab, saying to a guard as he did go:

"Well, here we are, right on time! Say—"

Whatever the driver meant to say was cut off by a swiftly swinging gun butt. The driver went slack without so much as a groan. He collapsed into an unused doorway.

The gun swinger clambered into the truck where an armed guard was shifting registered mail sacks to the rear of the boxlike truck body. Again the gun traveled in a short arc. The armed guard groaned. The gun butt thumped once more.

Within a space of seconds the truck rumbled away from the post office and disappeared under the sprawling steel skeleton of the el.

INSIDE the post office Postmaster Regan wiped at his thinning brown hair, through which the pink scalp shone under the unshaded bulb. He glanced at the clock on the wall.

"Right on the button," he said as he noted it was midnight. "Mike, Paul, get that hand truck out there," he said to two waiting clerks. He looked skeptically at the lean hungry- looking man who was sitting on his desk swinging long legs to and fro. "Well, Tremaine, for once your hunch has been wrong."

Stan Tremaine grinned. The postmaster didn't see the grin because it only showed in the crinkles around Tremaine's green eyes. Tremaine's face looked as though it had been hammered out of wrought iron. It was dark and angular. There were tiny white scars around his stiffened mouth. A vertical crease between his eyes looked as though it had been chiseled there.

He waved a long, bony-looking hand at Regan. "You can't always hit them right," he said.

At that instant the truck outside roared away!

Tremaine, face set, jumped down from the desk, ran across the table-littered room and out the door that led to Pine Street. He was just in time to see the mail truck disappear.

Regan and the two clerks were right behind the lean detective. "Where's Arlen?" Regan snapped. "I'll have his job for this!" he muttered.

Tremaine produced a pocket flash and sent the beam circling on the concrete sidewalk. "Here, look!" he snapped as he knelt down near some gleaming spots on the dark pavement. "Blood!"

He jumped up and sent his light beam along the building. The shoes of the fallen driver projected from the dark doorway. Tremaine ran over and examined the man.

"Well, he's just out!" he exclaimed. "Here, one of you men give me a hand with him. Regan, you call the police and get in touch with our people, and the F. B. I., too!"

They carried the unconscious truck driver into the post office where Regan was already putting through the calls to the police.

"What'll we do now?" Regan demanded when he finished his calls.

Tremaine said to the truck driver, "You'll be okay—just a whack on the skull!" Then he turned to Regan. "I've got a hunch they won't go far with the truck. We'll wait here!" he whistled a few notes. "A hundred and twenty grand. I had a hunch somebody would get ideas about it!"

From the police radio on Centre Street, staccato alarms pulsated to roving patrol cars. Keen-eyed cops edged forward on their seats and watched the night traffic move closely. Patrol Car 63 rolled swiftly along South Street.

"Look—what's that?" the driver asked his partner.

A massive truck shot out of a dark street three blocks ahead and streaked across the wide avenue toward the river. The patrol car ...

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