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By C. S. Montanye

They thought the Canary Kid was ready to be ribbed and rolled for the bundle.

JOE TRAILL was seated tensely on the edge of a chair in the living room reading a late afternoon newspaper when the "Canary Kid" quietly opened and closed the door of the apartment in the Barclay Towers. Traill, small, furtive-eyed and dark-faced, was so engrossed in his reading he did not hear the Kid's step on the soft, shimmering Oriental rug underfoot. Traill was feverishly turning the page when the Kid chuckled. "What's it all about, Joe? From your expression it must be good."

Traill jerked his head up. "What do you know, Kid? Louis Berg got bumped off in the Seventy Club! They found him in there a couple of hours ago, as full of holes as a sponge. The medico said he'd been dead about six or seven hours. Tie that one!"

The Canary Kid leisurely removed his chamois gloves. He dropped them into his smart Panama, shrugged his well-tailored shoulders, and helped himself to a cigarette from a lacquered humidor. "Louis Berg? Just another gangster gone west. What about it, Joe? Louis didn't owe you any money, did he?"

Traill drew a breath. "No, not exactly. I was just wondering what Killer Berg, Louis's brother, will do about the bump off. I seen the Killer on Forty-second Street early last night. He must have headed straight in from Chicago. He had Fancy Mayo and Loop Muller with him."

The Canary Kid struck a match for his cigarette. Standing in the light of the lamp by which Traill was reading, the Kid was slim, blond and attractive. Clothes to him were a fetish. The dark-blue flannels he wore with nonchalant distinction fitted with all the perfection a master Fifth Avenue tailor could put into them. Standing there, the Kid resembled a young metropolitan clubman, a devotee of Wall Street released from a day of ticker-watching. He flicked the ash from his cigarette and moved his shoulders again.

"Why worry about the underworld, Joe? Follow my policy, keep clear of it and you can throw your steel vest away."

"Sure." Traill grinned ironically. "But sometimes the underworld won't let you keep clear. What then?"

"In that case book passage for France and get going while the goin's good." The Kid switched on the wall lights. As he did so he caught a glimpse of an envelope propped up against a candlestick on the mantel over the ornate, wood-burning fireplace.

"Hello. What's this?"

"I forgot to tell you." Joe Traill discarded the newspaper. "It was when I first come in here. Some messenger brought the letter around and left it for you. He said you were to be sure and get it to-night."

The Canary Kid walked slowly across to the fireplace. He threw his cigarette into it and picked up the letter. The envelope was without superscription of any kind. The Kid frowned as he opened it. He read the inclosure, written in ink on a single sheet of note paper. Then, for a minute, he turned his narrowed eyes to the window draperies and looked out at the lights of Manhattan, spread below him.

"I thought there was a reason for me being tailed all afternoon," he said musingly, more to himself than for the benefit of the cheap little crook who had pushed himself deeper into the English club chair. "There was some chap, a tall, flashily dressed man, playing shadow. He would not have deceived a child. I let him stick to see how far he'd follow. He was on my heels until I took a taxi in front of Vernay's on Park Avenue. I left him on the corner staring after me."

Joe Traill studied the Kid with a perplexed scowl. "Yeah? What's that got to do with the letter?"

"Considerable, I'm afraid," the Kid sighed. "Better let me read it to you. It's not without interest." He turned to the sheet of note paper he held and read aloud:

"Logan Taurus wants to see you at ten o'clock to-night. He will send a car for you at that time. Don't make the mistake of trying to side-step this date. You know what happens to blond boys who get funny."

TRAILL'S exclamation was sharp and sibilant. He straightened up, his furtive eyes widening incredulously. For a minute he stared at the Canary Kid, his mind a confused blur of thought. Logan Taurus! The kingpin of gamblers, racketeers, and criminals! Logan Taurus, the super-gangster who boasted his political affiliations and the huge amounts of "glad money" he dispersed with a lavish hand would never allow a district attorney to confront him as he sat in a witness chair. Traill relaxed limply.

"Taurus! Kid, you'd better take a run-out powder and make that Paris trip we was talking about a few minutes ago. This is bad!"

"I'm trying to think," the Kid murmured quietly, "where I crossed the Taurus trail. Somehow I fail to recollect ever knowingly encountering the man."

Traill drew a deep breath. "Never mind 'at. He's got a glim on you and that's plenty, take it from me. I know for a fact that any time an outsider gets a note off Taurus it's for one of two reasons. Either it's a warning or a croak. Take your choice; but, if I was you, I'd take a ship and in a hurry!"

The Canary Kid shook his sleek, blond head. "No, I think I'll keep the appointment. I'd like to find out what Logan Taurus wants with me. Yes, I shall keep it." He considered the letter with a whimsical smile. "There is no mention of formal attire. Should I wear a dinner suit or go as I am?"

"It's a safe bet," Traill put in tersely, "that he'll be dressed to kill even if you ain't. Take a tip from me, Kid. Put on your brass underwear!"

"I'll order dinner sent up from the grill," the Kid said. "I suppose you brought your appetite as well as that newspaper, Joe?"

"Well," Traill admitted, "I can always eat."

Over a particularly aromatic demitasse the Kid brooded. Search his mind as he would he could not find one single link that might connect him with any of the well-known Taurus underworld enterprises. It was true, the Kid mused, he had been rather fortunate at roulette on several occasions in a Fifty-first Street establishment operated by Conrad Knight, one of those who paid tribute to Taurus.

It was at this same place the Kid had met Anstey Todd. Todd was a wealthy Westbury polo player, a little son of the Ritz, with a passion for the red-and-black and the chattering marble. Anstey Todd had carefully followed the Kid's haphazard system of placing his bets and had profited accordingly. The young scion of wealth and family had, out of gratitude, invited the Kid down to Meadow Stream, his father's place near Westbury, on Long Island. The invitation had amused the Canary Kid. Once, in his predatory days before the hand of the law had fallen heavily on his shoulder and neatly clipped a year from the calendar of his life, he knew he would have accepted that invitation, including among his luggage a complete set of burglar tools.

But the old order had changed. The year in the penitentiary in the company of those gray, silent men had taught the Kid many things. The game was not worth the gamble. The stakes were not sufficient. Always the law won. So he had thanked Todd and been his guest at an exclusive breakfast club where, in an hour, the Kid had seen more captains of industry than he would if he had stood on the corner of Broad and Wall Streets for many afternoons. He still encountered young Anstey Todd occasionally. He envied Todd's sartorial glory. The other's shirts, boots, and cravats must, the Kid had decided, come from London's Bond Street. Nowhere in Manhattan had the Kid been able to discover similar appurtenances.

"If I was you," Joe Traill murmured out of a particularly awesome dessert, "I'd lam away by the back door of this joint, Kid. I wouldn't see Taurus no more than I'd think of trying to stop a flood with a cork."

"The difference," the Kid returned amiably, "is that you're not I, Joe."

"All right, have it your way. Listen," he continued grimly. "You'd better leave directions where the remains are to be sent and what kind of flowers go with them."

"Optimistic, eh?"

"And while we're on the subject," Traill resumed earnestly, "how about them forty-two suits of yours? Boy, they're classy threads. You know, there's a tailor on Houston Street with a swell pair of shears. For a couple of bucks he could cut them down to my size. Slice 'em off, as it was."

"The clothes are yours," the Kid smiled. "Don't worry, Joe. If the curtain falls on the drama of the Canary Kid you won't have to pick pockets for a good many years. That moniker of yours is plastered all over a couple of my life insurance policies and the dough in a bank account. Spend it wisely, Joe. In old age rheumatism may stiffen those educated digits of yours."

"I was only kiddin'," Traill murmured huskily. "I don't want you to get knocked for a tombstone, big guy."

"Certainly not. Particularly when I can order up meringue as nauseating as that mess decorating your chin, Joe. Don't worry about me to-night. Perhaps, as you say, it's only a warning I've thought, but I can't find any reason why Taurus would put me on the spot this starry evening."

THE hour lacked five minutes of ten o'clock when the doorbell in the apartment at Barclay Towers rang. The Canary Kid opened the door. A man stepped in. He was tall, bulky, and awkward.

"Good evening," the Kid murmured affably. "I think we've met before—from a distance. You're the gentleman who trailed me so diligently this afternoon. Come right in."

"Get your skimmer and flogger," the man growled. "And don't give me none of your lip neither. I got a car waiting downstairs. We're going places."

"Admirable night for a ride," the Kid smiled. "Pardon me while I get my coat and hat."

He opened the door to the passage back of him and went through it and into the bedroom. Joe Traill lurked there. The Kid spoke to him in a low, distinct tone while he opened the closet.

"Pay attention, Joe. I want you to stay here. I may need you later. Keep close to the telephone and wait if it means sitting up all night. If you don't hear from me by morning you'd better drop in and see my lawyers. About those insurance policies, I mean."

He donned a light tweed topcoat and selected a soft felt hat. Traill's worried glance followed him to the door.

"So long, Kid," the little crook mumbled. "Take it easy. I'll be right here on the job."

The car, parked at the south entrance to Barclay Towers, was an ordinary sedan chauffeured by a nondescript individual who wore a chauffeur's cap, but no livery. The Canary Kid's escort opened the door with a curt "Get in," the car moved from Eighth Avenue west into Broadway, turned south when the light was green, and rolled across Columbus Circle.

The Canary Kid lounged easily against the upholstery and thought fast. For all of his casual flippancy he was aware of the full danger of this night ride. Indubitably he was in a tough spot. Logan Taurus was not the type of man who did things without some sinister motive. And, the Kid recalled, he never sent for a man unless he had good and sufficient reasons.

The car moved along steadily down through the pageant of Broadway. Whirling signs blazed like incandescent fires in the darkness above theaters, hotels, office buildings, and night clubs. There was the usual traffic blockade at Times Square. The car panted in line. When it moved forward it made a right-hand turn. It went from blazing light into semidarkness, eventually turning into a street where a group of fairly tall and modern buildings cluttered together opposite a huge printing plant. The car stopped at the curb. The Kid's companion stretched a hand to the door handle.

"Come on, shake a liver," he ordered. "We're stopping here."

Overhead the Kid saw the sparkle of stars. He wondered quizzically if they would ever shine for him again on some other cool, summer night. He had little chance for further speculation for, in the next round of minutes, he was ushered through the front door of the second building from the corner and into an edifice that was both cheaply furnished and made odorous by some pungent scent. The Kid sniffed the heavy air. After a minute he concluded that this place, set so close to the throbbing heart of the Rialto, was being used as a plant for "cutting." Here, in other words, bootleg booze was taken, adulterated, rebottled and relabeled. It was, he told himself, probably a plant that served a portion of the speakeasies and night clubs of Longacre Square.

The Kid mounted a flight of uncarpeted wooden stairs without meeting any one save the person who had opened the door downstairs. Yet voices grumbling together in conversation told him the rooms along the corridor were occupied. The big man in the flashy clothing knocked on one of the closed doors. He had a momentary whispered conference with the one who came to the threshold.

The big man turned to the Canary Kid. "Go ahead in. You're expected."

ANOTHER minute and the Kid was face to face with Logan Taurus. The gang leader, one who boasted he was beyond the net of the law, sat wedged in a swivel chair before a battered desk. Taurus, whose Italian blood was evident in his swarthy, Latin face and kinky black hair, was an enormous man. He must have weighed well over two hundred pounds. His neck bulged above his starched white collar and his hands were red and pudgy. The expanse of his middle girth was accented by a heavy watch chain, and in his cravat, cuffs, and on his sausage-like fingers diamonds winked.

The Canary Kid returned the man's stare with interest. For a good many weeks and months the Kid had listened to whispered stories of Taurus's power and ruthless climb to gang greatness. He knew that Taurus had reached the top over the huddle of those victims who had fallen beneath the blaze of his gun. To-night, for some reason, Logan Taurus appeared in excellent humor. He indicated a chair beside the desk and turned to the big man who had brought the Kid down from Barclay Towers.

"That's all for you, Steve. Make yourself scarce."

Steve's nod was at sharp odds with his patent disappointment. The Kid saw that he wanted to linger and listen. He shut the door after him. Taurus flipped up the cover on a box of expensive cigars, helped himself to one, and pushed the box across the desk. The Canary Kid shook his head.

"Thanks, I never use them."

Taurus clipped the tip from his cigar with a jeweled cutter. He struck a match on the broad sole of a cloth-topped shoe and sucked in a quantity of smoke.

"What's your name?"

"Does it matter?" the Kid countered.

Taurus picked up a memorandum from a litter of whisky-bottle labels and consulted it. "At Knight's place you're known as Arthur Arden. Up at your apartment you go under the name of Archer Selden. Down at headquarters you're finger- printed and mugged in the gallery under the name of John Quarren. No, maybe names don't mean anything. I was just curious."

The Canary Kid's eyes narrowed. Something like dismay flashed through him. So Taurus knew his secret. Taurus knew he had a prison record, that he had served a sentence in the big house! Taurus was wise. What did that mean? Why had this man unearthed the facts of his various aliases? What was the significance and what did the careless reference to headquarters and the rogues' gallery mean?

"I'd like to know," the Kid said imperturbably, "what all this interest in me means, Mr. Taurus. You have evidently gone to some trouble to get those particulars. Then, this afternoon, the shadow that you unleashed to follow me—"

"When I want a man," Taurus interrupted, "I get him. The Northwest Mounted you read about hasn't got a thing on me. Look at Louis Berg for instance. There's one rat who didn't think I'd ever be able to put a finger on him. He thought he could caper around and make a monkey out of me. But I waited, I watched, and I took it easy. When I had him right I did business—at the end of a gat. He used to laugh, but I'm the one who's smiling now. Get the point?"

"I think so," the Kid answered.

"I've been watching you," Taurus went on, "ever since Con Knight passed the word. At first he had you tagged as some rich sap who was ready to be ribbed up and rolled for the bundle. I began to nose around and found out a few things. When you got friends in politics you can dig up live stuff, believe me. Listen, Quarren, or whatever your name is. You've been getting away with a heluva lot in this man's town lately!"

The Canary Kid sat motionless. He said nothing. Taurus tapped the ash from his cigar and grunted.

"A heluva lot," he repeated. "An ex-pen bird clowning around with millionaires and aceing all over the lot! I hate guys who try to throw a front when they should be on the rock pile. That's you— with these 'safe' jobs you've been pulling lately. Yes, I know all about 'em. But now you're up against something different. I'm going to give you a job and it ain't going to be safe, blond boy!"

THE Canary Kid shrugged. There was no use in making any comment. He crossed one tailored leg over the other and brushed his hand over his sleek, light hair.

"The way you've been standing in with young Anstey Todd is a natural—for me," Taurus went on. "Maybe you don't know it, but the day before yesterday the City Trust Company opened its new branch in the Island City Building. They moved up their downtown office. Since then the safe deposit box holders have been moving out their stuff. Get me?"


"It just happens," Taurus murmured, "that this Anstey Todd's old man had to move a half million in bonds and securities from his safe deposit box in the old building. Well, Todd isn't going to box at the Island City branch. He's taking the stuff down to the Trinity Bank. Old man Todd cleaned out the box at three this afternoon, but his chauffeur didn't drive him downtown. It was too late and so the car, Todd, and a satchel with the paper gelt went out to Meadow Stream, his big dump on Long Island. It's there now."

The Canary Kid felt the quickening beat of his pulse. Through the dark of his dilemma—his being followed that afternoon, the letter and the summons that had brought him into the presence of Taurus—light began to filter. Still he said nothing, but his mind groped toward what was yet to come.

"You and young Todd go together like crackers and cheese," Taurus continued. "Con says you're hand in glove with each other. I don't know the kind of a job you've been cooking up, but I do know this. I can use the stuff in that satchel down at Meadow Stream. I want it! And you're the guy who's going to get it for me to-night!"

The Kid half nodded to himself. "I see. And," he queried quietly, "if I refuse?"

Logan Taurus laid his cigar in a brass dish. "You won't refuse," he grunted grimly. "You've got too much sense. You've been having too good a time romping around and spilling the suckers. You're a bright lad, and bright lads don't curl up and quit when Taurus points them for a swipe. I hope to tell you. You're not going to get nonsensical and imagine you can put on the gloves with me. Not by a long shot. You're one guy who's not going to be found in a vacant lot all full of lead. You're going to come in with me on this and turn the trick like the perfect little gentleman you are. Ain't you?"

The Canary Kid smiled faintly. Too well he realized the full undercurrent and meaning in the gangster's almost jocular statement. At the first sign of refusal Logan Taurus would shoot him down without compunction. The Kid straightened up in the chair.

"Yes, I am."

The broad, swarthy face of the gangster creased into a grin. "Sure, you are! That's talking."

"How are we going to do it?" the Kid asked, stressing the pronoun.

Taurus looked at his watch. "Easy. Young Todd is over at Con's joint now, flirting with the wheel. You're dropping in and taking a few spins yourself. I don't care how you handle it, but this is what's going to happen. Later on you and Todd are going down to Meadow Stream together. Con says he's asked you before, so that's an in for you. When you dock there, all you got to do is get the satchel with the big dough, kiss the place off, and bring the stuff back to me. Simple, huh?"

"Absurdly easy."

"All the time," Taurus murmured carelessly, "you're going to be watched. I'll have an eye on you—just in case you get any funny ideas of your own that you might walk out on me. You'll be taken to Con's and from there you'll be followed every step of the way from Knight's to the place on Long Island. And when you get the stuff there'll be a car waiting to bring you back with it in a hurry. That's the situation as is."

The Canary Kid pulled down the points of his flannel waistcoat. He took a cigarette from his hammered-silver case, tapped it down, and struck a match. "There's only one thing missing, Taurus. I came out in such a hurry I neglected to bring my roll. I have no money with which to play the wheel at Knight's."

Taurus's reply was to jam a hand in his trouser pocket. He took out a formidable wad of money. From it he selected two thousand dollars in large bills and dropped them casually on the desk.

"There's case-dough to keep up your front. It's marked money, so when Con gets it, it comes back to me. You can kick back the change when you come up here again from Long Island. I think that's about all. I'll be seeing you later. Oh, yes," he added. "Don't come back with excuses instead of the big cush. An alibi to me is the same thing as a double cross. I'll take care of your excuses. Just remember that."

"I will," the Kid averred.

TAURUS went to the door and spoke to some one in the hall. Another interval and again the Canary Kid was riding with Steve, the big, flashily dressed man. They went uptown, toward the Fifties. The Kid relaxed in his corner of the tonneau, but his mind teemed with thoughts, plans, and ideas. Steve suppressed his curiosity as long as was humanly possible.

"What's the lay, pal?" he asked confidentially. "Let us in on it. Maybe I could give you a hand."


"It's something big all right. I know that much. The boss wouldn't have exited me if it hadn't been important."

"You'd better ask Taurus," the Kid drawled.

"Meaning," Steve said sourly, "you're saying nothing."

"Meaning," the Kid returned pleasantly, "exactly that. Do me a favor and keep quiet. I want to think."

"You're a heluva guy," the big man complained. "How do you know I can't help you out? Look at Lou Berg and the break I gave the boss there. I had Berg lined up myself. If Taurus hadn't pulled the trigger or if Berg had beaten him to the draw I'd have knocked Lou off myself."

He rambled on and was still talking when the car turned into the quiet, respectable street where, in one of the brownstone private houses, Conrad Knight's gambling house flourished. The Canary Kid stirred. He waited for the car to stop, and alighted. Another minute and he was up the stone steps, through the barricaded steel door, and into a softly lighted reception room appointed in modernistic fashion. Indirect lighting diffused a mellow glow. The Kid handed hat and coat to a servant and walked on and through to the rear quarters of the building. A grill room, with a beamed ceiling and wainscoted walls, disclosed a bar presided over by two white-coated gentlemen. There were a number of Knight's guests before it. To the left was a single telephone booth and to its glass door the Kid's glance darted. He saw the instrument was not in use and questions burned in his mind. Dare he use it? Should he attempt to call Joe Traill, who was waiting at the apartment in the Barclay Towers? The Kid's interview with Logan Taurus was sharp in his memory. Undoubtedly, among the gamblers at Knight's, Taurus had spies planted. A telephone call would be checked up on. And yet, the Canary Kid realized, his sole chance of salvation—his one hope of wriggling successfully out of the tight spot—was in speaking to Traill over the wire, putting into words one paramount idea that had built itself up in his mind and imagination during the interval that had elapsed since he had left Logan Taurus and arrived at this destination.

The Canary Kid decided to risk it. The telephone was not of the pay type variety. He had no way of knowing whether or not his conversation could be listened in on from some other portion of the house. It seemed to be a private wire, for central answered at once and he heard no click that might signify a receiver being surreptitiously removed elsewhere. To his infinite relief Joe Traill answered in the next round of minutes. The Kid spoke slowly, tersely, and concisely. He made Traill repeat his instructions and, warned by a sudden flare of hope, severed the connection and stepped out of the booth. He shut the door with a second to spare, for he was halfway to the bar when Conrad Knight came into the room.

"Ah, Mr. Arden! I've been rather expecting you," Knight began pointedly. "Had your little drink, eh? Let's go upstairs. One of your friends has been playing the wheel, but with no great luck. I think," Knight added jovially, "he needs that intricate system of yours."

Conrad Knight in no way resembled a Taurus henchman. The man had all the polish, suave affability, and easy grace of the professional, worldly gambler. His dinner suit was in perfect taste; he was clean-shaven and not unattractive. The Kid fell into step beside him, returning to the foyer, and a small electric elevator that took them to the third floor. There, in a room made murmurous by conversation and tanged with the blending fragrance of tobacco, young Anstey Todd sat before the roulette table, a stack of dwindling markers beside him.

Todd was the counterpart of a type found in the smart Park Avenue afternoon dance rendezvous, in the front rows of Broadway theaters, and at the exclusive and expensive night clubs. He was in the middle twenties, but had not lost his collegiate look; he was a handsome boy, friendly and perfectly mannered. To the Canary Kid he represented all those things the Kid wished were his by heritage.

"Hello, Arthur, old top. So glad you decided to look in to-night. I've lost three thousand," Todd said.

Conrad Knight lingered beside the Kid. "Better try Arden's system," he suggested.

Todd shook his head. "No, I don't believe I will. When luck isn't right there's no use forcing it. This isn't my evening with the marble. I say, let's go to a night club."

The Canary Kid smiled. "I was hoping," he murmured, "you'd suggest motoring down to your place. As a matter of fact I need a breath of country air. I've gone stale these last few days—"

"Would you really like to come down to Meadow Stream?" Todd interrupted. "Why I've asked you a dozen times and you've always refused."

"Ask me once more."

"Bully! We'll leave at once. After all, I'm tired of night clubs myself. Come down to Meadow Stream and let me beat you at billiards. I'm rather an addict, you know. Then to-morrow I'll show you through the stables and maybe we can manage a little polo. How does that sound?"


"Then, if you'll pardon me a minute," Todd said, "I'll telephone the garage and have the car brought around. Where do you keep your phone, Con?"

"In the other room," Knight replied. "Help yourself." When Anstey Todd went out, Knight chuckled. "Apparently," he declared, "you are lucky at other things besides roulette, Mr. Arden."

"It would seem so."

"It might be a good idea," Knight added, "to continue to foster your good fortune. I think I make myself clear."

"As glass," the Kid admitted.

TODD'S driven limousine was a Belgian car with a purring motor and tufted upholstery inviting ease and relaxation. It rode like a ship and the twenty miles or more slipped by unnoticed. All at once the automobile was traversing a stone driveway. Another pause and then it was under a porte-cochere and the Canary Kid knew they had arrived at Meadow Stream.

During the next hour in a billiard room, where the click of ivory balls and Anstey Todd's exclamations of satisfaction sounded above the whisper of the nocturnal breeze at the mullioned windows, the Kid found himself divided between hope and the cold touch of dread. Would Joe Traill be able to follow out his instructions? Would Traill find his man? And, more important, would the latter portion of the Kid's plan work out with any degree of success? He told himself it would have to. His very life depended upon it. The tight spot would never lose its crimson danger until the vicious circle of it was broken. He looked at his watch. It was ten minutes to twelve. "Surely, the Kid told himself, Traill, with any luck at all, had done his bidding. The rest hung on a fateful thread.

Somewhere a clock chimed midnight and at the same minute the door to the billiard room opened. A servant in butler's livery entered. One glance at his face was enough to make the Canary Kid's blue eyes narrow. The man coughed nervously. Anstey Todd, in the intricacies of a difficult carom shot, looked up.

"What is it, Brooks?"

"Begging your pardon, sir. There is something I feel you should know about."


The butler's agitation increased visibly. "Out on the road, sir, there's been a car parked with several men in it. They have apparently been watching the house, sir. Jordan spoke to me about 7 C. S. Montanye I it. When they saw me they moved on, but now they're back again, sir. On the south drive."

Todd racked his cue and turned to the Kid. "Come on, let's see what this is all about."

The Canary Kid followed with mingled feelings. The car was, of course, the Logan Taurus conveyance that was to take him back to town once he had the satchel containing the stocks and bonds in his possession. The Kid's mouth tightened. What now? Would the guns of the Taurus gang blaze when they found he was without the satchel and not ready to slip away, a thief in the night? Or would he be shown up as a crook, one of them? In any event the Kid was sensitive to the extreme danger of the situation. He wanted to warn Anstey Todd, but before he could frame suitable words they were out on the gravel path, Todd taking the lead at a brisk pace.

The silver stars were bright, but the moon was too young and new for any amount of illumination. Black shadows draped themselves across the velvety lawns of Meadow Stream. The shrubbery along the way increased the darkness and the Kid breathed in the perfume of the sleeping flowers. Behind him he could hear Brooks, the butler, wheezing along in their wake.

"There's the car, right enough, but there's nobody in it!"

Todd's voice sounded from a low stone wall where he had come to a halt. The Canary Kid made out the outlines of a parked car on the dirt road beyond. It displayed no lights, but even in the gloom it was evident the automobile was empty.

"Jordan took the liberty of telephoning—for the sheriff, sir. We thought that—"

The butler's stammered, asthmatic explanation was clipped short by a footfall in the grass. At the same moment a figure slipped out from the deeper gloom. There came a sibilant rasp of a coarse voice.

"The sheriff, huh? Well before he gets here—"

Anstey Todd acted with impulsive haste. Before the Kid could interfere or cry a warning, Todd flung himself at the man. There came the scuffling confusion of a fight, a sharp oath, and then, quick and unexpected, three shots in rapid succession.

The Kid's flat automatic slipped out into his hand. He moved forward as Todd beat a retreat, exclaiming in surprise:

"Why, the fellow has a gun! He tried to shoot me! I could hear the bullet whiz by my head."

The Canary Kid pushed him roughly into the shrubbery and darted in back of a tree. Again the night was split with revolver shots and flashes of flame. The Kid pulled the trigger of his automatic, firing without a target. He had no desire to wound one of the intruders and to have the man talk. If he could only frighten them off—get them away. Again a fusillade of shots rang out and were answered by the Kid's gun. Then, when it seemed they were to rush his fortified position behind the tree, the excited tones of Brooks rose above the echo of the firing:

"The sheriff, sir! His car's coming! On the main road!"

The Kid could have blessed the butler for his joyful shout. It served as a warning to the attackers. The firing ceased and dark figures broke cover and raced toward the car. The Kid fired the last shots in the automatic clip after them. The hum of an accelerated motor roared, gears clashed, and the car parked out on the road shot into the night and vanished.

The Canary Kid was aware of Anstey Todd's hand on his shoulder and Todd's admiring words:

"By jove, old chap, that was perfectly marvelous of you! Talk about your gang plays and melodramas! Phew! I really expected to be blown to atoms any minute, you know!"

IT was well toward mid-afternoon the following day when the Canary Kid slipped his latchkey into the front door of the apartment in the Barclay Towers. The stench of cheap cigarettes drifted out to greet him. He went into the living room to find Joe Traill playing solitaire on the center table. Traill flung down the cards and stood.

"So it's you, Kid? Boy, am I glad to see you?"

The Kid removed his light topcoat and bundled it into a chair together with hat and gloves. "To be candid," he murmured, "I'm rather glad to see you, Joe. I heard the news at the breakfast table at Meadow Stream this morning. Rather I saw it in the paper in large headlines."

Joe Traill grinned crookedly. "Yep, Killer Berg, Fancy Mayo, and Loop Muller evened up last night for the murder of Louis Berg. They put Logan Taurus on the spot and filled him full of lead. Ain't it a shame?—just another gunman gone west!"

"Lamentable," the Kid agreed.

Traill chuckled. "Kid, when I got your phone call I figured there was one chance in a million of finding Berg, telling him who croaked his brother and where Taurus could be found. But what happened? The very first Gordon Water trap I walked into I met the Killer. It was luck, nothing else. I guess you're glad you got out of that tough spot even if you didn't make a nickel on the deal."

The Canary Kid smiled. "It happens," he stated, "I made a little something. Not much, but considerably more than a nickel."

"How much?" Traill asked.

The Kid fumbled in his pocket and produced some folded bills of large denomination. They were marked with a symbol that now was of little importance. The Canary Kid flung the money down on top of Traill's playing cards and laughed.

"Two grand—two thousand dollars, Joe. And it's yours, all yours!"