Good Luck is No Luck can be found in

Federal Agent, November 1937

Good Luck Is No Good


WAS that a tough break! And was his luck lousy? Where was he now? Sitting, but not pretty, in the county clinkolo. Next stop: State pen. Time: five years. And Maggie McGill had been waiting for him at the pier. Ready to sail for Europe on a honeymoon. He had been so dead sure of everything... It couldn't happen to Shrimpo Todd. It simply couldn't.

But it did. And how! Mr. Todd, less than five feet, age twenty-six, with round blue eyes and auburn-blond hair, sat on the edge of his cot in the county jug. Alone and also lonely. He had tried to tell his sad tale to Ike Malloy, the jail guard, but no dice. Ike had just lost three sure winners at the Hialeah track and was in no mood to listen to any sad tales but his own.

Never again would Shrimpo Todd have faith in luck, omens, hunches, mitt-readers, astrologists, white cats, humpbacks, four leaf clovers, or what have you. No, sir—or ma'am—faith in luck was a load of malarkey, sprinkled with the pure essence of baloney. Even his pet dream book had gone screwy on him.

The cell door opened and another guest of the state entered. He was tall, dark, swarthy, sinister. Moreover, he had a supply of barber's enemy, viz., whiskers, all over his face. His suit, although fairly new, was as wrinkled as the mug of an Egyptian mummy embalmed at the time Rameses wore a bib and toyed with a rattle. His shoes were two weeks shy of a shine and his white shirt was of excellent silk.

Mr. Todd eyed his fellow guest with only mild interest. The mugg wasn't in his class. He could tell that without heavy thinking. Probably a poke- picker or some small-time bumolo like that.

The newcomer paid less than no attention to Mr. Shrimpo Todd which was somewhat disconcerting. Shrimpo liked attention. His ego was about three sizes larger than his stature. In brief, Mr. Todd had an idea that he was the berries minus the razz.

"What's your rap?" inquired Shrimpo.

No answer. The fellow was curled on the opposite cot, hands outstretched behind his head. He appeared to be gazing at a whole family of cockroaches playing bridge, or something, on the ceiling. Shrimpo thought the guy was deaf. He was damn sure he was dumb.

"I'm talkin' to yuh, fellow!" snapped Mr. Todd, in a louder voice.

"So what?" sniffed the reclining playmate.

"Can't you even be perlite? Or maybe you got a bellyache and don't feel like talkin'."

"I ain't got no bellyache and I don't feel like talking."

Mr. Todd felt offended. Who was this big tramp, anyway?

"Maybe you would like a bust in the beak," said Mr. Todd.

The tall man rose from his cot. He stood beside Shrimpo and looked down upon him like Mt. Everest over an Austin coupe.

"I ain't interested in hurting babies," he said. "I am here because I tried to kidnap a brat about your size."

"So that's your racket, hey?"

"Yeah, but it don't pay."

"What does?" complained Mr. Todd. "I think I have the best grift of all and have everything mapped out sweet and nifty. But what happens?"

"Who cares?" yawned his cellmate.

Shrimpo decided that the fellow's nerves were all shot and thought to humor him along.

"I know how it is," said Mr. Todd. "I had all the luck in the world, only it was bad."

"What d'yer mean, bad? Listen, punko, you don't know what luck is!"

"Oh, I don't, hey? Say, feller, suppose you had sixty grand in real cash right in your mitts for two whole days and then have the dicks grab you, huh?"

"Sixty grand? H'mm. That's just tip dough to what I was after. And I would have copped the jack only I don't get a break in the luck."

"YEAH," said Shrimpo, "but you never had your paws on the dough. I actchelly had the sixty grand in my poke and still have forty of it cached away. They asks me what I done with the rest and I tells 'em that I been playing the ponies at Hialeah. Haw!"

"You must be a amachoor."

"Amachoor—hell!" snorted Mr. Todd. "I'm tops in the racket. I just didn't have no luck."

"Never heard of you. What's your name?"

"Josephus P. Todd and they call me Shrimpo for short."

"The 'P' stands for 'punk,' hey?"

Mr. Todd became somewhat peeved and irked. The fellow was positively rude and vulgar.

"Listen, guy," sniffed Shrimpo, "I ain't lookin' for no trouble but if ...

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