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Wrestling a Man Mountain—or a TNT Bomb—
Was All In A Day's Workfor This
Plucky Secret Service Ace

Check and Double Check

By C. K. M. Scanlon

Author of "Hot Money," " Bring 'Em Back Dead," etc.

IT was the first time I'd had the pleasure of mitting the chief of the Secret Service.

"Ye can trust Walter absolutely," said my boss, Inspector McIntyre of the Eastern District, ogling the chief through his thick glasses.

"If that's so," I complained, "why wouldn't you lend me that sawbuck I asked you for?"

"Tush, Walter. Curb your levity," snapped McIntyre.

"Barwin," said Gregor, the chief, "I had the inspector bring you to this furnished room so the finger wouldn't be put on you. Are you married?" he snapped, boring me with his piercing eyes. "Have you a sweetheart, a mother, anyone you'd consider before your duty? Are you patient, sober, and industrious?"

"Ye'll find Walter, in spite of a warped sense of humor, has all the necessary qualities," replied McIntyre for me. "He's the finest roper I've e'er kenned, and has a way of worming himself into the good graces of a crook that is marvelous. But don't preen yourself, laddie," he added quickly, as a button popped off my vest. "Ye're getting plenty salary now, and I've always believed it's the fatuousness of your Irish countenance that intrigues the thieves."

"Here's the situation, Barwin," explained Gregor. "A multimillionaire, Francis Shelton, a man high in government circles and necessary to the country's welfare, is in mortal danger. T.N.T. bombs have been tossed at him and at his home. Several relatives or servants have been injured. From fragments of the missiles our experts have decided they were manufactured by Carl Zuger, a German anarchist who supplies gangsters and racketeers as a grocer sells cheeses. Last week a quarter-million dollars was demanded from Shelton as the price of his life.

"To tell you frankly, we're panicky. Should we collar Zuger, the real enemy, who is still hidden, may escape. Shelton will be murdered by next Monday if the money is not forthcoming, according to the last threat. Barwin, you must get inside the circle, rope Zuger and find out the plans."

"Can't you tail Zuger?" I asked.

"No. He's too wary."

"I'd like to have a go at it," said McIntyre, who is proud of his shadowing.

"Zuger has a Russian wrestler named Stanislav Yurloko," went on Gregor, "who acts as his bodyguard. Yurloko is stupid but he is a barbarian, powerful as a grizzly, and would think nothing of tearing you to pieces."

What an assignment! I went home, left my gun and papers, donned a sport suit, fancy tie and a cap. I strolled out, paid a pro wrestler who ran a gymnasium to put me on his books, and walked past Zuger's dingy brownstone front for a peek.

ABOUT nine P. M. out came Yurloko, the Russian bear.

"I don't believe you!" I told my eyes.

Outside of the circus I have never seen anything so immense. He weighed around three hundred, was seven feet higher than an ant, and his neck was the only place where there was room for brains. All that kept his collar from popping up was his big ears. On his brown atlas was a ferocious scowl and I groaned when I realized I was to chum with this savage.

Yurloko went to a speakeasy nearby. He took off his cap so it wouldn't fall off his shaved dome when he put back his head to drink. I engaged a man of reasonable growth in talk, and after buying highballs, suggested we try a few wrestling holds. I figured it would interest Yurloko, and after I'd sprung a few nifties learned in police training, he did prick up his ears.

"You wrestler?" he demanded.

"Sure, kid. I'm Walt Harrigan, the Tosser," I said. "I can throw Londos."

"But not Yurloko," he answered. "I show."

He crouched, extended his arms, and circled, chin jutting six inches ahead of his slant brow. I flashed, tried a half Nelson, but my arms wouldn't reach around. He wasn't as slow as he looked, for he whirled and pinned me. He was so heavy my armlocks and tricks did not faze him, and he was just about to pancake me when the phone rang and the bartender called Yurloko. Yurloko grunted into the mouthpiece. Then he paid his score and rolled out. I was right at his propellers.

"Shoo," he said, scowling.

"No," I cried. "You didn't give me a chance."

"No time to wrestle now; beat it," he ordered, giving me a little push that sent me halfway across the street.

I caboosed him to the brownstone. His temper snapped and he lunged at me, catching my waist. He hugged me till I sang the Star Spangled Banner. He flung me to the sidewalk, where I cracked off a perfectly good piece of cement.

I had had a glimpse of a harness bull turning the corner up the street. I was dazed, though not out, but I played dead, hoping Yurloko would feel sorry for me. A moment later he spotted the cop bearing down. He kicked me.

"Get up," he ordered. As I played possum, Yurloko lifted me, and easily holding my hundred and eighty pounds in one wing, carried me into the brownstone front by a basement entrance.

"Vot's this!" A shrill voice greeted us. I saw a small, wizened bearded German—Zuger. "Fool!" he went on, slapping Yurloko in the mouth, "vot for you bring him in here?"

"Excellency! There was a policeman coming," quavered Yurloko, his beady eyes rolling. "He wrestler. I hurt him, and am afraid to leave him lie in street."

"Dumb simpleton," snarled Zuger. "Blown up you should be, great mountain of stupid flesh!"

A quiver ran through the Russian. His face turned red. "Don't say you boom me, Excellency!"

"Sh—" Zuger glared at the dumb Russian, who'd let the tiger out of the trunk. He stepped to me and rolled back one of my eyelids.

"Ow, my head," I groaned, pretending to come to. From the corner of one eye I could see a rear room in which there was a workbench crammed with metals, tools and chemicals: the bomb factory, without a doubt. "You've ruined me," I went on unhappily. "I'm a wrestler and if my skull is cracked, I'm finished."

Zuger's eyes were snapping. He was trying to decide whether to throw me in the river, blow me into the air or bury me in the cellar and let it go at that.

"Walt good wrestler," gulped Yurloko.

"Wrestling! It's all you got in your thick neck," cried Zuger. "Here am I, so busy I can't sleep, and you bring in a fool Irisher!" I caught a meaning look Zuger gave Yurloko, a thumbs-down order that sent icebergs up and down my Alleghenies. I think they would have throttled me then if the doorbell hadn't rung.

ZUGER answered. I sat up, one eye on the Russian. A black-haired Italian gorilla with the pinpoint, staring eyes of a dope fiend, strolled in.

"Howdy, Dutchman," he growled, a nasty sneer twisting his yellow kisser. "The boss is round the corner. He wants one-ounce T. N. T., two clock-bombs, a small watch pineapple for a lady, six hand grenades and a dozen explosive caps."

"Hush, fool, donkey," snapped Zuger, glancing at me.

"Who you calling fool?" snarled the gorilla.

Zuger shook his fists in his face. "Don't talk so to me. I tell Cornetti—"

The Italian's brows snapped up and down like rubbers. He had been kicking the gong around. I saw the flash of his stiletto, and threw myself in, catching his arm just in time to save Zuger's liver. The German stood frozen as I grappled with the wop, jerking the arm up to the collar line, and forcing him to drop the knife.

Yurloko lunged forward, seized the gorilla's head, and snatched him from me. He whirled the gangster around by the neck till it snapped like a toothpick. Before I could act, Yurloko threw him with all his might to the floor. He jumped on him with both feet, and believe me, the mince meat was ready.

Zuger bent over the body. "He's dead," he said. "Yurloko, this is serious. Marlettino is Cornetti's lieutenant. Hurry to the avenue where you see Cornetti's car. Bring him here." Zuger was ready for trouble. He drew a .45 automatic pistol, cocked it, and stood over the dead Italian. Yurloko came thumping back after a few minutes, with a flashily dressed Italian in tow. He was a big, greasy guy, and though I'd never had the sorrow of meeting him, I recognized him from the rogues gallery portraits as Tony the Ape Cornetti, racketeer of the midtown sector. He was covered by half a dozen murderers who crowded in after him.

"What's the idea?" he said. "Why you kill him?"

Zuger seemed to want to be nice to him.

"He came here and drew a knife. Yurloko Cracked his neck defending me. I'm sorry, Tony."

"Okay, kid," said Cornetti, putting one hand on Zuger's wing. "Angelo's been goofy lately. Too much hop, and stuck on himself. Well—what's done is done. Hey, Pete!"

A slim Italian with a fanatic's burning eyes, stepped in and saluted.

"From now on, you're lieutenant. Take Angelo and dump him." He waved a paw and they carried it out.

Zuger and Cornetti whispered together in a corner. The German picked up a suitcase and they went out. To my surprise, as he was leaving, Zuger handed me a dollar.

"I giff you more soon, Walt," he promised. "To make up for your job. Wait here."

I figured he passed me the plaster so I'd stick until he returned and could decide how to murder me.

Zuger gone, I blarneyed Yurloko. It was easy since I'd saved his master's life. He began to purr like a sabre-toothed tiger.

"Yurloko, I've seen your name in the papers as the coming champion," I told him. It was good enough, for he really had a rep as a grappler and had figured—largely—in more than one bout at the Garden.

"You be my partner now," he said.

"Nothing I'd like better, But your Eskimo friend dislikes me."

"Zuger? I fix it."

I hoped he could. I'd seen so much that Zuger would have to take me in or carry me out. I told Yurloko that I hated cops, because my brother had killed a man in a little argument for which they'd cruelly sent him to prison.

"I hate cops, too," he said. "I knock 'em off."

WHEN Zuger trotted in at one A.M., Yurloko began to gurgle for me. "He save you, he help, he hate cops," cried Yurloko. "He dead game."

"Game—but not dead yet." said I to myself.

"Well," Zuger said at last. "I will see, Yurloko. Tonight a little Scotchman followed me on Broadway. Him I shook off. I think he is a detectiff, and if he tails me again, I will fix him. Damn cops!"

"Damn cops," echoed Yurloko.

"Damn cops," I chorused.

"They send Walt's brother to prison," said Yurloko.

We all went to bed then. I awoke about ten, and my head was all right, outside of soreness. Yurloko, at Zuger's command I know stuck close to me. We visited his gymnasium, where we had a training bout. Yurloko's manager was there, and told him he was to wrestle a bout at the Garden on Monday night.

For two days I trained with Yurloko, sleeping at the bombmaker's. I made no attempt to break away, and the German began to take me more for granted. Plenty of criminals visited there, so it was eenie-meenie as to which mob was after Shelton.

Saturday night Zuger tripped out. At midnight our phone rang.

"'Allo," answered Yurkolo, "Yes, Excellency." I stood close behind him, and could hear Zuger's piping voice.

"Come at once to the Nelson hotel, Yurloko. Come alone. Slip the Irisher a sleeping powder."

Yurloko hung up. He scratched his bald head and looked at me. "He say, come alone."

"Listen, have a kidney," I begged. "Don't leave me, kid. Let me go with you. I'm game. Let's show Zuger I'm hot."

I blarneyed him, and finally we started for the Nelson in a cab. We went to the sixth floor, where Yurloko knocked at a suite. Zuger opened the door and in we shimmied.

Zuger swore on seeing me, and kicked Yurloko. Cornetti was there, and he frowned, too. But what gave me the swellest shock of all was the tableau of Scotch life in the corner. Tied to an arm chair, gagged, glasses knocked off, and a goose egg on his tower, was my friend and master, Inspector Donald McIntyre! The famous tail man himself!

Zuger seized Yurloko's wrist. "Didn't I say come alone?" he gritted.

Cornetti, thick lips open, smoked a fat cigar. He clicked his teeth and Pete, the lieutenant, rod in hand, stepped from another room and waited for orders.

"Whatsa matter?" demanded Cornetti.

"He has brought the Irisher," growled Zuger.

"Well? What of it?" said Cornetti, shrugging. "I thought it was something important. Okay, Pete. Listen, Zuger: the Irishman saved you from Angelo. So he's all right. If he was a New York dick, I'd know him. C'mon, we're in a hurry."

They'd found McIntyre's credentials on him, I discovered from the talk. Zuger had been watching for shadows, and had led my czar into a deserted hall, where Cornetti and Pete had jumped him and dragged him in.

I was nervous. I'm fond of McIntyre, and there he was as good as dead. For a moment I considered fighting them all. But as I stood there McIntyre caught my eye. He's a game rooster and he shook his head slightly, his eyes burning into mine for an instant. He was telling me plainly to glue to the job, and forget him.

"Cornetti's boys are out, Yurloko," said Zuger. "So I call you. Take this Scotch monkey and throw him in the river."

Yurloko nodded coolly. An empty trunk was dragged in from the other room.

"Wait," I piped up. "Why not shake this guy down, boss? Maybe we can rip some ransom out of him." I glanced at McIntyre and he looked pained—a Scotchman's answer to a ransom demand is a collect telegram in two letters, N-O.

Cornetti slapped me on the back. "You got a good head, kid. Muscling's my business. But this baby wouldn't bring enough to pay for the time. You might get a couple of grand out of him." Oh, yeah! When I couldn't even get a two-dollar raise for the government to pay.

"He must die," said Zuger.

"See this list?" Cornetti said kindly to me— just a big shot taking an interest in a beginner. "They're all guys who pay real money." I piped the paper. On it was written a dozen prominent wealthy names, and at the top was Francis Shelton!

"YEAH?" I said. "Suppose they don't toe in?"

"Then it's asbestos," Cornetti replied, dragging a paw across his throat. "Kill one or two, and the others quit."

"So you're after Shelton," said I admiringly. "I hand it to you, boss, you got nerve."

"Shelton is slow," went on Cornetti, scowling. "I've given him last warning, and if the bomb doesn't get him, there is a second plan that can't fail—"

"What's that?" I asked.

Before he spilled it, however, Zuger interrupted impatiently. "Come. Put the Scotch monkey in the trunk and toss him in the river, Yurloko. Since Walt is here, he will help you."

I hustled over and managed to keep Yurloko from cracking McIntyre's neck so he'd fit in easier. We closed the lid and I took the back while Yurloko carried the front. Zuger and Cornetti cautioned us to make no errors. We toted McIntyre down five flights and were starting out a side door when a couple of flatfoots ambled up.

"What you got there?" asked one.

Yurloko, with a snarl, dropped the trunk. He grabbed the hotel detective and flung him in his pal's face. The latter tried to draw a rod, but the Russian tripped him and jumped on him. It took him two seconds to knock 'em both cold. He dusted his hands, picked up the trunk and off we went.

WE found a taxi and put the trunk beside the driver. "To the river," ordered Yurloko.

"Hudson or East?" asked the driver.

"Take us to Brooklyn Bridge," I said.

My heart was doing a tap-dance as I tried to figure how to get McIntyre saved without frying the eggs in our basket. I might have called the Grand Army, but then Zuger and Cornetti might escape or pull one of the two plans they'd mentioned, one a bombing, the other—I couldn't guess. Then I had a bright idea.

"Listen, Yurloko," I said. "Why should we toss this guy in the ocean when he's good for money?"

He shook his head. "Zuger say no," he answered.

"Zuger needn't know. We'll do it on our own. You can have eight-sevenths of what we get."

"No. I want half," he held out.

It ended up by our stopping at the furnished room dump of a Bolshevik pal of Yurloko's. Sivneski was a pop-eyed villain with a mouse nest on his jutter, and we carried the trunk into his den. I pried up the lid to give McIntyre free air.

Sivneski couldn't talk English. McIntyre was half-smothered, but a little water brought him back, and I slipped him a jolt of vodka that straightened him up like a ramrod.

"We let you go, mister," Yurloko growled as Sivneski and I watched. "Only you pay us four thousand dollars."

Sivneski and I watched. "Only you pay us four thousand dollars."

That proved Yurloko's stupidity, if nothing else did. Imagine asking McIntyre for his fortune just because you'd croak him if he didn't pay! There are no kidnapers in Scotland.

"Don't be absurd, Roosian," said McIntyre.

Yurloko growled and raised his ham. "I keel!"

"Now, wait," I said, stepping in— one good crack would curtain my little boss. "How about three thousand, mister?" And I winked.

The bargaining went hotly on. Finally McIntyre, after I'd nudged and winked for half an hour, said he'd pay $2,145.59 for his life. But he needed a day or two, he claimed, to remember where he'd hidden his money. It was only a promise, illegally coerced, but tears stood in his eyes as he made it. Just imagining what it would be to pay hurt him terribly.

Yurloko gave Sivneski a pistol, five dollars and orders in Russian. We left McIntyre with hands and feet bound.

It was the best I could do for the moment. We went back and found Zuger at the brownstone. Told him we had tossed McIntyre in the river. And so to bed.

On Monday, Yurloko sprang a big surprise on me. "Walt," he said, "tonight you wrestle me at nine-fifteen at the Garden!"

"What!" I gasped.

"Roughhouse Red, my opponent, is sick. It is your big chance."

Zuger, who had been working steadily in his lab, piped, "Yes, your chance, Walt. And I have a surprise for you, too. Now I am glad I saved you. Tonight I tell you what it is."

All day Yurloko never let me out of his sight. We trained steadily. I was worried about McIntyre and the fact that it was Shelton's last day of grace. I was in despair when eight P.M. came and we made ready to start for the Garden. Zuger drove his closed car to the brownstone. Then he took Yurloko and me into the bomb room. The German's chest struck out with pride.

"Look," he said. "It is perfect!"

In a clear space on the workbench stood a brown suitcase a foot long and half as wide. "It is a bomb," Zuger said, with shining eyes. "Set for nine-thirty-two tonight."

"Great," I said. At least I was in on the bomb toss. "Gee, it's a neat job, boss." I put my ear to it, but it made no sound. "Suppose the bag is opened before nine-thirty-two?"

Zuger clucked in delight. "It goes off when opened. But my friend, it must not explode till the moment, else the man we wish to kill might escape, and Yurloko and you be hurt."

"It's interesting," I said. "How's it work?"

I had touched a spot in his breast at last. Eagerly he brought from a shelf another little suitcase exactly like the first. "I make this model first," he said. "This one is not loaded. See the clock face? I set it for nine-thirty two. This glass tube, empty in this dummy, holds the tri-nitro- toluol which does the explode. On top is a fulminate of mercury cap which detonates it."

Yurloko was chewing on his lip, He was afraid of that bomb.

"What are we to do with the bomb, boss?" I asked.

Zuger stared into my blinkers. "Walt, it's your chance. Tonight at the ringside comes one Francis Shelton. He must die by midnight. Yurloko and you carry the bomb in like it is your clothes, and leave it under Shelton's nose. Here is his picture so you will know him. When the bomb blows, Shelton will be killed, and then we have no more trouble collecting from our other customers." He closed the model, returning it to the shelf.

His eyes gleamed viciously behind his glasses. I had to think fast. Zuger had a gun and was watching me. I was unarmed, and Yurloko could kill me with his bare hands. The Russian went into the other room, getting away from the bomb, and Zuger followed him to whisper a warning in his ear.

Boy, did I pull a swift one! I had two seconds in which to make a desperate play. It took me an instant to grab the empty model and switch the loaded bomb to the shelf.

"The time has come," said Zuger, as I sauntered out. He went back, and, my heart in my toenails, I saw him seize the model from the bench, and leave the real bomb on the shelf. "You first, Walt," he ordered, and out we started.

YURLOKO was slow in following us. But finally he appeared, carrying a big roll of sweaters.

"Hurry," snapped Zuger. Yurloko climbed in back. I sat in front beside the German. Zuger handed the model bomb to Yurloko to take charge of. I sighed with relief as we drove off, with the dummy—let the real one blow the brownstone front all the way and back again, what did I care?

We pulled up at the Garden's side door, and out I got, feeling swell. Zuger turned on Yurloko. "Don't fail, now!"

"What you say, Excellency."

I stood on the walk, laughing inwardly. Yurloko rummaged around in the rear till finally Zuger slapped him. He straightened up, clutching the suitcase to his bosom. He was breathing hard, afraid of the "boom," while I was free and easy.

Yurloko hardly said a word. He was twitchy about the T. N. T. he thought he had, and it gave me a great laugh. His manager greeted us, and we changed into our tights.

At nine-fifteen we were announced: "Yurloko the Russian Bear vs. Walt Harrigan, the Masked Wonder." I strode down the aisle, blinking at the thousands there to see the bouts. Yurloko came in, his bald head wrinkled like lava. In one hand he carried the fake.

In the matted ring I looked out and located Francis Shelton, the man I had saved from death. He was seated at the ringside, a few feet from Yurloko's corner, and behind him was Gregor, the chief. I high-signed all was well. Yurloko placed the suitcase as close as possible to the victim.

The match began as we took the center of the mat, feinting for an opening. Yurloko perspired, biting his lips; he kept glancing around at the bomb. I dove in, tripping him, and took an armlock and body scissors. I had a swell time; Yurloko was so shaky, he couldn't wrestle, and I punished him badly.

"Walt!" he whispered. "It's time we get out."

"Why worry?" I said in his ear. I seized his foot and pulled it back to his leg, lying back like an oarsman and taking a long pull. Yurloko was pinned, and could not get up. He began to bellow, fighting to free himself, but the harder he squirmed, the more grip I got.

"THE boom goes any minute, Walt," he gasped.

"Maybe it ain't a real boomer," I laughed.

"But it is!" he moaned. "Oh, why didn't I keep the fake one when I had it in my hands—"

"Ouchski!" I said. "What do you mean?"

"Walt, I bring both booms," panted Yurloko. "When Zuger and you go out, I slip in lab and grab model, hid it under my sweaters. I meant to cross Zuger, leave real boom in car, because I am scared. Then I lose nerve and carry killer bomb in here."

"How d'you know you got the real one?" I asked.

"Because I get 'em mix up, Walt. I bring heavier one."

I leaped five feet in the air. I'd been kidding and laughing all the time, and here that stupid Russian had brought in enough T.N.T. to slay the whole crowd. I had made a neat switch, and Yurloko, by a bullhead play, had ruined the works.

As I came down, Yurloko rolled out and I landed on him, flattening him on his shoulders.

"The Masked Wonder wins the first fall!"

The Masked Wonder was about to win a harp, or maybe a pitchfork. Glancing at the clock, I saw the big hand thumbing nine-thirty. Yurloko saw it, too. With a wild scream, he leaped through the ropes and started for the nearest exit. As for me, I seized the bomb, sailed through the ropes, and dashed out the way I'd come. The astonished audience booed and laughed gaily.

All I thought of was getting that thing away from the crowd and the man I had to protect. I zipped out the door, turned toward Ninth Avenue away from a group of kids and cops, and cometed up the street, looking for a vacant place to toss the bomb.

Suddenly Zuger's high voice hailed me. He was sitting there in his car, and Cornetti was with him, in the front seat. They were waiting to see what Willie Bomb did.

"Walt—stop!" screamed Zuger.

"He's crossed us," bellowed Cornetti, as he saw the suitcase. He drew a .45 and sent a shot after me. I ducked into an alley and threw bomb as far away as I could, covering my face with my flippers.

The explosion came an instant later. I thought I was torn apart, as I was knocked flat and the report Alped up and down. Shouts and yells sounded as it rained metal.

Then I saw the bomb case I'd tossed. It was lying where it had fallen, unbroken! As I swallowed the world and discovered I was still on it, I picked it up and opened it. A chisel fell out— that tool had got closed in the case, and made it seem heavier to Yurloko when he juggled the two bags.

I peeked out. There was a hole in the asphalt where Zuger's car had been. Several parked machines nearby had been shattered. Cornetti and Zuger, sitting a few inches from the live bomb, had been torn to pieces.

I stood, naked save for what was left of my tights. Cops came running and grabbed me. They wanted to send me to Bellevue. It was fifteen minutes before I came to myself, and remembered that Yurloko was fancy free and McIntyre in his power at the Sivneski salon—also, that there was a second plot to kill Shelton. I borrowed a raincoat from a cop, grabbed a cab and rode over there. I broke in, but the joint was empty.

McIntyre's ropes had been cut, and lay there on the floor. The chief was gone.

My heart nearly snapped. I was worried about McIntyre. Yurloko would squash him like a fly for not paying his ransom. As I stood, trying to make my brain get back on location, I realized I must do something about Shelton and that second plot.

From what I had gathered, it could be carried out even with Zuger and Cornetti dead.

Back I whizzed to the Garden, and was just in time to see Shelton come out, Gregor by his side. Half a dozen dicks surrounded them, as they came out the exit and the starter flashed the number of Shelton's car on the call board.

"The bomb's burst," I whispered to Gregor, as he came to me on my signal. "That's done. But there's a second plan to be pulled off tonight, I don't know what it is."

"We'll cover him every instant," promised Gregor.

"Have you seen McIntyre?" I asked hopefully.

"Not for two days," he replied.

I stood aside as Shelton, a fine looking man of middle age, guarded at the rear by a ring of men, started to step into his closed limousine.

I couldn't have stopped it. Nobody could, from outside. The uniformed chauffeur, who'd brought up the car, suddenly turned, and I saw the pistol in his hand and recognized the ferocious face of Pete, Cornetti's fanatic lieutenant!

Too late, I knew that this was the second scheme, to be used if the bomb failed.

As Pete raised his rod to send a hail of slugs into Shelton's unprotected breast, a jack-in-the-box figure popped up from under a rug in the rear tonneau, and brought a blackjack down over Pete's head. The Italian's first bullet went wild, and Pete, knocked for a goal, folded up on the floorboards.

"McIntyre!" I gasped. It was my little boss who'd saved the night. He wasn't a bit excited.

SHELTON went on with his guards, and I led McIntyre to a saloon—my treat.

"I was afraid Yurloko might hustle over and try to get your dough," I said. "He'd have killed you. But I guess he's swimming his way back to Russia."

"He did come, laddie," said McIntyre grimly. "And he demanded the ransom. He wanted cash, and was about to kill me."

"Don't tell me you outwrestled him!"

He shook his head. "No, laddie. I paid."

"What?" I cried.

"Yes, Walter. I had important business. While I was at Cornetti's, just before you came there, I heard the racketeer giving Pete orders to take the place of Shelton's chauffeur in case the bomb failed. As soon as I got away from Yurloko, I hurried over to the Garden. While Pete and his pals dragged Shelton's man out one door, I managed to creep in the other and hide under the rug."

McIntyre finished off his snifter, took a quarter from me instead of another drink, and rose.

"Better get some sleep, Walter," he said. "Ye'll have another little job tomorrow."

"Where are you going in such a hurry?" I asked.

"To the bank, laddie," he answered grimly, "and wait till it opens in the morning. If he'd take it, he'd try to cash it."

"What?" I asked.

"Why, I told you I wouldn't pay Yurloko in cash, Walter. So I gave him a check!"