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When Lady Luck Knocks On Willie Klump's Door, the Ingrate Detective Checks Up On Her Fingerprints

Alibi Bye

 A Willie Klump Story 

by Joe Archibald

Author of "No Place Likes Homicide," "Scent to the Jug," etc.

WILLIE KLUMP was flush again. As owner of the Hawkeye Detective Agency of New York, Willie's last case had thrown a sizable bunch of scratch his way. The suit he wore, however, as he sat in his office that fine morning, was a rusty blue ensemble that any hungry moth would shy at unless it was on the verge of starvation. His shoes were scuffed to the color of an abject coward's spine.

Willie had a face as innocent of guile as that of an hour-old sprout. Unbelievable but true was the fact that he actually had a reason for appearing seedy. It was uncanny how the word got around when Klump got back on the gravy train.

Three days after a chunk of reward dough was in his pocket, he had been interviewed by a smooth character who had proceeded to relieve Willie of just half his fresh bale of hay.

"How can you lose, Klump?" the visitor had urged. "Mink coats sell for three thousand bucks! You buy a pair of minks up on the farm and, before you know it, they got little minks who grow up and have little minxes. In no time you sell a dame on Park Avenue a fur coat—six hunnerd per cent profit!"

Willie had been more than impressed. He had handed over five hundred dollars for a pair of minks, which included their board and lodging for a year. Two weeks later, he had received a phone call.

"Mr. Klump?" a citizen asked.

"Sorry, them two minks of yours got sick and died. So long."

Thus ended the short but painful career of Trapper Klump. However, he still had five Cs left and he intended keeping it. Nor was the experience wasted. Unhappy though it was, he had learned to view everyone with alarm.

A rough-looking citizen, with a cap pushed back over his bullet-shaped noggin, slid into the office. Willie immediately put up his hands.

"Aw, I don't look that hard, Mister Klump." The visitor grinned out of one corner of his mouth. "Look, I'm Slug McGee and I belong to the Taxi Drivers' Benevolent Association. The boys are gettin' up dough to throw a gallop in Cooley's Hall on East Thirteenth Street and we're sellin' chances on a Gnash Eight. How about a book, Klump? Only two-fifty for five chances."

"Glad to help out worthy causes," Willie said and dug down.

He got a book of tickets and wrote his name and address on the stubs. Tearing off the five tickets he was to retain, he looked at the numbers which ran from 5010 to 5014. He shoved them into his pocket.

"I never had no luck," Willie said. "If you sell ten thousand of those, and everybody but me and another guy holdin' the tickets drop dead, the other guy will win."

"You kill me, Klump," the taxi driver said. "That reminds me. You a bein' a private dick, musta heard about Hy Capstan, the fight manager, bein' found croaked in his office just awhile ago. I wonder who done it. They're suspectin' another pug maestro by the name of O'Berl."

"What?" Willie yelped. "A murder, and me just sittin' here? Hy Capstan? His boy fought just the other night in the Garden and kayoed Palsy Walzi! Where's my hat?"

"On your dome, Klump. Well, good luck."

Slug discovered he was alone. The great detective had already left.

WILLIE found quite a fuss in an office building on Upper Seventh Avenue. The remains of Hy Capstan still reposed on the floor of his pugilistic clearing house. Some citizen had caressed him with a bronze statuette of Gene Tunney. The corpse appraiser was telling the assembled that Hymie had been across the River Styx for roughly four hours. Aloysius "Satchelfoot" Kelly, from the D.A.'s office, was busily officiating.

"Tunney never hit nobody harder, huh?" Kelly was quipping when Willie finally squeezed into the office.

Klump was aghast.

"He knocked off Capstan? This is an awful scandal. Why, he was supposed to quit boxin' and start readin'!"

Willie took off his coat and draped it over a chair. Satchelfoot Kelly picked up the haberdashery and tossed it out into the hall.

"Follow it, you dime-store dick," Kelly growled. "I won't stand for you clutterin' up this case."

Willie went out into the corridor and picked up his mustard-colored overcoat. Papers had fallen out of the inside pocket and were strewn on the floor. A character from Cauliflower Alley helped him collect the documents. He handed Willie a handful of auto raffle tickets and other papers of doubtful value.

"Everythin' here but a ch...

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