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Big House Gambit

By Neil Moran

On the way to the calaboose, those two men played a tricky
game with each other and a duel with an unseen killer besides

THE train rumbled along. The two men sitting in a back seat looked at each other. They were manacled, but the captor was doing his best to keep the handcuffs down. Some passengers, however, had seen them and were craning their necks.

"It's a tough day to go to the Big House," the man sitting next to the window said.

"You're telling me."

The conductor came along and collected tickets from passengers who had got on at the last station. He passed the manacled men, dropped his eyes, raised them, and went on, shaking his head.

Suddenly, the man sitting next to the window complained of a pain in his head. "I don't feel good," he said. "I'm sick."

"Yeah?" The detective turned to him. The man next to the window was swaying. His eyes looked glassy. He slumped in the seat, groaning.

The detective turned, called the conductor, "See if there's a doctor on the train, will you?"

The conductor hurried along, calling out loudly. The passengers looked up, but there was evidently no doctor in that car. The conductor went into the next one.

"Is there a doctor here?" he shouted.

Heads turned. An elderly gray-haired man got up. "I'm a doctor," he said, picking up the bag that was at his feet.

"There's a man sick in the next car.

You'd better come in and see him."

The elderly gray-haired man followed the ...

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