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Blood On The Ice

By Anthony Clemens

 A Short Story With A Punch 

MIKE MONK had decided to kill the thin man with the sharp nose the moment he got his first glimpse of the diamond.

Monk knew a diamond when he saw it, and there was no doubt in his mind that this was the real McCoy.

It was in the Greek restaurant on Tenth Avenue that he reached the decision to add another murder to the long list of crimes for which he had never been punished since his early days in South Africa.

It was those early days of his, spent at the Kimberley mines, which had developed in him the latent, ruthless instinct of the killer. He had thrived for a while as an illicit diamond buyer until his inevitable arrest. The murder of the two officers who had him in custody, then a swift flight to the coast, and a voyage as a stowaway in a tramp steamer bound for San Francisco had brought Mr. Michael Monk to America.

His lesson was learned—"Dead men tell no tales." Following that motto, he had worked his way across the continent, living well on the proceeds of periodical crimes which he committed, always acting in accordance with his slogan. He spent his money lavishly, living well until it was gone, then he would look around for further pickings.

This was one of the times when he was broke, forced to reduce his style of living until he replenished his funds. When he saw the diamond, he knew that he was going to be on easy street again.

He had just come into the restaurant and seated himself near the door. The thin man, with two others, was seated at a table further down toward the rear of the restaurant, and he had his back to Monk. At first Monk paid no attention to the three, for he was occupied with the pork chops he had ordered.

Suddenly, he stopped with a forkful of food halfway to his mouth. Something had tinkled on the table at which the three men were sitting, and his eye caught the sparkle of a stone.

Slowly, thoughtfully, he conveyed the food to his mouth. His eyes were glued to that table. For the sparkle was the sparkle of a diamond, and it had come out of a small tobacco pouch which one of the two men had just handed to the thin man with the sharp nose.

Monk lowered his eyes quickly as the man who had handed over the pouch looked around the restaurant to note if they had been observed.

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