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Blue Heat

G. T. Fleming-Roberts
(Author of "The Devil's Belfry," "The Standing Corpse," etc.)

Detective Faring Couldn't Take a Joke—But He Was No Slouch When It Came To Action!

DETECTIVE Jimmy Farring eased his spine against the corner of the Blue Front Drug Store. He looked furtively down the street. Then, he shied a glance over his shoulder through the drug store window and down the aisle of soda tables.

Jimmy Farring wasn't looking for crooks.

This time, he had his eye out for cops. He was trying to avoid them. Having satisfied himself that none of his fellow members of the force were around, he slipped a worn leather case from inside his coat. For the third time in the past hour, he scrutinized a dirty scrap of paper inside the case:

"This is a straight tip, Bottle. Keep your eye on the First National Bank this afternoon between two and three."

Now, if it hadn't been for that name, "Bottle," Jimmy Farring would have talked the matter over with some of the older dicks. But whenever any of the dicks at headquarters wanted to kid Jimmy, they called him Bottle. That was because of his face.

Not that it wasn't a good face. It was too darn good for a dick. The old-timers said that Jimmy looked like a bottle-fed baby. They were always giving him the razz about his face and because he was green. And Jimmy's disposition didn't take jokes.

Fat old Sergeant Garigan would tell people that the only reason the chief had taken Jimmy out of the sticks was because he was so darn handsome he was putting all the icemen out of business. Then Garigan would wink, slap his elephantine thigh and go off in rolling cascades of merriment.

It was because of Garigan's jokes that Jimmy was on the fence about this bank tip-off. If it wasn't a bum steer, why hadn't it been sent to somebody higher up the ladder than Jimmy? If it wasn't one of Garigan's jokes, why had he been addressed as "Bottle"? Now, if it was straight, he'd feel like hell if he didn't take it straight.

Each time he read the note, he took a step towards the chief's office. But then he would take another step—backwards. Lord! He'd rather face a squad of ta-ta guns than be the butt of another joke!

So it was that at two o'clock, Jimmy's spine was holding up the corner of the Blue Front Drug Store. From this position, he could get a diagonal squint at the entrance of the First National.

Two-thirty and a big Cadillac pulled up in front of the First National. Jimmy got on his toes. He got a grip on the butt of his automatic.

A tall, graceful woman gave some orders to the chauffeur and got out.

Jimmy grumbled an oath and relaxed. The woman ankled towards Millings Department Store.

Ten minutes later, and a big Chrysler slid in behind the Cadillac. Thi...

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