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Round by Round, Check Gavey Outpointed the Law, but Fate Was a Different Kind of Opponent

The Chair Cheater

Paul Ernst
Author of "The Ladder of Death," "Murder Mosaic," etc.

THE C Deck steward from the S.S. Moravia was a scrawny little man. His front teeth were too large and too prominent for his thin face. His mouse-colored hair stuck up in a cowlick behind and hung down wispily over his left eye in front. He was very much afraid of Check Gavey, but his fear was overcome to some extent by the knowledge that he was indispensable to the sinister-looking gangster.

Gavey, dressed in blue serge much different from the loud checks he usually affected, stared at the steward with eyes like black basalt. He moved slowly in his easy-chair, like a snake shifting its coils. Beside Gavey, his underworld pal, Slim Pujo, stood with slouched shoulders and smoked a butt. The gangster said coldly:

"You're getting three grand now, and three more when we land at Guatemala. Six grand.

That's a grand more than the reward out for me, so you'd be nuts to try and cross me."

The steward from the steamer Moravia moistened his lips.

"I wouldn't double-cross you anyway."

"If you tried it," Check Gavey said evenly, "you'd be very sorry. Okay, pal. Run along now and get things ready on the boat."

The steward nodded, looked into Gavey's deadly eyes, gulped, and left the apartment. Gavey lit a cigarette and got to his feet.

"Ten o'clock. Time to get down to the mortuary. The boat pulls out at one or two in the morning, and they're due to pick up the stiff about eleven."

"You're a smart guy, Check," said Pujo.

"I'm smart," nodded Gavey. "That's why I've lasted this long. Sidewalks clear?"

Pujo stepped to the window. He pulled the drawn shade back a crack and looked out.

"Nobody in...

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