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She was a clip-joint chippie, but she tried to be a straight one. Could she escape those insidious coils of gangland that were dragging her down into the underworld web from which death was the only escape?

Clip-Joint Chisellers

by Mat Rand

BLONDE Marge stretched her beautiful legs out full length under one of the tables in the Pink Kitten Club and slipped the heels of her pumps off her feet for greater ease. Marge, tall and graceful like a young poplar tree, was a fixture in the Pink Kitten. Across the table from her sat petite, black-eyed and raven-haired "Spick Dottie," her crony and confidante. Dot was a fixture, too, and together the duo comprised the most gorgeous of all the interior decorations.

Beautiful blonde and beautiful brunette, perfect specimens of types, were even more attractive because of their contrast. Turn these two babies loose on a sucker with a bulging bankroll and not even a thin dime had a chance of escape. As gold diggers they could chisel nicer and dig deeper than any two chippies on the big stem.

If the reader has ever heard of a clip joint it is sufficient to note that the Pink Kitten was one of those places and Marge and Dot were two of a score of come-alongs that steered and decoyed for the spot. The place was more expensively furnished than the average dump of its character and it boasted a little better swing band. Otherwise it ran pretty true to form. The only rule of the joint was to trim any and all suckers regardless of age, sex or previous condition or standing—and to trim them closer than an air-tight plug.

At the moment Marge was rolling her large and starry blue eyes in which there was an expression of pain. "Gol-damn all traveling salesmen," she said, as she kicked off a shoe entirely and nursed her toes with her tapering fingers. "Gol-damn all traveling salesmen. They can dance longer and drink harder than hell and they'll wind up at 5 A. M. craving more love than a soldier just back from the wars, and besides they can talk you out of your last garter buckle. They talk more and sweeter and last longer and spend less than any damn men this side of hell."

"'Blinkie' back in town again?" asked Dot, with rare understanding and an uplift of her heavily waxed eyebrows.

"Yes, the big brute, and last night he danced the hell out of me," admitted Marge, patting her swollen tootsies.

"You're stuck on Blinkie," observed Dot.

"That's the hell of it," agreed Marge, "I am, and what I can do about it is more'n I can figure out. I guess I oughta give him the gate on account of 'Shiv' but I just ain't been able to do it yet."

"Shiv" Fisher was Marge's regular man. He owned the Pink Kitten. He was big and broad and husky and simple. Once aroused he was as murderous as a black panther. Dot knew Marge could kid Shiv along for a short spell, but sooner or later he was going to get hep to the carpet-and-rug salesman known as "Blinkie" Booth.

"Better go easy," advised Dot warily. "If Shiv ever got a hunch you were two-timing him he would blast you like you'd bust a bubble. He'd blow you fuller of holes than a music roll. Better cut it, you damn fool. You can't take care of Blinkie and he can't take care of you. Shiv'll give you both the works and you'll be on twin slabs in the morgue! I mean it, dearie," and Dot was looking plenty serious.

"You're right, I can't take care of Blinkie," agreed Marge. "But I wonder, can't he take care of me? I wonder!"

"Well, for cri-sake don't drag me into it," pleaded Dot, with real terror in her solemnly dark eyes. "I got no yen to be carved like ...

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