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Clue of Courage

By Norvell Page

Just a dumb rookie cop, they said. A mugg with
brains in his feet and not enough savvy to buck the

PATROLMAN MALLORY paced his beat with spring-heeled jubilance. He wanted to whistle, but that was one of the things a cop on duty isn't supposed to do. On duty! The thought sent a tingle of pride through Patrolman Mallory. Off the recruit list at last, no longer a rookie. He was a regular cop on duty—a cop, as his father had been before him. That was what put the spring in young Patrolman Mallory's heels.

The slap of his shoe leather was cheerful along dusk-filled Tenth Street, a lanky, loose-jointed man, with big-wristed hands swinging like hams against the neat dark uniform. His young eyes were alert beneath the black visor of his uniform cap. They raked both sides of the street, took in the high dim ceiling of a studio through a big window, saw lavish furnishings, saw a gentleman in a silk hat come out of an apartment house across the street and stand in pale yellow light beneath the canopy.

The chasseur, in light blue uniform, raised a white ivory whistle to his lips and piped twice. Near the corner behind Mallory a taxi clashed gears and moaned to a crescendo of mounting speed. It passed Mallory with a sibilant rush, swerved toward the curb. Its yellow bulk cut in between Mallory and the waiting gentleman in the silk hat. Staccato explosions ripped out.

The high buildings on either side of the street caught up the blasts and gave them a whip-like after echo. It filled the thoroughfare with crashing sound. Mallory stopped dead, lanky body crouched, brows frowning above alert young eyes. Could that be gunfire? Mallory's big fist squeezed through the slit in his coat pocket to his holster; his gun came out in his hand.

The taxi had not stopped. As if the explosions had been rocket blasts propelling it, it spurted ahead with increased speed. As the yellow screen of the cab was removed the man in the silk hat came into view again. He was clinging to a steel support of the canopy. His head was sagging and, while Mallory watched, he slid slowly, grotesquely down the pole. His knees hit the pavement and he pitched sideways. The chasseur stood rigid, shoulder-hunched, against the apartment wall, a picture of paralyzed fear.

Mallory was in the middle of the street in a single, long-legged bound, his pistol leveled. He blew his police whistle in shrill squirts of sound and his gun jerked in his big hand, spitting lead after the fleeing taxi. Mallory saw glass crash out of the car's back window as it swirled through the white pool of a streetlight, then it lurched, squealing rubber around the corner into Fifth Avenue.

Mallory pounded, gun still in hand, across the street to where the man had sunk to the pavement.

"Hey, you!" he yelled to the chasseur, "Where's a phone?" He had a big voice.

The doorman moved a jerky, trembling hand toward the entrance. Mallory bolted past him. His ham-like fist struck the door like a brick and slammed it open. A man sitting at a...

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