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Cursed Edition

"Alvin Hinkey" Yarn

By Joe Archibald

Alvin Hinkey, the understudy flatfoot, would rather do his research in a beer-parlor than a book-hall. But when Hinkey borrowed a crook-book from the library, he seemed slated to drink in its sinister wisdom only out of a Roscoe's muzzle.

Sgt. Louis Garfunkle,
c/o Postmaster,
New York, N. Y.

DEAR LOUIE:

I got your letter. But don't never try to send me no more ravioli like they make in Italy again, even if you do put it in a can. I am still burnin' incense in my room an' almost got evicted. I am glad you wasn't in France and they wasn't snails.

I saw Eva last night. She says maybe the Gothic Line is tough, but the Garfunkle one is even worse. She does not believe a wolf like you is not at this minute neckin' some doll in a gondola. I says to Eva you are not in Venice, and only gondolas come from Venice. She says what do I think she is, dumb? How about Venetians? So I says they are too busy makin' blinds.

Louie, if there is anything dumber than Eva, it is only Hambone Noonan. Which reminds me of a murder I solved a couple of weeks ago.

We find a character bumped off, Louie. His name is Sigmund Sheaf. He is parked with a green sedan up in Van Cortlandt Park. Both his lights and the car's are out. Some cops advanced on the jalopy to put an end to a woo woo session, and what did they find but a cadaver. The only necking the citizen had gotten was from a thirty-eight caliber Betsy that left an opening in his noggin. There is nothing left in his poke, but a gas coupon.

Hambone says right away, "The citizen gives somebody a lift an' the hitchhiker robbed him."

"But the corpse is not behind the wheel," I point out.

"Look Alvin," Hambone says and pushes me aside. "When I want your advice, I will ast for it. You are new to the business and have been lucky so far. Don't jump at a conclusion."

"If you was one, I would climb you now, Hambone," I says riled. "Who hitchhikes in a park?"

"Shut up," the big slob says, and we go on with the investigating. "Sheaf don't look like he had enemies."

"Not anymore," I offer. "'What could they do to him now if he had. See if he owned the jalopy. The keys are in the dash, Hambone. Do somethin'."

We find out that Sheaf owned the sedan. Most always whoever owns a jalopy insists on driving it. It is only elementary. It looks like the assassin moved Sheaf from behind the wheel to mix up the cops, but why should it? Crooks do the darnedest things though.

The medical examiner makes a guess that Sheaf has been defunct for four hours at least. The cops take some pictures and dust for prints as usual, then let a meat wagon remove the victim. Me and Hambone and two other cops mentally dry-clean the death jalopy.

"I got somethin'," Hambone says. It was stuck between the seat cushion an' the back of the front seat. It is a membership card made out to a Rufus H. Wheedle. His address is right on it, Alvin. I says for you to just sit by an' watch good old Noonan work.

"Well, we will go and pick up this Wheedle," Noonan adds. "His address is 3214½ Katonah Avenue in Woodlawn. Let's go."

"It is quite late to make a call, isn't it?" I interrogate.

WE GO to the address in Woodlawn, Louie. There are no lights on in the little frame house. At least we could not spot one until we pussyfooted around back and saw one in the cellar. Hambone gets down on all fours, and peeks through a little hyphen of light under some kind of a curtain. He sucks in a breath and holds it until he gets on his big feet.

"Al-Alvin, you know what?" he gulps. "We have trapped not only a desperate killer, but also a counterfeiter! Let's go in and take him."

"Did you count the bazookas and Tommy-guns he's got?" I ask. "Awright, s...

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