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Dan Dunn's vacation was beginning to be a joke at Headquarters. Off and on for weeks the stalwart operative had been declaiming: "Tomorrow I start my vacation!"

But each time, before the next day's sun, something big had broken. Each time Dan had been thrust into the thick of some gravely important case.

Kay, sweet, blue-eyed and blond, insisted that Dan take a much needed rest.

"They'll get on without you. Dan," she reasoned. "They'll have to, that's all! You're no child! Can't you see you need to relax?"

It amounted almost to a scolding and Kay was one of the few who dared to scold Dan Dunn.

Well, Dan Dunn was relaxing now, whether he chose to or not. His head was swathed in bandages and he lay propped up on the plump pillows which the Mercy Hospital provided for its patients. The spy business had been bad but Dan had seen it through. The ringleader was safe behind the bars—but putting him there had put Dan in the hospital.

Kay bent over him solicitously.

"Oh, Dan!" she cried. "I got here just as soon as I could! Irwin wired me!"

"Good old Irwin!" Dan thought and grinned. His round-faced assistant had a way with detail.

Kay sat at his bedside.

"Now, listen, Dan," she said seriously, "you must take your vacation—"

Dan raised himself up higher.

"Okay," he said. "You plan the thing. I'll be out of the hospital in a couple of days and we'll leave!"

Kay was all smiles as she walked out the door. Dan was smiling, too. It was good to think of a little rest after what he had been through and it was good to have Kay looking after him as she always did.

But Dan's vacation plans went awry. The day he left the hospital the Northwest National Bank was robbed!

It was a job which showed unusually clever, albeit criminal, brain work. Two weeks after the hold-up Dan had apprehended the gang. But he was deeply interested in the manner in which the outlaws had operated. As he went back over the events which had led to the robbery, he found that, for weeks, the unlawful act had been painstakingly planned, carefully rehearsed.

In a little house on the outskirts of a nearby city, there lived an old crone. Her husband had been a thief. He was now serving a term of life imprisonment. This should have served as a lesson and a warning that crime pays bad dividends; but not so. The old woman bent all her efforts on the upbringing of her two sons and her daughter—as criminals!

Their education, Ma felt, was now complete. They were ready to get their diplomas. Accordingly, one evening, Ma rounded up the three.

"You, Cissy," she addressed her sleek, dark-haired daughter, "you get a job in the Northwest National Bank. Learn all about how they operate, and when the most money is around to be grabbed—"

"Yes, Ma," Cissy blew out a cloud of cigarette smoke. "I get it."

"Bub," Ma pointed to her oldest son, who invariably wore a checkered suit. "Bub, you'll case the bank from the outside. Learn all about the policeman on the beat—and when the big money shipments come in—"

"O. K.," Bub grunted. "I'll get busy."

"Harry," Ma squinted into the shifty, black eyes of her youngest, "you'll open an account in the bank. Go in two or three times a day. Be sure to see as much of the teller cages as you can—how much money they have around and what cage has the most."

Harry nodded, grinning maliciously.

"As soon as we get all the information we heed," Ma continued, "I've got the thing figured out. But we must make SURE!" For an instant her claw-like hands clenched. "We won't make the mistake your father made! We'll pay the COPPERS BACK! We'll make them sorry they put your father away!"

"I'll say!" Harry exclaimed. "We'll get even with them harness bulls!"

So it was that Ma and her brood planned the robbing of the Northwest National Bank to "get even" with the police!

Sweet and demure, Cissy applied at the bank for work.

"Yes," she was told promptly, "you may report for work in the morning—as file clerk and messenger."

"Oh! Thank you!" purred Cissy. "Mother will be SO GLAD now that I have work. I'll be here promptly at nine."

Not long after Cissy returned home to report to her mother.

"Yep, Ma," she laughed, "they fell for the phoney recommendations I showed them!"

The old crone regarded her daughter with evident approval.

"Everything's set, eh?" she said. "And you'll be going from one department to another?"

"That's right," Cissy reached for a cigarette. "Pretty swell for us, eh?"

"Yep," the crone agreed. "Now don't forget to watch carefully just what the guards do and how the money is handled—"

It was not long after that Bub drifted in. He handed his mother a small black book.

"There are the notes about the copper on the beat, Ma. He makes a regular turn EVERY FORTY MINUTES. He's art old guy!"

Ma grabbed the book as a hungry dog snatches at a bone.

"An old copper, eh?" she mumbled, leafing through the papers. "How about the Sergeant? When does he show up?"

"Twice a day," Bub said promptly. "About ten-thirty in the morning and about three in the afternoon!"

Ma slapped the book shut and stuffed it into a pocket in her black dress.

"Keep your eye on the place, Bub," she cautioned. "At least for another week. We want to be sure about everything. Cissy got a job in the bank—she will have a report every night."

"That's swell!" Bub said with admiration. "We ought to be ready in a week, Ma."

"In a week," the crone repeated. "We'll crack that job right!"

In the bank Cissy was making the most of her opportunity. The president's mail slipped first through her searching fingers; her hungry eyes first ate up an important message.

"Hmmm," Cissy murmured as she read. "They'll make up the payroll for the Xena Company on the fifth—OVER FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!"

That night she told Ma the news.

"It will run over fifty grand, Ma!" she reported. "And you should see how nice the president of the bank is to me!"

"Never mind that banker! snapped the crone. "Tell me more about the dough!"

Cissy sprawled in a chair and reached for a cigarette.

"With that payroll," she said "we should be able to knock off the joint for about three hundred grand." From a pocket she produced a slip of paper. "Here is a plan of the place—" She gave it to her mother, then added, "but how about the guards, Ma!"

"We'll stick them in the vault," Ma answered at once. "You get the president covered. If anyone starts anything, he'll be the first to get it—"

Cissy laughed.

"I can handle the president all right. He's a cute little fellow. Knows the particular brand of cigarettes I smoke and even buys 'em for me!"

Ma let this pass.

"I'll work out the rest of it," she went on. "Get along with you. The boys are doing a great job of getting the lowdown on the joint, too."

That evening Bub found Ma busy at a table.

"I have the plans all laid out," she said as she worked with some suspicious-looking sticks. "I want you to steal a car, Bub. One with plenty of speed. Get it tonight."

Bub nodded, and then asked "What are you doing, Ma?"

"I'm making a dynamite bomb," said Ma, and added "if we should be pursued we may find good use for it. And I've got to run the roads and make up our get-away charts."

Bub grunted. The crone put down her work and explained further.

"So that I can plant it and switch cars after we're safely away. Catch on?"

Bub caught on.

The crone's next move was a lone job. Behind the wheel of a small, black car, she cruised down the street on which the bank was located.

"Hmm," she muttered with satisfaction, "there's the bank I'll go around the block a cou pie of times—see how traffic is."

This done, the crone proceeded over the route she had mapped out for the getaway.

As she drove along she kept up a steady mumble of conversation to herself.

"That's it! We'll leave the bank, head south to that first street. Then two blocks west, then two blocks south, then east to Grand."

This she did.

"Five blocks on Grand to Warren," Ma directed herself as she drove on. "Then north. That will confuse the police."

She turned and headed for home, keeping the remainder of the getaway ride for a later date. She outlined it aloud, however.

"Across the bridge to Meadville, and then we'll switch cars. That'll fool them plenty. We can go on from there to our hide-out and I've got a swell place. I'll drive over that way tomorrow," she decided, "and pick up some groceries so we can lay low after the stickup!"

Bub's job for the evening was picking up a car. As he strolled along he found the one he wanted.

"Parked as usual on the wrong side of the street," he muttered. "With those keys it won't take me long to get her going. No one's about—"

Luck was with him at the time. The key fitted. There was plenty of gas. Bub made a clean getaway with the car and was soon driving it into the family's garage.

"Ma—'' he called out as he entered the house, "the car I stole is in the garage. Better take a look at it."

"Yeah," his mother grinned. "Nice work!" With one thumb she indicated the radio. "Listen, the police have an alarm out for it now—"

Flat-voiced, three times repeated, came the alarm.

"Calling all cars—calling all cars! Be on the look-out for a red sedan—Borman 1937—Just stolen from——"

Bub turned it off.

"Ha! Ha!" he chortled. "They'll never get that back! I've got the paint and the spray gun. It'll be GREEN tomorrow morning!"

Ma's bony hand rested a moment on his shoulder.

"Take it over to Meadville," she ordered. "I rented a garage there." She produced a card from an ancient purse. "Here's the address."

Then it was the fifth day of the month, the day Dan Dunn came from the hospital, eager to be off on his vacation.

Ma's plans and preparations were all in order. The stolen red sedan had been painted green. The hideaway was stocked with enough supplies to hold the four for weeks.

But Ma overlooked one small item—Cissy's cigarettes.

Cissy, as she often declared of herself, was a lady. One unmistakable sign was her fussiness over the brand of cigarettes she smoked.

The bank president, whom Cissy had described as "funny" and "cute," was also smart. He had not suspected that Cissy was the well-turned out criminal that she was, but he had had his doubts. And he knew her brand of cigarettes.

The time arrived—one minute to three. Cissy covered the president. Ma, garbed as a man, and her sons attended to the others. The guards were stuck in the vault. Ma and her three helpers pulled the holdup without a hitch. Things ran, indeed, so smoothly, that there was no need to use the dynamite bomb.

Less than two hours after the hold-up the four were relaxing In their hideaway, laughing at the clumsy, helpless men of the law.

Had Ma, Cissy, Bub and Harry seen the face of Dan Dunn as the chief told him of the daring hold-up, they might not have felt so safe.

"Good-bye, vacation," Dan mumbled, and, with Irwin trotting at his side, he went to the bank.

The president told him about Cissy. Bub and Harry he did not know, nor Ma. They had all been masked anyway.

"Any new depositors?" Dan questioned.

This led to a prompt description of Harry. He had come into the bank at least twice a day the last week—sometimes oftener.

Bub's checkered suit had also been spotted outside the bank.

Dan had the description of these two men and the girl, Cissy. When he discovered her unusual brand of cigarettes, however, he went on the trail of that uncommon brand.

Meanwhile, in the hideaway, the four made glowing plans as to what they would do with the haul.

"Get your father out," said Ma. "Money talks."

Paint could talk, too—green paint. Dan Dunn found its trace in the garage where Harry had sprayed the red sedan—and, by a lucky break, in the rented garage in Meadville. So, in Meadville he waited. It was ten days after the hold-up that Cissy sent out for her cigarettes—and that very day Dan Dunn rounded up the gang.

He followed Cissy's errand boy to the hide-out and took the family unawares. They had evaded the police for ten days and had become more bold.

Dan captured them all and hurried them away to Headquarters. The whole family would be enjoying a life sentence together.

His work done, Dan hastened away from Headquarters to join Kay and to continue their rudely interrupted plans. Scarcely had he reached the sidewalk when Irwin came puffing up to his side.

"Where—you—goin', Dan?" he panted.

"I am going on my vacation!" Dan said positively.

Irwin chewed the stub of a cigar he held in his mouth.

"Guess you better go back in," he suggested. "The chief just had a call——"

Shrugging his shoulders Dan Dunn marched back to the chiefs desk.