The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 30

head of my class, I
would be no better off than I am now."



The next day, worn out from loss of sleep, the young man started out
upon a last frenzied search for employment. He had no money for
breakfast, and so he went breakfastless, and as he had no carfare it was
necessary for him to walk the seemingly interminable miles from one
prospective job to another. By the middle of the afternoon Jimmy was
hungrier than he had ever been before in his life. He was so hungry that
it actually hurt, and he was weak from physical fatigue and from
disappointment and worry.

"I've got to eat," he soliloquized fiercely, "if I have to go out
to-night and pound somebody on the head to get the price, and I'm going
to do it," he concluded as the odors of cooking food came to him from a
cheap restaurant which he was passing. He stopped a moment and looked
into the window at the catsup bottles and sad-looking pies which the
proprietor apparently seemed to think formed an artistic and attractive
window display.

"If I had a brick," thought Jimmy, "I would have one of those pies, even
if I went to the jug for it," but his hunger had not made him as
desperate as he thought he was, and so he passed slowly on, and,
glancing into the windows of the store next door, saw a display of
second-hand clothes and the sign "Clothes Bought and Sold."

Jimmy looked at those in the window and then down at his own, which,
though wrinkled, were infinitely better than anything on display.

"I wonder," he mused, "if I couldn't put something over in the way of
high finance here," and, acting upon the inspiration, he entered the
dingy little shop. When he emerged twenty minutes later he wore a shabby
and rather disreputable suit of hand-me-downs, but he had two silver
dollars in his pocket.

When Jimmy returned to his room that night it was with a full stomach,
but with the knowledge that he had practically reached the end of his
rope. He had been unable to bring himself to the point of writing his
father an admission of his failure, and in fact he had gone so far, and
in his estimation had sunk so low, that he had definitely determined he
would rather starve to death now than admit his utter inefficiency to
those whose respect he most valued.

As he climbed the stairway to his room he heard some one descending from
above, and as

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