The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 31

they passed beneath the dim light of a flickering gas-jet
he realized that the other stopped suddenly and turned back to look
after him as Jimmy continued his ascent of the stairs; and then a low
voice inquired:

"Say, bo, what you doin' here?"

Jimmy turned toward the questioner.

"Oh!" he exclaimed as recognition of the other dawned slowly upon him.
"It's you, is it? My old and esteemed friend, the Lizard."

"Sure, it's me," replied the Lizard. "But what you doin' here? Looking
for an assistant general manager?"

Jimmy grinned.

"Don't rub it in," he said, still smiling.

The other ascended toward him, his keen eyes appraising him from head to
foot.

"You live here?" he asked.

"Yes," replied Jimmy; "do you?"

"Sure, I been livin' here for the last six months."

"That's funny," said Jimmy; "I have been here about two months myself."

"What's the matter with you?" asked the Lizard. "Didn't you like the
job as general manager?"

Jimmy flushed.

"Forget it," he admonished.

"Where's your room?" asked the Lizard.

"Up another flight," said Jimmy. "Won't you come up?"

"Sure," said the Lizard, and together the two ascended the stairs and
entered Jimmy's room. Under the brighter light there the Lizard
scrutinized his host.

"You been against it, bo, haven't you?" he asked.

"I sure have," said Jimmy.

"Gee," said the other, "what a difference clothes make! You look like a
regular bum."

"Thanks," said Jimmy.

"What you doin'?" asked the Lizard.

"Nothing."

"Lose your job?"

"I quit it," said Jimmy. "I've only worked a month since I've been
here, and that for the munificent salary of ten dollars a week."

"Do you want to make some coin?" asked the Lizard.

"I sure do," said Jimmy. "I don't know of anything I would rather
have."

"I'm pullin' off something to-morrow night. I can use you," and he eyed
Jimmy shrewdly as he spoke.

"Cracking a box?" asked Jimmy, grinning.

"It might be something like that," replied the Lizard; "but you won't
have nothin' to do but stand where I put you and make a noise like a cat
if you see anybody coming. It ought to be something good. I been working
on it for three months. We'll split something like fifty thousand
thirty-seventy."

"Is that the usual percentage?" asked Jimmy.

"It's what I'm offerin' you," replied the lizard.

Thirty per cent of fifty thousand dollars! Jimmy jingled the few pieces
of silver remaining in his pocket. Fifteen thousand dollars! And here he
had been walking his legs off and starving in a vain attempt to earn a
few paltry dollars honestly.

"There's something wrong somewhere," muttered Jimmy to himself.

"I'm taking it

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