The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 32

from an old crab who has more than he can use, and all of
it he got by robbing people that didn't have any to spare. He's a big
guy here. When anything big is doing the newspaper guys interview him
and his name is in all the lists of subscriptions to charity--when
they're going to be published in the papers. I'll bet he takes
nine-tenths of his kale from women and children, and he's an honored
citizen. I ain't no angel, but whatever I've taken didn't cause nobody
any sufferin'--I'm a thief, bo, and I'm mighty proud of it when I think
of what this other guy is."

Thirty per cent of fifty thousand dollars! Jimmy was sitting with his
legs crossed. He looked down at his ill-fitting, shabby trousers, and
then turned up the sole of one shoe which was worn through almost to his
sock. The Lizard watched him as a cat watches a mouse. He knew that the
other was thinking hard, and that presently he would reach a decision,
and through Jimmy's mind marched a sordid and hateful procession of
recent events--humiliation, rebuff, shame, poverty, hunger, and in the
background the face of his father and the face of a girl whose name,
even, he did not know.

Presently he looked up at the Lizard.

"Nothing doing, old top," he said. "But don't mistake the motives which
prompt me to refuse your glittering offer. I am moved by no moral
scruples, however humiliating such a confession should be. The way I
feel now I would almost as lief go out and rob widows and orphans
myself, but each of us, some time in our life, has to consider some one
who would probably rather see us dead than disgraced. I don't know
whether you get me or not."

"I get you," replied the Lizard, "and while you may never wear diamonds,
you'll get more pleasure out of life than I ever will, provided you
don't starve to death too soon. You know, I had a hunch you would turn
me down, and I'm glad you did. If you were going crooked some time I
thought I'd like to have you with me. When it comes to men, I'm a pretty
good picker. That's the reason I have kept out of jail so long. I either
pick a square one or I work alone."

"Thanks," said Jimmy, "but how do you know that after you pull this job
I won't tip off the police and claim the reward."

The Lizard grinned his lip grin.

"There ain't one chance in a

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