The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 176

other fellow at least as
soon as the other fellow saw him. The other fellow being more often
than not a large gentleman with a bit of shiny metal pinned to his left
suspender strap.

"That guy's a tight one," said Billy, jerking his hand in the direction
of the guardian of the free lunch. "I scoops up about a good, square
meal for a canary bird, an' he makes me cough up half of it. Wants to
know if I t'ink I can go into the restaurant business on a fi'-cent
schooner of suds."

Bridge laughed.

"Well, you didn't do so badly at that," he said. "I know places where
they'd indict you for grand larceny if you took much more than you have
here."

"Rotten beer," commented Billy.

"Always is rotten down here," replied Bridge. "I sometimes think they
put moth balls in it so it won't spoil."

Billy looked up and smiled. Then he raised his tall glass before him.

"Here's to," he started; but he got no further. His eyes traveling
past his companion fell upon the figure of a large man entering the low
doorway.

At the same instant the gentleman's eyes fell upon Billy. Recognition
lit those of each simultaneously. The big man started across the room on
a run, straight toward Billy Byrne.

The latter leaped to his feet. Bridge, guessing what had happened, rose
too.

"Flannagan!" he exclaimed.

The detective was tugging at his revolver, which had stuck in his hip
pocket. Byrne reached for his own weapon. Bridge laid a hand on his arm.

"Not that, Billy!" he cried. "There's a door behind you. Here," and he
pulled Billy backward toward the doorway in the wall behind them.

Byrne still clung to his schooner of beer, which he had transferred to
his left hand as he sought to draw his gun. Flannagan was close to them.
Bridge opened the door and strove to pull Billy through; but the latter
hesitated just an instant, for he saw that it would be impossible to
close and bar the door, provided it had a bar, before Flannagan would be
against it with his great shoulders.

The policeman was still struggling to disentangle his revolver from the
lining of his pocket. He was bellowing like a bull--yelling at Billy
that he was under arrest. Men at the tables were on their feet. Those at
the bar had turned around as Flannagan started to run across the floor.
Now some of them were moving in the direction of the detective and
his prey, but whether from curiosity or with sinister intentions it is
difficult to say.

One thing, however,

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