The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 177

is certain--if all the love that was felt for
policemen in general by the men in that room could have been combined
in a single individual it still scarcely would have constituted a grand
passion.

Flannagan felt rather than saw that others were closing in on him,
and then, fortunately for himself, he thought, he managed to draw his
weapon. It was just as Billy was fading through the doorway into the
room beyond. He saw the revolver gleam in the policeman's hand and then
it became evident why Billy had clung so tenaciously to his schooner
of beer. Left-handed and hurriedly he threw it; but even Flannagan must
have been constrained to admit that it was a good shot. It struck the
detective directly in the midst of his features, gave him a nasty cut on
the cheek as it broke and filled his eyes full of beer--and beer never
was intended as an eye wash.

Spluttering and cursing, Flannagan came to a sudden stop, and when he
had wiped the beer from his eyes he found that Billy Byrne had passed
through the doorway and closed the door after him.

The room in which Billy and Bridge found themselves was a small one in
the center of which was a large round table at which were gathered
a half-dozen men at poker. Above the table swung a single arc lamp,
casting a garish light upon the players beneath.

Billy looked quickly about for another exit, only to find that besides
the doorway through which he had entered there was but a single aperture
in the four walls--a small window, heavily barred. The place was a
veritable trap.

At their hurried entrance the men had ceased their play, and one or two
had risen in profane questioning and protest. Billy ignored them. He was
standing with his shoulder against the door trying to secure it against
the detective without; but there was neither bolt nor bar.

Flannagan hurtling against the opposite side exerted his noblest efforts
to force an entrance to the room; but Billy Byrne's great weight held
firm as Gibraltar. His mind revolved various wild plans of escape; but
none bade fair to offer the slightest foothold to hope.

The men at the table were clamoring for an explanation of the
interruption. Two of them were approaching Billy with the avowed
intention of "turning him out," when he turned his head suddenly toward
them.

"Can de beef, you poor boobs," he cried. "Dere's a bunch o' dicks out
dere--de joint's been pinched."

Instantly pandemonium ensued. Cards, chips, and money were swept as
by magic from the board.

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