The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 178

A dozen dog-eared and filthy magazines and
newspapers were snatched from a hiding place beneath the table, and in
the fraction of a second the room was transformed from a gambling place
to an innocent reading-room.

Billy grinned broadly. Flannagan had ceased his efforts to break down
the door, and was endeavoring to persuade Billy that he might as well
come out quietly and submit to arrest. Byrne had drawn his revolver
again. Now he motioned to Bridge to come to his side.

"Follow me," he whispered. "Don't move 'til I move--then move sudden."
Then, turning to the door again, "You big stiff," he cried, "you
couldn't take a crip to a hospital, let alone takin' Billy Byrne to the
still. Beat it, before I come out an' spread your beezer acrost your

If Billy had desired to arouse the ire of Detective Sergeant Flannagan
by this little speech he succeeded quite as well as he could have hoped.
Flannagan commenced to growl and threaten, and presently again hurled
himself against the door.

Instantly Byrne wheeled and fired a single shot into the arc lamp, the
shattered carbon rattled to the table with fragments of the globe,
and Byrne stepped quickly to one side. The door flew open and Sergeant
Flannagan dove headlong into the darkened room. A foot shot out from
behind the opened door, and Flannagan, striking it, sprawled upon his
face amidst the legs of the literary lights who held dog-eared magazines
rightside up or upside down, as they chanced to have picked them up.

Simultaneously Billy Byrne and Bridge dodged through the open doorway,
banged the door to behind them, and sped across the barroom toward the

As Flannagan shot into their midst the men at the table leaped to their
feet and bolted for the doorway; but the detective was up and after them
so quickly that only two succeeded in getting out of the room. One of
these generously slammed the door in the faces of his fellows, and there
they pulled and hauled at each other until Flannagan was among them.

In the pitch darkness he could recognize no one; but to be on the safe
side he hit out promiscuously until he had driven them all from the
door, then he stood with his back toward it--the inmates of the room his

Thus he remained for a moment threatening to shoot at the first sound
of movement in the room, and then he opened the door again, and stepping
just outside ordered the prisoners to file out one at a time.

As each man passed him Flannagan scrutinized

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