The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 3

upon them to safeguard the lives and property which they
considered theirs by divine right. It is doubtful that they thought of
the matter in just this way, but the effect was the same.

And so it was that as Billy Byrne wended homeward alone in the wee hours
of the morning after emptying the cash drawer of old Schneider's saloon
and locking the weeping Schneider in his own ice box, he was deeply
grieved and angered to see three rank outsiders from Twelfth Street
beating Patrolman Stanley Lasky with his own baton, the while they
simultaneously strove to kick in his ribs with their heavy boots.

Now Lasky was no friend of Billy Byrne; but the officer had been
born and raised in the district and was attached to the Twenty-eighth
Precinct Station on Lake Street near Ashland Avenue, and so was part
and parcel of the natural possession of the gang. Billy felt that it was
entirely ethical to beat up a cop, provided you confined your efforts
to those of your own district; but for a bunch of yaps from south
of Twelfth Street to attempt to pull off any such coarse work in his
bailiwick--why it was unthinkable.

A hero and rescuer of lesser experience than Billy Byrne would
have rushed melodramatically into the midst of the fray, and in all
probability have had his face pushed completely through the back of his
head, for the guys from Twelfth Street were not of the rah-rah-boy type
of hoodlum--they were bad men, with an upper case B. So Billy crept
stealthily along in the shadows until he was quite close to them, and
behind them. On the way he had gathered up a cute little granite paving
block, than which there is nothing in the world harder, not even a
Twelfth Street skull. He was quite close now to one of the men--he who
was wielding the officer's club to such excellent disadvantage to the
officer--and then he raised the paving block only to lower it silently
and suddenly upon the back of that unsuspecting head--"and then there
were two."

Before the man's companions realized what had happened Billy had
possessed himself of the fallen club and struck one of them a blinding,
staggering blow across the eyes. Then number three pulled his gun and
fired point-blank at Billy. The bullet tore through the mucker's left
shoulder. It would have sent a more highly organized and nervously
inclined man to the pavement; but Billy was neither highly organized nor
nervously inclined, so that about the only immediate effect it had upon
him was to

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