The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

of the manly art of self-defense.

On the night that things really began to happen in the life of Billy
Byrne that estimable gentleman was lolling in front of a saloon at the
corner of Lake and Robey. The dips that congregated nightly there under
the protection of the powerful politician who owned the place were
commencing to assemble. Billy knew them all, and nodded to them as they
passed him. He noted surprise in the faces of several as they saw him
standing there. He wondered what it was all about, and determined to ask
the next man who evinced even mute wonderment at his presence what was
eating him.

Then Billy saw a harness bull strolling toward him from the east. It was
Lasky. When Lasky saw Billy he too opened his eyes in surprise, and when
he came quite close to the mucker he whispered something to him, though
he kept his eyes straight ahead as though he had not seen Billy at all.

In deference to the whispered request Billy presently strolled around
the corner toward Walnut Street, but at the alley back of the saloon he
turned suddenly in. A hundred yards up the alley he found Lasky in the
shadow of a telephone pole.

"Wotinell are you doin' around here?" asked the patrolman. "Didn't you
know that Sheehan had peached?"

Two nights before old man Schneider, goaded to desperation by the
repeated raids upon his cash drawer, had shown fight when he again
had been invited to elevate his hands, and the holdup men had shot him
through the heart. Sheehan had been arrested on suspicion.

Billy had not been with Sheehan that night. As a matter of fact he never
had trained with him, for, since the boyish battle that the two had
waged, there had always been ill feeling between them; but with Lasky's
words Billy knew what had happened.

"Sheehan says I done it, eh?" he questioned.

"That's what he says."

"I wasn't within a mile of Schneider's that night," protested Billy.

"The Lieut thinks different," said Lasky. "He'd be only too glad to soak
you; for you've always been too slick to get nicked before. Orders is
out to get you, and if I were you I'd beat it and beat it quick. I don't
have to tell you why I'm handing you this, but it's all I can do for
you. Now take my advice and make yourself scarce, though you'll have
to go some to make your get-away now--every man on the force has your
description by this time."

Billy turned without a word and walked

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