The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 10

Sky Pilot's idea of a Sunday school
boy's lark. The young fellow was, unquestionably, a thief; but that he
had ever before consorted with thieves his speech and manners belied.

"He's got me," murmured The Sky Pilot; "but he's got the stuff on him,
too; and all I want is to get it off of him without a painful operation.
Tomorrow'll do," and he shifted his position and fell asleep.

Dopey Charlie and The General did not, however, follow the example of
their chief. They remained very wide awake, a little apart from the
others, where their low whispers could not be overheard.

"You better do it," urged The General, in a soft, insinuating voice.
"You're pretty slick with the toad stabber, an' any way one more or less
won't count."

"We can go to Sout' America on dat stuff an' live like gents," muttered
Dopey Charlie. "I'm goin' to cut out de Hop an' buy a farm an' a
ottymobeel and--"

"Come out of it," admonished The General. "If we're lucky we'll get as
far as Cincinnati, get a stew on and get pinched. Den one of us'll hang
an' de other get stir fer life."

The General was a weasel faced person of almost any age between
thirty-five and sixty. Sometimes he could have passed for a hundred
and ten. He had won his military title as a boy in the famous march of
Coxey's army on Washington, or, rather, the title had been conferred
upon him in later years as a merited reward of service. The General,
profiting by the precepts of his erstwhile companions in arms, had never
soiled his military escutcheon by labor, nor had he ever risen to the
higher planes of criminality. Rather as a mediocre pickpocket and
a timorous confidence man had he eked out a meager existence, amply
punctuated by seasons of straight bumming and intervals spent as the
guest of various inhospitably hospitable states. Now, for the first time
in his life, The General faced the possibility of a serious charge; and
his terror made him what he never before had been, a dangerous criminal.

"You're a cheerful guy," commented Dopey Charlie; "but you may be right
at dat. Dey can't hang a guy any higher fer two 'an they can fer one
an' dat's no pipe; so wots de use. Wait till I take a shot--it'll be
easier," and he drew a small, worn case from an inside pocket, bared
his arm to the elbow and injected enough morphine to have killed a dozen
normal men.

From a pile of mouldy hay across the barn the

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