The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

the fence. When
I see you getting over I'll climb it here. They can't get away from us."
To the driver he said: "You have a gun. If they make a break go after
'em. You can shoot if they don't stop when you tell 'em to."

The two men walked in opposite directions along the road, and when
Burton saw them turn in and start to climb the fence he vaulted over the
panel directly opposite the car. He had scarcely alighted upon the other
side when his eyes fell upon the disreputable figures of two tramps
stretched out upon their backs and snoring audibly. Burton grinned.

"You two sure can go to sleep in a hurry," he said. One of the men
opened his eyes and sat up. When he saw who it was that stood over him
he grinned sheepishly.

"Can't a guy lie down fer a minute in de bushes widout bein' pinched?"
he asked. The other man now sat up and viewed the newcomer, while from
either side Burton's companions closed in on the three.

"Wot's de noise?" inquired the second tramp, looking from one to another
of the intruders. "We ain't done nothin'."

"Of course not, Charlie," Burton assured him gaily. "Who would ever
suspect that you or The General would do anything; but somebody did
something in Oakdale last night and I want to take you back there and
have a nice, long talk with you. Put your hands up!"

"We--."

"Put 'em up!" snapped Burton, and when the four grimy fists had been
elevated he signalled to his companions to search the two men.

Nothing more formidable than knives, dope, and a needle were found upon
them.

"Say," drawled Dopey Charlie. "We knows wot we knows; but hones' to gawd
we didn't have nothin' to do wid it. We knows the guy that pulled it
off--we spent las' night wid him an' his pal an' a skoit. He creased
me, here," and Charlie unbuttoned his clothing and exposed to view the
bloody scratch of The Oskaloosa Kid's bullet. "On de level, Burton, we
wern't in on it. Dis guy was at dat Squibbs' place wen we pulls in dere
outen de rain. He has a pocket full o' kale an' sparklers an' tings, and
he goes fer to shoot me up wen I tries to get away."

"Who was he?" asked Burton.

"He called hisself de Oskaloosa Kid," replied Charlie. "A guy called
Bridge was wid him. You know him?"

"I've heard of him; but he's straight," replied Burton. "Who was the
skirt?"

"I dunno," said Charlie; "but she was gassin'

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