The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 8

but The Sky Pilot won't never stand for croakin' nobody.
He's too scared of his neck. We'll look like a bunch o' wise ones, won't
we? lettin' a stranger sit in now--after last night. Hell!" he suddenly
exploded. "Don't you know that you an' me stand to swing if any of de
bunch gets gabby in front of dis phoney punk?"

The two sat silent for a while, The General puffing on a short briar,
Dopey Charlie inhaling deep draughts from a cigarette, and both glaring
through narrowed lids at the boy warming himself beside the fire
where the others were attempting to draw him out the while they strove
desperately but unavailingly to keep their eyes from the two bulging
sidepockets of their guest's coat.

Soup Face, who had been assiduously communing with a pint flask, leaned
close to Columbus Blackie, placing his whiskers within an inch or so
of the other's nose as was his habit when addressing another, and
whispered, relative to the pearl necklace: "Not a cent less 'n fifty
thou, bo!"

"Fertheluvomike!" ejaculated Blackie, drawing back and wiping a palm
quickly across his lips. "Get a plumber first if you want to kiss
me--you leak."

"He thinks you need a shower bath," said Dirty Eddie, laughing.

"The trouble with Soup Face," explained The Sky Pilot, "is that he's got
a idea he's a human atomizer an' that the rest of us has colds."

"Well, I don't want no atomizer loaded with rot-gut and garlic shot
in my mug," growled Blackie. "What Soup Face needs is to be learned
ettyket, an' if he comes that on me again I'm goin' to push his mush
through the back of his bean."

An ugly light came into the blear eyes of Soup Face. Once again he
leaned close to Columbus Blackie. "Not a cent less 'n fifty thou, you
tinhorn!" he bellowed, belligerent and sprayful.

Blackie leaped to his feet, with an oath--a frightful, hideous oath--and
as he rose he swung a heavy fist to Soup Face's purple nose. The latter
rolled over backward; but was upon his feet again much quicker than one
would have expected in so gross a bulk, and as he came to his feet a
knife flashed in his hand. With a sound that was more bestial than human
he ran toward Blackie; but there was another there who had anticipated
his intentions. As the blow was struck The Sky Pilot had risen; and
now he sprang forward, for all his age and bulk as nimble as a cat, and
seized Soup Face by the wrist. A quick wrench brought

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