TROUBLE STARTS EARLY
The Carleton Hotel proved a good shack. I scribbled the name RACE WILLIAMS smack across the register, picked me a good room and bath, did a wash and ate a dinner which would set my client back $4.85 when he got the expense account. I'm not on a diet, you understand. Then I went to my room and waited.
Almost on the minute of twelve my phone rang. It was not the same voice that called me on the long distance. At least, I didn't think it was. The calmness had gone out of it; fear had crept in. It was a wavering, shaky voice, with a gulp to it.
"Mr. Williams--Race Williams--the private detective?" The voice had a squeak at the end of it which nearly took my ear off.
"That's right." I cheered him up. "You are--?" and I waited.
"Hulbert Clovelly. Things have taken a bad turn. I need you." And he went on to tell me of the money he had sent me.
"Yes, yes--I know all that." I cut in on him. "What do you want? If it is imperative--important--you better lay a finger on it right off the bat." And when he started to argue, "No, you don't have to explain. If it isn't legitimate, you'll be the sorry one." And I put a bit of a threat in that, for contrary to the general run of so-called private detectives, I never work a crooked racket. There were lads who'd gladly pay five hundred berries, or even more, to trap me to my death. And fair is fair. Any time a lad puts up that much money to trap me, he is entitled to a bit of a run for his money. And I'm the boy to give him that run.
"Now," I finished, "tell me what's on your chest; if you need me right away, or-- "
"Need you! Right away!" He damn near split my ear drum. "The--he has taken refuge in a warehouse. They are hunting him out now, to--to--to--Don't you understand? They are going to do him to death--kill him--murder him."
Do him to death. Kill him. Murder him. You've got to admit that any one of the three was a bad way to begin a week. But it wasn't the time for making bum jokes. This lad had paid for service and was entitled to it.
Format: Electronic PDF File
First Published: 1933
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