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Blue Book, October, 1936

Just Like That!

By ROBERT R. MILL

“Constable at Deerville reports ma n and woman walking in highway hit-and-run driver who rounded curve at excessive speed. Car is 1936 Speedway four-door sedan. Black with orange trim. Steel wheels. Right front fender and bumper dented. Registration number not obtained. Driver believed heading south.” Patrols of the Black Horse Troop, New York State Police, stationed north, east and west of Deerville answered the call almost at once. But there was no response from the Plazy substation, located south of Deerville. “Garumph,” growled Captain Charles Field, commanding officer, who was pacing the floor in the barracks. “Who is stationed at Plazy?” Max Payton, the top sergeant, made a pretense of consulting the duty sheet, and reported: “Sergeant Henry Linton, sir.” Captain Field’s grunt spoke volumes.

Lieutenant Edward David, better known as Tiny, whose great form was draped over the teletype machine, attempted to pour oil

THE BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE 2

on the troubled waters: “Maybe Linton is out on the road,” he explained in his customary drawl, “and his operator is waiting to get in touch with him before acknowledging receipt of the message.”

This time Captain Field’s grunt was even more expressive: “Maybe I am the fifth quintuplet. Tell that operator to come to life.”  The teletype keys clicked out a pointed message to the Plazy sub-station, and the answer was prompt: “Waiting to establish contact with patrol before acknowledging receipt of Message 146. Lieutenant James Crosby and Sergeant Linton making inspection trip of territory. Will advise soon as contact established.” “Inspection trip!” Captain Field made a knife of each word. “Bums’ reunion! Get hold of the Hatburgh patrol, and have them move north. And let me know when you hear from Crosby and Linton.” Captain Field departed for his private office. “Do you think he is?” asked Sergeant Payton. “Do I think he is what?” demanded Lieutenant David. “The fifth quintuplet.” Tiny David gave this problem careful consideration. “If he is, they will have to keep him out of the group pictures, or they won’t have any advertising value. His face would curdle milk” The big man picked up his hat. “If he asks for me, tell him I have gone to Plazy.” Sergeant Payton nodded. “Now,” he declared, “it will be a real reunion.” EANWHILE, Lieutenant Crosby and Sergeant Linton, seated on the counter of a general store north of Plazy, were indulging in desultory conversation with the aged proprietor, all unaware that the teletype carried many and unflattering references to themselves. “Where is the light of my life, Pop?” asked Crosby, jerking his head toward an empty cashier’s cage. “She quit,” declared the proprietor, “Got to get myself another girl.” “That should be easy for a Romeo like you,” Linton contributed.

“It is, and it aint,” the storekeeper asserted. “The good-looking ones aint never smart. And the smart ones know too much to work here.” Mr. Crosby warmed to the task at hand. “You are in a tough spot, Pop. If you ask me—” The ringing of the telephone bell robbed Mr. Crosby of his audience, and the storekeeper, after a few words, turned around with a smile: “Guess either one of you will do. Said I was to sweep off the counter, and brush one of the loafers in the direction of the phone.”

Mr. Linton accepted the receiver reluctantly, and found himself in communication with a teletype clerk, who had sought him over most of the territory. The clerk’s words were few and to the point. Mr. Linton was a changed man as he relayed the message to his partner and even Mr. Crosby wilted visibly. They left the store at a dogtrot and jumped into the troop car. Few words were wasted, and soon they reached the main highway leading from Deerville and went to work. There was a steady flow of traffic. From it they culled all cars even remotely answering the description, halted them and questioned the occupants. All were able to give satisfactory accounts of themselves.

More than an hour had passed when Linton, working a good three hundred feet ahead of the troop car, stiffened to attention. A car was approaching from the direction of Deerville. Even at a distance the distinctive Speedway radiator was recognizable.Linton waved to Crosby, who moved close to the troop car. JUST LIKE THAT! 3The Speedway roared on toward the crossroads. Linton, standing in the center of the road, checked off the distinguishing marks: “Black. . . . Four-door sedan. . . . 1936 model. . . . Orange trim. . . . Right front fender and bumper bent.” Linton raised his arm; his cry sounded above the straining motor: “Halt! State Police!”  The driver answered the command with an additional burst of speed. Directly in front of the oncoming car, balanced on his toes, stood Linton. “Halt! Pull it over!” Just as the car was upon him, the trooper leaped for the safety of the ditch. He made it, pulled himself to his feet and ran swiftly toward the troop car. Crosby stood in the road near the troop car, which was headed in the direction the Speedway was moving. The engine of the troop car was running.

“Halt!” cried Crosby. The car roared on. Carefully Crosby checked the distinguishing marks, his glance lingering on the bent fender and bumper. His lips tightened. “That’s good enough!” he muttered.

He drew his gun, and fired three times. He heard the bullets crash through the radiator of the speeding car, noted with satisfaction the dark spots that denoted leaking water, and then jumped. Linton was at the wheel of the troop car when Crosby leaped in beside him. The chase was short. Steam poured from the radiator of the Speedway as they pulled alongside. The driver remained at the wheel as the two troopers approached. “Ever hear of James Makorn?” he demanded, naming a well-known political boss who was a real power in the land. Crosby took charge: “Makorn? No, don’t prompt me; maybe I can get it myself.” A long pause. “I give up. Sorry—but I seldom read the crime news.” There was a sneer on the face of the driver. “All right, wise guy. Colonel Makorn happens to be the power behind the throne around here, and has a lot of jobs in his pocket.” Sergeant Linton felt that he had been silent too long. “And Hitler has a good job in Germany,” he added. Crosby planted a heavy foot on the running-board of the Speedway. “For the sake of argument, we admit there is an important man named Makorn, who controls a lot of political appointments. What does that make you?” The driver extended one hand, two fingers of which were pressed tight together. “Makorn and me,” he declared, “are just like that.” Mr. Crosby permitted himself the luxury of a grin. “As I read the cards,” he said, “something is about to come between you, casting a blight on a beautiful friendship.” “What?” “The jailhouse.” “What for?” Mr. Crosby waved a hand. “This and that. Little hit-and-run, with a spot of mayhem on the side.” “Why, you misbeguided—” “All right! All right! All right!” HE interruption, delivered in dulcet tones mimicking the voice of the director of an amateur radio program, came from Tiny David, who was at the wheel of a coupe that drew up beside the damaged Speedway. “What have we here?” Mr. Crosby told him. The driver, attempting to take part in the telling, was silenced by the not too gentle hand of Mr. Linton. “Hum,” was the profound comment of Lieutenant David, when the recital was ended. “Hum, yourself!” retorted Mr. Crosby. “All set to pass on a good bawling out from the skipper, weren’t you?” A look of triumph crossed his face. “Just because Linny and I put in  our time out on the road, where things are happening, instead of warming a chair beside a teletype machine.” Mr. Crosby removed an imaginary spot of dust from the skirt of his coat. “Care to trail along while we book this baby?” “Nope.” Mr. David was very emphatic. “Joe Farrell and I are good friends. This is going to make him right sore.” Mr. Crosby attempted to cover growing misgivings by adopting a formal manner. “Just what does Sergeant Farrell have to do with this?” Mr. David made a gesture of apology. “Nothing much,” he admitted deprecatorily. “Maybe he won’t object to having a spare.” “What does ‘spare’ mean?” The question came from Mr. Linton. “Well, Joe picked up a guy on this job. Found him the other side of Plazy. Must have been an hour ago.” Mr. David devoted his entire attention to adjusting the curves of his body to the fender of the Speedway. “Go on,” commanded Mr. Crosby, desperation in his voice. “The guy Joe picked up confessed. They were reducing it to writing when I left. I mushed along to tell you to call the barracks before the old man reduces you to the ranks of the unemployed.” Mr. Crosby suppressed a groan. Mr. David examined the bullet-holes in the radiator. THE BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE 4

“This sort of complicates matters. I wouldn’t be in any hurry about calling in. No use running to catch up with an accident.” HE driver of the Speedway found his voice: “ Now you two apes are going to listen to me. The criminal charge against you is assault. There will be a civil suit to recover for damages to this car. And wait until Colonel Makorn turns on the heat.” Tiny David roused himself at the name. Apparently it was a great effort, but he managed to clear the fender and stand at a point where he could get a view of the interior of the car. “Colonel Makorn? You didn’t tell me he was in the car. Where is he? Under the seat?”Linton laughed hollowly, then displayed two fingers pressed tightly together. “This guy and Colonel Makorn are just like that. We have this guy’s word for it.” Mr. Crosby had reached a decision. Ignoring the other parties concerned, he addressed the driver: “Maybe we did pull a boner, but you are a long way from being in the clear. You were hitting seventy. That’s reckless driving, and then some. You ignored a command to halt. There is a law covering that. You tried to run us down. You might get a medal for that, and you might not—it depends on the jury.” Mr. Crosby attempted what was intended to be an amiable smile. “Between us, we probably will be able to keep several lawyers in a state of luxury to which they are not accustomed.” The wave of an arm was designed to register generosity. “The new radiator is on me. Taking all that into consideration, it might pay both of us to forget and forgive. What do you say?” What the driver had to say remained a mystery, because at that moment Tiny David went into action: “Registration-card and driver’s license,” he ordered.

JUST LIKE THAT! 5

The driver produced them, and the troopers learned he was one Jose Mokus, who lived in a downstate city. Then Tiny David turned to Crosby:“Arraign Mr. Importance on charges of reckless driving and attempted assault on officers. Make two counts of the assault charge, one on yourself and one on Linton. If this guy gets bail, hold him on an open charge, pending investigation.”“Investigation for what?” demanded the driver. “I’d like to know.” “That’s natural,” Tiny David admitted. He turned to Crosby, who showed signs of hesitation. “Get started, Jim. Linny and I will tow this wreck to a garage.” “Wait until Makorn gets through with you!” stormed the driver. Tiny David’s sigh was deep and profound. “He will have to wait his turn. A couple of other guys will get first crack at me.” When they were alone, and engaged in putting a towline on the sedan, Mr. Linton asked a question: “What have you got up your sleeve, Tiny?” Tiny David jammed a knot tight. “The arm of a jackass, Linny.” “Anything else?” asked Mr. Linton, with a slight display of hope. “Nary a thing.” “In that case,” declared Mr. Linton, “we might as well plan everything now. Simple services at the house, and just a short prayer at the grave.”  “Flowers?” asked Tiny David. “No, that would mean another hack. We want to keep this as reasonable as possible.” ESSRS. David and Linton were still engaged in their towing job when Mr. Crosby escorted a protesting Mr. Mokus into the general store, where the proprietor, who doubled as a justice of the peace, greeted the trooper with a cackle of pleasure, which died abruptly when he saw the look on Crosby’s face. “What you got?” the old man asked. “Trouble,” said Crosby, with heartfelt sincerity. Then, with the air of a man tending a dying friend, he proceeded to arraign his prisoner. “Not guilty,” snapped Mr. Mokus. “And while we are on the subject—” Scattered among quite a bit of extravagant expression was the request for a warrant accusing Crosby and Linton of assault. Coupled with this was the demand that he, Mr. Mokus, be allowed to communicate with Colonel Makorn by telephone at once. The justice scratched his head in perplexity“. There is the phone over yonder. You can use it if you have the money to feed it.” Mr. Mokus asked for, and received, change for a twenty-dollar bill. They watched him move toward the telephone, and place a call for Colonel Makorn. The justice spoke in a low tone to the trooper: “Seems like you waded in where it was a mite over your head. My advice is free, and it probably is worth just about what you pay for it. If it was me, I would get the district attorney here quick as you can.” Crosby shook his head gloomily. “Guess you are right, Pop. I might as well be hanged in a legal manner.” They stood by, listening to one end of a spirited conversation, and soon Mr. Mokus returned, radiating triumph. “Colonel Makorn is going to call your barracks, and also the district attorney. Then he is coming right on by airplane. And when he gets here—” “Until he gets here,” interrupted Mr. Crosby, who was nearing his limit, “you keep that tongue of yours quiet, or I’ll pin your big mouth shut with a clothespin.”

THE BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE 6

“You’ll get nothing by threatening me.” “Probably not,” Mr. Crosby admitted. “But it eases my feelings. And now I’ll ease them some more by calling the district attorney.” But even that doubtful pleasure was denied him, at least for the moment, for just then the telephone bell shrilly sounded its summons. The justice answered the call. “It’s for you,” he told Crosby. Mr. Crosby accepted the receiver with the manner of a condemned man seating himself in the electric chair. The strident voice of the trooper tending the teletype machine in the substation carried to him: “Why don’t you birds rent space in that store by the week?” Conclusive proof that Mr. Crosby’s morale was at the lowest possible ebb was forthcoming in the fact that he became official: “This is Lieutenant Crosby speaking.” “My error,” came the unruffled response. “I thought it was Haile Selassie. All right, Lieutenant. The old man wants words with you, and he wants them bad. He also craves conversation with Tiny and Linny. He said something about it being time for a bums’ convention to adjourn, and for the accredited delegates to get to work.” Mr. Crosby did what he would have described as quick thinking. Obviously, Captain Field was on the trail. The reference to the “bums’ convention,” however, indicated that Colonel Makorn was yet to be heard from. The future offered scant hope, but anything was preferable to immediate disaster. His official manner vanished, and his voice became pleasing with a note of pleading in it: “Pete, let’s pretend you called up here and couldn’t locate me.” There was a brief silence on the other end of the wire. “All right,” was the verdict. “No accounting for tastes. I would sooner have it happen over the telephone than in person.” “And I would sooner have it happen to you than to me,” said Mr. Crosby pleasantly. “But we can’t have everything we want. So hang up, and let me call the individual whom we jokingly call the district attorney.” AT about the time Crosby was connected with the county official, Messrs. David and Linton, piloting a mournful procession consisting of the damaged Speedway and the tow-car, came to a halt along the road by unspoken but mutual assent. They quit their posts behind the two steering-wheels and took refuge beneath a tree. Neither man realized the fact, but a subconscious desire to postpone the inevitable motivated them. “Do you think he does know Colonel Makorn?” asked Linton. “Not a doubt of it.” “What does that make us?” “The late deceased.” A belated thought struck Mr. Linton: “Say, why did you cut yourself a piece of this cake? You saw it was soggy before you picked up the knife.” Mr. David pondered his reply. When he spoke, his voice was gruff: “Hated to see Jim make a complete ass of himself. That ratty guy would have yessed him on the proposition, walked away clean, and then carried his woes to the dear Colonel—whose title is phony, but whose power is real, I suppose. This way we at least have part of the turkey.” “Yeah,” Mr. Linton agreed; “but which part?” Mr. David shrugged his huge shoulders, then swung a playful punch at his companion. “After all,” he said, “we’ll go out together.” The gruff note returned to his voice. “Wouldn’t want to be in the outfit

JUST LIKE THAT! 7

without you and Jim. ”Mr. Linton choked back his reply because he thought it sounded sentimental. He gazed straight ahead. “Now,” he declared, “is the time for the fleet to steam into the harbor and relieve the besieged town.” He glanced up and down the deserted road. “You haven’t got a battleship in your pocket, have you?” “Not even a treaty cruiser. All we can do is pad the fall.” “How?” “For one thing, we can get this bus to a garage and have a new radiator stuck on it. That will rob the Colonel’s boy friend of his choicest exhibit. All he will have left will be his injured feelings—if any.” Mr. Linton showed signs of interest. “That,” he declared, “is a thought. Let’s roll.” HILE they were rolling Captain Field held a telephone conversation with Colonel Makorn. The Colonel angrily recited the facts in the case at hand. He suggested various remedies. He wound up with a blunt demand that Captain Field state his course of action. Captain Field was polite but firm. “When I hear both sides of the story, I’ll decide what to do.” The garage force trod warily as he backed out his car. . . . Mr. Crosby, having derived small comfort from his telephone conversation with the district attorney, tried to ease his tension by giving the increasingly confident Mr. Mokus a verbal workout. “How did you put that dent in the bumper and fender of your car?” the trooper asked. Mr. Mokus first devoted his attention to lighting a cigarette, and then countered: “I can refuse to talk until my lawyer gets here. Colonel Makorn will appear for me.” He shrugged his shoulders. “But I don’t mind telling you that I smacked a tree.” “Where is the tree?”“At the side of the road, about three miles north of Wolfton.” “When did it happen?” “This morning.” “Wolfton is right near the border. Were you coming from Canada?” “I—no, I wasn’t.” Mr. Crosby, fumbling about for some straw to clutch, saw what he thought might provide an opening.  All right. We will soon find out.” He picked up the telephone and called the Customs and Immigration men stationed at that point. Neither the Speedway nor Mr. Mokus appeared on their records. Lieutenant Crosby gave vent to a rather unconvincing, “That’s fine,” which was for the benefit of Mr.: Mokus, and returned to his task. “The Customs men say they didn’t clear you, but that your car was seen in Canada this morning.” If this assertion caused Mr. Mokus any uneasiness, he hid it effectually beneath a show of righteous indignation:“The old frame-up, eh? Me, I haven’t been to Canada for a month. How can I help what those monkeys think they seen? I can prove where I was, and I’ll do it at the right time. The right time will be when Colonel Makorn gets here. Until then, I am not talking. See?” “What made you hit the tree?” demanded Mr. Crosby. “It’s a nice day,” countered Mr. Mokus. Mr. Crosby didn’t think it was, but all things considered, he didn’t see anything he could do about it. HE head mechanic at the Speedway agency in Plazy showed interest when Messrs. David and Linton towed in the exhibit. “Where was the battle?” he asked.

THE BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE 8

“Got a radiator for this model?” asked Mr. David. “Yep.” “Put it on. How long will it take you?” “About an hour—for the radiator.” “What do you mean?” The mechanic grinned. He knew these two of old, and many times had traded wise-cracks with them. “What goes in, must come out—somewhere. Lead is all right in gasoline, in small amounts; but when you start throwing it against motors, something is likely to happen. Better take a look before we plan on an hour. That is, if you planned on driving this away. Of course, if you are willing to go on towing—” “Skip the comedy,” commanded Mr. Linton. The mechanic lifted the hood, put an electric light in position, and began a careful inspection. Messrs, David and Linton, leaning over his shoulders, experienced their first pleasure for some hours when they saw the motor apparently was unharmed. “That’s funny,” said the mechanic, who was inspecting a black cylindrical object attached to one side of the motor. “This looks like the oil filter—” “You can’t always go by looks,” interrupted Tiny David, whose relief had restored him to a state close to normal, and whose interest in the Speedway, aside from damage done by bullets, was only academic. “Take Linton. He looks like a trooper. And you look like a mechanic.” Professional interest caused the mechanic to ignore the thrust. His fingers were exploring in the space between the object and the motor. “Bullet clipped a piece right out of the side of this. But it isn’t leaking oil. And there is no oil around the base of the motor. And there—” Tiny David came to life with a quick jerk that belied his former appearance of laziness. A twist of his huge shoulders brushed the mechanic aside. One of his heavy, stubby hands darted toward the supposed oil filter and groped for the bullet-hole. A gleeful smile of anticipation lighted up his broad face. “Maybe you are a mechanic. Maybe Linton is a trooper.” A finger thrust into the hole encountered resistance. “And there is a god that takes care of fools, cops, and other incompetents!” he said joyfully. “—Linny, look here!” CAPTAIN FIELD, detained by a blow-out, an irate citizen who halted him along the road, and a visit to the sub-station where the confession of the hit-and-run driver had been obtained, arrived at the store just ten minutes before the Colonel.  That ten minutes was devoted to a brief resume of the past misdeeds of Messrs. David, Crosby and Linton. The commanding officer had just reached the current year when Colonel Makorn, accompanied by a man who obviously was an airplane pilot, entered.

JUST LIKE THAT! 9

Mr. Mokus and the Colonel shook hands warmly, and then went into executive session at the far end of the store. Captain Field took advantage of the lull to ask: “Where are David and Linton?” “At the garage, sir.” “All right. Now what in blazes is this all about?” Mr. Crosby’s explanation was cut short by the arrival of the district attorney. Mr. Crosby, with a sigh, began again, only to be interrupted by the Colonel, who advanced upon the group with fire in his eyes, and speaking in tones that would carry at least a mile. “Don’t you birds up here respect any human rights and liberties? Do you cut loose with your guns on anybody who comes along, if you don’t like his face? Do you know that we have some laws in this country that govern even the actions of police officers? Do you know—” Captain Field cleared his throat expectantly. Privately, he knew that his men had made a mistake. He was not sufficiently acquainted with the facts to decide if that mistake was justified. But justified or not, any abuse that was forthcoming would be delivered by himself. No outsider, be he colonel or king, was going to shower abuse on the men of the Black Horse Troop while their commanding officer stood idly by.Captain Field was ready to go into action; and Crosby, whose judgment was faultless in matters of that sort, had decided his volume and vocabulary both were superior to those of the Colonel. But from outside the store there came the sound of an automobile siren, loud and insistent. Colonel Makorn ceased his tirade. The horn, apparently, was familiar to Mr. Mokus. The storekeeper deserted his desk, and walked to the door. The others followed. Tiny David was at the wheel of the Speedway, which was parked directly before the door. Behind the Speedway was a coupe driven by Mr. Linton. Mr. Crosby centered his attention upon Mr. David, hoping to find some ray of hope in his manner, and at the same time assuring himself that this was the finale of the play, and that the show was a tragedy. Mr. David climbed out of the car with tantalizing slowness. There was a rather silly, apologetic smile on his face. It vanished as he sighted Captain Field, and saluted gravely. “What have you been doing?” demanded the commanding officer. Tiny David sighed gently. His glance rested longingly on the top step, and his body bent a bit, but he apparently decided it would not be advisable to sit down just at this time. “Been getting a new radiator put on this Speedway, sir. You see, this bird wouldn’t stop, and Jim had to throw a little lead at him. Thought it would be a good idea to get the car in running condition again.” Captain Field, studying Tiny David through half-closed eyes, remained silent. He recognized familiar symptoms. OPE surged through Crosby. He glanced at Linton; the almost imperceptible nod that replied assured him that all was well with the closed corporation that for so many years had roamed the border. Colonel Makorn stepped forward. “And do you think for one minute you were justified in—” “You are Colonel Makorn.” Tiny David stated the fact as though it was a brilliant discovery on his part. “Mr. Mokus spoke of you.” Colonel Makorn brushed this aside. “Er—Mr. Mokus and I are business acquaintances. I have appeared for him in several matters. I represent him now. But that—” “Mr. Mokus,” Tiny David interruptedwith a disarming smile, “said that you and he were just like that.” The trooper extended a hand, two fingers of which were pressed close together. Colonel Makorn cleared his throat. He glanced at Mr. Mokus. Mr. Mokus, in turn, glanced at the Colonel. “Aside from our business relations, as lawyer and client, Mr. Mokus and I are bound by ties of friendship. But that is aside from the point. I demand an answer to my question. Do you think you are justified in shooting away at anybody who fails to stop when you order them to?” Tiny David pondered for some time before he replied: “In this case, yes. The car resembled one that had figured in an accident in which two persons were seriously, perhaps fatally, injured.” Colonel Makorn snorted his disgust. “If I resemble a murder suspect, does that give you a right to kill me?” “Well, no,” Tiny David admitted reluctantly. “And you had no legal right to shoot at that car!” roared the Colonel. Captain Field, about to add that the driver of the car had no legal right to attempt to run down two troopers, shot a look at Tiny David, and thought better of it. Mr. David shifted from foot to foot. He was a picture of woe. “I am no lawyer. Just a journeyman cop. Guess we are in wrong, all right.” The rather foolish smile appeared once more. “Only hope for us would be if we could prove this man really was guilty of something. Guess there isn’t much chance of that.” He turned to Mokus. “How did you dent the bumper and fender on that car?” The hope that had sustained Mr. Crosby for the last few minutes died suddenly. He spoke in a low tone: “I checked that by telephone, Tiny. He hit a tree.” Tiny David shook his head with regret. “Then even that is out. Guess Mr. Mokus is in the clear, all right.” Colonel Makorn snorted again. “Certainly he is in the clear.” He studied the group before him: Couple of hick cops; in bad, aware of it, and floundering about; their captain either unwilling or unable to help them; a lightweight of a district attorney, a typical hick. The Colonel was very confident. “Mr. Mokus,” the Colonel continued, “is absolutely in the clear. You gentlemen know who I am. I assume full responsibility for his actions. It is not necessary for you to make any checks. As a matter of fact, he was carrying out a commission for me when this regrettable incident took place.” Colonel Makorn examined the Speedway. “I see you have had Mr. Mokus’ car repaired.” His manner was grave. “That, of course, does not relieve your legal responsibility for your illegal acts.” His smile appeared. “However, I am inclined to be lenient, and I believe my client will follow my lead.” REAT relief was visible in Tiny David’s face, and that emotion was sincerely reflected by Mr. Crosby. “That’s very decent, Colonel Makorn.” Tiny David’s voice was a drawl. “Guess that settles everything. Particularly as you say you are responsible for all Mr. Mokus’ actions, and that he was carrying out a commission for you at the time he was fired upon. You said that, didn’t you?” Colonel Makorn nodded his head in a condescending manner. “I certainly did.” Tiny David took a quick step forward. Gone were the indecision, the awkwardness and the slowness. His voice was deep, and it rang with authority: “That’s just fine. Mokus, you are under

JUST LIKE THAT! 11

arrest for the possession and transportation of cocaine. Makorn, you are under arrest as an accomplice. Twice you said you assumed full responsibility for Mokus’ actions, and that he was carrying out a commission for you. I believe you. I think a jury will. We will help them, however, by checking back on Mokus, and eliminating all other commissions.” Roaring denials, Colonel Makorn was seized by Crosby, and silenced. Linton grabbed Mokus. There was a short struggle. Then Tiny turned to Captain Field. So far, all was well; but as he well knew, he and his companions were a long way from being out of the woods with this particular gentleman. Messrs. Crosby and Linton listened eagerly to the explanation—which, past experience taught them, would be a masterpiece from the standpoint of glossing over unpleasant details, yet avoiding all untruths. “You see, Captain,” Tiny David began, “Jim and Linny had a tough break on the car. Morally they were justified. Legally they weren’t. Then this bird began to brag about him and Colonel Makorn being ‘just like that’.” Mr. David swallowed hastily. “That should be enough tip-off for anybody.” (He failed to add that it hadn’t been.) “Colonel Makorn always has been suspected of a tie-up with the cocaine traffic. Tried to have a bill put through one year just before adjournment, that would have flooded the State.” Mr. David made no mention of the fact  that all this had returned to his mind only a short time ago. “Then, there was the fact that this bird in the car was so anxious not to stop that he took a chance on passing two troopers. That should be enough tip-off for anybody that he had something he didn’t want found.” Again Mr. David overlooked the fact that he and his companions, confused by their mistake, had failed to make even a routine search of the car. “Didn’t take long to find it, when we went to work. A garage was the best place. Had a dummy oil filter. Filled with cocaine.” (No use mentioning the fact that only the blind path of a bullet had disclosed the hiding-place.) Tiny David decided all this justified some liberties; he seated himself on the top step, occupying a soft spot he had selected minutes ago. “Hooking the Colonel was a bit of luck.” He smiled modestly. “He walked right into it. Made his admission twice. He was feeling confident by that time.”

Tiny David yawned. He allowed his head to fall back until it rested against the wall. His trooper’s hat was pushed forward, so that it shielded his eyes from the sun.  Then Captain Field stood over him, his hands on his hips, his eyes twinkling, and his lips curved in a sardonic smile. “Stay awake long enough to answer just one question,” he commanded. You and Lady Luck are pals, aren’t you?” Tiny David extended a hand, two fingers of which were pressed tight against each other. “Just like that,” he answered.

Article Compliments of Lt. Michael Kaska, Buffalo, NY Police Department

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