Johnny Kerrigan blinked at him owlishly. Jus' as a private citizen,Kimber ol' boy. My friend Frank Robbins told me you eloped with hiskid daughter, Selma. Now she found out what kind of guy you are, shewants to go home, but you won't let her. So I'm here to sort ofconvince you.Kimber's little eyes were sharper than ever. Take a tip from me.Kerrigan. Forget about the whole thing. Believe me, there's too muchinvolved for me to give Selma up.Sure, sure. I know, Johnny said. You figure to get Frank Robbinsknocked off, so Selma will inherit the estate. Then you'll take itfrom her.The other stared.Johnny Kerrigan shook his head ponderously. 'Tisn' right, Kimber. I'mmaking you a friendly prop--proposition--let Selma come home withme. And give her a divorce.A shrewd gleam came into Russ Kimber's eyes. He moved closer along thebar, and dropped his voice. You don't make much salary with theF.B.I., Johnny. How can you live on the salary they pay you?Johnny seemed to think that over for a little while. Then he noddedponderously. 'Swhat I always ask myself, Kimber ol' boy. How can Ilive on my salary?Would you like to make some real dough?How, much real dough?Say, ten grand.Johnny grinned fatuously. What must I do?Nothing much. Just walk out of here and go home, Kimber said. Youcan tell Frank Robbins that he hasn't got a leg to stand on. I didn'tviolate any law when I married Selma. Tell him it's okay, and you maketen grand!Nix, said Johnny Kerrigan. I came here to find Selma and take herhome. Won't go without her. I'll take this joint apart to find her.Russ Kimber scowled. Don't be a sap, Kerrigan. She's not here. I senther away.Then-- Johnny grinned with the shrewdness of the true drunk--whyyou wanna pay me ten grand to go away?Because we don't want trouble with you, Kimber said. You got areputation. The boss doesn't want to tangle with you--if possible.What boss?My boss.Who's your boss? and now Johnny's eyes narrowed.KIMBER hesitated. He looked around the room. Kimber's Bar and Grillwas well-filled tonight. There were thirty or forty people at the barand tables, mostly men. Kimber exchanged glances with several of them.These were his plug-uglies, toughs he could rely on to see to it thatJohnny Kerrigan never left this place alive if he learned too much.There were only two men whom Kimber didn't know. They were sitting ata corner table, drinking beer. One was dark-haired anal dark-eyed,slim and handsome. The other was smaller, wiry-looking, but hardlymore than a kid--or so Kimber thought. If anything started, those twowould have to be taken care of, too--so there'd be no witness to tellwhat had happened to the big drunken G-man.Kimber grinned thinly, and turned back to Johnny. You've heard of--the 'General'?Johnny Kerrigan whistled. So you work for the General?Yes. Now you know. The General offers you ten grand to step out ofthe picture right now. Lay off. Go home. It'll be healthier for you--and more profitable.Johnny Kerrigan peered bleary-eyed at Kimber. Ten grand is a lot ofdough. That girl--Selma Robbins--must be here. Otherwise youwouldn't offer me all that dough.Okay, Kimber snarled. Have it your way. Selma is here. She'supstairs, guarded by machine-guns. Neither you nor the whole F.B.I.could get to her. Now, do you take the ten grand and lay off? Or do wehave to get tough with you?Suddenly Johnny Kerrigan started to laugh. He put out one huge paw andwrapped his fingers around Russ Kimber's neck.Get tough! he said.Kimber's face grew red as the circulation of blood was choked off bythat terrible grip. He pawed at his shoulder holster and dragged outan automatic.
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