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Ten Detective Aces, November 1944
Downed on the Farm
“Dizzy Duo” Yarn
By Joe Archibald
With a Jackknife slayer on the Beantown griddle, Snooty
and Scoop, the cracked eggs of newsdom, beat it up to
Buckwheat, Maine, to put the heat on a home-fried suspect.
LWAYS this part of the year me
and Snooty Piper have quite a
time of it deciding where we will
take our vacation. We go to the Greek’s to
talk it over, as somehow our minds get
quite active when we are sampling Nick’s
extract of hops.
“How about that place up in New
Hampshire, Scoop?” Snooty says to me.
“The doll at the village library should have
quite an appeal after another year of being
cornfed. Where we was last year.”
“Uh,” I says and shudder. “You mean
Poultney’s Paradise - in - the - Pines?
Where we slept on a hard mattress as thin
as the hair on Dogface Woolsey’s noggin?
Where the telephone booth was a half mile
down the road and—I would have to be
paid to return to that fly trap, Snooty.”
“Well, there’s Revere Beach,” the
crackpot suggests. “It has everythin’ there,
even athlete’s foot. Oh, we’ll pick up a
newspaper and look through the ads later.
Our vacation does not start until Saturday
and this is only Thursday. We must look
for crime news for Evening Star readers.”
“It would be easier to find shell craters
in Switzerland,” I sigh and sip my brew.
“Why I even saw Leadpipe Loogan
makin’ a speech for war bonds in Chelsea
yesterday. I asked him what became of the
moll that Bigfoot Benny, the pickpocket,
took away from him. He said she is rollin’
bandages for the Red Cross, Snooty. Oh,
what are we doing to help win the war,
huh?”
A
DOWNED ON THE FARM 2
“Look, Scoop,” the incorrigible says
and lifts a foot to show me the sole of it. I
can see newspaper print through the big
hole in it. “I have purchased war bonds
every week until I have to have my socks
retreaded. I have only two green suits to
my name, one of which shines like it was
rubbed with phosphorus.
“We applied for the Army and was
found undesirables. Is that our fault? For
three weeks there I let my hair grow, and
had it bobbed, and shaved six times a day
while going around to apply for a
Salvation Army lassie’s job handing out
doughnuts. Let’s go, Scoop.”
We are walking out into Scollay
Square when we meet a character in khaki
named Hubert Swopp. Hubert used to run
the elevator for Mr. Guppy until selective
service put the finger on him.
“Hiya, pals,” Hubert says. “Want to
buy a souvenir from Trinidad? It is a
machete and has bloodstains on it. They
do everything with a machete down there
but eat it. They cut down trees, manicure
their nails; cut bread, harvest the crops,
and shave with the things, Piper. Two
bucks and a half, and it is a steal. If I
wasn’t so badly in need of moolah, I
wouldn’t part with it.”
“Keep it,” I says. “If you have a pair of
Jap gold teeth or the shirttail of a Nazi, I
will be interested.”
“Those Latin boy scout knives can be
had in South Boston at Honest Jimmy’s
for a buck, Hubert,” Snooty says. “We will
be seeing you, Private. It is our job to
protect the home front so we can’t be
dilly-dallying with such as you.”
E HEAD south on Tremont, and
finally walk up the steps of the
Hub’s gendarmerie on LaGrange Street.
There seems to be quite some excitement.
Iron Jaw O’Shaughnessy, who is listed as
a detective at headquarters although he
could not find a mosquito in a jungle, is
rushing toward a police squad car which
has already got three cops in it.
“This I must see,” Snooty says. “Could
you thread a small needle with a boa
constrictor? Oh, Iron Jaw, what is the
rhubarb all about, hah?”
“A murder. They found a corpse on a
street in East Boston not far from the post
office there. Come on. Hurry up! I—er—
what am I sayin’? You two punks git out
of my way—Piper, I’ll—”
We get in the jalopy ahead of Iron Jaw.
Snooty yips, “You invited us. I’ll leave it
to anybody here. All right, so you couldn’t
of got in here anyway and you know it. It
is nice and cool on the running board.”
The squad car with Iron Jaw listing it
to port feels like a tanker stopped by a
torp. We can hear the metal strip along the
running board scrape concrete at times.
“The police department is learning to
corporate, Scoop,” Snooty enthuses. “It is
about time the press was given
transportation—look how many patriots
are poolin’ cars, huh?”
We almost lose Iron Jaw in the tunnel
as a big truck nearly makes a sandwich out
of him. When we arrive at the place where
the corpse is, there is no back in in Jaw’s
plaid suit.
We soon find out that the defunct once
lived and breathed under the name of Boo
Boo Hiff, and that his portrait was in the
files at the main hoosegow. There is a shiv
protruding from the late Hiff’s meridian
when the appraiser of cadavers turns him
over.
“Well, it is good riddance,” Iron Jaw
says. “He had a record as long as the road
between here and Portland, Maine. Boo
Boo was in the reformatory six times
before he was sixteen. He has done two
stretches in as many states. No clues
nowhere. I see he carried an Evening Star,
Piper. It’s right over there. Anybody who
W
TEN DETECTIVE ACES 3
reads that sheet should live so long. Ha!”
Yes, we remember Boo Boo as quite a
finished recalcitrant. Boo Boo in his time
had more rackets than Bill Tilden. He was
very unhappy if he was not engaged in
double-crossing somebody, even if it had
to be his mother. Once Boo Boo beat a rap
by singing about his grandma peddling
bootleg gin in a go-cart, so you can see
what a despicable taxpayer he really was.
Boo Boo came to the attention of the
gendarmes only a month ago by tipping
the cops off to a bangtail betting layout in
the Hotel Quinsey. It seems the character
who conducted the joint refused to give
Boo Boo further credit. His name was
Narragansett Ned Gumbio. He was
partners with a notorious gee known as
Roxbury Shuffola.
“All we gotta do,” Iron Jaw says, “is
pin this assassination on Shuffola, as he
threatened to fix things for Gumbio who
got three years in the icebox.”
“It was open season on Boo Boo,”
Snooty sniffs. “I understand a certain town
hall of a suburb even was granting hunting
licenses for characters desiring to get hunk
with Boo Boo. A score of suspects would
not be an exaggeration.”
“You keep out of this,” Iron Jaw yelps.
“Let me get a good look at the shiv, Doc.”
The weapon that had completely
extinguished Boo Boo was an oversized
jackknife you could have skinned an
overgrown moose with. The big blade is
quite worn down from where I sit. Snooty
Piper picks up the copy of the Evening
Star Boo Boo must have dropped. “Yeah,”
Iron Jaw says, ignoring Piper. “See the
stuff caked on this big blade, huh? It is
what stays on a blade when you have cut
tobacco with it a lot. Say, Roxbury
Shuffola has a cigar store in Roxbury
Square, hasn’t he?”
“That’s right. O’Shaughnessy,” a cop
says.
Snooty perks up and drapes the paper
over his knees.
“Lot of laborers still buy tobacco by
the plug, don’t they?” the big flatfoot says.
“It is some idea I got, boys. If Shuffola’s
tobacco cutter is out of order, he would
use a big jackknife like this one, maybe.”
“Iron Jaw,” Snooty says. “You
absolutely amaze me I didn’t know half
what was in you, did I?”
“Oh, it is just elemental, is all,” the big
slewfoot says. “A matter of careful
induction, Piper. You can come along and
listen to us grill Roxbury Shuffola if you
want.”
“That I wouldn’t miss, would you,
Scoop?”
LL of us travel to Roxbury Square
where Shuffola has a cigar and
stationery store, and let the remains of Boo
Boo be hauled to the Hub’s freezer.
Shuffola happens to be in a back room
playing some stud poker. We interrupt him
just as he fills an inside straight from his
sleeves. Roxbury is a short chunky
fugitive from rogues’ gallery with a voice
like an old sailor, and one of his ears has
been scrambled somewhere along the
primrose path.
“It’s the cops,” a poker player says.
“Call me ‘Smith’.”
“Well, how many times do you flatfeet
run police gallops?” Shuffola says and
takes ten bucks out of the kitty. “Here,
gimme five pasteboards.”
“He thinks he is funny,” Iron Jaw
growls. “Where you are goin’, Roxy, the
admission is for free. The hell of it is in
gettin’ out again. We are takin’ you in for
grilling, as early this, A.M. a character
named Boo Boo Hiff departed this world
and not in the natural way, Shuffola. You
remember how you told everybody you
would fix Boo Boo’s apples for what he
did to Narragansett Ned’s hayburner
A
DOWNED ON THE FARM 4
hostelry?”
“Everybody has threatened somebody
sometime,” Shuffola says. “I never got
around to payin’ Boo Boo off,
O’Shaughnessy. In fact, me and Boo Boo
got to be fast friends, and only last night
we was out to a night club on Scollay
Square with two babes. I can prove it.”
“Can you prove Boo Boo was left
intact when you bid him good night,
Roxy?” Iron Jaw says.
“It was late. Boo Boo got into a cab
and—look, I will say no more until I see a
lawyer,” Shuffola declares. “You have to
hang the rubout on somebody, don’t you?
And it might as well be me? What proof
you got, you big slob?”
“Shuffola,” Iron Jaws says. “You sell
much plug tobacco?”
“I got maybe a dozen customers uses
it. Why?”
“You got a machine for cutting that
tobacker in bulk?”
“Yeah, but it broke down couple of
months ago. What with a war on, you
can’t get nothing new which is
mechanical,” the crude character points
out.
“So you used a big shiv,” Iron Jaw
accuses. “An oversized scout knife,
maybe?”
“Yeah, I got it right there on the
counter.” Shuffola picks up the knife and
hands it to Iron Jaw. The big gland case
examines it and grins like a wolf locked up
with a pen of sheep.
“No stains on it, huh? Clean blade,
Shuffola. Where was the one you first
used? I will tell you. We found it in Boo
Boo’s brisket. Let’s take a ride, Roxbury.”
“It is a frame,” Shuffola protests. “I
give my old knife to—it was a sprout what
lived next door to me. His family moved
out of town and—”
“A likely story,” Iron Jaw sniffs. “You
come with us like a nice boy, Shuffola, or
on a window blind, it don’t matter which.
You got to prove you left Boo Boo last
night the same way as when you found
him. Crime does not pay, Roxy.”
“Get in touch with the canaries they
were out with,” Snooty says. I see he still
has the copy of the Evening Star sticking
out of his coat pocket. “If one left with
Boo Boo, Shuffola is in the clear.”
“They beat it an hour before we broke
up,” Shuffola gulps. “We got in a battle
with the chiselers and chased ‘em out into
the street where they joined the Navy. Oh,
this shouldn’t happen to even a German
police dog. Here I am innercent but look
as guilty as if I did stick Boo Boo. Itzy,
ring up that lawyer who married your
sister.”
“You must be desperate,” the gee
named Itzy says to Roxbury.
“Come on, Snooty,” I says. “You can
easily see Shuffola is guilty. Let’s go
home and look over them vacation
booklets once more, huh?”
ATER, in our room in Oxford Street,
we try to decide where we will spend
two weeks in the quiet of the rural district
up north. Snooty Piper says it is funny we
did not think to look up a place in one of
the best advertising mediums in the whole
of Boston. He taps the Evening Star taken
away from the scene of Boo Boo Hiff’s
last stand.
“Listen, Swap. Right here is
everything to be desired. ‘Still looking for
that ideal vacation spot? Stop! Leave right
away for Fimkin’s-in-the-Firs. Home
cooking. Peace and quiet. Canoes for hire.
The business man’s balm. The
stenographer’s Shangri-La. Dates will
surprise you! Mrs. Oswald Fimkin, Prop.,
Buckwheat, Maine.’ ”
“I like this one,” I says. “ ‘McGurgle’s
Mountain Manor. Bask-in-the-Balsams.
Southern fried chicken, Vermont style.
L
TEN DETECTIVE ACES 5
Rates—’ ”
“Look, Scoop,” Snooty says. “Any
citizen who advertises in the paper that
gives us our bread and oleo should be
patronized. If we dared to do anything
else, we could be fired if Mr. Guppy heard
of it—and I think—he would. Anyway,
who wants to climb a mountain to git to
where is a vacation? We will go to Mrs.
Oswald Fimkin’s. Huh, stenogs—”
There is no use arguing with Snooty
Piper. When he sets his feeble mind on a
thing he puts glue on it first, and even
Adam’s off-ox couldn’t pull it loose.
“Well, it looks like even if Roxbury
Shuffola is not guilty, he will have to fry,”
I says. “We will not be around to save
him. For once Iron Jaw will have no
interference from the Fourth Estate.”
“Huh? I could swear that character did
not erase Boo Boo, Scoop,” Snooty says.
“But is he worth wastin’ a two weeks’
vacation on? Anyway there is such a thing
as remote control.”
Snooty Piper has a funny look in his
eye. I also wonder why the crackpot folds
up the copy of the Evening Star he has
been carrying for hours and puts it in the
bottom of his suitcase.
“You know, Scoop,” he says, “maybe
we should have purchased the machete
from Hubert. It is very wild country in
parts of Maine.”
We have some odds and ends to clean
up before we go to the North Station to
purchase our tickets. Snooty goes down to
the advertising department of Mr. Guppy’s
paper and quizzes a doll there for nearly a
half hour. A wolf should go to Maine, I
admit.
Iron Jaw calls up and says he hopes we
enjoy ourselves and not to take a compass;
if we see a snake that is diamond-backed,
to be sure and pet it as it is good luck.
There is only one sense of humor in the
world worse than Iron Jaw’s and it belongs
to Adolf.
On the train Snooty says, “You know
that ad in the Evenin’ Star? The hayshaker
who sent it in, happened to be in Boston.
He called at the advertising department
and gave them all get out, Scoop. It should
have said ‘rates,’ not ‘dates’ were
reasonable. Ha! I wonder if they got
southern exposure in our room?”
We ride eight miles from the station in
an old flivver with no springs and come to
Fimkin’s-in-the-Firs, which is a house
older than any Washington ever slept in
and has exposure in all directions.
Mrs. Fimkin is a scrawny maniac with
a nasal twang that would blowout a fuse if
wired for sound. She says we have to take
what is left as we made no reservation and
who did we think we was?
“We are not proud,” Snooty says.
“Show us our accommodations, Ma’am.”
They are over the tool shed and backed
up against a stable where lilacs certainly
were not growing. Mrs. Fimkin said it was
where the hired men slept in the days
when there was hired men. We could get
running water at the well which is only a
hundred yards from the house.
“The rate for two here is forty-eight
dollars per week,” she says, gets it in
advance, and goes out.
“Swindlers are supposed to come from
the city,” I says. “This is vice versa,
Snooty. Well, you picked out this dump
which is the worst yet. Did you ever see
such flies, huh? Or is some P-38’s goin’
over?”
“It is the flies, Scoop,” Snooty says.
“Well, it is business I am on anyway.
We’ll demand our money back when I
prove it was the old pigeon’s spouse or
one of his checker pals rubbed out Boo
Boo Hiff.”
“I’m glad to hear th—wha-a-at you
say?” I gulp and get a touch of vertigo.
“Snooty Piper, you are unsafe to be at
DOWNED ON THE FARM 6
large. What has this bunch of rubes got to
do with—”
“I’ll tell you later, Scoop. Did you see
the boarders sitting on the porch? Stenogs,
pffft. The youngest one must of took
dictation from Horace Greeley. We could
dig up livelier cuties in the village
churchyard. They—listen—”
E CAN hear Mrs. Fimkin and
husband engaged in quite a tongue
duel and can get a gander of Mr. Fimkin
sitting in the kitchen from our quarters.
The rube is mopping his bald dome with a
blue bandanna.
“You gimme the jim-jams, Oz,” the
old girl yaps at him. “Ever sense you and
Eb Pottlebush got back from Barston, you
been sittin’ like a cat on a hot griddle.
Humph, went to look at poultry there
when you got a whole coop of ‘em. Went
to see the gals, I bet. And you ain’t told
me yet what you did with the two hundred
dollars you got from sellin’ that ten acres
of pasture land to Adoniram Quigle. I
want half of it, you hear?”
“Gimme time,” Fimkin says. “Who
was them two fellers just come here?”
“Boarders, of course. Who’d you think
they was, Nazi spies? You been up to
somethin’, Oz Fimkin?”
“Huh? Well, I got to git to the post
office to sort out the afternoon mail,”
Fimkin says. “Got to git me a drink of
hard cider first, by Godfrey!”
“He is our man, Scoop,” Snooty says.
“It was him left the Evening Star near Boo
Boo’s corpse, not Boo Boo.” The crackpot
shows me the newspaper he has packed all
the way to Buckwheat, Maine. I can see
where somebody started to cut out the ad
for the boarding house with something.
“It is like with a machete, Scoop,”
Snooty says. “These heckers do everythin’
with a jackknife except eat it. They cut off
plug tobacco, slice apples, fix mowin’
machines, skin hogs, whittle boats and—I
says to myself, me and Scoop will come to
Buckwheat for our vacation after I found
out Mr. Guppy refused to give Fimkin a
rebate for messing up the ad. The rube was
goin’ to cut out the ad and paste it on a
letter to a lawyer, I’ll bet. Somethin’ took
place before he did it.”
“Put six aspirins in a glass of water
and give it to me, Snooty,” I says. “Why
would a rube want to knock off a rough
person like Boo Boo Hiff? And where
would a hay-shaker meet up with Boo Boo
in the first place? It is like placin’ the war
guilt at the door of a rescue mission. Even
you can’t answer that one.”
“Not right away, Scoop. We will make
Fimkin or his pal confess. I bet it will be
the most interestin’ motive for crime
anybody ever heard, huh? I can’t wait.”
We go down and have lunch. Three of
Mrs. Fimkin’s clients have about cleaned
up the supply of fricasseed fowl. Me and
Snooty eat the necks and a pair of wings.
We are quite sure the cacklers that once
owned them were hatched out just after
Dewey took Manila. One of the babes tries
to ogle Snooty Piper. She is as fat as the
take from the pari-mutuel machines at
Suffolk Downs any Saturday.
“There is some nice tramps in the
woods—tee-hee,” the chick says.
“I’ll bet they are hidin’ too,” Snooty
quips. “Walking bothers my very close
veins, ha. Pass the salt, Scoop.”
“Maybe your friend is athletic,”
another boarder says. She is built along the
lines of a bed slat and wears a fascinator
over an ersatz transformation.
“On the contrary,” Snooty says. “The
army doctors give him just a year to live.
That was eleven months ago.”
“Let’s not stop for dessert, Snooty,” I
gulp.
“Just as well,” Mrs. Fimkin yelps from
the kitchen. “It’s all gone anyways.”
W
TEN DETECTIVE ACES 7
We go out and sit under the firs and
the mosquitoes blitz us. They come at us
in formation like Mustangs and chase us
into the barn. We are sitting on an old
feedbox there when Snooty lets out a yell
and climbs to a haymow.
“What is eatin’ you?” I snap at him.
“Nothin’ now,” Snooty says. “But
there is a rodent sittin’ on your shoulder
too, Scoop.” I also screech and get up into
the haymow where I sit right down in a
nest of over-ripe eggs.
“Let’s take the first train back,” I says.
“We have police work to do, Scoop,”
Snooty says. “Let’s go to our room as it is
safer there.”
We play gin rummy all afternoon. A
little before suppertime we capture two big
cockroaches and race them. I win two
bucks from Snooty. Suddenly he says:
“Look, Scoop, it is Oz Fimkin going
into the shed there. We might as well
denounce him now. Come on.”
S WE walk into the old shed, Oz is
sitting with his back to us. Snooty
says, “Fimkin, we want you for the murder
of Boo Boo Hiff in Boston! Don’t make a
m—”
The rube swivels on the seat of his
homespuns and something tells me to
duck. There is a terrible explosion.
Buckshot passes through the air where my
dome was only a couple of seconds ago.
Snooty picks himself up and also a
pitchfork and menaces Oz.
“That admits your guilt,” Snooty says.
“I—er—who are you fellers?” Oz
says.
“Secret agents,” Snooty says. “We
found prints on that jackknife that was
inserted in Boo Boo. We will take yours
and those of your partner in crime and
match them up. Confess, Fimkin!”
“The next time you accuse somebody,
Snooty Piper,” I says, examining my hat
which is as full of holes as a nutmeg
grater, “he will most likely be holdin’ a
six-quart jar of nitro.”
“I didn’t mean to shoot. I got the
heebie-jeebies, fellers,” Oz croaks. “Yep, I
did it. It was self-defense—”
“Sit down and tell us about it,” Snooty
says. Mrs. Fimkin barges in and wants to
know who killed himself.
“We was all lookin’ at a shotgun,” I
says. “We didn’t know it was loaded.”
“Supper’ll be ready in ten minutes,”
the old babe says. “Don’t be late this
time.”
When Mrs. Fimkin returns to her
scullery, Oz Fimkin weaves a very
amazing tale.
“Now look, boys, it was all because
me and Eb Pottlebush couldn’t resist
reading post cards. I’m postmaster, you
know,” Oz says.
“One comes from a Mrs. Cuthbert
Wunch and is addressed to her husband
who is supposed to call for it here. It said
the baby was worse and she was near
destitute. Rent was due. She was
threatened with eviction. She said to
please send money. Well, me an’ Eb
figgered Cuthbert’d show up right soon for
his mail but he didn’t.
“Then another card comes three days
later, by Godfrey. I know it by heart. Said,
‘Dear Cuth: Doctor says no hope for our
boy unlest money comes for medicine.
Landlord has given me just a week to pay
up or get out. You got to send me
money—Bernice Wunch.’ ”
“Cuthbert finally showed up?” I ask.
“Nope. Three days later me and Eb
read another card. It said Cuthbert’s infant
son, Lochinvar, was nearing a crisis.
Bernice said she couldn’t find work and
was losin’ all hope. She said to please send
her the money.
“Well, me and Eb went lookin’ for
Cuthbert Wunch. All over. Couldn’t find
A
DOWNED ON THE FARM 8
hide nor hair of the cuss. Eb says he must
have run out on his wife and that
somebody had to send help. Well, I says
we can’t sit by and let a poor woman and
babe starve and be thrown into the street. I
saw East Lynne oncet, and that show even
wrung tears out of the truant officer.”
“Huh,” Snooty says.
“I sent Mrs. Cuthbert Wunch a
hundred dollars,” Oz Fimkin says. “Writ
her a letter saying as how Cuthbert was
havin’ bad luck. Just signed it as a friend. I
never heard no more. The post cards
stopped comin’. Me and Eb got to
wonderin’ if the money went astray or
somethin’. We just had to go to Barston
and make certain. So we cooked up an
excuse we was goin’ to a poultry show,
packed up and went.
“Well, me an’ Eb worked in shifts fer
two days standin’ near the general delivery
place in that dag-nabbed post office, and
listened to every woman askin’ fer mail.
We figgered maybe Cuthbert had started
writin’ her by that time. Eb said it was
funny she wouldn’t have a address if she
lived in a house or a tenement some place,
but I says people do danged funny things.
Maybe Cuthbert was a crook and didn’t
want the police questionin’ a sick wife, so
arranged to write her general delivery, I
says to Eb.”
UT what about Boo Boo Hiff?” I
says tartly. “Up to now we have
got nowhere like Rommel and—”
“Hiff? Yep, that was the name. One
afternoon, me and Eb are ready to quit,
when in comes a flashy-dressed cuss and
asks fer mail for Mrs. Cuthbert Wunch and
gets it. Me and Eb foller him. We don’t git
up the nerve to talk to him until we are
maybe three blocks away. Then the feller
went into that narrer side street and rips
open a letter.
“Well, I finally says to him, ‘Hey, you,
what are you doin’ with mail for that
woman, huh? Who are you?’
“ ‘Who are you, Junior?’ the feller
says nasty.
“ ‘Who am I?’ I said to the slicker. ‘I
happen to be the man who sent a hundred
dollars to a poor woman whose husband
deserted her. A friend of your’n, huh?
Well, tell us where Wunch is as he owes
us a hundred dollars fer sendin’ his wife—
’ Oz Fimkin paws at his face, and looks at
the floor.
“You get the C note?” Snooty asks.
“Nope. That feller Hiff starts laffin’.
He says what a joke and oh boy. He says
Cuthbert Wunch was a fake name of a pal
of his. They robbed a store together. The
cops reckernized his pal, so he had to
leave town until they kinda fergot about
him. They was code letters Hiff sent. They
meant somethin’ else, but what they said. I
demanded that the slicker give us back our
hundred dollars. He laffed again. ‘Did I ast
fer it?’ he says. ‘You sent it like a present,
you country bunkin’. Look, don’t make
me laff no more!”
“So you tried to use force?” I says.
“Me and Eb figgered to scare the
slicker,” Oz confesses. “I yanked out my
big jackknife, opened the big blade, and I
says to the slicker, ‘Give me my rightful
possessions or I will take action ag’in
you.’
“Oh, Godfrey! The slicker attacked me
and Eb pitched in. Don’t ast me how it
happened. The first thing me and Eb
knowed was that Hiff fell down and never
got up just after he pulled the knife out of
my hand. We saw some blood and ran like
all git out for the railroad station. There it
is, fellers. Break it gentle to Effie, huh?”
“An accident,” Snooty says. “Boo Boo
took over the shiv, tripped up and fell on
the sticker, huh? This’ll teach you not to
read no more post cards, Fimkin. What
would Uncle Sam say, not to even mention
“B
TEN DETECTIVE ACES 9
the D.A.? What do you think, Scoop?”
“Me? I will be fully awake in a minute,
Snooty. I know I am half asleep in the
Bijou in Boston, and the feature will be
over in a minute.”
“To think the rubout was solved by the
Evening Star,” Snooty says. “Ah, the
power of the press. To think a character
like Roxy Shuffola might have fried if
Fimkin here had advertised in the Sun
instead.
“Well, we will take you back to
Boston, Oz, and see justice is done.”
“I am a grave robber too,” Oz says. “I
took his ill-gotten gains from his pocket
‘fore we found out he was stabbed, fellers.
Only eighty dollars left but—”
“Tell the rest to a lawyer, Cy,” Snooty
says. “That reminds me, Fimkin. We want
our board bill back as we also know a
swindle when we see it.”
It is late the next afternoon that me,
Snooty Piper, Oswald Fimkin, and Eb
Pottlebush walk into headquarters in
Boston and ask to see the D.A.
“This is the character who knows how
Boo Boo Hiff was extinguished,” I says to
the desk Sergeant. “Shuffola is innocent.
Fimkin here wants to put it in writing.”
Oswald Fimkin does. The D.A. keeps
counting his fingers and opening and
shutting his peepers as if he was getting
sties on them. He asks for digitalis. Fimkin
looks at Exhibit A which was the rube’s
machete and admits it was his.
Iron Jaw O’Shaughnessy rolls in and
yelps, “Well, I’ll make Shuffola confess
by mornin’, chief. He’s breakin’ down
and—what the—?”
“Hello, Iron Jaw,” we chorus.
“O’Shaughnessy,” the D.A. says.
“Meet Oswald Fimkin of Buckwheat,
Maine. It was his knife slew Boo Boo.
Read this confession here.”
“Why what is the matter with Iron
Jaw?” I asks a few moments later.
“Huh?” the D.A. replies.
“O’Shaughnessy always closes his eyes
like that and lays dawn when he faints.
Well, I doubt if there will be any more
than an inquiry. Fimkin, you’ll be on your
way back to the farm to help in the war
effort in a very short time, I am sure.
Pretty slick work, Piper.”
“You’re gol darn tootin’,” Snooty says
and kicks a heel against the floor. “Rowdy
dow, by cracky! Let’s go to the Greek’s,
Scoop.”
We are in our famous oasis fifteen
minutes later. “Peace and quiet,” I says.
“This is it. Why did we think of any other
vacation spot, Snooty?”
“You said it, Scoop. Gimme cuspidors
and juke boxes, and you take the cows and
chickens,” Snooty grins.
Who says he is not one in a million?

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