At the end of twenty minutes the officers stood up. They had gone through everything in the room, including the cots. Kansas Casey wore a pleased smile. Jake Rule looked disappointed.
“Don’t look so glum, Jake,” urged Racey. “Is it a fair question to ask what yo’re hunting for?”
“The knife,” he said, shortly. “The knife that cut Bull’s throat.”
“The knife, huh?” remarked Racey as if to himself. “So yo’re suspectin’ me of wiping out Bull, are you?”
“I never did,” said Kansas, promptly. “I know you. You ain’t that kind.”
Jake looked reproachfully at his deputy. “You never can tall, Racey,” he said, turning to the puncher. “I’ve got so myself I don’t trust nobody no more.”
“Was this here yore own idea,” pursued Racey, “or did somebody sic you onto me?”
Jake made no immediate answer. It was obvious that he was of two minds whether to speak or not.
“Why not tell him?” suggested Kansas. “What’s the odds?”
At this Jake took a piece of paper from his vest pocket and handed it to Racey.
“I found this lying on the floor of my office when I come back after attending to Bull,” was his explanation.
There were words printed on the slip of paper. They read:
Look in Racey Dawson’s room for what killed Bull.
The communication was unsigned.
Racey handed it back to Jake Rule. “Got any idea who put it in yore office?” he asked.
Jake shook his head. “I dunno,” he said. “The window was open. Anybody passing could ‘a’ throwed it in.”
“You satisfied now, Jake, or—” Racey did not complete the sentence.
“Oh, I’m satisfied you didn’t do it,” replied the sheriff, “if that’s what you mean. But—the man who wrote this here joke!”
As he spoke he tore the note in two, dropped the pieces on the floor, and stamped out of the room. Kansas Casey looked over his shoulder as he followed in the wake of his superior.
He saw Racey Dawson picking up the two pieces of the note. Racey’s mouth was a grim, uncompromising line.
“If Racey ever finds out who wrote that,” thought Kansas to himself, pulling the door shut, “hell will shore pop. And I hope it does.”
For he liked Racey Dawson, did Kansas Casey, the deputy sheriff.
“Why didn’t you tell me at breakfast?” demanded Swing Tunstall.
“And give it away to Jack Harpe!” said scornful Racey. “Shore, that would ‘a’ been a bright thing to do now, wouldn’t it?”
“What didja do with the knife?”
“Dropped it through a knothole in the wall. The only way they’ll ever get hold of it is by tearing the building down.”
“Jack Harpe, if he is the feller, will know you found it and try again.”
“Shore. We can’t help that. One thing, we’ll know before the day is over whether it is Jack Harpe or not.”