Davey flung his cigar out of the window, and laid both hands on his knees. His face was a picture of baffled indignation. But his wife laughed.
“They were tickled to death,” Grim continued. “I’m supposed to be going to Damascus tomorrow morning with a hundred thousand dollars in U.S. gold, obtained from you in ten small bags. We’ve got to find some bags and pack them full of something heavy.”
“I’ll have nothing to do with it!” Davey exploded at last. “It’s a damned outrage! Why—this tale will be all over the place. The Jews will get hold of it, and make complaints in London. Next you know, the U.S. State Department will be raising blue hell. Questions asked in Congress. Headlines in all the papers! What do you suppose our people will think of me?”
“Refer them to your wife, Davey. She’s got you out of much worse messes.”
“I’ll drive the car straight up to OETA and lodge my protest against this in less than fifteen minutes!”
“No need; Davey, old man. Goodenough will be in here presently. Kick to him.”
Mrs. Davey went into the next room and returned with a roll of coarse cotton cloth.
“I’ve no bags, Jim, but if this stuff will do I can sew some right now.”
“Good enough, Emily, go to it.”
“D’you want to lose me my job?” demanded Davey. But his wife took up the scissors and smiled back at him.
“You know better than that. We’ve trusted Jim before.”
“Listen, Davey; this thing’s serious,” said Grim.
“I know it is! So’m I! Nothing doing!”
“You’re on the inside of an official secret.”
“Curse all official secrets! My business is oil!”
“There’ll be no oil in this man’s land for any one for fifty years if you won’t play. There’ll be a jihad instead. They’re planning to blow up the Dome of the Rock.”
“Straight goods, Davey. Two tons of TNT stolen, and our friend Scharnhoff, the Austrian, hunting for the Tomb of the Kings— digging for it day and night—conspirators waiting to run in the explosive as soon as the tunnel is complete.”
“Why not arrest ’em at once?”
“We want to catch the principals red-handed, explosive and all. We don’t know where the explosive is yet. Bag the lot, and kill the story. Otherwise, d’you see what it means, if the news leaks out? They’ll blame the attempt on the Jews. And the minute the British protect the Jews there’ll be all Moslem Asia on fire. Get me?”
“Get you? Yes, I get you. I’ll get hell from the home office, though, for meddling in politics.”
Goodenough came in then, rather a different man from the stern little martinet who had stood in the throat of the arcade. He was all smiles.
“Evening, Mrs. Davey,” he said genially. “That one man went away, Grim, and three took his place. They shan’t be disturbed. Narayan Singh has gone off duty. Now, Mrs. Davey, I’ve been told that Americans all went dry, on account of a new religion called the Volstead Act. D’you mean to say you’d tempt a thirsty soldier with a dry martini?”