Lannigan’s head was thrust forward; his eyes, hard, were riveted on Whitey Mack.
“My God!” he said again under his breath. Then fiercely: “He’ll get his for this!”
It was a moment before Jimmie Dale spoke; he was musingly examining the automatic in his hand.
“I am going now, Lannigan,” he observed quietly. “I require, say, fifteen minutes in which to effect my escape. It is, of course, obvious that an alarm raised by you might prove extremely awkward, but a piece of canvas from that bench there, together with a bit of string, would make a most effective gag. I prefer, however, not to submit you to that indignity. Instead, I offer you the alternative of giving me your word to remain quietly where you are for—fifteen minutes.”
Jimmie Dale smiled.
“I agree,” said Lannigan shortly.
Jimmie Dale stepped back. The electric-light switch clicked. The place was in darkness. There was a moment, two, of utter stillness; then softly, from the front end of the shop, a whisper:
“If I were you, Lannigan, I’d take that gun from Whitey’s pocket before he comes round and beats you to it.”
And the door had closed silently behind Jimmie Dale.
In the subway, ten minutes before, a freckled-faced messenger boy had squeezed himself into a seat beside Jimmie Dale, yanked a dime novel from a refractory pocket, and, blissfully lost to all the world, had buried his head in its pages. Jimmie Dale’s glance at the youngster had equally, perforce, embraced the lurid title of the thriller, “Dicing with Death,” so imperturbably thrust under his nose. At the time, he had smiled indulgently; but now, as he left the subway and headed for his home on Riverside Drive, the words not only refused to be ignored, but had resolved themselves into a curiously persistent