“I got to have it!” he declared, with sudden fierceness. “I got to—see! Look at me! I ain’t goin’ to be no good to-night if I don’t. I tell youse, I got to! I ain’t goin’ to t’row youse down, Slimmy—honest, I ain’t! Just one—an’ it’ll set me up. If I don’t get none I’ll be on de rocks before mornin’! Dat’s straight, Slimmy—ask Mag, she knows.”
“Aw, let him go get it!” broke in the Tocsin wearily. “Dat’s de best t’ing youse can do, Slimmy—dey’re all alike when dey gets in his class.”
“Youse cocaine sniffers gives me de pip!” snorted the Magpie, in disgust. He dug down into his pocket, produced a bill, and flung it across the table to Larry the Bat. “Well, dere youse are; but youse can take it from me, Larry, dat if youse gets whiffed”—he swore threateningly—“I’ll crack every bone in yer face! Get me?”
“Slimmy,” said Larry the Bat fervently, grabbing at the bill with a hungry hand, “youse can count on me. I’ll be up dere on de job before youse are. Three o’clock, eh? Well, so long, Slimmy”—he slouched eagerly to the door. “So long, Mag”—he paused on the threshold for a single, quick-flung, significant glance. “See youse on de avenoo, Mag—I’ll be up dere before youse are. So long!”
“Oh, so long!” said the Tocsin contemptuously.
And, an instant later, Jimmie Dale closed the outer door behind him.
Nearly midnight already! It was even later than he had thought. Larry the Bat pressed his face against a shop’s windowpane on the Bowery for a glance at a clock that had caught his eye on the wall within. Nearly midnight!
He slouched on again hurriedly, still debating in his mind, as he had been debating it all the way from the Tocsin’s, the question of returning again to the Sanctuary. So far, the way both to Spider Jack’s and the Sanctuary had been in the same direction—but the Sanctuary was on the next street.
Jimmie Dale reached the corner—and hesitated. It was strange how strong was the intuition upon him to-night that bade him go on and make all speed to Spider Jack’s—while equally strong was the cold, stubborn logic that bade him go first to the Sanctuary. There were things that he needed there that would probably be absolutely essential to him before the night was out, things without which he might be so badly handicapped as to invite failure from the start; and yet—it was already midnight!
Ostensibly both Makoff and Spider Jack closed their places at eleven. But that might mean anything—depending upon their own respective inclinations, or on what of their own peculiar brand of deviltry might be afoot. If they were still about, still in evidence, he was still too early, midnight though it was; though, on the other hand, if the coast was clear, he could ill afford to lose a moment of the time between now and the hour that the Magpie had planned for the robbery of Henry LaSalle, for it would not be an easy matter, even once inside Spider Jack’s, to find that package—since it was Spider’s open boast that things committed to his care were where the police, or any one else, might as well whistle and suck their thumbs as try to find them!