“Crawford says he wants me to be treasurer of the company, Bob. You and I are to manage it, he says, with Burns doing the drilling.”
“Tha’s great. He told me he was gonna ask you. Betcha we make the ol’ Jackpot hum.”
“D’ you ever hear of a man land poor, Bob?”
“Well, right now we’re oil poor. According to what the old man says there’s no cash in the treasury and we’ve got bills that have to be paid. You know that ten thousand he paid in to the bank to satisfy the note. He borrowed it from a friend who took it out of a trust fund to loan it to him. He didn’t tell me who the man is, but he said his friend would get into trouble a-plenty if it’s found out before he replaces the money. Then we’ve got to keep our labor bills paid right up. Some of the other accounts can wait.”
“Can’t we borrow money on this gusher?”
“We’ll have to do that. Trouble is that oil isn’t a marketable asset until it reaches a refinery. We can sell stock, of course, but we don’t want to do much of that unless we’re forced to it. Our play is to keep control and not let any other interest in to oust us. It’s going to take some scratching.”
“Looks like,” agreed Bob. “Any use tryin’ the bank here?”
“I’ll try it, but we’ll not accept any call loan. They say Steelman owns the bank. He won’t let us have money unless there’s some nigger in the woodpile. I’ll probably have to try Denver.”
“That’ll take time.”
“Yes. And time’s one thing we haven’t got any too much of. Whoever underwrites this for us will send an expert back with me and will wait for his report before making a loan. We’ll have to talk it over with Crawford and find out how much treasury stock we’ll have to sell locally to keep the business going till I make a raise.”
“You and the old man decide that, Dave. I can’t get away from here till we get Number Three roped and muzzled. I’ll vote for whatever you two say.”
An hour later Dave rode back to town.
DAVE MEETS A FINANCIER
On more careful consideration Crawford and Sanders decided against trying to float the Jackpot with local money except by the sale of enough stock to keep going until the company’s affairs could be put on a substantial basis. To apply to the Malapi bank for a loan would be to expose their financial condition to Steelman, and it was certain that he would permit no accommodation except upon terms that would make it possible to wreck the company.
“I’m takin’ the train for Denver to-morrow, Dave,” the older man said. “You stay here for two-three days and sell enough stock to keep us off the rocks, then you hot-foot it for Denver too. By the time you get there I’ll have it all fixed up with the Governor about a pardon.”
Dave found no difficulty in disposing of a limited amount of stock in Malapi at a good price. This done, he took the stage for the junction and followed Crawford to Denver. An unobtrusive little man with large white teeth showing stood in line behind him at the ticket window. His destination also, it appeared, was the Colorado capital.