“Telegram, Bud. You’re goin’ t’ frame up a nice little telegram t’ this guy Geoff—oh, you sure are th’ fly gazebo! A nice little message—’meet me t’morrow in the wood at sunset—Hermy?’ Somethin’ nice ‘n’ romantic like that’ll bring him on th’ run—eh, Bud? Then, ’stead of Hermy, comes you an’ th’ Kid, eh, Bud? An’ ’stead of kisses, this guy Geoff gets a lead pill—eh, Bud? Th’ Kid can’t miss if you get him close enough. It sure is some scheme, Bud; I couldn’t have thought it out better myself. Paper ‘n’ pencil, Bud—get busy an’ I’ll sashay over an’ send it off for ye—t’night.”
During Soapy’s unusually long speech, M’Ginnis sat staring at him under frowning brows, but now he turned and scowled down at the sheet of paper, picked up the pencil, laid it by again and sat opening and shutting his big hands, while Soapy, lighting another cigarette, watched him furtively. When at last he spoke, his voice was thick, and he didn’t lift his scowling gaze.
“Send that kid Larry t’ me, an’ say—you don’t have t’ come back.”
“All right, Bud, all right—only you’d best send two telegrams t’ make sure—one t’ Fift’ Av, an’ one t’ his place up th’ river. S’ long, Buddy!”
Some fifteen minutes later, the boy Larry, stepping out of O’Rourke’s, was swung to the wall in Soapy’s grip.
“Aw—say, cheese it now! Is that you, Soapy?”
“’S right, my bucko. Fork out that telegram—quick!”
“Aw, say, what yer mean—’n’ say, Bud told me to hustle, ‘n’ say—”
“Dig it out—quick!” said Soapy, the dangling cigarette glowing fiercely. “I want it—see?”
“But say—” whimpered Larry, “what’ll Bud say—”
“Nothin’! Bud ain’t goin’ t’ know. You take this instead—take it!” And Soapy thrust another folded paper into the boy’s limp hand, who took it whimpering.
“Bud tol’ me t’ bring it back.”
“Well, you tell him you lost it.”
“Not much—I’ll skin right back an’ tell him you pinched it.”
“You won’t, my sport, you won’t!” said Soapy, and speaking, moved suddenly; and the boy, uttering a gasp of terror, shrank cowering with the muzzle of Soapy’s deadly weapon against the pit of his stomach. “You ain’t goin’ t’ say a word t’ Bud nor nobody else, are ye, Larry boy, are ye?”
“Because if ye ever did, old sport, I should give it ye there—right there in the tum-tum, see? Now chase off, an’ see ye get them addresses right. S’long, Larry boy, be good now!” When the boy had scudded away, Soapy opened the paper and scanned the words of M’Ginnis’s telegram and, being alone, smiled as he glanced through it.
“You got th’ Kid, Bud,” he murmured, “you got th’ Kid—but if th’ Kid gets the guy Geoff, why—I’ve sure got you, Bud—got ye sure as hell, Bud!”
OF HARMONY AND DISCORD