A door slammed below. Hurried footsteps sounded on the stair treads. Into the room burst a man.
“‘Slim’ ’s been croaked,” he blurted.
“What!” Durand’s eyes dilated.
“Who did it?”
“De guy he was to gun.”
“Dat’s de fellow.”
“Did the bulls get Lindsay?”
“Pinched him right on de spot.”
“Gun ‘Slim,’ did he?”
“Nope. Knocked him cold wit’ a chair. Cracked his skull.”
“Is he dead?”
“He’ll never be deader. Dave grabbed this sucker Lindsay and yelled that he done it. The bulls pinched him like I said right there.”
“Did it happen in the dark?”
“Sure as you’re a foot high. My job was dousin’ the glims, and I done it right.”
“What about ‘Slim’? Was he shooting when he got it?”
The other man shook his head. “This Lindsay man claims he was. I talked wit’ a bull afterward. Dey didn’t find no gun on ‘Slim.’ The bull says there was no gun-play.”
“What became of ‘Slim’s’ gun?”
Durand slammed a big fist exultantly down on the desk. “Better than the way I planned it. If the gun’s gone, I’ll frame Lindsay for the chair. It’s Salt Creek for his.”
He lost no time in getting into touch with Gorilla Dave, who was under arrest at the station house. From him he learned the story of the killing of Collins. One whispered detail of it filled him with malicious glee.
“The boob! He’ll go to the death chair sure if I can frame him. We’re lucky Bromfield ran back into the little room. Up in front a dozen guys might have seen the whole play even in the dark.”
Durand spent the night strengthening the web he had spun to destroy his enemy. He passed to and fro among those who had been arrested in the raid and he arranged the testimony of some of them to suit his case. More than one of the men caught in the dragnet of the police was willing to see the affray from the proper angle in exchange for protection from prosecution.
After breakfast Durand went to the Tombs, where Clay had been transferred at daybreak.
“You needn’t bring the fellow here,” he told the warden. “I’ll go right to his cage and see him. I wantta have a talk with him.”
MR. LINDSAY RECEIVES
Between two guards Clay climbed the iron steps to an upper tier of cages at the Tombs. He was put into a cell which held two beds, one above the other, as in the cabin of an ocean liner. By the side of the bunks was a narrow space just long enough for a man to take two steps in the same direction.
An unshaven head was lifted in the lower bunk to see why the sleep of its owner was being disturbed.
“I’ve brought you a cell mate, Shiny,” explained one of the guards. “You want to be civil to him. He’s just croaked a friend of yours.”