“Whew!” says I. “Well, that’s some quick shift. Then you ain’t goin’ to linger round with a busted heart?”
“Not much!” says Ira. “Guess I’ve played fool about long enough. I’m goin’ home.”
“That’s gen’rally a safe bet too,” says I. “But how about buildin’ that boat for Mr. Robert?”
“I’ll build it,” says he; “that is, soon as I can fix it up with Maggie.”
“Then it’s a cinch,” says I; “for you look to me, Ira, like one of the kind that can come back strong.”
So, you see, I had somethin’ definite to report next mornin’.
“He will, eh? Bully!” says Mr. Robert. “But why couldn’t he have said as much to me yesterday? What was the trouble?”
“Case of moth chasin’,” says I, “from the kerosene circuit to the white lights. But, say, I didn’t know before that Broadway had so many recruitin’ stations. They ought to put Boothbay Harbor on the map for this.”
TORCHY BUGS THE SYSTEM
Guess I ain’t mentioned Mortimer before. Didn’t seem hardly worth while. You know—there are parties like that, too triflin’ to do any beefin’ about. But, honest, for awhile there first off this young shrimp that was just makin’ his debut as one of Miller’s subslaves in the bondroom did get on my nerves more or less. He’s a slim, fine-haired, fair-lookin’ young gent, with quick, nervous ways and a habit of holdin’ his chin well up. No boob, you understand. He was a live one, all right.
And it wa’n’t his havin’ his monogram embroidered on his shirt sleeves or his wearin’ a walkin’ stick down to work that got me sore. But you don’t look for the raw rebuff from one of these twelve-dollar file jugglers. That’s what he slips me, though, and me only tryin’ to put across the cheery greetin’!
“Well, Percy,” says I, seein’ him wanderin’ around lonesome durin’ lunch hour, “is it you for the Folies today, or are you takin’ a chance on one of them new automatic grub factories with me?”
“Beg pardon?” says he, givin’ me that frigid, distant look.
“Ah, can the hauteur!” says I. “We’re on the same payroll. Maybe you didn’t notice me before, though. Well, I’m the guardian of the gate, and I’m offerin’ to tow you to a new sandwich works that’s quite popular with the staff.”
“Thanks,” says he. “I am lunching at my club.” And with that he does a careless heel-spin, leavin’ me stunned and gawpin’.
“Slap!” thinks I. “You will go doin’ the little ray of sunshine act, will you? Lunchin’ at his club! Now there’s a classy comeback for you! Guess I’ll spring that myself sometime. Score up for Percy!”
But I wa’n’t closin’ the incident at that, and, while in my position it wouldn’t have been hardly the thing for me to get out the war club and camp on his trail,—him only a four-flushin’ bond clerk,—I was holdin’ myself ready for the next openin’. It comes only a few mornin’s later when he strolls in casual about nine-thirty and starts to pike by into the cloakroom. But I had my toe against the brass gate.