“Is Mr. Torrance down yet?” he asked.
“Yes,” replied the girl, “he has been here some time. Do you wish to see him?”
Edith thought that the “No” which he snapped at her was a trifle more emphatic than the circumstances seemed to warrant, nor could she help but notice after he had entered his office the vehement manner in which he slammed the door.
“I wonder what’s eating him,” thought Miss Hudson to herself. “Of course he doesn’t like Jimmy, but why is he so peeved because Jimmy came to work this morning—I don’t quite get it.”
Almost immediately Bince sent for Krovac, and when the latter came and stood before his desk the assistant general manager looked up at him questioningly.
“Well?” he asked.
“Look at my chin,” was Krovac’s reply, “and he damn near killed the other guy.”
“Maybe you’ll have better luck the next time,” growled Bince.
“There ain’t goin’ to be no next time,” asserted Krovac. “I don’t tackle that guy again.”
Bince held out his hand.
“All right,” he said, “you might return the fifty then.”
“Return nothin’,” growled Krovac. “I sure done fifty dollars’ worth last night.”
“Come on,” said Bince, “hand over the fifty.”
“Nothin’ doin’,” said Krovac with an angry snarl. “It might be worth another fifty to you to know that I wasn’t going to tell old man Compton.”
“You damn scoundrel!” exclaimed Bince.
“Don’t go callin’ me names,” admonished Krovac. “A fellow that hires another to croak a man for him for one hundred bucks ain’t got no license to call nobody names.”
Bince realized only too well that he was absolutely in the power of the fellow and immediately his manner changed.
“Come,” he said, “Krovac, there is no use in our quarreling. You can help me and I can help you. There must be some other way to get around this.”
“What are you trying to do?” asked Krovac. “I got enough on you now to send you up, and I don’t mind tellin’ yuh,” he added, “that I had a guy hid down there in the shop where he could watch you drop the envelope behind my machine. I got a witness, yuh understand!”
Mr. Bince did understand, but still he managed to control his temper.
“What of it?” he said. “Nobody would believe your story, but let’s forget that. What we want to do is get rid of Torrance.”
“That isn’t all you want to do,” said Krovac. “There is something else.”
Bince realized that he was compromised as hopelessly already as he could be if the man had even more information.
“Yes,” he said, “there is something beside Torrance’s interference in the shop. He’s interfering with our accounting system and I don’t want it interfered with just now.”
“You mean the pay-roll?” asked Krovac.
“It might be,” said Bince.
“You want them two new guys that are working in the office croaked, too?” asked Krovac.