“Of course, the truth of the matter is that there are probably tens of thousands of such positions, but to be conservative I will assume that there are only one thousand, and reducing it still further to almost an absurdity, I will figure that only ten per cent of those reply to my advertisement. In other words, at the lowest possible estimate I should have one hundred replies on the first day. I knew it was foolish to run it for three days, but the fellow insisted that that was the proper way to do, as I got a lower rate.
“By taking it for three days, however, it doesn’t seem right to make so many busy men waste their time answering the ad when I shall doubtless find a satisfactory position the first day.”
That night Jimmy attended a show, and treated himself to a lonely dinner afterward. He should have liked very much to have looked up some of his friends. A telephone call would have brought invitations to dinner and a pleasant evening with convivial companions, but he had mapped his course and he was determined to stick to it to the end.
“There will be plenty of time,” he thought, “for amusement after I have gotten a good grasp of my new duties.” Jimmy elected to walk from the theater to his hotel, and as he was turning the corner from Randolph into La Salle a young man jostled him. An instant later the stranger was upon his knees, his wrist doubled suddenly backward and very close to the breaking-point.
“Wot t’ hell yuh doin’?” he screamed.
“Pardon me,” replied Jimmy: “you got your hand in the wrong pocket. I suppose you meant to put it in your own, but you didn’t.”
“Aw, g’wan; lemme go,” pleaded the stranger. “I didn’t get nuthin’— you ain’t got the goods on me.”
Now, such a tableau as Jimmy and his new acquaintance formed cannot be staged at the corner of Randolph and La Salle beneath an arc light, even at midnight, without attracting attention. And so it was that before Jimmy realized it a dozen curious pedestrians were approaching them from different directions, and a burly blue-coated figure was shouldering his way forward.
Jimmy had permitted his captive to rise, but he still held tightly to his wrist as the officer confronted them. He took one look at Jimmy’s companion, and then grabbed him roughly by the arm. “So, it’s you again, is it?” he growled.
“I ain’t done nuthin’,” muttered the man.
The officer looked inquiringly at Jimmy.
“What’s all the excitement about?” asked the latter. “My friend and I have done nothing.”
“Your fri’nd and you?” replied the policeman. “He ain’t no fri’nd o’ yours, or yez wouldn’t be sayin’ so.”
“Well, I’ll admit,” replied Jimmy, “that possibly I haven’t known him long enough to presume to claim any close friendship, but there’s no telling what time may develop.”