Hammett was a big fellow, and he strode up to Peter and grabbed one of Peter’s arms, and twisted it around behind Peter’s back and up between Peter’s shoulders. When Peter started to scream, Hammett clapped his other hand over his mouth, and so Peter knew that it was all up. He could not hold on to money at that cost. When McGivney asked him, “Will you tell me where it is?” Peter nodded, and tried to answer thru his nose.
So Hammett took his hand from his mouth. “Where is it?” And Peter replied, “In my right shoe.”
Hammett unlaced the shoe and took it off, and pulled out the inside sole, and underneath was a little flat package wrapped in tissue paper, and inside the tissue paper was the thousand dollars that McGivney had given Peter, and also the three hundred dollars which Peter had saved from Nelse Ackerman’s present, and two hundred dollars which he had saved from his salary. Hammett counted the money, and McGivney stuck it into his pocket, and then he commanded Peter to put on his shoe again. Peter obeyed with his trembling fingers, meantime keeping his eye in part on the revolver and in part on the face of the rat.
“W-w-what’s the matter, Mr. McGivney?”
“You’ll find out in time,” was the answer. “Now, you march downstairs, and remember, I’ve got this gun on you, and there’s eight bullets in it, and if you move a finger I’ll put them all into you.”
So Peter and McGivney and Hammett went down in the elevator of the hotel, and out of doors, and into an automobile. Hammett drove, and Peter sat in the rear seat with McGivney, who had the revolver in his coat pocket, his finger always on the trigger and the muzzle always pointed into Peter’s middle. So Peter obeyed all orders promptly, and stopped asking questions because he found he could get no answers.
Meantime he was using his terrified wits on the problem. The best guess he could make was that Guffey had decided to believe Joe Angell’s story instead of Peter’s. But then, why all this gun-play, this movie stuff? Peter gave up in despair; and it was just as well, for what had happened lay entirely beyond the guessing power of Peter’s mind or any other mind.
They went to the office of the secret service department of the Traction Trust, a place where Peter had never been allowed to come hitherto. It was on the fourteenth floor of the Merchant’s Trust Building, and the sign on the door read: “The American City Land & Investment Company. Walk In.” When you walked in, you saw a conventional real estate office, and it was only when you had penetrated several doors that you came to the secret rooms where Guffey and his staff conducted the espionage work of the big business interests of the city.
Peter was hustled into one of these rooms, and there stood Guffey; and the instant Guffey saw him, he bore down upon him, shaking his fist. “You stinking puppy!” he exclaimed. “You miserable little whelp! You dirty, sneaking hound!” He added a number of other descriptive phrases taken from the vocabulary of the kennel.