Then one day McGivney sent an automobile, and Peter was brought to Guffey’s office, and a new plan was unfolded to him. They had arrested another bunch of “wobblies” in the neighboring city of Eldorado, and Peter was wanted there to repeat his testimony. It happened that he knew one of the accused men, and that would be sufficient to get his testimony in—his prize stuff about the burning barns and the phosphorus bombs. He would be taken care of just as thoroughly by the district attorney’s office of Eldorado County; or better yet, Guffey would write to his friend Steve Ellman, who did the detective work for the Home and Fireside Association, the big business organization of that city.
Peter hemmed and hawed. This was a pretty hard and dangerous kind of work, it really played the devil with a man’s nerves, sitting up there in the hotel room all day, with nothing to do but smoke cigarettes and imagine the “wobblies” throwing bombs at you. Also, it wouldn’t last very long; it ought to be better paid. Guffey answered that Peter needn’t worry about the job’s lasting; if he cared to give this testimony, he might have a joy ride from one end of the country to the other, and everywhere he would live on the fat of the land, and be a hero in the newspapers.
But still Peter hemmed and hawed. He had learned from the American City “Times” how valuable a witness he was, and he ventured to demand his price, even from the terrible Guffey; he stuck it out, in spite of Guffey’s frowns, and the upshot was that Guffey said, All right, if Peter would take the trip he might have seventy-five dollars a week and expenses, and Guffey would guarantee to keep him busy for not less than six months.
So Peter went to Eldorado, and helped to send eleven men to the penitentiary for periods varying from three to fourteen years. Then he went to Flagland, and testified in three different trials, and added seven more scalps to his belt. By this time he got to realize that the worst the Reds could do was to make faces at him and show the teeth of trapped rats. He learned to take his profession more easily, and would sometimes venture to go out for an evening’s pleasure without his guards. When he was hidden in the country he would take long walks. regardless of the thousands of blood-thirsty Reds on his trail.
It was while Peter was testifying in Flagland that a magic word was flashed from Europe, and the whole city went mad with joy. Everyone, from babies to old men, turned out on the streets and waved flags and banged tin cans and shouted for peace with victory. When it was learned that the newspapers had fooled them, they waited three days, and then turned out and went thru the same performance again. Peter was a bit worried at first, for fear the coming of peace might end his job of saving the country; but presently he realized that there was no need for concern, the smashing of the Reds was going on just the same.