“You found that in your pocket?” demanded the other.
“And you’ve no idea who put it there.”
“N-no, but I think Joe Angell—”
McGivney looked at his watch. “You’ve got twenty minutes yet,” be said.
“You got the dicks?” asked Peter.
“A dozen of them. What’s your idea now?”
Peter stammered out his suggestions. There was a little grocery store just across the street from the entrance to the studio building. Peter would go in there, and pretend to get something to eat, and would watch thru the window, and the moment he saw the right men come in, he would hurry out and signal to McGivney, who would be in a drugstore at the next corner. McGivney must keep out of sight himself, because the “Reds” knew him as one of Guffey’s agents.
It wasn’t necessary to repeat anything twice. McGivney was keyed up and ready for business, and Peter hurried down the street, and stepped into the little grocery store without being observed by anyone. He ordered some crackers and cheese, and seated himself on a box by the window and pretended to eat. But his hands were trembling so that he could hardly get the food into his mouth; and this was just as well, because his mouth was dry with fright, and crackers and cheese are articles of diet not adapted to such a condition.
He kept his eyes glued on the dingy doorway of the old studio building, and presently—hurrah!—he saw McCormick coming down the street! The Irish boy turned into the building, and a couple of minutes later came Gus the sailor, and before another five minutes had passed here came Joe Angell and Henderson. They were walking quickly, absorbed in conversation, and Peter could imagine he heard them talking about those mysterious notes, and who could be the writer, and what the devil could they mean?
Peter was now wild with nervousness; he was afraid somebody in the grocery store would notice him, and he made desperate efforts to eat the crackers and cheese, and scattered the crumbs all over himself and over the floor. Should he wait for Jerry Rudd, or should he take those he had already? He had got up and started for the door, when he saw the last of his victims coming down the street. Jerry was walking slowly, and Peter couldn’t wait until he got inside. A car was passing, and Peter took the chance to slip out and bolt for the drug store. Before he had got half way there McGivney had seen him, and was on the run to the next corner.
Peter waited only long enough to see a couple of automobiles come whirling down the street, packed solid with husky detectives. Then he turned off and hurried down a side street. He managed to get a couple of blocks away, and then his nerves gave way entirely, and he sat down on the curbstone and began to cry—just the way little Jennie had cried when he told her he couldn’t marry her! People stopped to stare at him, and one benevolent old gentleman came up and tapped him on the shoulder and asked what was the trouble. Peter, between his tear-stained fingers, gasped: “My m-m-mother died!” And so they let him alone, and after a while he got up and hurried off again.