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- Guy Garrick - 20/43 -
of streets, I believe, in a pretty tough place, even worse than the Old Tavern. I let Dillon get a man in there, but I haven't much hope. He's only a tool of the other whom they call Chief. By the way, Forbes has disappeared. I can't find a trace of him since the raid on the gambling joint."
"Any word from Warrington?" I asked.
"Yes, he's getting along finely," answered Guy mechanically, as if his thoughts were far away from Warrington. "Queer about Forbes," he murmured, then cut himself short. "And, oh," he added, "I forgot to tell you that speaking about Forbes reminds me that Herman has been running out a clew on the Rena Taylor case. He has been all over the country up there, he reports to Dillon, and he says he thinks the car was seen making for Pennsylvania.
"They have a peculiar license law there, you know--at least he says so--that enables one to conceal a car pretty well. Much good that does us."
"Yes," I agreed, "you can always depend on a man like Herman to come along with something like that---"
Just then the "master station" detectaphone connected with the telephone in the garage began to talk and I cut myself short. We seemed now at last about to learn something really important. It was a new voice that said, "Hello!"
"Evidently the Boss has come in without making any noise," remarked Guy. "I certainly heard no one through the other instrument. I fancy he was waiting for it to get dark before coming around. Listen."
It was a long distance call from the man they called Chief. Where he was we had no means of finding out, but we soon found out where he was going.
"Hello, Boss," we heard come out of the detectaphone box.
"Hello, Chief. You surely got us nearly pinched last night. What was the trouble?"
"Oh, nothing much. Somehow or other they must have got on to us. I guess it was when I called up the joint on Forty-eighth Street. Three men surprised me, but fortunately I was ready. If they hadn't stopped at the door before they opened it, they might have got me. I put 'em all out with that gun, though. Say, I want you to help me on a little job that I am planning.
"Yes? Is it a safe one? Don't you think we'd better keep quiet for a little while?"
"But this won't keep quiet. Listen. You know I told you about writing that letter regarding Warrington to Miss Winslow, when I was so sore over the report that he was going to close up the Forty-eighth Street joint, right on top of finding that Rena Taylor had the 'goods' on the Forty-seventh Street place? Well, I was a fool. You said so, and I was,"
"You were--that's right."
"I know it, but I was mad. I hadn't got all I wanted out of those places. Well, anyhow, I want that letter back--that's all. It's bad to have evidence like that lying around. Why, if they ever get a real handwriting expert they might get wise to something from that handwriting, I'm afraid. I must have been crazy to do it that way."
"What became of the letter?"
"She took it to that fellow Garrick and I happen to know that Warrington that night, after leaving Garrick, went to his apartment and put something into the safe he has there. Oh, Warrington has it, all right. What I want to do is to get that letter back while he is laid up near Tuxedo. It isn't much of a safe, I understand. I think a can opener would do the job. We can make the thing look like a regular robbery by a couple of yeggs. Are you on?"
"No, I don't get you, Chief."
"It's too risky."
"Yes. That fellow Garrick is just as likely as not to be nosing around up there. I'd go but for that."
"I know. But suppose we find that he isn't there, that he isn't in the house--has been there and left it. That would be safe enough. You're right. Nothing doing if he's there. We must can him in some way. But, say,--I know how to get in all right without being seen. I'll tell you later. Come on, be a sport. We won't try it if anybody's there. Besides, if we succeed it will help to throw a scare into Warrington."
The man on our end of the telephone appeared to hesitate.
"I'll tell you what I'll do, Chief," he said at length. "I'll meet you at the same place as we met the other day--you know where I mean--some time after twelve. We'll talk it over. You're sure about the letter?"
"As sure as if I'd seen it."
"All right. Now, be there. I won't promise about this Warrington business. We'll talk that over. But I have other things I want to tell you--about this situation here at the garage. I want to know how to act."
"All right. I'll be there. Good-bye."
"So long, Chief."
The conversation stopped. I looked anxiously at Garrick to see how he had taken it.
"And so," he remarked simply, as after a moment's waiting we made sure that the machine had stopped talking, "it appears that our friends, the enemy, are watching us as closely as we are watching them--with the advantage that they know us and we don't know them, except this garage fellow."
Garrick lapsed into silence. I was rapidly turning over in my mind what we had just overheard and trying to plan some way of checkmating their next move.
"Here's a plot hatching to rob Warrington's safe," I exclaimed helplessly.
"Yes," repeated Garrick slowly, "and if we are going to do anything about it, it must be done immediately, before we arouse suspicion and scare them off. Did you hear those footsteps over the detectaphone? That was the Boss going out of the garage. So, they expect me around there, nosing about Warrington's apartment. Well, if I do go there, and then ostentatiously go away again, that will lure them on."
He reached his decision quickly. Grabbing his hat, he led the way out of the Old Tavern and up the street until we came to a drug store with a telephone.
I heard him first talking with Warrington, getting from him the combination of the safe, over long distance. Then he called up his office and asked the boy to meet him at the Grand Central subway station with a package, the location of which he described minutely.
"We'll beat them to it," he remarked joyously, as we started leisurely uptown to meet the boy.
"The Warrington estate owns another large apartment house, besides the one where Warrington has his quarters, on the next street," remarked Garrick, half an hour later, after we had met the boy from his office. "I have arranged that we can get in there and use one of the empty suites."
Garrick had secured two rather good-sized boxes from the boy, and was carrying them rather carefully, as if they contained some very delicate mechanism.
Warrington, we found, occupied a suite in a large apartment on Seventy-second Street, and, as we entered, Garrick stopped and whispered a few words to the hall-boy.
The boy seemed to be more than usually intelligent and had evidently been told over the telephone by Warrington that we were coming. At least we had no trouble, so far.
Warrington's suite was very tastefully furnished for bachelor quarters. In the apartment, Garrick unwrapped one of the packages, and laid it open on the table, while he busied himself opening the safe, using the combination that Warrington had given him.
I waited nervously, for we could not be sure that no one had got ahead of us, already. There was no need for anxiety, however.
"Here's the letter, just as Warrington left it," reported Garrick in a few minutes, with some satisfaction, as he banged the safe door shut and restored things so that it would not look as though the little strong box had been touched.
Meanwhile, I had been looking curiously at the box on the table. It did not seem to be like anything we had ever used before. One end was open, and the lid lifted up on a pair of hinges. I lifted it and looked in. About half way down the box from the open end was a partition which looked almost as if some one had taken the end of the box and had just shoved it in, until it reached the middle.
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