Order Scans & Digital Reproductions

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datatime: 2022-09-25 17:17:08 Author:ugcZwCqd

"I could tell them who shot Steelgrave," I said. "Because I know who didn't. They might believe me."

"Blood money," I said quietly. "Your own brother. And you set him up so they could kill him. A thousand dollars blood money. I hope you'll be happy with it."

"Amigo, are you all right?"

"A cheap shyster," I said. "Well, what would you expect. I don't have any brothers or sisters to sell out. So I sell out my clients."

She stopped dead, frozen in a kind of horror. I started to tear the pictures up into strips. I grinned at her.

"Leila told me she told him," I said. "If necessary Leila would tell the world she told him. Just as she would tell the world she killed Steelgrave-if that was the only way out. Leila is a sort of free-and-easy Hollywood babe that doesn't have very good morals. But when it comes to bedrock guts-she has what it takes. She's not the icepick type. And she's not the blood-money type."

I was still holding the packet of photos. I struck a match and dropped the negative into the ash tray and watched it flare up.

"Blood money," I said quietly. "Your own brother. And you set him up so they could kill him. A thousand dollars blood money. I hope you'll be happy with it."

"One thing I regret," I said. "Not seeing your meeting back in Manhattan, Kansas, with dear old Mom. Not seeing the fight over how to split that grand. I bet that would be something to watch."

"Blood money," I said quietly. "Your own brother. And you set him up so they could kill him. A thousand dollars blood money. I hope you'll be happy with it."

"Who could prove it?" she half squealed. "Who's alive to prove it? You? Who are you? A cheap shyster, a nobody." She went off into a shrill peal of laughter. "Why even twenty dollars buys you."

"Leila told him," she said in a faraway voice.

"Leila told me she told him," I said. "If necessary Leila would tell the world she told him. Just as she would tell the world she killed Steelgrave-if that was the only way out. Leila is a sort of free-and-easy Hollywood babe that doesn't have very good morals. But when it comes to bedrock guts-she has what it takes. She's not the icepick type. And she's not the blood-money type."

There was a sound in the background. I swung around and saw the door click shut. I was alone in the room.

She stood rigid and glaring. I finished my tearing-up job and lit the scraps of paper in the tray.

"Leila told him," she said in a faraway voice.

She stood rigid and glaring. I finished my tearing-up job and lit the scraps of paper in the tray.

The color flowed away from her face. and left her as pale as ice. Her mouth quivered, then tightened up hard into a little knot. She pushed her chair back and leaned forward to get up.

"Blood money," I said quietly. "Your own brother. And you set him up so they could kill him. A thousand dollars blood money. I hope you'll be happy with it."

"I never thought you were a crook," she said with dignity.

The small head jerked up. The light glinted on the glasses. There were no eyes behind them.

"You had one thing to sell," I said. "You knew where Orrin was. To Steelgrave that information was worth a grand. Easy. It's a question of connecting up evidence. You wouldn't understand. Steelgrave went down there and killed him. He paid you the money for the address."

Her mouth fell open and she looked ugly. She closed her lips and pressed them together. It was a tight hard little face that I was looking at.

The small head jerked up. The light glinted on the glasses. There were no eyes behind them.

She stood away from the chair and took a couple of steps backward. Then suddenly she giggled.

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