Paid To Die
by Norman A. Daniels
Sergeant O'Hara of the jewelry squad was an invisible part of the
shadows of a darkened doorway across the street from the Clayton
Diamond Co. Early autumn evenings gave him the chance to hide in
darkness while the store was still open for business.
O'Hara had been a cop for fifteen years, but he was as slender and
supple as a freshman on a college scrub team. He glanced at his wrist
watch. It was time for Detective Hal King to report. King came, two
minutes later, and casually stepped into the deep doorway.
"Everything quiet?" he asked.
"So far," O'Hara grunted. "But these crooks don't strike until just
before closing time. Every member of the squad is watching some
jewelry store or other. With seven stick-ups in two weeks, and no
clues, it's about all we can do. You eat yet?"
King shook his head. "I'm going down to Nick's. Be back in fifteen
O'Hara nodded and watched King hurry down the street. Nice
kid—O'Hara enjoyed training him. Then O'Hara's right hand darted
toward his hip pocket and closed around the butt of his service
pistol. A car had slowed up as it passed the jewelry store. Someone
was casing the joint. The car kept on going, took the next corner and
reappeared, three minutes later. As it slid to a stop in front of the
store, O'Hara tensed for the dash that would take him into fast action.
He watched the men sprint across the sidewalk and vanish into the
store. Each man wore a bandage around his head so that his entire face
was covered. The gang that had robbed seven other jewelry stores in the
neighborhood always wore these masks.
O'Hara crossed the street, slipped up behind the car, suddenly
yanked the door open and used the butt of his gun to dispatch this
driver. He had to slug him twice before the crook passed out, but as
he slumped forward his chest hit the horn button and the siren began a
O'Hara raced around the car. Two men were emerging from the jewelry
store—men with their faces swathed in bandages. Each held a gun!
O'Hara's weapon crashed down and one of the men went down on his
knees, clawing at his shoulder. The other darted back into the store
and tried to close the door. O'Hara hit it before the bolt could be
rammed home. He knocked the bandit aside, took a swipe at him with his
gun and drove him back. Near the big safe, it's doors still wide open,
lay a clerk—shot through the head. On the floor, two men were
struggling while a third maneuvered, trying to get in a shot. O'Hara
recognized one of the fighters. It was Paul Clayton—the owner of the
The third bandit looked up, saw O'Hara coming and tried to stop him
with a slug. It fanned O'Hara's ear, but he estimated that he was
traveling almost as fast as the bullet. He struck the third bandit,
bowled him over and drew back his fist to administer a knockout blow.
Somewhere in his reeling mind, he wondered what had become of
His short hook jolted the bandit's head back, but didn't knock him
out. O'Hara hastily transferred his gun to his left hand, drew back
his right and got set to knock this crook into unconsciousness. There
was a shot behind him! Something that felt like a ton weight slammed
against his skull. The store and the men in it began spinning crazily.
O'Hara slumped forward!
The thug he'd knocked down and was now straddling gave a convulsive
heave and threw O'Hara off. The detective sergeant rolled over on the
floor. His eyes were open, but they were glazed; his wits numbed.
Slowly some semblance of order fought back to his brain. He could see
things now. Paul Clayton, who owned the store, was on his feet,
battling savagely to protect his property. His fingers seized the
bandages covering the face of one bandit and with a savage yank he
pulled away the protecting gauze. It came off in such a manner as to
indicate that the gauze was really clamped around the head instead of
being wound around it.
There was a shot! Clayton stumbled forward, clawed at the edge of a
counter and then slowly sank to the floor. Two of the crooks were busy
scooping up gems and tossing them into small sacks. From the front of
the store came a terse warning. Help was on its way.
The thug whose face was now revealed, had his back turned to O'Hara
every moment. He seemed to be in command of the others and he gestured
angrily. One of the bandits stepped close to Clayton, pointed his gun
down and got set to pull the trigger and blast out of existence the one
person who had seen the features of the unmasked crook.
O'Hara summoned all his will power; all his shattered strength. He
lifted his service pistol and fired. The slug smashed through the
killer's wrist. The gun fell to the floor and the man screamed in
pain. The thugs hesitated, torn between a desire to finish off the one
man who might tell who comprised the gang, and the detective who had
almost broken up the game. But there was no time. They'd be trapped
unless they fled! One man fired a shot at O'Hara, but he was in a hurry
and the bullet only smacked into the floor.
O'Hara pulled himself to his feet and staggered toward the door. He
saw now that he had made one serious mistake in allowing the thug at
the front of the store to remain conscious. He had slipped out to the
car and pushed aside the regular driver who slumbered peacefully under
the effects of O'Hara's gun butt. When the others raced out, the car
was already in motion. A harness cop fired six slugs after it, but
they were ineffectual.
O'Hara rushed over to where Clayton lay. He found that the bullet
had plowed through his abdomen, but he wasn't dead. O'Hara howled for
an ambulance and while he waited for it to arrive, Inspector Grogan
"So they knocked off another one, sergeant," he grumbled. "And
there's a murder connected with this job too—possibly two murders."
"One of those mugs is carrying around a slug of mine," O'Hara said.
"But I couldn't tackle five of them and hope to win."
Two men in gray uniforms elbowed their way into the store. They
were private guards of the Ames Agency. Ames himself, slender,
gray-haired and affecting ribboned nose glasses, followed on their
"So there is another loss," he snapped. "My men don't come on duty
until these stores close, therefore it is not our fault this happened.
I believe, Inspector Grogan, that your men have failed miserably. And
the commissioner wants to put my organization out of business by
accusing us of being unfit to guard wealth. I'm laughing, inspector."
O'Hara looked around the store. There were no signs of Detective
King. Where had the young squirt gone?
Then an ambulance rolled up. O'Hara made his way to the side of the
wounded man, watched the examination and nodded in approval when the
surgeon indicated that Clayton might live.
"I'm going to the hospital," he told Inspector Grogan. "Clayton
took a look at the face of one mug, and he may be able to identify it.
Mostly though, I'm going to watch him just in case that mob decides he
ought to be silenced. If you find Detective King, send him to the
hospital, will you?"
O'Hara had his gun in his hand as he escorted the stretcher to the
ambulance and kept it exposed during the wild ride. After Clayton had
been rolled into an emergency operating room, O'Hara waited outside
"He'll live and probably regain consciousness within five or six
hours," O'Hara was informed "We'll take him to the left wing, top
For three hours O'Hara occupied a chair beside the wounded man's
bed. It was after midnight. The nurse had gone for her authorized rest
period and O'Hara was alone. Clayton mumbled something, but it was
unintelligible. Then there was a soft tap on the door. O'Hara grabbed
the gun Iying on the medicine table, thumbed back the trigger and
stepped to the door.
"It's Hal King," the visitor said. "I've got important dope for
It did sound like King's voice. O'Hara unlocked the door. It was
flung back with such force that he found himself reeling into a
corner. One man, his face swathed in the bandages affected by the gang
of killers, swept toward him. Before he could shoot, O'Hara felt a gun
butt smash down on his skull. He fell to his knees. Again the gun came
down. Dimly O'Hara saw the killer step over to the bed, raise a knife
and bring it down. Clayton's difficult breathing ceased abruptly. The
bandaged killer glanced at O'Hara and then fled through the door.
O'Hara was on his feet half a minute later. He reeled into the
corridor, yelled for a doctor and then he had a glimpse of the killer
heading toward the stairway.
O'Hara went after him, as fast as he could make his shaking legs
travel. At the stairway he paused. He glanced at the banister of the
one flight leading to the roof. There was a smear of fresh blood on
it; blood that had spurted from Clayton's knife wound. The killer had
taken refuge on the sun roof.
O'Hara climbed the stairs warily, his gun ready for instant action.
He poked his head around the doorway on the roof, saw nothing and
darted over to the protection of a thick chimney.
There was a shot and the bullet sent a shower of brick dust into
his face. O'Hara crouched, saw the man with the bandaged face a moment
later and snapped a slug at him. He missed for the killer was moving
very fast. He seemed to be heading for the edge of the huge roof.
O'Hara went after him, ducking around chairs and beds, waiting for a
chance to get home a bullet that would stop the murderer. Such a
chance didn't come. For a second the killer vanished from sight behind
a row of potted ferns. Then there was a wild shriek! O'Hara skidded to
a halt. The killer was going over the edge of the roof, leaping to a
certain doom. O'Hara wasn't sure whether he tripped or had
deliberately thrown himself over rather than be captured.
A second later O'Hara heard the thud as the body hit the court
below. He whirled, raced back to the stairway and went down the steps
three at a time. He found the floor bustling with activity. A surgeon
emerged from Clayton's room and O'Hara grabbed his arm.
"Into the elevator. Another case for you, although I think the
medical examiner is the real guy who should be here. How's Clayton?"
"Dead—stone dead. But what's this about another—"
"The guy who knifed Clayton jumped off the roof. Come on—more
They found two ambulance orderlies kneeling beside the killer's
body. The surgeon made only a very brief examination.
"Of course he's dead! Every bone in his body is broken."
O'Hara turned the body over, began peeling off the bandage until he
found it was held in place by two clasps so that he could open it,
like a book. When he removed it, O'Hara gasped.
Detective Hal King's face looked up at him!
Oddly enough it wasn't marked, but O'Hara saw a lump on King's head
and some dried blood matting his hair. He glanced inside the cleverly
constructed bandage-mask and frowned.
"Call the medical examiner and headquarters, will you, doc?" he
asked. "I've got work to do."
O'Hara commandeered an ambulance and encouraged the driver to push
his foot to the floor boards. In the neighborhood of Clayton's Jewelry
Store, O'Hara got out and walked briskly down the street to a lunch
cart run by a Greek known only by the name of Nick. He sat down at the
counter and ordered coffee.
"How's it, sergeant?" Nick was beefy and thick-necked.
"Tricks," O'Hara grumbled, "are not so hot. There was another
jewelry store knocked over. Say—you seen anything of my buddy, Hal
King? He was coming down here for chow?"
Nick shrugged his big shoulders. "No seen him, sergeant. Ain't been
in tonight. Say, how about some nice fresh mushrooms on toast, huh?"
O'Hara didn't feel much like eating and shook his head. He drank a
mouthful of coffee, put fifteen cents on the counter, despite Nick's
protests, and headed for the door. He walked along the sidewalk,
hardly aware of what he was doing. Was Hal King a crook, a
double-crosser posing as a cop by day and acting the part of killer by
night? Somehow, O'Hara felt that King was not mixed up in that mob.
But how was he going to prove King was innocent? The only possible way
was to round up the killer gang, and eighteen thousand policemen
hadn't been able to do that. He sought a quiet bench in a small park
and sat down to think. King had started for Nick the Greek's. He hadn't
reached the lunch cart. Therefore he must have been taken prisoner on
his way. But how? King wouldn't meekly submit to capture, and the
streets at that hour had been crowded.
O'Hara's eyes narrowed. He hurried back to the street, hailed a cab
and went to the hospital. The medical examiner had performed an
autopsy on Hal King's body. O'Hara scanned the report; his eyes went
There was no hesitation now. He knew just where this investigation
Nick the Greek was behind his counter, peeling potatoes. He looked
up and flushed as O'Hara strode in.
"Ha!" his thick lips bared in a smile. "My food is good, eh? You
are hungry this time. How's about a nice steak, eh, sergeant?"
"I think," O'Hara said quietly, "I'll have those mushrooms you were
talking about. They're hard to get, Nick."
Nick bustled about preparing the dish. "Sure, sure! This time of
year, not so many on the market. But I get 'em all right."
"Detective King used to like mushrooms, Nick. He'd walk a dozen
blocks out of his way to get 'em."
Nick turned around. "Yeah—poor guy, One of my best customers,
"How'd you know he was dead, Nick? The papers haven't carried the
story, yet. Who told you? The truth, now—you lied the last time I was
in here. King did have dinner—you served him."
Nick's crimson complexion faded to a jade-green hue. Suddenly he
seized a long-bladed butcher knife and made a wild lunge across the
counter. O'Hara ducked the blow, shot one big hand out and seized
Nick's wrist. He turned it expertly; the knife fell to the floor. Then
he grimly brought up his service pistol, which had been concealed in
his lap. Nick backed away, raised his hands as high as he could reach
and shivered violently.
"I know nothing!" he shrilled. "Nothing, sergeant. Maybe King was
here. I am busy man. Sometimes I forget."
"Who else was in here with him?" O'Hara barked. He walked around
behind the counter and buried the muzzle of his gun in Nick's
trembling paunch. "Speak up, you Iying rat. Who was in here with him?"
"I don't remember," Nick yelled. "I tell the truth. I do not even
remember that he was in here,"
O'Hara shrugged. "O. K., Nick. Get your hat and coat. We're going
down to headquarters where I can work over you without rushing things.
You're under arrest for aiding and abetting a murder. Make a grab for
one of those pig stickers, and I'll plow you under with lead!"
"Wait a minute, copper," a harsh voice snarled. "Drop that roscoe
and turn around—real slow. Nick, take the gun away from him. Watch
Nick wrested the gun from O'Hara's fist. The big detective wheeled
carefully. There were two men in the lunch cart. Both had guns held
low so anyone from the street wouldn't see them. The two thugs
motioned O'Hara to walk out of the lunch cart.
At the door a gun was drilled into his spine. The killer had only
to squeeze the trigger, an act that would take far less time than
O'Hara's movements in getting clear.
"Beat it, copper!" one of the thugs snarled. "There's a car right
at the curb. Climb in and one peep outta y'u means y'ur finish."
O'Hara opened the door of the diner. There were a few pedestrians
walking along the street. None of them seemed to have been attracted
by any disturbance.
O'Hara climbed into the car and the two thugs sat on either side of
him. The driver had the motor purring and the car slid away smoothly,
"Better put his lights out," the thug on his right suggested with a
grin of anticipation. "Not that it makes much difference if he knows
where we're taking him, but y'u never can tell."
O'Hara braced himself for the blow. It came, with murderous
violence down on his already tortured skull. He rolled back with it
expertly. A galaxy of spinning lights flashed before his eyes. O'Hara
slumped, slid off the seat and landed on the floor. One of the thugs
laughed raucously and kicked him.
But O'Hara wasn't out. The full force of the blow had been tempered
by his act of moving with it. He was dizzy, weak as a two-hour-old
pup, but he knew what was going on.
The car headed east, toward the river, passing along squalid
streets that were silent, now, for it was early morning. Once a thug
leaned down and slapped O'Hara across the face. When he drew no
response, he settled back contentedly.
"When I slug 'em, they stay cold," he boasted. "What do y'u suppose
the boss will do with this copper? Wait—I know! He'll get what a
couple of other mugs did—a foot bath in plaster of Paris and then a
real bath on the bottom of the river. Not a bad way to get rid of him,
either. The boss has plenty of brains,"
When the car finally drew up before a ramshackle old house, O'Hara
risked a quick glance in order to get his bearings. He was dragged out
of the car, gripped by his arms and lugged over a cement walk, up a
few steps and into a house. He was flung into a chair, and someone
threw a glass of cold water in his face.
O'Hara opened his eyes, groaned and looked around through
half-closed eyes. He seemed badly affected by the blow on his head.
Someone laughed harshly. Ten minutes went by and O'Hara made no move.
He pretended to lapse back into unconsciousness.
Tires grated on the driveway outside. A door opened and one man
entered. He was well dressed and his face was covered by the usual
bandage-mask. Cold eyes looked O'Hara over.
"You didn't get him any too soon," he said. "I'd still like to know
how he got wise to Nick. This copper is a bad one, I'm glad we're able
to dispose of him—and do it right. Throw him into the back room. Tie
him up first and do a good job of it, then come back here. We've a job
for the morning."
O'Hara was pulled off the chair, shoved against a wall and two of
the men rapidly wound him with wire. He was tripped, seized by the
legs and dragged across the floor to a small room. The door closed on
O'Hara waited two minutes to be certain no one lingered in the
darkness, and then he rolled over until he struck the wall. He hoisted
himself into a sitting position, found that while his arms were pinned
to his sides with wire, he could still move them at the wrists. By some
agonizing work he managed to wangle a package of matches from his
pocket. He scraped one, held it away from his side and took a quick
look around the room. It was some kind of supplies' closet for the
shelves were lined with packages and cans of food.
"A hide-out," he told himself, "in case things went sour."
But what to do about it? There were no windows in the room and the
only door led back to where the thugs were in conference. O'Hara was
just as much a prisoner as a man in the dankest hole of Alcatraz.
Worse off, too, because a seemingly inescapable doom waited for him. He
recalled the talk of a foot bath in plaster of Paris. They'd weight
him down, drop him beneath one of the river piers, and he'd sink to
the bottom and stay there until his flesh rotted and his bones parted
away from the weight around his feet. He lit another match and
shivered as he saw a big barrel labeled "Plaster of Paris" in one
He slid to the floor again, rolled over to the barrel and hoisted
himself up once more. He moved the lid of the barrel aside and saw
that it was three-quarters full of the white powder. Then, for fifteen
minutes, O'Hara was a busy man. His movements were slow, and awkward,
and as quiet as he could make them. His muscles ached, his arms were
swollen as he pressed against the wire bonds. Finally he was done, and
with a sigh, he relaxed to the door again. He rested for about two
minutes and then rolled over until he was near the door. Muffled
voices came from beneath it.
"Here are your final orders," the man who apparently was the leader
spoke in a reedy voice, surely disguised. "You men will assume your
regular posts, replacing the others now on duty. This is to be our
last trick and our biggest so be on your toes. In the morning Cardy's,
the largest jewelry house in the city, will open its doors. Give them
time enough to get the safe open and then go to it. If you have to use
guns-go ahead. They'll never get us. Everything is set for a getaway.
We'll be a mile in the sky before the cops even find out there was a
"But they'll see our faces," someone protested. "We can't put on
them bandage-masks, can we?"
The leader of the murder group seemed to be thinking awhile. "No,
you're right. Masks wouldn't conceal our identities. So here is the
set-up. There will be only three men reporting to the store that
early. They'll turn off the burglar alarms first and then go to the
safe. Nail them there! Use knives if you can because they'll be
quieter, but those three men must be dead when you leave. Be sure of
that! No fiasco like that which happened at Clayton's place. If we
hadn't nailed O'Hara, we'd all be in cells, right now. Which reminds
me—there isn't much time. Get him out here."
O'Hara rolled back a ways and started to groan. When the door
opened, he turned his head toward it, All the men wore their bandage.
masks now. O'Hara was dragged into the other room and propped in a big
chair. He kept lolling sideways, helplessly.
The leader of the gang eyed O'Hara from the slits in his mask and
then issued terse orders. The wire bonds were removed, but two men
stepped beside him with drawn guns.
Two more brought a wide bucket made of wood. They placed this near
O'Hara's feet. One of them laughed harshly.
"O. K., copper, put the tootsies into this barrel."
O'Hara said nothing. There wasn't a single chance of his getting
free. Those two guns would blast his life out before he could even get
started. His face was covered with sweat and dried blood. The killers
stopped talking and worked busily. Two of them brought in two pails of
the white plaster of Paris and dumped the powder around O'Hara's feet.
Then they poured water into the bucket and stirred it. When the soft,
gluey stuff was halfway up his legs, they stepped back.
"It takes just twenty minutes for it to harden, boss," one man told
the leader. "I timed it with Dopey—the stoolie who was set to sing,"
The minutes crawled by. Tension was lessened now that O'Hara was
firmly embedded in the slowly hardening plaster of Paris. The thugs
turned to their guns, cleaning and reloading them for the final,
murderous stick-up that would take place at nine in the morning. The
leader of the group stepped up to O'Hara and prodded the plaster of
"Five minutes more," he said grimly, "and we'll put you under,
O'Hara still maintained a silence.
The minutes went by and the gang broke into action. O'Hara was
lifted and carried by three of the thugs out of the house, along a
deserted pier and then seated on the edge of it with his
plaster-of-Paris-incased feet dangling over the side.
Then the killers gave O'Hara a violent shove. His weighted legs
straightened him out and he hit the water feet first. He struck the
bottom of the harbor and his chest began to ache as he held his
breath. He fumbled around the muddy bottom, found a piece of debris
and attacked the weight about his feet. He had about thirty seconds
more to succeed. He had to succeed! Failure meant the death of three
innocent people, the looting of a jewelry store and the escape of the
A big section of the plaster of Paris came free, releasing one leg.
The other crumbled under his attack, and O'Hara shot to the surface.
He sucked in air, relieving his aching lungs. He was under the pier
and well hidden from sight. He shed his coat, rammed it between two
supports and then swam slowly and quietly to a ladder near the end of
At nine the next morning, three members of the staff of Cardy's
exclusive gem store cut off the burglar-alarm system, went over to the
safe and opened it. As the big door swung wide, four men barged into
the store. They wore the gray uniforms of the Ames' agency. The clerks,
gathered around the safe, didn't seem to notice the presence of the
intruders. Guns appeared! One of the men snapped a command.
"Stay right where you are, y'u guys. One move and you get drilled.
Lift your mitts—high!"
Another whispered to his mates, "Shall we let 'em have it?"
"Not yet," the man at his right answered. "We don't want to start
the fireworks until we've got the stuff and are ready to scram."
The thugs moved toward the safe, guns ready. If anyone passing by,
outside, happened to look in, they would hardly realize this was a
stick-up. The uniformed guards of the Ames Agency were well-known in
this vicinity. It would seem as though they were merely guarding the
transfer of gems to the show cases.
"All set?" one of the crooks asked. "Y'u three guys get into that
safe and grab everything loose. I'll keep my gun on these three
stooges. If they move, I'll blow 'em apart."
Three of the thugs stepped into the spacious safe and began opening
velvet-lined drawers. They dumped the contents into their sacks and
gloated over the amount of the loot. Not one noticed that the great
door was slowly closing on them.
The thug who held a gun on the clerks had his back turned toward
the safe, but as the great door shut, it made a muffled sound. He
turned his head and then wheeled around, his gun spitting.
Sergeant O'Hara was ready for that! So were the three clerks. The
lone member of the gang managed to pull the trigger twice before he
was riddled with slugs and dropped to the floor.
Outside the store, the man at the wheel of the killer's car
shuddered and prepared to make a quick getaway. Someone stood just
beside him and a gun was shoved at his face.
"Going some place, heel? No, I don't think so. Just sit like you
Sirens shrieked down the street. Three cars, packed with men from
the riot squad, took up positions around the store. The police
commissioner's sedan rolled up and he hopped out.
O'Hara saluted him respectfully. "Three of them are in the safe,
sir. The men you assigned to replace the clerks did a swell job."
"Great work, O'Hara," the commissioner approved, "but I've a bit of
bad news for you. Ames—head of this phony detective agency, can't be
found. Looks as though he was tipped off, somehow, and got clear."
O'Hara grinned. "Step this way, sir, Have a look behind that
The commissioner looked and gasped. Ames was there—tied up
efficiently and with a gag between his lips. O'Hara removed it.
"I nailed him early this morning, sir," he explained. "I thought he
might get wise and slip away, so I brought him down here to watch the
fireworks. It's murder he's wanted for, sir."
"I demand an explanation," Ames managed when he had wetted his
lips. "This ex-detective took me prisoner and brought me here. I know
nothing of what has happened. It's kidnaping—"
"Shut up!" O'Hara growled, "or I'll put the gag back. You're
responsible for this. You had Detective King murdered because you
wanted to make the police look like fools and double-crossers. You
knew the commissioner was trying to stop agencies like yours from
functioning. Your armed guards are ex-cons, crooks and murderers. You
wouldn't even let them be fingerprinted. Soon as you realized this
racket was on its way out, you started a wave of robberies. The loot
runs over a million, but you'll tell where it is."
"I killed King?" Ames made a wry face. "You're crazy!"
"King went to get his dinner while I watched the store you knocked
over later on. Nick the Greek was in your pay. King ate his dinner and
some of your men jumped him so he wouldn't interfere with the
stick-up. Then, when Clayton had to be murdered, you smuggled King to
the roof of the hospital. One of your men impersonated King and got
into the sick room. He killed Clayton, but he didn't kill me even
though he had the chance. That was so I'd follow him. He went on the
roof, disappeared behind some obstruction and another of your playboys
threw King off the edge. Don't bother to deny it. They slugged him
back in Nick's joint, broke his scalp so that he bled. But the blood
was dry before you put one of those bandage-masks over his head. If
that wound had been caused by his fall, the bandages would have been
bloody. They weren't!
"Nick denied seeing King, too, and I knew he lied. The autopsy
showed that King had eaten mushrooms, and Nick was the only restaurant
owner that had any. Your men snatched me at Nick's place. Wouldn't you
like to know just how I got out of the foot bath of plaster of Paris,
Ames lowered his gaze. He knew now that he was defeated. O'Hara
grinned down at him.
"That was a nice hide-out you fixed up—even to getting Nick the
Greek to stock it with food. Nick thought he'd have to hide out too so
he put plenty of stuff in that supply room. Part of it consisted of
two bags of flour. I opened one of them and poured half of it into the
plaster-of-Paris barrel. Your hoods scooped the stuff out in pails and
half of what they took was flour. It weakened the plaster of Paris
without preventing it from setting on the surface. Underneath, it was
as soft as mush."
O'Hara sighed and leaned against the counter. "Boy, am I tired." He
"Don't blame you," the commissioner said. "I'll have a lieutenant's
badge ready for you in a few days. Too bad about King. I'd have given
anything to have saved him."
O'Hara's eyes were hard. "Don't worry about him, sir. He'll be all
right now with Ames and his mob slated to pay their debts. Anyway,
cops expect to die, don't they? They get paid to die. Why King was
making sixty bucks a week just for the privilege."