The Penny Ferry - Rick Boyer

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Authors: Rick Boyer
out anything out of
the ordinary on the first three calls. And probably the last three in
the afternoon, which includes your lab work, Doc. That leaves the
errand for the library involving the lawyer's papers from the North
End. What kind of papers were they, Sam?"
    "Just some papers from a case a long, long way
back. Forget it, Joe, it's old history. It was for the library, uh .
. . archives. That's what they said: archives."
    "Then I think we can rule it all out. It was a
grudge hit, probably from the Mob. When we consider that it must've
taken time to build the bomb and plan the thing, which happened like
clockwork, then I think we can rule it all out."
    "I think so too. But remember, Joe, I used to be
a cop in this town. I still know cops all around here. And state
guys, like you, and some of the Feds even. I got connections and
contacts. I'm gonna keep an ear to the ground, hear? I'll keep
pumpin' these dudes, hear? When I find out who it is I'm going
huntin'."
    We didn't say anything. Sam Bowman didn't seem to me
to be a fellow to argue with. And if he had Popeye along, one would
have to think not only twice, but a third time at least. Then I
noticed that two of the lower cubbyholes in the safe were packed with
stacks of what looked like bills. Legal tender. Coin of the realm.
    "What's all that stuff that looks like money?"
I asked.
    "Money," said Sam. "That why it look
like it."
    " How much is there, Sam? Looks like a bundle,"
said Joe.
    " Twenny thousand five hundred dollars. Small
bills. It's our I stash. Looks like it all mine now."
    "Why don't you keep it in a bank?" asked
Joe. "You'd get interest on it."
    "Got plenty in the bank. Got about a quarter
million bucks between us. This here's emergency cash money. Also, the
bank I blows up, we still got the loot here."
    Sam was slowly drawing out his arm now. When his
coffee-colored hand emerged from the cubbyhole it was holding a blue
cardboard box. Heavy. I didn't have to be told what was in that
famous blue box, even before I saw the S&W monogram on the lid.
Sam placed the box down on the desk, took a long pull of coffee, and
lifted the lid.
    "Now what the hell are you going to do with
that?" asked Joe.
    Sam was holding a giant revolver in his right hand.
It was finished in bright nickel. Its bore was big enough to stick a
palm tree in. Sam put the piece down quickly on the desk. The room
seemed to shake a bit. He walked back over to the big safe.
    "I tole you, Joe. I'm goin' huntin'."
    "No you're not." Joe stood up and started
for the safe. In less than a second the big dog was in front of him
in a crouch. The mouth was half-open, the front of the lips curled up
in a combat snarl. A deep rumbling filled the room. Joe froze.
    "Be cool, Popeye! Don't come no closer, Joe;
he's trained to stay between you and the safe whenever it's open.
Little trick I taught him."
    Sam fished around further back in the cubbyholes and
drew out another box, which he carried over to the desk. Joe squatted
on his heels in front of the dog and held out his hand. The dog
stared blankly at it.
    " I'm good with dogs, Sam, right Doc? Watch. Here
Popeye! Here boy! C'mon . . . caaaaaa—mon boy. Tchh! Tchhh! Caaa—"
    "RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" .
    A Joe stood up, chagrined.
    "Don't think you're having much luck," I
said.
    Sam looked up from the desk. He was loading the
revolver with the cartridges he had just fetched. They were spilled
out all over the maple desktop and looked as big as lipsticks. The
ammo box said FIFTY CENTERFIRE PISTOL CARTRIDGES 45-CALIBRE LONG
COLT. 185-GRAIN HOLLOW POINT.
    Big bullets that would go very slowly from the big
handgun. I hefted one; it was heavier than a golf ball. And there was
the gun itself. Perhaps the Nimitz could use it for a sea anchor.
"How much does Popeye weigh, Sam?"
    " 'Bout a hundred thirty. Not too much fat on
him."
    There was a decisive clack as Sam slammed the loaded
cylinder into the revolver's frame. He replaced the spare cartridges
and put away both

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