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´╗┐Title: Lease to Doomsday
Author: Archer, Lee
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lease to Doomsday" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



 _The twins were a rare team
 indeed. They wanted to build
 a printing plant on a garbage
 dump. When Muldoon asked them
 why, their answer was entirely

   _"Because we live here."_

It was the lack of sense in the ad that made him go back to it again. He
was having his breakfast coffee in the cafeteria next to the midtown
hotel where he lived. The classified section of the New York _Times_ was
spread before him.

    WANTED: Live wire Real Estate broker--No selling--30-40. Room 657
    Silvers Building--9-12 Monday morning.

The ad made no sense for several reasons. One: you just don't go around
advertising for brokers with four pages of them in the classified phone
book. Two: how can one be a live wire broker, without having to sell?
Kevin Muldoon shook his head. Just no damn sense. The Silvers
Building--H'm! Not too far off. He looked at his strap watch. Fifteen
minutes of nine. He could walk it in that time.

"Don't be a fool," he said to himself. "It's obviously a come-on of some

He got up, paid the check and went out. It wasn't till he was on Third
Ave. that he was conscious he had started to go crosstown when his
office was in the opposite direction. He smiled wryly. Might as well
investigate, he thought. Can't do any harm, and it won't take long.

There were four others waiting in the small anteroom. The outer door
bore no legend other than the room number, and the inner door was blank
altogether. Muldoon made a quick appraisal of those waiting. Three
were obviously past middle-age, the fourth about Muldoon's age. The
inner door opened and Muldoon looked up. A tall man came out first, a
man in his early sixties, perhaps. Immediately behind him came a
slightly shorter man, but very heavy and with a head that was bald as a
billiard ball. The older man marched straight to the door, opened it and
went out without a second look back. The fat man looked around, his face
beaming in a wide smile, eyes almost closed behind fleshy lids.

[Illustration: The weird machine clicked and clattered while the twins
dreamed of tomorrow.]

"And now, who's next?" he asked.

The one who was about Muldoon's age stepped forward. The fat man
motioned for the other to precede him. The door closed. Not more than a
minute went by, and the door opened again and the same act as before
with the older man was gone through.

"And now, who's next?" the fat man asked.

Muldoon noted even the inflection was the same.

So it went with the three who were left, until it was Muldoon's turn.
And now there were six others beside himself also waiting to be

It was a squarish room, simply furnished, with a couple of desks set
side-by-side with a narrow space between them. A chair was set up
facing the desks, obviously meant for the one to be interviewed. Seated
behind one of the desks was the twin of the man now coming to seat
himself at the other desk. Their smiles were identical as they waited
for Muldoon to make himself comfortable.

For a moment there was a blank silence. Muldoon studied them, and they,
smiling still, studied him. Muldoon broke the silence.

"You know," Muldoon said, "your ad didn't make sense to me."

The twins hunched forward slightly at their desks. Their eyes brightened
in anticipation. "No-o?..." said the one who had been waiting for
Muldoon. "Why?"

"With some four pages of brokers in the classified directory, you don't
have to advertise for one. And a live wire broker gets that reputation
as a salesman. Without selling, the wire is dead."

The twins beamed at each other.

"Evin," said the one to the left, "I think we've found our man. Will you
go out and tell those waiting?"

They waited for the twin to return.

"I am Robert Reeger, my brother Evin," said the first twin.

Muldoon introduced himself. There was no handshaking.

       *       *       *       *       *

"You are right about the ad," Robert Reeger said. "We worded it that way
for a reason. We wanted a man of quick intelligence. Mind you, now, we
do want a broker, and one who will do no selling. The 'live wire' part
was my brother Evin's thought. He does sometimes have clever ideas."

Robert stopped to beam at his twin. "Just now," Robert returned to
Muldoon, "I won't go into full discussion of our plans. Briefly,
however, we are buyers, buyers, we hope, of a particular area. Because
of what we have in mind to do we would rather it was done quietly and
without any publicity. Had we engaged the services of a large agency
this would not be possible, for, if I may coin a phrase, the trumpet
must blow strongly to announce the coming of genius." He smiled, stroked
his chin, looked up at the ceiling and his lips moved silently as if he
enjoyed repeating the phrase.

"I like that, Robert," Evin said.

"Yes, I thought it was good," Robert said.

They both looked to Muldoon.

Muldoon said nothing.

The twins sighed audibly, in unison.

Robert's lips came forward in a pout. The look of a pouting cherub,
Muldoon thought, one trying to look stern, and only succeeding in
looking naughty-childish. Muldoon suddenly knew of whom the twins
reminded him. Twin Charles Laughtons, without hair.

"You _are_ free to work for us?" Robert asked.

"_With_ you," Muldoon said. "_I_ have the license." He gave them a quick
smile, as if to lessen the sharpness of the tone he had used. "A broker
acts for a client in the purchase or sale of property. He can't be
employed by them."

"Of course," Robert said quickly. "I did not mean to imply any other
action. Now suppose you tell us briefly about yourself."

Muldoon gave them a thumbnail sketch of his career. He noted their
pleased look that he was a one-man agency. At the conclusion, Robert
stood up and came around the desk. He thrust a hand at Muldoon.

Like shaking hands with a piece of warm dough, Muldoon thought.

"I do believe," Robert said as he placed a heavy arm around Muldoon's
shoulder, and walked him to the door, "that we shall have a mutually
happy relationship. You will not be unrewarded, moneywise." He opened
the door, paused, still with his arm around Muldoon, and looked steadily
into Muldoon's eyes. "Yes, I think there will be mutual benefits in our
relationship. Now, in conclusion, will you pick us up at this office
tomorrow morning at nine?"

Muldoon nodded.

"Good! Then 'bye now, Mr. Muldoon, and thanks so much for coming by in
answer to our ad."

The answer to an irritating thought came to Muldoon while he was waiting
for an elevator to take him to the ground floor. He knew where he had
seen the same kind of look as was in Robert Reeger's eyes when they had
parted. In the eyes of a cat Muldoon had once seen toying with a mouse
the cat had caught....

Deena Savory was a redhead, a green-eyed redhead with a kind of
patrician look about her face that came off very well in the photographs
they took of her. Deena was a model, and made three times the money
Kevin Muldoon made.

It had always been a sore point between them, and more than once the
reason for their worst quarrels.

She was also the worst cook in New York.

Monday evenings were spent in Deena's small apartment on East
Fifty-Sixth Street, and she usually cooked dinner for Muldoon.
Invariably it was steak. Deena had no imagination when it came to food.
Even in restaurants she ordered one or another kind of steak.

They were together on the couch, she stretched full-length, her head in
Muldoon's lap. He was telling her about the Reeger twins and what had
happened that morning. His hands caressed her lightly as she spoke, now
across her cheeks, now more intimately.

"... I don't dig them, Honey," he said, as if in recapitulation. "The
Robert twin, f'r instance. 'You will not be unrewarded, moneywise.'
Madison Avenue and Nineteenth Century English...."

She gently took his hand from where he seemed to find most comfort, and
put it up to her cheek. "What's the difference?" she asked. "So long as
there's money in it?"

"Broker's commission," he said. "No more or less."

"You've been getting so much of that, lately?"


"Okay, then. Stop fighting it. What do you care what kind of English
they use? Or whether they used sign language. The buck, kid, the buck."

"Deena," Muldoon said gravely, "you have the grubbing soul of a
pawnbroker. Or real estate broker," he added. He bent his head and
kissed her lips.

Her lips opened to his with that familiar warmth, a hunger for him which
never failed to thrill. This time she did not remove his hand when it

"... Kevie, baby--darling ... oh, my darling," she whispered.

Strange, he thought, that at a moment like this, I should be thinking of
those fat twins....

       *       *       *       *       *

Muldoon hated the pirate prices of midtown parking lots, and so was
late. It had taken him ten minutes to find parking space for the
Plymouth. As he started to open the door of room 657 he heard the voice
of one of the twins. The words or sounds were in a language completely
foreign to him. He thought to knock, but changed his mind. To knock
would have made it obvious he had been listening. He barged right in.

The twins were in the anteroom. Muldoon got the impression they knew he
had heard them, and an even stronger impression, that the fact was of no
importance. That bothered him, for some reason.

"Ah, there you are," the twin to the left said. "Evin was wondering
whether you would show up, but I told him he was putting himself to
useless aggravation."

That damned mixed-up phrasing again, Muldoon thought. "Took a little
time to find parking space," he said.

"Shall we be off, then?" Robert asked.

"All right with me," Muldoon replied. There was another odd thing. Evin
Reeger seemed to have so very little to say.

Their destination was a place halfway down the Island. Muldoon's brow
had lifted when they gave him the area. So far as he knew there hadn't
been any development in the area. It was just a bit too far off the
highways and rail lines for housing developments, and even more badly
located for industrial requirements. He wondered what the devil they
had in mind out there.

Traffic was light and the drive took little more than an hour and a half
on the main highway, and another fifteen minutes of blacktop side road
before Evin told him to "Turn left here," onto a rutted path off the
blacktop. The path led through some scrub growth that ended on the edge
of an acre or so of dump heap. Rusted heaps of broken cars were
scattered about. A foul odor came from the left as though garbage, too,
had been dumped and left to rot. There was a flat one-storied wooden
shack close by to which Evin directed him to drive up to.

       *       *       *       *       *

Evin produced a key and opened the door to the shack. There was a
partition separating the place neatly into two sections. There were a
couple of straight-backed wooden chairs and a leather sofa in the near
room. The door to the other room was closed.

"Sit down, Muldoon," Robert Reeger said. He waited for Muldoon to make
himself comfortable on the sofa, then continued: "First time we've ever
been out here during the day. But Evin's sense of direction is
unfailing." He shook his head, smiled brightly. "Ah, well, we must each
have some factor to make for validity of existence, eh?"

"I don't follow," Muldoon said.

"No matter. Now, to the business at hand. I wanted you to see the area
involved. Evin, the plot plan, please."

To Muldoon's surprise Evin Reeger went into the next room and returned
after a moment with a plot plan of the lower third of the Island. He
gave it to Muldoon who spread it at his feet.

"That red-pencilled area I've marked off," Robert Reeger said, "is what
we'll be concerned with. As you notice, the dump and this shack are at
the approximate center. What I have in mind to do is buy all the land in
the marked-off area."

"_Buy_ it!..."

"You seem surprised."

"Shocked, would be the better word. Have you any idea what this could
cost? You've marked off an area of approximately a square mile. Even out
here that would run into millions. And once news got around that someone
was buying parcels of this size--well, you'd have more publicity than
you might want."

"About the cost we won't worry. There will be enough money. But the
attendant publicity could mean not being able to get the land we want.
Is that correct?"

"Could be. Suppose we get options, or leases on these pieces ..."

"That was a good phrase," Evin broke in unexpectedly. "Don't you think
so, Robert?"

"Yes!" Robert said sharply. He seemed to have suddenly lost his smile.
He gave Evin a hard look from under down-drawn brows. He turned to
Muldoon. "We are renting this, this tumbledown structure. A two-year
lease. H'mm! I see your point. Spending millions in a sudden buying move
would make unneeded difficulties. No! Options to buy, but lease for the
present. Evin, the list of names, please."

Evin didn't have to go anywhere for the list. He had it with him.
Muldoon looked it over. There were thirty-three names, including the
County and State.

"Well?" Robert said.

"I'll have to know what you want to lease it for, the name or names of
corporations, and so forth."

"Will my own name do?"

"It will. But you can go into the County Court and register a business
name under your own, what they call a D.B.A. name--doing business
as--name. Register as many as you wish. Doesn't cost a great deal. Or
form a corporation, you and your brother."

"No. Let the leases come under my own name. As for what I intend doing,
well, I intend to concrete surface the entire area."

"A square mile of concrete?..."

"Yes. There is a government plan to use this end of the Island for a
huge missile depot. They will have to come to me."

       *       *       *       *       *

Pretty shrewd, Muldoon thought. That is if it's true. "All right,"
Muldoon said. "When do you want me to start?"

"Right now. That was one reason for bringing you out here. Evin, will
you get the brief case, please?"

Once more Evin Reeger went into the other room. And closed the door
carefully behind him when he came out. He handed the brief case to

"You may open it," Robert said.

Muldoon's fingers became suddenly nerveless, and he dropped the brief
case. It was crammed with money, packets of hundred-dollar bills.

"There are fifty packets of hundred-dollar bills, totalling a million
dollars," Robert said.

"What the hell did you want me to do, carry the case around with me?"
Muldoon asked.

"No. It will remain here. I merely wanted to show you I will be able to
stand behind any price you may have to meet. From now on report here, no
matter what time. And, since time has a definite value in this matter,
do not stand upon it."

"I like that," Evin said, suddenly. "That was good, Robert."

Muldoon nodded. Evin had a value, too. The same value any yes-man has.
But it bothered Muldoon. This just wasn't the way of twins. At least
none he knew. Well, one thing was certain; the Reegers had the ready

"This may take some time," Muldoon said. "Weeks, certainly, maybe
months. The County and State, alone ..."

       *       *       *       *       *

"We don't have that much time," Robert broke in. "Evin must return in
ten days...."

"Return? Where?" Muldoon asked.

It was as if Robert hadn't heard. "The State and County properties are
small areas, and on the very edge. Suppose we forget about them for the
time being. Work on the private parties."

"Anything you say. But it may still take weeks."

"Then don't quibble. Lease at any price. If a show of cash is necessary,
let me know. Now I think you'd better start. Good luck, Muldoon."

It was Wednesday night before Muldoon saw Deena Savory again. Nor had he
seen the Reeger twins since leaving them Monday morning. Deena and
Muldoon seldom saw each other during the middle of the week; they were
her busy days and she needed the nights for complete rest. But he had
called her and asked to see her. They were at dinner in a small Italian
place close to her apartment.

He had briefly brought her up to date on what had happened since she had
seen him last, and was at the moment finishing the last of the lasagna
he had ordered.

"They're phonies, honey, real phonies," he said. "I'll bet my last buck
on that."

She was looking at the last piece of steak on her plate. With an almost
defiant gesture she speared it and put it in her mouth.

"Atta girl," he said.

"Mind your own business," she said. "How do you mean they're phonies?"

"I spent all Monday investigating _them_!"

"A fine way to make a dollar," she said. "What do you care who they

He gave her a knowing smile. "That's my fat-headed girl. Like to visit
me in a nice jail, wouldn't you? One with a prestige address, of course.
Let me tell you. They rented that shack, and the dump heap next to it
for a pretty fancy figure. Robert Reeger said they were going to do
printing in that shack. They paid in full for the two years rental, in
nice crisp hundred-dollar bills...."

"I get it! They were phony," she exulted.

"How can you be so stupid? I know. For you it's easy. Of course the
bills were genuine. But the printing business--what were they going to
print with, typewriters? Another thing. There's no business record I
could find on them; they're not listed. So how did they get a million
dollars, and Robert said more. 'Report here, no matter what the time.' I
don't get it. I drove them out. There was no garage, no car I could see,
and the place is miles from food. How do they live out there?"

"Maybe they have friends who pick them up," Deena said.

"Maybe. Robert also said there was a rumor or something about the
government going to use the area for a missile depot. I tried to run it
down. Nothing."

"Which proves nothing," she said.

"True. But I couldn't even smell smoke. No, the whole thing just smells
bad. So I think I'm going back there and tell them to forget it."

"Oh, don't be an idiot," she said. "This is your big chance to make some
real money, get a reputation, and because you're chicken, you're going
to throw it up."

"I won't get into anything crooked!" his voice rose.

"The way you're thinking you couldn't follow a straight line."

"They can't draw a straight line."

"Well, you do what you want. Only, the next time I have to pay for a
dinner don't give me that martyred look."

"Okay. Okay. What do you want for dessert, spumoni?"

"After this, bicarbonate."

"Very funny."

And for the first time in several years she did not kiss him good night,
when they parted.

       *       *       *       *       *

He turned off the blacktop and started down the rutted path. He switched
the headlights off about halfway to the shack, and parked it a hundred
or so yards away from it and walked the rest. The shack was dark.

Instead of knocking, Muldoon walked around to the back and peered
through the single window at the rear. He could see nothing. Now isn't
this just dandy, he thought. Drive all the way out here, and nobody's at
home. Damn! He went around to the front and started back to the car. His
attention was caught by a greenish glow of light from the far end of the
dump heap.

His curiosity aroused, Muldoon warily made his way through the metal
litter until he was close enough to make out the source of the light. It
came from the center of a shallow area that had been cleared of rubble.
A rusted misshapen mass of metal lay in the center of the cleared space.
The greenish glow was coming from an opening in the mass.

Muldoon crept closer until he was able to make out details. Not too many
but enough to give him an idea of the size and general shape of the
thing. But what really held him were the figures of Robert and Evin

He saw them quite distinctly.

One of the twins was bent over a machine of some sort. There were
levers, gears, and rollers mounted on a webbed platform no larger than a
rather oversized typewriter. Muldoon's eyes went wide at the sight of
the greenbacks coming in a steady stream from the interior of the
machine and falling into a box at the side. He could see very little
else that was in the room, other than the brother of the twin at the
machine. He was on the far side of it, fiddling with something hidden.

Muldoon stared in fascination for another minute, then carefully made
his way back to the car. He had parked it within the growth of scrub
trees and bushes. He started it, turned the headlights on, and drove
slowly out into the open and up to the shack. He honked his horn loudly
a couple of times and got out of the car and walked up to the shack and
tried the door. It was closed.

Presently the figures of Evin and Robert Reeger came into view from the
direction of the dump heap. Muldoon's figure was outlined in the glow of
the headlights. Muldoon noticed the brief case one of them was carrying.

"Ah, there, Muldoon," Muldoon had recognized Robert's voice.

"Hello, Mr. Reeger. Thought I'd come by and let you know how I've been

Evin, who was carrying the brief case, unlocked the door and switched on
the light. The other two followed him into the room. Robert Reeger
motioned for Muldoon to take the sofa. Evin went into the other room.

"Well, my boy," Robert said heartily. "How is it going?"

"Slowly," Muldoon said casually. "But the first of this sort of
operation has to go that way. Kind of feel things out, if you know what
I mean?"

"Of course. How does it look?"

"I think it's going to go all right. I've got plans."

"Splendid! Do you need money?"

"Yes. About ten thousand."

"Evin! Do bring the case out," Robert called loudly.

In a couple of seconds, Evin Reeger appeared. He brought the brief case
to his brother, turned, and went back into the other room without saying
anything. He walked slowly and stiffly, his feet slapping heavily on the
bare boards.

"What's wrong with him?" Muldoon asked.

Robert Reeger was pulling money from the brief case. He looked up with
an expressionless face. "Nothing. You said ten thousand?..."


Reeger passed two of the packets to Muldoon. "Sure you won't need more?"

Muldoon put the money away, got up from the sofa, and started to the
door. "No. Just what I need. Uh, I'll see you Friday night."

"Fine! And don't forget. We must get all this done quickly."

"I won't forget."

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Reeger waited till the sound of the Plymouth was no longer heard.
Then he went into the other room. Other than for two army cots the room
was empty. Evin was stretched full-length on one of the cots.

"You're certain he knows?" Evin asked.

"Yes. I saw him on the visio."

"But he couldn't see all the interior?"

"No. Just the duplicating machine. We must get rid of it tonight."

"What do you think he will do?"

"What can he do? He knows nothing. The money is genuine, and with the
destruction of the machine he can't prove anything. Nevertheless it
might be the wisest course to get rid of him. We might have been too
clever with that advertisement."

"Possibly. But, we must move quickly, then. I must leave this planet in
seven days now. And we must have this area under lease by then. Three

Robert smiled thinly. "We will. If not through Muldoon, then through
another means. When you return in a year with the space fleet you will
find the landing area we need."

"And after that ..."

They smiled at each other.

"We said we would not fail. This planet will fall to our weapons like
ripe fruit from a tree."

"But first I must return to tell them," Evin said. "If I do not return
they will know we have failed, and will seek another planet."

"We won't fail," Robert reiterated. "Right now, let's get back to the
space ship and the duplicating machine."

       *       *       *       *       *

Muldoon spent a busy Thursday. A newsbrief in the _Times_ financial
section which told of a public utility wanting Island property gave him
an idea for one thing. He spent all morning bringing the idea to a head,
after he had verified the truth of the item. Then, after a late lunch,
he went to the Treasury Department's headquarters and spent a couple of
hours with the head of the local investigation department.

He was quite pleased with himself by nightfall, as he headed out to the
Island. This time he parked the car at a considerable distance from the
shack. There were lights on, this night. He walked boldly up and knocked
at the door. It opened wide and the thick figure of one of the twins
darkened the opening.

"Well, Mr. Muldoon. I did not think to see you till Friday."

"I thought I'd come and see you tonight," Muldoon said as he stepped
into the room.

"I didn't hear the car."

"Oh. Parked it back a bit," Muldoon said. He turned toward the other
twin as the inner door opened. "Hello."


"You know, Evin," Robert said, "I'm rather glad Muldoon stopped by
tonight. We might as well conclude our business with him now."

"An excellent idea, Robert. Excellent."

"What do you mean?" Muldoon asked. "I no longer am acting for you?"

"Not for us, for yourself. I'm afraid your services, in any capacity,
will no longer be needed."

Muldoon caught the undercurrent of menace in Robert's voice. It told him
they were not only suspicious but ready to act on it. He started to edge
toward the door, but Robert suddenly reached out and took his arm. There
was power in the fat man's grip. Evin moved swiftly for his size, and
took up a position before the door, which he kicked shut.

Muldoon twisted sharply and was free of the other's grip. He stepped
back a couple of paces. "What the hell's this all about?"

"Come now, Muldoon," Robert said softly. "You didn't think your prying
went unobserved, last night?"

"So I was nosey. But what's this rough stuff you're trying to pull?"

"Merely making sure your curiosity will end tonight."

       *       *       *       *       *

Muldoon took a couple of more retreating paces. "You mean you're going
to get rid of me? Well, maybe you will, and maybe you won't. But even if
you do ..."

A smile broke through the grim lips of the twin threatening Muldoon.
"You mean the duplicating machine? Just another piece of rusted scrap
among the rest of the junk."

Muldoon paled. The evidence he was going to need, gone.

"And of course the money is genuine. We made sure of it. Ink, paper,
everything. We made sure of it long ago. It will be a pity you won't be
here to see how efficient we can really be. But the rest of the planet
will know. As soon as Evin returns."

Muldoon's mind was working swiftly. "You got rid of the machine. But
what about the junk shop it was in. I'll bet there are more important
things there."

"Indeed there are. But no one will find it. It will be just another
rusted piece of large junk to them."

It was then Muldoon made his move. He lashed out with a fist. The blow
staggered Robert. And Muldoon was crashing his shoulder against the
inner door. It burst inward, but before he could get through Robert
grabbed him. The whole side of Muldoon's face went numb as Robert
crashed his fist against his jaw. Muldoon knew he didn't stand a chance
in a straight-up fight, not with these two. Robert's hands were reaching
for him, now.

Muldoon grabbed one of the hands with both of his, twisted outward as
he grasped two fingers in each hand. Robert's face went putty-grey as
the bones snapped. Muldoon no longer cared about fair play. His knee
came up where it could do most damage, and Robert sank grovelling to the

Muldoon whirled. Too late. The world exploded in a thousand flashes of
pain-filled lights. He went crashing backward into the wall. Evin hit
him again before he stumbled blindly away from the terrible fist.

"Let me kill him," Robert groaned.

Muldoon pulled himself up from the pain-filled world he had been sent
into. There seemed to be two Evins facing him. Then there was only one.
A twisted grin came to Muldoon's lips. "Come ahead, you rat," he

Evin came forward. And swift as an adder Muldoon kicked him just below
the knee cap. Evin screamed, and collapsed. Muldoon staggered out of the
way of the falling body, only to fall into the clutches of Robert's
sudden reaching fingers.

He fell to the floor.

Robert tried to get his good hand up to Muldoon's throat. Muldoon beat
at the thick face with both hands. But the other seemed not to feel the
pounding fists. Slowly the fingers managed to reach their goal. Muldoon
felt the darkness of death closing over him as his breath became a
tortured dying gasp. His hand found Robert's face, came gently over it
until his thumb pressed on one eyeball. And Robert screamed as the thumb
became a hooked instrument to blind him.

Muldoon rolled away from the other, staggered somehow erect, but knew
his strength was gone. He couldn't make it to the door. And now Evin had

And the door burst open and men poured into the room. Muldoon recognized
only one, the head of the Treasury's investigation department, before he
blacked out.

       *       *       *       *       *

Deena Savory stroked his forehead gently. "Does it hurt much, baby?"

The nurse had left them alone when Deena came into the hospital room.

"Not now," Muldoon said.

"What are they going to do to those men?" she asked.

"Oh, twenty years, according to Phillips. Counterfeiting, you know,
carries heavy penalties."

"But I thought the money was good? After all, they had paid rent with

"A slip-up on the bank's part. You see they made one mistake. The
machine they had, turned out perfect bills. Every one with the same
serial number...."

Deena's eyes widened.

"And the junk shop or whatever it was?" she said.

"I thought I'd let well enough alone. You see I took care of that during
the day. The twins, being criminals, had automatically broken their
lease. They also made it possible for me to change clients. Well,
there's going to be a huge tank covering that dump and shack, a tank
holding an awful lot of natural gas. I got together with the owner of
the property and the utility people yesterday afternoon and worked out a
deal. They're going to dump all that junk into the ocean."

"I'm sorry about the other night," she said suddenly.

"Is that how you say you're sorry?" he asked.

"Uh-uh," she said, as he reached for her. "There's a time and place for


Her lips agreed.


Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from _Amazing Stories_ September 1956.
    Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
    copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
    typographical errors have been corrected without note. Variant
    spellings have been retained.

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