Boy's Cinema (1930-31)

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Every Tuesday "I've got five 'hundreds,'" Sleepy Sam replied. "Well, you'd better put 'em in the centre," Nick told jjim, "because that's just what I'm going to raise you." Sleepy Sam shrugged. "I've got to call you," he muttered, and, as the notes fluttered into the pool, he di.splayed the cards ho held. Nick did the same, an unholy grin on his face, and Sleepy Sam leaned back in his chair. "You win," he said slowly, "and Tni cleaned." Nick gathered the notes, one hundred thousand dollars' worth of them, and began to stuflf them into his hip-pocket. "Sorry, Sleepy." ho declared. "Tough luck. Can't say that you got the breaks. Gee, I wish those tailors -would make these pockets a little bigger. Er—Sun- Tan, my hat. my cane and my gloves. I heard that in a play once. And here. Sun-Tan, take this (en-dollar bill and go with it as far as it'll take you." "Thank you. bawss," said the nigger. Nick moved towards the door, but. •with his fingers on the handle of it. paused and looked over his shoulder. "So the Barber gave you a trimming, huh?" he laughed. "Well, I'll bo seein' yuh " " .Tust a minute !" "Wait a minute. Nick!" Tlio voices of Barnes and Schult/ spoke as one. Schultz reached for his liip. Barnes for the inside of his waist- coat. But before they could draw their guns Nick whipped open the door, and across the threshold stepped .Tack and -tine hired gunman, " each levelling an automatic in his right hand. Nick chuckled light-heartedly. "How do you like it, boys?" he said to the gamblers. "What you singin' the blues about, anj'way ? I told you I was gonna get even, and! once told Sleepy Sam I was goin" to play your way." The sharpers stood by. raging "inwardly but impotently. The disaster to the finances of Sleepy Sam. who was banker for them all. had broken up their ring more effectually than a police raid could have done. "Of course," Nick went on, "you .smart gamblers have heard of marked cards—shaved cards, a- we call them in ihe profession. W'ell. Nick the Ikirber can shave 'em a little dosf-r than you can. Just take a good look at those decks I sent out for and you'll see wliat I mean." . The eyes of Sleepy Sam and his confederates darted to the table. As they snatched at the cards lying there tliey again heard the voice of Nick. "Well, good-bye. boys. And — thanks for the buggy ride." TJie door closed behind liim and his bodyguards, blocking out t h e taunting laughter that was on his lips. Stepping High. NICK the Barber reclined in the sitting-room o f tho sumptuous hotel suite that he had 'Beside iiim was a blonde and attractive manicurist, Jiiid as the girl was paring his nails Nicik tooik a cigar from the corner of his mouth and spoke to her. "Is the smoke bothering you ?" he asked solicitously. "Oh, no," the manicurist BOY'S CINEMA assured him. "I like the smell of a good cigar." "That so?" Nick murmured. "You know, a fellow in Havana makes these up for me." "You don't say," the girl rejoined, and thcri, after a pause: "I suppose you're very happy this morning, Mr. V^enizelos? I've just been reading in the papers about you winning a lot of money_ from that gambler—er—Sleepy Sam, I think liis name was." "Those guys in the Press get hold of everything," Nick observed. "But that was notliing. I'm just starting. Be- fore long you'll be reading ;i whole lot about me." "My, it must be wonderful to win a lot of money like that !" the girl sighed. Nick shrugged. "Oh, money don't m^-an anything to me," he told her, and then, loaning for- ward: "Say," he went on, "you're a pretty smart girl. Maybe you can give me a little advice. Now, if you were a man. and a certain girl had made a sap out of you—huh—once upon a time —how would you ^et even with her? I don't mean hurt her, or anything like that—but just make her change her mind sibout me being a sap." "Oh, you're otdy kidding, Mr. Veni- zclos. How could anyone make a sap out of you?" "I'm not kidding." Nick said em- phatically. "And I'd just like to get a little satisfaction out of that lady. Now how would you go about it?" The blonde manicurist pondered a moment. "Well, if I were a man," she told liim at length, "I'd send her some flowers. Th?n I'd follow up with a bracelet—you know, one with diamonds in it." "Diamonds!" Nick echoed. "You're noMhis girl's manager, are you?" The girl shook her head laugliingly, and, dcsi)ite the bewilderment which her suggestion first aroused in him, Nick begnn to see the subtlety of it. It was a suggestion that he put into practice, and three months later Mario had been coaxed from Sleepy Sam by costly gifts, and irietrievably at the service of Nick the Barber. And, once on the list of his grovi-ing army of hirelings, she ceased to receive expensive presents, and received only curt orders. One day. six months after he had trimmed Sleepy Sam, Nick stepped aboard the New York to Louisville train and passed along the corridor to a private saloon, Jack, Marie and a nigger porter on his heels. Nick himself was carrying the cage containing his precious canary bird. without which he never travelled any long distance. But as he entered the saloon he turned to Marie. "Here, take care of Blondie." ho said, in a tone that was like a knife- cut. The girl obeyed him with a flush of humiliation, and Nick turned to the porter. He took out a ten-dollar bill, tore it in halves and handed one frag- ment to the darkie. "You'll get the other half at ihe end of the line," he explained, "if you'ro good." The darkie grinned. "Yes, sir," he said. "Ah won't bo good. Ah'll be perfect." "Come here." Nick beckoned hiui nearer, and rubbed his palm over tho nigger's woolly crop of hair. "Ginuuo luck. And say, what room is Hickory Short in?" "Mistah Sho't, suh? Oh, he's in 3 A. sidi." Nick's eyes glistened. At last, he re- flected, he was going to meet the prince of gamblers face to face. "Marie,'' he snapped, rousing him- self all at once, "open the suitcase and hang up my check suit.'' Tlien, turn- ing to Jack: "Well, bnv. I wish tlio rented Jack clutched him by the shoulder. " Lay off, Nick," he said earnestly. " She's framing evidence on you." September 26th, 19St,