Boy's Cinema (1930-31)

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Every Tuesday "Xo man has ever ridden the Killfer." Helen itared at Jim with mocking gaze. "What can you expect to do?" "I'll ride the horse ' if it's the last thing I do '." Jim swung round on his pal. "Ben, try and get ten bucks wager- ing ^vith Mr. Winslow against my riding." It ieemed as if no one else wanted to have a try at riding the Killer. Win- slow was shouting about odds of ten to one against. A surprise when Ben appeared and wanted to back Jim for ten dollars. "Weston hasn't entered," cried the wily Winslow. "But I'll take the/fcet all the same." Jim had a foresight that it was going to be a difficult ride, and that made the blood tingle. He would show this girl he vvas not a coward. Up the side of the fence box that corralled tiie Killer climbed Jim, and in a second he was in the saddle. Someone fired a gun, and as the front of the bos opened the horse shot forward. But if the guests expected to see another puncher bite the dust, they were mistaken. They saw a horse that seemed to twist into all shapes, go up in the air and land on all four hoofs, rear high in an attempt to fall on the rider, and fly round the corral trying to smash the leg of the rider against the wooden stakes of the fence. Never had they seen such an arched or venomous crea- ture as this horse. The women shud- dered as the foam-flecked animal came near them, and they saw the gleaming teeth and fiery eyes. Evo"yone expected Jim to be flung from the Killer's back, but the boy seemed to anticipate every move of the fierce creature. He appeared to be modelled to the horse, and never once did he ever look like being thrown. It was a marvellous and almost effortless ride, and only once did Jim ever resort to brirte force. That was when the Killer tried to fall back on him, and a cut over the head was necessary. Soon it was apparent that the black stallion had had enough and was tiring. Two mounted cowboys, who were act- ing as judges, rode forward and lined \ip on each side. " You win, buddy," cried one. " That was grand riding." "Thanks," laughed the boy, and leaped lightly to the ground. On the same spot of the fence sat Ben, who was grinning from car to car and holdint; up a wad of notes. Jim climbed up beside him, but the grin became immense when once more Helen Sutter approached the two friends. Helen did not know her own mine She was glad that Jim Weston had ridden the Killer, and yet angry that he should have done the trick so easily. She felt humiliated, and therefoi-o in- clined to be angry. "The Killer must have been tired, but you rode him well," was her grudging concession "Thanks, Miss Helen." Jim winked at Ben. "But I'll guarantee that though that hoss is tired there isn't a soul here that could stay on his back as long as I did. Don't think I'm ^^^^W-r-»^ talking big, but I learnt riding in a hard school, where it meant life to keep in the saddle." "So you think no one coidd ride the Killer?" "I'll wager anyone five bucks." "Tlis.t bet's takea." BOY'S CINEMA coolly answered the girl. "l know someone who can stay as long as you did." "She must mean Winslow," muttered Ben, chewing at his straw and staring after the girl's trim figure. "I'll go shares in that bet, buddy." "Shurrup!" Jim was clutching the rails. "I wish I hadn't bragged about my riding." His fears were realised a minute later when he saw the Killer shoot once more into the corral, with Helen Sutter on the creature's back. Helen w.ts a marvellous rider, but however good a rider may be, it requires iron wrists to manage a wild broncho, especially when that bronc sees a chance of getting its own back for a recent humiliation. Jirn was off that rail like a flash, and running towards the hitching-rail and his own horse. Failing to throw the girl, the Killer tried to crush her legs against the rails, and one of the judges hurriedly whis- pered to the other. They swung open the corral gates. If the" Killer headed for the open country, there might be less chance of the girl being hurt. The horse flashed away like a streak, and in a cloud of dust vanished down a canyon amongst the trees, and as Win- slow yelled to his men, Jim went after the girl as if his life depended on it. Helen's wrists began to give out. She could not check the riiad creature. Already her head had just missed a low bough, and all the strength seemed to be going from her body. The thud, thud of hoofs behind her, and she turned in the saddle. "Jim! Jim!" No answer from the boy save an urg- ing of his to greater speed. The animal responded gallantly, and Jim surged alongside as Helen swayed in the saddle. His strong arms caught her niul swept her on to the pommel of his own saddle. 13 Panting and sobbing she clung to him, and Jim held her very dose. "You're a mighty brave kid," whis- pered the boj'. "Gee, you can ride a horse !" Slowlj- she raised her face and looked into the serious blue eyes. "Thank you, Jim. for saving me. I've been a little fool." "A brave and darned nice fool." boldly answered Jim. The sweet mouth was close to his own. He kissed her. "Oh, you brute I"' was her answer, but Jim knew it was not meant. Fired. A FEW days later Winslow got hi.» chance to "remove" Weston When Jim brought oflF his spec tacular rescue of Helen, and Winslo« saw the admiration in the girl's eyes, he determined that it was time to act. Moreover, he was suspicious of Jin: because the latter was camping out al nights. Old man Sutter had explained that Jim had volunteered to act as a night guard. The manager had a few words with the cook. The result was that Jim one night took out doped coffee, drank it, and fell into a sleep of stupor. Pete then rode up, and from his pocket produced a bottle of whisky, which he poured into Jim's mug, and also smeared the face of his victim. Next day. Jim was taken before Suttei on a charge of sleeping whilst on duty and being drunk. Triumph gleamed in the cunning eyes of Harry Winslow as he watched Frank Sutter demand an explanation. Helen was also present, and so was Ben. The horrified expression in the girl's face almost made the villain chuckle. So weli had Winslow talked to Sutter that the boss was convinced that Jim had fallen for strong drink. "It was a frame-up," cried Jim. whose head was still buzzing painfully from the dope. "I hate the stuff." "You were found soaked in liquor, shouted Sutter. "Your kir has been searched and we've found four more bottles. It's a clear case. Y''ou're fired!" Jim decided that little use would be gained by arguing, though he was de- termined to prove his innocence. Jim was forced back over the table. i November 28th. 1031.