|July 1925 - December 1970|
|Gus Wilson's Model Garage|
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GUS GETS INTO A TIGHT SPOT
by Martin Bunn
No Specialist on Boats, He Has His Trial By Fire.
Several of us regulars were sitting around the Model Garage shop watching Gus Wilson work when State Trooper Jerry Corcoran came in and handed him a newspaper clipping.
"News of your old friend," he grinned.
Gus read the clipping and whistled softly.
"So they got him at last," he said.
"Who got who?" somebody wanted to know.
"The G-men got Slicker Bailey," Jerry told him. "They've been after him for...
How long is it since your boat ride, Gus?"
"Seven years," Gus replied. "Well, he won't plan any more bank robberies. He made a mistake trying to shoot it out."
"Fatal," Jerry agreed. "But he was the smoothest caser in the business."
"What is this?" Doc Foley demanded.
"What's a 'caser'? And why is he Gus's friend?"
"A caser," Jerry explained, "is a fellow who works ahead of a bank-robbing mob - plans the stickups and getaways. As for 'Slicker' being a friend - Gus won't deny he and 'Slicker' were once very close."
"Two close for comfort," Gus grunted.
"Remember the stickup of the First
"I was aboard," Gus protested. "Forget it."
Of course we wouldn't forget it, and before we went home we had the story - part from Gus but most from Jerry. Here it is!
Before the war even as industrious a man
as Gus could take time out to relax once in a while, and he was doing just
that in the shop doorway late that not Saturday afternoon when a
"You look comfortable," he smiled.
Gus grinned back, "I was about to close."
"Know anything about marine engines?" the visitor asked.
"Well," Gus said cautiously, "they're a
little out of my line.
"I just came from there," the yachtsman
nodded. "Every mechanic in the place is up to his ears in work. And I want
to be on my way tonight. My name's
Gus hesitated, and
Through the drive to
"Most hospitable crowd I've ever run into," he declared. "Made me feel as much at home in their club as I do in my own. Even old Jonas Manderville, when I dropped into see him about a little business matter.
I figured he was just another small-town banker, but after we'd talked for half an hour he offered me a guest card at his golf club. Too bad his bank was robbed."
It was evident when they reached the
yacht club that
They got into the boat,
"Fellow to fix the engine,"
Gus took off his coat and went over the
engine. It was an old one that hadn't had too good care, but there didn't
seem to be anything seriously wrong with it. After five minutes of checking
he found out why it wouldn't start the fuel-pump filter was clogged. He
cleaned it and asked
"I'll have to wash up first."
"Yes, of course,"
The cabin door slammed, and Gus didn't hear the rest. He picked up his coat, went into the passageway, and waited. After a minute he got impatient and tried the knob of a door. It turned, and he pushed the door open. A light was on, and he stepped into a small stateroom. He looked around for a wash basin - and his jaw dropped.
On top of the built-in chest of drawers lay a human arm, its hand in a black glove!
Gus's heart skipped a couple of beats.
Then he grinned. It was an artificial arm, of course. Then his heart
skipped again as he remembered something Jerry had told him - that one of
thugs who stuck up the
A rasping voice made him start. "What are you doing in here?" A sallow, hard-faced man was getting out of a bunk in which he had been lying fully dressed. He had only one arm - and in his lone hand he had a wicked-looking automatic.
There were quick footsteps in the
passageway, and Gus turned to see
"I'm sorry," Gus said. "I was looking - "
"You're going to be sorrier!" the
one-armed man grated. He too, looked at
"We're still in the harbor, you bophead,"
The one-armed man grunted grudging
assent, and he and
Gus had good reason to be scared - and he was. He sat on the bunk and tried to figure a way out. Then he heard the engine start, and in a short while the motion of the boat told him they had reached open water. There were cigarettes and a lighter on the bunk. He lit one and looked around. His eye caught a small-diameter copper pipe running along the bulkhead. He examined it closely, and hope flared. "Looks like the fuel line," he muttered. "If it is. - " He snapped the lighter and held its flame against the pipe.
For what seemed like a minute nothing
happened. Then the engine stopped. Gus grinned. "Thought so-vapor lock,"
he whispered. He kept the flame against the pipe until he heard footsteps,
and then he sat quickly on the bunk. The door opened, and
"Something's wrong again,"
"All right," Gus said, "I'll do it."
With the one-armed thug at his heels, he
"Wait a minute," Gus said - and he
He stayed under water as long as he could. When he came up the cruiser was blazing from stem to stern. He saw the life ring a dozen yards away, swam to it, and worked his way out of the glare of the burning boat. Half an hour later he was picked up by one of the motorboats attracted by the fire.
Doc whistled. "What's the end?"
"This is the end," Jerry said, holding up the news clipping. "What was left of the one-armed thug and one of his pals was found on the boat. Two others got away in the dinghy, but we were waiting for them when they landed. Both had big rolls, and they squeaked on "Slicker" Bailey.
"Gus's story was kept out of the papers so "Slicker" - if he was alive - wouldn't find out he'd been squealed on. He was alive all right - he could swim like a fish. And pretty soon some more bank jobs turned up that he might as well have signed his name to. But he was slick, and it took the G-men seven years to catch up with him."
"Yes," Gus said, "they always get their man, though. But since you fellows took to making a club out of this shop, I never get a decent dinner - I always get down to the Park House after the meat's gone. Scram!"