Rimrock jones, p.23
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       Rimrock Jones, p.23

           Dane Coolidge
 
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  CHAPTER XXIII

  SOLD OUT

  What a fool he was and how much the tiger lady hated him Rimrock wasalready in a position to judge, but the inner meaning of "Kiss your moneygood-bye!" was still to be disclosed. As he dashed down the hall and outinto the street and into the first taxi that passed it seemed but acynical way of saying that his sole sweetheart was gold; but when hereached his room and glanced at the tape its meaning was written plain.Navajoa was quoted at six. He brushed aside his excited clerk and calledup Buckbee on the 'phone.

  "What?" yelled Buckbee as he recognized his voice, "have you been hereall the time? My God, man, I've got the whole police department afteryou! You've ruined me! I've gone to the wall! Yes, bankrupt, I tellyou, unless you go to the bank and put up collateral for my loans. Whydidn't you tell me you only had credit of a million dollars in all? Yousaid: 'Buy all you can get!' and by the gods they threw it in my facewith both hands! Hundreds of shares, thousands of shares! And then whenI called you up your clerk said you had gone. Well, I had my orders andyou can't say I weakened--I bought thirty-two thousand shares!"

  "'Thirty-two thousand!' Well, what are you kicking about? That gives mecontrol of the mine. But say, what the devil does this ticker mean,quoting Navajoa at six dollars a share?"

  "It means!" shouted Buckbee, "that you bid up the market until I paidforty-three for the last and then Whitney K. Stoddard dumped every sharehe had and cut the ground out under your feet! You're obligated to makeup a total deficiency of nearly a million at the bank; your loans havebeen called, and mine have been called, and the stock is forfeit for thedebt. You've lost your stock that you bought on a margin and unless youcan take up these loans, every blessed share of Navajoa will go toStoddard and his bank."

  "To Stoddard! Well, what does that bank outfit mean by grabbing all myshares? Ain't my name good for about fifty million? Did I ever defaulton a debt? I'm going right down there and tell that president to give meback every share, and if he don't----"

  "Oh, now don't talk that stuff! Just go down and put up some collateral.That's all that will save you--they've got the law behind them andthey're strictly within their rights. No, now listen! You borrowed ahalf a million dollars at the bank this morning and put up your Navajoafor collateral. It was worth twenty-four then, but now, by my ticker,it's only five and a half. Can't you see where you are? Stoddard caughtyou napping and he'll never let up till you're broke. You valued it atthirty, but he'll keep the market down to nothing until you settle up andliquidate those claims. Then the prices will soar, but you won't be inon it. He's got you trimmed, and no mistake."

  "But I don't see it!" came back Rimrock insistently. "I want every oneof those shares. And I've got the money--it ought to be here now--to payevery cent I owe. Say, come on up, Buckbee, and help me straighten thisthing out--I was unexpectedly called away."

  He hung up the 'phone and turned to the letters and telegrams that werestrewn about the desk. There were notices from the bank and franticdemands that he put up more margin on his stock and a peremptoryannouncement that his loans had been called and must be taken up by thenext day at noon--and a letter from Mary Fortune. He thrust it aside andsearched again for some letter or telegram from L. W., and then hesnatched up hers. There was something wrong and her letter might explainit--it might even contain his check.

  He tore it open and read the first line and then the world turned black.The dividend had been passed! He hurled the letter down and struck itwith his fist. Passed! He turned on his clerk and motioned him from theroom with the set, glassy stare of a madman. Passed! And just at thetime when he needed the money most! He picked up the letter and read alittle further and then his hand went slack. She had voted againsthim--it was her vote and Stoddard's that had carried the day against L.W.! He dropped the letter into a gaping wastebasket and sat backgrinding his teeth.

  "Damn these women!" he moaned and when Buckbee found him he was stillcalling down curses on the sex. In vain Buckbee begged him to pullhimself together and get down to figures and facts, he brushed all thepapers in a pile before him and told him to do it himself. Buckbee madememoranda and called up the bank, and then called up Stoddard himself;and still Rimrock sat cursing his luck. Even when Buckbee began to readthe final statement his mind was far away--all he heard was the lump sumhe owed, a matter of nearly a million.

  "Well, I'll tell you," he said, when Buckbee came to an end, "I'll fix itso you don't lose a cent. But that bank is different. They sold me outto Stoddard and peddled me my own stock twice. Now don't say a word,because I know better--it was like Davey Crockett's coonskin, that hekept stealing from behind the bar. They take my stock for security andthen hand it to Stoddard and he sells it over to you, and by the time weget through Stoddard has still got the stock and I owe the bank amillion. Those may not be big words but that's what's happened, likeCrockett buying the drinks with his coonskin; but if they collect from methey'll have to sue. Now how can I fix it for you?"

  "Well, just raise the money to meet my shortage--it's a matter of nearlysix hundred thousand."

  "All right," said Rimrock, "I'll tell you what I'll do. I just got somebad news from the mine. That big dividend that I absolutely counted onto meet all those obligations was held up--it wasn't passed. But here'sthe point: the money is still there, right in old L. W.'s bank; the onlyquestion is how to get it out. You show me how I can borrow on thattied-up dividend and I'll pay you back every dollar."

  "The easiest thing in the world!" exclaimed Buckbee. "All you have to dois to put up your Tecolote stock."

  "Nothing doing," said Rimrock, "show me some other way. You fellows knowall the tricks."

  "No, there's no other way," responded Buckbee earnestly. "That's theonly way you can touch it, until the dividend is declared. The surplusin the bank is regarded in law simply as increasing the value of theshares; and so all you have to do is to prove its existence and put upyour stock as security."

  "And then, if I don't pay it back, the bank will keep my stock!" Rimrockstated it guardedly, but his eyes were snapping and his mouth had becomesuddenly hard. "Don't you ever think it!" he burst out. "I don't put upthat stock! No, by grab, not a single share of it, if I lose every centI've got and leave my best friend in the hole! Do you know what Ithink?" he demanded portentously as he shook his finger under Buckbee'snose. "I believe every doggoned woman and broker in the whole crookedcity of New York is working for--Whitney--H.--Stoddard!"

  He paused and at a sudden guilty glance he dropped his hand and startedback.

  "My God!" he cried, "not you, too, Buckbee? Don't tell me you're in onit, too! Well, I might as well quit, then! What's the use of tryingwhen every friend you've got turns out a crook!" He slumped down in hischair and, rumpling up his hair, gazed at Buckbee with somber eyes. "So!Old friend Buckbee, too? Well, Buckbee, what's the deal? Just tell mewhere I'm at and I'll leave this cursed town forever."

  "Too bad, Old Scout," answered Buckbee kindly, "but you know I warnedyou, from the first. I'm a Stoddard man, and I told you to lay off--buthere's where he's got you now. You owe money to his bank, and you owe itto me, and he's guaranteed us both against loss. Now he might step inand get a judgment against you and tie up every share you've got; but allhe wants--and he told me so himself--is four thousand shares of Tecolote.That gives him control and, I'll tell you frankly, he's going to getthose shares."

  "Oh, he is, is he?" said Rimrock and then sat silent while Buckbee bitthe tip from a cigar.

  "Yes, he's going to get them," went on Buckbee quietly, "but here's howit looks to me. The loss you will suffer from those four thousand shareswill be more than made up by the increase in the dividends on the rest.You are not a good business man and, more than that, you have gone offand neglected your mine. But give Stoddard the control and, the wayhe'll manage it, your stock will bring you in more. You've learned yourlesson--just hold on to the rest and you'll always have money to burn.But, i
f you try to buck him, as sure as God made little fishes, he'llhave your hide on the fence."

  "D'ye think so?" enquired Rimrock and again he sat silent while Buckbeepuffed away at his cigar.

  "Yes, he's a hard man to whip," went on Buckbee thoughtfully, "they callhim the Iron Man. Any place you hit him you only break your hand; butwhen he comes back--zowie!"

  "Well, I guess you're right," answered Rimrock slowly, "New York is noplace for me. It's back to the cactus where they fight it out withsixshooters and the man that wins grabs the loot. But here you can getsome kind of a judgment and let the sheriff do the job."

  Buckbee laughed lightheartedly and slapped him on the back, but Rimrockdid not even smile.

  "By George," exclaimed Buckbee, "I'll be sorry to lose you. You do havea way of putting things. But say, Old Sport, let's get this painfulbusiness over. When can you arrange to turn in that stock?"

  "I don't know," grumbled Rimrock, "I'll have to think this over--maybecall in a lawyer or two. I'm not so sure about those hands-up judgments."

  "Why, my dear boy," exclaimed Buckbee, "you don't doubt for a moment thata bank can attach your stock? You must bear in mind that they loaned youhalf a million on your mere name stuck to a note. Not a cent ofcollateral--and on the other half million you were distinctly notified itcould be called. Why, the banks have a department where they grind outthese actions just exactly as a mill grinds out corn. It's the simplestthing in the world."

  "Well, I'll think it over," answered Rimrock noncommittally, "unlessyou've got one of those attachments on you?"

  "Oh, no!" laughed Buckbee, "I'm no summons-server. It isn't quite sosimple as that. You see the bank begins the action, the court issues asummons, and if you don't appear the judgment is declared by default.But it won't come to that, I'm sure. Just think it over and I'll callyou up later. So long; don't take it too hard."

  He flashed back a smile, but as the door closed behind him Rimrockanswered by showing his teeth. He went to a safe that stood in the roomand took out a single envelope. Then he strapped on his shabby oldsix-shooter, stepped quietly out and was gone.

 
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