Nor Iron Bars a Cage....

       Randall Garrett / Science Fiction
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action could be taken.”

Lieutenant Shultz looked up from the paper. ”He's had all kinds ofjobs, but he can't hold 'em very long. Goes on a binge, doesn't showup for work, so they fire him. He's a pretty good short-order cook,and that's the kind of work he likes, if he can talk a lunch room intohiring him. He's also been a bus boy, a tavern porter, and a janitor.

”One other thing: The superintendent at the place where he wasstaying reports that he had an unusual amount of money on him--four orfive hundred dollars he thinks. Doesn't know where Nestor got themoney, but he's been boozing it up for the past five days. Bought newclothes--hat, suit, shoes, and so on. Living high on the hog, Iguess.”

* * * * *

I thought for a minute. If he had money, he could be anywhere in theworld by now. On the other hand--

”Look, Lieutenant, you haven't said anything to the newsmen yet, haveyou?”

He looked surprised. ”No. I called you first. But I figured they couldhelp us. Plaster his picture and name all over the area, and somebodywill be bound to recognize him.”

”Somebody might kill him, too, and I don't want that. Look at it thisway: If he had sense enough to get out of the local area two days agoand really get himself lost, then it won't hurt to wait twenty-fourhours or so to release the story. On the other hand, if he's still inthe city or over in Jersey, he could still get out before the news wasso widespread that he'd be spotted by very many people.

”But if he's still drinking and thinks he's safe, we may be able toget a lead on him. I have a hunch he's still in the city. So hold offon that release to the newsmen as long as you can. Don't let it leak.

”Meanwhile, check all the transportation terminals. Find out if he'sever been issued a passport. If he has, check the foreign consulshere in the city to see if he got a visa. Notify the FBI; they're backin it now, since there's a chance that he may have crossed a stateline--unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

”And tell the boys that do the footwork that they're to say that theguy they're looking for is wanted by the Missing Persons Bureau--thathe left home and his wife is looking for him. Don't connect him upwith the Donahue case at all. Have every beat patrolman in the city onthe lookout for a drunk with a lisp, but tell them the same storyabout the wife; I don't want any leaks at all.

”I'll call the Commissioner right away to get his O.K., because Idon't want either one of us to get in hot water over this. If he'swith us, we'll go ahead as planned; if he's not, we'll just have tocall in the newsmen. O.K.?”

”Sure, Inspector. Whatever you say. I'll get right to work on it.You'll have the Commissioner call me?”

”Right. So long. Call me if anything happens.”

I had added the bit about calling the Commissioner because I wasn'tsure but what Kleek would decide I was wrong in handling the case andlet the story out ”accidentally.” But I had to be careful not to makeShultz think I was trying to show my muscles. I called theCommissioner, got his O.K., and turned my attention back to my guest.

He had been listening with obvious interest. ”Another one of yourzanies, eh?”

”One that went too far, Your Grace. We didn't get to him in time.” Ispent five or six minutes giving him the details of the Donahue case.

”The same old story,” he said when I had finished. ”If your pilotproject here works out, maybe that kind of slaughter can beeliminated.” Then he smiled. ”Do you know something? You're one of thefew Americans I've ever met, outside your diplomats, who can address aperson as 'Your Grace' and make it sound natural. Some people look atme as though they expected me to be all decked out in a ducal coronetand full ermines, ready for a Coronation. Your Commissioner, forinstance. He seems quite a nice chap, but he also seems a bit overawedat a title. You seem perfectly relaxed.”

I considered that for a moment. ”I imagine it's because he tends tolook at you as a Duke who has taken up police work as a sort ofgentlemanly hobby.”

”And you?”

”I guess I tend to think of you as a good cop who had the good fortuneto be born the eldest son of a Duke.”

His smile suddenly became very warm. ”Thank you,” he said sincerely.”Thank you very much.”

There came the strained silence that sometimes follows when an honestcompliment is passed between two men who have scarcely met. I broke itby pointing at the plaque on the front of my desk and giving him abroad grin. ”Or maybe it's just the kind of blood that flows in myveins.”

He looked at the little plaque that said _Inspector Royal C. Royall_and laughed pleasantly. ”I like to think that it's a little bit ofboth.”

* * * * *

The intercom on my desk flashed, and the sergeant's voice said:”Inspector, a couple of the boys just brought in a man namedManewiscz. A stolen car was run into a fire plug over on Fifth Avenuenear 99th Street. A witness has positively identified Manewiscz as thedriver who ran away before the squad car arrived.”

”Sidney Manewiscz?” I asked. ”Manny the Moog?”

”That's the one. He's got a record of stealing cars for joyrides. Heinsists on talking to you.”

”Bring him in,” I said. ”I'll talk to him. And get hold of Dr.Brownlee.”

”Excuse me,” I said to the Duke. ”Business.” He started to get up, butI said, ”That's all right, Your Grace; you might as well sit in onit.” He relaxed back into the chair.

Two cops brought in Manewiscz, a short, nervous man with a big noseand frightened brown eyes.

”What's the trouble, Manny?” I asked.

”Nothing, Inspector; I'm telling you, I didn't do nothing. I'm walkingalong Fifth Avenoo when all of a sudden these cops pull up in asquad-car and some fat jerk in the back seat is hollering that I amthe guy he seen get out of a smashup on 99th Street, which is a goodthree blocks from where I am walking. Besides which, I have not drivena car for over a year now, and I have been in all ways a law-abidingcitizen and a credit to the family and the community.”

”Do you know the fat guy?” I asked. ”The guy who fingered you for theboys?”

”I never had the pleasure of seeing him before,” said Manny the Moog,”but, on the other hand, I do not expect to forget his fat facebetween now and the next time we meet.”

At that point, Dr. Brownlee came through the door.

”Hello, Inspector,” he said with a quick smile. He saw Manewiscz then,and his eyebrows went up. ”What are you doing here, Manny?”

”I am here, Doc, because the two gentlemen in uniform whom you seestanding on both sides of me extend a polite invitation to accompanythem here, although I am not in the least guilty of the thing they sayI do which causes them to issue this invitation.”

I explained what had happened and Brownlee shook his head slowlywithout saying anything for a moment. Then he said, ”Come on in myoffice, Manny; I want to talk to you for a few minutes. O.K.,Inspector?” He glanced at me.

”Sure.” I waved him and Manny away. ”You boys stay here,” I told thepatrolmen, ”Manny will be all right.” As soon as the door closedbehind Dr. Brownlee and Manewiscz I said: ”You two brought the witnessin, too, didn't you?”

”Yes, sir,” said one. The other nodded.

”You'd better do a little more careful checking on him. He may besimply mistaken, or he may have been the actual driver. See if he'sbeen in any trouble before.”

”The sergeant's already doing that, sir,” said the one who had spokenbefore. ”Meanwhile, maybe we better go out and have a little talk withthe guy.”

”Take it easy, he may be a perfectly respectable citizen.”

”Yes, sir,” he said. ”We'll just ask him a few questions.”

They left, and I noticed that the Duke was looking rather puzzled, buthe didn't ask any questions, so I couldn't answer any.

The intercom lit up, and I flipped the switch. ”Yes?”

”I just checked up on the witness,” said the sergeant. ”No record. Hisidentification checks out O.K. Thomas H. Wilson, an executive at theCity-Chemical Bank; lives on Central Park West. The lab says that thedriver of the car wore gloves.”

”Thank Wilson for his information, let him go, and tell him we'll callhim if we need him. Lay it on thick about what a good citizen he is.Make him happy.”

”Right.”

I switched off and started to say something to my guest, but theintercom lit up again. ”Yeah?”

”Got a call-in from Officer McCaffery, the beat man on Broadwaybetween 108th and 112th. He's got a lead on the guy you're lookingfor.”

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