The Dream Doctor
18. The "Coke" Fiend
I followed him in awe as he made a hasty inventory of what we had discovered. There
were as many as a dozen finished and partly finished infernal machines of various sizes
and kinds, some of tremendous destructive capacity. Kennedy did not even attempt to
study them. All about were high explosives, chemicals, dynamite. There was gunpowder
of all varieties, antimony, blasting-powder, mercury cyanide, chloral hydrate, chlorate of
potash, samples of various kinds of shot, some of the outlawed soft-nosed dumdum
bullets, cartridges, shells, pieces of metal purposely left with jagged edges, platinum,
aluminum, iron, steel--a conglomerate mass of stuff that would have gladdened an
Kennedy was examining a little quartz-lined electric furnace, which was evidently used
for heating soldering irons and other tools. Everything had been done, it seemed, to
prevent explosions. There were no open lights and practically no chance for heat to be
communicated far among the explosives. Indeed, everything had been arranged to protect
the operator himself in his diabolical work.
Kennedy had switched on the electric furnace, and from the various pieces of metal on
the table selected several. These he was placing together in a peculiar manner, and to
them he attached some copper wire which lay in a corner in a roll.
Under the work-table, beneath the furnace, one could feel the warmth of the thing
slightly. Quickly he took the curious affair, which he had hastily shaped, and fastened it
under the table at that point, then led the wires out through a little barred window to an
air-shaft, the only means of ventilation of the place except the door.
While he was working I had been gingerly inspecting the rest of the den. In a corner, just
beside the door, I had found a set of shelves and a cabinet. On both were innumerable
packets done up in white paper. I opened one and found it contained several pinches of a
white, crystalline substance.
"Little portions of cocaine," commented Kennedy, when I showed him what I had found.
"In the slang of the fiends, 'decks.'"
On the top of the cabinet he discovered a little enamelled box, much like a snuff-box, in
which were also some of the white flakes. Quickly he emptied them out and replaced
them with others from jars which had not been made up into packets.
"Why, there must be hundreds of ounces of the stuff here, to say nothing of the various
things they adulterate it with," remarked Kennedy. "No wonder they are so careful when
it is a felony even to have it in your possession in such quantities. See how careful they
are about the adulteration, too. You could never tell except from the effect whether it was
the pure or only a few-per-cent.- pure article."