The Silent Bullet HTML version

12. The Steel Door
It was what, in college, we used to call "good football weather" --a crisp, autumn
afternoon that sent the blood tingling through brain and muscle. Kennedy and I were
enjoying a stroll on the drive, dividing our attention between the glowing red sunset
across the Hudson and the string of homeward-bound automobiles on the broad parkway.
Suddenly a huge black touring car marked with big letters, "P.D.N.Y.," shot past.
"Joy-riding again in one of the city's cars," I remarked. "I thought the last Police
Department shake-up had put a stop to that."
"Perhaps it has," returned Kennedy. "Did you see who was in the car?"
No, but I see it has turned and is coming back."
"It was Inspector--I mean, First Deputy O'Connor. I thought he recognised us as he
whizzed along, and I guess he did, too. Ah, congratulations, O'Connor! I haven't had a
chance to tell you before how pleased I was to learn you had been appointed first deputy.
It ought to have been commissioner, though," added Kennedy.
"Congratulations nothing," rejoined O'Connor. "Just another new deal-election coming
on, mayor must make a show of getting some reform done, and all that sort of thing. So
he began with the Police Department, and here I am, first deputy. But, say, Kennedy," he
added, dropping his voice, "I've a little job on my mind that I'd like to pull off in about as
spectacular a fashion as I--as you know how. I want to make good, conspicuously good,
at the start--understand? Maybe I'll be 'broke' for it and sent to pounding the pavements
of Dismissalville, but I don't care, I'll take a chance. On the level, Kennedy, it's a big
thing, and it ought to be done. Will you help me put it across?"
"What is it?" asked Kennedy with a twinkle in his eye at O'Connor's estimate of the
security of his tenure of office.
O'Connor drew us away from the automobile toward the stone parapet overlooking the
railroad and river far below, and out of earshot of the department chauffeur. "I want to
pull off a successful raid on the Vesper Club," he whispered earnestly, scanning our
"Good heavens, man," I ejaculated, "don't you know that Senator Danfield is interested
"Jameson," interrupted O'Connor reproachfully, "I said 'on the level' a few moments ago,
and I meant it. Senator Danfield he--well, anyhow, if I don't do it the district attorney
will, with the aid of the Dowling law, and I am going to beat him to it, that's all. There's
too much money being lost at the Vesper Club, anyhow. It won't hurt Danfield to be