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Death Makes A Mistake   By:

Death Makes A Mistake by P.F. Costello

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[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories January 1943. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: Mr. Demise had Reggie Van Fiddler's name in his book, but Reggie didn't want to be on any list, so he set out to correct the mistake!]

When Reggie Van Fiddler sauntered into the cool somber depths of the Midland Club's lobby, he was feeling in an exceptionally amiable mood. There was a song in his heart and a bland, dreamily vague smile on his long, narrow face.

This state of blissful tranquility could be attributed to the fact that Reggie's tan and white shoes were taking him directly toward the Club Bar, where he planned to while away the day sipping various long, cool drinks. And Reggie was always happy when the immediate future held the prospects of a drink.

He nodded brightly to a uniformed attendant.

"Glorious morning, isn't he?" he said.

"It was a glorious morning," the attendant corrected politely.

Reggie looked blankly at a clock on the wall and a puzzled frown spread over his equine features.

"Well, well," he muttered, shaking his head, "how'd that happen?" He sauntered on toward the bar, nibbling at a hang nail. The morning had slipped away from him somehow. Here it was two o'clock in the afternoon already. It was quite a blow.

He remembered then that he had slept until twelve thirty and he brightened considerably. That explained it. Whistling merrily he strode on into the dim cool bar, with its heavy brown fixtures and solid atmosphere of masculinity.

The bartender set up his usual drink and with knowledge born of long experience, immediately began the preparation of a second.

Reggie sipped his drink and relaxed.

For several moments he stood at the bar, lazily contented, his brain slowed to about one revolution per minute. Finally he happened to glance toward the end of the bar and he noticed a small, dark, narrow eyed man watching him closely.

Reggie smiled uncertainly and returned to his drink. The dark man at the end of the bar was the only other customer and Reggie knew that he was not a member of the club, for he had never seen him before in his life.

Reggie finished his drink and when the bartender set another before him he glanced again toward the end of the bar. The little dark man was still there, regarding him, it seemed, with a steady fixed stare.

Reggie coughed nervously and gulped his drink. There was something in the dark little man's beady eyed gaze that disturbed him. He had another quick drink and peeked from the corner of his eye at the little dark man.

There was something sinister about the chap, he felt sure. Reggie was the owner of an extremely lurid imagination and now, warmed by the glow of alcohol, he began to envision all sorts of wild possibilities.

After his fourth drink he was certain that the man was an Axis agent. Just why an Axis agent would be staring at him he had no idea, but he still felt sure the man was a Nazi.

Reggie finished his drink and set the glass on the bar. Then he casually sauntered toward the door. A few paces from the room's only exit, he paused and under the pretense of inspecting a faded sports print on the wall, sneaked a quick glance at the dark little man.

The dark little man was still staring at him with narrowed, shaded eyes.

Reggie yawned ostentatiously and inched closer to the door. He was going to make a break for it, but it would have to be fast and clever. His heart was pounding with more gusto than usual and there were bright spots of excitement in his pale cheeks. This new role of dodging the Gestapo appealed enormously to his comic strip sense of melodrama.

Headlines popped before his mind's eye.


From what he was going to escape he wasn't quite sure, but he felt that the details would be in the body of the news story... Continue reading book >>

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