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Mike Flannery On Duty and Off   By: (1869-1937)

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First Page:


On Duty and Off



Illustrations by Gustavus C. Widney

New York Doubleday, Page & Company


[Illustration: " 'Pho e nix!' Is it a man's name, I dunno? "]






"'Pho e nix!' Is it a man's name, I dunno?" (Frontispiece)

"''Tis well enough t' say kape it, but cats like thim does not kape very well'"

"'I will tell you what it is,' said Mr. Gratz"

"Her pencil was delicately poised above the ruled page"



They were doing good work out back of the Westcote express office. The Westcote Land and Improvement Company was ripping the whole top off Seiler's Hill and dumping it into the swampy meadow, and Mike Flannery liked to sit at the back door of the express office, when there was nothing to do, and watch the endless string of waggons dump the soft clay and sand there. Already the swamp was a vast landscape of small hills and valleys of new, soft soil, and soon it would burst into streets and dwellings. That would mean more work, but Flannery did not care; the company had allowed him a helper already, and Flannery had hopes that by the time the swamp was populated Timmy would be of some use. He doubted it, but he had hopes.

The four thirty two train had just pulled in, and Timmy had gone across to meet it with his hand truck, and now he returned. He came lazily, pulling the cart behind him with one hand. He didn't seem to care whether he ever got back to the office. Flannery's quick blood rebelled.

"Is that all th' faster ye can go?" he shouted. "Make haste! Make haste! 'Tis an ixpriss company ye are workin' fer, an' not a cimitery. T' look at ye wan w'u'd think ye was nawthin' but a funeral!"

"Sure I am," said Tommy. "'Tis as ye have said it, Flannery; I'm th' funeral."

Flannery stuck out his under jaw, and his eyes blazed. For nothing at all he would have let Timmy have a fist in the side of the head, but what was the use? There are some folks you can't pound sense into, and Timmy was one of them.

"What have ye got, then?" asked Flannery.

"Nawthin' but th' corpse," said Timmy impudently, and Flannery did do it. He swung his big right hand at the lad, and would have taught him something, but Timmy wasn't there. He had dodged. Flannery ground his teeth, and bent over the hand truck. The next moment he straightened up and motioned to Timmy, who had stepped back from him, nearly half a block back.

"Come back," he said peacefully. "Come on back. This wan time I'll do nawthin' to ye. Come on back an' lift th' box into th' office. But th' next time "

Timmy came back, grinning. He took the box off the truck, carried it into the office, and set it on the floor. It was not a large box, nor heavy, just a small box with strips nailed across the top, and there was an Angora cat in it. It was a fine, large Angora cat, but it was dead.

Flannery looked at the tag that was nailed on the side of the box. "Ye'd betther git th' waggon, Timmy," he said slowly, "an' proceed with th' funeral up t' Missus Warman's. This be no weather for perishable goods t' be lyin' 'round th' office. Quick speed is th' motto av th' Interurban Ixpriss Company whin th' weather is eighty four in th' shade. An', Timmy," he called as the boy moved toward the door, "make no difficulty sh'u'd she insist on receiptin' fer th' goods as bein' damaged. If nicissary take th' receipt fer 'Wan long haired cat, damaged.' But make haste. 'Tis in me mind that sh'u'd ye wait too long Missus Warman will not be receivin' th' consignment at all. She's wan av th' particular kind, Timmy."

In half an hour Timmy was back. He came into the office lugging the box, and let it drop on the floor with a thud.

"She won't take no damaged cats," said Timmy shortly.

Mike Flannery laid his pen on his desk with almost painful slowness and precision. Slowly he slid off his chair, and slowly he picked up his cap and put it on his head... Continue reading book >>

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