The morning dawned and the night had passed peacefully.
Bert woke up first and immediately afterwards a stranger. He now looked quite refreshed and let his gaze wander around the room – on the floor of which Big Bob and Handsome Harry were snoring racing while a third stranger stood and looked at him with calm, kind gazes. The stranger rubbed his eyes and looked once more at the turn of each of the three, then said in a faint voice:
– Where I am? What has happened? Ah! Now I remember! Snakes!
Rattlesnakes in a woman’s tin box.
– I’m sorry, sir! What kind of woman are you talking about? said Bert.
– The woman in the game cave. About him with eyes and rattlesnakes.
This sounded promising to the policeman and gave him the opportunity to investigate in this locality. Bert then replied:
– If you can handle it, we will take the questions in order. And then after we get acquainted. My name is Bert Brand, perhaps better known as Arizona Bert and…
– No, what do you say! Arizona Bert! Indeed, I have had double luck. Now they get to see.
– Excuse me, what’s your name?
– I apologize! I’m Dennis Morgan and …
– Whatever you say! Perhaps Gerald Morgan’s brother and…
– That’s right. Maybe you know him?
– Only from hearsay. He is, or rather, was a great businessman in Vancouver.
– Millionaire, sir!… But then there was an accident. He had a cold and got into a bed of illness. After recovering, he was advised to travel to a warmer atmosphere. And that way he has been lost. Police-Man, I followed in his footsteps FRISCO here.
– Or so, are you a cop too? said Bert with even greater interest.
– I’m actually Notario secret police, and studied the psychology of crime while engaging in medical studies. – But here I had to do just that shortages, which I have tried to resist all existing tarjona means. A terrible adventure, sir, who was on the verge of paying my life, just as I was doing my greatest service to humanity.
“You have to tell us more,” Bert said. Terrible adventure, you said?
– Yes, very terrible, worse than I could have dreamed and so diabolical that it probably shouldn’t be equal.
From Arizona Bert, hardened by all sorts of adventures, it sounded perhaps exaggerated. But in any case, he listened with growing interest as the narrator continued:
– If it hadn’t been for my brother, I might never have surrendered to this adventure. But because I am now begun and I have a double reason to go, I really did not let it go grip, whatever the cost. In short, I must first and foremost retaliate on behalf of my brother.
After telling all the things we already know, the stranger remained silent, but
– Is it absolutely certain that your brother is dead?
– As far as I know, everyone refers to it. He has fallen into the hands of the same villains as I do. He liked playing poker. Whether losing or winning was almost indifferent to him. But he was fiery and hated all deceit. He has probably noticed that it was played wrong and so it was done. He’s gone anyway. Maybe he’s the victim of those damn rattlesnakes too… But wait!
Mr Morgan had risen. He stood with his hands clenched in a fist and looked like he wanted to start right away. But weak he fell to bed again and could only groan:
– You have to help me, Mr. Brand! But first, let me know how I have had to come here. Everything feels like a dream to me since I came to the street and heard a bullet whistling in my ears.
Bert recounted what had happened in the “Heart of the Prairie” and how everyone was trying to get a reward for finding Gerald Morgan.
– Stupidity, nonsense!… The police are stupid as usual…
That announcement should never have been made public.
– I agree! But now it has been spread across America.
– Of course! And the villains take the opportunity to sweep their footprints. But listen… One impulse…
– Well, let it be heard!
– Can you get one body?
– To the body?
– Yes, one that would fit my clothes, the ones I have now that I get to be able to play my part better. I wanted to provoke the villain in horror, as I have done, perhaps, but, unfortunately, to the detriment of myself.
– And your whim?
– Yes, then in the room. It will be worn in my clothes. This gives the impression that it is I myself managed to leave the poker room window, but died due to poison the street. There I will be found, buried and…
“But the face,” Bert said, smiling at this insane whim. In terms of clothing, everything is fine, but all the other hallmarks?
The cop-doctor had to admit Arizona Bert was right. He said, sighing:
– Do you know any other way to convince them that I am no longer among the living?
– The simplest is often the best. I saw the river outside the city. It descends into the torrential Rio Verde. – Well, you have wanted to take a bath in the river in your fever and you have drowned. The clothes are on the beach, but your body has taken power. Is it valid?
– Arizona Bert, I don’t know how to thank you!
– Nothing commendable. I want to catch the crowd just as much as I want to. I know them from the days of the game cave they held in Denver, where four men disappeared into cadres. I followed a crowd to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where three more people from the best hotels disappeared. Then my doubts led me here. Thank you, the impression now seems clear. And I think I’ve seen them closer.
– Whatever you say! Tell me!
Bert described the two men in the tavern, the gray-haired one and the Malay. Mr Dennis Morgan exclaimed:
– Exactly the same! All that is missing is a woman and a cursed Negro.
– I will have the pleasure of getting to know them soon.
– But you have to promise me one thing.
– Let it hear!
– The fact that imprisonment is left to me – because of my brother. You are just ready to help. And this time I’m not caught by me, they are.
– After all, the company would not hurt, said Bert inches. But have you thought they might have more rattlesnakes? It has emerged that five people have recently been found dead in that way. Two in Denver, three in Santa Fe… Probably the victims of the crowd too, because such bites are otherwise unexplained in the middle of the cities, especially in Denver.
– Well, Mr Brand! Just arrange drowning and clothes so that I think I’m gone forever. Report it to The Phoenix Tribune. Other than dancing. All the easier when I now feel the apartment and first of all the impending danger.
– How are you going to get in.
– Dressed in disguise. – I let myself be enticed to play – I pretend to be “green” and in the middle of a flattery the right strikes them like thunder – when I give them a signal that the moment is at hand.
“However, I would advise you to give up your inch,” Bert said, for I am afraid that psychology and the like will not be drawn to these main pirates. – You have to watch out for rattlesnakes a second time – maybe other traps we don’t know yet. For my part, I would definitely advise you to give up.
But Mr Dennis Morgan was stubborn. He wanted to avenge himself on behalf of his brother. And yet, when Bert already knew where to find what he was looking for, he finally said:
– As you wish, sir! As long as I just don’t come too late.
– You and your people are ready in the garden. No more are needed. The least police officers in this city. All the way down the fire escape I talked to you about, it’s easy to rush in when I give the signal. And I promise it will belong.
– How? Maybe you shot?
– If only you get the chance.
– Be sure. Revolver inside the vest. The pressure and the point is clear.
– Yes, in the speech it sounds simple, as long as it is not much more difficult in practice.
– Not at all. I have nimble fingers with the medicine man. Now just take care of the notice once you’ve first placed my clothes on the riverbank. Then get me a tuxedo, loose hair and a couple of mustaches, and that’s all.
Well, Bert had his own thoughts on this way to get among the hardened criminals, but it seemed to help other than give the lost brother a try. He himself decided with both of his assistants to try asparagus, as well as he could if the net were to break down.
But if Arizona Bert had known that she herself would be in perhaps the worst of her life in this game – and that the game might still have been lost, she would certainly have taken a different approach.
Then a suit, a fake hair, a mustache, and other necessary items were procured. The matter was arranged on the river and an announcement was made in the magazines. And so it was all ready.
Arizona Bert was armed with help. Disguised Morgan – still so well disguised that his own mother would not have known him either – was once again ready to make another visit to the “Rattlesnake Cave” as he called the game nest.
As said, he disguised himself, dressed and took what he thought he needed. Remarkably, his money had not been looted and he was well equipped for the game, even for a high game. And he would play with those villains in two senses so they would never forget it.
Bert would just wait for a token shot. Then he would rush with his men and after that it would be clear soon. Everything would go as if on paper or as per the program. It does go through theaters and novels, but in living life, power often happens differently.
That evening, Mr. Morgan was again in front of a mysterious house on the main street of the Arizona capital. But now no one could have thought of him as more of Mr Muley looking for the place of the bouncer than of psychologist, police officer and doctor Mr Dennis Morgan.
He looked around carelessly, was already in the yard of the game house, and was just about to leave when the door opened and a gray-haired man dressed in a silk hat and otherwise at least as fine as a stranger came out.
He greeted this politely and said:
– The Lord seems to be a stranger in town, right?
Mr Morgan replied with an amended vote:
– Correct. That’s right, sir! I’m looking for a suitable hotel. I come from Frisco to look around here a little. But God knows there isn’t much to see here. I guess you don’t know the accommodation on the right for a couple of days.
At the fastest hour, my eyes on the abuser Full Hand-Fred – therefore called because he always had a hand full of good cards when they were most needed – were guests and said:
– Coincidentally, I too am a guest in town, but so far I have rented this house and yes I can hand over to you a couple of rooms, as well as give food to someone once a day, unless otherwise required.
“You do me a great service,” Morgan said. – I am an engineer Sam Peters, Frisco.
– I am koroillaeläjä Fred Folson, palvelukseksenne. Maybe I will get permission to take you in right away and introduce me to my wife and cousin? They become as happy as I am when they get variation in this loneliness. Both are in love with a small game. Tahi maybe the gentleman is not playing at all?
– Passionately. What else would you do on long journeys in secluded places? Unfortunately, for business reasons, I have to stay here all week.
– Just like me. Step inside!
The polished cheater politely opened the door to a dangerous trap — shining with satisfaction at having caught a catch that seemed to catch on a hook like the dumbest fish.
In the hall, a giant Negro was encountered who turned on an electric light and both gentlemen walked up the stairs covered with carpet, after which the guest was taken to two so-called guest rooms to clean up after the trip. When he was done, he had to come to the Salon to be introduced.
Left alone, Morgan couldn’t help but laugh.
This reception was quite different from when he had come to look for a place. He had apparently played his part perfectly. He was very pleased with himself.
– What do you say about that? asked Full-Handed Fred as he encountered a snake enchanter in the room next to the hall who had just read the newspaper.
– What do you say about this? said the woman pointing to the news.
Fred read it and exclaimed: Damn! He’s overwhelmed! Excellent!
Now we can boldly start again.
But the woman replied:
– Fred! You are a cattle! The news is a lie. Now it’s only getting hot. He is not overwhelmed any more than I am. Joll’et now playing first class, so we’ll get caught. We have never sat as empty-handed as we do now.