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The Saguache Crescent
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May 14, 1942     The Saguache Crescent
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May 14, 1942
 

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THE SAGUACHE CRESCENT _...... y y SYLv,A TAVLO J~eepts seereta~inl position in night dlb and falls in love with tin handsome pn~?rietor, Karl Miller. Her sister, 8yb- Ii, Suspects Karl's moUves and is not mollified when he also gets her new Paul IBlerman, club manager, wJwn8 Joan about Karl but she defends Mm to bo~ Paud and Sybli. Delivering mysterious message for Karl to a tramp Jteamer, she finds Paul secretly foflowing her. He esseues her from Erie 8from, KarPs pro-trier, when Erie tries to Ida lug. Karl shoots and kills Erie in Ishe calls U~ Italics. He admits "he is German, and part of a SPY ring. To Imr surprise, Paul bachs him up. At her home that night, Paul enters througb the window and reveals himself as Paul O'MaUey of the FBI. Knowing her finger- printe were on the gun Karl made her ldch up, he had to side with him tempo- rm.lly, he explained, as this work was more important than their lives. Joan is sickened by the reveinUou that Karl also wife in Germany. Sybil disappears. Now eontlnms with the story. CHAPTER X One-thirty and still Sybil had not Come home. What had she meant by that note saying "something ter- rible had happened?" "She never trusted Karl." Joan spoke fearfully. Paul was looking out of the win- dow. "He's not there now. What- ever happened to Sybil had nothing to do with Karl personally. He hasn't been out of sight all eve- ning. Of course there are plenty of others working with him." "Karl said that everyone at the Club Elite was involved. Is that true?" "'I'm afraid so. Karl is too clever to take any chances." "But what does he actually do?" Paul thrust his hands into his pockets and stared at the fire. "I'm not sure of all his activities and I have no proof, but he is suspected of transferring plans of bombing planes and munition plants to other foreign agents. He's working with someone else, of course." ""Remember that freighter Karl took me to and later sent me to with a pacl~age?" "Maybe establishing refueling bases for submarines." "Not herel" Joan cried. "No. Probably in the South At- lantic. I don't know yet." Joan sighed. "l always wanted adventure but I certainly didn't ex- pect it to take th/s form." "'I'm sorry you got in so deep," Paul told her very seriously. "'It's my own fault. You tried to warn me, so did Sybil . . ." Their eyes met. Two o'clock and Sybil was still out. "I'm going," Paul said, rising, "and you'd better get some sleep. I'll be by for you at one-thirty. Karl's orders, you know." He smiled grimly. "It's fortunate for both of us." ~'I'm~not going to bed until Syb comes," Joan insisted. "Oh, yes you arel You need your sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. You've got to be click- iug on all cylinders. Both our lives are at stake. You can't afford to make a slip. If Karl ever finds out, we'll end up just like Eric." "Don't say thatl Oh Paul, I've been such a fool. I loved him..." He patted her shoulder. "We all make mistakes," he said comfort- ingly. When he had gone she tried to obey his instructions. She went to bed and tried to sleep. But the grandfather's clock had chimed three, then three-thirty before she slept, a fitful doze. It was a little after six when she awoke. "Sybill" she called hysterically, but there was no reply. Her sister's bed was untouched. Joan got up, shivering in the cold of the December morning; She went into the kitchen and made a pot of coffee. What had happened to Sybfl?' "'I've got to keep my head," she thought desperately, pouring the coffee with shaking hands. "But I feel so helpless.'" At one-thirty Paul arrived and took Joan to the Club Elite. "Now remember," he said as he parked the car, "we're not friends. Ignore me. And watch your step." "I'll do my best," Joan said grim- ly. But it was not easy to walk into this office, to see Karl sitting at his desk with the familiar red car- nation in his buttonhole, the ~ame smile that had once endeared him to her. With shaking hands she re- moved her hat and coat and sat down at her desk. "'Paul tells me you have decided to be sensible," Karl commented. "What else can I do?" She paused for a moment, then burst out, "What have you done tomy sister?" Karl regarded her with apparent xm'pz~ise. "Sister? What do you mean ? ' ' "She didn't come home all night." Karl Miller shrugged and smiled. "What makes you think I had any- thing to do with it? I have no inter: eat in your sister." "You know what I mean . . ." "Let us get on with our work," Karl said. Joan managed to con- trol her resentment, and obeyed. The afternoon finally dragged to a conclusion, At six Paul Sherman appeared and he and Karl had a short conversation in German. after Karl left. "I'm taking you to dinner," Paul said, "Karl's orders." Joan laid the dazzling emerald before Karl without speaking and Karl put it in his pocket as if it had been s slip of paper. Without a word Joan got her coat and they left the club. Safe in a small restaurant, she asked, "What about Sybfl? Have you heard anything?" "Not a word. And I can't ask Karl. It's too much of a chance." "But we have to do something," Joan pleaded. "Wait until tomorrow and see what happens." Paul smiled grimly. "It amuses ~ne the way Karl trusts me. Even the most clever criminals make one fatal mistake. This is his." "You really think he trusts you now?" "Yes. And since he does, he is m~re to reveal something." "And all this trouble started be- cause I wouldn't take Sybfl's ad- vice." As Joan picked up her purse she remembered the ring Karl had giv- en her. It was in its velvet box in her purse where she had placed it this morning. She had completely forgotten to return it. Karl did not seem to care particularly whether she did or not. "It's probably stolen anyway," Joan thought bitterly as Paul took her back to the club. Joim laid the dazzling emerald be- fore Karl without speaking and Karl put it in his pocket as if it had been a slip of paper. Joan wanted to scream, to pour out her anger. But she suspected that it would only amuse him. Karl actually seemed to think that she would return to their former re- lationship. "You loved me yester- day," he reminded her. "What is so different?" "You can force me to work for you--that's alll" Joan told him, her green eyes blazing. Had she ever loved this cruel, conceited man? An hour later Paul Sherman ap- peared again and said something to Karl in his own language. Joan noticed that Paul did not look at her, but she felt a personal importance in those guttural words even though she could not understand them. Karl smiled as he turned to her but there was warning in his eyes. "There are two officers here to see you, Joan. I believe they have news of your sister." s "The policel'" In an instant Joan was on her feet. "Something about Sybil," Karl re- peated calmly, but his eyes warned her not to make a false move. Joan risked a glance at Paul. It seemed to her that he shook his head ever so slightly. He was try- ing to tell her not to take any chances. "All right," Karl snapped. "Show them in." Paul disappeared. When the door opened as he left, Joan could hear the music and laughter from the front of the club. Christmas gayety! How could these people laugh and be merry? How could they be so unaware of the drama that went on in that back office? "Watch your step," Karl advised. "If you say anything, you will be the loser, I warn you. I will not hesitate to use all the cards I hold. Shall we put it that way?" Her green eyes filled with tears. "Don't worryl Sybil is all I'm think- ing about now." Paul returned with two officers. "Sorry to bother you, Mr. Miller." "Not at all," Karl replied gra- ciously. "Tell me," Joan cried, "is it some- thing about my sister? What's hap- pened to her?" "We're not sure it's your sister, Miss Leland. We want you to come down to headquarters and identify the clothes." "Clothes? You mean . . . oh, not" Her voice rose to a scream. "Take it easy now," the officer advised. "We're not sure." "Tell me," Joan begged. "Where did you find them?" "A woman's garments were found on the Golden Gate Bridge--a coat, shoes and a handbag with a letter addressed to your sister. Apparent- ly it was suicide." "Suicide? Sybll would never do a thing like thaH" "Maybe she didn't. Maybe she Just wants yOU to think so, "But we called up her employer, Mrs. Murdock, and she said she hadn't shown up for work." Joan's eyes were upon Karl ,You had son~ething to do with the," her eyes accused. For one moment she was tempted to pour out the whole story of the spy ring, to scream her accusations, but Paul was at her side now, grasp- ing her firmly by the arm, and the pressure told her to be silent. Karl was saying, "I'm terribly sorry, Joan. You may go with the officers. Paul will go with you and see that you get home safely." "Thanks!" Joan flung the word into his expressionless face. All the way to headquarters Joan prayed that all this might be a mis- take-that those clothes found on the Golden Gate Bridge were not Sybil's. It could not be Sybfl! Her sister had said she would "be back soon." Was that indicative of md- cide? But when she was faced with the coat, shoes and handbag she knew there was no mistake. "Yes. These are my sister's," she told them tonelessly. There was a sympathetio silence as an officer removed the clothes and letter. "Do you know of any reason why your sister should have done this?" "No." Joan wanted to cry but the tears would not come. A great pain welled up inside her. Sybill Sybil was all she had in the world! She felt the floor swaying beneath her. She clung to the table. "Poor kid!" Paul was saying as he helped her into a chair. Some- one else brought a glass of water. "It's almost impossible to recov- er a body from that part of the bay," one of the men was saying. "Of course we'll do all we can but the tide is so strong . . :" "Stop it!" Joan screamed. "I tell you my sister didn't kill herselfl I know she didn't!" She was speak- ing incoherently now. The officers leaned closer. "Just what do you mean, Miss Leland?" Paul came to the rescue. "Miss Leland is hysterical. It's only nat- ural. This has been a terrible shock, of course. Probably a good night's sleep will fix her up. Why not let me take her home? She's had enough for one night." "Sure," the officer said sympa- thetically. "Go ahead." Paul led the trembling figure down the cold marble hall and into the street. Joan could not have stood without his support. "why didn't you let me tell them?" She asked over and over. "Paul, you know Karl had some- thing to do with this." "We can't prove it," he reminded her kindly. "Our only chance to convict Karl of this, or anything else, is to be seemingly unsuspi- cious." They were driving home now, through the wet streets of San Fran- cisco. Wreaths shone from the win- dows of homes and apartments. Small Christmas trees- sparkled. Next week--Christmas. "Oh, Paul, I can't stand 'it!" "Listen, honey," he said tenderly, "I don't think Sybil committed sui- cide." "Then you think Karl is behind it?" "I wouldn't be surprised." "But where is Sybil? Has he...?" "As a matter of fact," Paul said thoughtfully, "I think Sybll is alive. Now this is pure theory, understand, but I think Karl is trying to put a scare into you. He's probably tak- en Sybfl away somewhere, but I don't think he's really "harmed her. He doesn't want to .take that much of a chance. He wants her as a hostage." "You mean," Joan said qlowly, "that Karl will someday tell me that Sybil is alive and threaten her life if I don't do as he asks?" "That's the way I have it figured." "As long as Sybll is alive, that's all that matters. Surely we can find out if we go on with Karl and he isn't suspicious." "Good girl," Paul approved as they drove up before her apartment. "If we work together, I think we can beat Karl Miller at b.m own game. He's bound to make a slip and when he does we'll have all the evidence, not only about SybU but his other activities. You'll stick it out, Joan?" (TO BE CONTINUED) N:~ght Club Patriot: MacArthur wasn't the only hero on Bataan Peninsula, as this story, just arrived, reveals. In the early days of the campaign, MacArthur summoned an engineer and asked: "How long will it take to throw a bridge across this stream?" "Three days," was the reply. "Good," snapped MacArthur. "Have your draftsman make draw- ings right away." Three days later, the General sent for the engineer and asked him how the bridge was coming. "It's all ready," was the answer. "You can send your men across now, if you don't have to wait for them pictures. They ain't done yetl" Meow! A catty actress visited the "Now, Voyager" set in H'wood and congratulated Iika Chase on her re- cent book. "I enjoyed it," she said. "Who wrote it?" "Darling," clawed Ilka, "I'm so glad you liked it. Who read it to you?" In Moore's the other dinner-time Eddie Cantor, Lou Holtz and Chico Marx were wondering about Ben Bernie. "Are things all right?" one of US queried. "Don't worry about Bernie," said an eavesdropper. "I happen to know that whether he works or not, he has an income of $22,000 a year." "Is that enough--the way he bets?" asked Chico. "Those who'll suffer," gagged a wag, "will be his relatives." From Variety: "Only three pic- tures have played five-week engage- ments at the Music Hall before 'Reap the Wild Wind.' They were 'Show Whi~e,' 'Rebecca,' 'Phila. Story' and 'Woman of the Year.' " Isn't show business bad enough without arithmetic like that? Harry Hopkins is supposed to have asked a Soviet big-shot: "How is it you purged so many Generals-- yet you're doing so well?" "In Russia," was the answer, "we executed the Fifth Columnists. In France they put them in the Cab- inet!" And over here they get on the staff of the hate sheets. John Gunther, the commentator- war correspondent, was interview- ing the head of a gov't bureau, who was complaining about the confu- sion, red tape, etc. "What do you really think ot Washington?" Gunther asked. "I think," he said, "it is an insane asylum l" "Oh, come now," Gunther ribbed, "that's a time-worn phrase." "You don't understand," said the man. "This is the most different kind of an insane asylum. It is run by the inmatesl" America's Assembly Line. America's assembly line is com- plete. It runs straight from the great heart of a free people to the hearts of ,their fearless fighters. The money streaming into our war bonds is already streaming out of the mouth of the cannon. The capitals of the enemy are pan- ickT. Dollar for dollar--wheel for wheel~and tank for tank--the en- emy is losing the battle of the fac- tories. Which means that man for man the enemy must give final ac- count on his own battlefield. He knows that more goes "rote a defense stamp than the 25 cents it costs. And that our men with their hammers are driving home more than rivets. The money pouring into the United States Treasury means Americans have no price on their liberty. Billions for defense means tanks against tyrants and bullets for bullies . American working- men are too busy to look up, but the smoking chimneys of their factories mean the smoking ruins of Berlin and:Tokyo. The American armament pro- gram, which includes 185,000 fight- ing planes, was called "fantastic" by Hitler in a radio speech. This is to report that our plane produc- tion will be even greater than Hitler fears. Midtown Melodrama: The col- yum's spy over at B. Altman's de- partment store .overheard this di. alogue the other afternoon: Lady Patron--Please charge it. Salesgirl- What is t,b,e name, please? Lady--Lillian Gish. Salesgirl--Would you please spell it? In Fewer Words: Vaudeville iS definitely making a comeback. The showmen obviously figured: If it's so successful in Congress it oughta be a cinch for Broadway. New York Heartbeat: The Big Parade: Detective J. Broderick, famed for his courage against gangsters, frightened stiff over appearing in a film depicting his career. Spurned an offer of $100,000 from $/IGM to stay dn the police force at $80 per week . Chet Shaw, new managing ed over at Newsweek. 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