Tales of Chinatown by Sax Rohmer

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Page 2

The Jew's expression changed subtly, and beneath his drooping
lids he glanced aside at the speaker. Then:

"It's no promise," he said, "but what do you know?"

Poland bent farther over the table.

"Chinatown's being watched again. I heard this morning that Red
Kerry was down here."

Cohen laughed.

"Red Kerry!" he echoed. "Red Kerry means nothing in my young
life, Jim."

"Don't 'e?" returned Jim, snarling viciously. "The way he
cleaned up that dope crowd awhile back seemed to show he was no
jug, didn't it?"

The Jew made a facial gesture as if to dismiss the subject.

"All right," continued Poland. "Think that way if you like. But
the patrols have been doubled. I suppose you know that? And
it's a cert there are special men on duty, ever since the death
of that Chink."

Cohen shifted uneasily, glancing about him in a furtive fashion.

"See what I mean?" continued the other. "Chinatown ain't healthy
just now."

He finished his whisky at a draught, and, standing up, lurched
heavily across to the counter. He returned with two more
glasses. Then, reseating himself and bending forward again:

"There's one thing I reckon you don't know," he whispered in
Cohen's ear. "I saw that Chink talking to Lala Huang only a week
before the time he was hauled out of Limehouse Reach. I'm
wondering, Diamond, if, with all your cleverness, you may not go
the same way."

"Don't try to pull the creep stuff on me, Jim," said Cohen
uneasily. "What are you driving at, anyway?"

"Well," replied Poland, sipping his whisky reflectively, "how did
that Chink get into the river?"

"How the devil do I know?"

"And what killed him? It wasn't drowning, although he was all
swelled up."

"See here, old pal," said Cohen. "I know 'Frisco better than you
know Limehouse. Let me tell you that this little old Chinatown
of yours is pie to me. You're trying to get me figuring on
Chinese death traps, secret poisons, and all that junk. Boy,
you're wasting your poetry. Even if you did see the Chink with
Lala, and I doubt it-- Oh, don't get excited, I'm speaking
plain--there's no connection that I can see between the death of
said Chink and old Huang Chow."

"Ain't there?" growled Poland huskily. He grasped the other's
wrist as in a vise and bent forward so that his battered face was
close to the pale countenance of the Jew. "I've been covering
old Huang for months and months. Now I'm going to tell you
something. Since the death of that Chink Red Kerry's been
covering him, too."

"See here!" Cohen withdrew his arm from the other's grasp
angrily. "You can't freeze me out of this claim with bogey
stuff. You're listed, my lad, and you know it. Chief Inspector
Kerry is your pet nightmare. But if he walked in here right now
I could ask him to have a drink. I wouldn't but I could. You've
got the wrong angle, Jim. Lala likes me fine, and although she
doesn't say much, what she does say is straight. I'll ask her
to-night about the Chink."

"Then you'll be a damned fool."

"What's that?"

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 5th Jun 2020, 21:16