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Read reviews that mention asphalt jungle burnett wrote city crime plan gus louis caper cobby dark operation classic cops girl cold double-cross driver emotions given men. Showing of 19 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. One of the great Noir novels that gets too little attention today, though a great movie was made from this starring Sterling Hayden an interesting actor and personality in his own right.
This follows a heist through setup to eventual downfall. The heist itself goes well, but as the band escapes one of them is wounded and everything goes south from there. Great action and dialogue and a compelling cast of characters, a classic double-cross and the eventual end where no one gets off for free. A great read and a must read for Noir buffs.
Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Very clear writing which kept my attention throughout. Crime doesn't pay, but you really aren't sure of that until the very end. I was only a freshman in HS when this book came out in and somehow missed it. No harm, no foul.
It is just as fresh now as it was then. Well written but movie was better. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase. I loved this novel It had the most fascinating characters ever brought together for one caper. It was very faithful to the movie version. It kept you gripped to its exciting conclusion. Great characters and storytelling.
One person found this helpful. See all 19 reviews. What other items do customers buy after viewing this item? A Novel Kindle Edition. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Not Enabled Screen Reader: Enabled Amazon Best Sellers Rank: I guess I can make it all right. Bring it in about noon, eh, boy? And kiss the bambino for Uncle Gus; and tell Maria hello.
What was he so happy about? Well, he was a struggling down-and-outer, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. Maybe his word was good. If Gus said so, it must be. Shivering, he hurried back into the bedroom. Maria was in bed. He paused a moment before he turned out the hall light and shut the door. Maria looked so lovely with her dark hair all over the pillow. She opened her eyes slowly and gazed at him. He switched off the hall light, shut the bedroom door, and got carefully back into bed. He lay for a moment shivering; then his body began to get warm and he turned his head to watch the rain slashing at the windows.
Here he was safe. Just as he was dropping off to sleep, an unpleasant thought began to nag at him! She was so innocent of wrong, it was a shame to fool her and lie to her. But on the other hand, why burden her with his worries and problems? But maybe that was soon enough. Or maybe his luck would hold. He was an expert trouble-shooter for a big electrical-appliance store. As a matter of fact, he made pretty good money at it; certainly enough to explain his modest way of life, and it gave him an excellent front.
The money he made in other ways, he stashed. Anyway, how could he approach Maria to tell her? Louis began to drift into sleep, but at that moment his small son made a brief coughing sound that brought Louis broad-awake at once, in spite of his constitutional lethargy, and he slipped out of bed and hurried over to the crib.
The damned kid was laughing in his sleep. In the living-room faint rumba music was coming over the radio. Riemenschneider looked about him with interest. Emmerich was apparently a wealthy man and one of the powers of this earth. The little doctor worshipped only three things: When Emmerich said nothing, he bowed again—lower, this time. Cobby eyed him sideways with contempt.
The Asphalt Jungle 39 Emmerich was a big man in his fifties. His iron-gray hair was thick and curly, his shoulders broad, his chest deep. He looked in good trim except for a slight sagging of the flesh around his jowls. The dinner coat he was wearing was a very expensive one, beautifully tailored; and Riemenschneider did not miss it. He had a real eye for sumptuousness of any kind, though he preferred to spend his own money on women. He smiled and moved and gestured like an adolescent.
Yet his gray eyes were sad and wary with faint brown pouches under them, and from time to time he sighed unconsciously as if from world weariness. He looked, talked, and breathed money; and the little doctor muttered to himself: He noted the weariness, the anxiety to make an impression, the false joviality. What was worrying this big, successful man? Something, he was positive. It might be love—sex. At fifty odd, that could be more dangerous than anything else.
The little doctor probed in silence as they sat by the cheerful fire in the cardroom. Cobby gnawed on his cigar, sipped his whisky, and silently hated the little doctor for his fawning manner, althought he himself felt far from at ease. Something about Emmerich always made him jumpy and dissatisfied. This was hard for his ego to take.
Emmerich cleared his throat impressively and lighted one of his huge Cuban cigars, which were made specially for him and cost a buck fifty apiece. No more Berlin, though. This time Emmerich ignored him. Polite conversation was now at an end, the little doctor realized. The great man was ready for business. And with a record of never in forty years having a robbery. They have gone to sleep. For amateurs, an impossible task. The little doctor shrugged and raised his hands in an expansive gesture.
Something always slips—especially with the big ones. Take my word for it. I just came out of prison. Of course, we may have to do a little checking—as the plan is some years old. But not much, Mr. The main problems are: This is how my friend Joe Cool sees it. One third to you, Mr. One third for Joe, to be held in trust. They merely follow out orders, and then we pay them off like house-painters. They will be told nothing about the size of the take. In fact, it would be a good idea to minimize it.
Sometimes men get greedy. We need an expert toolman. And then, as always—sad to say—we need a hooligan. Joe has already suggested a toolman—Louis Bellini. Maybe twenty-five thousand dollars. Could he manage it without letting anyone know what a desperate financial state he was in? He began to sweat a little, and his hands grew cold. That is always the danger. Too many of these fellows are drug addicts. Three months ago it would have been no problem at all. But unfortunately, Lefty Wyatt—a hooligan, by the way—saw fit to put several bullets in the best fence in the whole Middle West.
I knew Johnny Abate very well. Did business with him many years ago. His eagerness was increasing, and he could hardly contain himself. Where would the huge sum of money necessary to swing the full deal come from? Was it that he was merely itching to get his hands on a fortune in jewelry? Was he really considering double-crossing these men? Cobby was merely surprised by this strange turn of events. But Riemenschneider was a little worried and for the moment felt a certain distrust of this big, handsome, plausible man, who dressed so richly and was surrounded with all the evidence of great wealth.
Emmerich made up his mind suddenly and turned toward them. His hands were cold as ice, and his stomach felt painfully constricted. What he was about to say was costing him a great effort. But it had The Asphalt Jungle 44 to be said. This little German was far from a fool. Smiling easily, he spoke. Every man should stick to his own trade.
Will you see what you can find out about a fence, Cobb? But Riemenschneider was wondering, and sat rubbing his hand over his plump chin. There was a brief silence, and they all listened to the rain, which was beating at the windows with renewed fury. Cobby turned to the little doctor. And does this cash come off the top? The three shares are each thirty-three and a third per cent of the net.
He intended to get the fifty grand if he had to steal it from somebody or blackmail one of his lay clients—blackmail not being healthy with the underworld; or. But this was no time for caution. And that he owed the Federal Government nearly a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars in back taxes? Emmerich made a sudden movement as a thought struck him.
What an ass he was being! Why not handle the jewelry himself—not only handle it, disappear with it? Why had he backed down? They were always right—always! He was at the end of his rope. His present course could end in nothing but disaster—and weak, pusillanimous disaster at The Asphalt Jungle 45 that: Why not risk a real disaster—death!
Why not take the ultimate gamble? He turned and looked at the two men. He felt strong and composed now. One false link and we fail. Not actual value, because in no case would a fence give us more than fifty per cent. Let me see what I can do before you try to find a fence, Cobb. News of a deal like this travels fast. But I know some very big men, who might not be averse to a deal like this if properly approached. Then he bowed deprecatingly and spread out his hands in a gesture of appealing sadness.
Cobb will advance you anything you need—find you a place to stay, look after you. And it all goes on the expense sheet. I really ought to get some sleep. Emmerich had used him familiarly, unmistakably showing their intimacy to a stranger. Emmerich even shook hands with them and showed them to the door, where he said in parting: But give me a few days in regard to handling the jewelry.
Suddenly an idea struck him, and he hurried to the phone and dialed a number. After a long wait a sleepy and resentful voice said: I want you to collect it—and right away. In other words, a no-good, chiseling, low-down thug. Do I use polite methods or do I begin to kill people by nine tomorrow? All I want is results. The sixteen-year-olds are too smart.
He had the goods on you. For an assistant D. I ought to get something for my trouble. Now get busy, Bob. Uncle Sam and his revenuers— they want money. You got me so confused with your brilliant repartee and ripostes, Mr. He realized that he was jittery and that perhaps his judgment was not so good as usual.
No doubt about it—this assault on his debtors would cause a stir in certain circles of the city, and there would be gossip, speculation, repercussions. Suddenly he smiled to himself and, leaving the cardroom, he walked back toward the living-room. All such thinking was futile now.
There was no future to worry about; at least no future that had any connection with the city and his former life. He was going to cut himself adrift—and soon. Let them talk and speculate! The Asphalt Jungle 48 The radio was still playing softly in the living-room. A red-haired girl was lying asleep on one of the big couches, an opened movie magazine on the floor beside her. Emmerich paused and stood looking down at her for some time with marked indifference.
Then he shrugged and went toward the back of the house. He found Frank, the chauffeur, sitting at a table in the kitchen, drinking a bottle of beer and reading a morning newspaper. He started to rise, but Emmerich waved him back into his seat; then he went to the refrigerator, got himself a bottle of beer, opened it, and sat at the table with the chauffeur. Not to worry about me. A man can keep any kind of hours and get away with it. Emmerich heard the vague rumble of his voice as he talked on the phone, but he paid no attention. He was thinking about the red-haired girl. And now he was sitting here drinking his beer and wondering why in the hell he had done it.
She was a doll—no doubt about it—with beautiful hair and a lovely body, but, on close acquaintance, a lazy, ignorant, mercenary trollop. Then he finished his beer and got up just as Frank came back into the kitchen. Then he started back for the living-room, but turned.
He felt very sad about things in general and Mr. But look at them! Emmerich, old enough to be a grandfather, with a young red-haired girl—and a bum at that. What did he think he was doing? On his way back to the living-room Emmerich suddenly remembered how frantic his wife used to be when he was out late; how she worried, fumed, and fretted.
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And that brought him back again to Angela, the red-haired girl. Christ, what a name for her! He should have left her where he found her. She was a politely smiling, efficient hostess, minding her own business. But every man in the room, young and old, was eying her. And it was not only the flaming red hair: I carried her off—the big hero, envied by all entire males. Angela opened her eyes slowly, then turned to look at him. Her eyes were a yellowish brown—very unusual—and her lashes were long, curved, and black.
Now it seemed merely grotesque. There was no mistaking the anxiety in her voice. She was taking the offensive at once, trying to evade him, put him off—keep him out of her bed tonight without really making an issue of it. After all, as far as she knew, he was still loaded with what the boys vulgarly referred to as moo! Let me do that. Angela knelt down in front of him and in a few moments had his shoes off. Then she rose quickly and, leaning over him, kissed him on the top of his head. I know you love it for breakfast. Angela threw him a kiss and hurried down the hall and into her bedroom, shutting the door soundlessly and locking it.
Emmerich stretched out his sock feet, lit a big Cuban cigar, and sat staring into space. The rain had begun to slacken, and a heavy silence throbbed through the living-room. Emmerich was not used to being alone and he began to feel a little jumpy. Suddenly he realized that he was not enjoying his cigar, and this puzzled and worried him.
Cigars soothed him when all else failed. He put the cigar in an ash-tray, leaned his head back, shut his eyes, and tried to relax. For a moment he drifted into sleep then he woke with a start. He felt trapped, and began to sweat. The big gamble—that was it! It had struck him all at once when he was half asleep. It was no longer a matter of dollars and cents now, but of life and death.
The Asphalt Jungle 51 Chapter 8 It was just a few minutes before noon when Gus came out of his little cubbyhole of a bunkroom at the back of his hamburger joint. He felt groggy with sleep and irritable, and did not even say good morning to his helper, Mike Miklos, a big foggy-eyed Greek who always seemed blankly oblivious of what was going on around him and yet never missed a thing. A couple of hustlers from the poolroom across the street were eating at the counter; and a truck-driver was standing at the magazine rack, chewing away lustily at a king-size hamburger and stealing a look at the half-naked girls pictured in a movie magazine he had no intention of buying.
Gus threw him a hostile look, grunted when one of the hustlers said hello; then hitching up his sagging pants, he went to the door to take a look at the weather. Gus opened the door and sniffed the air, grimacing as if he preferred tobacco smoke and underdone hamburger; then he looked to see if Terry was on time—and sure enough he was. Knows how to get all the nooky he wants, too. Big Mike looked down at the cat with pleasure but merely grinned.
The truck-driver glanced up from his close study of female anatomy and was annoyed. I run over one every time I get a chance. But Gus picked up the cat, put him on the counter, and began to hand-feed him raw hamburger, which he ate daintily. I seen all the dames in it already. Want to make something of it? Giving the flabbergasted driver a push, he cried: One of the hustlers laughed inside the joint, and that seemed to unsettle him. The Asphalt Jungle 53 But as he made no move to come back, Gus stepped across toward him, carrying his hands low, his face livid.
Big Mike was now hand-feeding Terry, whose purrs sounded like the distant rumble of a motorboat. Then he went behind the counter and walked with Gus to the bunkroom beyond. Gus closed the door, then turned to Louis. But this Dix guy—bad medicine. But you might be wrong. You got my mitt on it. I need these fingers of mine in my business. Then a sudden thought struck him. Timmons, you know—the old wrestler. Well, a big boy blew in.
Something about a deal. There was a brief pause; then Gus had another thought. I got a hundred pounds triple A—hid, I mean. For my friends, and for me and Mike and Terry. Always in trying to pump me.
Louis continued to laugh. There were tears in his eyes, and he bent down to hold his sides. Gus had a faint rush of emotion. This was his pal. Slim, handsome, sharp-witted Louis, with his tailor-made clothes, his smile, and his little black book packed with the best telephone numbers in the district. Elegant little Louis—the irresponsible dance-hall Casanova. Now look at him, with the worry wrinkle between his eyebrows, the sober clothes, the responsible air—tight as a country banker and thinking about nothing but his family. Yet here he was laughing—as in the old days. Louis, of all people!
Suddenly Gus came to himself, sobered. I got to call Dix.
The Asphalt Jungle 56 Chapter 9 Lying on his face, Dix was sleeping heavily in spite of the sunshine streaming in through his bedroom windows and the traffic noises, very distinct in the rain-washed air, rising from the eastern end of busy Camden Boulevard West. He was dreaming, and in his dreams he was not the big, lanky, harsh-faced man with the sunken cheeks and the coldly blank dark eyes.
He was a slender boy, maybe thirteen; and his big, gangling grandfather, a former Morgan Raider, had just lifted him up onto the back of a tall black colt, which was sweating with fear and cussedness, prancing and sidling, waiting its chance to pitch the young rider into a fence. He was badly scared, his stomach had dropped away, and he was sweating as heavily as the colt, but his boyish mouth was grim and his face was expressionless.
Just as his grandfather turned the colt loose, he got a quick look at his father, who was leaning against a fence, holding his sides and laughing. In a flash young William Tuttle understood in his dreams he was never known as Dix: But in a little while they were laughing on the wrong sides of their mouths. The colt ran away with him, tried to scrape him off against trees, buck-jumped and pitched; but half an hour later young William Tuttle rode the colt back to the Jamieson place, tame as a cat, staggering with fatigue, and completely mastered.
And that night, when he was going up the stairs to bed, his grandfather said: The Asphalt Jungle 57 The facts, however, were a little different. The big black colt had pitched him into a fence on the first buck, and his father had prodded him with his foot and said: The snow was falling lightly over the cornfield—first snow of the year.
He and Lou Sally went out to gather pumpkins for Halloween. It was toward evening and dark; thin smoke was rising straight up from the farmhouse chimney. The sky was the color of slate, and a big, rayless red autumn sun was going down just beyond a rise in the flat farm land. Big, fat orangecolored pumpkins were scattered all over the field among the tall corn shocks. They bent down to cut one from the thick stem of the vine. All about them in the light fall of snow were the minute tracks of the little field mice. Then an alien feminine voice began to speak. He groaned and rubbed his eyes, shrinking from the necessity of facing the new day.
Somebody was talking on the phone in the next room—Doll! He had forgotten all about her. Groaning again, he reached down, picked up a bottle that was on the floor beside his bed, and took a long pull. Then he lay back and let the warmth of the whisky get to him. Doll hung up, then came and stood in the doorway. In a timid voice she said: He says you can come over any time. Now he could tell Cobby off, shove twentythree hundred in bills into his smug kisser—watch him crawl.
He turned to look at Doll, who was still hanging around the doorway. She was fully dressed in her hostess gown, which seemed sordidly cheap and shoddy in broad daylight. She had her coarse, dyed hair wound up anyhow, and she looked pretty old and tired. Dix turned his face away from her. Then she went on: Needs a good thorough cleaning—stinks, even. Dix, you need somebody to look after you. How can you stand to live like this? Always on the pitch—always trying to move in. He looked out the window and said nothing. People had stared at her in the little Italian market down the street because of her carelessly wound-up hair and her startling dress.
But she was far beyond worrying about such nonsense as that. Dix had to eat! A taxidriver, gnawing on a hamburger grade B, as he was known in the district and fairly well liked , kept watching the big yellow-eyed alley cat with something like fear. Terry turned with a mewing cry as Dix came up to the counter. Dix roughed him up a bit, and Terry, growling in his throat and flattening his ears, struck at Dix with his right front paw, a series of short, deft jabs like a good fighter.
And the taxi-driver laughed appreciatively, trying to get in good with strange little Gus and his big, tough-looking hick friend. But they both ignored him and went back into the bunkroom, where Gus took a roll of bills from his pocket and handed it over. Schemer came through, and I added the plant. I seen him go past in his car just after I called you.
How many guys can you think of offhand around the Square with credit up to twenty-five hundred? Dix was beyond him. Sometimes his ideas and reactions seemed grotesque. All the same, he was a right one, and to Gus that was the prime qualification. Only two kinds of people in the world: After a moment, Gus inquired: Looked Cobby right up.
Timmons said something about a deal. I think I saw him. I was in talking to Cobby. Little fat fellow—foreigner of some kind. A really big guy. Pulled a hundred-G take once. It was nothing to him. After a while Mike Miklos brought them back some coffee and grinned with deep pleasure when Dix patted him on the back. Dix was a puzzle to Cobby, and yet he was astute enough to feel pretty sure that after the brief but ugly wrangle of the night before, Dix would get the money some way—any way! Why was Dix so touchy?
Where did he come off, blowing a fuse merely because Cobby had suggested that when he got to the top figure of his credit—twenty-five hundred—not bad: Not a knocked-out heister, maybe hitting filling-stations or even rolling drunks. A point of honor? The mere idea—if it had occurred to him— would have sent Cobby off into bursts of sardonic laughter. How silly can you get? Come on in my office. The roll skidded across the shiny desk top, hung for a moment on the edge, then fell to the floor. Trying to make me look small in front of a little man I never saw before. Listen, do you think. I guess I was just looking for something to say.
You know how it is. To have a hooligan like Dix for an enemy was about the worst thing that could happen to a guy. These things come up. Maybe I had a slight load on. Maybe I was thinking about something else. All feeling of satisfaction had left him. Cobby was such small prey—no more guts than a little white mouse! Cobby noticed the hesitation and began to take heart.
Best you can buy, Dix. I save it for my very special friends. I ran into a kid who used to work for me. We got the best water in the country. Bending down, he picked up the roll of bills from the floor and handed it to Cobby, who took it gingerly, wanting to refuse but afraid to. Just as Dix raised his glass, there was a faint, almost deprecatory knock at the door; then the little doctor put his head in. Cobby grinned with relief. Meet a friend of mine—Dix Handley. Dix dropped it The Asphalt Jungle 64 at once. Neither one mentioned anything about seeing the other before.
They merely stood staring at each other. Cobby poured the little doctor a drink from the bottle of Scotch; then he said: A hundred per cent. With him I never worry. Delighted, Cobby joined them. Somehow it made them seem more intimate. And besides, hatless, Dix looked almost like another man and not nearly so formidable.
His forehead was rather high and somehow reassuringly ordinary. Without his corny-looking hat, the brim of which was too wide, Dix seemed as smoothly human as anybody Cobby could think of. At least, I spent a lot of time there. I even saw the inside of Moabit. You were in the World War. He was very thoughtful.
Maybe he had jumped to conclusions too fast about this big, farmerish man at their first meeting. Something dependable, was it? That was hardly the word with a man of this character. The little doctor gave it up, and yet he felt unaccountably drawn to Dix. Cobby brought him round with a question. A little cold-hearted mercenary girl. But what does one expect? Finally he decided to speak. It might be important. They meet a lot of people and they always talk. And what I asked her will slip that empty mind of hers in five minutes. There is half a million dollars at stake. I know he is your patron.
I know all that. He used to be quite a client. I only ask for information. Here was a pretty go! Emmerich is ruined, then I want to be ruined the same way. Why, the whole idea is so goddamned silly.
The Asphalt Jungle
He remembered his impressions of the night before: He decided to bide his time. If Emmerich was not on the level, Cobby knew nothing about it. Rieger had been talking on the phone to Commissioner Hardy for nearly half an hour. His big, harsh face was parchment-pale and beaded with sweat.
From time to time he reached out a shaking hand for a cigarette, which Tip Collins immediately jumped up to light. Was this the end of the world? To the coppers it seemed like it. How else could they explain what was happening before their eyes? John Rieger, for years the undisputed tyrant of the Camden Square district, visibly quaking, hopelessly abject.
Finally it was over. Rieger hung up slowly, like a condemned man whose reprieve has just been denied; then he began to look about him foggily, as if the world had receded and was now once more slowly coming back into focus. Suddenly he jumped up and shouted in a loud, hysterical voice: His mouth worked but no words came out. The coppers all sat in silence watching the leaves flutter down. Finally he sank down into his chair and said in a gruff, unhappy voice: I want to apologize for this childish exhibition. There is no way to kid that four-eyed little son-of-a-bitch in the City Building.
Who the hell knows? But we got to clear up those club robberies. Keep at it if it takes you all night. I want him back. Rieger swiveled round in his chair and sat staring thoughtfully at a big, flat-faced plain-clothes man who stood grinning uneasily. He was in a panic. Then it came to him, and he heaved a sigh of relief. They filed out silently into the anteroom. One of them, Carlson, had a sick wife and two kids with colds, and he had already received permission from Tip Collins to go home whenever he felt like it, but he said nothing about this to the Captain.
As soon as he was alone, Rieger put in a telephone call to his old friend the Chief of Police. He and Dolph Franc had been rookies together and had kept up their friendship through all the vicissitudes of promotions and police politics. Rieger wanted to talk over the Commissioner with Dolph, who hated the stiff-faced little man and could be very amusing on the subject. Rieger felt that such a conversation at this point would soothe his ruffled feelings.
Instead, he got a rude surprise. Rieger jumped up immediately and began to pace the floor. No trouble about the operating money—no trouble at all. Nothing to worry about there. But the man who was to finance and handle the actual deal after the business was concluded. It took managing, finagling. All was running smoothly. Emmerich went on and on! With his thin face screwed up, Cobby listened intently at the phone and tried to make some coherent sense out of this flood of words, which were delivered in such a way that they must mean something— and yet, what?
Was the deal on? Settled, all but a few details? Could they start getting the crew ready? Should they stand by? Worst of all, he turned from the phone just in time to face Riemenschneider, who had knocked delicately, as was his way, and then had come in. Going to call me tomorrow. Emmerich handled it, because that is the way Joe wanted it. If there are any hitches with Mr. If, by any chance, Mr. Emmerich might not be able to swing it. Cobby wanted to be rid of him. He turned with a slight leer and said: Is there another phone where I can.
Of course, the guy had done quite a stretch in the Walls, but on the other hand, he was probably fifty years old or better—hard to tell with him, like Dix. Cobby shook his head and observed to himself: Emmerich was pacing nervously up and down the book-lined study of his town house when the phone rang. He grabbed it up at once, eagerly, waited for a moment to see if anybody was going to lift a receiver at one of the extensions; then reassured, he answered it.
But as Cobby talked on, Emmerich turned pale; then he began to shake with nervousness. It would be the end of everything. Keep him in line. It will mean a lot of money to you. Evans, the butler, had just tapped at the open door. The Asphalt Jungle 73 Evans hesitated before he spoke, covertly studying his employer, who, with his usually well-combed gray hair on end, looked excessively irritable and ill-tempered. Emmerich had always been so kind and considerate. Emmerich was getting quite impossible. Huston will be here in a few minutes to see Mrs. As you were talking on the phone, I put him in the lounge.
He smiled, and suddenly he was transformed before the puzzled eyes of his butler, who stared, bewildered. Here was the old Mr. Show him in, will you, please? Emmerich was mixing a couple of highballs at the little study bar when Evans showed Brannom in, then withdrew. Brannom nodded moodily and sat down. He was a big young man in his early thirties; broad-shouldered and bulky about the chest, but with long, slim legs. His dark face was both swarthy and tanned, and his hazel eyes had a sad, tough look. His reputation was far from good. He was considered not only very tough and dangerous but crooked.
Emmerich had saved him from the clink by a great job of defense when his boss, the D. From time to time Brannom had some exceedingly strange propositions put to him, but none of them promising very much in the way of cash. Emmerich, none too astute at times in judging character, was not particularly impressed by Brannom one way or another.
They were talking automatically, both lost in their private thoughts. On the other hand, Brannom was depressed and had a hard lump in his solar plexus. Any of them dead yet? Emmerich shifted uneasily, trying to hide his nervousness. George Laughlin may come through with a couple grand this week—and on the other hand he may not. He looked old, pale, deflated.
His laugh was always a shock to people, especially women. Some lucky ones had been warned by it—in time. Tax guys can be stalled. Brannom paled slightly and sat forward in his chair. Resentment was gnawing at him. Not even the Honorable Alonzo D. The big boy was in a bad way—no doubt about it.
No man worth his salt ever let a femme put him over the jumps; it was always the other way around. His hands were shaking, but all at once his blank despair left him and his mind began to work with nervous rapidity. Take Brannom in with him—give him a cut.
It was silly trying to pull off this hundred-to-one shot alone. Brannom was full of larceny and knew all the angles. And maybe in an emergency like this, Brannom could figure out a way to raise fifty grand in a few days. He tossed off the drink, then sat down again. His composed face, his calmness, surprised Brannom, who studied him with open curiosity. There was a brief pause; then Brannom said: Brannom sat staring at the floor, his brow wrinkled, his eyes lowered.
Who could have figured it in a hundred years? A smooth and unscrupulous operator. He can dig up fifty grand without half trying. It would have saved him all this anguish. Now he had Brannom on his hands. Brannom was in to the bitter end now, smelling money—big money. Emmerich nodded, lit one of his Cuban cigars, then sat calmly considering why it had never occurred to him to take Cobby in. It was because he always thought of Cobby as an underling, a yes man, a dependent, a runner of errands, one who cleaned up after you.
Cobby was a prosperous bookie—yes. But it was hard to think of him as a prosperous anything. He was just one of the million—and a little fool to boot. Even if the thought had occurred to him, he might have brushed it aside because of the humiliation involved. If you sprung the double cross on him, his ears would whirl. Suppose we offer him ten thousand dollars and his money back. Twenty thousand for the use of his money for say. In a moment, Brannom raised his glass and said with a laugh: In spite of his uncertainty, he still felt a faint remainder of the glow that had suffused him at Mr.
Emmerich had broken out a bottle of extra dry Heidsieck Cobby had never heard of it before, but that was a minor detail ; and this fellow Brannom, a big, toughlooking boy with a bad eye on him, like Dix, had gone out of his way to be friendly and polite. He must have talked for an hour solid, and not one peep out of them. Why, he had two big houses full of gorgeous furniture, four cars, maybe half a dozen servants, and God knows what all!
But what deal, big or small, ever went absolutely as planned? As a rule you could cut the contemplated profit in half and still be toward the optimistic side. The Asphalt Jungle 79 And yet? It was sort of pleasing to be taken into the confidence of a guy like Mr. He was a real big boy—class. Why keep his participation a secret? Why was it necessary for the crew to think that Emmerich was furnishing the front money? Was this to keep the little doctor from worrying about the fate of Joe Cool?
Brannom said merely that it was none of their business who was furnishing the moo, and maybe that was the right angle after all. The thoughts were coming thick and fast now, jolting him badly, and suddenly he remembered what the call girl had told the little doctor. How much could a girl cost? Just another malicious whore, popping off to make herself interesting!
Cobby sighed and leaned against the wall beside the window. Maybe he was just a worrier. Maybe he needed a tonic or something. After all, the main point was settled.
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