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ARTHUR LEO ZAGAT

DOC TURNER—SEA SLEUTH

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A DOC TURNER STORY



First published in The Spider, July 1936

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2018
Version Date: 2018-02-11
Produced by Matthias Kaether and Roy Glashan

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The Spider, July 1936, with "Doc Turner - Sea Sleuth"



A message—written in blood and hidden in a banana—makes kindly Doc Turner a captive stowaway on a murder ship—and brings him, alone, to champion a pretty girl against that desperate band which had already marked her for death!



THE long, dark shadow of the "El" sprawled over Morris Street's clamor, over the raucous shouts of the pushcart men and the polyglot jabber of shawled women and swarthy, bearded men.

Andrew Turner, the frost of age silvering his silken hair and his bushy, drooping mustache, was a forlorn figure in the doorway of his ancient pharmacy. In the faded blue of his old eyes there was a strange, wistful nostalgia, and his veined nostrils flared as if some alien smell came to them through the sweaty miasma of the slum he had served more years than he cared to recall.

The east wind freshened a bit. The aroma of the River, two short blocks away, was stronger. It was rank with sewerage and the mustiness of floating debris, but underlying these was the tarry odor of far traveled ships, the salty tang of the sea whence they came to moor briefly at bustling wharves before sailing again for the ends of the earth.

Once, Doc Turner was thinking, he had dreamed of voyages over shoreless waters, of journeys in exotic lands, under blue, unfamiliar skies. It was too late for such dreaming now. He was an old man, and...

A small form scuttled around the corner, dived past Doc into the musty, pungent aroma of the drugstore. The druggist swung around, followed the kinky haired, hook-nosed urchin past dusty showcases, through a curtain closing an archway into the prescription department.

"Abe," Turner exclaimed. "Where have you been? What on earth have you got there?"

His shabby clothed errand boy fought pantingly for breath; keen, black eyes dancing over a stem of bananas almost as big as the scrawny body to which he now clutched it with pipe stem arms.

"Dun't you see?" he managed speech at last. "Ah boonch benenas, fresh from benena-lend." He lifted the fruit to the prescription counter. "Take a couple."

"Abe, you rascal!" Though amusement twitched at his thin lips, Turner contrived rebuke in his tone. "You stole those from the docks!"

"Oi, Meester Toiner!" The boy's mobile countenance simulated injured innocence. "You know I vouldn't svipe nottings. Dey vas layink in a dark corner—if I didn't take dem de vatchman vould. Dot's why he got mad und chased me up Fenston Alley. Dey dun't belong to nobody. De boat's all ready to sail avay."


THE druggist broke off one of the fruit. "Well—they are too ripe for the market. Get busy and wash up those graduates. It's almost time to close." His gnarled, acid stained hands stripped back yellow skin. "And don't let me hear again of your 'finding things around those wharves'." He bit into the firm succulent pulp—and his jaws froze.

"What the...!" Doc jerked the banana from his mouth. "There's a... a piece of the fruit broke off where he had bitten it, plopped to the floor. The old druggist paid no attention, stared at the remainder in his hand. A corner of cloth, glaringly white, folded limply from its tooth marked end. "This—the peel was slitted and this shoved inside."

"Look," Abe chattered, poking a grimy finger at the odd object. "Ain't dot writink?"

"So it is." Turner extracted the two-inch square of cloth. Torn from some larger piece, it was of fine, close-woven linen. Markings on it were brown, tinged slightly red. Doc needed no tests to tell him that the ink with which they had been made was clotted blood. "So there is," he repeated slowly, straining to decipher the clumsy lettering.

"Help," he made out. "Prisone... Mariet..." The rest was unreadable. A faint scent clung to the fragment of doth, the scent of violets. It was—it must be part of a woman's handkerchief...

"Abe!" Doc's tone was unexcited, but it was crisp, urgent. "That boat. What was its name?"

"On de side it said Merietta. It's goink avay maybe already, Mister Toiner. I heard de captain..."

"Here are the keys." The old pharmacist came to an instantaneous decision. "Lock up." He had his hat and he was walking out of the store, fast. There was no policeman in sight as he scanned Morris Street and swung around the corner into Fanston Alley, tenement lined and sloping down to the river. Perhaps he would have time to phone when he got down to the wharf.

Eastern Avenue's cobbled width opened before him, across it the dim prolongation of the Alley into a splintered pier. At its far end was the pale loom of a huge freighter silhouetted against the river's moonlit glimmer. Dark figures were engaged in some obscure activity at the stringpiece against which the vessel's side rubbed, and another stood, hunch shouldered and somehow ominous, besides the watchman's shanty where the wharf began.

Doc halted in the concealment of the last tenement's shadow, spun to the quick thump of footfalls behind him.

"Abe! Why did you follow...?"

"Oi," the urchin interrupted. "Dey're goink. Dey're untying de ropes."

Turner whirled again. Black hawsers were rapidly shortening against the Marietta's pallid hull, and the men who had cast them loose were swarming up a single line to the vessel's deck. Her prow was drifting out into the stream, pivoting from a single cable still fast to a bollard near the stern. The steamer's whistle hooted, deep throated and melancholy.

"Stop!" Doc yelled, running toward the watchman, "stop that boat!" He reached the burly guard. "There's..."

A big palm impacted on the old man's chest, jolting him to a standstill. "What's the ruckus, gran'pa?" he growled.

"That boat's got to be stopped!" Turner gasped. "There's a girl on board and..."

"Kinda old to be chasin' skoits, aincha?" the fellow leered. "An' anyways yuh're too late. Dat ship's cleared an' it's nex' stop's Limón, if dat'll do yuh any good."

"But I tell you..."

"Hey!" The watchman lurched away from Doc, clawing for his billy, pounded down the wharf. Turner saw Abe ahead of him, scurrying toward the still fastened stern of the moving vessel. The old man gasped, hurled himself after the others.

The watchman's blackjack arched at Abe's head. The youngster ducked, twisted... His pursuer was behind him—the widening gap between ship and pier end was ahead of him. Abe leaped, caught the hawser, hung pendulum like from its taut, quivering length.


DOC'S pounding feet struck the stringpiece. An incoherent shout burst from his lips. Steam hissed and the Marietta's propellers churned up spray as they took hold to loosen the strain on that last cable which held her to dry land.

They were carrying off Abe! The thought flashed through the old man's brain. Alone aboard that ship, he... Wind flung a trailing line against Doc. He grasped it. It jerked him from the pier. He hung sickeningly for a long moment over boiling water, thumped against the vessel's side. Half stunned, clinging desperately to the line that suspended him over death in a turmoil of foam, he saw Abe spring catlike back to the pier and dart shoreward past the bewildered watchman.

The Marietta slid swiftly away from the wharf and Doc hung gasping from his rope. His hold was loosening. He was slipping... Somehow he got the line twisted around his ankles, taking the strain from his quivering, aching fingers. But his weight, slight as it was, tugged terribly at his old muscles, his brittle bones. He couldn't hang on much longer... The river pulled at him. Death dragged at him—death in the oily, fetid river...

Vaguely, Andrew Turner was aware of a dark slit in the vessel's towering wall. He fought to clear the pulsing haze obscuring his vision; made out a vertical, black slit, the edge of a cargo hatch not quite closed.

That indomitable courage, which had inspired the old druggist in his forays against human wolves that preyed on the helpless poor he had served so long, came back to Doc. He let go with one hand and clawed at the ship's hull. He managed to get moving at the end of the rope and then dragged his quivering body three endless feet to the opening. He grasped the hatchway jamb.

Once his fingers had gripped that sill he could hook a toe into it and fumble at the sliding panel which fortunately had not yet been battened shut. The slit widened, revealing Stygian blackness from which gusted a warm current redolent with the fruity odor of the vessel's inbound cargo, noisome with the stench of bilge water.

Turner squeezed into the opening, stood poised on the sill. Impenetrable darkness thumbed his aching eyeballs. The ship lurched, broke his feeble hold, and pitched him forward. He went down, down... His body smashed against dank, rough boards—and then—unconsciousness...

He didn't know how much time had passed when he was again conscious of pain. In his ears was the thump of driving engines, and his body lurched to the long roll of a ship in the open sea. The sea! And, despite his throbbing head and paining body, a grim chuckle escaped Doc Turner. At last—his dream of a sea voyage was ironically coming true.

He lay still, listening. There was the thump, thump of the engines. Far overhead there was the sound of footfalls on a steel deck. There was the loathsome scurry of rats racing about the hold and splashing through the pungent bilge water. And, scarcely audible, came the regular low wheeze of someone breathing in exhausted sleep.


THE aged pharmacist recalled the message that had brought him to this predicament. Was it the prisoner, who had written his cry for help in his own blood that he heard? How was it he had not been discovered? Where was he, anyway? Even if day had not yet dawned the night had been clear, moonlit—but there was no sign of the hatch through which he had been thrown. Someone must have closed it.

There were matches in the pocket of his coat. With desperate, slow care Doc got the folder out and struck one. The tiny flame flared, steadied. Its yellow luminance danced on six-foot walls of wooden boxes, close to Turner on either side. They were small crates piled high and solid, and he saw that he had fallen into a sort of pit between them. The crates were stencilled: Oficina Marina, Costa Rica. And underneath, Acido Sulfurico. This was sulphuric acid for the refining of sugar in the lush Southland.

The match went out, but not till Doc had noted two other significant things. The side of each box was marked by a semicircular furrow, arching down from one corner and rising to the next. The crates encasing the demijohns of acid were provided with hinged lids that could be folded over to form rockers for easy pouring of the searing liquid they contained.

The other matter he had noticed was that a passage through the piled cargo angled away from where he lay. It was out of that passage the sound of breathing came.

If he could get to the prisoner he could find out just what danger threatened him. He mustered what strength was left in his wracked limbs and rolled painfully over, crawling toward that narrow alley.

The flooring of the hold slanted downward. Doc's hands felt through cold, gritty water some six inches deep. Finally, his knees dragged through the filth—he was on dry board again. The sound of breathing was very close, and a fragrance of violets, almost uncanny in this place, overrode the musty odors. The druggist lit another match—his last. Piled boxes, labeled turpentine, opened out, just before him, to make a four foot space whose further wall was the ship's side. His shaded light slid over a pathetic, curled heap on its floor. It was... Doc's fingers shook and his wrinkled face was suddenly bleak with apprehension... It was a young girl, about seventeen, who lay on that bare floor. From a vertical iron rib of the vessel a stout rope hung, its end manacled to her thin wrist.

Bobbed, ebony hair framed the small oval of the maid's face and her dusky cheeks were stained with tears. Her lips, deep hued rosebuds, quivered with distress even in her sleep.

The druggist flickered his match behind him, heard it hiss into the sloshing water through which he had come. He crawled closer, groping. His fingers touched the rustling silk of the girl's black dress, seeking her hand.

The least alarming way of awakening someone is to softly squeeze the sleeper's hand. Doc was very gentle—but careful as he was there was a sudden gasp from the darkness into which he stared, and a whimper of terrible fear.

"Hush," he whispered. "I'm a friend. I found your message in the banana... I am here to try and help you."

"My—message?" The low voice was husky, sweet. "But—but I am still on the ship and it's moving." The trace of a foreign, exotic heritage tinctured the breathed accents. "You—you deceive me!" The hand jerked away from him and the rope thudded dully to startled movement.


"NO. I tell you I am your friend. I had only time to get aboard here unobserved before the ship sailed. I fell and was stunned. I don't know how long ago that was or how far from land we are. But if I'm to help you I must know what this is all about. Why are you roped here like—like—?"

"A rabid dog I... Because I have committed the crime of being Pablo Ramirez' daughter."

"You are—Anita Ramirez!" The press, ten days ago, had headlined a revolution in the little Central American republic of Venoro, had graphically described the massacre of the palace guard and of President Ramirez. "But the papers said you were a student at Vassar. Surely you were safe there."

"Ye-es—I was safe there. But I get a letter that my father had escape' and is to be in America on the ship Marietta. I fly to meet him. Capitan Hanivan take me down here—an' tie me here. I am scare', terrified. But I tear piece from my handkerchief, write on it with nail an' my blood, hide it in banana. Hanivan an' anozzer man, Bill, take bananas from around here, put boxes to hide me from crew... What do they want from me, señor? I am no politico. I am only girl mourning for murdered father. I wait an' wait. Nobody come. Then ship move, an'—an' I have no more hope. I cry..."

"How long ago? But you wouldn't know. You were asleep."

"It cannot be long. See, my tears are not quite yet dry."

"Then we can't be out of the harbor yet. Someone knows I'm aboard. He'll notify the authorities, the Marietta will be stopped at Quarantine and... Listen!"

They had not noticed the slowing of the engines. But now there was a scrape of shoe leather on steel, a heavy footfall appallingly near. The glow of an approaching flashlight flickered over the crates. Doc glimpsed Anita's eyes, pupil dilated orbs of terror, and sprang for the wall of crates where, stepped back, they furnished some hold for his frantic toes. He slid over the top, just in time.

"Listen, wench," a gruff voice said. "Not a sound out of yuh or..." There was ominous meaning in the uncompleted sentence. Turner squirmed silently around and peered down into the cleared space he had just left.

A simian shouldered, brute-visaged man was blackly silhouetted against the glare of his spotlight on the girl's white face. Steel gleamed in the bright luminance, steel of an evil sheath knife whose point pressed thirstily against Anita's pallid throat.

"We're bein' signaled to stop for inspection," the man grunted. "But it won't do yuh no good. Anythin' starts tuh happen an' this slides into yuhr gullet. Then we don't know nothin' about how yuh got here."

Darkness smashed down on the murderous tableau as the torch clicked off. Feet thudded overhead, a hatch grated. Below Doc, two hushed breaths hissed. A rumble of heavy voices came to him. Then—the sound of men descending into the hold. He lifted on cautious hands and knees, his back pressing against the deck above. If he made a move here, Anita would certainly be killed, if only through the startled reflex of the hand holding that threatening knife. But if only he could crawl over the tops of the cases and reach the government men.

A foot. Two feet. A yard... A blank wall stopped him, a wall of boxes rising to the grimy ceiling. To one side of Turner was vacancy, the drop to the narrow passage by which he had reached the imprisoned girl. If he jumped down there the knifeman would be warned by the sound of his fall. He could escape himself, but only at the cost of Anita's life.

"This cargo is stowed solid," a thin, suave voice reached him from out of the darkness. "Want me to have the crew shift it?"


THE old man's heart checked. The answer seemed infinitely long in coming, and while Doc waited lights and shadows shifted about the rust-ribbed roof—like weird reflections from a magic lantern—shadows of hope and despair. Then...

"That won't be necessary, Captain Hanivan. The message from Coast Guard Headquarters said some screwy kid had requested the investigation and they didn't put much stock in it."

"We caught a couple of brats stealing bananas and paddled them good. Probably one of them got a bright idea on how to get even. Beats me how..."

The voices retreated and the lights faded. Doc wiped the cold sweat from his seamed brow. Little Abe had done his best, but his best hadn't been good enough. He was alone now on the kidnap ship, alone with the wan faced girl for whom barbarity had reached out from a strife torn native land. Was there no longer any hope of rescue? What manner of men he had to deal with had been made all too clear by the rope on Anita's wrist, by the knife pressed to the pulse in her throat? What could he do against them; aged, feeble, weaponless?

The gurgle of the bilge water just below seemed a grotesque promise of what awaited him. Andrew Turner unconsciously let his fingers fumble up the splintered side of one of the cases, one nearest the edge. A furrow told him this was an acid grate. His hands caught the hasp that held tight the lid, unfastened it, and then turned back the cover to form the rocker for which it had been devised.

"I got a good mind to carve yuh fer that!" If the other had been Captain Hanivan, the speaker must be the man called Bill. "If it wasn't fer what the Cap wants ter get out of yuh I'll be damned if I wouldn't." The glow of a flashlight snapped on.

"What is it he wants?" Anita's voice was knife edged with dread, but there was courage and defiance in it. "Are not you satisfied with murdering my father and his loyal men?"

"We only run guns for the spigotties."

"Then what do you want from me?"

"Think it over. Maybe yuh'll be able to figger it out. If not..."

Light feet trampled along the passage below Doc who was cutting away the wax covering of the acid-demijohn's big cork with a penknife. They turned into the passage.

"She won't have to worry her pretty little head about that," Captain Hanivan interrupted. "I'm going to tell her right now. I was going to wait till we neared Limón, but..." He checked himself.

"I get yuh, Cap," Bill lipped. Chills ran the length of Doc's spine as he, too, understood what Hanivan had failed to say. He was thinking that Anita Ramirez's friends might have influence enough to demand a further investigation. The Coast Guard cutter might be ordered to overhaul the Marietta once more and search it more thoroughly. The captain intended to get from Anita whatever he was after and then—Uncle Sam's men would again report there was no one aboard the ship who had not full right to be there.

"Yes, tell me. Tell me why you are doing this to me?"

"Impatient, aren't you, señorita? All right. Where did old Pablo cache his getaway money?"


THE wax was scraped away now. The old druggist had loosened the cork, just enough, was tipping the crate over on the double arcs of its cradle, straining his ancient muscles to avoid making any noise louder than that which might be made by a rat.

Breath caught in the girl's throat. "Getaway money?" But her tone was quite steady. "I don't understand."

"You understand, all right. Like all the rest of the spiggoty presidents, your father had plenty of stuff put away to take with him when he got kicked out. The ruckus down there was sprung too quick for it to do him any good, but the juntistas lost their heads and popped him off. They ripped the palace and the garden to pieces but they couldn't find the cache. It's down there in Venoro somewhere, and you know where it is. You know—and before I'm through with you I'm going to know."

"No!" Anita Ramirez abandoned all pretence. "Never! That money is for my mother in Paris an' I will not tell you where it is hid. Our loyal friends..."

"You will tell." Hanivan's subdued, mocking tones were more ominous than a shout would ever have been. "You will be glad to tell. Haul her to her feet, Bill, and I'll go to work on her."

"Sure, Cap." Cloth ripped. Hanivan laughed. The girl screamed.

A case crashed down into the passage, pushed down by Doc Turner, leaning over the demijohn he had turned on its side.

"What's that?" Bill shouted. "Who's there?"

There was a moment of tease silence, utilized by Turner in unlacing his shoes, pulling them off. "Hell!" Hanivan jerked out. "If that's the way you stow cargo I'll rip the skin off you. I..." There was a thump, another, and another, like footfalls in the passage.

"Thought you had us fooled, Hanivan," the old man called, simulating as best he could the Coast Guard's voice. "Didn't think we..."

The trample of rushing feet cut him off as Hanivan and Bill plunged up the aisle to meet the intruder. They sloshed through the watery puddle, struck the box he had thrown down, sprawled over it. He could hear their coarse oaths, could hear them struggling to their feet again, could see a pool of light from a fallen flashlight. He jerked the stopper from the neck of the acid bottle.

A thick, syrupy liquid gushed forth and poured down into the oil blackened salt water. The mixture boiled. Tendrils of reddish yellow gas spurted from it, became a cloud billowing and heaving as though it were something alive. The pungent odor of chlorine, formed by the reaction between the acid and the salt in the water, seeped up to him, stinging his nostrils. The men below were coughing, retching, in the acrid fumes. They retreated, choking, gasping for breath, staring helpless and astounded at the wall of poison gas that had suddenly cut them off from their victim.

The weight of the heavy gas held it down, kept it from affecting Doc too much. But it was spreading along the aisle, toward the place where Anita was bound helpless. The old man crawled back, let himself down beside her.

Reflection of the dropped flashlight filtered in. "Señor!" The girl exclaimed. "Is it not marvelous? We are rescue'..."

"Not yet," Doc grunted, slashing at the thick rope with his pitiful penknife. "Not by a damn sight." Anita's frock had been ripped from shoulders of flawless marble and a shallow knife cut ringed a single, perfect breast, oozing a tiny rivulet of blood. The old man's face went grim, bleak at the sight.


THE first whiff of the chlorine crawled into the narrow space. Anita coughed. "But—I heard him. His voice. His footsteps." Her slim fingers aided Doc, holding the rope taut for his frantic strokes.

Bawling, hoarse oaths beat about them, echoing in the gloomy hold. "That was my voice—and my shoes, I threw them down." The rope parted. "Come on, up on top of the boxes."

The girl moaned her disappointment, but obediently scrambled up the pyramided crates. Doc followed.

"We're no better off," he murmured into Anita's ear as he lay flat against her warm, palpating young body. "But I had to do something to stop that..."

"Drag a hose line down here." Hanivan's gas hoarsened voice ordered, below them. "A good stream'll lay that stuff, and then we'll go in after the guy."

"Aye!" Bill's hobnails trampled away. The two atop the crates heard Hanivan's heavy breathing and the click of a cocked revolver. There was no escape that way.

"We're caught—like rats." The girl whispered quietly, steadily. "But I will cheat them. Give me your knife. A quick stab, just here, and I will cheat them of their prey."

"Not yet." Doc's age thinned voice was calm. "We've still got a chance." He was on his knees, was fumbling at something. "This is about opposite the cargo hatch through which I fell in." The odor of turpentine was suddenly sharp on the air. "There must be another one on this side. Creep over and see if you can find it and get it open."

"Yes, señor."

The girl started to creep away. "Wait!" Turner exclaimed. "Take off your dress; leave it here."

A rustle of fabric answered him. Then a bare, soft arm touched him and his hand closed on a limp, silken mass. Anita moved away. Doc pulled out a can of turpentine from the case he had opened, unscrewed its cap and soaked the cloth with the contents. His feverish haste gave no time for caution; the can clanked.

"Up there, are you?" the Marietta's captain yelled. "Get this!" Shot sound was thunderous in the confined hold. But the bullet spanged harmlessly into a case of turps, started a gurgling leak.

"Thanks," Turner grunted. "You saved me work." Metal grated in the direction the girl had gone, and cool, salty night air gusted in. But on the other side, the sound of Bill's return was threatening. Hanivan blazed another ineffectual shot.

"Here's the nozzle, Cap," the mate growled. "I'll get back and turn on the valve. The men ain't heard nothin' an' I guess we kin get away with it without their knowin' what's up."

"Step on it, you knock-kneed weasel. I got 'em cornered up there."

Andrew Turner's dry lips twitched in a mirthless smile. With a sweeping motion of his arm he threw the turpentine soaked dress over into the still seething chlorine. Magically, a reddish flame spurted up out of the gully, belched clouds of black, sooty smoke.

"The old pharmacist hasn't forgotten his chemistry," Doc mumbled. "You don't always need matches to start a fire." Then heat of the spontaneous flame beat upon him. He was half suffocated in the smoke sucked toward the hatch opened by Anita. Lips tight, fighting not to breathe, he kneed himself toward the night air that beckoned through the opened hatch.


HANIVAN'S shouts were a pandemonium of hellish objurgation behind. The girl, a few gossamer wisps of lacy undergarments screening the curves of her body, clung to the side of the hatch and stared despairingly out into the ocean night. The sea foamed and roared along the swift moving hull. A mile away, a constellation of yellow lights spangled a black earth mass low-lying along the horizon.

"That's Rockaway," Doc grunted. "There are people there. Police. Can you swim?"

"A little. I can hold myself up in the water."

"It's calm." The eager, menacing flames roared nearer, fed by streams of turpentine that spurted from the bullet holes made by Hanivan's gun. The two were bathed in a lurid, flickering glare that went past them and laid a shimmering, red trail on the water. "Maybe I can remember how to tread water. It's twenty years since I tried."

"Fire!" someone bawled overhead.

"The ship's on fire!" Alarmed feet trampled. "Down in the hold!"

"Damn your hides!" Cases crashed and Hanivan was scrambling up to the top of the piled cargo. His gun barked and a shot clanked into the metal side of the vessel, close—too close!—to Doc's white head.

"Jump!" he yelled, and launched himself into the glimmering sea. He went down, down into chill depths, down till his lungs were bursting. Then he was shooting up toward the surface.

He broke water, gulped life-giving air, glanced frenziedly around.

The Marietta was already past, her great bulk ploughing the slow heave of the placid, sparkling water. The hatch in her side spewed black smoke, staining the moonlit glory of the seascape. But where was Anita? Was she somewhere in the seething wake of the freighter? Had she been caught in the Marietta's propellers, her slender body sliced to ribbons by its whirling blades?

There was a plop near him. She was there. A mermaid in the moonlight, Anita had burst from the watery depths. She saw Doc, waved a slim arm, swam clumsily toward him.

"I mus' thank you," she said. "Before we drown I mus' thank you for what you have done."

"We're not going to drown." Andrew Turner was weary. The chill of the water was numbing his aged bones. The cold green depths tugged at him, offering him rest. Indomitably he said: "We are not going to drown."

"But we are a mile from the shore. I cannot swim that far, an' you..."

"Look, Anita. Look back there."

Toward Rockaway the ocean's surface was alive with small boats, darting out. The fire on the Marietta had been spotted and landsmen were not waiting for an S. O. S. from the burning ship.

A searchlight scythed the darkness from a speeding launch. "Shout!" Doc gulped. "Shout, Anita! Wave your arms!"

The white beam swept the waves, found them...

* * * * *

Extract from log of U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Schenectady

Two a.m.: Received wireless from C.G. post at Rockaway, vessel on fire off that point. Overhauled S.S. Marietta. Found small fire in hold, under control. Motorboat Mary Ann came alongside. Passengers Andrew Turner and Anita Ramirez demanded arrest of Captain Francis Hanivan and First Mate William Fogar of Marietta for kidnapping and assault, corresponding to earlier report of Abraham Ginsberg. Complainants directed boarding officer to hold, where he found severed cable attached to keel near site of fire, matching other end still manacled to Anita Ramirez's wrist. Arrested Hanivan and Fogar and libeled S.S. Marietta. Delivered prisoners to U.S. Commissioner, Barge Office, New York.


THE END


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