Page:Buttered Side Down.djvu/98

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from the bedroom, at the sound of the key in the lock.

"It's me, ma."

"Heiny bring you home?"

"Sure," happily.

"There's a bit of sausage left, and some pie if——"

"Oh, I ain't hungry. We stopped at Joey's downtown and had a cup of coffee and a ham on rye. Did you remember to put out the milk bottle?"

For two weeks there had been none of that. Gussie had learned to creep silently into bed, and her mother, being a mother, feigned sleep.

To-night at her desk Miss Gussie Fink seemed a shade cooler, more self-contained, and daisylike than ever. From somewhere at the back of her head she could see that Heiny was avoiding her desk and was using the services of the checker at the other end of the room. And even as the poison of this was eating into her heart she was tapping her forefinger imperatively on the desk before her and saying to Tony, the Crook:

"Down on the table with that tray, Tony—flat. This may be a busy little New Year's Eve, but you can't come any of your sleight-of-hand