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Aces Up by Covington Clarke

He did not want to awaken Larkin


"Yes,

sir," was Rodd's meatless reply.

McGee felt genuinely hurt, but at the same time he recognized the fact that Rodd's statement was all too true.

"Rodd is quite right, Major," he said, and arose from his chair. "If he has any real information, it belongs to you alone--or to G 2. If you've nothing further, Larkin and I will be going."

"No, nothing further."

"No orders for to-morrow morning?"

"No."

"May I speak to you a moment--privately?"

"Certainly."

They moved over near the door.

"You gave Siddons a mission I would like to have, Major. Any objections if I take a little joy-ride in the morning?"

Cowan's eyes narrowed. "Where?" he asked.

"Over the lines. I'd like to do a little looking for myself."

"With Larkin?"

"No, sir. Alone. Don't even want Larkin to know I'm going. I think I know where to locate von Herzmann's Circus."

"What are you driving at, Lieutenant?"

"Major, if I told you half of what I think I know, you'd call me crazy."

"Hm-m!

Well, I can't give you permission to go--but I will not be looking for you before noon." His sly wink told Red all that he wanted to know.

"Yes, sir. Good night, Major. Good night, Rodd. The gang will be mighty glad to see you back, old hoss! Come on, Buzz, let's go to bed."

Outside the door Larkin's fuming rage exploded. "Say, what did that tongue-tied sap Rodd mean by that dirty dig? If his head wasn't already in a sling, I'd--"

"Calm yourself, brother!" Red laughed. "If you had landed on your head from as high a point as he did, and then found out it was all brought about through a leak, you'd be suspicious of everyone too."

"Maybe so," Larkin answered, somewhat mollified. "What were you buzzing old Fuss Budget about?"

"I'll tell you that to-morrow night--maybe."

"Humph!" Larkin snorted. "I guess Rodd's disease is catching. You're tongue-tied too!"

Without reply Red led the way across the flying field to their hut. Entering, he began fumbling around in the dark for a candle stub. Larkin took up the search, by the aid of flickering matches, but the candle was nowhere to be found.

"It's a fine war!" Larkin growled, as he began undressing in the dark. "All the letters from the States bear the postmark, 'Food Will Win The War.' I guess the Army is trying to save on candles, too."

2

Before sunup the following morning McGee awoke and began quietly dressing. He did not want to awaken Larkin. When he had finished dressing he tiptoed cautiously across the floor, opened the creaking door ever so slowly and closed it with the same care.


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