As Johnny Rogue got out of his car in Portsville one afternoon, he heard a noise over the light traffic.
Turning to investigate, he saw a couple of rough looking guys in cheap suits wrestling with a tall lanky youth in the entrance to an allyway.
The muffled cry of HELP! must have come from the kid, he thought.
While Johnny took in the situation, one of the men pistol whipped the kid into submission.
Just when Johnny was galvanized into action, a old unmarked car with a "Taxi" sign in the window and a crumpled driver's side fender pulls up in front of the ally. The squinty eyed driver looked around nervously and twisted back towards the men. "Hurry it up!"
Johnny began to move towards the ally, as the men shoved the kid into the taxi.
Realizing that he would not be able to get to the taxi, Johnny turned and hurried back to his car.
As Johnny got in and quickly started his car, the taxi accelerated past him. Johnny floored it and whiped into the traffic. A few honks and curses later he is in hot pursuit of the taxi.
The light traffic made it easy to see the beat up taxi just a couple of cars ahead. The driver of the taxi seemed to be quite skilled as he wove around cars and cut south. Johnny tried valiantly to catch up but, the other driver slowly pulled ahead.
Johnny got a lucky break as the farther south they weny the less traffic there was. Without the interference of other cars, the fact that the taxi is fully loaded gave Johnny the edge.
Pulling his pistol and laying it next to him on the seat, Johnny made plans for forcing the driver to pull over.
As they approached the railroad tracks that divide the rundown South Side from the Cannery Row slums, the train whistle blows and the crossing guard droped.
Almost hitting the arm, the taxi shot past. The train engine sounded it's whistle again as it closed the last few feet to the crossing.
1) Will Johnny risk certain death by racing the train to the crossing?
Johnny Rogue clenched his square jaw with determination. Without a thought for his personal safety,
he jamed the accelerator pedal to the floor. With reckless abandon, he sent his car careening towards
the rapidly closing railway crossing. Johnny's left hand unlatched the driver's door in case a speedy
exit was necessary.
Swerving towards the gap between the crossing gate and the far edge of the road, he smashed the tip from the arm. As the wooden arm splintered and pieces flew into the front the rapidly approaching train, the car hit the tracks. The pistol on the seat bounced wildly as the car crossed the tracks. Ahead the taxi took a turn onto Harbor Lane towards the Docks.
The blast of the train whistle and the scream of it's brakes locking is deafening as the engineer tried desperately to slow the train. Just as the car crossed the last rail, the front of the train smacked into the rear bumper of Johnny's car. The impact on the bumper sent the car spinning like a toy. Johnny was flung brutally against the unlatched door.
2) Will Johnny fly into the street like a human cannonball?
As the car door flung open and slamed closed again, Johnny was thrown around like a sack of flour. Before he could pull it back,
his left leg was pinched by the door. The pain from being slammed in the the door brought back memories of the old injury.
Only his vise like grip on the wheel saved him from being tossed into the street. The speed he was traveling combined with the
spin of the impact, sent the car careening into the intersection. As the train continued thundering down the track,
Johnny spun to a stop. Though the world was still spinning, Johnny noticed that the taxi had stopped two blocks away.
Quickly getting control of the situation, Johnny swung his car around and headed down Harbor Lane. Ahead the taxi zoomed off again as Johnny approached. Strangely he was unable to gain on it even in the almost empty streets of Cannery Row. Just as they reached the edge of The Docks, the taxi turned south between the warehouses.
When the taxi turned, Johnny's sharp eyes noticed that it only contained the driver!
3) Will Johnny continue the pursuit or double back?
Johnny Rogue cursed and threw the car into a quick U-turn with the finesse of a La Mons driver.
He doubled back to where he saw the taxi had stopped. Parking his heap across the street from where the taxi had stopped,
he surveyed the area. He also dug around in the car and retrieved his gun.
"The car's damaged, I've used up gas and there's not even a paying client yet!", Johnny wondered if there was some way to turn a profit from this.
The area was the intersection of Harbor Lane and Stevens. The smell of smoke from the canning factory and diesel fumes from the train filled the air. The apartments and the storefronts are filthy with soot stains. The old Jones's Hotel dominated the southeast corner. The pool hall on the southwest corner looked like a good place to start as any.
Limping slightly, Johnny crossed the street and approached The Pool Palace. He noticed a few yards down the street to the south was the entrance to the basement of the pool hall. Even from the corner, it smelled as if it is used mostly for a public urinal. Proceeding through the entrance of The Pool Palace, he entered the dimly lit interior. The patrons paused and sized him up then returned to their games as he strolled towards the register in the back. Walking deeper into the building, he quickly scaned the interior and the patrons.
There are six worn pool tables with two in use by several men each. Behind the counter with the register there are cigarettes, cigars, a soda fountain, and a sink. To the right are two doors, one a bathroom and the other leading into the backrooms. Between the doors and the counter, there is a half-empty magazine rack. The sound of the radio almost covers the voices coming from the back room.
The man behind the counter asks, "Can I help you buddy?"
"Yeah, I'm looking for a couple of guys with a kid. They come this way?"
"Ain't seen no guys with no kid in here. This ain't no place for kids."
Johnny noticed that the voices from the back have stopped.
"Mind if I use your bathroom?"
Strolling towards the bathroom door, Johnny glanced into the backroom. He saw several tables with men playing cards. Thick cigar smoke hung in the air. Sitting on a backward turned chair in one corner was a huge red headed man. He looked to be seven foot tall and was wearing a nice suit. Even from the doorway Johnny saw the butt of a gun in a holster under his arm. Most of the men are looking back at Johnny as he passed the door. After using the filthy bathroom and wiping his hands on his pants, Johnny steped back into the pool hall.
4) Will Johnny take a gamble at cards or just report the kidnapping?
Johnny casually entered the card room and scaned the tables. His years of playing cards in the Merchant marine, helped him to figure out whose da sharks and whose da fishes. Johnny's confidence was bolstered by the feel of the cold steel of his pistol at his hip.
He slid coolly into the nearest empty chair and said, "Afternoon gents". He noticed that several of the men glanced nervously at the red headed man in the corner. As he looked around the table, the guy on his left noded a greeting. The other two just ignored him and looked at their cards. Looking at the one face down and two face up cards that have been dealt, "Stud?" He asked. The dealer nodded.
Seeing the pile of coins in the middle of the table, Johnny fished in his pocket for some change. Slapping the cash on the table he said, "Name's Johnny, Deal me in."
The dealer grunted and said, "eight bits" as he dealt Johnny a face down card, a Jack of Diamonds, and a 2 of Clubs. Johnny tossed four quarters in the pot and glanced at his cards.
"Bob, you in?" the dealer asked the guy to Johnny's right.
Bob took another draw on his cigar and tossed a quarter in the pot.
"Might find what I'm looking for", said Johnny as he tossed his quarter.
"We're all looking for a break", and Hos slid his quarter in.
Another round of cards are dealt giving Johnny a Jack and pair of 2's showing. He carefully checked out the room while seeming to consider the other player's cards. It's a small stuffy smoke stained room with a small filthy swing out window placed high on the wall. There is a closed door on the wall between this room and the bathroom. The red headed man sat in the corner beside it. The space between the rooms may be big enough for a closet.
"Work at the cannery?" asked Johnny.
"Yup, like a dog." Said Hos.
"Nah, we work the Erinians like dogs." Grinned Bob.
Several men around the room snicker and Johnny realized how quiet it's been since he joined them.
"Yeah, we got it alright", said Hos as he glanced towards the red headed man.
Last round of cards and Bob gets a 4 of Spades with the rest of his Hearts. "That’s it for me," he said as he folded his cards.
Johnny now shows pairs of Jacks and 2's while Hos has a low straight showing. The dealer has a pair of 9's. Confirming his down card, "Four bits", said Johnny as he pushed two more quarters into the pot.
Hos said, "See ya and raise ya", as he upped the ante by two bits more. "I'm out", said the dealer.
Johnny matched the ante and showed his full house, Jacks high. Hos throws in the cards. "Got me!"
"My deal Tom", said Bob as he collects the deck and the other cards. As Bob shuffled the deck, Johnny scooped the pot. "You live around here?" asked Johnny as he pocketed his starting stake.
"Nah, north of the tracks. Couldn't pay me to live this side."
"Not with all the stink'n Erinians here." Said Bob.
Everyone threw in their quarters as Bob started dealing. Johnny got a 5 of Spades up this time. He glanced at his face down card and threw in his two bits. This time Bob's King of Clubs was the highest showing card. He said "That's good for a raise," as he tossed in four bits. After everyone else matched his bet, he dealt another round. Johnny's pair of 5's was high this time and just as he was going to bet, the owner stuck his head in the door and said, "Buddy, there's some kids out at your car, may be the ones you're looking for."
"Damn!" Said Johnny as he pocketed his winnings. "Better take a look." From the door he could see some young men and kids hanging around his car. Looked like someone was even in the car fooling around near the steering wheel. "Thanks for the game, gotta go." He said as he hurried for his car.
As he got halfway across the street, the kids saw him coming and scattered. The young man inside got the car started and sat up, right into Johnny's drawn gun. "Alright! Out of my car!" snarled Johnny. Opening the door as the young man raised his hands, Johnny motioned for him to get out. While keeping him covered, Johnny reached in with the other hand and turned the car off.
In the distance Johnny saw two men coming up out of the basement entrance under the Pool Palace. From here he wasn't sure but they looked like they might be the men who had grabbed the tall kid.
5) What does Johnny want, one in the hand or two in the basement?
As he rushed around to the passenger's side of the car, Johnny snarled, "Crime doesn't pay Punk! Don't you read the papers?" Just as the guy was getting out of the car, Johnny grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tossed him on the pavement.
"Now get lost, Punk! Before I put a slug in ya, in this part of town no ones gonna care."
Scrabbling sideways on the pavement, the young man hastily got to his feet and started running. Staying behind the car, Johnny watched the two men coming out of the basement. He then holstered his gun but still kept glancing after the fleeing man until he disappeared around a corner.
Looking down the row of decrepit apartments, Johnny noticed that one of the kids was still sitting on a stoop nearby. From the little stack of old newspapers he had made into a seat, it looked like he lived there.
As the men reached the top of the stairs, they looked around and proceeded to walk across the street towards the Jones's Hotel. After a few puffs on a freshly lit cigarette the man in the darker suit checked his watch. Within minutes a taxi approached the front of the hotel. Both men got into the back of the taxi.
6) Will Johnny flip the kid a nickel to watch the car or follow the taxi?
Once the suspects were out of sight in the cab, Johnny said "What's your name kid?"
"Me Sir? My name is Toby, Toby Tobias, sir."
As he flicked the kid a nickel, he said, "Watch my car kid and make sure nothing happens to it. Maybe I can use you to do some legwork for me from time to time."
"Think you handle the job?"
Grinning to himself and making a mental note of Toby's name and face, Johnny walked casually towards the basement entrance. He stopped about 20 feet or so away, leaned against a lamppost and cased the joint. As he kept his eyes open for lookouts, he checked the basement for other doors, windows, or means of entrance. A quick glance back towards his car revealed that Toby was sitting on the bumper, watching the occasional people walking by.
Johnny didn't notice anyone watching at street level, but it was hard to tell if there are any watchers behind the hotel or apartment windows. Making up his mind, he walked quickly down to the door. Resting his hand on the butt of his gun, he knocked on the door.
After a few moments, the eye slot in the door opened and a blood shot eye peered out blinking rapidly. "Hurry up, I can't stand out here all day." Johnny heard a grunt in reply and then the sound of scraping as the bolt was thrown. As the man inside started to open the door he paused and said, "Hey, wait a minute, what's the password?" Leaping forward, Johnny slammed the door open, knocking the man back into the room. Before he could recover, Johnny was all over him. A couple of quick punches and he was out like a light.
With the action over, Johnny quickly surveyed the room. It was spacious but dirty and dingy with soda canisters stacked in one corner. Miscellaneous old lamps, small tables, and chairs were scattered about rest of the room. On the wall opposite the entrance were stairs leading up a stairwell. A single bulb was hanging over a small table near the door. The rest of the cavernous space was dark as a tomb. Beside the door he came in was another door. Johnny moved quietly over to the stairs and looked up. There was a closed door at the top and as he listened, he could faintly hear talking and music playing. When he had decided that nobody had noticed the scuffle with the guard, he went to check the other door.
Slowly opening the door, with his hand ready on his gun, Johnny looked into a tunnel that led out under the street. In the distance another bulb dimly lit the way. He could faintly make out a closed door at the other end.
After closing the doors and using some wires from a couple of lamps, Johnny tied the guard securely. Then firmly stuffed a wad of newspaper in his mouth. Moving carefully down the tunnel, Johnny approached the next door. With gun at hand again, he tried the latch.
Cautiously swinging the door open he stepped into another basement. This one was well lit and looked to be in regular use. As he glanced around, he noticed that the "door" he had just opened was concealed as just another section of shelves. To his right was a service elevator and to his left were several linen carts with laundry in them. Several columns and short walls blocked the view in front, but he could hear voices in the distance. The sound of leaking steam covered whatever they were saying.
7) Will Johnny get steamed?
Johnny dropped into a low crouch, drew his gun and crept towards the voices. As he moved, he tried to stay in cover and took in as many details of the room as possible. With his back against the wall he peeked around the corner. Partially blocked from view by a support column, he could see a man leaning against a push broom. He was an older man in a simple uniform. It looked like he was talking to someone that was behind one of the columns. He was facing towards the hotel's front entrance, Johnny's left.
Between Johnny and the janitor were a series of small rooms with closed doors. They looked to be storage rooms, thought he couldn't see into any of them. Between every couple of rooms were support columns. Numerous small pipes of various colors, carefully separated insulated wires, and obvious drainpipes covered the ceiling. The area is well lit by several lights on the ceiling. The sound of steam was a little bit louder here but the source seemed to be on the other side of the building.
Keeping his gun ready, Johnny stepped out from behind the corner and quietly walked towards the men.
"Sssssssss ... when these fellows will stop attacking honest people."
"It's bad enough they fight between themselves over who can sell booze at the clubs."
"Why just the other day I ..., hold on there, ain't no need for a gun fella!" said the janitor. "We don't know nothing about what going on up at the top."
Johnny swung his gun towards the other man and glanced around for others. The other man was dressed in a different uniform and had a clipboard in his hand. Behind him was a small office with charts and a calendar hanging on the walls. Behind the janitor was a wide hallway with clothes hampers parked on both sides. At that end was a freight elevator standing open.
"Either of you seen a couple of guys come this way with a tall kid?"
"Nope, been taking readings on the steam generator, haven't seen much else. How about you Jim?"
"Like I said, I just do my cleaning. I don't watch who's coming 'n going."
"There's something going on 'up at the top'?"
"Me and my fool mouth, some day I'm gonna learn to keep it closed tight! Like I said we don't know what's going on and don't wa'na know!"
"What top you talking about?"
"He means the old penthouse suite," said the engineer, "we don't go near that place. Not invited either. Why you asking?"
"Maybe better we don't know!" said Jim.
"I'm looking for a kid," said Johnny.
"Well you can get there in the south service elevator by pushing Top. Just don't tell them where you learned it from."
Johnny headed back to the service elevator near the tunnel, stepped in and scanned the buttons. After checking his gun one more time, he firmly pressed the button marked 'Top'.
8) What's waiting for Johnny at the top?
As the rickety old elevator begins to rise, Johnny checked out the walls and ceiling. The old car had seen many years of use and abuse. It felt shaky as it struggled to rise floor after floor. He noticed a service hatch in the top of the car. Wedging himself against the worn handrails he clambered up to test the hatch. It came loose after a little jiggling and he slid it aside. Rapidly forming a plan, he pressed the button for the eleventh floor and then climbed on top of the car.
The elevator jerked to a stop at the eleventh floor and the door creaked open. After a few moments they slid back shut and the car heaved back into motion. Above Johnny's head the pulleys loomed closer and closer. As Johnny crouched down the elevator ground to a last stop and the door creaked open again.
"It's empty! They must have gotten off on one of the other floors."
"Check it out anyway. Don't want no surprises. The Dr. doesn't like unwanted guests."
"Ok, you keep an eye on the fire escape while I look around here."
Johnny heard footsteps approach and enter the car. As the man entered, Johnny came crashing through the ceiling onto him.
With a loud "Oof" the man was knocked back and then to the floor by a well placed punch. Just then the elevator doors began to slide shut. A shot rang out and plowed into the closing door.
"Hey! Watch it Gino! Shoot him not me!" The man on the floor shouted, as he struggled to pull his body from between the closing doors.
Johnny lunged through the doors and over the man's body, as the bullet just missed him. Rolling behind an end table and almost upsetting the lamp, Johnny looked back towards the elevator. The man was just freeing himself from the door and drawing a bead on Johnny.
"Almost got'em!" He heard from the other direction. Johnny quickly pulled his pistol and fired a shot at the man by the elevator, hitting him in the gun arm. The man dropped his gun and bent to retrieve it, clutching his bleeding arm in pain.
Quickly glancing around, Johnny saw that he was in a lobby like area. The other man, Gino, was standing at double doors that seemed to open into an office. There was a fire exit behind him. From behind the end table, Johnny could see a hallway opening off to the right of the double doored room. A table was against the left wall with several chairs arranged around it. A large bookcase was directly across from him.
As Johnny leaned out to survey the lobby, Gino fired another shot at him and narrowly missed the man by the elevator. "I said watch it! I'll get him, you just get over here and cover me."
9) Will Johnny be caught in a crossfire?
Stashing the extra guns in his waistband, Johnny quickly hustled the two thugs into the corner between the double doors and the lobby wall, made them sit with their hands on their heads, then considered them for a moment. Tony's arm had stopped bleeding, and Johnny decided it was a flesh wound. Blood was still running between the fingers Gino had clamped around his leg. "Give me your belts," Johnny ordered, slipping his gun into its holster.
Keeping a wary eye on them, Johnny wrapped one of the belts around Gino's leg, and tightened it till the blood stopped. Telling the two men to crisscross their arms together in front of them, he bound them securely with the second belt.
"I'll call for medical aid as soon as you give me some answers. Now--where's the kid?"
"I ain't tell'n you nothing!" gritted Gino.
"Don't know which kid you mean, but they're all down the hall in those rooms," said Tony.
"Shut up you bigmouth", snarled Gino. "Ya tryin' ta get us killed? The Stogie don't like blabbermouths."
"Shut up yourseft," Tony snapped. "I don't owe The Stogie anything, the way he treats us. An' this guy's here, an' he's got a gun, so he gets anything he wants. An' if I get outta this alive, I'm gonna be long gone. I don't want no part of what's gonna happen."
"Both of you, zip it up." Johnny cut in. "I want answers and I want them now. Why were they grabbed?" he demanded, looking at Tony.
"The Doc said he needs tall teenagers to make his serum," answered Tony. "We just guard this place, we didn't grab any of them."
"Who do you work for?"
"We guard this lab for the Doc, but we get paid by The Stogie. One of his men actually, never met The Stogie personally."
Gino glared at Tony, but didn't interrupt.
"Where's the Doc now?" Johnny continued.
"He left earlier this afternoon to personally deliver his serum. Not sure when he will be back."
"How did you know it wasn't him when I came?"
"You only buzzed once. He knows the signal."
"And what's the signal?"
Johnny heard a light knocking sound from down the hallway. "What's that knocking?"
"Probably one of the kids."
Johnny looked at their bound arms. "I guess that should keep you safe till I get back," he said. Drawing his gun, he started down the hallway to investigate. Nearest to him were three closed doors on the right and one on the left and at the far end of the hallway, another on the left.
Concerned about being ambushed, Johnny eased open the first door on the right, revealing a small empty room with a cot. High on the opposite wall was a small, closely-barred window. Scanning the room carefully still revealed nothing to show who had been in it, but Johnny decided it must have been used for a prison cell, since the door was lockable from the outside only.
Johnny moved to the next door, on the left side of the hallway. Once again he opened it cautiously. The room seemed to be some kind of laboratory, with a sheet-draped operating table in the center and equipment lining all the walls. Some of it, like a refrigerator, he recognized. Other things were unlike anything he had seen before. Johnny thought the sheet appeared to be covering a body about five and a half feet long, but he didn't stop to investigate.
Since he didn't see anyone in the room, he moved on to the next room, the second on the right. This small room also looked like a cell, but unlike the other, this one was not empty. This one had a figure huddled on the cot. It was a girl, and she seemed to be asleep since she hadn't moved when the door was opened. Quickly moving to the side of the cot, Johnny checked to see if she was alive. He found a slow pulse, confirming that she was alive. Leaving her there, but with the door open, he moved on to the last room on the right side of the hall.
Just as he was opening the last righthand door, Johnny heard the light knocking again. It was coming from behind the door. Jerking the door open, with his gun at the ready, Johnny found a tall teen-aged boy crouched on the floor next to the door, his arm reaching listlessly towards the door. Although in bad shape, the kid was alive.
Johnny instantly recognized the boy he had seen kidnapped, the one he had come looking for. " OK kid, I'm gonna get you outta here," Johnny said. "Just hang on a second while I check out the rest of this place."
Johnny ran quietly to the last room on the left side of the hallway. It was a small kitchen with a closed door on one wall. Gun at the ready, Johnny jerked open that door, revealing a bathroom. Returning to the kid, Johnny helped him struggle to his feet. The kid could only stand with Johnny supporting him. Johnny was sure that he had been drugged with something. He half-led, half carried the kid to the kitchen and eased him into a chair.
"One more thing, kid, then we’re outta here," Johnny said. "I'll be right back." Johnny leaned his head cautiously around the edge of the door and made sure the hallway was empty and everything was quiet. Then he ran to the room where he had left the girl. She seemed to still be asleep, so he gathered her up in his arms. At the movement she moaned softly but didn't wake. Johnny wondered if she had been drugged too. He carried her to the kitchen and sat her in a chair, resting her head and shoulders on the table.
11) Will Johnny make coffee or make calls?
Glancing around the room, Johnny spotted a thermos on the counter near the dumbwaiter door. Checking it, he found it was about half full of lukewarm coffee, enough for both kids to have a cup. Johnny lifted two cups from a shelf over the counter.
"Hey kid, what's your name?" he asked, as he poured coffee into the cups.
"Ahhh, Tod, sir," the kid replied.
Setting the cups on the table, Johnny nodded at the girl "Do you know who she is?"
"Nah, never saw her before, sir"
"Well I gotta get the two of you outa of here, so drink this and try to get her to drink some too. It should wake you both up enough so you can walk and maybe even run if we have to. Now I gotta make a call. I think I saw a phone in the office."
Going to the door, Johnny leaned his head into the hallway. The two hoods were still sitting where he had left them. He walked down the short hall and checked the belt binding their hands together to make sure it was still snug. Looking very pale, Gino glared at him but neither he nor Tony said anything.
"I'm calling the police now," Johnny said, walking to the office, "So a doctor should be here soon." Crossing the office, Johnny checked the fire escape. The window had not been opened and he could not see anyone on the iron platform or stairs outside.
Looking around the office, Johnny decided the doctor didn't spend much time in it. It contained only a plain wooden desk and chair and an empty bookcase. Centered on the desk in front of the chair was a leather-cornered green desk blotter, with a notepad, a yellow pencil, and a thick black file folder on it. To the left of the blotter sat an open box of Cuban cigars and to the right was a telephone.
Johnny picked up the phone and leaned against the front of the desk. From there he could keep an eye on Gino and Tony. When the operator came on the line Johnny asked her to connect him to Lt. Billings at the police station. When the Lt. picked up, Johnny identified himself and told the Lt. "You better get over here loot. There's trouble. I saw a kid get grabbed off the street and I followed him. Found some kind of hidden lab, a doped-up girl, and a body. Had to tie up some goons and shoot a couple more, but didn't kill 'em. The goons said some guy name of "The Stogie" and some doctor are running the place. They weren't here, but I got the goons bundled and ready for delivery. We're all at the penthouse in the old Jones Hotel. Ya gotta come through the basement entrance off Stevens Street and up the elevator. Bring plenty of officers and a doctor."
As he spoke, Johnny pocketed a handful of the cigars and leafed through the folder. Most of the documents were written in some foreign language. The letterhead on some of the papers said "Rational Experimentation Group", and many of the sheets were lists of equipment costs, in English.
Lt. Billings assured Johnny that he and his men would be there as soon as possible. As he hung up, Johnny could hear the Lt. already shouting for people to get moving. As he set the phone down, Johnny noticed there was writing on the note pad: "6:30 p.m. Spinnenden Rad". Tearing off the top sheet, he folded it and slipped it into his pocket. After another quick glance around Johnny headed back to the kitchen.
The girl was sitting up, supporting herself with her elbows on the table, and clutching the coffee cup with both hands. With bleary blue eyes she looked at him over the cup.
"Feeling better?" Johnny asked.
"A little, sir." she replied. "I think I can stay awake now. Tod said you were here to free us."
"Yeah, just called the cops and they're on their way. What's your name, miss?"
"Miranda Standfield, sir."
"They hold you here long?"
"I don't exactly remember. A couple of days, I think. They forced me to take some pills that made me sleep mostly."
Then, from down the hall, they heard a buzzer ring three times.
12) Have the Police responded to Johnny already?
Johnny reacted to the buzzing by drawing his gun.
"You two stay put right here! I'll go check it out. Don't move till I get back!"
Hurrying down the hall, he approached Tony and Gino. "What was that noise?"
"Nothing!" said Gino.
"The signal," said Tony.
"You still squealing? Wait till they bust us out of here!"
"You think they'll be happy to see us?"
"Zip it you two!" said Johnny.
Johnny watched as the indicator on the elevator slowly rose towards the top.
13) Will Johnny welcome the guests with lead?
Johnny ran over to the table and jerked the chairs around it out of the way. He then dragged it towards the hallway and dumped it over near the large bookcase. He shouted back towards the kids, "There might be some shooting out here, you kids stay back there!" Crouching behind the end of the table, he said to Tony and Gino, "You two better sit tight and hope they don't come out shoot'n."
"Anyone's gett'n shot it'll be you!" said Gino.
Tony just looked worried.
Johnny looked straight at the elevator and watched as the indicator reached the top.
When the doors opened Johnny yelled, "Throw your guns out the door and come out with your hands in the air!" A bullet screamed over his head and buried itself into the wall behind him. The large red headed man from the card room leaped out the door followed by the two men that had grabbed the kid.
Johnny fired at the red head stopping him in his tracks as the bullet slammed into his upper left chest. Two bullets bit into the thick oak of the table sending splinters flying, as the other two men returned fire.
From behind the table Johnny snapped off another shot at the red head, just as they all three fired back. This time Johnny missed as he dodged the hail of bullets and the red head weaved forward.
As Johnny prepared for another shot, the red head leaped forward past the table and towards the office. They both squeezed off a shot at the same time! Johnny was hit high in the left shoulder, stunning him for a second. The red head was knocked back against the doorframe near Tony and Gino, blood spraying from his stomach. "The bastard's hit! Get him guys," Gino shouted.
Johnny heard the scurry of footsteps on the other side of the table as he and the red head blasted at each other. Johnny fired a split second sooner, the hit knocked the leg from under his target. The red head fired as he fell and the bullet flew down the hallway past Johnny.
Gino and Tony were huddled together as far from the line of fire as they could lean. Gino was looking at something on the other side of the table.
From where he lay on the floor, the red head slowly, shakily tried to draw a bead on Johnny. Johnny aimed back and squeezed the trigger. Click! The hammer fell on an empty chamber, as the red head's bullet whistled past Johnny. The clunk of the red head's gun hitting the floor as he collapsed was nearly covered by the sound of two guns cocking on the other side of the table.
14) Is this the end for Johnny?