TROUBLE AT THE GATE

There was no mistaking the sarcasm in George Doyle’s voice. It was his
nature to lash out at others whenever he was confronted with
difficulties. This realization alone kept Flash from making an angry
retort.

“I have no ideas, brilliant or otherwise,” he responded quietly. “Still,
there ought to be some way to get the truck inside.”

“How?”

“Isn’t there an official around somewhere who might listen to our
explanation?”

“And while we’re trying to find him the races will be underway. We may
as well admit defeat and go back to the hotel.”

“Let’s wait,” urged Flash. “How about trying another entrance?”

Before Doyle could reply, two sound trucks bearing the name of a rival
film company, rolled slowly past and halted. The technician recognized
one of the men and hailed him jubilantly.

“Hello, Benny! Do a fellow a favor, will you? Tell the gateman we’re
okay.”

“What’s the matter?” the other driver asked. “Can’t you get inside?”

“Lost our passes.”

“Now isn’t that too, too bad!” The rival newsreel man grinned wickedly
as he shifted gears. “Never saw you before in my life, George. Watch for
our pictures on the screen!”

The two drivers flashed their passes and drove on through the gate.
Doyle glared after them, calling names under his breath.

Abruptly, Flash leaped to the ground. Without explaining to Doyle, he
walked back to the entrance.

“No arguments,” the gateman forestalled him. “You can’t get through
without a pass, and that’s final. Maybe you’re telling a straight story,
but orders are orders.”

“Isn’t there someone around here who would have the authority to pass us
into the grounds?” Flash asked.

The gateman shrugged. Then his gaze fastened upon a dignified man who
was walking toward the gate.

“Mr. Hartman could do it,” he said. “You might talk with him.”

Flash approached the man, and quickly explained the difficulty. His
straightforward manner impressed the official. He took a quick glance at
the _News-Vue_ truck and called to the gateman.

“It’s all right. Let them through.”

Doyle had no word of praise as Flash slid into the seat beside him.

“It’s almost time for the race to start,” he grumbled. “All the good
places will be gone.”

While rival newsreel companies had had first choice for positions, Flash
and Doyle still were able to park their truck so as to obtain an
unobstructed view of Dead Man’s turn. Hurriedly they arranged their
camera and sound equipment, having everything in readiness for the drop
of the starter’s flag.

With a few minutes still to spare, Flash shot several pictures with his
Graphic. He photographed a number of well known racers as they warmed up
their cars in preparation for the five hundred mile grind.

Observing the previous year’s winner talking with a dark, foreign
looking man who stood beside car 29, he snapped the pair together.

As the shutter clicked, the racer’s companion, turned angrily toward
Flash. Then pulling his hat down low, he hastily retreated.

“Camera shy,” thought Flash. “I’ve seen that fellow before. But where?”

He was staring after the man when Doyle called to him. Quickly he walked
back to the _News-Vue_ sound wagon. A policeman stood there, talking
with the technician.

“Anything wrong?” Flash asked.

“There will be if you don’t get this truck out of here!” the policeman
replied grimly. “You’re blocking the view of race officials.”

“What officials?” Doyle demanded belligerently.

“None of your smart talk,” the policeman returned. “Either show your
permit or move out of here!”

“I can’t see that we’re blocking the judges’ view,” Flash interposed.
“And we’re all set to shoot the start of the race. If we move now we’ll
likely miss it.”

“Why be so tough?” added Doyle.

The policeman had shown visible signs of weakening. But at Doyle’s
question, he became grim again.

“Get going!”

Arguments and explanations were useless. Once more the green _News-Vue_
truck rolled. This time Flash shared Doyle’s disgust. No other place was
available which would offer them an unobstructed shot at Dead Man’s
turn. It was at this point of the track where accidents most frequently
occurred.

“If we can’t train our lens there we’ll miss all the good pictures,”
Doyle said gloomily. “One site is as bad as another now.”

Looking over the big track, they finally chose a place at random.
Scarcely had they set up their apparatus behind the railing when the
first cars roared down the stretch.

“Start grinding!” ordered Doyle curtly.

Flash pressed a button which controlled a motor. The camera began its
steady whirr.

Motor wide open, a car whizzed past and skidded around the turn. Flash
kept his camera lens trained on the racers behind.

And then it happened!

Watching through the viewfinder, he saw a driver suddenly lose control.
A car skidded toward the railing.

Flash’s instinct was to leap aside out of all possible danger, but he
held himself to his post.

The car careened toward him. Racers directly behind could not swerve
aside. There was a terrific crash as car after car piled on each other
and went rolling. Two overturned on the track, and a third smashed
against the fence. The fourth tore away a section not six yards from
where Flash stood. A body hurtled through the air.

Horrified, but with nerves steady, Flash swung his camera to catch it
all. He kept grinding until the crowd closed in about the wrecked car,
blocking his view. A siren screamed.

“Get the ambulance!” Doyle yelled at him.

Flash shot the entire “clean up” scene, only delaying long enough to
first obtain a few “still” shots of the wreckage for the _Brandale
Ledger_. When track attendants had carried the injured from the field
and had towed away the battered cars, he drew a deep sigh. He felt as
weak as a rag, but at least he hadn’t wilted at the critical moment.

“Boy, we shot a picture that time!” Doyle exclaimed with his first show
of enthusiasm. “If we had stayed with the other newsreel men, we’d have
missed it!”

“The cop booted us into a lucky place, all right,” Flash agreed.

“No chance of our getting another shot like that today,” Doyle sighed.
“We may as well take some crowd pictures and then try for ordinary
fill-in stuff of cars coming down the stretch.”

They shifted locations twice, finally returning to a place at the
railing not far from their original site. Both Flash and Doyle felt that
they had experienced their big moment of the day. They anticipated no
additional favor of luck, but it came when a second crash occurred close
to where they had set up their equipment.

“What a day!” Doyle chuckled. “Now we’ll shoot the finish of the race
and be done!”

They managed after considerable difficulty to squeeze into a hole near
the finish line. Flash caught a picture of the race winner, weary and
covered from head to foot with dust and oil, being congratulated upon
his victory. The man was induced to speak a few words into the
microphone.

“Now we’re through,” Doyle said in satisfaction. “I certainly didn’t
miss any tricks! If the pictures turn out well, I ought to get a raise.”

They stowed their equipment away and edged the sound truck into the flow
of traffic. Flash waited, expecting that Doyle would offer some word of
praise. He waited in vain. The technician took the entire credit for the
day’s work to himself.

As they neared the exit gate, they caught sight of two rival sound
trucks.

“Hi, Benny!” Doyle shouted in a loud voice. “How did you do?”

“Terrible,” was the discouraged response. “We missed all the crashes.”

“I got everything,” Doyle boasted, “and I mean everything!”

During the ride back to the hotel, the technician remained in a high
mood. Flash had little to say. He was tired, and in addition, bored by
his companion’s smug boasting.

They stopped at the airport where Doyle previously had arranged for
shipment of the cans of exposed film to the _News-Vue_ offices. Flash
made up a package of his best “still” shots for the _Brandale Ledger_.
With that duty accomplished, his work was completed. At last he was free
to enjoy his vacation.

“Well, good-bye,” he said, extending his hand to Doyle.

“Good-bye?” the man echoed in surprise. “Where are you going?”

“To find myself a bed,” Flash answered. “Then tomorrow I may go back to
Columbia. I want to see how Joe is doing.”

“Oh, yes,” Doyle murmured, frowning. “I’ll have to drive over there
myself tomorrow. Want to ride along?”

Flash hesitated. The matter of car fare was an item to be considered.
Doyle certainly owed him free transportation if nothing more.

“Thanks,” he accepted. “I’ll be glad to ride along.”

But later, alone in his hotel room, he regretted the decision. He did
not like George Doyle. And the technician had no use for him. The
journey at best would be an unpleasant one.

Flash picked up a newspaper which he had bought on the street. The
headlines were devoted to the auto races and the two deaths which had
occurred. Already the train wreck story was old, buried on page two.
However, a revised and final list of the known casualties had been
reprinted. Again Albert Povy’s name appeared.

“I’m sure that fellow was on the train to shadow Major Hartgrove,” he
mused. “But now—well, it doesn’t matter. The mystery, if any, has been
blacked out by death.”

The long journey to Columbia proved less disagreeable than Flash had
anticipated. For the most part, George Doyle attended strictly to his
driving. True, he bemoaned the hard life of a newspaper cameraman, the
ingratitude of his superiors. But by this time Flash had learned to
expect a steady stream of complaint.

Reaching Columbia, they drove at once to the city hospital. Although the
building still was overcrowded with patients, Joe Wells had been
assigned to a private room.

They found him with his leg in a cast, propped up by pillows. He tossed
aside a newspaper as they entered and grinned a welcome.

“It’s sure good to see a familiar face in this morgue,” he chuckled.
“Sit down—anywhere except on the bed.”

“How are you feeling, Joe?” asked Flash.

“Not so hot,” he admitted, “but I’m getting out of here tomorrow if it
means climbing down a fire escape. Tell me, how did you make out at the
races?”

Doyle related their success, taking most of the credit upon himself. Joe
listened with a tolerant, half-amused attitude.

“Where was Flash while all this was going on?” he inquired dryly.

“Flash?” Doyle was brought up sharply. “Oh, he was right at my elbow. He
helped a lot.”

“I figured he might. You know, big stories and smash pictures always
have a way of breaking around him. He’s better than a rabbit’s foot any
day!”

“We were lucky yesterday,” Flash admitted with a grin. “Those auto
crashes seemed to have been staged for our special benefit. I only hope
the films turn out well.”

“How did you like the experience?” Joe asked curiously.

“It was exciting. Still, I can’t say I enjoyed it. Seeing two men go to
their deaths—”

“I know,” Joe interrupted, “it shatters you, at first. That’s why so few
men are any good as newsreel cameramen. But you have the stuff, Flash.
Why don’t you take my job until I’m able to get around again?”

The abrupt question startled both Flash and Doyle. The latter could not
hide a frown of displeasure.

“How about it, George?” Joe asked the soundman. “You’d like to have him
work with you?”

“Oh, sure,” he replied without warmth. “Only I imagine district manager,
Clewes, has a man hand-picked for the job.”

“Flash is on the spot. Another man would need to come here. I can send
Clewes a wire.”

“Please don’t bother,” Flash said quietly. “This is my vacation.”

“It would be good experience for you.”

“I don’t doubt that, Joe. Perhaps, some other time I’ll try it.”

“Well, thanks anyway for pinch hitting,” the newsreel man replied
gratefully. “That trip yesterday must have been quite a strain. You’re
tough as a hunk of whang leather, Flash.”

A nurse entered the room to take a temperature reading. After she had
gone, Joe turned to Doyle:

“Do me a favor, will you? Run over to the drug-store and buy me some
tooth paste.”

Doyle left on the errand. As soon as his footsteps had died away, Joe
motioned for Flash to draw his chair closer.

“Now we can talk,” he said comfortably. “What’s the real reason you
don’t want my job? Doyle?”

“His attitude figures. He doesn’t like me. Working with him would be
unpleasant.”

“You’ll get used to his grouching and boasting after awhile. I did. Why
not give it a little whirl—while you’re on your vacation anyhow? It’s
not easy, getting a chance to break into the newsreel game, and here it
drops right into your lap. If you don’t like it, you can go back to the
_Ledger_ and no harm done. And another thing, the pay is much better.”

As Flash remained thoughtfully silent, Joe added: “If your pictures turn
out well, Clewes may offer you the job on his own initiative. Don’t let
Doyle’s personality stand in your way.”

“I’ll think it over. By the way, how is the Major?”

Joe jerked his head toward the wall behind the bed.

“They have him in the next cell,” he revealed in a low voice. “I’m
telling you that old goof nearly drives me crazy.”

“Not out of his head?”

“You couldn’t prove it by me. He keeps that call bell ringing like a
fire engine! Always wanting this and that. And visitors! If you ask me,
the entire Intelligence Department of the Army has been here to see the
Major.”

“Then he’s connected with the secret service?” Flash questioned in
astonishment.

Joe raised himself on an elbow.

“I’m sure of it, although I never guessed it before. He thinks someone
on the train deliberately cracked him over the head after the wreck. He
claims the fellow tried to steal important papers he carried on his
person.”

“That’s odd, Joe. When I helped him from the wreckage he kept mumbling
something about being struck. I thought he was out of his head.”

“Maybe he still is, but he talks straight enough. These walls are like
paper. I’ve heard him conferring with big-wigs of the Army. They’re out
to get some fellow involved in an espionage plot against the
government.”

“Who is he, Joe?”

“No names mentioned. I’ve been wondering if it might not be that man we
saw in the club car.”

“Povy?”

Joe nodded. “He’s had the reputation of being mixed up in that sort of
business. Nothing ever was proven against him though.”

“Povy seemed to be interested in Major Hartgrove on the train. But he
couldn’t have been the one—”

Flash broke off quickly. George Doyle stood in the doorway.

Returning with the tooth paste, the sound technician had approached so
quietly he had not been heard. His attitude was that of a person who
suspected he was the object of discussion.

Conversation became general. Within a few minutes the two visitors took
leave of Joe.

“I’m holing in over at the hotel,” Flash remarked. “Before I leave town
I’ll drop around and see you again.”

“I’ll be here, too, until I hear from Clewes,” added Doyle. “So far I
haven’t had any assignment.”

They shook hands with Joe, and quietly closed the door behind them. As
they went down the hall, Flash could not keep from directing a curious
glance toward Major Hartgrove’s room.

The door stood half open. A man in military uniform sat with his back to
the corridor. Major Hartgrove, reclining in a wheel chair, also was
plainly visible. As Flash stared at him, the Major returned the steady
gaze.

“Someone you know?” asked Doyle.

“A man I helped at the time of the wreck,” Flash explained briefly.

As they passed on, the signal light over the Major’s door winked in
rapid succession. Flash smiled, recalling Joe’s remark about the army
man’s demand for constant service.

The two cameramen reached the elevator and were entering it when an
attractive nurse came quickly after them.

“One moment please,” she requested in a muted voice.

They both waited. Doyle straightened his tie and twisted his face into a
wasted smile. The pretty nurse gazed at Flash as she spoke.

“Major Hartgrove wishes to speak with one of you,” she said. “He doesn’t
know the name. However, he means the young man who aided him in the
wreck.”

“I guess that must be me,” acknowledged Flash. “My name is Jimmy Evans.”

“Then will you please come with me?”

The nurse turned and walked back down the corridor. Flash and George
Doyle both followed.

“You didn’t tell me you were a hero,” the technician said jokingly.
“Maybe the Major is going to pin a medal on your chest!”

At the door of Room 67, the nurse paused. She smiled apologetically at
Doyle.

“Do you mind waiting outside?” she requested. “The Major expressly
requested that he wished to see Mr. Evans alone.”

Continue Reading

Flash hesitated briefly

Flash lay stunned for several minutes, unable to comprehend that the
train actually had been derailed. Screams of terror and moans of pain
mingled with the shouted orders of the trainmen. The sounds came to him
as if from a long distance away.

Dazedly he sat up, dragging himself from beneath a pile of twisted steel
and splintered wood. Blood streamed from a gash in his head, but
miraculously, he seemed to have suffered no serious injury.

In the gathering twilight he could see that every car had left the
track. The engine, taking the baggage car with it, had rolled down a
steep embankment. It lay on its side, belching steam like a wounded
dragon.

Flash pulled himself to his feet and called hoarsely: “Joe! Joe!”

A moan of pain came from beneath a pile of debris almost at his feet. He
saw an arm protruding from the wreckage. Frantically, he worked at a car
seat which had wedged fast, and finally succeeded in lifting it off. Joe
lay there, his face twisted in agony.

“Go easy,” he muttered. “My leg’s broken. And my insides are scrambled.”

Flash managed to get a supporting arm under Joe’s shoulders, but when he
raised the man to a half-standing position, he crumpled back again.

“No use,” the cameraman moaned. “It’s broken. What a fix! Pictures to
the right and left, and me with a busted leg and no camera! Leave me to
die!”

Joe’s spirited complaint slightly reassured Flash. If his friend could
think of pictures, it was unlikely that he had suffered serious internal
injuries. But there was no question about the leg. It was broken.

Stretching Joe out as comfortably as possible, he looked about for a
board which could be used as a splint.

“Listen,” said Joe, “you can’t do me any good. Run to the nearest
farmhouse and send out a call for ambulances and doctors!”

“I don’t like to leave you, Joe.”

“Go on, I say!”

Aroused to action, Flash started for the nearest house, a quarter of a
mile away. Crawling beneath a barbed wire fence, he ran through a plowed
field. The ground was soft from recent rains. He stumbled and fell flat.
Scrambling up, his clothes covered with mud, he raced on, finally
reaching the house.

The kitchen door was opened by a housewife who screamed when she saw
him. In dramatic words, Flash told what had happened and begged the use
of a telephone.

He called the nearest town of Columbia and was promised that all
available aid would be rushed to the scene. Then, as an afterthought, he
dispatched a telegram to the _Brandale Ledger_, providing the first news
of the train disaster.

Followed by the excited housewife, her husband, and a hired man, Flash
ran back to the wreck.

Confusion had increased. Frantic persons moved in a bewildered way from
one place to another, searching for loved ones. Already a number of
inert bodies had been removed from the wreckage. Only the trainmen
seemed cool and effective in their actions.

A coach had caught fire. Flash hurried there, helping a brakeman pull
two shrieking women from the debris. By working furiously they were able
to make certain that no one had been left under the wreckage. Soon the
car was a blazing inferno, adding to the terror of the frightened
survivors.

“What caused the wreck?” Flash demanded of the brakeman.

“Rail out of place,” the man answered grimly.

“Done deliberately to derail the train?”

“Can’t say,” the other replied. “Not allowed to talk.”

The rapidly darkening sky increased the difficulty of rescue work. Flash
toiled on, unaware of fatigue.

As the first truckload of doctors, nurses, and stretcher bearers arrived
from Columbia, he made his way back to the car which he and Joe had
occupied throughout the journey. The Pullman was overturned but had not
been crushed. Nearly all passengers riding in it had escaped with only
minor injuries.

The car was now deserted. Flash crawled inside. Locating his former seat
he groped about in the dark. Almost at once his hand encountered Joe
Wells’ luggage, and a moment later he found his own camera.

Eagerly, he examined the lens and tested the mechanism.

“This is luck with a capital L,” he exulted. “It doesn’t seem to be
damaged.”

Continuing the search, he located his equipment case which provided him
with a stock of flash bulbs and film holders.

Without losing another moment, he began making a photographic record of
the disaster. First he shot an over-all scene, showing the general
wreckage. The derailed engine where two men had lost their lives, was
worth another picture. He took one of the burned coach, one of the rail
which had caused the wreck, and then turned his attention to human
interest shots of the passengers.

A number of prominent persons had been aboard the train. Whenever he
recognized a passenger he snapped a picture, but he wasted no film.
Every shot told a story.

Gradually, Flash worked his way forward to where he had left Joe Wells.
Failing to see the newsreel man he assumed that stretcher bearers had
carried him to a waiting ambulance.

More for his own record than because it had news possibilities, he shot
a picture of the crushed car in which he had been riding at the time of
the wreck. As the flash went off, he saw a dark figure move back, away
from him.

Reassuringly, he called to the fleeing person. There was no answer.

Instead, from the railroad right of way, a familiar voice shouted
hoarsely: “That you, Evans?”

“Joe!” he answered.

He found the newsreel man sitting with his back to a telephone pole
where he had dragged himself, there to await attention from the first
available doctor.

“How are you feeling, Joe?” Flash asked him anxiously.

“Okay.”

“I’ll see if I can’t get you some blankets. And I’ll try to bring a
doctor.”

“Skip it,” said Joe quietly. “Some of these other folks need attention a
lot worse than I do. I see you found your camera.”

“Your luggage, too,” Flash told him encouragingly.

“Stow it in a safe place if you can find one,” Joe advised. “I saw a
suspicious-looking fellow going through one of the cars. Helping himself
to what he could get!”

“I think I must have seen that same man. He slipped away when I took a
picture a moment ago. The wrecking crew ought to be here soon. They’ll
put a stop to such business.”

“Don’t let me keep you from shooting your pictures,” said Wells
abruptly.

“I’m almost through now.”

As Flash spoke, both men were startled to hear a moan of pain. The sound
came from the wrecked Pullman close by.

“Some poor fellow pinned under there!” exclaimed Joe.

Turning his camera and holders over to his friend for safe keeping,
Flash darted to the wreckage. In the indistinct light he saw a man
sitting with head buried in his hands. The lower portion of his body
seemed to be imprisoned.

“Major Hartgrove!” Flash exclaimed, reaching his side.

The army man stared at the young photographer in a dazed manner. He kept
fumbling in his vest pocket, mumbling to himself.

“I was struck on the head…. My papers … my wallet!”

“I don’t believe anyone struck you, Major,” Flash corrected. “You were
in a wreck.”

“Don’t you think I know that much!” the army man snapped. “I was
struck—struck over the head.”

It occurred to Flash that the Major might have been struck and robbed by
the person he had observed slipping away into the darkness. But as the
man began to mumble again, he reverted to his original opinion. The
Major had been dazed by the terrific impact of the wreck and did not
know what he was saying.

Flash tried ineffectively to pull away the heavy timbers which held the
man fast.

“It’s no use,” he gasped at last. “I’ll bring help.”

Leaving the Major, he met two burly trainmen carrying lighted lanterns.
With their aid he finally succeeded in freeing the army man. As he had
feared, the Major was severely injured. One foot was crushed and his
head had been wounded.

A doctor came hurrying up with an emergency kit. He gave the Major first
aid treatment and ordered stretcher bearers to carry him to a waiting
ambulance. Joe Wells also was given a hasty examination and transported
to the hospital conveyance.

“May I ride along to town?” Flash requested the driver. “I have some
pictures I ought to rush through to my paper.”

“Jump in,” the man invited. With a quick glance at the young man, he
added: “You don’t look any too good yourself. Feeling shock?”

Flash sagged into the seat beside the driver.

“I’m feeling something,” he admitted. “I guess I’m all in.”

Until now excitement had buoyed him, and made him unaware of either pain
or fatigue. He shivered. His teeth chattered from a sudden chill.

The driver stripped off his own topcoat and made Flash put it on.

“Better get yourself a bed at the hotel if you can,” he advised. “You’ll
feel plenty in another hour.”

Flash shook his head. With pictures to be sent to the _Brandale Ledger_,
he couldn’t afford to pamper himself. He had to keep going until his
work was finished.

“Where is the nearest airport?” he questioned.

“We pass it on our way to Columbia.”

“Then drop me off there,” Flash requested.

A few minutes later he said good-bye to Joe Wells, promising to come to
the hospital as soon as he could.

“Don’t fail,” the newsreel man urged, “there’s something I want you to
do for me.”

At the airport Flash arranged to have his undeveloped film rushed to the
_Brandale Ledger_. From the shipment he kept back only shots which he
was certain would be of no use to the editor.

This important duty out of the way, he walked into town. There he
dispatched a lengthy message, reporting to Riley such facts as he had
been able to gather. Not until then did he allow himself to relax.

Already the town was crowded to overflowing with survivors of the wreck.
Hotels, restaurants and the railroad station were jammed. Every
available bed had been taken. Flash waited in line twenty minutes for a
hot cup of coffee.

Battered and still chilled, he tramped to the hospital. Inquiring about
Joe Wells and Major Hartgrove, he was relieved to learn that they both
were doing as well as could be expected. After a long delay he was
allowed to talk with the newsreel cameraman.

At sight of Flash, Joe’s face brightened.

“I thought you’d come,” he said. “Do you know what the doctor just told
me? I’ll be laid up for weeks!”

“That’s a tough break, Joe.”

“Yeah. Flash, will you do me a favor?”

“You know I will.”

“Doyle’s expecting me to meet him at Indianapolis tomorrow morning,” Joe
went on jerkily. “He has the sound wagon and all our equipment.”

“I’ll send him a telegram right away.”

The cameraman shook his head impatiently.

“Listen, Flash,” he said persuasively, “I want you to take my place.
Meet Doyle and protect the _News-Vue_ people on the race pictures.”

“But I don’t know anything about newsreel work!” Flash protested.

“Sure you do,” Joe denied. “Doyle can help you a lot.”

“Riley is expecting me to get pictures for him.”

“You can do that, too. You won’t lose a thing by helping me out of this
hole. It’s a big favor, I know, but you’re the only person who can swing
it for me. What do you say?”

Flash hesitated briefly. Joe made it all sound very easy, but he knew it
wouldn’t be. Any newsreel pictures he might take likely would be
worthless. The journey on through the night to Indianapolis meant sheer
torture. But he owed it to his friend to at least make the attempt.

“I’ll do it, Joe,” he promised. “I’ll do it for you.”

Pleased by Flash’s promise, Joe Wells quickly provided him with George
Doyle’s Indianapolis hotel address, and offered such advice as he
thought might prove useful.

“Doyle knows a lot about newsreel work and can help you,” he declared.
“But you readily see the job is too big for him to handle alone. I’m
frank to say he’s touchy and rather unpleasant at times. Don’t let that
bother you.”

“I’ll be having enough troubles without doing any worrying about him,”
Flash returned grimly.

“Well, good luck,” Joe said, extending his hand. “I may see you in
Indianapolis. I’m getting out of here as soon as the doctor lets me.”

Flash left the hospital, somewhat bewildered by the rapid way his plans
had been altered. While he had experimented with amateur newsreel
photography and had studied it many months, he had no faith in his
ability. Nor did he think that George Doyle would like the new
arrangement.

Consulting time tables, Flash discovered that he never could reach
Indianapolis by train. The wrecked streamliner had been the last one
which would have arrived in time for the races. A passenger plane left
the local airport at eleven that evening and by making his decision
quickly he was able to get a ticket.

Morning found him, haggard and worn, standing at the desk of the Seville
Hotel in Indianapolis. Nervously he glanced at the lobby clock. His
plane had been delayed, held back by strong headwinds. He feared that
George Doyle might have already left for the race track.

“Did you wish a room, sir?” the clerk inquired, regarding his unkempt
appearance with disapproval. “We’re filled.”

“Do you have a George Doyle here?”

“Newsreel man?” the clerk asked in an altered tone. “Yes, I think so.”

He checked a card index and reported that the man occupied Room 704.
Without telephoning to learn if Doyle were in, Flash went up to the
seventh floor.

In response to his knock, the door was flung open. George Doyle, hat
pushed back on his head, faced him with a frozen gaze.

“Well?” he demanded unpleasantly. “What do you want?”

“I guess you don’t recognize me. We met at Brandale. Remember the Bailey
Brooks ’chute pictures—?”

“Oh, sure,” the man broke in, but his voice still lacked warmth. “Sorry
I can’t stop to talk now. I’m just starting for the track.”

“Joe Wells sent me,” Flash said significantly.

Immediately the sound technician’s manner changed.

“Why didn’t you say so?” he asked, motioning for Flash to come into the
bedroom. “How is Joe? Haven’t heard a word from him since the wreck. You
weren’t on the same train?”

“Yes, I was. Joe’s leg is broken and he’s badly battered.”

“No chance then of his getting here today?”

“Not a chance.”

“This leaves me in a nice situation,” Doyle complained. “I can’t handle
the job alone. I might know Wells would pull something like that!”

“I don’t think he broke his leg on purpose,” Flash returned dryly.

“Maybe not,” Doyle admitted, “but this was our big opportunity to make a
showing. Now I might as well pack up and start back East!”

“Joe sent me to take his place. I don’t know how much good I’ll be, but
here I am anyhow.”

Doyle had been nervously pacing the floor. He paused and stared at
Flash.

“Joe sent you?” he repeated. “Do you know anything about newsreel work?”

“Not very much,” Flash admitted truthfully. “I’m a photographer for the
_Brandale Ledger_. I can do what you tell me.”

“A lot of help you’ll be,” Doyle growled. “I need a good, experienced
man.”

Flash began to lose patience. It seemed to him that Doyle had no
interest in Joe Wells’ misfortune save as it affected him. His only
thought was for himself and his work.

“If you don’t care to use me, that’s quite all right,” he said. “I have
some pictures of my own to take.”

As he turned abruptly toward the door, Doyle stopped him.

“Wait a minute! Don’t be so touchy! I didn’t say I couldn’t use you, did
I? If I decide to tackle the job I’ll need a helper. You may do.”

“Thanks,” said Flash ironically.

He had taken an intense dislike to Doyle. The man was conceited and
disagreeable. But for Joe’s sake he would see the thing through.

“Had your breakfast yet?” Doyle asked in a more friendly tone.

“No, but I’m not very hungry. Still feeling the effects of last night, I
guess.”

Doyle asked no questions about Flash’s experiences in the train wreck.
It did not occur to him that the young photographer had undergone
extreme physical discomfort in order to reach Indianapolis.

“Well, get shaved,” he said gruffly. “I’ll need to explain to you about
the equipment. We haven’t much time.”

Flash borrowed a razor, and did not keep Doyle waiting long. They left
the hotel, going directly to the garage where the green sound truck had
been left. There the sound technician demonstrated the _News-Vue_
equipment, and seemed slightly reassured to discover that Flash knew a
good deal about newsreel cameras.

“Maybe we can get by somehow,” he said gloomily. “Let’s roll.”

“Just as you say.”

Flash jumped into the sound wagon beside Doyle. On the seat he noticed a
newspaper of the previous night. In screaming headlines it proclaimed:
STREAMLINER WRECKED. 12 DEAD, 27 INJURED.

As the car shot out of the garage into blinding sunlight, he was able to
read the finer print. His eye scanned the list of known dead. Seeing a
familiar name, he gave a low exclamation of surprise.

“What’s wrong?” Doyle demanded, regarding him curiously.

“Nothing,” Flash answered. “It just gave me a shock—this list of the
dead.”

“Someone you know?”

“You remember that fellow, Albert Povy?”

“Povy—I can’t seem to place him.”

“The man we both saw at Brandale. He was trying to buy Bailey Brooks’
parachute after the successful test.”

“Oh, sure,” nodded Doyle. “He wasn’t killed in the wreck?”

“His name is listed.”

Doyle guided the sound truck through traffic at a reckless pace,
deliberately stealing the right-of-way from timid motorists.

“If Povy’s dead, then Bailey Brooks is out of luck,” he remarked in a
matter of fact tone. “Too bad for him.”

“And for Povy, too,” added Flash dryly. “However, from what I’ve heard
of the man, his death may not be such a great loss to humanity.”

“Mixed up in some sort of government scandal, wasn’t he?”

“I never did learn many of the details,” Flash admitted. “It was a funny
thing, though. Joe and I saw him on the train. He didn’t remember us or,
if he did, he gave no sign. He seemed especially interested in an army
man, Major Hartgrove.”

“Interested?”

“Oh, it was only my idea. It struck me he might have boarded the train
with the intention of watching the Major.”

“Well, if he’s dead he won’t do any more watching,” Doyle returned
carelessly. “We’re getting near the main gate now. Let me have the
passes.”

“What passes?”

“Didn’t Joe give them to you?” Doyle demanded, lifting his foot from the
accelerator.

“He didn’t give me anything.”

The sound technician groaned. “Joe had all our credentials. You didn’t
think they’d let us through the gate without proper identification?”

Flash had not given the matter a thought. “Won’t our truck get us by?”
he asked.

“It may, but I doubt it. They’re not letting many sound outfits inside.”

“What will we do?”

“What can we do? If we’re questioned, we’ll have to put up a loud
argument.”

The truck had entered dense traffic. It halted to await its turn to
enter the grounds. Slowly the line moved up.

Shouting “_News-Vue_” in a loud voice, Doyle attempted to drive through
the gate. He was promptly stopped.

“Not so fast, young man,” said the gateman. “Let’s see your passes.”

“Passes?” Doyle inquired innocently.

“You heard me,” retorted the gateman. “And don’t try any bluff.”

“See here, we don’t need any passes,” Doyle argued. “We’re newsreel men
for the _News-Vue_ Company.”

“Can’t let you through without passes. Those are my orders.”

“Have a heart,” Doyle growled. “We did have passes, but we lost ’em. If
we don’t get inside and locate our truck before race time, we’ll lose
our jobs!”

“And I’ll lose mine if I disregard orders,” the gateman countered.

Doyle alternately argued and pleaded, but to no avail. The gateman
remained firm. And at last he lost all patience.

“Pull out of line,” he ordered sharply. “You’re holding up these other
cars.”

Angrily Doyle swerved the truck, parking it a short distance away. His
eyes smoldered as he turned toward Flash.

“Joe certainly used his brain when he sent you here without
credentials!” he muttered. “Now how are we to get those pictures? Any
brilliant ideas, Mr. Evans?”

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