December 9, 2019

Supply and Demand part 8

The dust weighed before you, and taken at sixteen dollars the ounco the highest price on the Gaudymala coast.’

“Then the crowd disperses all of a sudden, and I don’t know what’l up. Mac and me packs away the hand-mirrors and jewelry they had handed back to us, and we had the mules back to the corral they had set apart for our garage.

“While we was there we hear great noises of shouting, and down across the plaza runs Patrick Shane, hotfoot, with his clothes ripped half off, and scratches on his face like a cat had fought him hard for every one of its lives.

‘“They’re looting the treasury, W. D.,’ he sings out. ‘They’re going to kill me and you, too. Unlimber a couple of mules at once. We’ll have to make a get-away in a couple of minutes.’

“‘They’ve found out,’ says I, ‘the truth about the law of supply and demand.’

‘“It’s the women, mostly,’ says the King. ‘And they used to admire me so!’

“‘They hadn’t seen looking-glasses then,’ says I.

“‘They’ve got .knives and hatchets,’ says Shane; ‘hurry!’

“‘Take that roan mule,’ says I. ‘You and your law of supply! I’ll ride the dun, for he’s two knots per hour the faster. The roan has a stiff knee, but he may make it,’ says I. ‘If you’d included reciprocity in your political platform I might have given you the dun,’ says I.

Mules and Rode

“Shane and McClintock and me mounted our mules and rode across the rawhide bridge just as the Peches reached the other side and began firing stones and long knives at us. We cut the thongs that held up our end of the bridge and headed for the coast.”

A tall, bulky policeman came into Finch’s shop at that moment and leaned an elbow on the showcase. Finch nodded at him friendly.

“I heard dowfi at Casey’s”, said the cop, in rumbling, husky tones, “that there was going to be a picnic of the Hat-Cleaners’ Union over at Bergen Beach, Sunday. Is that right?”

“Sure,” said Finch. “There’ll be a dandy time.”

“Gimme five tickets,” said the cop, throwing a five-dollar bill on the showcase.

“Why,” said Finch, “ain’t you going it a little too ”

“Go to h ,” said the cop. “You got’em to sell, ain’t you? Somebody’s got to buy ’em. Wish I could go along.”

I was glad to see Finch so well thought of in his neighborhood.

And then in came a wee girl of seven, with dirty face and pure blue eyes and smutched and insufficient dress.

“Mamma says,” she recited shrilly, “that you must give me eighty cents for the grocer and nineteen for the milkman and five cents for me to buy hokey-pokey with but she didn’t say that,” the elf concluded, with a hopeful but honest grin.

Finch shelled out the money, counting it twice, but I noticed that the total sum that the small girl received was one dollar and four cents.

“That’s the right kind of a law,” remarked Finch, as he carefully broke some of the stitches of my hatband so that it would assuredly come off within a few days “the law of supply and demand. But they’ve both got to work together. I’ll bet,” he went on, with his dry smile, “she’ll get jelly beans with that nickel she likes ’em. What’s supply if there’s no demand for it?”

“What ever became of the King?” I asked, curiously.

“Oh, I might have told you,” said Finch. “That was Shane came in and bought the tickets.. He came back with me, and he’s on the force now.”

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