And a Little Child Shall Lead Them by A Hyatt Verrill
A quick run of a cargo of booze, might be a risky business, but it can be profitable too! But had Capt. Carmichael taken on more than he handle?
Excerpt “So that’s the graft, eh?” rumbled Captain Carmichael as he straightened up in his chair and gazed from under bushy brows at the overdressed, florid-faced man across the little table. “Want me to run a cargo of booze and risk my ship and the calaboose or a fine for me and me men for five thousand while you set back safe and sound and pocket the profits. No, mister, nothing doing.”
“Got cold feet or too law-abiding?” sneered the other.
Carmichael’s eyes flashed, his lips set in a hard line and one huge fist clenched as he half rose. Then he settled back. “Cold feet, hell!” he burst out. “No one never said Jerry Carmichael got cold feet yet without being derned sorry he spoke; and as for the law—any fool law like this dry business was made to be broke. No, mister, game ain’t worth the candle, that’s all.”
“Maybe we might sweeten the kitty a bit if that’s all,” suggested the other man. “Would ten grand tempt you?”
For a space the bull-necked, deep-chested seaman studied his companion thoughtfully. Then: “Say,” he ejaculated, “you fellows make me tired. You think you’re some pumpkins, but you don’t know no more about running in contraband than a suckling babe. You’re a bunch of pikers and dumb fools besides.
“You send a schooner down to load hootch in the Bahamas and you know blamed well Nassau’s full of spies and every keg and case you put aboard’s checked off, and then the craft sails north with faked papers and sneaks up the coast and lays to twelve or fifteen mile off shore, just advertising she’s crooked, and then a towboat or a launch goes off making enough racket to wake old Davy Jones and you get chased and catched or have a gun fight or maybe land a few hundred cases and clean up a few thousand and call it business.
“No, mister, my motter’s ‘a thing what’s worth doing at all’s worth doing well’ and you might’s well die for a sheep as a lamb. The fine ain’t no bigger if you bring in a thousand cases than if you bring in one, and big deals are what pays.”