Series:Mystery & Suspense Short Stories Collection
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
Listen to an excerpt
Tex Larimee is a grizzled Arizona sheriff who's leaving the deserts of Cactus County behind, blazing a trail east to mix it up with The Slickers in the canyons of Manhattan.
Tex's welcome to New York is a rude one. Robbed of his cash, gun and badge, he's locked in a room in back of a run-down bar. Breaking out of the bar, he goes looking for his best friend only to find him dead, his throat cut. And the cops accuse Tex of committing the murder....
But none of that's going to keep a good Arizona lawman down. Discovering he's been the subject of an elaborate frame-up job, Tex has got a few tricks of his own up his sleeve—and in his recovered Colt .45—to make even the toughest of city birds sing a different tune.
Also includes the mysteries Killer Ape, in which a man frees a mistreated orangutan, only to end up with a monkey on his back, as he's accused of aiding and abetting the ape in a case of murder; and Murder Afloat, the story of a top narcotics cop in the US Secret Service who's pursuit of a million-dollar score could land him in some hot—and deadly—water.
Much like Tex, L. Ron Hubbard was born and bred on the western frontier and made his way east to explore and experience life in New York City. But unlike the sheriff, Mr. Hubbard enjoyed his time in the city, where his writing career took off as he became a leading figure in its literary world. He came to know the streets and haunts of Manhattan as well as he knew the arroyos and canyons of the west, giving him the kind of insights he needed to write stories like The Slickers.
The Slickers Glossary
Stories from the Golden Age reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era, the following glossary has been provided.
“begorrah”: (Irish) used as an exclamation or a mild oath; alteration of “by God.”
binnacle: a built-in housing for a ship’s compass.
bitt: a vertical post, usually one of a pair, set on the deck of a ship and used for securing cables, lines for towing, etc.
Black Maria: patrol wagon; an enclosed truck or van used by the police to transport prisoners.
bowler: derby; a hard felt hat with a rounded crown and narrow brim, created by James Lock & Co, a firm founded in 1676 in London. The prototype was made in 1850 for a customer of Lock’s by Thomas and William Bowler, hat makers in Southwark, England. At first it was dubbed the iron hat because it was hard enough to protect the head, and later picked up the name bowler because of its makers’ family name. In the US it became known as a derby from its association with the Kentucky Derby.
bows: the exterior of the forward end of a vessel.
bracelets: a pair of handcuffs.
buck up: take courage; take heart.
bump: to kill.
chee-chalker: a newcomer to Alaska and the Klondike; an Indian word meaning one who is inexperienced or has no knowledge; a tenderfoot.
Colt revolver: Colt Detective Special; a short-barreled revolver first produced in 1927 by the Colt Firearms Company. Though originally offered as a .32 caliber, the most common of the Colt Detective Specials were .38 caliber and had a two-inch barrel. The short barrel design made this gun popular for use as a concealed weapon by plainclothes police detectives.
coyote: used for a man who has the sneaking and skulking characteristics of a coyote.
cuspidor: a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, especially from chewing tobacco, in wide use during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
cutter: 1. a ship’s boat, powered by a motor or oars and used for transporting stores or passengers. 2. a type of US Coast Guard vessel that is over 65 feet in length. Cutter originally referred to a small, single-masted vessel, fore-and-aft rigged with two or more headsails. The term was adopted by the US Treasury Department when the US Revenue Cutter Service was formed in 1790, which then became the US Coast Guard in 1915, and cutter has come to mean a small armed vessel in government service.
davit: a cranelike device, used singly or in pairs, for supporting, raising and lowering boats, anchors and cargo over a hatchway or side of a ship.
dick: a detective.
durian: a tree native to the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia that bears a foul-smelling but deliciously flavored fruit. The seeds are roasted and eaten like nuts.
El: elevated railway.
fo’c’s’le: forecastle; the upper deck of a sailing ship, forward of the foremast.
forty-five or .45 automatic: a handgun chambered to fire a .45-caliber cartridge and that utilizes the recoil or part of the force of the explosive to eject the spent cartridge shell, introduce a new cartridge, cock the arm and fire it repeatedly.
gibbet: an upright post with a crosspiece, forming a T-shaped structure from which criminals were formerly hanged for public viewing.
G-men: government men; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
greenhorn: an easterner unacquainted with cowboy ways.
gum: interfere with.
Havana: a seaport in and the capital of Cuba, on the northwest coast.
hawser: a thick rope or cable for mooring or towing a ship.
horned spoon, by the great: a “horned spoon” is a tool made from a cow horn. The saying “by the great horned spoon” was at one time a fairly common American oath and used to make a statement emphatic. Its first recorded usage was in 1842.
jaspers: fellows; guys.
Judge Colt: nickname for the single-action (that is, cocked by hand for each shot), six-shot Army model revolver first produced in 1873 by Colt Firearms Company, the armory founded by Samuel Colt (1814–1862). The handgun of the Old West became the instrument of both lawmaker and lawbreaker during the last twenty-five years of the nineteenth century. It soon earned various names, such as “Peacemaker,” “Equalizer,” and “Judge Colt and his jury of six.”
Juneau: port city in southeastern Alaska. In 1900 it was made the capital of the territory of Alaska and later the state capital when Alaska joined the Union in 1959. It is named after the gold prospector Joseph Juneau, who discovered gold in the area in 1880.
kapok: a silky fiber obtained from the fruit of the silk-cotton tree and used for insulation and as padding in pillows, mattresses and life preservers.
Ketchikan: a city located on the southwestern coast of Revillagigedo Island near the southern boundary of Alaska, and named after the Ketchikan Creek that flows through the town. Much of the town sits over water, supported by pilings. Ketchikan has the heaviest average rainfall in North America and is one of the four wettest spots on Earth. With 160 inches of rain a year, the rainfall is measured in feet, not inches. The locals refer to rain as “liquid sunshine.”
klootches: Indian women of northwestern Alaska.
lobo: wolf; one who is regarded as predatory, greedy and fierce.
material witness: a witness whose testimony is both relevant to the matter at issue and required in order to resolve the matter.
monkey fist: a ball-like knot used as an ornament or as a throwing weight at the end of a line.
newshawk: a newspaper reporter, especially one who is energetic and aggressive.
Oleleh: Oleleh Harbor; a harbor on the Island of Sumatra.
pannin’: panning; criticizing or reviewing harshly; giving an unfavorable review of.
paper suitcase: an inexpensive suitcase made of hard cardboard.
Police Positive .38: Colt Police Positive; a .38-caliber revolver developed by the Colt Firearms Company in answer to a demand for a more powerful version of the .32-caliber Police Positive. First introduced in 1905, these guns were sold to many US police forces and European military units, as well as being made available to the general public.
Punch: the chief male character of the Punch and Judy puppet show, a famous English comedy dating back to the seventeenth century, by way of France from Italy. It is performed using hand puppets in a tent-style puppet theater with a cloth backdrop and board in front. The puppeteer introduces the puppets from beneath the board so that they are essentially popping up to the stage area of the theater.
rod: another name for a handgun.
roscoe: another name for a handgun.
rowels: the small spiked revolving wheels on the ends of spurs, which are attached to the heels of a rider’s boots and used to nudge a horse into going faster.
rubber hose: a piece of hose made of rubber, used to beat people as a form of torture or in order to obtain a full or partial confession and to elicit information. A rubber hose was used because its blows, while painful, leave only slight marks on the body of the person beaten.
sap: dumb guy; a fool.
Scheherazade: the female narrator of The Arabian Nights, who during one thousand and one adventurous nights saved her life by entertaining her husband, the king, with stories.
shivved: knifed; stabbed with a shiv (knife).
shorthorn: a tenderfoot; a newcomer or a person not used to rough living and hardships.
slick-ear: “wet behind the ears”; someone who is inexperienced or naïve.
slickers: swindlers; sly cheats.
slug: a bullet.
“snow”: cocaine or heroin in the form of a white powder.
SOS: the letters represented by the radio telegraphic signal known as Morse code, used especially by ships in distress, as an internationally recognized call for help.
spittoon: a container for spitting into.
stateroom: a private room or compartment on a train, ship, etc.
stay: any of various strong ropes or wires for steadying masts.
stern: the rear end of a ship or boat.
Sumatra: a large island in the western part of Indonesia. Most of Sumatra used to be covered by tropical rainforest.
’tween decks: between decks; spaces between two continuous decks in the hull of a vessel.
two bits: a quarter; during the colonial days, people used coins from all over the world. When the US adopted an official currency, the Spanish milled (machine-struck) dollar was chosen and it later became the model for American silver dollars. Milled dollars were easily cut apart into equal “bits” of eight pieces. Two bits would equal a quarter of a dollar.
well deck: the space on the main deck of a ship lying at a lower level between the bridge and either a raised forward deck or a raised deck at the stern, which usually has cabins underneath.
West Indies: a group of islands in the North Atlantic between North and South America, comprising the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the Bahamas.
wisenheimer: smart aleck; wise guy; one who is obnoxiously self-assertive and arrogant.