Ruthe Wheeler.

Janet Hardy in Radio City

Do you want me to? asked Curt, looking straight into the face of the incensed director.

Adolphi dropped his arm and turned away, and in that action he stirred Janets suspicions anew. If he were without guilt, she felt he would have forced Curt to a showdown. But he had turned away and Janet thought she caught just a flicker of Rachel Nesbits eyes.

Then they were back at work, rehearsing until well after the usual dinner hour. When the director finally released them, most of the company was dizzy with fatigue,

Hes trying to wear us out so we wont be able to put on a good show tomorrow night, muttered Curt. Ive a good notion to drop him down an elevator shaft and see if hell bounce.

Jim Hill was waiting for them.

I thought youd never come, he said. Adolphi been pretty tough?

Janet nodded. He couldnt have been much worse.

Hes got a reputation for driving his casts just before the final show. Sometimes he gets marvelous results; then, again, the thing will fall flat with everyone all worn out.

Hes trying to break us in two, grumbled Curt, whose feet were hurting.

Jim Hill took them down to his office and they ordered sandwiches sent in while they went over the manuscript. It had been given the approval of the continuity chief and was to be incorporated into the program.

I think its good stuff, said Janet as she laid down the script. Youve caught the spirit of the picture at last. If this doesnt boom public interest in Kings of the Air to a high pitch, Ill be a very mistaken young lady.

The others agreed with her that Jim had struck the right note.

Now the thing to do is to get Adolphi to swing it through for me tomorrow night. He can if he wants to.

Thats a real question, too, said Curt. I suspect hes the guy behind all of the trouble and well find Rachel Nesbit right in with him.

They left a few minutes later, Jim Hill taking the precious manuscript with him.

Parting on Sixth Avenue, Jim signalled for a cab.

Im not taking any chances tonight, he said.

They watched him get into the cab and he waved as the taxi shot away and swung onto a side street. But before it disappeared Janet saw something that caused a wave of apprehension to sweep over her.

A long, rakish sedan, which had been parked further along the street, leaped ahead, and swung around the corner behind the taxi which was carrying Jim Hill and the final draft of their radio script.

Chapter Twenty-nine

Janets sharp cry halted Curt Newsom and Helen. They turned startled faces toward her.

Whats the matter? Someone try to run you down? asked Helen.

Its Jim, replied Janet. A cars following his taxi. It started up from the curb and swung right behind his cab. Someone is after that manuscript. Weve got to follow them.

Curt hailed a cruising taxi and they piled in, the cowboy giving the driver sharp directions.

Step on it; well pay any fines, he said.

The cab lurched away, gaining speed so rapidly they shot around the corner in a dizzy skid.

Turning onto Fifth Avenue they saw the long, dark sedan and ahead of it the taxi in which Jim was riding. A stop light blazed in their faces and their cab ground to a halt.

Go on, go on, urged Janet, leaning toward the driver.

Cant make it, he growled, pointing to the heavy stream of cross traffic which was flowing ahead of them.

When the light changed the taxi and its pursuing sedan had disappeared.

Pull over to the curb, Janet told their driver. Now what shall we do? she asked her companions.

Anybody know where Jim lives? asked Curt.

I do, replied Janet.

Then lets go there and wait for him. Well be sure that he gets home all right.

Janet gave the driver Jim Hills address and they raced up the avenue once more. In less than fifteen minutes they pulled up before an apartment house and Janet went into the small lobby and pressed the buzzer that signalled Jims apartment. There was no reply and she returned to the cab, a mounting fear in her heart.

She communicated the news to Curt and Helen and they fell silent, waiting and hoping that Jim would arrive.

Minutes ticked away and the taxi driver glanced uneasily at his meter and wondered about his pay.

Im going to call the studio and see if he returned there by any chance, said Janet, driven to action in her desperation.

She walked to a nearby drug store and from a pay station there telephoned the World Broadcasting studio. It was as she had feared; Jim had not returned. In fact, there was no one in the continuity department.

It was with a heavy heart that Janet returned to the cab. So much depended upon the safeguarding of the script. There was their own radio d?but for one thing. But that was comparatively minor. More than that was the success of the broadcast which was to arouse public interest in the film which Helens father had created. This was what really counted.

When she told Helen and Curt that Jim had not returned to the studio, the cowboy sat silent for a time.

This isnt getting us anywhere, he said. We may get in trouble, but its worth a try.

Without explaining what he intended to do, he bolted toward the drug store and returned a minute later with an address written on a slip of paper. He gave this to their driver and ordered him to get there with the least possible delay.

Where are we going? asked Janet.

To pay a little call on Director Adolphi.

Then you think hes mixed up in this thing? Helen asked.

Im sure of it now. Theres something about him that just doesnt ring true.

There was little conversation in the cab during their fast ride to the directors apartment and they all went up together after Curt had paid the taxi bill.

Insistent ringing of the bell failed to bring an answer and at last they turned away, their hearts heavy with despair.

Im going to report this to the nearest police station, said Curt. You girls might just as well go back to your hotel. Theres nothing further you can do.

But we seem so helpless, groaned Helen.

Were just exactly that, growled Curt as he signalled two cabs, one for the girls and the other for himself. Ill phone you the minute I get any word of good news.

Janet and Helen said little on their way back to the hotel, for a numbing sort of ache had taken possession of their bodies. After days of fatiguing rehearsals, the broadcast appeared doomed. Helen cried a little as their cab swung onto Broadway and the bright lights of the Great White Way blazed in their faces.

At the hotel Janet stopped at the desk to inquire about mail and the clerk handed her a telegram.

Its for you, she said, handing the message to Helen, who tore it open with fingers that were none too steady.

Oh, this is awful, she groaned. Dad and Mother are coming to New York for the first broadcast. What will I do?

Dont answer the telegram tonight, Janet warned her. Perhaps something brighter will have taken place by tomorrow.

Janet opened the door of her own room and snapped on the light. As she did so a small envelope, which had been slipped under the door, drew her attention and she reached down to pick it up. Helen came in the room just then and looked at Janet curiously as she opened the envelope.

Janets face flushed as she read the message, which had been printed crudely on a sheet of fine linen paper.

What is it? asked Helen, alarmed at the expression on Janets face.

Janet handed her the sheet of paper.

Go back to the sticks where you belong or youll get more of what happened last night. This means both of you.

Why, the nerve of some people, stormed Helen. I wont be threatened into leaving.

Neither will I, said Janet firmly, but this thing is getting terribly serious. Last night I was made unconscious by some prowler and tonight Jim has disappeared with the script of our radio show.

Janet paused and looked at the sheet of stationery in her hand. Then she lifted it to her nose and sniffed carefully. Helen looked on in wonderment and Janet finally handed the sheet to her.

Smell anything? she asked.

Theres just a trace of perfume, agreed Helen.

Ever smell that before? Janet was insistent.

It does seem kind of familiar, but I dont know where.

Wasnt it in the studio? Janet was pressing hard for an answer.

Perhaps it was.

Someone in our company?

Helen looked frankly alarmed and finally a wave of comprehension swept over her.

You mean Rachel Nesbit?

Janet nodded. Thats just who I mean. This sheet is scented with the same perfume Rachel uses. Of course hundreds of others may use it, too, but it at least gives us a clue. And this printing, disguised though it is, is that of a woman.

Then if we can find Rachel, we may be able to solve this mystery, burst out Helen.

If we can scare her into telling us something, agreed Janet. Ill phone the studio and get her home address. Well go there at once.

What about Curt? Hell want to know whats going on.

This is a womans job, replied Janet. Well let him try to find Jim. You and I are going alone on this particular mission.

Chapter Thirty

They obtained Rachels home address from the studio, slipped on their coats, and after making sure that they had an ample supply of money in their purses, hastened down and hailed a cab.

Rachel lived in the Greenwich Village section and their driver swung over to Fifth Avenue and raced south, green lights winking a clear path ahead of them.

There was little conversation in the cab as they sped toward the village and when they drew up in front of the narrow building which housed Rachels apartment Janet paid the bill.

What are you going to say to her? asked Helen.

Janet shook her head. I dont know, she admitted. I suppose Ill accuse her of writing this threatening note. That ought to be enough to get us into her apartment and once were there you look around for anything suspicious.

They were entering the apartment when a car drew up to the curb and Janet seized her companions arm.

Get out of sight, quick. Thats the sedan which followed Jims taxi.

They slipped into the shadows to the right of the doorway and watched the sedan. Rachel Nesbit stepped out and after her came John Adolphi, director of their radio program. Janet could hear Helens gasp for under the directors arm was a familiar portfolio. It was the portfolio in which Jim Hill had carried the manuscript.

Rachel and the director disappeared into the apartment building and Janet, without a word to Helen, ran toward the nearest shop, a little fruit store in a half basement.

Where can I find a policeman? she demanded.

The shop keeper helped her phone in an alarm and in less than five minutes a radio car pulled up in front of the store.

Janet told her story quickly and when the officers looked doubtful, she pleaded with them.

Youve got to believe me. Every minute counts. If that script is destroyed the company may lose thousands of dollars worth of business.

Then she put through several calls and finally reached Mr. McGregor, head of the continuity department. His words electrified the police and they swept down the streets and stormed up into the apartment building to the third floor where Rachel lived. In answer to their sharp knock, Rachel opened the door and they shouldered their way in.

Janet saw Rachels face blanch as she saw her, but Janets heart leaped for on a table was the missing manuscript. Director Adolphi was pulled out of a closet and from his ashen lips tumbled the sordid story. He was really Rachels brother and the two had conspired to steal the manuscript and ruin the World Broadcasting Companys chances for the contract with the motion picture company. Another broadcaster had offered him a large sum, he said, and promised a job if he would steal the script and ruin the program.

They hastened back to the studio where a tense group awaited their coming. Mr. McGregor was there and so was Curt. Janet started suddenly when she saw Jim Hill with a bandage around his head.

What happened to you? she asked anxiously.

Adolphi ran my cab into a curb and then pulled a gun on me and took the script away. Of course he had a mask on, but I recognized his voice. He clouted me over the head when I tried to resist and the next thing I knew Curt had found me at the police station where I was being given emergency treatment.

Mr. McGregor spoke. What about Adolphi and that precious sister of his?

They are in police custody awaiting whatever charges may be filed against them, said Janet.

Mr. McGregor nodded. That can be done tomorrow. How about you girls?

Were all right, replied Janet and Helen.

A little tired, maybe, added Helen, by way of an afterthought.

The continuity chief looked at Jim Hill.

Think you can step in tomorrow and whip this company in to shape so well be sure of the contract? he asked.

Jims face lighted up. I know I can.

Then get home and get some sleep. Youre in charge of the program.

He turned back to Janet and Helen.

Like New York? the question was so sudden that it caught them unawares.

Its exciting, gasped Helen.

It isnt always like this, smiled the continuity chief. He was looking intently at Janet.

How would you like to join my staff as a writer?

Janet could hardly believe her ears.

Why, I think Id like it, she managed to say. Yes, I know I would. She plunged in blindly.

Then if you girls want to stay on, therell be a place for Helen in the stock company and for you on my writing staff, he said. Think it over and let me know tomorrow.

An hour later when they were alone in their rooms, Janet and Helen had their first chances to talk uninterruptedly.

Helen smiled contentedly.

Its such a relief to know that the program to boost Dads picture is going through all right, she said. After a pause she went on, What shall we do about the jobs in Radio City?

I think Ill accept, said Janet.

But what about school back home; what about going to Corn Belt U.?

Ive thought of that, but an opportunity to work in Radio City doesnt come every day. In six months well have had enough. Then we can go back and start our university careers at Corn Belt U.

What will our folks think? asked Helen.

I believe theyll agree with us that six months here in radio work can be looked upon as a valuable part of our education.

Then well tell Mr. McGregor well stay?

Thats exactly what well tell him. Now Im going to write the folks and tell them all about it, said Janet, picking up a pen and sitting down to the task of writing of the thrilling adventures which had befallen them since their arrival in New York.


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