Sample L12 from Whit Masterson, Evil Come, Evil Go. New York: Pocket Books, Inc., 1961. Pp. 49-55. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus1,998 words 555 (27.8%) quotesL12

Used by permission of Dodd, Mead (original publisher) 0010-1810

Whit Masterson, Evil Come, Evil Go. New York: Pocket Books, Inc., 1961. Pp. 49-55.

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Andy did not see the newspapers the next day . Someone on his staff -- he suspected it was Ed Thornburg -- intercepted them and for this Andy was grateful .

He finally fell asleep around six in the morning with the aid of a sleeping capsule , a crutch he rarely used , and didn't awaken until early afternoon . Memory flooded him the instant he opened his eyes and the sick feeling knotted his stomach .

Outside his window bloomed a beautiful summer day . Presumably the same sun was shining upon little Drew also , and those who had kidnapped him . But where ? ? It was still a very big world , despite all the modern cant to the contrary .

Hub was sitting in a chair that blocked the hall door . He was dozing , perhaps the only sleep he'd gotten . He snapped to alertness at Andy's entrance . `` Sorry , Mr. Paxton . Nothing new . Lot of people waiting to see you , though '' .

`` Reporters '' ? ?

`` Our own people . Questions about the show tonight '' . Hub picked up the telephone . `` Shall I let them know you're awake '' ? ?

`` I suppose . How's Lissa , do you know '' ? ?

Hub considered . `` Some better . She's got plenty of guts , Mr. Paxton . You want me to call her '' ? ?

`` She expecting me to '' ? ? Hub shook his head so Andy told him not to bother . The only reason for contacting Lissa was to comfort or to be comforted . He could not manage the former or expect the latter ; ; they had nothing to give to each other . The omission might look peculiar to outsiders , but Andy could not bring himself to go through the motions simply for the sake of appearances .

He had little time to himself , anyway . As the afternoon sped toward evening , the suite saw a steady procession of Paxton aides pass in and out , each with his own special problem . Thornburg arrived with the writers . They had spent the morning revising the act , eliminating all the gay songs , patter and dancing with a view of the best public relations . What remained lacked the original verve but it was at least dignified , as befitting the tragic circumstances . Raymond Fox reported that the orchestra had hastily rehearsed `` Cradle Song '' in case it was needed . Charlie Marble was back and forth on several occasions , first to confer with Andy on the advisability of cancelling the Las Vegas engagement -- they decided it was wise -- and later to announce that a prominent comedian , also an agency client , had agreed to fill the casino's open date . And once Bake slipped in , pale and drawn , last night's liquor still on his breath with some of today's added to it . He asked if there was anything he could do . Andy invented a job to keep him busy , sending him ahead to El Dorado to supervise last minute arrangements .

But from Rocco Vecchio , they heard nothing .

At last it was time to depart . Hub , nosing about , spotted reporters in the lobby , so Andy was hustled away quietly through the hotel's service entrance in a strange car which Hub had procured somewhere .

They succeeded in eluding the curious at the hotel , but there was no chance of avoiding them at the nightclub . El Dorado was surrounded by a mob . They overflowed the parking lot , making progress by automobile difficult . Long before he reached the protection of the stage door , Andy was recognized . Word of his arrival spread through the crowd like a brushfire . They surged around him , fingers pointing , eyes prying . It was not a hostile gathering but Andy sensed the difference from last night's hero-worshippers . They had come not to admire but to observe .

`` It's worse inside '' , Thornburg informed Andy . `` Skolman's jammed in every table he could find . Under the heading of it's an ill wind , et cetera '' .

Backstage was tomblike by contrast . Andy's co-workers kept their distance , awed by the tragedy . But in his dressing room was a large bouquet and a card that read , `` We're with you all the way '' . It was signed by everyone in the troupe . Andy couldn't help but be touched . He instructed Shirl Winter to compose a note of thanks to be posted on the call board .

Bake was waiting to report that Lou DuVol had been sobered up to the point where he could function efficiently . Andy gathered that this had been no small accomplishment . Bake himself looked better ; ; any kind of job was better than brooding .

Andy told him , `` Bake , I wish you'd talk to Skolman , see if some kind of p. a. system can be rigged up outside . It's just barely possible with this crowd that the kidnapper wasn't able to get a table . I wouldn't want him to miss the message '' .

`` I'll try . Skolman isn't going to like it much , though , giving away what he should be selling '' .

Skolman wasn't the only one who didn't care for Andy's scheme . A short time later , Lieutenant Bonner stomped into the dressing room . `` I got a bone to pick with you , Mr. Paxton . It's those damn loudspeakers '' .

Andy rolled up the revised script he had been studying . `` What about them '' ? ?

`` They're going to louse me up good . My men have been here all afternoon , setting up for this thing '' . Bonner explained that , with the nightclub's cooperation , the police had occupied El Dorado like a battlefield . Motion picture cameras had been installed to film the audience , the reservation list was being checked out name by name , and a special detail was already at work in the parking lot scrutinizing automobiles for a possible lead . However , it was virtually impossible to screen the mob outside , even if Bonner had manpower available for the purpose . `` I want you to have the speakers taken out '' .

Andy sighed . `` Seems like we're never going to see eye to eye , Lieutenant . Didn't they tell you what I wanted the p. a. system for '' ? ?

`` Sure , I know . But it's such a long shot '' --

`` No longer than yours . What do you expect to get tonight , anyway ? ? You think somebody is going to stand up in the audience and make guilty faces ? ? Or have a sign on his car that says , ' Here Comes the Paxton Kidnapper ' '' ? ? Andy crumbled the script in his fist . `` I can't stop you from doing what you think is right . But don't try to stop me , either '' .

`` Someday '' , Bonner said , `` you're going to ask us for help . I can hardly wait '' .

`` What you don't understand is that I'm asking for it now '' .

But Bonner departed , still full of ill will . He had gotten stuck with a job too big for his imagination ; ; he had to cling to routine , tested procedures . To act otherwise would be to admit his helplessness . But , admit or not , Bonner was helpless . The crime showed too much planning , the kidnappers appeared too proficient to be caught by a checklist .

Andy's performance was scheduled for eleven o'clock . He stalled for a half-hour longer , hoping to hear something from Vecchio about the ransom money . Bake and Shirl Winter , on separate telephones , could not reach him at any conceivable location in Los Angeles , nor could they secure any clear-cut information regarding his efforts .

Bake cursed . `` The sweaty bastard's probably halfway to Peru with our money by now '' . When no one smiled , he felt constrained to add , `` Just kidding , natch '' .

Thornburg popped in to advise , `` Andy , Skolman's sending up smoke signals . You about ready '' ? ?

`` What's he complaining about '' ? ? Bake asked . `` They're drinking , aren't they '' ? ?

`` No . We got a bunch of sippers out there tonight . I guess nobody wants to pass out and miss anything '' . Thornburg added in a lower voice but Andy overheard , `` They act more like a jury than an audience '' .

Andy said , `` Well , I guess we can't wait any longer . Hub , you stick by the stage door . If Rock shows up during the number -- or you hear anything -- give me the signal '' .

Shirl Winter said , `` I'll stay on the phone , Mr. Paxton . There's a couple of call-backs I can work on '' .

`` You're a sweetheart -- but leave one line open . He may try to phone us '' . Andy passed into the corridor , their `` good lucks '' ! ! Following him . It was what they said before every performance but tonight it sounded different , as if he really needed it .

They were right . The act , cut to shreds and hastily patched together during the afternoon , had not been rehearsed sufficiently by anyone . The result had nothing of the polish , pace or cohesion of the previous night . Here's where luck would normally step in . But this was no ordinary show and Andy knew it . Whether he sang well or badly had nothing to do with it . The audience had come not to be entertained but to judge . Twenty-four hours had changed him from a performer to a freak .

Within this framework , what followed was strained , even macabre . Eliminating the patter and the upbeat numbers left little but blues and other songs of equal melancholy . The effect was as depressing as a gravestone , the applause irresolute and short-lived . Yet Andy plowed ahead , mouthing the inconsequential words as if they possessed real meaning , and gradually his listeners warmed to him . Their clapping grew more fervent ; ; the evening was still not beyond salvaging , not as a show but for him as a person .

The worst was yet to come .

As Andy reached the finale of his act , a subdued commotion backstage drew his attention to the wings . Rocco Vecchio -- a perspiring , haggard Vecchio -- was standing there , flanked by two men in the uniforms of armored transport guards . Vecchio was nodding and pointing at the large suitcase he held .

Andy felt his heart thud heavily with relief . He waved at Fox to cut off the finale introduction . The music died away discordantly . He drew a deep breath . `` Ladies and gentlemen , in place of my regular closing number tonight , I'd like to sing something of a different nature for you . Ray , if you please -- the ' Cradle Song ' '' .

He sensed rather than heard the gasp that swept across the audience . Nor could he blame them . This particular song at this particular time could only be interpreted as the ultimate in bad taste , callous exploitation beyond the bounds of decency . Having no choice , he plunged into it , anyway , holding onto the microphone for support .

`` Lullaby and goodnight .

His voice shook . For the first time in his life he forgot the lyrics midway through and had to cover up by humming the rest . He wondered if the audience would let him finish .

They did ; ; though contemptuous , they were still polite . But when he was finally through , their scorn was made apparent . Someone clapped tentatively then quickly stopped . Otherwise , the silence was complete . As the lights came up , Andy could see that a number of patrons were already on their way toward the exit .

He stumbled off-stage . `` My God '' , he muttered . `` My God '' .

Hub was there to support him . `` It's okay , Mr. Paxton . The money's here , all of it '' .

At this moment , all he could think of was what he'd been forced to undergo . `` Did you hear them ? ? Do you know what they think of me '' ? ?

`` Bunch of damn jerks '' , Hub growled . `` Who needs them '' ? ?

Thornburg patted his arm . `` Sure , Andy , it'll be all right . Nothing broken that can't be mended '' . The words were hollow . Thornburg knew , better than any of them , that a public image was as fragile as Humpty Dumpty . All the king's horses and all the king's men

Vecchio shouldered in . `` I got it , Andy . God knows how , but I got it . You'll never believe the places I've been today . I practically had to sign your life away , you'll probably fire me for some of the deals I had to go for , but '' --

Andy nodded dully . `` It doesn't matter , Rock . We've done our part '' .

He clutched that knowledge to him as he returned to his dressing room . The usual congratulatory crowd was conspicuously absent ; ; the place had the air of a morgue . Andy had no desire to linger himself but Hub reported that the mob outside was still large despite the efforts of the police to disperse them .