At twenty minutes to four, with Wolfe and me alone in the office, the door opened and Fritz came marching in. Clamped under his left arm was the poker-dart board; in his right hand was the box of javelins. He put the box down on Wolfe’s desk, crossed to the far wall and hung up the board, backed off and squinted at it, straightened it up, turned to Wolfe and did his little bow, and departed.
Wolfe emptied his glass of beer, arose from his chair, and began fingering the darts, sorting out the yellow ones.
He looked at me. “I suppose this is foolhardy,” he murmured, “with this bullet wound, to start my blood pumping.”
“Sure,” I agreed. “You ought to be in bed. They may have to amputate.”
“Indeed.” He frowned at me. “Of course, you wouldn’t know much about it. As far as my memory serves, you have never been shot by a high-caliber revolver at dose range.”
“The lord help me.” I threw up my hands. “Is that going to be the tune? Are you actually going to have the nerve to brag about that little scratch? Now, if Hombert’s foot hadn’t jostled his chair and he had hit what he aimed at …”
“But he didn’t.” Wolfe moved to the fifteen-foot mark. He looked me over. “Archie. If you would care to join me at this …”
I shook my head positively. “Nothing doing. You’ll keep beefing about your bullet wound, and anyway I can’t afford it. You’ll probably be luckier than ever.”
He put a dignified stare on me. “A dime a game.”
“No. Not even for matches.”
He stood silent, and after a minute of that heaved a deep sigh. “Your salary is raised ten dollars a week, beginning last Monday.”
I lifted the brows. “Fifteen.”
“Ten is enough.”
I shook my head. “Fifteen.”
He sighed again. “Confound you! All right. Fifteen.”
I arose and went to the desk to get the red darts.