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HALF an hour later Tommy entered the editorial room of the Michigan Evening Post. “Hello, Tommy!” greeted the editor-in-chief. “Have you heard the latest?”

“Naturally, Mr. Tiller!”

“No, Tommy. You haven’t heard it. You couldn’t. have heard it. Or have you been in Germany this morning?”

The reporter became suddenly attentive.

“In Germany? No. But a German...” He interrupted himself. “Go on, old man. What were you going to tell me?”

“A wireless message just came over from Berlin by way of New York.”

“That’s nothing new,” said Tommy, sarcastically. “Hardly a week goes by that a non-stop flight from Berlin to New York is not announced with great hullabaloo. Nice little sporting adventures, like the trip of Captain Koehl from Ireland to Labrador, for instance, do not satisfy.”

“Yes,” replied Tiller. “That’s why I wish this Hans Hardt’s flight would succeed.”

Tiller stopped speaking; he had to, for Tommy Bighead, the smartest reporter in Michigan, had jumped up like a shot out of a gun, and had grabbed his chief by the neck.

“Tommy!” gasped Tiller in terrified amazement. The reporter let go, then in mad frenzy began to perform a grotesque Indian dance in the editorial room, overturning chairs, sweeping down rows of books from the desk, and making such a racket that the windows fairly rattled.

“Lunatic! clumsy idiot!” and other similarly complimentary expressions were flying about.

In consternation, the chief watched Tommy’s wild antics.

“In Heaven’s name, Tommy, have you had a sunstroke, or have you eaten something that has sent you dotty?”

Abruptly Tommy stopped. He made a few more futile passes into space, then he pulled up a chair, sat down on it, replaced the end of his cigar in the corner of his mouth, and said with an air of regained composure: “Brought you an article on the flight of Hans Hardt.”

“It is already in the composing room.”

“Well, add more to it—no! Put out an extra edition: Hans Hardt lands in America! The German trans-Atlantic flight successfully completed.”

“Tommy,” replied Tiller solicitously, “Tommy, I’m worried about you. Do you want to take a vacation?”

“Don’t talk nonsense, old man. What would happen to the Michigan Evening Post if Tommy Bighead went on a vacation?”

“Allowing for your keenness, Tommy, how do you know that the flier has landed? Did you dream about him?”

“No,” replied Tommy drily. “Spoke to him—an hour ago!”

The chief burst out laughing.

“Tommy!” he said. “You are seeing ghosts, and you absolutely must take a vacation. Do you know what time the flight started?”


“At four-thirty...”

“What? Yesterday afternoon at four-thirty?

Then he flew mighty fast.”

Tiller held his sides from laughter.

“No, Tommy! Not yesterday! To-day! At four-thirty this afternoon he started—to-day!”

“Go chase yourself!” Tommy angrily grated through his teeth. “It’s scarcely one o’clock now!”

“According to our time, Tommy! But the report comes from Germany, and Central European time is six hours ahead of ours! Let’s figure it out. Four-thirty less six—that makes ten-thirty. Correct?”

Tommy turned uneasily in his chair.

“Then according to our time the start was made at ten-thirty this morning. That’s absolutely impossible!”

“How so?”

“Because I spoke with Hans Hardt shortly after twelve o’clock,” obstinately persisted Tommy.

“You’ve been seeing things, Tommy! You’ve had too many cold drinks, haven’t you? Or do you really believe that a man can fly like a flash of lightning across the Atlantic in an hour and a half, no more than time for lunch.”


Tommy sat for a time silent and motionless.

Tiller saw that he was deep in thought.

“What’s eating you, Tommy... “

”I guess Tommy Bighead is a fit subject for the insane asylum, Mr. Tiller,” answered the reporter somberly, gazing at the ash end of his cigar as though seeking there the solution of the puzzle.

Tiller nodded with apparent unconcern and racked his brains for a consoling reply.

Suddenly Tommy’s face lighted up with joy. “Jumping Jupiter— the bottle!” he shouted, and he sprang out into the hall, dashed down the elevator to the parked car in the street, seized Hans Hardt’s gift, knocked over a boy in his path and rushed back to Tiller.

“Tiller,” he cried out before reaching the door, “since when have ghosts been giving away bottles of beer? Here, taste it! Real Muenchner Export beer! It’s a little warm.”

“Did your Hans Hardt give you this?” Tiller shook his head incredulously.

“Sure thing! At seven minutes past twelve sharp—on the road twenty miles south of Detroit! Shall we bet?”

Tiller now became thoughtful, because when Tommy proposed a bet there was something back of it.

“Well,” he said, “that was a generous ghost, anyhow! But how can you explain the whole story, Tommy?”

“Have you ever heard the story of the hare and the tortoise, Mr. Tiller?”

“Hare and tortoise? How...?”

“The two...?”

“Certainly there are two! The one Hans Hardt in Europe pretends to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The other hangs around here and favors me with this neat present. To prove his alibi, he had the receipt written in his passport. Do you see through the swindle?”

Tommy looked triumphantly at his chief. He was obviously proud of his shrewdness, and in the best of humors he unfolded the wrapper from the bottle. Suddenly his eyes became fixed. He fell back in his chair as though about to faint, and his arms hung lifelessly downwards.


Tiller anxiously approached the reporter. “Read,” answered Tommy in a colorless voice. The editor-in-chief seized the paper in which the bottle had been wrapped, and paled as he read: Muenchner Latest News. Evening Edition of July 17.”

Without a word he looked at Tommy and pointed with a dull smile to the calendar on the wall.

“Good Lord!” uttered Tommy, overcome.

“A German paper—brought over from Germany—to-day!” he groaned. “ln fact, brought over in an hour and a half!”

Perfect silence ensued for a time in the editorial room of the Michigan Evening Post. Only the typewriters rattled in the next room.

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