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It's hard to be a hero when you're old and tired. There's got to be something else urging you on by Will F. Jenkins Illustrated by Dan Content He could have refused. He would have been killed. But if he had been faithful to his trust — His face was shockingly white when he was thrust into his little office and saw himself in the bit of broken mirror he had tacked on the wall. His hair and straggly mustache were normally white, but now his cheeks and lips were also the same color. "A’right, old guy,” said Bud. “Set down over there, an’ if you start some thin’ I finish you. see?” Bud looked deliberately at the huge electric clock over Mr. Petersen’s head. He knew that, on the hour, Mr. Petersen was scheduled to start on his rounds again. This electric clock was here to remind him. It had been put in the little cubbyhole as an after thought, and a flexible electric cord dropped down the wall to an outlet only two feet from the floor. For the rest, the office contained a table, a single comfortable chair, and a worn bench of no particular purpose. Mr. Petersen’s captor sat in the comfort able chair. Mr. Petersen slumped on the bench. There was silence. Off in the plant somewhere the robbers would be work ing smoothly and efficiently at their task. The clock made a muffled click ing sound over Mr. Petersen’s head. His captor glanced up at it. Mr. Peter sen sat with his face in his hands, while the essential part of him raged at the shame his body had brought upon him and schemed desperately to retrieve it. The clock clicked again. The minute-hand, Mr. Petersen knew, had moved a notch. After a long time he raised his eyes. “You’re going to kill me anyhow, aren’t you?" he asked unsteadily. “I’ve just realized what a fool I was to tell you.” “Behave y’self,” said his captor, "an’ maybe we won't.” Mr. Petersen subsided. He was a small and shrunken man, seemingly fit only to be a night watchman. But that was only his body. Inside, Mr. Peter sen was quite otherwise. He put his hands on the bench beside him, close by the dangling, flexible electric cord. Now and then the clock over his head clicked, indicating that its minute hand had moved forward one space. But those clickings seemed very far apart. Deathly still. The man called Bud looked restlessly around the cubbyhole. Nothing of interest. Time passed, and passed, and passed. A veiled glow appeared gradually in Mr. Petersen’s eyes. At seemingly inter minable intervals, the clock made its clicking sound in token of another minute gone by. Nothing else hap pened. Nothing. Only the long-spaced clickings of the clock gave any assur ance that time was moving on at all. Only once, near the end of the age long wait, did Mr. Petersen’s captor speak. This was when the strain of waiting for time to pass had become almost unendurable. The guard said restlessly: “Settin’ here with nothin’ goin’ on — It’s a wonder you ain't gone nuts, workin’ here!" “I am used to it,” said Mr. Petersen. “I never seen time go so slow,” said Bud uneasily. He made a gesture to his pocket, but glanced up at the clock instead. “Five minutes to,” he said shortly. “Time to ring the clocks again in live minutes.” There was a tiny sound somewhere outside the office. Bud said shrewdly, listening: “They blew the vault, then. Things are movin’ pretty.” “No!” said Mr. Petersen. He raised his'eyes, and they glowed fiercely. “Things are not going well for you! I was frightened, tonight, but I will not let any man think I am always a coward. You are finished! You are caught! The cord from the clock runs down right by my hand. Do you see? The electricity to run the clock goes close to my fingertips!” Bud stared, uneasily suspicious. “I’ve been working the plug,” said Mr. Petersen, more fiercely still. “I was a coward, but I’ve made up for it now! I’ve been pushing the plugin, and pulling it out again, right along! That’s why time has seemed to pass so slowly! Half the time the clock hasn’t been running! It’s lost at least twenty minutes in the last forty. It’s already past the time for me to make my rounds, and the police have already noticed it, and I think — ” There was a noise outside which Bud could not mistake for his com panions at work. He leaped to the door and flung it wide. And it was not his companions outside. It was policemen; the crews of three squad cars come to see why the watchman’s clocks were not rung. They had found a hole cut in the chain-link fencing around the plant, so that they had come in ready for anything. It did not last long, the trouble. It was not even very violent. The sur prise was too complete. When it was all over, Mr. Petersen’s body was shaky and weak and sick inside, but the essential, the real Mr. Petersen was fiercely satisfied. Hi$> body had betrayed him and the plant, but he had managed to retrieve the disaster. After all, it’s the better man who counts, and Mr. Petersen was much the better of the two men who lived under his skin. Much the better! Even his own body knew it now. Mr. Petersen got his watchman’s key back and went and rang all the clocks, firmly, in the proper, secret, official fashion. Then he was content. Tk# !■< Com at its best — any style you want SPECIAL NOTE: 1 Many Dd Mont* Food* now packod in both cant and glatt. to Hi Mi* tamo quality. THAT’S WHY DEI MONTE GETS MY VOTE —and for four of the best reasons that ever came out of the corn-patch. Yes, sir—four styles—all Del Monte. You Whole Kernel fans—just wrap your selves around a man-size serving of these plump golden grains, sauteed in butter. That's corn for you. But you'll miss a double-barreled treat if you pass up Del Monte Cream Style. Two kinds—White and Golden. And who could do without roastin’ ears as golden and good as Del Monte Corn on the Cob? , Well, that cleans up the matter—all but this. Compare Del Monte Corn with any com you've liked before. You'll see why it pays to get Del Monte—all four styles! • • • • Say Del Monte —and be rare of these health essentials. Canned com is a nourish ing, high carbohydrate food. Yellow varieties are a good source of Vitamin A and both white and yellow varieties contain Vitamin C and furnish significant quantities of phosphor us to the diet. .