CHAPTER II. RED DOT
From his inner sanctum, Average Jones stared obliquely out upon the whirl of Fifth Avenue, warming itself under a late March sun.
In the outer offices a line of anxious applicants was being disposed of by his trained assistants. To the advertising expert's offices had come that day but three cases difficult enough to be referred to the Ad-Visor himself. Two were rather intricate financial lures which Average Jones was able to dispose of by a mere "Don't." The third was a Spiritualist announcement behind which lurked a shrewd plot to entrap a senile millionaire into a marriage with the medium. These having been settled, the expert was free to muse upon a paragraph which had appeared in all the important New York morning papers of the day before.
REWARD-$1,000 reward for information
as to slayer of Brindle Bulldog "Rags"
killed in office of Malcolm Dorr, Stengel
Building, Union Square, March 29.
"That's too much money for a dog," decided Average Jones. "Particularly one that hasn't any bench record. I'll just have a glance into the thing."
Slipping on his coat he walked briskly down the avenue, and crossing over to Union Square, entered the gloomy old building which is the sole survival of the days when the Stengel estate foresaw the upward trend of business toward Fourteenth Street. Stepping from the elevator at the seventh floor, he paused underneath this sign:
ANALYTICAL AND CONSULTING CHEMIST
Hours 10 to 4
Entering, Average Jones found a fat young man, with mild blue eyes, sitting at a desk.
"Mr. Dorr?" he asked.
"Yes," replied the fat young man nervously, "but if you are a reporter, I must-"
"I am not," interrupted the other. "I am an expert on advertising, and I want that one thousand dollars reward."
The chemist pushed his chair back and rubbed his forehead.
"You mean you have-have found out something?"
"Not yet. But I intend to."
Dorr stared at him in silence.
"You are very fond of dogs, Mr. Dorr?"
"Eh? Oh, yes. Yes, certainly," said the other mechanically.
Average Jones shot a sudden glance of surprise at him, then looked dreamily at his own finger-nails.
"I can sympathize with you. I have exhibited for some years. Your dog was perhaps a green ribboner?"
"Er-oh-yes; I believe so."
"Ah! Several of mine have been. One in particular, took medal after medal; a beautiful glossy brown bulldog, with long silky ears, and the slender splayed-out legs that are so highly prized but so seldom seen nowadays. His tail, too, had the truly Willoughby curve, from his dam, who was a famous courser."
Mr. Dorr looked puzzled. "I didn't know they used that kind of dog for coursing," he said vaguely.
Average Jones smiled with almost affectionate admiration at the crease along the knee of his carefully pressed trousers. His tone, when next he spoke, was that of a youth bored with life. Any of his intimates would have recognized in it, however, the characteristic evidence that his mind was ranging swift and far to a conclusion.
"Mr. Dorr," he drawled, "who-er-owned your-er-dog?"
"Why, I-I did," said the startled chemist.
"Who gave him to you?"
"Quite so. Was it that-er-friend who-er-offered the reward?"
"What makes you think that?"
"This, to be frank. A man who doesn't know a bulldog from a bed-spring isn't likely to be offering a thousand dollars to avenge the death of one. And the minute you answered my question as to whether you cared for dogs, I knew you didn't. When you fell for a green ribbon, and a splay-legged, curly-tailed medal-winner in the brindle bull class (there's no such class, by the way), I knew you were bluffing. Mr. Dorr, who-er-has been-er-threatening your life?"
The chemist swung around in his chair.
"What do you k