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Full Online Book HomeLong Stories100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 81
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 81 Post by :gabby Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :1865

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 81

Peter Gudge often went along on these hunting parties. Peter, curiously enough, discovered in himself the same "complex" as the balked soldier boys. Peter had been reading war news for five years, but had missed the fighting; and now he discovered that he liked to fight. What had kept him from liking to fight in the past was the danger of getting hurt; but now that there was no such danger, he could enjoy it. In past times people had called him a coward, and he had heard it so often that he had come to believe it; but now he realized that it was not true, he was just as brave as anybody else in the crowd.

The truth was that Peter had not had a happy time in his youth, he had never learned, like the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association, to knock a little white ball about a field with various shapes and sizes of clubs. Peter was like a business man who has missed his boyhood, and then in later years finds the need of recreation, and takes up some form of sport by the orders of his physician. It became Peter's, form of sport to stick an automatic revolver in his hip-pocket, and take a blackjack in his hand, and rush into a room where thirty or forty Russians or "Sheenies" of all ages and lengths of beard were struggling to learn the intricacies of English spelling. Peter would give a yell, and see this crowd leap and scurry hither and thither, and chase them about and take a whack at a head wherever he saw one, and jump into a crowd who were bunched together like sheep, trying to hide their heads, and pound them over the exposed parts of their anatomy until they scattered into the open again. He liked to get a lot of them started downstairs and send them tumbling heels over head; or if he could get them going out a window, that was more exhilarating yet, and he would yell and whoop at them. He learned some of their cries--outlandish gibberish it was--and he would curse them in their own language. He had a streak of the monkey in him, and as he got to know these people better he would imitate their antics and their gestures of horror, and set a whole room full of the "bulls" laughing to split their sides. There was a famous "movie" comedian with big feet, and Peter would imitate this man, and waddle up to some wretched sweat-shop worker and boot him in the trousers' seat, or step on his toes, or maybe spit in his eye. So he became extremely popular among the "bulls," and they would insist on his going everywhere with them.

Later on, when the government set to work to break up the Communist Party and the Communist Labor Party, Peter's popularity and prestige increased still more. For now, instead of just raiding and smashing, the police and detectives would round up the prisoners and arrest them by hundreds, and carry them off and put them thru "examinations." And Peter was always needed for this; his special knowledge made him indispensable, and he became practically the boss of the proceedings. It had been arranged thru "Shorty" Gunton and the other "under cover" men that the meetings of the Communist and Communist Labor parties should be held on the same night; and all over the country this same thing was done, and next morning the world was electrified by the news that all these meetings had been raided at the same hour, and thousands of Reds placed under arrest. In American City the Federal government had hired a suite of about a dozen rooms adjoining the offices of Guffey, and all night and next morning batches of prisoners were brought in, until there were about four hundred in all. They were crowded into these rooms with barely space to sit down; of course there was an awful uproar, moaning and screaming of people who had been battered, and a smell that beat the monkey cage at the zoological gardens.

The prisoners were kept penned up in this place for several weeks, and all the time more were being brought in; there were so many that the women had to be stored in the toilets. Many of the prisoners fell ill, or pretended to fall ill, and several of them went insane, or pretended to go insane, and several of them died, or pretended to die. And of course the parlor Reds and sympathizers were busy outside making a terrible fuss about it. They had no more papers, and could not hold any more meetings, and when they tried to circulate literature the post-office authorities tied them up; but still somehow they managed to get publicity, and Peter's "under cover" men would report to him who was doing this work, and Peter would arrange to have more raids and more batches of prisoners brought in. In one of the "bomb-plots" which had been unveiled in the East they had discovered some pink paper, used either for printing leaflets, or for wrapping explosives, one could not be sure. Anyhow, the secret agencies with which Guffey was connected had distributed samples of this paper over the country, and any time the police wanted to finish some poor devil, they would find this deadly "pink paper" in his possession, and the newspapers would brand him as one of the group of conspirators who were sending infernal machines thru the mails.

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Peter was so busy these days that he missed several nights' sleep, and hardly even stopped to eat. He had his own private room the prisoners were brought for examination, and he had half a dozen men under his orders to do the "strong arm" work. It was his task to extract from these prisoners admissions which would justify their being sent to prison if they were citizens, or being deported if they were aliens. There was of course seldom any way to distinguish between citizens and aliens; you just had to take a chance on it, proceeding on the
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The I. W. W. had bobbed up again in American City, and had ventured to open another headquarters. Peter did not dare go to the place himself, but he coached a couple of young fellows whom McGivney brought to him, teaching them the Red lingo, and how to worm their way into the movement. Before long one of them was secretary of the local; and Peter, directing their activities. received reports twice a week of everything the "wobblies" were planning and doing. Peter and Gladys were figuring out another bomb conspiracy to direct attention to these dangerous men, when one day
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