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"Do you know many of the men who work there?" he asked.

"Well," I said, "there's about six hundred working the three shifts. Copper's in great demand. Of course I've only been here some ten months. And the claim's been going since the year before the war. However..

"Yes," he nudged me with the word. "I know the night man in the office. I imagine he'd go through the payroll sheets if I asked him."

"He would? Splendid!" the little guy crowed. He had a queer way of accenting words to give them special meaning.

Wanted - Dead Man #6 panel 2

I looked at my watch. Just eight. We had another four hours to go before my shift went on. I got up from the stool and said:

"No use sitting here all night. Doing anything?"

"Why, no. I just got into town a little while ago. Took the bus in from Douglas. A rather rough ride, too. Matter of fact, I'll have to look for a room tonight. But I was so hungry I couldn't resist dining first."

I looked toward the tree on which his derby hung. There was no bag below it. Nor did I remember him having any. He intercepted the look.

"I left it at the bus station," he explained.

"Let's get it," I suggested. "He closes a little after eight. The last auto-bus comes in then."

The Howling Cat was just around the corner from the station but we had to cross the dark depths of an alley before we hit the corner. The Motor Transports, a trucking outfit had their siding just past the alley's mouth. I was a little ahead of the little guy, sort of leading the way, when all of a sudden a human catapult hit me at the bend in the back of my knees and I fold over like a broken accordion. I think the sound of the shot came a second later.

I was a little shaky when I got to my feet.

Wanted - Dead Man #6 panel 4

The little guy was standing, facing the darkness of the alley. He was sort of bent in a crouch. I noticed that his right hand was held kind of high and close in to his left breast, and that hand was hooked like a claw. Then he turned to me and said:

"Looks like someone was practicing pistol shooting. It was a fortunate thing he stood before the overhead light there."

Wanted - Dead Man #6 panel 6
Wanted - Dead Man #6 panel 7
Neural Network Novellas series cover
Wanted - Dead Man #6 episode cover
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Neural Network Novellas

AI generated art using text prompts are a new, controversial means of creating visual art. The cowboy and the shepherd have working dogs to assist them. The spaceman relies on his blaster and android assistant to complete his mission. The writer can now use an AI artist to create art for his written creations. Join us as we explore this new creative process by taking classic prose stories, feeding them to our supportive silicon sketcher, and share the results with you.
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