Tom Swift and His Polar-Ray Dynasphere

Free Tom Swift and His Polar-Ray Dynasphere by Victor Appleton II

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Authors: Victor Appleton II
inventor knew Bud would call him on his cellphone. Fishing the instrument from his pocket, glad that it hadn’t also gone missing, Tom noted that a new voicemail message was waiting. "Hey, pal, you don’t need to stake the guy any more—he came running out the alley and grabbed a cab. I’m following him now—you know, ‘follow that car!’. Call. I’ll put the phone on vibe, but if I don’t pick up, I’m probably in the middle of a shootout! Anyway, don’t get clunked on the head this time, okay Skipper?"
    Tom called and found his friend available. Bud said the taxi had dropped Susak at a cheap rooming house near Battery Park. "His name’s not on the doorbell cards, but there’s somebody who sounds like a countryman—J. Radamantha, Apartment 305. The other names are hispanic."
    As he told his chum what had happened, Tom’s brain was working fast. "Bud, I have a hunch Susak doped out that I was waiting for him and panicked. So he dropped me to give himself time for a getaway."
    "Then why would he risk stopping here?"
    "Maybe to clear out some incriminating evidence. Are you sure he didn’t spot you?"
    "Fairly sure," Bud replied. "Which I guess means, No ."
    "Where are you now?"
    "A little cement playground down the street. I have the rooming house in plain sight."
    "Okay. I’ll call the FBI and get there fast." Tom recorded the address Bud provided and added, "Don’t let him get away!"
    Bud chuckled. "You’re not gonna warn me not to get knocked out?"
    "For all the good that ever does."
    Tom made a quick call to the FBI field office, then took a taxi to the street Bud had given him. He got out some distance down the street and started walking back toward the rooming house. He quickly found where Bud was waiting, next to a forlorn swingset.
    Minutes later a black car glided to the curb. A square-shouldered, gray-suited man in a snap-brim hat leaped out and walked over to Tom. "Hello, boys," he said.
    Tom nodded. "Thanks for coming so quickly, Agent Martin."
    The man looked surprised. "Excuse me? I just stopped to ask for directions."
    As the man drove off again, Bud groaned. "Good grief, our boy Benni’s going to lose himself before the FBI gets here!"
    "Let’s consider ourselves deputized. Maybe we can find out something about that rooming house."
    They strode toward the rooming house, hurried up the steps, and walked in the front entrance. The tenement building was shabby and dirty. A spring lock on the inner door did not work.
    "Whether or not he lives here, apparently our chum had no trouble getting in," Tom observed as he pushed the door open.
    Inside was a long hallway ending in a flight of stairs. Tom and Bud hurried up the steps as cautiously and quietly as possible, earning a few suspicious stares through some half-opened doors. The wailing of babies and the clamor of television was everywhere.
    As they neared 305, weird East Indian music reached their American-tuned ears.
    "Susak’s in the room," Bud declared in a whisper. "With that racket going on, we could slip in and take him before he knows we’re there!"
    Tom was puzzled. If Susak were eager to make a getaway, why would he be lingering in his room? Then a new thought occurred to him.
    "Did anyone else arrive here after Susak?"
    Bud shook his head. "Nobody except us. Why?"
    "Susak may have called someone—maybe his boss in the spy setup—and now he’s waiting for that person to pick him up."
    "Good hunch, Tom," Bud agreed. "Maybe we should wait and see who comes up."
    They found that the landing halfway up the stairs to the next floor afforded a good hiding place, with a peep view of the door to the suspect apartment. Here they waited, tense and silent. Minutes dragged by. Suddenly Tom gasped in dismay.
    "What’s wrong?" Bud hissed.
    "That music! The same piece has played three times now—the player must be on auto-repeat!"
    Bud’s face fell. "Good grief! You mean Susak’s not even in there?"
    Tom was already on the move. He hurried

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