The two doggedly made the rounds, hitting gambling joints, bars, and pool halls. But when they asked about a center dealer, they came up with little except shakes of the head. It began to look as though the Mexican had merely passed along another version of Sprong’s fairy tale. When they visited the K.C. Card Company, they were directed to still another gambling den, a tough, rundown joint guarded by a man who kept a .45 revolver openly displayed on his wheelchair. Vernon gave the name of K.C.’s manager, Elbert (“Red”) Langworthy, as a reference and got past the guard to face the stern men who ran this backroom dive. What do you want here? they demanded of Vernon, as Miller hung back. Vernon casually stuck to his cover, explaining that he was a mechanic and had heard there was a cheater in town who could deal from the center of the deck. He told them he was eager to get in contact with the man. The men stared at him, and then one of the toughs spoke up. “What mail-order catalog’ve you been reading? What do you mean, dealing from the center of the deck? It’s tough enough to get the second card! That’s a lot of hooey. Nobody does that.”
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