By William Lawrence Hamling (born 1921).
First appearance: Fantastic Adventures, October 1944.
Reprinted in Space Tales #5.
Short short story (5 pages).
Parental caution: Strong language.
"Butch Mullens had an operation designed to make his disguise perfect. It didn't work out as planned; but it brought justice all around!"It's true: Butch needs an operation, but it's also true that Butch is on the lam with fifty thousand purloined dollars belonging to Gus Braumberg, a racketeer with absolutely no scruples about perforating Butch the first chance he gets. For Butch, it all depends on what a reluctant Doc Slater can do for him:
. . . It was none of Doc Slater's business what went on in the Underworld, but he did know a lot more than some of the wise boys let on. He knew some things that weren't too healthy to know. For instance that Butch Mullens' number was up. Butch didn't know it, but Doc Slater did. He even knew that the only reason Mullens was still alive was that Gus Braumberg wanted to get his hands on the cache Butch had stored away during his reign as Beer Baron. Butch was a doomed man—even as he stood there, Doc knew. . . .You could say that in Butch's case the operation is a success but the patient dies.
- Our author has a FictionMags listing HERE and an ISFDb entry HERE; we learn from Wikipedia HERE and the SFE HERE that he later did some jail time.
The bottom line: The classy gangster is a Hollywood invention.
— Orson Welles