I went into the room and gave Azalea Adair fifty dollars. I told her it was
from the magazine. Then Uncle Caesar drove me back to the hotel.
A few hours later, I went out for a walk before dinner. A crowd of people were talking excitedly in front of a store. I pushed my way into the store. Major Caswell was lying on the floor. He was dead.
Someone had found his body on the street. He had been killed in a fight. In fact, his hands were still closed into tight fists. But as I stood near his body, Caswell's right hand opened. Something fell from it and rolled near my feet. I put my foot on it, then picked it up and put it in my pocket.
People said they believed a thief had killed him. They said Caswell had been showing everyone that he had fifty dollars. But when he was found, he had no money on him.
I left Nashville the next morning. As the train crossed a river I took out of my pocket the object that had dropped from Caswell's dead hand. I threw it into the river below.
It was a button. A yellow button...the one from Uncle Caesar's coat.
SUSAN CLARK: You have just heard the story "A Municipal Report." It was written by O. Henry and adapted for Special English by Dona de Sanctis. Your narrator was Shep O'Neal. This is Susan Clark. Join us again next time for another American story on the Voice of America.
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