Reputation (also known as When Doc Asks You a Question)

"Now, if you would tell me who is responsible, I would greatly appreciate it," Doc said coolly, folding his massive hands neatly on his desk.

"I can't say I care for your tone, Mister Savage. Any anyway, it ain't none of your business. If you'll excuse me." Mack grabbed his hat and stalked out the door.

Ham and Monk looked at Doc, whose golden eyes were lowered in agitation, then at each other, and bolted out the door. But it was too late; Mack had entered the elevator, heading for the ground floor.

"The high-speed elevator! Come on!" Monk cried, and sped for the secret transport, Ham hot on his heels. The lawyer had barely curled his fingers around the u-shaped handle hanging from the ceiling when Monk punched the 1st Floor button. Immediately the floor dropped out from under them, and Monk scarcely managed to grab hold of another one of the handles before he went crashing to the ground. It took mere seconds for them to go down 86 floors.

Ham and Monk raced out of the elevator exited the front entrance. They stood under a streetlamp right outside the door, waiting.

They didn't have to stand there long.

Mack came swaggering out of the building, reaching into his pocket for his cigarette case. Upon seeing Ham and Monk, his mouth dropped open. The case fell from his hands as he tried to bolt back inside the building.

But the chemist grabbed hold of the thug's arm and whirled him around. He gathered Mack's jacket lapels in his fists, pulling him close with a harsh jerking motion. "Listen, pal," he growled. "When Doc asks you a question, you answer. Quick-like."

"I would not recommend making an enemy of Doc Savage, Mack," Ham said more diplomatically, leaning on his cane. "He's a dangerous man."

"And so are we." Monk added with snarl.

"But Doc Savage is also fair. What promises he makes, he keeps. If you want my advice - and I sincerely suggest you take it - I think you should march right back up there and answer Doc's question. No one can protect you better than he can."

"And no one will spend more time hunting you down." Monk said menacingly, releasing Mack roughly so that he stumbled backwards.

Face white as a sheet, Mack picked up his cigarette case in trembling fingers. He nervously fumbled to light one up. After taking a long drag at it and releasing a cloud of smoke with a shuddering breath, he nodded. "Okay, okay. I…I'll take your advice."

"You won't be sorry," Ham said, gesturing to the door with his cane.

Monk hauled it open and waited until Mack had passed inside before he added, "But you would have been."