Mr. Thad Belton swung his shiny, lumbering roadster out of the yard and threaded his way through the morning traffic downtown. Visibility seemed to be poor, somehow, though there was nothing but an occasional puff of dust to obscure the unfailing sunshine of that Southwestern region. The cloud that hovered about everything with a pale cast of uncertainty lay deeper than mere superficial things. It brooded in the background eluding identity, threatening and unpleasantly foreboding. Mechanically Thad nodded out of his open window to an acquaintance here, or waved a hand to a friend there, hardly seeing any of them. Everybody seemed glad to wave at Thad Belton. He had, in two short years, become a noticeable example of shrewd, persistent aggressiveness and had ridden a small contracting business to success when, in a depressed world, many businesses had shrunk, wavered, and curled up and died. He presented, too, something of an appearance, even from within the car window, that invited recognition and the hail-fellow greetings that flashed to him and shop and sidewalk. His neat, trim figure, with the slightly greying hair close-cropped beneath the rim of his panama, and his clean-cut features and youngish gray attire rather gave the lie to his age which was somewhere in the fifties. Neat and trim-that was Thad Belton all over; and even the sober frown now on his face but enhanced the shrewd, trim make-up of the man.