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         Jacket, tie, shoes – oh Jesus, bending over to tie the god damn laces getting harder all the time. God damn gut in the way, too. Not much of a pretty boy, anymore. That’s all right, that’s okay. Millie hadn’t gotten him hard in twenty years, and if he wanted a younger piece of ass, he could get it the old-fashioned way, by paying for it.

         He straightened up in front of the mirror, grabbed his checkbook, paused. Check was wrong. She’d like cash better, a girl like Lucy, who—no offense to her father and not to speak badly of family—was a piece of trash. Kids always like cash. Stop by the ATM, get a big fat wad of bills.

         Talk about a rotten apple. The kid had lost her dad’s house, after all. The god damned house. Playing no-limit poker against some ancient Euro-roller, she went all in with chips bought on her dad’s home equity line credit card. God, how’d you like to explain that at the family reunion. Made him glad he never gave into Millie on the whole kid thing. What a fiasco that would have been—turning a litter of little Millies onto an unsuspecting world. God almighty.

         He slapped on a little Aqua Velva and grinned, thinking of the girls on Sunset who might be getting into his car in a couple of weeks. After a whole lifetime of lousy breaks, finally something was going to go right. Finally he had somebody else by the balls.

         The Buyer thought he was so god damned suave. “I’ll give you a thousand dollars for that gun your father had, the Navy Colt.”

         Robert hadn’t seen the old piece of crap for a decade, but he’d been shrewd. Said he couldn’t do it, his father’s favorite gun, sentimental value and all that bullshit. When the Buyer upped his offer to three grand, Robert knew he had him by the short and curlies. Hung up the phone, jerked the guy around, played a little hardball to see how far he would go—tried not to faint when the offer reached fifty grand.

         “Interested collector” my ass.

         God only knew why the Buyer wanted the old piece of junk, but if he needed to throw his money away that badly, Robert would be happy to help.

         Only problem being, when he went to dig the Colt out of the boxes of crap in the U-Store-It, it turned out the gun wasn’t there. He went and bullied the executor, demanded to look at the will, and there it was—most of the money to the god-damned poker site and a bunch of crap to his son. Lucy got nothing except his damn pocket watch (why not use a digital, for Christ sake? Some kind of Depression mentality?)

         And the Gun.

         Robert grabbed his car keys and headed outside. In the long run, it was okay. On the phone she said she didn’t want to sell the gun, but sooner or later she would give in. Bottom line, she needed the god damn money. According to his brother she was trying to pay back the cost of the house. Fat chance. Not without selling something besides her driving skills.

         No, she was taking the meeting, and that meant sooner or later she’d sell, for $500 bucks or maybe $750. Then she would have money for another few hands of poker and another few bottles of beer, and Robert in turn would have a lot more money for, well, other things.

         He drove slowly to the cemetery, hoping to window-shop, but it wasn’t even lunchtime yet and the hookers were still sleeping. Saving up their strength, god bless them. That was okay, that was all right. There were new girls getting off the Hollywood Greyhound every day, and a buyer’s market every night. Supply and demand, baby, capitalism at work and the American way.



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