Chance by Robert B. Parker

Book: Chance by Robert B. Parker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert B. Parker
    "Poor thing," Susan said.
    "It's only seven-thirty. You must be exhausted."
    "We don't get tired, Missy," Hawk said.
    "Just sing some songs, and keep on picking cotton. Little guy in the hat getting kinda frazzled though."
    Bob, the waiter, brought Susan one pancake with honey. Hawk and I had steak and eggs. I had some decaf.
    "Why do they just keep watching him," Susan said.
    "Why doesn't somebody act?"
    "My guess is it's because he's winning," I said.
    "If the little guy is watching him for Julius, or Gino, or Marty, or any combination thereof, they want their money back. Figure they'll wait until he wins as much as he can."
    "And he'll start to lose eventually, won't he?" Susan said.
    "Don't know his system, but Lennie Seltzer tells me he's a loser.
    And everything I know about him supports it."
    I was finished with my breakfast. Hawk was eating his last piece of toast. Susan poured another gram of honey onto her pancake and took a second bite.
    "You got a view on losers?" Hawk said to Susan.
    "You mean once you've eliminated stupidity and bad luck?"
    "Which is eliminating big," Hawk said.
    He sipped some of his coffee. It reeked of caffeine.
    "With many people for whom gambling is an obsession, there's a lot of guilt," Susan said.
    "They know it's obsessive, and destructive. They see it as a vice. And they are angry with themselves for doing it."
    "Like alcoholics," Hawk said.
    Susan nodded.
    "Yes, and as is sometimes the case with alcoholics, the vice becomes its own punishment."
    "So they gamble 'cause they have to, and lose to punish themselves," Hawk said.
    "Something like that," Susan said.
    "If you right, and Lennie Seltzer right, and we right, Anthony bound to lose and when he start to lose they may just whack him."
    "Who?" I said.
    "Find out when he starts to lose," Hawk said.
    "I was hoping for prior to," I said.
    "You seen any sign of the woman he's registered with?"
    "Nope. Stays in the room as far as I can tell. Eats off the room service menu. She goes out she does it when I'm watching Anthony."
    "Seems kind of odd," I said.
    "It do," Hawk said.
    "No trips to the blackjack tables to cheer on her man? No expeditions to the Fashion Mall?"
    "Unthinkable," Susan said. She had already finished half her pancake.
    "I guess she didn't want to be seen," I said.
    "By whom?" Hawk said.
    "We the only ones watching, until Panama Hattie showed up."
    "Maybe after we go to the airport I'll take a look into that a little."
    "Toward that eventuality," Hawk said, lengthening the initial e, "ah has acquired us a key."
    He handed it to me and I put it in my shirt pocket.
    Bob appeared with the check.
    "You want to chahge it to your room?" he said.
    "Or put it on a credit cahd."
    All three of us looked at him simultaneously. A song of home.
    "You from Boston?" I said.
    "Yeah, Dawchestah. How'd you know?"
    "A wild guess," I said.
    When I signed the check, I overtipped Bob because he talked right.
    Hawk and I drank the rest of our coffee, caffeinated and decaffeinated. Susan finished all but two bites of her pancake, and it was time for the airport.
    Lester was waiting out front. Susan was wearing her jonquil jacket, and carrying her makeup bag as we got into the Lincoln.
    The little guy with the Panama hat was nowhere in sight. No Buick Regals followed us to the airport.
    "What happened to all the luggage you brought out?" I said.
    "Plus the stuff you bought?"
    "The hotel is shipping it for me," Susan said. The hint of a triumphant smirk played at the corners of her mouth.
    "Boy," I said, "now if they could just do that with sexual gratification."
    "Yes," Susan said.
    On the backseat of the Lincoln was a newsprint magazine titled Boobs-Are-Us. I picked it up. The cover featured a woman with a chest appropriate to the title. She had blonde hair and a lot of dark eye makeup and she had her tongue sort of half stuck out. Two pink telephones concealed her nipples.
    "Tasteful," Susan said.
    There was a phone

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