12

Jack's head was full of all the things he hadn't said. The kickback deals, the toxic field, the rip-offs of his two million dollars. An arsenal of weapons he hadn't fired. Even then he wondered if anything would have mattered, for Sam had been unbending. He was bullet proof. He would have laughed all the more.

He made it to the street half suspecting that Foxx would be there to mock his defeat. But when she wasn't, strangely enough he was disappointed. He was left to whip himself. It was time to quit. As Judith had said, he'd gotten it out of his system.

The neon-lit diner sign beckoned. He set his big body on a stool at the counter, and then there was a middle-aged woman with a pot of coffee and a sassy smile.

"Say, didn't you used to be Jack Cagle?"

Her name, Lila, was stitched over her shirt pocket. She gave good vibes at a moment when he needed them.

"How's it going, Lila?"

"You look like you don't want to hear," she said.

"I'll have some pie," he said, pointing to the shelves under the plastic dome.

"Take the cinnamon bun, Jack."

"I really don't much like--"

"What! What! I never heard of such a thing!" She faked genume outrage.

"Hey, sorry."

"And you were always such a good kid."

-88-

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