Jack left Lorene's with their laughter ringing in his ears. Starger was still waiting, but Jack ignored him. This time, he was going straight to Town Hall to confront Sam. Nothing else could possibly mean a damn to him.
The trouble was that Jack had always liked his uncle. When Jack was a kid, Sam had always been there for him, gave him good presents at Christmas--a Swiss Army knife, gift certificates at the sporting goods store, another certificate at the movie house. Since those first years in Little League, Sam would come to games and cheer for him.
Everything was different now. When he drove down Webster Hill, he remembered Sam telling him how this very spot had been a turning point in his life. One rainy day Sam had been stopped at the base of the hill by a pool of water too deep to cross. Several cars were already stalled at the junction. Sam immediately borrowed a tow truck to haul cars across for twenty dollars apiece, the first time in his life he'd ever made three hundred dollars in a single day. He returned the next day to discover that an accumulation of leaves had clogged the drains. At the next rainfall, he'd added newspapers to create an instant flooding even deeper than the last one. One of his victims, this time, was a repeater named Carlos Sanguellan who owned an after-hours club outside of town. Recognizing a smart young hustler, Sanguellan had given him his business card, an invitation to a whole new way of life. With Sanguellan, Sam learned that being smart was not enough. You needed connections to get ahead, then more connections to stay ahead. All this led to Sam's election as the youngest mayor in Gandee's history. When