Author Denis Johnson died Thursday, May 25, at 67, shocking the literary world. This article, the first in a four-part serial written on deadline, originally appeared in the July 2008 issue of playboy magazine. To honor him and his place in our magazine’s history, we’ll be re-serializing Nobody Move over Memorial Day weekend. Return each day to see another part of Johnson’s noir saga.

Read our obituary of Johnson here.

**Playboy Fiction: *Nobody Move* (Part One)**

Playboy Fiction: Nobody Move (Part One)

**Playboy Fiction: *Nobody Move* (Part Two)**

Playboy Fiction: Nobody Move (Part Two)

**Playboy Fiction: *Nobody Move* (Part Three)**

Playboy Fiction: Nobody Move (Part Three)


Jimmy steered the pickup left-handed, his right arm crossing his chest and the right hand dangling out the window. “Did you kill him?” Anita lifted the bottle from her lap and made sure it was perfectly empty. She wondered how Jimmy had hurt his hand. ¶ “Did you kill your old man?” Now his right hand hopped back and forth between the gearshift and the radio knobs. “It said so on this radio, right here. Henry Desilvera. Shot to death in his home.”

“God rest his soul.” She closed her eyes and curled her -toes around the barrel of the shotgun at her bare feet.

“I don’t know what to say.”

“Why don’t you say ‘Wow’?”

He found something and turned it up, a trio of women singing—

Tubular and tasty
Wanazee, Wanazee
Tubular and tasty

—and Jimmy said, “What?” and Anita said, “Wanazee,” because it sounded magical, and Jimmy spun the knob. “Goddamn hillbilly mugwump shit.”

Jimmy pulled the truck over and nearly ran down a fence post and braked hard and killed the engine. In the pasture before them stood horses switching their tails, lifting their heads up and down. “Let me see your gun.”

“I’m not showing anybody my gun.”

“I want to see if it’s been fired.”

“How would you know if it’s been fired?”

“Let’s have it.” He took the revolver from her purse and shoved it under his seat. “Where are your shoes?” He gripped her knee with one hand and took the shotgun from under her feet with the other and dropped the weapon behind his seat back. “No more guns.” He reached toward the breast pocket of his too-large flannel shirt and came up empty and felt around the dash and got his cigarette pack, which was flat. He balled it up and threw it at the windshield in front of him and turned the key and floored the pedal, and this time he hit the fence post.

Anita stayed quiet and let him think, if that’s what he was doing. He looked across the quiet farmland in front of them as if he might climb the fence and walk out into the fields and lose himself.

“I don’t know what the setup is,” he said. “But I know you set me up.”

He reversed and got on the road and floored it again.

They sailed into Madrona, where the demands of sparse traffic seemed to help him focus. He shut up and drove halfway through town without a destination before pulling into the Arctic Burger’s parking lot. He turned off the engine and gazed at the polar bear holding up a gigantic bun at the curbside.

Anita said, “I want my gun.”

“No more guns.”

“I’ll need it when we talk to the judge.”

“You set me up.”

“I brought you in. You’re just right. The judge has been in court. He’s seen bad people.”

“I’m not a thug.”

“You don’t know what you are. He’ll know. And he’s a sick old man. He’s just a sack of cancer.”

“Wow. You’re meaner than I thought. And deeper down.”

“My people are of the earth. We know who the devils are. But we love the devil. We love the devil.”

He stared hard at her. Something moved in her belly like a child, and the child was Jimmy. She shut her ears to its crying, and she could feel him drawing strength from her blood. Jimmy dropped his gaze. He turned and put both hands on the wheel. He raised the left one to consult his smashed wristwatch. “How long till dark?”

“I don’t know.”

“We should go after dark. Does this judge have his own computer?”

“Maybe. I guess so.”

“What about somebody taking care of him? Are there other people in the house?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then we’ll scope the place right now. You know where he lives, right?”

“Yes.”

“Fine. I said we had ten percent of a plan. It’s more like two percent. I gotta get some smokes.”

While Jimmy was gone she shut her eyes and dozed until he ruined the moment by jerking open his door, blowing tobacco smoke and saying, “Red alert. I just saw Juarez. Or his Caddy. Or it was Gambol’s Caddy. Those fuckers have identical cars.” He slammed the door, it didn’t catch, he slammed it again and got the truck going, looking everywhere at once like a juggler watching airborne objects. “Yeah, Gambol went and got his Caddy. Or it’s Juarez. They’re like high school chicks—twin Cadillacs.” He drove fast, watching only the rearview mirror. “They weren’t following us. They don’t know this truck. Except Gambol saw it last night. But I mean—a million pickups. Unless Sally told them. Fucking Sally. Fuck. We get this done and get the fuck out. Get the fuck out and___” Anita sat with her eyes closed, humming “Wanazee, wanazee” and feeling the sensations of a cliff diver in a night sky while Jimmy tore through the streets and never stopped his mouth.

Gambol sat at the table in the breakfast nook, close to the window. Half an hour ago he’d claimed he wasn’t hungry, but now that his breakfast was cold, he wanted it.

Mary put both their plates in the microwave and said, “Zapped steaks and eggs—not real good.” She held up the Mumm’s and tapped it with a fingernail. “What about this champagne?”

“None for me.”

They heard a car outside, and Gambol watched through the window a moment and looked away again.

“How long till he comes?”

“Once you’re on the Five,” Gambol said, “it’s a straight shot up.”

“Is the Tall Man really with him?”

“I said he was.”

“How did that guy get a face like that?”

“Nobody knows,” Gambol said. “It’s his whole head, really.” Mary shuddered, and he added, “He’s not so bad.”

Mary said, “Look good, okay? Walk tall. I want Juarez to pay me off for resurrecting your leg. Twenty grand. This time I’ll get to Montana.”

“This time?”

“I’ve done stuff for him before. He helped me with my last big move.”

“From where?”

“From here.”

“You’re still here.”

“I didn’t think big enough. I made some money but only enough for a car.”

“What did you do for him?”

“Sold him a gross of Dilaudid.”

“I remember. That was you?”

“I mean a solid gross. I snatched it three days before my discharge. He made a bundle, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“I didn’t. I made a bunch but less than a bundle. Was it over a hundred thousand?”

“I don’t count his winnings.”

“He paid me fifteen.”

“You could’ve gotten more.”

“From who? You think I know a lot of crooks?”

Gambol put his fingers on the window-sill. Another car out in the street. Mary said, “Is Juarez big in the drug trade?”

“No.”

“But not entirely no. Sometimes yes.”

“No. he’s just—if there’s a nickel to be made, he’s usually the one who makes it. He’s quick like that.”

The microwave rang. No reaction from Gambol. By the way he fixed his attention out the window, Mary figured she’d better go get a longer robe on.

When she came out of the bedroom, Gambol was eating, and Juarez sat across the table. “This is torture.” Juarez said. He looked plumper these days and pouchy around the eyes, and he seemed excited, sitting with his ankle on his knee, leaning forward, patting his fingers on the toe of his boot. He still wore those little ankle-high fruit boots and also, this morning, a box-cut silk shirt like spun platinum with faint designs along the buttons. “I haven’t had one bite since yesterday.” The hem of his shirt had slipped upward over the butt of a small automatic in a clip-on holster.

Mary popped the champagne and said, “In honor of—fuck, you name it,” and the cork shot out of the kitchen and landed God knows where.

She didn’t go after it, because the Tall Man lay on the living room couch with his shoes on the fabric and his hat over his face.

“I’m not celebrating yet. I’m hungry.” Juarez pointed to the steak on the plate before him. “What about this one?”

Gambol said, “That’s hers.”

“Then after you eat,” Juarez said, “you can watch me. We’ll drive around. We’ll find some breakfast. Especially we’ll drive around because I think we saw our friend—Mr. Jimmy. Ten minutes ago.”

Gambol said, “Yeah?”

“A blue pickup? Ford? Real beater? But we couldn’t see the license.”

“The license?”

“Our other friend, he got in touch and gave me some numbers. Missy Sally.”

Gambol said, “Oh.”

“Yeah, Sally’s still dirtying up our planet. So, you know, that other party you mentioned, the unknown person that you ran into—it’s a collateral thing. Bad luck came in on a wind.”

Gambol finished his steak and sopped the eggs with his toast while Juarez observed and Mary drank Mumm’s from the bottle. Gambol pointed with his fork.

“Your steak’s getting cold.”

“Go ahead,” Mary told him.

Gambol exchanged his plate with hers, and Juarez sighed and said, “Mr. Gambol is a talented person. I’m glad we’re associated. Proud.” He turned his chair a bit and looked Mary up and down. “The Army didn’t turn you into a dyke.”

“Don’t ask, don’t tell.” She took a slug of champagne.

“You put on a little weight?”

The bubbles jammed her sinuses, and she choked and whispered, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“You look good.” Juarez got up and went to the living room and spoke to the Tall Man and came back holding a bulging letter-size envelope. “Gambol also looks good. You fixed him. Look at that appetite.” Even in his boots, Juarez was a bit shorter than Mary in heels. He bowed slightly, envelope extended.

She pried open the fold and thumbed through the packets. Ten of them, each wrapper marked $2,000. “Paid in full.”

Juarez took her hand, but he didn’t shake it. He just held it. To Gambol he said, “Don’t say thanks.”

“I didn’t.”

“I know. All right, Mary. We’re done here. T-Man and I need a good breakfast. Can you recommend a place where we could also talk business?”

The Tall Man came into the kitchen now. He stood under the ceiling light with his hat tipped forward and his face in a shadow and a hooked pinkie traveling toward one of his nostrils, if he had nostrils.

Juarez said, “Mary?”

She turned and stood looking down into the sink.

“Where do we go for breakfast?”

“The mall. Downtown. Across from the mall.”

“Is there really a downtown?”

Jesus Christ, she wanted to shout, get him out of my house. ___

Loose items scraped across the floorboard as Luntz took the first possible turn off the highway at the greatest possible speed. He tried to speak in a conversational tone. “Are they turning around?”

Anita righted herself and looked behind. “No. I mean yes. Now they are.”

“It’s them. They know the truck.”

Anita grabbed his arm for stability as he took the next road coming. “I don’t see them now.”

“That Caddy will eat this thing.” They passed between open pastures, completely exposed. “Watch behind. Hang on.”

“Not this one.” With her left hand she stopped the wheel. “Go two more.”

He checked his mirror. “There they are. It doesn’t matter where we turn.”

“Next one. Next one. This one.”

“Stay off my gearshift.”

The pastureland ended. They sped through a track of homes. He zigzagged among the blocks, feeling safer with walls around him. He didn’t see the Caddy. But it had to be near.

“Go faster.”

Luntz went slower. "We have to ditch this truck.” He watched for any kind of alley, an open garage door, any semi-enclosed space.

Anita leaned hard against him and grabbed and forced the wheel, saving. “Left, left, left,” and would have steered them onto somebody’s porch if he hadn’t braked hard and cut the corner across a lawn and onto a perpendicular street.

“Jesus. Where are they?“

"No. No. See the house up there? We can go in.”

“Here?”

“That one, that one.” She was digging for something in her purse. “Not the driveway. Don’t block the car. Park beside the house.” She was opening her door as he floored it and whipped around a large sedan in the driveway and fishtailed around the side of the house and scraped against the neighboring fence and slopped, trapping his own door shut. He took hold of the shotgun and scrambled to follow her out the passenger door, hesitated two seconds and lay across the seat and felt for Anita’s revolver on the floorboard.

She was already at the front door. He followed, concealing, he hoped, the shotgun between his arm and his ribs, its muzzle in his hand and rhe pistol grip in his armpit, meanwhile sticking the revolver in his waist and untucking his shirt to cover it. He joined her on the porch.

She held a set of keys. She was reading a red notice fixed to the door, its message printed in black capital letters. Across the door a stretch of yellow flagging—CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS.

She tore away the yellow flagging, and Luntz said, “Hey.”

She unlocked the door and threw it wide and strode inside.

Luntz took two steps into the interior and was stopped by the silence it held—a sunken living room with a thick cream carpel and a wooden bar, a hallway beyond it prohibited by the same yellow flagging, and something in the hallway, maybe a lamp or a sculpture, shrouded with a black plastic bag.

He heard Anita in the kitchen, banging cabinets open and closed and saying, “Fucker. Fucker. Fucker.”

He stepped down into the living room and crossed the carpet and broke the yellow banner and traveled the hallway to the open door at us end. A king-size bed, mussed bedclothes, a wine-red hardwood floor, not much blood on it—maybe half a cup of coagulated jelly around the left armpit of a white outline with up-flung arms and very short legs. For some seconds Luntz couldn’t take his eyes from it. The chalk person had no legs below the knees.

Outside the bedroom lay a garden. Large leaves and large dark blossoms nodded at the window. Luntz wiped at his mouth with a fist and felt his lips moving. He edged sideways out the door, and halfway down the hall he turned and hurried to the kitchen.

Anita stood at the counter, unscrewing the lid of a cookie jar. “Come on.” Car keys.

“Get me out of here,” he said. She turned the dead bolt, and he followed her out the kitchen door, saying, “This is destroying my nerves.” She led him into the garden and around the side and then to the sedan out front. “I gotta say, you have a calm disposition.” They got in the car, and she was out of there fast but quiet, not quite peeling rubber. “Yeah. A calm exterior.” They were topping 75 on a suburban street. “You’re efficient. That’s what it is.’ He swiped his forearm across his sweaty face. Under his shirt the perspiration poured over his ribs. "Holy Toledo!” he said. “Don’t you ever get nervous?”


Jimmy laid the shotgun between them on the seat. Anita covered it with her purse, as much of it as she could, and lowered the windows for air while Jimmy lit up and blew his smoke all over the place. “Damn,” Jimmy said, “this is a Jaguar. This is yours?”

“Nothing’s mine.”

“This is real wood, isn’t it?” He was touching things.

Suddenly they were downtown, and she fell stupid. “I went the wrong way. Everybody in town knows this Jag. ”

“Find a parking ramp.”

“It’s a hundred miles to a parking ramp.”

The Madrona Mall consisted of the Rex Theater and the Osco Drug and half a dozen other storefronts, a couple of them empty, their plate glass faced with plywood. She drove behind the Rex and stopped in the alley behind an orange backhoe and a pile of asphalt rubble.

Jimmy said, “Now what? How long till it’s dark?”

“Quit asking. I’m not the sun.”

He lifted his shirttail. “This weapon has to go.”

“It’s mine.”

“It’s trash. There’s a body on it. All it is now,” he said, “is evidence.” He shoved her revolver under his seat.

She leaned across him and felt for it, but he kicked it back further out of reach.

“I want my gun.”

Jimmy sat up and got quite still and said, "When you jerked the trigger, he fell straight back. He was on his knees.”

The ashtray stank. She closed it.

“Yeah,” he said, “Hank was on his knees.” He settled back and shut his eyes.

She turned off the ignition and let her thoughts go away. Her head jerked up— she’d nodded off. Jimmy sat with his head back, his eyelids down, breathing loudly-through his open mouth.

She felt the child moving inside her again, the child who was Jimmy. She shut it away, but its cries broke through.

“Jimmy. Jimmy.“

"What?”

“We’re two blocks from the cop shop. Less than two.”

He rubbed his eyes and his face with both hands and lit a cigarette. “Two what?”

“Blocks. The police station. If you keep heading down the street we were on—there’s a white globe out front.”

“Well, Anita…I’m sure this is all true.”

“What have you done that’s so bad? They’ll protect you.”

“Who—the cops?”

“They’ll keep you alive, at least.

"The cops? You want me to shit on this whole thing and go to the cops?”

“Are they any more horrible than these other people?”

“Jesus Christ—the cops? Yes. There’s no comparison.”

He smoked, looking at his cigarette.

She closed her eyes and slept.


To Gambol’s thinking, the neighborhood seemed exactly like the one around Marv’s place, a suburban tract staring at a mountain wilderness. He swept his gaze into wide plate-glass windows as Juarez took the Cadillac slowly along.

Plenty of pickup trucks, some of them blue, none of them Fords.

The Tall Man had the rear seat to himself. He shifted himself to its middle, and Juarez reached up and adjusted the mirror to eliminate him from the view.

Gambol heard the Tall Man’s throat work. Maybe he was drinking a drink. His hand appeared on the back of Juarez’s seat. You found yourself looking mostly at his hands.

The Tall Man said, “Up ahead.”

“Oh my, too bad.” Juarez took a left, following the general direction of two parallel gouges cutting the corner of a lawn. “Somebody’s driving reckless.”

At the next street. Juarez turned left once more and accelerated to the middle of the block. Gambol put his hand on the dash as he braked before a house whose front door lay wide open. To the side, between tin-house and the fence, sat the blue Ford.

Gambol shifted his cane and unlatched his door, and Juarez said, “Spare yourself. T-Man, will you go and poke your head in?”

The Tall Man stood about live feet eight inches. They watched him stride across the lawn. He wore a brown business suit and a 1950s fedora tipped far forward and yellow old-man shoes, but he moved like a man of about middle age.

Juarez laid his right arm across the seal back, and Gambol moved his own arm away and took the head of his cane and repositioned it pointlessly.

“This is a crime scene, "Juarez said.

Gambol noticed the yellow streamer curled on the porch, a tattered end of it lifting and collapsing, readjusted by the breeze.

Juarez said, "What do you think?”

“They changed rides.”

“The garage is right there,” Juarez said. “Stupid, stupid. They should’ve stashed the truck. What do you think they took? i mean the car.”

“Do I look psychic?”

“This is a nice neighborhood. They took a nice car.”

The Tall Man returned and opened the Caddy’s rear door. “Nobody home.” He got in and shut the door and settled himself and said, “That’s a crime scene in there.”

“Keep alert.” Juarez put it in gear. “We’ll take a zigzag route. Watch out for a nice car driving stupid.”

The Tall Man said, “Do we have a destination?”

“Breakfast. Downtown.”


Jimmy Luntz woke with a spasm. He’d fallen asleep at the wheel. But there was no wheel. He was a passenger. As the day reassembled itself around him he wondered if something, maybe the backhoe in front of them, had fallen from the sky onto this beautiful Jaguar. But it appeared they’d been struck from behind.

Anita said, “Jimmy.“

Juarez stood beside Luntz’s window, signaling that it should be lowered.

Gambol flanked Anita’s window. He slammed her door shut as she tried to open it. She turned the key in the ignition, but there was no place to go.

Luntz moved his hand along the armrest, thinking fast but producing no thoughts, and his window came down.

Juarez stooped to put his face in Luntz’s. "We had a little crash, and I’m sorry. But everything’s fine. We’ll take you exactly where you’re going.”


Gambol opened the woman’s door. She was looking at the shotgun beside her on the seat.

He watched her right hand. She hesitated, then placed her hand on the steering wheel and her foot on the pavement and got out of the car. Her feet were bare.

Luntz addressed Juarez: “Is that your Caddy or Gambol’s?”

“This one’s mine.” Juarez said, crossing around behind the Caddy to open the back door. “Luntz first.” Luntz got in the car, and Juarez said, “Our lady in back also.” The woman obeyed.

The Tall Man sat at the wheel. By the tilt of his hat Gambol guessed he was studying the woman in his rearview mirror.

Gambol slapped at Luntz’s window until the Tall Man lowered it. He rapped on the trunk lid with his cane until he heard its lock unlatch. He hung his cane on the sill and leaned down and put a forefinger hard against Luntz’s left eyeball. “I want your shirt.” Luntz worked at the buttons, and Gambol took his linger away and hauled the shirt from around Luntz and went to the Jaguar and wrapped the shotgun in it and put the bundle in the trunk.

Juarez had his hands on the Caddy’s windowsill on the woman’s side. He lowered himself to peer within. “Look at those dirty little feet.”

Gambol returned to Luntz’s window and extended the flat of his palm under Luntz’s nose. “My wallet.” Luntz shifted in his seat and dug at his pants and produced the wallet. Gambol gave him two across the face with it, back and forth, and then put it in his pocket without examination. Luntz sat there with his eyes watering, shirtless, chicken-chested. “Luntz. A twelve-gauge is not a magic wand. You don’t wave it around and people just explode.”

Luntz’s woman laughed.

Gambol told her. “I don’t like you.”

“That’s all right,” Juarez said, reaching toward her lap to touch her hand, which was a fist, “everybody else in the world is very fond of her. And she’s going to give you the keys to the Jaguar, right, Mr. G? And we’ll follow you back to Man’s place. And you’ll call Mary and tell her not to be home and leave the garage door open.”


Luntz squeezed Anita’s knee twice, signaling something, he didn’t know what, while Juarez got into the backseat on Anita’s other side and looked her up and down and said, “Boy.”

The Tall Man drove, following the Jag along the avenues. Juarez watched Anita’s face as much as the view ahead. Anita sat still. Juarez said, “She’s slightly beyond you, Luntz. Another class of person.”

Luntz said, “I know.”

“What’s her name?”

Luntz said, “Anita.”

“What’s her last name?”

“Desilvera.”

They were on the highway for five minutes before turning into another of Madrona’s subdivisions. The Tall Man drove slowly, his arm out the window and his hand urging the Jaguar to continue down the block. “The garage is still closed.” At the end of the block the Tall Man stopped the car behind the Jag and put it in park.

Luntz said, “Fucking Sally. Sally the snitch.” He hunched his bare shoulders and wrapped himself in his arms. “I should’ve beaten him to death with the shovel. Spade. The spade.”

The Tall Man raised the windows and turned on the climate control.

Juarez said, “Anita.”

“Yes.”

“Your eyes are a little bit tightened up, and I’d like it better if you can relax.”

“Okay.”

“Nothing’s going to happen to you. This isn’t your day for that.”

Anita was staring at the back of the Tall Man’s hat. Luntz squeezed her thigh hard, but she didn’t blink. She said, “Okay.”

The Tall Man put the car in gear, saying, “There she goes,” and executed a high-velocity U-turn and drove to the middle of the block and into a garage and parked beside the Jaguar.

Gambol got out of the Jag and hit a wall switch, and the garage door descended. When its rumbling ended. Gambol approached, shifted his cane to his left hand and pulled open Luntz’s door.

Juarez said, “Anita. We’re going inside here. You want to come inside with us?”

“No.”

Juarez said, “Luntz is coming. Right, Luntz?” as Gambol took hold of Luntz’s arm.

Juarez opened his door and said to the Tall Man, “Get her inside.”


The Tall Man delayed. The others had moved into the house, but the collision point of certain energies remained here, in the car, with this woman.

“These others,” he told her, “don’t know what they are.”

He turned the key to provide power to the windows and lowered them all and said, “I’ll smoke.”

He twisted toward her in his scat. For a few seconds he paused, letting the scent of the others leave the interior. He said, “You’re beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

He raised his face as his lighter flamed so that its glow illuminated him under the hat brim. “It’s a burden, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

He held the flame for many seconds. She didn’t look away. He’d been quite sure she wouldn’t.

“These others,” he told her once more, “don’t know what they are.” He trusted she’d understood him the first time, but it merited repeating.

“Will they let Jimmy live?”

“No. What about you? Do you smoke?”

She shook her head.

“I’m going in. Will you come along?”

“Okay.”


“Sit.” Juarez took Anita’s arm gently, but she couldn’t shake him off. “You don’t like me touching you,” he said. He moved the ottoman aside for her, and she sat on the couch. He came in close. “It’s not about you watching. You understand?”

“No.”

“It’s about him,” Juarez said, “watching you watching.”

Jimmy occupied a dining chair set in the middle of a spread of silvery plastic tarp. He wasn’t watching her.

The person called the Tall Man set a similar chair in the corner across the living room. He sat down and turned on the lamp on the sideboard so that he occupied a shadow.

Gambol snapped his lingers in her face. “Give me your belt.”

Anita took her bell off and handed it to him. He knelt and looped Jimmy’s left ankle to a chair leg and ran the belt around the chair’s opposite leg, taking up the slack, and buckled it, and Anita believed he said. “It’s a tourniquet—ha-ha.” but Anita couldn’t hear because Jimmy himself was talking.

“—–and this old guy moved in like three places down from us,” he was saving. “It was a trailer park. I think I was twelve. Dude told me he’d pay me twenty dollars a day to clean up his trailer before he moved in. Trailer park. 'Clean up my trailer, twenty bucks per day.’ Gave me disinfectant and a bucket and all that shit.”

“Shut up,” Gambol said. He stood. He handed Juarez a box cutter and said, “There’s some bungees in the garage.” He went out through the kitchen.

Holding the box cutler. Juarez put his hands in the pockets of his slacks, standing with the sharp toes of his boots at the outer edge of the tarpaulin, looking at Jimmy.

“Took me four and a half eight-hour days to get it clean. There was crap everywhere. There was dirt underneath the dirt. I washed the floors like three times, and after that I had to scrape with a putty knife. I really washed that place {town. Got all the clutter out of the yard, raked up all the little sticks into a pile. Then I had to dig stuff out of the dirt with my fingers, broken bits of plastic, who knows what it was. Stuff gets broken. Plastic stuff. Got all of it in the back of his pickup, had a different brand of tire on every wheel. Hosed down the little strip of asphalt in the front. Scattered seed, man, for the lawn, look me four and a half days to get it like new. Never worked that hard before or since. And at the end of this he explained the whole thing to me carefully.”

Gambol came in through the kite hen and stood by the counter with a tangle of bun-gee cords dangling from his hand.

“This dude. I’d say he was sixty maybe. Drawing disability, periodic drunk, family gone, you know what I mean. He was just your typical solitary human wreck. And he says, 'I’ve got ninety dollars for you. You sure earned it, and I’ve got it. Or you can have this lottery ticket.’ Out it comes. Yeah, big old card in the palm of his hand. 'This ticket,’ he says, 'cost a dollar fifty. So if I pay you the ninety, you could find somebody to buy you sixty tickets just like it. Or you can take this one. Just this one.’ Yeah. That’s right. Yeah. So I took it.”

Juarez said, “You think I don’t know why you’re telling me this?”

“I don’t know. Maybe you do and maybe you don’t.”

Juarez ceased jiggling his hands in his pockets. “I don’t have to ask if it hit.”

Nothing from Jimmy.

“Fuck you. You lost.”

Over in his corner, the Tall Man coughed. Or laughed.


It occurred to Luntz the era of Quiet Jimmy had ended. Words had worn his throat raw. “I just want you to know who you’re killing.”

“I didn’t say I’m killing you,” Juarez told him. “What’s happening is I’m about to cut off your balls. If you die of it, that’s your personal decision.”

He dragged the ottoman to the tarp, lifting its legs a little to get it over the plastic’s edge, and sat down facing Luntz, their knees nearly touching.

Gambol raised his bungees and began extricating a cord from the tangle.

“This is so depressing,” Luntz said.

“Gambol, did you hear that? Luntz is getting depressed.”

“I mean it. What’s depressing is this two point five million dollars I’ll never get to spend.”

“Wolf tickets.”

“Actually, it’s not so depressing. Either way—I win.”

“The fuck you do. Watching your balls get eaten isn’t exactly winning. Very closely similar to losing, that’s my opinion.”

“Watching you fuck up a chance at millions of dollars makes it all okay,” Luntz said.

“He’s bullshit,” Gambol said.

“Fine all around,” Luntz said, unbuttoning his farmer denims. “Where is your knife and fork, asshole?” He opened his pants and pulled the elastic of his shorts under his testicles.

Juarez said, “Gambol, do you see this?”

“Yeah.”

“He just got out his equipment.”

“Let’s eat,” Gambol said.

Juarez drew his head back and regarded Luntz as if through a bad pair of glasses. “You’re a poker player.”

Luntz said, “Wait a minute.”

Juarez leaned in close. “What just happened to your eyes?”

“I made a mistake. It’s two point three. Not two point live. Two point three.”

Juarez stared very carefully into Luntz’s eves. “I gotta admit.” he said, but it took him a long minute to admit anything. “Your pupils are normal.”

“Two point three million dollars. That’s what it’s gonna cost you to—you know. Your famous act.”

“I have to get your face away from me.” Juarez rose and went to the kitchen and sat at the table by the window. Gambol and the Tall Man stayed quiet, and Luntz, so as not to look at Anita, closed his eyes and sat holding perhaps for the last time his manhood in one hand.

After two minutes Juarez stood, turned and resumed the ottoman facing Luntz. “Do you know why you’re not dead?

Luntz said nothing, because he didn’t know the answer.

"Because you called me ‘asshole.’ That was the touch. That was the touch right there.”

As Luntz made a slight motion. Juarez said. “But don’t put your balls away yet. Somebody has to draw me a map to the treasure.”

Luntz looked at Anita.

Her eyes raced around the room as if a mob were tearing her clothes off. “I still want my half.”


Mary looked smart today—gray skirt, spiked heels, tight white blouse. Not, Gambol hoped, for the benefit of Juarez. You can’t blame a woman for looking good.

She asked for a cell phone with a restricted ID. Juarez handed her his.

She signaled for silence, though the others were silent already—Gambol himself, Juarez standing over Luntz, Luntz’s woman shrunken into the couch, the Tall Man against the wall.

She sat on the ottoman, put a cigarette in her lips, set her purse aside and crossed her legs. She punched the buttons while holding her lighter in her hand.

“This is Louise. I’m the sub today. No, Kilene can’t make it. I just thought I’d check in with you. How’s he doing? … Any special instructions? They said he doesn’t need to be lilted—is that right?” She lit her cigarette and smoked awhile. “Okay, dumb question—when am I supposed to be there? … Damn"— she leaned backward to see the kitchen’s wall clock—"I’ll be about fifteen minutes late. You go ahead and leave—he can go fifteen minutes on his own, right?” She took the phone to the kitchen counter, “Listen. I want to check in with the agency, but I’m in the car—have you got the number handy? And what’s the patient’s full name?“

She made a note on a pad on the counter and came back to the ottoman, punching buttons.

"This is Eloise Tanneau. I’m Judge Tanneau’s niece. I’m looking after him tonight, so can we skip the night nurse? And he may be coming home with me a few days… Probably next Wednesday. I’ll call first thing tomorrow and let you know for sure.”

She closed the phone and put out her cigarette and crossed her legs and clasped both hands around her knee, leaning forward. “Phew!”

Juarez said, “I should’ve never divorced you.”

“Yeah? I divorced you.”

Gambol watched all this.

Juarez went into a corner with the Tall Man and spoke to him, looking only at the Tall Man’s yellow shoes. Gambol heard him say, “Jag-you-are.“

He came back to Gambol and said, "I want the Jag,” and Gambol turned over the keys.

Juarez pointed to the Tall Man, pointed to Luntz’s woman. “Take him. Take her. Mary goes to the movies.” He lifted the sharp toe of his boot and rested it on the chair between Luntz’s legs. “Leave this customer with me.”

Mary said, “I just saw the fucking movie. Twice.”

Juarez said, “Stay away for one hour. Keep your phone on.”

Mary touched the back of Gambol’s hand with all four fingers. “See you later.”

Juarez observed the gesture. “See,” Juarez said angrily, “this is what I like about people. People surprise you.”


Luntz counted himself still in the game—his pants still open but his balls back inside his shorts. But alone with Juarez, and Juarez holding an automatic pistol.

“Gambol won’t like it if you’re the one who smokes me.”

“I’ll like it.“

"I’m just saying—you know. Friends like to do things together.’

"I want his Cadillac. It isn’t your property. Give me the keys.”

“The keys are in it. Son of. More like sitting on the roof of it.”

“Where’s it parked?”

“About three miles off the main highway. Then way up there. Up the Feather River.”

“You piece of shit. Let’s go.”

“Now?”

Juarez sighed.

“Unbuckle my leg.”

“Unbuckle your own leg.”

Luntz managed the belt, but he didn’t feel capable of standing. “What are we doing?”

“We’ll drive there, and we’ll get his car.”

“And then what?”

“Then I’ll present it to him. When he gets back from what he’s doing.”

“And your car’s gonna be—where? Where his car is now?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t understand.”

“That’s because you exist,” Juarez said, “at the level of a lizard. Gambol will understand the gesture.”

They stood side by side as the door thundered and the last of the day’s light filled the garage. Juarez nudged him into the passenger’s side with the point of his gun. “Ladies first.” He lifted his shirt and bolstered the pistol. “Remember who has the power.”

While Juarez moved to the driver’s side and opened the door, Luntz felt around beneath the seat. Juan got in, saying. “This is a test-drive. I’m considering a Jag-you-are.” As he reached his hand toward the ignition, Luntz put Anita’s gun to his neck.


The Tall Man removed his hat and set it beside him and turned almost fully toward Anita in the backseat. He counted four seconds before she looked away. He said. “What? I thought you said something,” because he wanted her to.

“Excuse me?”

“What sort of car does this judge drive?”

“It’s in the garage.”

“I realize. But what kind is it?”

“A Cadillac.”

“Like this one.”

“But it’s black.”

The house belonged in New England— stone walls and dark vines of ivy, a big entry with stained glass on either side of the door. Gambol had been standing at the door a long time.

“This man is very slow answering. You said he’s in a wheelchair, correct?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“No. You’re right. Mary said it.”

The day was warm, and they had the Cadillac running and I lit- windows closed for the air conditioner, but the sound from the house was audible to them as Gambol broke a pane of leaded glass with the butt of his revolver. They watched his shoulders rock slightly as he scoured the jagged edges of the pane with the gun’s barrel, and then he tilted sideways and slipped his arm up to its elbow into the interior.

Anita said, “What?”

“I said—are you worried about Luntz?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re sure this man has a computer on the premises?”

“What? Yes. I mean, I think so.”

“Luntz is dead by now.”

“Oh.”

He breathed the syllable in. lie tasted heartbreak. “His last moments were impressive. Do you think he kept his balls?”

“Oh…. His balls?”

He inhaled deeply. The cell phone hummed twice in his hand. He checked the ID. “That’s Gambol.” He shut oil the car’s engine. He replaced his hat and pulled the brim down as far as visibility permitted and headed for the house without looking to see if she followed.

Inside, he left the front door open behind him and waited for her. By the front door, a hat tree. On the hat tree a dark suit coat on a hanger. He ran a finger down its empty sleeve. Italian silk. Gambol stood in the kitchen, mistreating the jacket’s owner. Above them and around them, tinted skylights and green potted plants gave the kitchen and dining areas a cool, pleasant feeling.

Even in his wheelchair the man gave an impression of height, some of it established by his coiffure—brilliant, silver-white, layered like a toupee, which plainly it wasn’t, as Gambol had his fingers tangled in it, pulling the man’s head backward in his wheelchair to prevent him fixing the buttons of his shirt. When the man let his hands down, Gambol let go of his hair. “I found him in the bathroom.”

Except for the omission of his suit coat, the man had dressed for business, his slacks perfectly creased, shoes a brilliant black on the wheelchair’s metal footpads, but beneath the knot of his crimson tie his shirt was unbuttoned and its tails untucked, and a colostomy bag jutted from under his left armpit.

The door slammed behind the Tall Man, and Anita strode past him toward the kitchen. In her lumberjack costume, in her bare feel, still this female knew how-to walk—head up, shoulders back—away from a flaming wreck. She bore down on the man, saying, "I’m guilty. Judge.”

The judge possessed a histrionic flair. At the sight of Anita his chin went up and his eves grew shiny.

“I killed Hank.” Now Anita stood before the wheelchair. With both her hands she grasped the bag under his armpit and jerked it free and struck him across the face with it, pulling hall a pirouette behind the blow, and Gambol leapt aside as feces erupted down the man’s neck and chest and behind his back, so that he was wearing it and siding in it.

The judge raised his hand to wipe at his lace but seemed to think better of it. He tilted his head, probably to direct the flow, and breathed through his open mouth.

Gambol said something too softly to be heard, and the Tall Man said. "Shut up. We’re out of our depth.”


Juarez drove right-handed, the heel of his left hand stanching the flow of blood from his forehead. "I love getting pistol-whipped. It means I’m dealing with a puto. He can’t pull the trigger.”

“Get to the highway.” Luntz switched the gun from his right hand to his left, keeping the weapon pressed against Juarez’s kidney, and sat back in a posture he believed more natural-looking for a passenger and added, “Shut up.”

“I wasn’t talking.”

“You were before.”

“Where to?”

“Shut up.”

“Where are we going, Luntz?”

“Turn left up here. Left. What do you smoke?” As they accelerated onto the highway, he reached into Juarez’s shirt pocket. “Lites. Crap.”

“No, they’re good. Really.”

“Low tar. Silk shirt. Hey. Got any money?’

"Money?” Juarez lowered his window and the hot breeze thudded around their heads.

“Give it here.”

Leaning forward and squirming in his seat, Juarez got his money clip from the pocket of his slacks and threw it out the window.

“You fucking fuck.” Luntz put the muzzle under Juarez’s jaw and pressed until Juarez craned his neck and grimaced. At the sight of oncoming cars, Luntz lowered it to the area of Juarez s ribs.

Juarez wiped the blood out of his eye and then onto the seat, between his legs. "What’s your next move? Go to this judge’s house and waste everybody? Run off with the girl over your shoulder?”

Luntz ignored him and made use of the Jag’s cigarette lighter.

“What a hero. You never even thought about Anita. You don’t deserve her.”

“What’s the address?”

“I don’t know, Luntz. Don’t you know?” A sports convertible pulled around on their left. Juarez said, “Look—those girls are laughing at your chest.”

“Let them pass. Asshole.”

Juarez accelerated gently, keeping abreast of it. “You’re an embarrassment. If Anita’s your woman, then save her.”

“She’s not my woman,” Luntz said. “And nobody can save her.”

Juarez clenched the wheel, working his thumbs. “You’re an embarrassment from the beginning.” He turned to face Luntz. He was red-eyed, almost tearful. “When you pull a gun, you know what’s the next thing to do? Shoot the gun. Shoot somebody.” The Jaguar lurched into passing gear.

“Slow down, Juarez.”

“Let’s put on a show.”

“Slow down.”

Juarez, stomped and released the accelerator rhythmically and rocked the engine in and out of passing gear. “See up there, the overpass”’“

"I’m serious. Juarez.”

“What I’m going to do. I’m going to drive into the abutment.”

Luntz stuck the gun barrel in Juarez’s ear and was pressed back in his seal. The engine’s noise rose steadily.

“Fuck you, Luntz. Put the gun down, or I swear to fuck.” Juarez levitated in his seat as he locked his leg, holding the pedal to the floor. “We’re gonna break one twenty. He was shouting above the engine’s noise. "I die, you die. Come on, I been waiting for a reason to crash this piece-of-shit Jag. I’m gonna get a Lexus.”

Thinking. What a good line, how cool is this guy Juarez, Luntz blew his head off. Juarez’s window collapsed into rice grains while a two-inch-wide fissure opened above his ear. Luntz clutched the wheel with one hand and then with both hands, and the gun tell into Juarez’s lap while Luntz nearly followed it, working his left leg over the console and kicking at Juarez’s pointed boot on the accelerator. He found the brake with his foot and pulled the wheel to the right, and now they traveled backward and the view smeared itself across the windshield, and now they’d swapped ends again and were stopped diagonally on the gravel shoulder. The engine had quit. In the silence it ticked, and Luntz heard himself breathing hard and saying. “Juarez—I think I just shot you.


"We wrap a towel around here, just below the knee.” Gambol explained lo the judge, “and we go berserk with a tire iron. What the fuck is this?”

“My catheter bag.”

“Jesus,” Gambol said.

“Make him beg.” Anita said.

"I’m seventy-six years of age. Do you understand? My bones won’t heal.”

The Tall Man suspected the judge’s resistance had more to do with his shock at bad manners than with any worldly desire to keep his money. The man was very ill, with a jaundiced tint to his laded suntan and a papery, tentative quality to his flesh, to say nothing of his colostomy bag—and the catheter bag, too, peeking from the cull of his slacks.

"Don’t worry,” Gambol told the judge, “you’ll probably talk before the bone splits.”

“I’ll talk now,” the judge said. “It won’t help you, but I’m at your mercy.”

“That’s how it works.” Gambol said.

“No. No.” Anita said. “He’s the lather of lies.”

“What the fuck,” Gambol asked her, “is your name?

"Anita.”

“Shut up, Anita.” With the corner of a dish towel, Gambol wiped shit from the judge’s cheek. “The Tall Man’s got some questions.”

The judge look the dish towel in his fingers and rubbed his neck with it. “I’m sure I know what you want.” He folded the cloth around the soiled portion and rubbed at his chin.

"You’ve hidden some funds,” the Tail Man said. “We want account numbers, passwords, all of that.”

"Look under the kitchen trash.”

Gambol hauled a while plastic bucket from under the sink and set it by the wheelchair. "Go through your own trash.”

“Under the bag. The steps are listed in order.”

Gambol hoisted the trash bag and felt around beneath it and threw a notebook on the counter, beside the Tall Man’s elbow.

“Something important now.” The Judge look a long breath. “I’ve given you what I can, bin it’s only half of what you want. There’s an eight-digit password. When we chose it, I typed in four digits, and my partner typed in four. You understand? You’ve got hall the password. My partner had the other half.”

“Get him here.”

"There I can’t oblige you, either.” The judge turned his eves on Anita. "My partner’s been killed.”

Anita Mood straight and silent, Gambol said, “Get her purse.”

“There’s nothing in my purse.” As if probing for the limit of her physical freedom. Anita moved aside the trash bag and went to the kitchen sink and started the water and splashed her hands and face. The Tall Man watched tor some explosive move. He believed in her.

She raised her flannel shirttails and wiped her lace and said. “There’s nothing written down, But as long as I get my lull, we’re line.”

“That,” Gambol said, “is not how it works.”

She stepped quickly toward the end of the kitchen and the door to the yard. Gambol came alter just as quickly but stumbled on the trash bag and slipped on wet floor tiles and went down on one knee, and the Tall Man felt something flare in his own chest and might even, he believed, have said, “Go!” At the door she clutched the knob and worked at the chain lock. Gambol caught the waist of her pants and pulled her backward as he stood up. He grasped her left wrist and dragged her through the kitchen toward the hallway, twisting her arm behind her and shoving his fist in her mouth so one could hardly hear the noise she made when her shoulder dislocated. Convulsively she puked on his hand, and he took it away and flung the liquid at the floor, saying, “That’s it—no mercy,” and she said, “Good.”


The judge’s study was dark. As the Tall Man pressed the keys and woke the computer, the screen lit the backs of his hands at the keyboard.

He paused to button his suit jacket and place his hands over his lap and listen to the sounds from the neighboring room.

When the sounds had slopped, the fall Man moved his lingers over the keys and opened communications with the bank.

The judge said, “Excuse me. I don’t like to disturb you. But I have a question.”

“Yes?”

“This situation. Is it going to be terminal? In your opinion.”

“For Anita?”

“For anyone. For me.” There came a thump, just one. The Tall Man raised a finger for silence. No more sounds came. His lingers returned to the keyboard.

When he heard the door to the other room open and dose, he raised his face to the wall before him. “In here.”

Gambol entered the study and shut the door, holding in his hand a small piece of paper. "Try this.” A yellow Post-it note.

“The other hand.”

Gambol transferred it to his bloody hand, and the Tall Man accepted it and fixed the paper next to the notebook open at his elbow.

"I don’t push buttons on machines,” Gambol told the judge, “just people. So I hope you know what happens if this password’s bullshit.”

“Quiet.” The Tall Man pushed his chair back and stood up.

He went down the short hallway and stood for a moment outside the door. He put his hand on the doorknob and let it stay there. She was still making small sounds.

When Gambol coughed in the next room and the Tall Man felt he might be about to call out, he let go of the doorknob and let go of it all and returned to the judge’s study.

He sat before the keyboard and entered the password and waited.

“How long does this shit take?” Gambol said, making it a question for their host rather than the Tall Man.

The judge gave no indication of having heard him.

“This one’s working.” The Tall Man rested his chin in his hand and awaited further prompts from the machine.

“Then I guess you transfer it to the Caymans. I wonder if that’s the same bank as mine,” Gambol said to no one.

The Tall Man lapped the keys and waited.

“How do you get the money out?” Gambol asked the judge.

The Tall Man said, “I log into the bank’s site and then follow the prompts.”

“How do you log into the bank?”

“First,” the Tall Man said, “you learn about computers.”

“You got a pen?” Gambol asked the judge.

The Tall Man said. “Yes, I do.” Simultaneously he fell a gun nuzzling his collar.

In the many years of their association. Gambol had addressed the Tail Man perhaps half a dozen times directly. He did so now. “Write it all down.”


At the intersection with the highway, Gambol slopped the Caddy. He reached crosswise with his left hand and levered the gearshift into park. The Tall Man faced straight ahead.

Gambol patched the pockets of the Tall Mans jacket and took away his cell phone and his notebook and laid them on the console and nudged the Tail Man’s ribs with the gun.

The Tall Man opened his door and got out. Gambol shut it for him by accelerating away.

A quarter mile along the highway, Gambol took his loot off the accelerator and laid his wrists on the wheel and worked his shoulders. The traffic was bad. The problem was on the other side, in a northbound lane, but vehicles here in the southbound lane had slowed to a walking pace. At this speed, the Tall Man might beat him to Madrona.

He checked his mirror and saw the Fall Man ambling behind him toward town in the cool of the evening, his silhouette raised up and set aside by passing headlights.

The Tall Man handled numbers, taxes, accounts. He’d set up Gambol’s own offshore tax dodge. Gambol liked him.

He dropped his hand and found the button and backed his seat out to the fullest extent and eased the angle of his right leg. He got Mary on the phone and said, “What do you know about computers?”

“I know they make me sick. The last few years in the service, I had to be online every day.”

“I need you to jump on a computer for me.”

“Whose phone are you using? I almost didn’t answer.”

“Compliments of a friend.”

The vehicles around him dickered in a blue-and-white light. As he idled the Caddy-past the scene of the trouble, he nearly stopped. Accidents were none of his business, gawking just another symptom of the human disease. But he thought he recognized the car.


She woke in a red darkness. The sound of the river lifted her to her feet and carried her down a tunnel that branched toward light and the noise of water.

In the brilliant chamber the judge sat stripped naked, leaning sideways in his wheelchair, wetting a white Hag under a faucet. The judge pronounced her sentence: “You’re alive.”

Give me your car keys, she said, but it didn’t sound like that because her jaw must be broken.

“I called to you main times. I thought they’d killed you.” He made no attempt to cover himself.

Keys.

“Did you say keys?”

Car.

“Go lie down.”

She ordered her hands lo his throat. Only the right one obeyed.

“It’s a 1951 Coupe deVille. I bought it secondhand the day I passed the bar I won’t let you wreck it.

She put the crook oilier thumb and fore-finger against his Adam’s apple and felt for the arteries below either jaw.

He took her wrist in both his hands, and his eyes turned cold. "In the kitchen. On the bulletin board.”

Her tendons burned where his fingernails gouged against the back of her hand. His face paled, and a faint blue light dawned beneath the skin. He lost consciousness within seconds, but still he breathed. She shifted her stance and tightened her grip on his larynx, and a wheezing began. She closed her eyes and directed all awareness into the effort of her right hand. No sight or sound reached her senses. She couldn’t have said which one of them was dying.


With the washer’s noise out in the utility room. Mary wasn’t certain she’d heard a car. She hit the mute on the television and stood up as Gambol came through the front door.

He raised the end of his cane and pointed it at her and said. “Man, you look good today.”

“I clean up pretty nice, huh?”

“Hey,” he said, “let’s take a ride.”

She kicked at her pumps and slipped her feet into them and stooped to put out her cigarette. “I’ve got laundry in. Can I turn it off?”

“Leave it.”

She looked toward the utility room where the machine chugged and gurgled. She reached for the remote and dropped it and knell on the carpet, feeling for it under the coffee table.

“Leave it,”

She stood up. “Ernest. I never saw you smile before.”

“Is there fishing in Montana?”

“Every square inch.” She drew her head back. “You’ve got nice teeth.”

He dropped his cane and took her in his arms. “The Muslims lost one today.”

“Yeah, baby,” she said. “Nuke Mecca.”


The right-hand tires bumped over onto the shoulder, she yanked the wheel straight, they very soon bumped over again. Did she need gas? That thought came in and went away. Was it really raining?—when the stars were shining? She found the button and lowered the window and stuck her head out for great breaths of chilly air driving one-handed, covering her shattered eye socket with the other hand to eliminate the duplicates in her field of vision.

The big black Cadillac divided the rain. She killed the headlamps. The downpour glittered in the starshine, in the moonglow, in the lightning. Sure was raining hard. Sure was looking bad. Al this rate, she’d never make it to the river.


Jimmy Luntz walked the road, watching his feel by starlight. Along the pavement’s edge, lulls of grass sprouted from the asphalt.

He came to a crossing—a gas station and convenience store—and went inside and said, “Nice night.“

The gal behind the counter said, "No shin, no shoes, no service.

"I have shoes on.”

She said, "Sorry,” and seemed sincere. She looked young, and possibly pregnant, or ready for a diet.

He checked his money clip.

“Kenny’s in the back.” she said.

“I wasn’t looking for him.”

“I know. But just so you know.”

"Do I look like a robber?”

“You look like something. Not a robber. Just along those lines.”

“How much are those T-shirts?”

“Whatever it says.”

From the bin he picked one—light blue, size large, MORE BEER—and pulled it over his head.

“That one’s funny,” she said.

He counted his change. He craved a smoke, and he had just enough money for a pack, but he bought a lotto tick for a dollar, and then he was too short for cigarettes. Scratched a loser. He had enough for a burger but went into that sum for another dollar.

As he touched the ticket, he could feel it in his lingers. He set his money clip on the counter and flattened it with the heel of his hand and slipped the ticket into it along with nothing bin his driver’s license.

Two bucks in his grip. He bought two tix. Scratched a loser, and the second one hit for 10. “There we go. See that?”

“You want it in tickets?”

“Just a pack of Camel straights. No. You got Luckies? lt’s Luckies from now on. And those Twinkies. And I’ll get a can of Sprite or something. You got matches?”

“Now you’re back to zero.”

He cracked the deck and lit up and raised a hand in farewell.

“Are you walking?”

Luntz said, "I guess I’ll hitchhike.”

“You better clean up first.”

“Yeah? Where’s the washroom?’

She shook her head. "The whole back of your pants is like you been rolling in dirt. You better find some deep water.”

"Where’s the river?”

“Right over there a half a mile.”

“Is it cold?”

“It’s cold. But it won’t kill you.”


**Playboy Fiction: *Nobody Move* (Part One)**

Playboy Fiction: Nobody Move (Part One)

**Playboy Fiction: *Nobody Move* (Part Two)**

Playboy Fiction: Nobody Move (Part Two)

**Playboy Fiction: *Nobody Move* (Part Three)**

Playboy Fiction: Nobody Move (Part Three)