“How many today?”
Eric squinted at his handwriting. “Five. No … six.”
Boss slid his thumb between the straining buttons of his dingy shirt and rubbed at his navel. “You said a hundred-and-twenty-seven plays total?”
“And six winners yesterday.”
“Five,” Eric said.
Boss’ face reddened, and he took a deep breath, swelling like a boil between the counter and the harvest-fair crowd. The pressure dissipated in a reek of Juicy Fruit gum. He shrugged. “Guess that’s all right. Little fucks’ll stop coming if they lose every time.” He stuck a thick finger in Eric’s face. “No more than three tomorrow. Hear me?”
“Loud and clear, Boss.”
Boss put his thumb in his armpit, digging vigorously. “Head over to the Skeleton for the rest of your shift. Vanessa has a new girl.”
“Will do, Boss.”
“Get yourself something to eat first. You look like shit.”
Eric hoped he didn’t have syphilis again. He’d sworn off townie girls after his last run in with it, but a tattooed woman outside Cleveland had changed his mind. She hadn’t looked sick. “I’ll get a hotdog on the way down.”
-- R. W.W. Greene
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