Just another sucker by James Hadley CHASE

By James Hadley CHASE

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A man who will turn down a ten thousand dollar bribe and refuse to work with gangsters must have a nerve. ’ I didn’t say anything. She lit a cigarette. I was aware she was staring at me. She was sitting in the shadows. I would have liked to have been able to see the expression in her eyes. ‘You take risks, don’t you, Mr. ’ ‘It depends on the money,’ I said. ‘I want money. I don’t make any bones about it. ’ It was like taking a hard punch under the heart. ‘Fifty thousand. ’ ‘Yes. It’s a lot of money, isn’t it?

I screwed up my face, trying to remember. She had gone into the booth with the bag in her right hand. I was certain she had come out of the booth without anything in either hand. I finished my whisky, then with a shaky hand, I lit a cigarette. So what? I said to myself. I had probably not noticed the bag when she came out. Suddenly the bag became important to me. It became important because I wanted to prove to myself I wasn’t as plastered as I thought I was. I got unsteadily to my feet and walked to the telephone booth.

Barber,’ he said. ‘There won’t be anyone here, but you can have it. I’ve got no all-night customers this week so I’m not staying on. ’ ‘That’s all right. Leave the key under the mat. ’ ‘Anything you say, Mr. ’ I looked along the crowded beach. The sand was covered with near naked bodies. ‘Looks as if you’re doing all right,’ I said. ‘I survive, although the season’s not what it should be. The all-night let is a flop. If it doesn’t pick up soon, I’m going to drop the idea. No point hanging around here after eight if I’ve got no customers.

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