Published in MURDER IN VEGAS, edited by Michael Connelly; ISBN 0-765-30739-1.
Written under the pen name Mickey Marz.
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In Vegas you can reinvent yourself with every visit depending on the size of your playing stash or the extent of your moral courage. You can play a variety of roles, be a different kind of person than you are back home. Mark Mandel Korn came from California with his girlfriend to play fisherman, then gambler, and then go home again after a sweet vacation, but when he winds up in an accidental encounter with the kind of low-life characters that live on the fringe of even a fringe town, he is cast in the role of a lifetime.
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“Bounced him on his head till his neck broke,” Aram said.
“What a stupid sonofabitch,” Eugene said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Aram said.
The overturned bucket on which Aram sat rocked, because the handle-ends bent but did not flatten on the floor. He scooted the bucket nearer the wall and leaned his spine against a stud for better balance, then closed his eyes as if to saw some Zs.
Eugene did worry about it. He said, “Bo had better get his ass in gear or he’s gonna be meat hangin’ on the rack hisself one o’ these days, go around actin’ like that.”
“Shuddup, Eugene,” Aram said, like a man mumbling in his dreams.
“Shuddup yourself, Armpit.”
Jim Daniels walked around the two men and stopped a few feet from the window with the yellow coating bubbled up and cracked. Behind it, a flit of wings became a fast shadow and then was gone. Jim rotated his head to give the chubby one, Eugene, that look that would catch a shirt afire. “You’re it, Eugene. You’re gonna kill him.”
“Not me! No way. No fuckin’ way. I ain’t killin’ him.” He pushed off from a short file cabinet on which he had been perched. “I ain’t killed nobody in my whole damn life and I ain’t gonna start now.”
Jim looked through a peeled portion of the coated window again and said, “Your choice.”