You Can Call Me Lucky (Kit Tolliver #3) (The Kit Tolliver Stories)

Read Online You Can Call Me Lucky (Kit Tolliver #3) (The Kit Tolliver Stories) by Lawrence Block - Free Book Online

Book: You Can Call Me Lucky (Kit Tolliver #3) (The Kit Tolliver Stories) by Lawrence Block Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lawrence Block

    H e was wearing a Western-style shirt, scarlet and black with a lot of gold piping, and one of those bolo string ties, and he should have topped things off with a broad-brimmed Stetson, but that would have hidden his hair. And it was the hair that had drawn her in the first place. It was a rich chestnut with red highlights, and so perfect she’d thought it was a wig. Up close, though, you could see that it was homegrown and not store bought, and it looked the way it did because he’d had one of those $400 haircuts that cost John Edwards the Iowa primary. This barber had worked hard to produce a haircut that appeared natural and effortless, so much so that it wound up looking like a wig.
    He was waiting his turn at the craps table, betting against the shooter, and winning steadily as the dice stayed cold, with one shooter after another rolling craps a few times, then finally getting a point and promptly sevening out.
    She didn’t know dice, didn’t care about gambling. Something about this man had drawn her, something about the wig that was not a wig, and she stood beside him and breathed in his aftershave—an inviting lemon-and-leather scent, a little too insistent but nice all the same. The string tie, she saw, had a Navaho slide, a thunderbird accented in turquoise.
    Here in Michigan, the slide and its owner were a long way from home.
    “Seven,” the stickman announced. “New shooter coming out.”
    And the dice passed to the man with the great haircut.
    He cradled them in his palm, held them in front of her face. Without looking at her he said, “Warm these up, sweet thing.”
    He’d given no indication that he was even aware of her presence, but she wasn’t surprised. Men generally noticed her.
    She took hold of his wrist, leaned forward, blew warm breath on the dice.
    “Now that’s just what was needed,” he said, and dropped a black chip on the table, then gave the dice a shake and rolled an eleven. A natural, a winner, and that doubled his stake and he let it ride and rolled two sevens before he caught a point, an eight.
    Now it became hard for her to follow, because she didn’t know the game, and he was pushing his luck, betting numbers, scattering chips here and there, and rolling one combination after another that managed to be neither an eight nor a seven. He made the point, eventually, and the one after that, and by the time he finally sevened out he’d won thousands of dollars.
    “And that’s that,” he said, stepping away from the table, turning to take his first good long look at her. He wasn’t shy about letting his eyes travel the length of her body, then return to her face. “When you get lucky,” he said, “you got to ride it and push your luck. That’s half of it, and the other half is knowing when to stop.”
    “And you’re stopping?”
    “For now. You stay at the table long enough, you’re sure to give it all back. Luck goes one way and then it goes the other, like a pendulum swinging, and the house has always got more money than you do and it can afford to wait you out. Any casino’ll break you in the long run, even a pissant low-rent Injun casino way the hell up in the Upper Peninsula.” He grinned. “But in the long run we’re all dead, so the hell with the long run. In the short run a person can get lucky and do himself some good, and it might never have happened if you didn’t come along and blow on my dice. You’re my lucky charm, sweet thing.”
    “It was exciting,” she said. “I don’t really know anything about dice—”
    “You sure know how to blow on ’em, darlin’.”
    “—but once you started rolling everything happened so fast, and everybody got excited about it—”
    “Because the ones who followed my play got to win along with me.”
    “—and I got excited, too.”
    He looked at her. “Excited, huh?”
    She nodded.
    “And now,” he said, “I suppose it’s passed, and you’re not excited anymore.”
    “Not in the same

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