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datatime: 2022-09-27 09:25:30 Author:cMzclrTH

'The jefes in the long yellow coats,' Dee breathed. 'I seen those guys. Some of the others seen em, too. You don't want to mess with boys like that, chico. Something wrong with those boys. They don't look right. Make the bad boys hang around Mallory's Saloon look like good boys.'

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

'I know Boris Karloff but I don't know no fuckin Ted,' Dee said. 'I don't ever see him. Man, you ought to get outta here.'

'Hey, Dee,' said the boy who had pulled Bobby's hair. 'We just gonna shake this little guy out a little. Make him pay his way across Diablo turf.'

'The jefes in the long yellow coats,' Dee breathed. 'I seen those guys. Some of the others seen em, too. You don't want to mess with boys like that, chico. Something wrong with those boys. They don't look right. Make the bad boys hang around Mallory's Saloon look like good boys.'

'I can't help it,' Bobby said. 'I have to find the guy I was with yesterday. His name is Ted. He's old and thin and pretty tall. He walks kinda hunched over, like Boris Karloff - you know, the guy in the scary movies?'

'Little boy,' the fourth guy almost sang. He reached out a hand, gripped the bristles of Bobby's crewcut, and pulled hard enough to make tears well up in Bobby's eyes. 'Little muchacho, what you got for money, huh? How much of the good old dinero? You have something and we going to let you go. You have nothing and we going to bust your balls.'

'I can't help it,' Bobby said. 'I have to find the guy I was with yesterday. His name is Ted. He's old and thin and pretty tall. He walks kinda hunched over, like Boris Karloff - you know, the guy in the scary movies?'

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

'I can't help it,' Bobby said. 'I have to find the guy I was with yesterday. His name is Ted. He's old and thin and pretty tall. He walks kinda hunched over, like Boris Karloff - you know, the guy in the scary movies?'

Bobby pulled free, but the fourth guy pushed him back at the second. The second guy grabbed him again, not so gently this time. It was like being surrounded by Harry and his friends, only worse.

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

'Hey, cabr��n' the guy said-laughing, but not in a nice way. Hands grabbed Bobby's shoulders and held him. 'Where was you think you goin, putino?'

'The jefes in the long yellow coats,' Dee breathed. 'I seen those guys. Some of the others seen em, too. You don't want to mess with boys like that, chico. Something wrong with those boys. They don't look right. Make the bad boys hang around Mallory's Saloon look like good boys.'

Across from the bar was an out-of-business restaurant with a tattered awning still overhanging its soaped windows. Bobby slipped into its shadow and kept going, shrinking back once when someone shouted and a bottle shattered. When he reached the next corner he re-crossed Nasty Gansett Street on the diagonal, getting back to the side The Corner Pocket was on.

As he went, he tried to tune his mind outward and pick up some sense of Ted, but there was nothing. Bobby wasn't all that surprised. If he had been Ted, he would have gone someplace like the Bridgeport Public Library where he could hang around without being noticed. Maybe after the library closed he'd get a bite to eat, kill a little more time that way. Eventually he'd call another cab and come to collect his money. Bobby didn't think he was anywhere close yet, but he kept listening for him. He was listening so hard that he walked into a guy without even seeing him.

They all laughed and moved in closer. Bobby could smell their spicy aftershaves, their hair tonics, his own fear. He couldn't hear their mind-voices, but did he need to? They were probably going to beat him up and steal his money. If he was lucky that was all they'd do . . . but he might not be lucky.

'Hey, Dee,' said the boy who had pulled Bobby's hair. 'We just gonna shake this little guy out a little. Make him pay his way across Diablo turf.'

'Hey, cabr��n' the guy said-laughing, but not in a nice way. Hands grabbed Bobby's shoulders and held him. 'Where was you think you goin, putino?'

'It's still too early. I think he'll be there between nine-thirty and ten. I have to be there when he comes, because there's some men after him. They wear yellow coats and white shoes . . . they drive big flashy cars . . . one of them's a purple DeSoto, and - '

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

'Hey, Dee,' said the boy who had pulled Bobby's hair. 'We just gonna shake this little guy out a little. Make him pay his way across Diablo turf.'

They all laughed and moved in closer. Bobby could smell their spicy aftershaves, their hair tonics, his own fear. He couldn't hear their mind-voices, but did he need to? They were probably going to beat him up and steal his money. If he was lucky that was all they'd do . . . but he might not be lucky.

'I can't help it,' Bobby said. 'I have to find the guy I was with yesterday. His name is Ted. He's old and thin and pretty tall. He walks kinda hunched over, like Boris Karloff - you know, the guy in the scary movies?'

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