By Damon Knight
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His round face, eyes slitted against the glare, was placid and expressionless. He was chewing the ragged cold stump of a cigar. “Stay right where ya are,” he said finally. Ewing glanced to his left, and saw Platt standing there, hatless, with a bloody nose. ” the round man asked them. A for Anything 30 Ewing said nothing. The young Negro in the front seat of the convertible was staring straight ahead, not looking up or appearing to listen. He was manacled to the wheel. So were the drivers of the wrecker and the first moving van.
No thanks, I’ve been,” Cashel said, too promptly. His expression showed, an instant later, that he wished he had taken the excuse to leave. “I’m a little thirsty,” he added hopefully. Shackled by courtesy, Dick could only say, “Champagne? Tokay? ” and put out an arm to snag a passing waiter. ” he went on, as Cashel hesitated. “Port? ” “No Riesling, misser,” said the waiter, shuffling the bottles on his cart. “Riesling,” Cashel said decisively. “Yes, I guess Riesling. Well, I suppose there’s another waiter around here somewhere—” He started to move away.
No, no. ” They stared at each other blankly for a moment, holding the glasses. It was dawning on both of them that they had got themselves into a position from which neither could gracefully retreat. Cashel made a gesture as if to gulp down his wine, but checked it, to Dick’s relief: that would only have meant that as host, Dick would have had to force another glass on him, and as guest, Cashel would have had to drink it. “Oh, hell,” said Dick finally. “Look, Cashel, we both have our private opinion of each other, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stand each other for half an hour, does it?