Recoil by Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson

Pat Cosgrove used to be a convict within the state's vilest legal, and document Luther gave him his freedom. Cosgrove had by no means been enjoyed, and Luther gave him mistresses--one of them the attractive Mrs. Luther. Cosgrove owed Luther his existence . . . and now Luther used to be going to gather.

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There were well-filled bookcases, a piano, and a combination radio-phonograph-television set. There was a long window seat at the front, a longer divan at the opposite side of the room, a chaise longue, and three over-stuffed chairs. In the approximate center of the room was a mirrored coffee table with a built-in flower pot. Doc returned, slamming the connecting door. "Mrs. Luther isn't around," he said, harshly. "Not, I suppose, that I really expected her to be. Well-" A knock on the outer door interrupted him.

Lila," he said, a note of apology in his voice. " "I'll tell you what I think," she said, arising. " And she hurled the contents of the glass squarely into his face. I wanted to slap her. I hoped, no matter what happened to me, that Doc would. Instead, he merely stood there helplessly, the whiskey dripping down from his glasses, running in little rivulets toward his mouth and chin. Mrs. Luther laughed shortly. She turned and gave me a bright, vacant smile. "Sorry about the carpet, Pat," she said; and she strolled out of the room, closing the door behind her.

I understand," I said. " "Well, don't get corked up. You'll need a lot of help in getting squared away and I'm glad to give it. " We said goodnight. I began to undress, wondering what made him tick, and why the ticks were as they were. It settled down to who he really was-the threatening, cold-eyed man who had bullied Burkman, or the man who had been angry over the pollution of a river and ashamed of being part of the general pattern of pollution. Whichever was the case, one thing was certain: he was a considerable improvement over Warden Fish.

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