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November 13 , 2009

Smooth Call


Smooth Call

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Twice-Told Tales

A classic short story collection by Nathaniel Hawthorne.The title, Twice-Told Tales, was based on a line from William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John (Act 3, scene 4): "Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man." The book was published by the American Stationers' Company on March 6,…

What is a “Smooth Call?” Read this novel and you’ll know and be mightily entertained in the bargain! “I guarantee it!”
The night after the most eventful poker game of his life Rick Mills sat in a small Italian restaurant with the lovely and witty Gloria Hesselgrave. Gloria, a nurse and avid poker player, had been cheated out of a $500 pot by Frank Salucci, a man who thrived on irritating any player he could. Rick recovered the money, telling Gloria that Salucci had voluntarily turned it over, and now they were celebrating over a quiet dinner. Until Gloria looked up and saw Salucci enter the restaurant. “Damn,” she said, “he followed me.”
When Salucci sat at their table and threatened them Gloria grabbed a steak knife and sliced his leg, telling him that the next cut would sever his femoral artery and he’d bleed to death on the restaurant floor. As Salucci hobbled out he let them know that it wasn’t over. And it wasn’t because, as Rick and Gloria soon found out, Frank Salucci wasn’t just a card cheat, he was also a hit man.
Frank followed them to Las Vegas but returned home when Gloria hired some heavies to convince him that that was his best choice. Rick bought a hand gun in Vegas but wasn’t carrying when, back in San Diego, Salucci fired at him and Gloria from the back seat of a moving car, hitting Rick once in the side.
Forced to leave town again, Rick and Gloria decided to attend the Rainbow Gathering, a yearly get-together of the disciples of peace, love, and weed, or a week long ogre for un-American malcontent miscreants, depending on who you asked.
Frank paid someone to find out where Gloria and Rick were but that someone owed Rick and let him know that the hit man was coming. All involved knew it would end there, on federal land in the wilderness, with thousands of potential witnesses. Rick kept his Berretta close and waited.

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