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I mean ... he must realize, don't you imagine, that the moment he's passed on ... forgive me ... you'll do bloody well what you like with the play. Doesn't he realize that?I'm sure he does.It does seem unfair, doesn't it?It does.Especially since he's in bad health.Two heart attacks.You'd think he'd hand over the play immediately, why wouldn't he? With his blessings. Here you are, Cynthia, do with it as you wish.His only child, Cynthia said.One would think so.But he won't.Well, when they get to be a certain age . . .It isn't that. He's just a stubborn old fool. Sometimes I wish . . .She lets the sentence trail.He waits.Sometimes I wish he'd die tomorrow, she says.There is another silence.I'm sure you don't mean that, he says.266The Last DanceI suppose not. I'm sure you don't. But I do, she says.There is a Jamaican named Charles Colworthy who works in the mail room with Palmer, and he knows another Jamaican named Delroy Lewis, who knows yet another Jamaican named John Bridges, who by all accounts is what they call a Yardie, which Palmer explains is British slang for any young Jamaican male involved in violence and drugs.I wouldn't want him hurt, Cynthia says at once.Of course not.You said violence.He's assured me it will be painless.You've met him?Several times.What's his name?John Bridges. He's quite ready to do it for us. If you still want to go ahead with it.I've given it a lot of thought.So have I.It does seem the right thing, doesn't it, Gerry?Yes.There is a long silence.It all seems to be happening too quickly.When . . . when would he do it?Sometime before the end of the month. He'll need an introduction. You'd have to arrange that.An introduction?To your father.Is cheap nfl jerseys china nike he black?Yes. But very light skinned.I don't know any black people, you see.Very pale eyes, Palmer says. A lovely smile.267Ed McBainAll you need do is introduce him. He'll take care of the rest.It's just that I don't know any black people.Well . . .I wouldn't know what to say.Just say he's a friend of yours from London.I've never been to London.A friend of a friend, you could say. Who'll be there for a few days. Who you wanted your father to meet. Is what you could say.Why would anyone want to meet my father?You could say he once worked in a hospital here. Just as your father did. That would give them something in common. I'll give you the name of a hospital here in London.I've never introduced my father to anyone in my life.It would just be to put him off guard.He'd be suspicious.Just someone you'd like him to meet. A nurse. Just as your father was.He won't hurt him, will he?No, no, you needn't worry.When did you say it would be?Well, he'll come as soon as we authorize it. He'll want half of his fee beforehand, half after it's done.How much did he say?Five thousand.Is that a lot?I think it's reasonable. Dollars, that is. Not pounds.I wouldn't want him hurt, she says again.No, he won't be.Well.But I have to let him know.What do you think we should do?I think we should go ahead with it. Twenty-five268The Last Dancehundred dollars is a lot of money to me, but I look upon this as a serious investment. . .Yes.. . . an opportunity to advance myself. I can't speak for you, of course . . . but. . .I've never really had very much in my life, Cynthia. I work in the post room, I don't get invited to very many balls at Windsor. If this show is a hit, everything would change for me. My life would become . . . well . . . glamorous.Yes, she said.I think we should do it, he said. I truly do.Well then . . .What I'll do, if you agree, I'll give John my half of the fee just before he leaves London, and you can pay him the rest when he's done it. There in America. Afterward. Would you be happy with that?I guess so.Shall I call him then?Well . . .Tell him we're going ahead with it?Yes.Now, sitting in the lieutenant's office with her lawyer and the detectives, she lowers her eyes and says, John was very charming. He and my father hit it off right away. But he caused me a lot of trouble later. Because he said it would look like an accident, and it didn't.Gerald Palmer called the British Consulate the moment the cops told him what charges they were bringing against him. The consul who came over was named Geoffrey Holden, a somewhat portly man in his mid-forties, stroking a bristly mustache that made him look like a cavalry colonel. He took off his heavy overcoat and hung it on a corner rack. Under it, he was wearing a somber gray suit with a vest and a bright yellow tie.