Assassin can be found in






ED MCBAINS

mystery book • no. 1, 1960

ASSASSIN

By FLETCHER FLORA

IT WAS ALL THE GIRL
HAD TO LIVE FOR
NOW—SOMEBODY
ELSE'5 DEATH.

Crossing the hotel lobby, Arley Sears descended two steps and pushed his way through a silent swinging door into the cool shadows of a cocktail lounge. He stood quietly for a moment while his eyes dilated in adjustment to the shadows, and then he saw Laurel sitting alone at a tiny table, designed for five-o'clock Intimacy, beyond half-a-dozen other tables that were now unclaimed. She was wearing a black linen sheath that had drawn, in the way of sheaths, above her nylon knees, and her pale hair was a light in the ersatz dusk. He felt, seeing her, the familiar resurgence of lust and love and pity and pain that he always felt when seeing her anywhere at any time, or even when, not seeing her, he remembered the last time and waited for the next.

Making his way among the tables, he sat down across from her, the tiny table between them and their knees touching beneath. Her right hand lay beside her stemmed glass, palm down, and he dropped his own beside it in the opposite position. The hands lay at rest for seconds side by side, and then hers crept into his and was at rest again. The bartender, the only other person in the room, arrived and waited. Arley, suddenly aware of him, glanced up and down again, looking at the glass, half filled with amber, beside the clasped bands.

"What are you having?" he said. "A daiquiri?"

"Yes," she said, "a daiquiri."

"It looks good," he said. "I think I'll have the same."

"A daiquiri is good on a hot day," the bartender said.

He went back to the bar to make it, and Arley and Laurel sat silent, hands clasped, until he had returned and gone again. Laurel's band lay in his as still as a white stone, but Arley could sense, as he always could, the intensity ...

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