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By George V. Higgins

A riveting George V. Higgins masterpiece approximately Jerry Doherty and his journey to Vegas that places him eighteen grand within the hole.
 
Jerry "Digger" Doherty is an ex-con and owner of a workingman's Boston bar, who supplements his source of revenue with the occasional "odd job," like stealing stay exams or picking out up scorching items. His brother's a clergyman, his wife's a nag, and  he has a deadly appetite for martinis and playing. On a visit to Vegas, the Digger finds himself within the attractions of a personal loan shark known as “the Greek.” Luckily--if you name it luck--the Digger has been allow in on a bit activity which may turn his playing debt right into a revenue, if merely he can pull it off with no getting himself killed.

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His dignity, his scholarship, his courtly manners— 42 “Yes, you’re right,” Warren said wryly. “It’s my uncle. Now I’ll tell you about it … and don’t laugh, because it’s absolutely serious. “He’s a very good fellow, Uncle Warpus is; you’ve got to understand that. He got into this position through the ordinary, human behaviour that might happen to anybody, but others mightn’t think so. All politicians ought to have a chance every once in a while to blow off steam. Otherwise they’re apt to go mad and chew off an ambassador’s ear, or something.

In some ways,” said Warren, rather admiringly, “it was the funniest thing I ever heard. Uncle Warpus had had to repress his sense of humour for some time. But I happened to know of his talent for making burlesque political speeches … Wow! What he did was to give his free, ornamental, and uncensored opinion of the ways of government, the people in the government, and everything connected 46 with it. Then he went on to discuss foreign policy and armaments. He addressed the heads of Germany, Italy, and France, explaining exactly what he thought of their parentage and alleged social pastimes, and indicating where they could thrust their battleships with the greatest possible effect … ” Warren wiped his forehead rather dazedly.

Said Captain Thomassen Valvick, with an air of inspiration. “I tell you, maybe. ” asked Morgan. Captain Valvick uttered one of his amiable snorts and bent his big shoulders. Even though the deck was rolling and pitching in a way that made the deck-chairs slide into each other, he stood upright without difficulty. His long sandy-reddish face was etched out in wrinkles of enjoyment, and behind very small gilt-rimmed spectacles his pale-blue eyes had an almost unholy twinkle. He wrinkled them up; he snorted again, hoarsely, through his sandy moustache, pulled down his large tweed cap over one ear, and made a massive gesture that would have been as heavy as a smaller man’s blow.

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