Famke stood there, dumbstruck, just staring at Holden. “You…” she began, but she was having trouble finding the right words. She started over. “You placed a bet. On this fight,” she said, waving her hand toward the arena, and the posters on the wall that clearly read Westie vs Coble. She had to stop for another moment, her arm hanging in the air. “And the bet was that Jim, the Hurricane, Westie, a man who’s never lost a fight in his entire career, never even come close to losing a fight, would lose tonight to this third string fighter that no one’s even heard of?”

Holden just stared back at her, smiling. He managed to irritate her on a fairly regular basis, but it wasn’t often that he was able to completely surprise her. It was kind of fun. “That’s right,” he said, simply. “At hundred to one odds, mind you. If Coble wins tonight I’m a rich man.”

“You do know that they set those odds for a reason, right? There is no way that Coble is going to take down the Hurricane. At least tell me you didn’t put a lot of money down on this.”

“A bit, yeah,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been out doing nights, raising a pot for this fight. With those odds it would be silly to do it only halfway.”

She glowered at him, crossing her arms. “With those odds it’s preposterous to be placing bets on this fight in the first place. What were you thinking?”

“Don’t worry, Famke. It’s like I told you, I’ve got a sure thing.” Holden stopped and looked at the people milling around them. “Let’s get somewhere a bit more private,” he said, pulling her sleeve and leading her down a side alley. When they were more or less alone he continued. “You’re right, betting on Coble in this fight would be throwing money into the Ube. Better off giving it away to charity. Unless you’ve got inside information. Coble’s going to win this fight tonight. That’s not just a feeling, or me hoping. That’s a fact.”

“You can’t possibly know that,” she said, eyeing him suspiciously.

“I can. The fight is fixed, Famke. Krux and his men saw to it.”

“What are you doing involved with Krux?” she blurted. “Holden, you promised me.”

“I know, I know,” he said, gesturing at her to calm down, “I had nothing to do with it, or with Krux. I just overheard it. They’ve got Hurricane on the ropes, he’s got to throw the fight, or he’ll never see his daughter again.”

“So you’re profiting off of his misery?” she asked, astonished. “That’s low, Holden, even for you.”

“I can’t stop it, I can’t change it, so I might as well make the most of the situation,” he said, turning around in a huff.

“And what if someone else stops it?”

“Can’t happen. Krux has eyes everywhere, and Hurricane knows it. If he went to anyone for help he’d risk his daughter. He loses tonight, and I win, it’s as simple as that.”

“For your sake, Holden, I really hope you are right about that.”


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