Holden ducked out of the factory the moment the shift bell rang, dodging the machinery and keeping out of sight. It wasn’t that he wanted to avoid Famke or another scolding, at least not entirely. It was just that he was in a huge hurry. He really did have a sure thing, he thought, as long as he could pull it off in time. Jim “the Hurricane” Westie was going back into the boxing arena tomorrow with the hope of continuing his incredible winning streak. By all accounts, it wasn’t going to be much of a fight. Hurricane had blown everyone out of the water with his first bout, a total knock out against one of the perennial winners. His second match had been almost as surprising. After that, he kept going up against stronger and stronger opponents, and each of them had lost hands down. By this point, he was just biding his time until the title tournament rolled around so he could take his shot at the belt, and his opponents were getting scarce. He still drew a decent crowd, so the promoters wanted him out there in the public eye and had arranged tomorrow’s fight against a third string brawler named Vince Coble.

The bout against Coble was an exhibition match in all but name. No one was really expecting him to win, but in the slow season, the bookies would take bets on slug races if they could find any takers. They were offering hundred to one odds for anyone betting that Coble could take out the Hurricane. They saw it as easy money, even if it wasn’t much, bilking anyone dumb enough to think the match wasn’t a sure thing. But they didn’t know what Holden knew.

What Holden knew was that a week ago, Bobbie Krux’s men broke into Hurricane’s house and kidnapped his daughter. If Hurricane didn’t throw the fight tomorrow, he’d never see her again, which meant that the bookie’s sure thing had turned into a guaranteed hundred to one profit margin for Krux. Holden wasn’t supposed to know that, no one was. He’d only found out on accident, through a chance encounter with Krux’s enforcer, a mean slab of meat named Neilson. Holden had a bad history with Neilson, and dove into a trash bin to avoid him. That’s where he was when Neilson met up with Hurricane, the two of them only a foot or so away from Holden’s hiding spot. He could hear everything as Neilson pointedly reminded Hurricane how important the Coble match was, what he was expected to do, and the consequences of doing otherwise.

After that he had gone straight to work. Not at the factory, but on the streets, betting on as many games of chance as he could. He really had done a few odd jobs as well. Anything he could do to scrounge up dough, he did. After all, hundred to one odds was great, but a hundred times nothing was still nothing. He needed to go big. Every cent counted, which meant that every minute counted. Once he had the payout, he was sure Famke would agree it had been the right thing to do.


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