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Chapter 01

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New York Thursday 1905 hours

The man’s eyes were wide and locked with Gerard’s.

“Eh, there’s a guy in trouble in here,” said the man.  “I think he’s having a heart attack or somethin’.”

Gerard was on his way to the front bar when the man, flush in the face, had stuck his head out of the bathroom door.  Gerard was a waiter, not a paramedic.  Every table in the restaurant was full and Gerard focused on getting to the vermouth for his private party.

“I’ll get the Maître d’,” said Gerard.

“I dunno,” said the man.  The man glanced back into the bathroom behind him.  Slowly he shook his head, “This guy’s not looking so good.”

Gerard took a step toward the door and then stopped. He scanned the dining room for the Maître d’.  If Gerard could signal the Maître d’ to handle this then he would not have to deal with the man.  He spotted the Maître d’ across the room.  The Maître d’ was facing the other direction.

Gerard pursed his lips.

“C’mon,” said the man.  “I need some help here.”

Gerard reached up and pushed the door open wide enough for him to step through.

Already annoyed, Gerard’s private party would have to wait.

“Where is he?” asked Gerard.

“In the last stall.”

Gerard put his tray on the long counter next to the folded cloth hand towels.  He walked to the stall at the far end of the room and then pressed his hand against the closed door.  When the door opened all Gerard saw was a large black duffel bag in front of the toilet.

“There’s nobody in trouble in here,” said Gerard.

“Sure there is,” said the man.  The man slapped Gerard on the back of the neck.

Gerard reached up and pulled at the large rectangular cloth the man had stuck on his neck.

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