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datatime: 2022-10-08 04:00:17 Author:TKRorfyS

'The jefes in the long yellow coats,' Dee breathed. 'I seen those guys. Some of the others seen em, too. You don't want to mess with boys like that, chico. Something wrong with those boys. They don't look right. Make the bad boys hang around Mallory's Saloon look like good boys.'

'The jefes in the long yellow coats,' Dee breathed. 'I seen those guys. Some of the others seen em, too. You don't want to mess with boys like that, chico. Something wrong with those boys. They don't look right. Make the bad boys hang around Mallory's Saloon look like good boys.'

He pulled back from the hands holding his shoulders and started around the guy. He made just a single step before one of the others grabbed him. 'Where you goin, to?' this one asked. 'Where you goin, to? Mo?'

Across from the bar was an out-of-business restaurant with a tattered awning still overhanging its soaped windows. Bobby slipped into its shadow and kept going, shrinking back once when someone shouted and a bottle shattered. When he reached the next corner he re-crossed Nasty Gansett Street on the diagonal, getting back to the side The Corner Pocket was on.

He pulled back from the hands holding his shoulders and started around the guy. He made just a single step before one of the others grabbed him. 'Where you goin, to?' this one asked. 'Where you goin, to? Mo?'

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

As he went, he tried to tune his mind outward and pick up some sense of Ted, but there was nothing. Bobby wasn't all that surprised. If he had been Ted, he would have gone someplace like the Bridgeport Public Library where he could hang around without being noticed. Maybe after the library closed he'd get a bite to eat, kill a little more time that way. Eventually he'd call another cab and come to collect his money. Bobby didn't think he was anywhere close yet, but he kept listening for him. He was listening so hard that he walked into a guy without even seeing him.

Bobby pulled free, but the fourth guy pushed him back at the second. The second guy grabbed him again, not so gently this time. It was like being surrounded by Harry and his friends, only worse.

They looked around - Bobby too - and here came a fifth guy, also wearing a Diablos jacket, also wearing slacks with a sharp crease; he had on loafers instead of pointy-toed boots, and Bobby recognized him at once. It was the young man who had been playing the Frontier Patrol game in The Corner Pocket when Ted was making his bet. No wonder that pitchfork shape had looked familiar - it was tattooed on the guy's hand. His jacket had been tied inside-out around his waist (no club jacket in here, he had told Bobby), but he wore the sign of the Diablos just the same.

'Hey, Dee,' said the boy who had pulled Bobby's hair. 'We just gonna shake this little guy out a little. Make him pay his way across Diablo turf.'

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

Bobby tried to look into the newcomer's mind and saw only dim shapes. His ability was fading again, as it had on the day Mrs Gerber took them to Savin Rock; shortly after they left McQuown's stand at the end of the midway, it had been gone. This time the winkle had lasted longer, but it was going now, all right.

'Hey, cabrn' the guy said-laughing, but not in a nice way. Hands grabbed Bobby's shoulders and held him. 'Where was you think you goin, putino?'

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

'I'm sorry,' he said in a dry voice. 'Really, I . . . 'scuse me.'

He pulled back from the hands holding his shoulders and started around the guy. He made just a single step before one of the others grabbed him. 'Where you goin, to?' this one asked. 'Where you goin, to? Mo?'

'He look like a pansy uptown boy to me,' said the one who had called Bobby cabrn and putino. 'I teach im a little respect.'

'I have to go to The Corner Pocket,' Bobby said.

'You got any money, to?' asked the third guy. 'Cause this a toll-road, you know.'

Moso stepped back, frowning, and took a cigarette out of his pocket. One of the others snapped him a light, and Dee drew Bobby a little farther down the street.

Dee grabbed him and spun him against the door of a pawnshop so hard that for a moment Bobby thought he had decided to go along with his corner-boy friends after all. Inside the pawnshop an old man with a pair of glasses pushed up on his bald head looked around, annoyed, then back down at the newspaper he was reading.

'I'm sorry,' he said in a dry voice. 'Really, I . . . 'scuse me.'

'Hey, Dee,' said the boy who had pulled Bobby's hair. 'We just gonna shake this little guy out a little. Make him pay his way across Diablo turf.'

Bobby tried to look into the newcomer's mind and saw only dim shapes. His ability was fading again, as it had on the day Mrs Gerber took them to Savin Rock; shortly after they left McQuown's stand at the end of the midway, it had been gone. This time the winkle had lasted longer, but it was going now, all right.

'I was just there,' Dee said. 'I didn't see no guy like Boris Karloff.'

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