speechless with surprise. The grease formed a rivulet that disappeared into the lawyer’s collar. The spatula itself was so flexible that the blow didn’t even leave a tingle.
To everyone but the principals it was obvious that what they’d witnessed was about the funniest thing ever. They laughed so hard that several coffee cups were overturned, and John himself soon joined in. “People sure are touchy around here lately,” he remarked. His mouth still bore the scar of Dallas Younger’s assault, a livid crease in his otherwise pretty mouth. He wiped off his face with one of Harry’s napkins. “Was that your best shot, Harry?” The men howled and spun on their stools, one falling onto the floor, the stool twirling without him.
Suddenly Harry, too, was laughing, or crying. The tears ran down his face and he went down on his knees behind the counter. The men had to lean over to see him on the floor, and The Bulldog soon came downstairs to see what the ruckus was about.
Once the breakfasts were paid for and the men were gone, Untemeyer came in. Harry was restored to himselfby now, though his eyes remained red and puffy.
“What the hell you been up to?” said the old bookie. “Cryin’?”
“Hell,” Harry said. “Laughing.”
“You had to be here.”
“I wish like hell I was. I never once saw you laugh.”
on the register and removed some bills. “How many mounts does the Shoe have today?” he said.
Untemeyer checked his wrinkled sheet. “Eight.”
Harry handed him sixteen dollars. “I got a powerful feeling about him.”
Untemeyer nodded, added Harry’s money to the thick roll and wrote out a slip. “He’s due, all right, that son-of-a-bitch.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R ICHARD R USSO lives with his wife in Camden, Maine, and in Boston. In 2002 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for
He is available for lectures and readings. For information regarding his availability, please visit www.knopfspeakersbureau.com or call 212-572-2013.
That Old Cape Magic
It’s the end of what seems like a perfectly lovely wedding weekend on the Cape, but for Griffin, the middle-aged father of the bride, it marks the beginning of his descent into a failed marriage, a confrontation with his parents’ deaths, and the realization that the life he has does not measure up to the life he thought he wanted. With moments of great comedy alternating with others of rueful understanding,
That Old Cape Magic
is unlike anything Richard Russo has ever written.
Available August 2009 in hardcover from Knopf
$25.95 • 272 pages • 978-0-375-41496-1
Please visit www.aaknopf.com
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