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Chapter 10

Along about my fifth day on Gateway I got up early and splurged, breakfast out in the Heecheetown Arms, surrounded by tourists, bloody-eyed gamblers from the casino across the spindle, and liberty sailors from the cruisers. It felt luxurious, and cost luxurious, too. It was worth it because of the tourists. I could feel their eyes on me. I knew they were talking about me, particularly a smooth-faced but old African type, Dahomeyan or Ghanaian, I think, with his very young, very plump, very jeweled wife. Or whatever. As far as they could tell, I was a swashbuckling hero. True, I didn’t have any bangles on my arm, but some of the veterans didn’t wear them, either.

I basked. I considered ordering real eggs and bacon, but that was a little more than even my euphoria would let me go for, so I settled for orange juice (it turned out to be real, to my surprise) and a brioche and several cups of black Danish coffee. All I was really missing was a pretty girl across the armboard of the chair. There were two nice-looking women who seemed to be the liberty crew from the Chinese cruiser, neither of them unwilling to exchange a few radio messages by the glance of the eyes, but I decided to keep them as open prospects for some future date and paid my check (that was painful enough) and left for class.

Chapter 9 | Gateway | Classifieds.