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Cry at Dusk by Lester Dent {Excerpt}

Cry at Dusk by Lester Dent {Excerpt}

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Published by MysteriousPress
Johnny Marks knows all about running, and not just because he’s a standout on the football field. Ever since he was twelve, he’s been raised by his shady Uncle Walter, moving from town to town and using a different name each time, until forged transcripts land him a place at a top-tier college. Johnny, now going by the name Oliver Stringer, doesn’t know why he and his uncle are on the run, only that the reason is somehow connected to his late father. Stringer thinks that by being in the public eye, no one will suspect his past identities. But when he appears on a sports newsreel, the wrong people notice him. Soon Jennifer appears, an angelic-looking but dangerous dame who had caught Stringer in a love triangle a year ago. The third point of that triangle was Herman Bouncett, a sadomasochistic bookie who’s hunting Walter. When his uncle is found shot to death, Stringer is convinced that Bouncett and the bookie’s crony, Pedro Tamus, are behind it. Now he must chase down two diabolical characters, as well as his own family secrets.
Johnny Marks knows all about running, and not just because he’s a standout on the football field. Ever since he was twelve, he’s been raised by his shady Uncle Walter, moving from town to town and using a different name each time, until forged transcripts land him a place at a top-tier college. Johnny, now going by the name Oliver Stringer, doesn’t know why he and his uncle are on the run, only that the reason is somehow connected to his late father. Stringer thinks that by being in the public eye, no one will suspect his past identities. But when he appears on a sports newsreel, the wrong people notice him. Soon Jennifer appears, an angelic-looking but dangerous dame who had caught Stringer in a love triangle a year ago. The third point of that triangle was Herman Bouncett, a sadomasochistic bookie who’s hunting Walter. When his uncle is found shot to death, Stringer is convinced that Bouncett and the bookie’s crony, Pedro Tamus, are behind it. Now he must chase down two diabolical characters, as well as his own family secrets.

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Published by: MysteriousPress on Feb 05, 2013
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09/29/2013

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CRY AT DUSK 
By Lester Dunt
FIVE THOUSAND CHEERS CAN
be a lot of cheers. When you have hardly had one cheer inyour life for your very own, five million cheers could be no bigger. “Rah! Rah! Stringer!Rah!” Walking with bare feet in forty acres of soft upturned willing breasts wouldn’t feelso good, as my Uncle Walter would say.This was on a fall afternoon. The air was crisp and spiced like wine by the smokesmell of the leaves the groundkeepers had burned on the campus. The crowd in thestadium looked like colored confetti, the girls in their gay dresses. Down on the field, our football team huffed and puffed, and we won by twenty-eight points. The crowd howleditself giddy for our guy Oliver Stringer. Our Oliver Stringer carried the ball the way asound wave carries noise. It was Oliver Stringer’s day.Our Oliver Stringer didn’t know he was making a hell of a mistake.Our Oliver Stringer figured he was being smart. During the game he was thinkingabout it. This is real clever of me, he thought. Five thousand pairs of eyes can see me.Who is going to dream that Oliver Stringer is really a guy named Johnny Marks? Who? Nobody, that’s who. Nobody is going to carry the news into the sewer to HermieBouncett.Out here in front of five thousand people is a fine place to hide, Oliver Stringer thought.This would have been funny if it had not been so tragic. Football was really nothing,to Oliver Stringer. He would never play a game after today. This was only the secondgame he had played in the big time. It was a thrill, sure. People in the two-buck stadiumseats were cheering him. So it felt good on him, sure. But would it keep him warmstretched out in a coffin, which was where he could land if Hermie Bouncett and thatother one, that Tamus, ever found him again?Our Oliver Stringer sure had a hole in his head that day.
 
 After the game, I dressed and came out of the lockers. I was approached by a chubbyguy, a twinkle in his eye. A li’l wabbit of a guy.“You’re this fellow Oliver Stringer, I take it?” he said.“Yeah.”One-word answer. Yeah. It was as if I had pushed a dry leaf out of my mouth withthe tip of my tongue. I was scared. And why was I scared?Because I had never seen him before. A roundish little rabbit chap with a three-hundred-dollar tweed suit and a twinkle, but I didn’t know him.After weeks, months, over a year of it, I was still paralyzed whenever a stranger came up and said, “Are you Oliver Stringer?” or “Are you Jonathan Smithers?” or “Areyou Johnny Marks?” or any of the names I called myself from time to time. It alwaysscared the hell out of me. I had told Uncle Walter how it was with me and strangers, andhe had said I should equip myself with a spare pair of drawers just for meeting strangers.He was a lot of help.Fat Rabbit said, “Well, you sure carried the mail out there this afternoon, Stringer.”“I ate my turnips last night.”“Looked to me more as if you’d swallowed some lightning and stored it up.”“Just turnips.”This was sure an intelligent conversation. It was lucky that football players aren’tsupposed to have brains.“Kidding aside, I was fortunate out there.”“You made it look easy, Stringer.”“It was easy, no fooling. I don’t know why it was easy, but it was. You said itexactly. Easy. I suppose those things happen when the stars are right.”He grinned a grin I might have liked if I’d known who he was. “You’re the fastestthing to come down the pike in a long time, young fellow.”“That right?”“I’m willing to bet it’s right,” he said.

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