I ordered a double Manhattan, straight up; Cyphre tapped his glass witha manicured finger and said he’d have one more of the same. It was easy toimagine those pampered hands gripping a whip. Nero must have had suchhands. And Jack the Ripper. It was the hand of emperors and assassins.Languid, yet lethal, the cruel, tapered fingers perfect instruments of evil.When the waiter left, Cyphre leaned forward and fixed me with aconspirator’s grin. “I hate to bother with trivialities, but I’d like to see someidentification before we get started.”I got out my wallet and showed him my photostat and honorary chiefs button. “There’s a gun permit and driver’s license in there, too.”He flipped through the celluloid card holders and when he handed back the wallet his smile was ten degrees whiter. “I prefer to take a man at hisword, but my legal advisors insisted upon this formality.”“It usually pays to play it safe.”“Why, Mr. Angel, I would have thought you were a gambling man.”“Only when I have to be.” I listened hard for any trace of an accent, buthis voice was like polished metal, smooth and clean, as if it had been buffedwith banknotes from the day he was born. “Suppose we get down to business,” I said. “I’m not much good at small talk.”“Another admirable trait.” Cyphre withdrew a gold and leather cigar case from his inside breast pocket, opened it, and selected a slender, greenish panatela. “Care for a smoke?” I declined the proffered case and watchedCyphre trim the end of his cigar with a silver penknife.“Do you by any chance remember the name Johnny Favorite?” he asked,warming the panatela’s slim length in the flame of his butane lighter.