The Second Time Around

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Lucky sat behind his desk trying to maintain his calm facade. With great effort he breathed in slowly and deeply through his nose, counted to five, and then breathed out. He ran one hand through his short cropped black hair trying to steady himself. "What do you mean exactly by 'abnormal betting pattern?'" Lucky asked the small squirrely looking pit manager in front of him.

"Sir, I didn't catch it," The manager stammered, "Because the bets came in on three different lines within just a few minutes of each other. By the time I connected them to the same person, the books had closed."

Lucky focused on his breathing for a moment, and then nodded for the manager to continue. He didn't trust himself to say any words at the moment.

"Sir, we've had a single better make a bet on all places in four different races," The pit manager said hesitantly. "Total of the bets is right at two hundred thousand dollars."

"He bet all nine horses in four different races?" Lucky asked, his pulse pounding in his temples. "You realize that if he hits, if this asshole hits then he'll clean us out to the tune of more than six million dollars, right? Someone bets a whole ticket they get thirty to one odds, and you let four connected to the same account slip. You gonna cover that six million check if it hits? Cause I got news for ya, the big boss sure ain't."

The pit manager's face went pale and he looked like he was going to pass out.

"The only thing that saves your stupidity," Lucky continued, reigning in his anger, but just barely, "Is that there's no way anyone could possibly be that lucky. And if someone had fixed all nine horses in four races, we'd have heard about it. Hell we'd probably be the ones doing it. So there's no way he can hit. Now get out of my sight before I start to get irritated."

The pit manager didn't turn to go, though. Instead the man stood shifting his weight from one foot o the other, looking for all the world like a schoolboy outside the principal's door. Finally, Lucky grated, "Is there something else?"

"The guy that laid these bets," The pit manager stammered, "I'm pretty sure he's the same guy that hit the winner earlier today and knocked off a big debt."

"So some idiot hits a dead winner," Lucky asked in a deceptively soft voice, "And you don't immediately flag his accounts, ALL of his accounts, for further review?"

"I thought he was a loser that just got lucky, sir," The pit manager whispered, trembling slightly.

The man had reason to be afraid. Lucky was known as a fair boss to work under, but he was also known for his ruthlessness when someone crossed him. Once he ordered an underling to shoot a co-worker who was also an informant and then left the body on the steps of the district attorney that was prosecuting him. The gunman failed to position the body correctly, so lucky cut the man's right pinky off with a pair of bolt cutters. He was a man who made his expectations clear as well as the consequences for not meeting them.

"Losers don't get lucky, you moron," Lucky growled, "That's why they're losers. Now close the door and tell me everything we know about Dr. Samuel Mathis."

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