CURVE BALL

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Chapter Twenty-Four

She sat down next to Jack. “I saw you watching the ball game. I love baseball and the World Series is… ”

He smiled. “So do I.”

“Who you rooting for?” She asked

“Boston.”

She took a sip of her wine and gave him a mischievous look. “Who’s going to win?”

“Are you kidding? Boston.”

“Me too.”

“To the Red Soxs,” he said and held up his glass. She joined in the toast.

He put his drink down. She was even better looking up close. She had shoulder length dark hair that played off her tan. “Thanks for the cocktail. Flying gets me thirsty.”

“You’re right about that,” she said. “I just got in from California. The crowd was too much. I thought I’d wait it out and have a drink before braving a cab. Are you coming or going?

“Both.”

She smiled. “At the same time?”

He shook his head. “No just staying long enough to see someone. Then I have to leave.”

She gave him an inquiring look, but didn’t ask. “Chicago is a great town. My business takes me here often.”

“Yeah? What do you do?”

“I’m a rep for Gallo.”

“Wine?”

“Yep” and pointed to her glass.

Jack stretched out in his seat and ordered another round. He was starting to feel good. He loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt.

“Gallo, huh. Is that like Boone’s Farm or Ripple?

“Very funny.” She ran her finger up the side of the glass. “Well, some of it is. We have the cheap wine in a jug and then there’s some real high quality.”

“If I were to guess,” he said, pointing his finger at her, “high quality is your thing.”

She drew in a breath. “Why thank you…?”

“Jack, Jack Rakow.”

She stuck out her hand. “Linzie Kallen. Wait a minute I’ve heard of you. Jack Rakow. Where did I hear that name?”

He laughed, “about 5 minutes ago.”

“Huh?”

“On the TV--- the sports announcer.”

Her eyes widened. “Holy shit, you’re the pitcher who had an emergency and flew to Chicago for a relative.”

“That’s me.”

The two businessmen stopped their discussions. The bald headed one turned in his seat while his partner’s mouth dropped.

“Jack gave them a half-hearted wave. “You want to go? He motioned to the bartender for the bill. “We can share a cab if you’re going into the city.” He looked past Linzie to see if the men were coming towards him.

“Sure, I’m staying at the Ritz.”

“Wow, Gallo treats you well.”

“They’re our customer. In sales, one hand washes the other.”

He looked at her and hoped that axiom would continue to apply.

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