In death, a man knows who he is, or maybe not; the only way is to die and find out.

“I won’t talk,” Gregson said.

“Then out the window,” the skeleton sneered. A silver Derringer pointed at Gregson’s chest.

Gravity or the gun? Gregson had to choose. He dove, hoping to see blue.

POP. POP. He felt red.

When he hit the water, he used up one of his nine lives. Cats don’t like water and Gregson shook himself off. There would be no cat naps this evening. Midnight turned into morning.

Voodoo Sands was advertised as a pleasure cruise full of comfort and mind-expanding serenity, but Gregson felt half dead. He staggered past pot smoking halls where fogged up windows looked like confused brains. His crimson blood dripped on the white carpet when an arm grabbed him from behind. It was slender and strong. Tiffany led him to her bed and he flopped on it like a beached whale.

“You’re lucky,” she said. Scissors cut his suit and alcohol sterilized his wound. “It went straight through. You’re lucky.”

“You keep saying that,” Gregson said.

She closed the hole.

“Now, how are you mixed up with that skeleton?”

“You’re better off if you don’t know.”

“Really? I was just thrown out of a five-story window.”

Gregson felt a hypodermic on his neck. “Tell me the truth.”

“Drugs and death don’t influence me and what I know is only a smoke screen.”

“Tell me.” He felt the prick of the needle.

“I’m hired for security on this diamond cruise, but I don’t think the skeleton is planning a jewel heist. He’s far more subtle, in an unsubtle way, if you catch my drift.”

“Possibly; so, what’s your next move?”

“Play it cool; we’ll let death deal the next hand.”

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