Skolnik Page 16
That had been the only real satisfaction in his life. Over at McDonald's he could put away three or four burgers at a sitting and a gallon of coke. At the plant they gave you subsidized meals that always left you hungry so he'd have two of them. The first time he'd gone to a whore after the divorce they'd had to reposition themselves for a quarter of an hour until he could get it in. Fortunately she'd been a patient girl. Joe's life didn't seem to going anywhere. He'd wanted to build something but he hadn't. He was back to square one, so to speak, and for him too time was running out.
     Tom had made some killings in his time. He'd had his ups and downs. In the hotel he was someone to be reckoned with. He wasn't a physical type so he had to get by on finesse and personality. There were some pretty girls at the front desk but he knew they didn't see him as a romantic option so he let them call him Phil and giggle behind his back knowing that sooner or later they'd find

out who he was and change their tone, not that he'd ever be in a position to take advantage of them or even thought to. All he wanted was respect and that was what he generally got. In addition he got around $400 a week plus tips and the occasional sawbuck for services rendered above and beyond. Half of that he needed to live on and half for the gambling. When he won big he went on a binge and blew it all in a day or two and felt good. When he lost big he regrouped and bounced right back. He wasn't an introspective type and the gambling and hopping kept him busy and Flo was a kind of bonus he had to look forward to. Whenever he got to feeling sad he would shake it right off. He felt sad about not being the type who could knock a woman off her feet or make himself heard outside the poolroom or the bellhop station. The first time he'd hopped had been at a summer resort in the Berkshires when he was 16 and some fool in the personnel department kept asking him if he'd brought a truss and a