Think Yourself Lucky

Free Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell

Book: Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ramsey Campbell
As he limped away his calf twinged at every step. People with clipboards were canvassing for signatures on petitions just a few yards away from charity collectors rattling plastic pots. A string quartet played Beatles numbers while not entirely out of earshot a guitarist performed quite a different tune, and midway between them an exhaustively gilded man with a carton at his gilded feet waited for someone to pay him to move. A girl held a giant flattened lollipop aloft—a placard for a restaurant, not Mick's. Vendors of political newspapers eyed the opposition as if they were tempted to picket or worse. Someone was selling the Big Issue , and somebody was selling the Big Issue , and someone else was too. Did all of them have individual permits? When David began to doubt this it was easier to feel provoked to hand out the Frugogo flyers, once he'd glanced back to make sure the council official couldn't see him. "Have a holiday," he said and wished he'd thought of it sooner.
    He still had a handful of leaflets by the time he came abreast of the agency. He followed a customer in, though not until the man had shut the door in his face. The fellow marched up to the currency desk and leaned towards Andrea. "Hand over all your cash," he said, barely audible above the conversations at the counter. "Put it in an envelope and don't let anybody see."
    David saw Andrea's mouth begin to work. As he took a limping step towards the man who was the wrong kind of customer, dumping the flyers on the counter to free his hands for whatever they might have to do, her lips squeezed out a lopsided smile. "Rex, honestly," she murmured.
    "Less of that, young lady. Do as you're told or you know what to expect when we get home."
    "Rex, please. Not here." She glanced at David and then fixed him with a stare that seemed intent on persuading if not warning him he hadn't heard. "What's the matter with those, David?" she said louder.
    Rex swung around and stuck out his hand. He was stocky—David supposed Andrea might think of him as cuddly, perhaps generously proportioned—with skin pale enough to sell holidays in the sun. Wiry red hair sprawled above his wide rounded plushy face. His moist handshake felt padded but determined to be firm. "David," he said. "The David?"
    "One of them."
    "Why, how many of you have there been?" Without bothering to look amused Rex said "What don't I know?"
    "I couldn't say. It sounds as if you know about me."
    "Someone didn't leave you many secrets." Rex seemed bent on impressing or else daunting David with his grip. "Rex," he said by way of introduction. "Only one of me."
    "I should think that's enough."
    "Had enough, have you?" Rex said and let go of David's hand. "I can see why you might have."
    "Maybe you're seeing less than you think."
    Andrea cleared her throat, a noise as shrill as the clink of a coin in the metal tray under the currency window. "David, I asked you a question."
    "I was getting on so well with Rex I didn't hear."
    "That isn't like you, and there's no call for it." When lowering her voice failed to bring him closer to the window she said more sharply "Just come here."
    "Maybe it's more like me than you ever realised. Maybe I've got secrets after all."
    David wasn't sure he wanted this to be heard, especially by the customers at the counter, but Rex caught it, "Better do what madam says," he told David. "You don't want her telling you off or however she deals with you."
    David wasn't sure if this was meant to mock him. Perhaps Rex assumed they had more in common than was the case, a notion David found equally unappealing. He limped to the currency window and ducked towards the gap beneath it while Rex loitered almost close enough to touch. "What were you asking?"
    "Don't pretend, David." Andrea's voice sounded like a threat to allow everyone to overhear. "Why have you brought so many flyers back?"
    "Apparently we need permission to give them out, and we're not supposed to otherwise."
    "You were only

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