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Big Time

Big Time Leiber riffles a worn deck one-handed, a habit he’s cultivated to appear nervous when he’s not. Now he’s actually very nervous. But stopping would be an even more obvious tell.

“People in Simak City,” he says, looking out her high dark window, “all came here to be sharks, right? The city’s the house, and they think they can beat it. Maybe they can for a while. But the house can eat losses, and they can’t.”

“You have different plans?”

“You wanna win, you burn the house down.”

Darkness LeGuin pulls at the holder of two long white cigarettes.