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By Mick Farren

ISBN-10: 0441662323

ISBN-13: 9780441662326

ISBN-10: 0450053431

ISBN-13: 9780450053436

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He swung his legs over the side and dropped to the floor. ' Makartur shook his head. 'No, manny, I'll just rest here for a while. ' Phaid slid open the cabin door but paused at the sound of Makartur's voice. ' 'I wouldn't worry about your money so much. ' Phaid reddened. He was taken completely by surprise. 'Uh . . ' Phaid thoughtfully closed the door and started down the corridor following the signs to the canteen. It was beginning to seem as if his temporary room mate was something more than a musclebound roughneck.

Phaid had almost forgotten about small towns. Remembering was no pleasure. The travellers came and went, but the citizens lived their lives with their hands in their neighbours' pockets and their bodies in and out of their neighbours' beds. Small minded hustlers, whose inability to head for richer pickings made them think of themselves as local entrepreneurs, jealously guarded minor league rackets. Gossip was rife, and Phaid found himself pushed around by the set of rules that had been laid down so long ago that an outsider had no chance of learning them.

The door was swiftly shut behind him. Totally bemused, he let himself be led into the darkness. 5 a jangled, joyless night in the lair of the boohooms', Phaid couldn't help but be awed be the sheer size of the land crawler. Taller than a five-storey building, its flat, windowless sides were more like cliffs of corroded steel and ceramic than part of a vehicle that actually moved. The dull black heat exchangers along the upper part of the machine that provided most of its power, once it was into the searing heat of the hot wind plains, were like the squat turrets of some sinister castle.

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The Song of Phaid the Gambler by Mick Farren

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