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Bolan leaned over his cell's tiny sink and dabbed some wet toilet paper to the cut on his shoulder. Behind him, Lyle Carrew put on reading glasses and jotted notes in his steno pad.

"Thanks," Bolan said.

Carrew didn't look up.

"You talking to me?"

"Yeah. I said thanks."

"For what?"

"For your help out there. Flooring Rodeo's henchman."

Carrew looked up and laughed.

"Hell, I wasn't helping you, fish, I was hurting him. Big difference. Bastard touched my chair. I taught him not to."

"Yeah, well, thanks anyway." Carrew frowned at Bolan. "I don't want you getting the wrong idea, fish. That could be fatal. Nobody around here helps anybody else unless they want something. I don't know what you want from that Reed kid, that's your business. You don't look like you want him the way Rodeo wants him, but either way I don't care. Understand me now."

"Sure. All for none and none for all. That about sums it up?"

"You got a look, man, that says you don't believe me. Just so we're clear, you and me, and you don't go expecting any help later when Rodeo comes after you, and he will, for sure. Let me show you something."

Carrew's hands reached back into the mechanism of his chair, fiddled with something and suddenly there was a flat blade in his hand, eight inches long, sharpened on both sides.

"See? Now if I really wanted to help you out there, I'd have tossed you this. Am I right?"

Bolan nodded. "Thanks for straightening me out. I'd hate to go another minute thinking maybe you were doing something nice."

Lyle Carrew replaced his shank in its hiding place and wheeled toward Bolan. "You're a weird guy, Blue. I know your rap sheet, and I've seen you handle yourself damn well out there. You been inside before, you know how things work."

"I'm sentimental," Bolan sneered.

"You're something. I haven't figured out what. Yet."

Bolan glanced at his wound. The bleeding had stopped. He shrugged back into his shirt and thought of how he could get to Dodge Reed. Now with Rodeo and his gang after both of them, he'd have to make his break soon. Real soon.

To make matters worse, Carrew's curiosity was aroused. The man in the wheelchair was sharp, perceptive. The slightest hint that a prisoner might not be what he appeared could send a shiver of paranoia through the prison population that would result in a shank buried in his back within the hour. Cops had gone undercover in prisons before. When discovered, they didn't livelong. Carrew was peering over the rims of his glasses at Bolan. The glasses made him look oddly bookish. "You aren't talking now, Blue. You got something to hide?"

Bolan acted angry. "What's your problem, man? Shit, you go around here acting you've done twenty years of a life term. Telling me how it is. Who not to trust. Hell, all you did was punch out a doctor and scare some nurses. Big goddamn deal."

Carrew chuckled. "Seemed like one to them."

"Yeah, well that kind of prankish crap don't cut it in here. Most of the guys are in here because they've wanted something and they were willing to rob or hurt or kill to get it. What you did didn't get you nothing."

"That's a fact," Carrew said, folding his glasses and tossing them on his bunk. "You probably think I'm just some crazy black with a chip on his shoulder about his color or being crippled or both."

"Are you?"

Carrew shrugged. "Maybe. Yeah, maybe I'm just a bitter vet. Or bitter about being black. You want a fact, Blue? Something that'll knock your socks off? Here's a statistic for you. In the U.S. an inmate has a one in 3,300 chance of being killed during one year in prison. But the average black man outside prison stands a one in 1,700 chance. That means he's at twice the risk of being killed outside jail. Yeah, that might make me bitter, make me toss a few TV's Out of a window."

Those were damn good reasons to be bitter, Bolan thought, but that didn't seem to be Carrew's problem.

He was smart enough to go beyond what couldn't be changed, work on what could. The books and weightlifting showed that. "Everybody's got problems, Carrew," Bolan said.

Carrew looked Bolan in the eyes. A slow grin spread across his face. "You're not buying that as my motive, are you?"


"Good. You didn't strike me as the kind of guy who'd take much whining. All right, Blue, just for the sake of killing some time, I tell you the truth." He leaned back in his wheelchair and sighed. "Ever follow college football back in the sixties, Blue?"


"Heisman Trophy winners?"

Bolan nodded.

"Who got it in 1966?

"I don't remember. What's the point?"

"Dick Kazmaier, Princeton."

"So?" Bolan asked.

Carrew chuckled. "Yeah. So what, huh? That was almost twenty years ago. That was then and this is now. Only there was another football player back then, a year earlier, who'd come so close that everyone agreed he would win that damn Heisman for sure the following year. It would be his year." Carrew grinned.

Now Bolan stared in sudden recognition.

"Lyle 'In Style' Carrew. Penn State."

Carrew grinned brightly. "That's me. Aren't you going to ask what happened?"

Bolan finished buttoning his shirt, not saying anything.

Carrew continued. "Anyway, our boy Lyle ended up in Nam in '66, making end runs with grenades, getting his legs shot to hell. Spends three months in a POW camp with no doctor, no medical treatment. Only reason they didn't kill him was they liked to watch him crawl across the room for his food. And I crawled, man, crawled for every bite. I learned something about prisons there, man. Anyway, so much for Lyle 'In Style' Carrew's career in the N. F. L."

He laughed that gruff, humorless scraping sound.

"So every once in a while during the N.F.L. draft season I'm a little cranky. I'm in that damn VA hospital, waiting for over an hour, listening to some doctor who was still shitting in diapers in '66, calling me "Lyle" like I was his son, but getting huffy when I call him "Dave," telling me he prefers to be called "Dr. Donnelly." So I tossed him into the X-ray machine. Things got a little carried away from there."

Bolan laughed. "Yeah. So what do you do when you're not busting up VA-hospitals?"

"Teach kids about the tribal rites of the Aruntas when they'd much rather be groping each other in their dorm rooms. I'm a professor of anthropology at the university."

"You're kidding?"

"Not at all."

"How come they don't fire you for this?"

Carrew laughed. "Tenure. Besides, they need me for other reasons. Aside from being a brilliant instructor and a minor authority in my field, I'm good advertising. They like showing me off as their equal-opportunity employee. Here's our crippled, black, war-veteran professor. Hell, I'm an institution."

Carrew fell silent for a moment. Suddenly he wheeled around, facing the bars, his back to Bolan.

"Rodeo's going to kill you, Blue. Going to do it soon, just as he promised. Probably won't come at you alone."

"For a college professor, you sure know a lot about prison survival."

"Three months as a POW, then eight months in a VA hospital, Blue. In some ways the hospital was worse. Not because of the staff, most of whom were terrific. But over there I saw guys struggle against impossible odds and survive, only to come home to a VA hospital and kill themselves within six weeks. Loss of hope is powerful stuff, man. Now I'm a black man in a wheelchair. That's two life sentences. I know how to play rough to survive."

Bolan believed him.

"I also know enough not to get involved in your beef. I gave the cops a hard time when they arrested me, which is why I'm in here. But when things cool down and I roll in front of the judge in my suit and tie and diplomas and medals, promising never to do such a thing again, I'll be back on campus watching the girls get younger every year. In other words, you're on your own."

Bolan grinned. "Always have been, Lyle."

"Yeah." Carrew nodded. "I had a feeling."

They heard the guards' boots clomping along the metal catwalks outside their cell. Bolan and Carrew were on the first tier, to accommodate Carrew's wheelchair. The guards on each tier were selecting the first shift for open visitation, visitors and prisoners mingling in the courtyard.

"This happens on Sundays only," Carrew explained, "and then only for the least threatening residents. Something new."

The guard strolled by their cell and pounded his hickory baton on the bars. "Let's go. You got visitors."

Carrew wheeled to the bars and waited. The doors on the whole row would be opened simultaneously.

"Enjoy," Bolan said, hopping up on his bunk.

"You bet," Carrew said.

"You, too, Blue. Got a visitor. Move it."


"That's what I said. And change that shirt. It's torn."

Bolan was surprised as he jumped down from the bunk, changed shirts and waited at the cell door next to Carrew. A visitor would mean Brognola. And he would only come if there was bad news. Bolan couldn't imagine things being much worse than they already were.

He was wrong.

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