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"It's all yours," she said and she walked past him and towards the door, stopping for a second and then half turning as if she had forgotten to say something so he watched her and waited.

"Just go with the flow, sailor," she said and then slid out of the hotel and disappeared into the night outside, her twenty something ass twitching with promise.

Oxman had been working at The Forecastle on the midnight shift for a month. Osterberg hired him, not because he was desperate for work, but because he thought he could handle the job.

"So you're a merchant sailor?" he had asked while scanning his application.

"That's right. Twenty years now. Been shipping here out of Seattle for most of that time."

"Why do you want a land job all of a sudden?"

"I smashed my knee falling into an open hatch," he lied. "Can't sail anymore."

Osterberg nodded and squinted at him like he couldn't care less and said, "I come from a tug boating family myself. We've been working the lumber mills in Puget Sound for a hundred years without the union's help."

"I'm not in the union anymore."

Osterberg squinted again and scratched his gray streaked, red beard.

"We get a pretty tough crowd come in here for rooms," he said finally. "Especially after closing time. The scum of the harbor seems to wash up here almost every night. I don't want no cry babies or people who ask too many questions. You take their cash, give them a room key and if they give you any trouble, you deal with it on you own. The cops are sick of coming here and I'm sick of talking to them."

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