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The Art of the Deal

Max was bunkered down for the night; he was sitting on his cot reading a comic book. Somewhere, someone had an AM radio tuned into some station that was playing some melancholy song from a world away. 

His boots were tucked underneath his bunk, and his socks were rolled up into a ball in them. Max's feet were free from their wretched prison for now. He had just came off a heavy shift and was eager to put it behind him.

The rain outside was coming down hard; it had been raining for three days steady. Max was glad to be in his cot, with feet up and reading anything that he could get his hands on.

Pretty George was lying on the cot beside Max; he was digging around in his foot locker. And he glanced up at Max, his eyes focused on the book that Max was reading. A devilish gleam emerged in his eyes.

"What are you going to do with that?" Pretty asked of Max.

Max looked over at him.

"The comic book," Pretty asked him. "What are you going to do with it afterwards?"

"Don't know," Max replied; he was in the middle of X-Men action. Marvel Girl was just about to show some evil mutant what the extent of her powers were.

"I'll trade you three packs of smokes for it once you're done," Pretty offered.

Which made Max pause and peer over the comic book. He countered, "Make it six."

Pretty smiled, "Four and that's final."

"It's a deal."

"I wouldn't kid about commodity," Pretty told him. "You just got to know what wheels to grease in order to make the machinery run smoother."

A dogface approached Pretty and traded a few razor blades for a pair of nylons, then Pretty turned his attention towards Max.

"I'm George," he said as he stuck out his hands. "As long as were going to be sharing the cost next to each other might as well get friendly."

"Max," said as he leaned over and shook Pretty's hand.