It was apparent that his lack of forthrightness had disappointed her. "She'll call back," he said. "They always do. Too codie not to."
She laughed, a sound like wine glasses tinkling. "You have such a big heart. Try not to save the whole world, okay?" Then she winked at him, and he thought about asking her for sex.
"Anybody on the verge of death?" he asked.
A nod. Good enough. He wished her good evening and watched her all the way out the door.
Cynicism is a way of life in the drunk and sober business. One learns to expect nothing, to doubt success as a temporary achievement, to assume failure. It isn't so much a defense mechanism as a result of years of anecdotal evidence. The few who succeed, the average odds being about one in thirty, vanish without a word. Mental health workers frequently (and with statistical safety) assume that the