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"No. You didn't fool me. That photograph, for instance, was a copy. It was made from another picture. The original had a grained finish. Yours showed the grain of the original. Then the business of the scar. You grabbed my hand, just to make sure. No. You didn't fool me too much."

"You almost did though," he said. "The Alex I was told to get and the picture I had didn't stack up to what you looked like. But you gave yourself away."

I wondered how. He continued:

"First by little things. Like your deliberately wanting to forget that Sorensen was a Norwegian. You kept insisting he was a Swede. Then a lifetime of talking like an educated man can't be lost in a few years. But the clincher was..." he paused dramatically for a second, then went on, "the fight you had with the big guy. Once a guy's been a fighter, he never forgets how to handle his mitts. That straight right after a double feint... only you had it. I've seen you fight. And I suddenly remembered how you'd shift your left leg a trifle just before you'd send that right in."

Wanted - Dead Man #10 panel 2

There was a silence for a few seconds after that.

"So they didn't forget, did they?" I asked.

"You mean about welching on that deal?" Beemish asked. "No. Not till hell freezes over. You were supposed to blow that fight. But no, you got mad because Harris was fighting dirty. So you knocked him out. Well, the big guy lost fifty grand on that fight. He swore to get you."

"He always was a bad loser, that brother of yours, wasn't he?" I said.

Wanted - Dead Man #10 panel 4

I didn't see his hand move. And I'm not the slowest man in the world. But before I could more than shift the smallest bit, the barrel had smacked me along the side of my skull. Stars swung around me and for a second 1 blacked out. Then his face swam into view again. The grin was wider, now. He was enjoying this. He was his brother's blood.

"God damn you!" he grated. "My brother fried because of that fight. That's why I'm here. Not because of fifty grand."

Wanted - Dead Man #10 panel 6

My mouth popped open. I felt a sticky wetness slide down the side of my face where the barrel had raked me. His brother dead, in the electric chair!

"Yeah!" he continued. "That's why I wanted you... dead! Because you were the reason he died."

"But how?" I asked.

"You skipped town. But your manager stayed. And he and Ned got into an argument. Ned shot him. And was caught, red-handed. They gave him the chair. I vowed I'd get you for that."

Wanted - Dead Man #10 panel 8
Wanted - Dead Man #10 panel 9
Neural Network Novellas series cover
Wanted - Dead Man #10 episode cover
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Neural Network Novellas

AI generated art using text prompts are a new, controversial means of creating visual art. The cowboy and the shepherd have working dogs to assist them. The spaceman relies on his blaster and android assistant to complete his mission. The writer can now use an AI artist to create art for his written creations. Join us as we explore this new creative process by taking classic prose stories, feeding them to our supportive silicon sketcher, and share the results with you.
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