Her home shop stood like a bright dwarf among dead giants and burned rubble at the western end of the old strip. The old ones, Harvey's and Caesar's and Harrah's, had been built for a bigger tourist trade. They'd been built for a massive power grid, too. Those still standing were dark, left to crumble, the casinos closed. She wished she could either get them up and running again or just tear the damned things down like they'd tried to do in Vegas before they ran out of workers. People came to Tahoe for a good time; relics of the crowded past were too depressing. Blackjack was wide and long and three stories high, bleeding light from every door and window, noise from every chink and crack. This had been a good season. Lots of people tossing their coins and bills into the slots, braving the tables, losing their money with the self-satisfaction of high rollers. And Judith always made sure there were plenty of winners, that Blackjack had the payoff rep, the word-of-mouth whisper. Judith was wise and she was clever and that was why the Coleman's owned Blackjack and pieces of the relics and of a couple much smaller independent casinos on the strip near Stateline. They had only one real competitor: Scorsi's Luck, opened thirty years before in a motel down past the old California line. She felt acid burn the back of her throat, felt her mouth twist in disgust. Scorsi. Back to work. Download and start listening now!