by James Hadley Chase

My name is Clive Thurston. You may have heard of me. Iwas supposed to be the author of that  successful play Rain Check. Although I did not, in fact, write the play I did write three novels which were, in their way, equally successful.

Before Rain Check was produced I was, as I am now, a nobody. I lived in Long Beach in a large apartment house near a fish cannery where I worked as a shipping clerk.

Until John Coulson came to stay at the apartment house I lived a monotonous and unambitious existence; the kind of life that hundreds of thousands of young men lead who have no prospects and who will be doing the same work in another twenty years’ time as they are doing now.

Although my life was monotonous and lonely I accepted it with apathetic resignation. I could see no escape from the routine of getting up in the morning, going to work, eating cheap meals, wondering whether I could afford this thing or that and having an occasional adventure with a woman if money allowed. There was no escape until I met John Coulson and even then it was not until he died that I saw my chance and took it.

John Coulson knew he was going to die. For three years he had been fighting tuberculosis and now he could fight no more. Like a dying animal who goes into hiding, he cut himself off from his friends and connections and came to live in the sordid apartment house in Long Beach.

There was something about him that attracted me and he seemed willing enough to share my company.

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