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The Case of the Lucky Loss

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I yawned again. For a World Series game, this one was surprisingly tame. Aside from the one run in the fourth inning, not much was happening. I'll admit Koufax was pitching a hell of a game, but all his efforts were accomplishing was keeping the Sox stuck at their measly one run lead.

Now it was the bottom of the eighth and I was starting to fidget. The Coliseum could hold over 90,000 and it was full to overflowing today. It was going to take hours to get everybody out. Add the general unhappiness of a crowd whose team had lost and my instincts were telling me to scram.

"Come on, Perry. Let's get out of here."

He was completely focused on the game. "We could still win. There's plenty of time to turn it around."

If anybody knows the art of the last minute turn around, it's Perry Mason. I hated to spoil his fun but it was for a higher purpose. "Perry."

He turned to look at me. I gave him my best 'play along, stupid' mug, hoping to signal the idea that, instead of staying until the end and fighting thousands of cars in the parking lot, we could leave early and get in some batting practice of our own.

Perry's eyes widened and he stood up flatteringly fast. I've always said the man was a genius. Perry set a brisk pace back to the car with me trailing behind him, grinning the whole way.

We weren't the only geniuses there that day and it took us almost twenty minutes to get out of the lot. The sound of radios tuned into the game from all those cars was almost deafening and we didn't need ours to follow along. We'd almost made our escape when the game ended and the White Sox had won, 1 to 0. There were cars honking and yells of outrage coming from all around us. I slapped my thigh. "Yes!"

Perry looked over at me dubiously. "We lost, Paul."

"I heard," I assured him with a big grin. "But I just won 200 bucks!"

"You bet on the White Sox?" Perry asked, in the same tone of disappointed shock he'd use if Trask actually caught me hustling a witness out the back door.

"What?" I rolled my eyes at him. "All the smart money was on the Dodgers and the odds were great the other way. I took a chance and it paid off." I nudged Perry with my knee. "Hey, the Dodgers are still up three to two. We'll beat them into the ground next time."

"I don't know, Paul." Perry shook his head, frowning. "I don't think I can associate with a White Sox fan."

"White Sox fa-- Why you--" I pulled myself (and my knee) up with as much injured dignity as I could manage. "That's outright slander, Perry. I oughta sue you."

Perry laughed as he made the turn onto South Figueroa. "I could recommend a good lawyer."

"That's not necessary. I've already got a great lawyer." I slid my hand suggestively up his leg.

His eyes flickered down for a second, but he didn't tell me to move my hand, so I left it there. "I'm not sure it's in my best interest to represent you when you're suing me."

"I could make it worth your while," I suggested, sliding my hand up a bit further.

Perry smiled. "I'm sure you could."

"How about we get started on your retainer tonight?" Any further north and I'd hit the pole. I was surprised Perry hadn't stopped me. He was strict about behaving in public; didn't take any risks. Pretty funny when you consider that his entire career is built on taking risks for his clients.

We pulled up to a red light. Perry dropped his right hand down to cover mine, gave it a little squeeze and gently pushed it away. "I guess I'll have to take the case then."

"Can't you make this heap go any faster?" I complained, casually shifting a little to ease the growing pinch in my trousers, not missing Perry's appreciative side glance. I know he didn't miss that I was nowhere near as cool as I was pretending to be. Neither was he.

A World Series game, two hundred bucks in my pocket, and Perry Mason in my bed. Lady Luck was sure smiling at me today.