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Little Fuzzy

VIII
Jack Holloway had been out on bail before, but never for quite so much. It was almost
worth it, though, to see Leslie Coombes’s eyes widen and Mohammed Ali O’Brien’s jaw
drop when he dumped the bag of sunstones, blazing with the heat of the day and of his
body, on George Lunt’s magisterial bench and invited George to pick out twenty-five
thousand sols’ worth. Especially after the production Coombes had made of posting
Kellogg’s bail with one of those precertified Company checks.
He looked at the whisky bottle in his hand, and then reached into the cupboard for
another one. One for Gus Brannhard, and one for the rest of them. There was a
widespread belief that that was why Gustavus Adolphus Brannhard was practicing
sporadic law out here in the boon docks of a boon-dock planet, defending gun fighters
and veldbeest rustlers. It wasn’t. Nobody on Zarathustra knew the reason, but it wasn’t
whisky. Whisky was only the weapon with which Gus Brannhard fought off the memory
of the reason.
He was in the biggest chair in the living room, which was none too ample for him; a
mountain of a man with tousled gray-brown hair, his broad face masked in a tangle of
gray-brown beard. He wore a faded and grimy bush jacket with clips of rifle cartridges on
the breast, no shirt and a torn undershirt over a shag of gray-brown chest hair. Between
the bottoms of his shorts and the tops of his ragged hose and muddy boots, his legs were
covered with hair. Baby Fuzzy was sitting on his head, and Mamma Fuzzy was on his
lap. Mike and Mitzi sat one on either knee. The Fuzzies had taken instantly to Gus. Bet
they thought he was a Big Fuzzy.
“Aaaah!” he rumbled, as the bottle and glass were placed beside him. “Been staying alive
for hours hoping for this.”
“Well, don’t let any of the kids get at it. Little Fuzzy trying to smoke pipes is bad enough;
I don’t want any dipsos in the family, too.”
Gus filled the glass. To be on the safe side, he promptly emptied it into himself.
“You got a nice family, Jack. Make a wonderful impression in court—as long as Baby
doesn’t try to sit on the judge’s head. Any jury that sees them and hears that Ortheris
girl’s story will acquit you from the box, with a vote of censure for not shooting Kellogg,
too.”
“I’m not worried about that. What I want is Kellogg convicted.”
“You better worry, Jack,” Rainsford said. “You saw the combination against us at the
hearing.”
 
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