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|The Mexican||Jack London|
|Page 3 of 4||
Rivera's way was different. Indian blood, as well as Spanish, was in his veins, and he sat back in a corner, silent, immobile, only his black eyes passing from face to face and noting everything.
"So that's the guy," Danny said, running an appraising eye over his proposed antagonist. "How de do, old chap."
Rivera's eyes burned venomously, but he made no sign of acknowledgment. He disliked all Gringos, but this Gringo he hated with an immediacy that was unusual even in him.
"Gawd!" Danny protested facetiously to the promoter. "You ain't expectin' me to fight a deef mute." When the laughter subsided, he made another hit. "Los Angeles must be on the dink when this is the best you can scare up. What kindergarten did you get 'm from?"
"He's a good little boy, Danny, take it from me," Roberts defended. "Not as easy as he looks."
"And half the house is sold already," Kelly pleaded. "You'll have to take 'm on, Danny. It is the best we can do."
Danny ran another careless and unflattering glance over Rivera and sighed.
"I gotta be easy with 'm, I guess. If only he don't blow up."
"You gotta be careful," Danny's manager warned. "No taking chances with a dub that's likely to sneak a lucky one across."
"Oh, I'll be careful all right, all right," Danny smiled. "I'll get in at the start an' nurse 'im along for the dear public's sake. What d' ye say to fifteen rounds, Kelly--an' then the hay for him?"
"That'll do," was the answer. "As long as you make it realistic."
"Then let's get down to biz." Danny paused and calculated. "Of course, sixty-five per cent of the gate receipts, same as with Carthey. But the split'll be different. Eighty will just about suit me." And to his manager, "That right?"
The manager nodded.
"Here, you, did you get that?" Kelly asked Rivera.
Rivera shook his head.
"Well, it is this way," Kelly exposited. "The purse'll be sixty-five per cent of the gate receipts. You're a dub, and an unknown. You and Danny split, twenty per cent goin' to you, an' eighty to Danny. That's fair, isn't it, Roberts?"
"Very fair, Rivera," Roberts agreed.
"You see, you ain't got a reputation yet."
"What will sixty-five per cent of the gate receipts be?" Rivera demanded.
"Oh, maybe five thousand, maybe as high as eight thousand," Danny broke in to explain. "Something like that. Your share'll come to something like a thousand or sixteen hundred. Pretty good for takin' a licking from a guy with my reputation. What d' ye say?"
Then Rivera took their breaths away. "Winner takes all," he said with finality.
A dead silence prevailed.
"It's like candy from a baby," Danny's manager proclaimed.
Danny shook his head.
"I've been in the game too long," he explained.
"I'm not casting reflections on the referee, or the present company. I'm not sayin' nothing about book-makers an' frame-ups that sometimes happen. But what I do say is that it's poor business for a fighter like me. I play safe. There's no tellin'. Mebbe I break my arm, eh? Or some guy slips me a bunch of dope?" He shook his head solemnly. "Win or lose, eighty is my split. What d' ye say, Mexican?"
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