Ted leaned on the ropes and watched the young boxer pummel his sparring partner. The Kid was good. When Ted won his contract, he thought he had a loser on his hands, but through sweat and perseverance, he built a boxer. He learned that lesson whenever he bet on a fight that didn't have the Kid; he'd be lucky if he won half the time. This one would put money back in his pocket.
The Kid turned and looked to him for approval as his sparring partner staggered back to the opposite corner. Kid put his gloves on the ropes and asked Ted how he did. Tossing a towel over the young man's sweaty head, he said,
"Good job, Kid. Go hit the showers."
Ted climbed down from the ring and went into the office. Maxie, the gym's manager was sitting behind the ancient, scarred oak desk, absorbed in a daytime serial. The sight of it never failed to make Ted chuckle. Maxie was a mountain of a man, but he loved the wildly dramatic daytime dramas. Reaching for his suit jacket, Ted was mulling an afternoon at Belmont when he heard the commercial for a cleaning product. The voiceover was annoyingly squeaky. Wanting to get out of there, he grabbed his hat when he heard,
Brought to you by Waldron Leighton.
Ted stopped short. Leighton. The memory of the beautiful brunette filled his mind. Leaning over the desk, he asked Maxie,
"What was that commercial?"
The big man shrugged, "I dunno, I never pay attention to the commercials."
Ted swore under his breath, realizing if he wanted to find out he'd have to watch and he hated that stuff. With a pained expression, he licked his lower lip and asked,
"What happens next?"
Maxie's lumpy face broke into a grin.
"I didn't know you liked On the Edge of Tomorrow. I think Stella's going to buy it, but the show's over, we'll have to catch it tomorrow."
Grimacing, Ted put on his hat. "I guess we will."
Maybe Belmont would bring better luck.
Two hours and four hundred dollars later, Ted was feeling flush. Maybe it was his lucky day. He decided to go back to Lucien's, the lounge where he first spotted Jackie. Strolling inside, he made his way to the bar. Standing in the same spot where they'd first spoken, he shook a cigarette from his pack and lit it while he waited for the bartender. A few moments later, the same burly man asked him for his order. Ted smiled slightly.
"A Scotch Old-Fashioned," he replied.
He kept one eye on the door while he sipped his drink. Time passed and by the time he finished his second, he realized that Jackie was not going to appear. With a rueful smile, he left money on the bar and left the restaurant. Walking out the door, he thought,
Damn, that means I have to watch that show with Maxie tomorrow. At least Belmont worked out.
The cab pulled up and Mark Waldron helped Jackie from the seat. As she exited the cab, she saw something out of the corner of her eye and she saw a man walking from the restaurant; the jaunty angle of the hat, the broad shoulders and lively step looked familiar. He was moving too quickly down the street for her to get a good look, but Jackie intuitively knew it was educated mug that piqued her interest.
Business dinners can be long and boring and this one with Mark proved to be no different. Jackie kept peeking over toward the door. Maybe Ted would come back, but as they finished their entrees, she begrudgingly turned her attention back to Mark's charts and figures. He had an idea for a new show, an evening one; it would let them break out of the small potatoes of day time advertising and make some real money. He laid out the premise and Jackie looked over the notes.
"Not a drama?" She asked, "Do you think it'll work?"
Mark nodded eagerly, "its human interest. People love human interest. Each week, we pick some poor slob who's come back from the depths of misery and tell his, or her, story of redemption. It'll be a goldmine!"
"It could work; I suppose we we'd have to hire scouts to find stories. What's the network's interest?"
"They're going to give us a shot, but we'll have to find a good story to lead off."
Jackie leaned back in her chair. The waiter came up and asked if she'd like a drink. She ordered her regular. When she said it, a jauntily perched fedora and charming smile flitted through her mind. Mark noticed the smile that crossed her face.
"What are you thinking of?" he asked.
"I may have our first story."