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Larabee had to admit that the flashy automobile was an attention-getter, and that it should be none other than his charismatic co-pilot, Ezra Standish, at the wheel came as no real surprise. The Southerner had guaranteed them transport to London without having to share a train carriage or, as Ezra had witheringly described it, an upholstered cattle truck, with a dozen other fly-boys on leave but Chris had not anticipated an open top sports car in gleaming midnight blue.

“Lieutenant,” he sighed, not entirely certain whether he should be pleased or grieved, “I’m not going to ask because I don’t think I want to know.”

“Captain Larabee, your cynicism wounds me! This magnificent marque, I’ll have you know, was won fairly and squarely only yesterday by my own fair hand.” He grinned mischievously, adding: “or rather three jacks and a pair of kings.”

“A little too convenient, wouldn’t you say, Lieutenant? Remember, we’re supposed to be over here winning hearts and minds, not winning at poker. Jesus, Ezra, it’s a goddamn car not twenty-five bucks we’re talking about!”

A long, low whistle interrupted the debate as Vin Tanner strolled up to the two pilots and did a slow circuit around the car.

“1938 Lagonda V12 drophead coupe, right?” “Indeed, Lieutenant Tanner, and your transport for the weekend.” Larabee’s gaze switched between the Texan and the Southerner. “If I might just interrupt here for just one second, you do know that gas is rationed?” Standish smiled and flashed his gold tooth at the blond Captain, holding up a buff coloured book.

“Trust me, Captain. There's enough coupons here to do this old girl for a month!” Chris snatched the papers from his co-pilot and flicked through the ration book, before Ezra rapidly reclaimed it and tucked it in his breast pocket.

“Ezra,” he started patiently, “The Limey’s don’t take too kindly to profiteering. You’ll end up strung up on some street corner wearing the kind of necktie that isn’t bought over a store counter, ‘less maybe a hardware store! Reckon some of us are wearing out our welcome already without you adding to the problem by scamming the locals out of their cars and gas ration!”

Standish laughed, clearly unrepentant. “My dear, Chris. Don’t fret yourself. Besides, if you recall, as American servicemen we are completely outside British law. Now, do you wish to avail yourself of this rare opportunity to travel to the city in some style, or shall I just drop you off at the local

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