When he witnessed his father's fierce resistance to a gang of kidnappers, Sidney Offit became aware that his family was different. All he knew about his father's work was learned during those evenings when his father would say to his mother, I got action, honey, so don't tie up the telephone. Action became synonymous with his father's occupation, and parlay the winner, the most frequent of his father's terse responses, was what young Sidney determined his father's business was all about. By the end of Buck Offit's life - he lived to be ninety-six - his shoeboxes of fifty- and one-hundred-dollar bills, banked in the hollow walls of the family apartment, were gone. But the self-defined bookie - a classic American existentialist - went right on picking winners and insisting, Life don't owe me nothin'. In this slim, elegant memoir, Sidney Offit - novelist, teacher, and curator of one of the nation's most prestigious journalism awards - explores, with warmth and humor, the complexities of this extraordinary father-son relationship.