Reads like quicksand - the further you get along in the story the deeper it sinks in. And -- No one can get out of quicksand on their own. They need help from someone to pull them out, especially when they're about to go under.
btw -- I purposely wrote the old man, pawn shop Hustler character as a cameo role for 90 year old Mickey Rooney. It's been 60 years since he made the first Quicksand.