Tuesday, December 22, 2015

George V. Higgins. Sentences of the narrator. The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Alfred A. Knopf. 1972.

Chapter 1

Jackie Brown at twenty-six, with no expression on his face, said that he could get some guns.

The stocky man sat across from Jackie Brown and allowed his coffee to grow cold.

People who got out early from work went by in the November afternoon, hurrying. The crippled man hawked Records, annoying people by crying at them from his skate-wheeled dolly.

Chapter 2

The strawberry ice cream soda and the dark green Charger R/T arrived in the stocky man’s vision almost simultaneously. The waitress went away and he watched the car travel slowly past the stores and stop at the far end of the parking lot. He unwrapped the plastic straw and began without haste to drink the soda. The driver of the car remained inside.

The stocky man paid for his soda and said to the waitress: [] She gestured toward the back of the store. The stocky man walked into the narrow corridor at the rear, past the rest rooms. Beyond him there was a screen door ajar on a loading plat form. He went out on the loading platform and crouched. He jumped clumsily off the platform onto the service road. Two hundred yards away there was another loading platform. When he reached it, he clambered up and entered through a metal door marked produce only. Inside there was a young man sorting lettuce. []The young man said something about a phone near the registers in front. The stocky man left the store by the front door. He took a general view of the parking lot. When his vision settled on the Charger he began to walk toward it.
The driver unlocked the passenger door of the Charger and the stocky man got in.

The driver was about thirty-five. He was wearing suede boots, flared tweed slacks, a gold turtle-neck sweater and a glossy black leather car coat. He had long hair and wore broad sunglasses with heavy silver frames.

Chapter 3

Three heavyset men wearing nylon windbreakers and plaid woolen shirts, each of them holding a can of Schaefer beer, marched past the stocky man under Gate A as the first quarter ended.

Several minutes later a man with a florid complexion, his face scarred from acne, came up to the stocky man.

Chapter 4


Chapter 5

Seven and a half miles east of Palmer, Route 20 bends to the north at the top of a hill, then banks away toward the south, leaving a rest area in a grove of pine trees. Late in the evening, a bearded young man swung a gold Karmann Ghia coupe onto the gravel parking area, shut off the headlights, and settled down to wait while his breath condensed on the inside of the windshield and the frost descended on the metal.
In the dark, Jackie Brown brought his Roadrunner off the Massachusetts Turnpike at Charlton, sent it hard through the ramp curves, and then vigorously west on Route 20. He arrived at the rest area fifteen minutes or so after the bearded man in the Karmann Ghia. He parked and switched off the ignition, then waited five minutes. The right directional signal of the Karmann Ghia flashed once. Jackie Brown got out of his car.
There was a strong smell of plastic, oil, and paint inside the Ghia.

Chapter 6

Dillon explained that he was frightened. [] He sat on the bench on the Common in the midst of the insistent November sunshine, hunched over to protect his stomach.

Foley said nothing.
There were seven derelicts working their usual station down at the subway entrance at the comer of Boylston and Tremont Streets. Six of them sat along the retaining wall and discussed events of importance. They wore overcoats and hats and worn-out heavy shoes in the sunshine, partly be cause they were generally cold and partly because they had memories enough to know that winter was coming again, so that they would need the warm clothing which they did not dare to leave in the empty buildings where they slept. The youngest of the derelicts accosted businessmen and women who had been shopping. He worked diligently to keep them in front of him, trying to block their progress so that they would hasten to him. It is harder to refuse to give a man a quarter after you have hastened to him for a while, and noticed him. Not impossible, but harder. The younger derelict was still agile enough to maneuver, and could raise the price of a bottle of Petri faster than the others. Dillon watched him while he talked.

North on Tremont Street, just beyond the Information Stand and the Fountain and the Parkman Bandstand, a couple of Jesus screamers were working a moderate crowd of clerks and secretaries and sightseers. The woman was tall. She had a good loud voice and a bullhorn to help it along. The man was short and walked around distributing leaflets. The wind delivered enough of what she was saying to distract Dillon from watching the derelicts.

The young bum had cornered a middle-aged, rather stout businessman right in the middle of the mall, with open space all around.

Dillon straightened up and immediately bent forward again. The middle-aged man executed a quick fake and got away from the younger derelict.

The customary buzzard of pigeons wheeled briefly across the walk and settled back around an old lady who fed them from a large, wrinkled, paper bag.

Chapter 7

Samuel T, Partridge, having heard his wife and children descend the stairs, their bathrobes swishing on the Oriental runner, the little girls discussing nursery school, his son murmuring about breakfast, showered lazily and shaved. He dressed himself and went downstairs for eggs and coffee.
In the family room beyond the kitchen he saw his children standing close together next to the Boston rocker. His wife sat in the Boston rocker. All of their faces were blank. Three men sat on the couch. They wore blue nylon windbreakers over their upper bodies, and nylon stockings pulled down over their faces. Each of them held a revolver in his hand.

Sam Partridge swallowed both his rage and the sudden gout of phlegm that rose into his throat.

Sam Partridge kissed his wife on the forehead. He kissed each of his children. [] Tears ran down his wife’s cheeks.

In the driveway behind the house there was a nondescript blue Ford sedan. Two men sat in the front seat. Each of them wore a nylon stocking over his head, and a blue windbreaker. Sam Partridge got into the back seat. The men from the house sat on each side of him.

The man who talked in the house took charge of the conversation.

Sam Partridge said nothing.

The Ford began to move as Sam Partridge squirmed down between the seats.

Sam Partridge said nothing.

In the bank, Mrs. Greenan sobbed quietly as Sam Partridge explained the situation.

Next to the door to the vault, Sam Partridge had his field of vision contracted to include only two objects. There was a small clock set into the steel door of the vault. It stood at forty-five minutes past eight. There was no second hand. The minute hand did not appear to be moving. Eighteen inches away from the clock, down two feet from its eye-level location, there was the black-gloved hand of the spokesman. It held, very steadily, a heavy revolver. Sam saw that there was some kind of a rib on the barrel, and that the handle was molded out to cover the top of the hand that held it. He saw touches of gold inside the black metal of the cylinders. The hammer of the revolver was drawn back to full cock. The minute hand did not seem to have moved.

In July they had taken the children to New Hampshire and rented a cottage on a palette-shaped pond north of Centerville. They had rented a boat one morning, an aluminum rowboat, with a small motor, and he had taken the children fishing while his wife slept. Around eleven they had come in because his son wanted to go to the bathroom. They beached the rowboat and the children ran up the gravel slope to the tall grass, and through the tall grass in the sunshine to the cabin. Sam had removed a string of four pickerel from the boat and placed it on the gravel. He had bent back to lift out the rods and the tackle box and the thermos of milk and the sweaters. He straightened up with the articles and turned to ward where he had placed the fish.
On the loose gravel of the shore, perhaps a foot from the stringer of fish, a thick brown timber rattler was coiled. Its head was perhaps a foot off the ground. The rattles of its tail lay drooped against one of its fat coils. It had been swimming; its smooth, textured body was wet, and it glistened in the sun. The patterns of brown and black repeated themselves regularly along the skin. The eyes of the snake were glossy and dark. Its deli cate black tongue flickered out, without a discernible opening of its jaws. The skin beneath the jaws was creamy. The sun had fallen comfortably warm upon the thick snake and upon Sam, who was repeatedly chilled, and he and the snake had remained motionless, except for the snake’s black, delicate tongue which flickered in and out from time to time, for several lifetimes. Sam had begun to feel faint. The position in which he had frozen, almost erect, with the children s articles and the tackle in his hands, made his muscles ache. The snake appeared relaxed. It made no sound. Sam could think of nothing but his uncertainty; he did not know whether rattlers struck without rattling. Again and again he reminded himself that it made no difference, that the snake could easily satisfy any such ritual quickly enough to hit him before he could get away. Again and again the question nagged at him.

The snake had remained in the same position for a time. Then its coils had begun to straighten. Sam had decided to try to jump if it came toward him. He knew that it could swim faster than he in the water, and he had no weapon. The snake completely controlled the situation. The snake turned slowly on the gravel, its weight rubbing the pebbles against each other. It proceeded up the slope, diagonally away from the cabin. In a while it was gone, and Sam, his body aching, rested the articles on the seats of the boat, and began to tremble.

Sam swung his eyes back from the black revolver to the clock.

When he had told his wife about the snake, she had wanted to leave at once and give up the four days remaining on the cabin rental. [] They had stayed. But they had noticed themselves picking their way through the long grass, and watching carefully where they stepped on the gravel, and when they were in the water, Sam was constantly watching for the small head and the thick shiny coils in the blue pond.

There was a dry snap inside the door of the safe. “There it is,” Sam said. He began to turn the wheel.

Sam stood near his own desk, staring at the pictures of his family, pictures that he had taken. There was a Zenith desk set with two pens and an AM-FM radio in the front center area; his wife had given it to him for company when he had to work late. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal lay folded on the near comer of the desk. Mrs. Greenan collected the mail each morning and brought him the Journal before sorting the rest of it. Her routing had been interrupted. She would be helpless all day. In the morning, regular customers would be calling to inquire about their deposits and withdrawals, because the tickets and checks would not arrive when expected. No, that was not correct: there would be something in the papers about this, something on television.
The other two men converged from the positions they had taken up in the bank. Each of them produced a bright green plastic bag from under his coat, and shook it out. They went into the vault. They did not speak. The black revolver remained steady.
The other two men emerged from the vault They placed the green plastic bags on the floor. One of them produced another bag and shook it out. He went back into the vault. The second man drew his gun and nodded.

The third man came out of the vault, the third bag partly full.

The spokesman pointed toward the vault door. The second man swung it shut. The spokesman nodded and the two men picked up the plastic bags and disappeared into the corridor leading to the back door.

In the car there was no sign of the plastic bags. Then Sam noticed that one of the men was missing. He sat in the back seat with the spokesman. The driver started the engine.

In the family room his wife and children seemed to occupy the same places they had had when he first came downstairs. His wife sat in the rocker and the children stood close together next to her. He knew without being told that they had not spoken since he left. The fourth man rose from the couch as they entered.

Outside, Sam was blindfolded again. His eyes hurt from the sudden change from sunlight to darkness. He was led to the car. He was pushed down on the floor. He heard the car go into gear, the transmission under his head clinking as the car backed up. He felt it lurch forward. He was able to tell as it turned out of the driveway and turned left. When it came to a stop and turned right, he knew it was on Route 47. The car proceeded for a long time without stopping. Sam searched his memory for the number of stop lights or signs that they would have passed. He could not remember. He was unable to say any longer where they were. There was no conversation in the car. Once he heard a match being struck, and soon after smelled a cigarette burning. He thought: We must be getting somewhere. It must be almost over.
There was a crunching sound under the car and it slowed down quickly.

Sam was cramped and stiff from lying on the floor. He stood unsteadily on the shoulder of the road. The spokesman took his arm and led him into the field. He could tell he was standing in wet, long grass.

Sam heard the car move off the gravel. He shuffled along in the darkness, the unevenness of the field frightening him. He was afraid of step ping into a hole. He was afraid of stepping on a snake. He got up to thirty-four and lost count. He counted again to fifty. He was unable to breathe. No longer, he thought, no longer. I can’t wait any longer. He removed the blindfold, expecting to be shot. He was alone in a broad, level pasture bordered by oaks and maples that had lost their leaves and stood back in the warm November morning. For a moment he stood blinking, then turned and looked at the empty road scarcely twenty yards away. He began to run, stiffly, toward the road.

Chapter 8

At five minutes of six, Dave Foley escaped from the traffic on Route 128 and parked the Charger at the Red Coach Grille in Braintree. He went into the bar and took a table in the rear comer that allowed him to watch the door and the television set above the bar. He ordered a vodka martini on the rocks with, a twist. After a white man strenuously stated the headlines, the evening news report began. As the waitress arrived with Foley’s drink, a black man with heavy jowls and an accent that made er sounds into or sounds delivered the first story.

A bulky black man wearing a double-breasted blue silk suit came into the bar and paused for an instant. Foley stood up and waved him over.

Foley signaled the waitress and pointed to his glass. Then he raised two fingers.

Chapter 9

Jackie Brown found the tan Microbus on the upper level of the Undercommon Garage, near the stairs to the kiosk at Beacon and Charles Streets. The interior of the vehicle was dark. There were flowered curtains covering all of the windows behind the front seat. He rapped on the driver’s window.
There appeared at the window a puffy face surrounded by straggly blond hair, collar length. The face contained two suspicious eyes. Jackie Brown stared back at it. In a while, a hand came up and opened the vent window. The face also had a voice.

Jackie Brown turned around. He did not walk back. He was about twelve feet from the bus. He waited.
The puffy face reappeared at the driver’s window. The vent window opened again.

At the back door Jackie Brown found a young girl inviting him in. She looked like Mia Farrow.

Inside the bus there was a small sink and a double bed. There was a portable radio, AM-FM-Police Band. On the bed there was a forty-five automatic. A great many paperback books lay on the floor. There was a sharp-smelling smoke.

The puffy face came in from the front.

Chapter 10

The stocky man seemed pressed for time, and had no patience for conversation.

Jackie Brown shrugged slightly.

Chapter 11

Along the Lafayette Mall, the streetlights disposed of the gloom of the autumn early evening. Near the first subway kiosk the Hare Krishnas sang and danced, wearing saffron robes and tattered gray sweaters and sneakers with no socks.

Chapter 12

“The Duck sent me,” Jackie Brown said to the battered green door on the third floor landing of the tenement house. There was a strong smell of vegetables around him.

The door opened slowly, without any sound. Light trickled out around the edge and Jackie Brown’s eyes refocused again in the thick air. He could see the side of a man’s head, one eye and an ear and part of the nose. At waist level he saw two hands gripping the stump of a double-barreled shotgun that was less than a foot long. [] He hadn’t shaved for a few days.

The door opened fully and the stubbled man backed away from it, still holding the shotgun at waist level.

Jackie Brown entered the apartment. It was furnished with white shag wall-to-wall carpeting, heavy orange drapes, and black chairs. There was a large, low table made of glass and chromium before a black leather couch. There were gold and orange pillows on the couch. A girl with long, blonde hair, wearing a white cashmere jumpsuit, unzipped deeply in the front with no bra under it, sat curled up on the couch. From hidden speakers, Jackie Brown heard Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones singing. Illuminated by a globular white lamp hanging from a silver arm was a poster that said in orange on white: “Altamont. This Is The Next Time.”

The girl arose and left the room.

The stubbled man pushed the safety on the shotgun. He lowered it, but kept it in his hands.

Chapter 13

In Desi’s Place on Fountain Street in Providence, Jackie Brown found a kid with greasy brown hair and a bad complexion. He was wearing a cheap, plaid sport shirt and chino pants and he needed a shave. He looked worried. He was sitting alone in a booth in the back of the restaurant.
Jackie Brown stopped at the table and said:

The kid’s eyes filled with emotion.

The kid was very impressed with the Road runner.

The Roadrunner went off at the Warwick-Apponaug ramp of Interstate 495 and burbled through the quiet streets.

The car lurched into a narrow street that twisted down a steep hill. Overhanging ever green branches brushed the roof and sides of the car. The headlights covered the tops of the trees now and again as the car jounced. At the foot of the hill the road ended at a small red building and a series of yacht slips. Several small quahaug boats lay comfortably at anchor in the dark water.

Jackie Brown nosed the Roadrunner into the dirt parking area in front of the red building. He shut off the lights. He put the car into reverse and backed it around. When he finished, the car was pointing up the hill they had just descended. The moon reflected on the water of the harbor. Jackie Brown put the transmission in Park. He opened the window and let salt air into the car.

The kid got out and shut the door. Jackie Brown reached over and locked it. From the glove compartment he removed a chrome-plated forty-five automatic. He switched on the courtesy lights, checked the safety on the automatic, worked the slide back and jacked a round into the chamber. He released the slide and then let the safety off. He put the pistol on the dashboard. From under the dashboard he unclipped a chromium spotlight. He plugged it into the cigarette lighter and placed it on the dashboard next to the pistol. The hemi muttered quietly. He could hear the small boats working against their lines. He stared carefully up the road.
Three figures came slowly into the moonlit parking area. Two of them carried rifles. They approached uncertainly. Jackie Brown said: “That’s far enough.” He picked up the spotlight and pointed it at them. “The two of you there, hand the rifles to the guy that was with me. Then stand still.”
The kid had trouble getting all of the rifles into his arms.

The kid did as he was told. Jackie Brown pushed the button of the inside trunk release with his knee. He heard the trunk gulp open. He heard the rifles clunking into the compartment.
The kid came up to the window.

Chapter 14

Foley and Waters sat in the chief’s office with their feet on his desk and his television murmuring the tail end of the David Frost Show.

The Frost Show ended and the news began.

Chapter 15

Jackie Brown brought the Road runner slowly into the Fresh Pond Shopping Center, chose a place in the middle of a row of cars, and killed the engine. He looked at his watch. It read two-fifty-eight. He opened the glove compartment and removed a tape cassette. He put it into the tape deck. Johnny Cash began to sing about Folsom Prison.
At five minutes past three Jackie Brown was dozing. The stocky man rapped on the window. Jackie Brown swung his head around. The stocky man had a cart full of shopping bags. He motioned to Jackie Brown to get out of the car.

Jackie Brown opened the trunk. Inside there was a cardboard box which appeared to be filled with newspapers. The five M-sixteens lay across it.

Jackie Brown put the shopping bag of sidearms in the cart.

Jackie Brown put two loaves of batter-whipped Sunbeam on top of the revolvers.

Jackie Brown watched the stocky man push the cart down the parking lot, then disappear behind a truck. Jackie Brown shut the trunk of the Road runner and got into the car. He started the engine. When he passed the truck, the stocky man was straightening up from the trunk of an old Cadillac. His legs hid the license plate. Jackie Brown waved. The stocky man made no sign of recognition.

Chapter 16

Eddie Coyle put his hands in his pockets and rested his back against the green metal post that supported the arcade of the shopping plaza above the telephone booths. Two women moved their lips as though deliberating over every single word of the hundreds they seemed to be uttering. A small man in a gold polo shirt stood with a receiver against his ear and a resigned expression on his face. From time to time he said something.

The man emerged first.

In the telephone booth, Eddie Coyle deposited a dime and dialed a Boston number.

Eddie Coyle replaced the handset in the receiver carefully. He opened the door of the booth and found a stout woman, about fifty, staring at him.

Chapter 17

Jackie Brown got caught in traffic in Watertown. He escaped briefly and got caught again in Newton. On 128, he eased the Road runner into a three-lane pack of first-shift electronics workers heading home, and settled down to an unobtrusive fifty miles per hour. There was a three-car accident in Needham, and he waited patiently in the center lane, surrounded by a thou sand cars, while the sim declined and the evening began. At ten minutes past four he broke loose and resumed his fifty miles an hour. He took the ramp at the 128 railroad station at four-twenty-five. He proceeded at twenty miles an hour into the lot, looking for the tan Microbus. Not seeing it, he parked near the station. He opened the glove compartment and removed a cassette. He placed the cassette in the tape deck. Glen Campbell began to sing. Jackie Brown, his eyes red and puffed, slid down on the bucket seat and closed his eyes. In twenty-four hours he had driven nearly three hundred miles on four hours’ sleep.
Dave Foley and Keith Moran sat in the green Charger, two parking lanes away.

At the entrance of the station, Ernie Sauter and Deke Ferris of the Massachusetts State Police, wearing sport coats and slacks, conversed casually. Ferris had his back to the Roadrunner.

Six cars up the lane from Jackie Brown, a blue Skylark convertible arrived and pulled in. The driver was Tobin Ames. The passenger was Donald Morrissey.

The dusk was heavy at four-thirty-eight when the tan Microbus came into the lot from the north bound lane of 128. It turned up the first lane and came down the second lane at perhaps ten miles per hour, jerking along when the engine needed revs, speeding up and then slowing down again. The curtains shifted in the windows as the bus proceeded. It slowed momentarily behind the Roadrunner, then moved along to the next row. The driver found a space and swung the bus in. He got out of the left hand door, a young man with long hair and a puffy face. He wore a blue flannel shirt and a tan corduroy sport coat and blue bib overalls and black boots. From the other door emerged a thin girl, about twenty-two, with wispy blonde hair cut short. She wore Levi’s and a blue denim shirt.
The two of them paused to talk behind the bus. Then they walked toward the Roadrunner.

Morrissey’s voice was somewhat choked. He had twisted his body in order to pick up two Remington short barrelled, twelve-gauge pump guns from the floor in the back. From his jacket, he took ten red double-O buckshot shells and started feeding them into the magazines.

He and Foley sat with their shotguns cradled in their laps.
On the station platform, Ernie Sauter stood and watched the young man and the girl over Ferris’ shoulder.

The young man leaned over and knocked his knuckles against the window of the Roadrunner. Jackie Brown opened his left eye. Without any indication of haste, he cranked the window down.

The young man and woman straightened up and walked away from the Roadrunner. They walked close together, talking. They returned to the Microbus and got inside. The brake lights came on and some blue smoke issued from the exhaust pipe. The bus pulled out of its parking place and started up the parking lane.

The Microbus continued up the parking lane. It turned right at the top of the lane and headed toward the northbound ramp out of the station area.

He touched the emergency flasher button on the dashboard. The turn signals blinked four times in the heavy twilight.
On the station platform, Sauter and Ferris removed thirty-eight caliber Chiefs Specials from their holsters. They put them in the pockets of their sport coats. Together they stepped off the platform and started up the parking lane in front of the Roadrunner and the line of cars that blocked it.
Tobin Ames hit the ignition of the Skylark and put it into reverse. He backed out of the parking place slowly, rotating the steering wheel to point the convertible down the lane.
Jackie Brown sat with his eyes shut, his head back on the rest.
Foley and Moran got out of the Charger. They put on raincoats. They reached into the Charger and pulled the shotguns out. They put the shotguns under their raincoats. Each inserted his right hand through the lining of his raincoat and held the shotgun flat against his body. They began walking toward the Roadrunner.
Foley and Moran paused while a small group of commuters walked past.
Behind the Roadrunner, Foley and Moran separated. Foley stayed put. Moran walked up two car-widths and stood still. Ferris and Sauter stood talking on the edge of the next lane.
Ames brought the Skylark slowly down the lane. He did not have his headlights on. [] Ames brought the Skylark creeping along.

When the Skylark was behind the Roadrunner, perhaps four feet away, Ames stopped. He put it in Park. He opened the door and got out. He had the shotgun in his hands. Morrissey emerged from the passenger side, carrying a shotgun. He leaned against the door of the Skylark and held the shotgun across his body. Ames bent his body and rested his elbows on the hood of the Skylark. He leveled his shotgun.
Jackie Brown, his eyes closed, rested his head and napped.
Sauter and Ferris parted. Sauter stayed put, drawing his revolver and holding it at his side. He faced the Roadrunner from a slight angle off the left front fender. Ferris took a similar position on the right.

The commuters broke into a jog. They stopped five cars away. In the early evening the mist commenced over the swamps of Dedham. It showed in halos around the lamps.
Foley approached the Roadrunner from the left rear. Moran approached from the right rear.
Foley brought the shotgun out from under his raincoat. He lifted it slowly to the level of the windowsill of the Roadrunner and silently rested it there.
Moran stepped back two paces from the Road runner. He tucked the stock of the shotgun in at his waist with his right elbow. With his left hand he gripped the pump action. He brought the muzzle up to point at the window.
Jackie Brown, with his eyes closed, recovered from a long night of driving, and many frustrations.
Foley knocked on the window of the Road runner. Lazily, Jackie Brown turned his head. He opened his left eye. His gaze focused on the face of a stranger.

Foley made a cranking motion with his left hand.
Jackie Brown shook his head. He reached for ward and rolled the window down.

He brought the shotgun up with his right hand. He brought his left hand under the pump and held it steady.

He looked to his right. Moran stood there, pointing a shotgun through the window. In front of the Roadrunner, two men advanced with revolvers pointed at him through the windshield.

He reached in and lifted the door lock. He opened the door from the outside. [] The shotgun remained leveled at Jackie Brown’s head.

Foley grabbed him as he got out. Foley turned him around.

Jackie Brown did as he was told. He felt hands begin to pat him down.

Moran, Sauter and Ferris now came around the Roadrunner and stood together with their weapons pointing at Jackie Brown. Ames and Morrissey stayed put. Moran handed his shotgun to Sauter, who let the hammer down on his Chiefs Special and leveled Moran’s shotgun. Moran removed his wallet from his hip pocket. He extracted a plasticized card from the wallet. In the blue-tinged glare of the parking lot lights, he began to read:

He rested the barrel of the Remington on Jackie Brown’s shoulder. The muzzle grazed the base of Jackie Brown’s skull.

Jackie Brown did not answer. Foley jabbed him with the muzzle of the Remington.

From his raincoat pocket, Foley removed a Citizen’s Band transmitter. He switched it on.

Chapter 18

In a depleted sandpit in Orange, Massachusetts, there is a trailer park. In the darkness, Eddie Coyle drove the old Sedan de Ville cautiously, the quad headlights on high beam, the oversized tires lapping over the edges of the narrow blacktop. He stopped the car beside an aqua and yellow trailer. It was equipped with wrought iron railings and flimsy iron steps; there was a heavy silver fabric wrapped around the under carriage. The windows of the trailer were curtained. Light glowed behind them.
Eddie Coyle shut off the lights and the engine of the Cadillac. He got out and walked stiffly to the steps. He rang the doorbell without climbing the steps.
The curtain at the door window moved slightly. A woman peered out through the condensation on the glass. Eddie Coyle waited patiently. The door opened partway.

The door closed. Eddie Coyle waited in the chill dark.
The door opened partway again. A pocked male face appeared.

The door opened all the way. Jimmy Scalisi, wearing a tee-shirt and a pair of gray pants, stood in the light.

He returned to the Cadillac. He opened the trunk. He removed shopping bags, two at a time, and delivered them to Scalisi at the door of the trailer. There were six of them.

Wanda was five-ten, a hundred and thirty pounds. She had heavy breasts which Coyle noticed immediately because she was wearing a tee-shirt and a bra with bright red flowers. She was also wearing wheat-colored jeans. There were noticeable stains at the crotch.

In the living room of the trailer there was a black leather chair and a couch. Scalisi took the chair. Coyle sat gratefully on the couch. A portable color television stood on the counter between the living room and the dining area. The sound was off. A man was mouthing words and holding up a brochure about Hawaii.

Scalisi laughed.

Coyle indicated the kitchen area by moving his head.

Coyle rubbed his crotch.

Wanda came in with a tray. It held a quart of beer and two glasses.

Scalisi came out of the chair quickly and slapped Wanda across the face.

Wanda stamped out of the living area and made as much noise as she could shutting the folding door to the sleeping area.

Chapter 19

With no expression on his face, Jackie Brown sat in the outer office, his cuffed hands in his lap. Tobin Ames, a shotgun across his lap, sat behind a desk, opposite Jackie Brown, watching him. In the chiefs office, Waters and Foley watched Ames and Jackie Brown through the glass partition.

Chapter 20

Robert L. Biggers of Duxbury, having been unable to sleep, dawdled over breakfast and read the Herald thoroughly. His wife walked sleepily into the kitchen with the baby as he was getting his coat.

Robert Biggers locked his car and walked through the parking lot at the West Marshfield Shopping Plaza toward the principal office of the Massachusetts Bay Cooperative Bank. He used his key to open the front door of the bank. He locked the door behind him. He went directly to the coat closet, removing his trenchcoat, and hung it up. He emerged from the ante-room, humming a Supremes song he had heard on his way to work. Facing him was a medium-sized man. The man wore an orange nylon ski parka and a nylon stocking mask. In his right hand the man held an enormous black revolver.

The man motioned to his own right with the revolver.

In the branch officer’s private office, Harry Burrell sat in his chair with his hands clasped across his stomach. There were two more men in the office with him. They wore orange nylon parkas and nylon stockings over their faces. Each of them had a black revolver.

One of the men spoke.

Robert Biggers sat at his desk and made no pretense of working. His mind ran furiously, in no apparent direction. As the three tellers arrived he let them in, made the same explanation to each [] and ushered them to the cloakroom.

Nancy Williams was the only one who did not react calmly. She was nineteen, just out of high school the previous June. Her eyes opened very wide.

They were standing in the corridor next to the coat closet. One of the men with guns had padded up while they were talking. Nancy Williams turned around and stared into the black revolver.

Robert Biggers felt a surge of wrathful protectiveness. On three Thursday evenings, after eight o’clock closing, he had taken Nancy Wil hams to dinner at the Post House. He had purchased several drinks for her. Then he had taken her to the Lantern Lodge and undressed her and screwed the socks off her. She was young and firm, and her nipples came up fast under tweaking.

He motioned with the gun again.

Nancy Williams hesitated, then walked toward the tellers’ cages.

Robert Biggers stared at him.

Robert Biggers returned to his desk.

At eight fifty-two the time lock released. Harry Burrell and the other two men emerged from Burrell’s office. One man stood with a revolver pointed at Mr. Burrell. The other two men stuck their guns in their belts and removed green plastic bags from under their coats. They entered the vault. In a while one of them emerged with two bags bulging. He went inside again. In a few minutes, both of the men came out.

The tellers nodded.

Mr. Burrell and the man with him left by the rear door. The other two men stood at the vault. They had their guns out again. One of them put his gun in his belt. The other held his gun in his right hand. Each man stooped slightly to pick up the green plastic bags.

Robert Biggers moved his left foot slowly to the left under the desk and hit the alarm button. His face relaxed as he hit it. It was a silent alarm. It rang only in the police station.

The revolver kicked hard against the man’s bent right arm. As it kicked, Biggers was coming out of the chair to protest. The slug caught him in the belly and he reeled backward in the chair. The second slug hit him just to the right of the center of his chest and tipped him over the right arm of his chair, the surprised, innocent, protesting look still on his face.

The tellers began to scramble. Nancy Williams had a perplexed expression on her face.

He waved them into the vault. He slammed the door behind them and spun the locking wheel.

The second man was already halfway down the corridor to the rear entrance, carrying all three bags of money. In the business area of the bank, Robert L. Biggers bled over the arm of the chair, the blood dripping down slowly onto the gold and orange carpeting, the look of stunned, protesting innocence settling into the features of his face.
In the parking lot the two men hurled the bags of money into a white Plymouth sedan. In a green Pontiac sedan, the first man sat with Harry Burrell.

The first man brought his revolver up and whacked Harry Burrell at the base of his skull with the barrel. Burrell sagged off to the left of the rear seat. The man stripped his mask off, opening the door as lie did so.

The other two men were backing the Plymouth around. It left the parking lot swiftly, but without peeling any rubber. When it reached the parking lot in front of the bank, it was moving quickly, but not conspicuously so. Each of the occupants had removed his nylon stocking.
The green Pontiac emerged from behind the bank and swung through the parking lot. It proceeded east, in the direction opposite from that taken by the other car.

Chapter 21

The receptionist spoke apologetically.

Foley said that was all right and picked up the telephone.

Chapter 22

Corporal Vardenais of the Massachusetts State Police was eating breakfast at two o’clock in the morning at the Eastern Airlines lunchroom at Logan Airport. Propped before him was the Record, He was reading a story head lined: “2ND BANKER DIES OF WOUNDS IN W. MARSHFIELD SICKUP.” The story said that Branch Manager Harold W. Burrell had died of a skull fracture suffered three days before when he was pistol whipped during a sixty-eight thousand dollar robbery. It mentioned the shooting to death of Robert L. Biggers.

Wanda Emmett, wearing her Northeast uniform, took the counter seat next to Corporal Vardenais.

Wanda opened her handbag and removed a light green bankbook.

Wanda opened the handbag again. She produced a packet of red, blue, tan, and green bank-books, held together with a thick rubber band.

Chapter 23

Dillon said he wasn’t sure that Foley would be interested in what he had.

They stood in front of the Waldorf and faced the Public Garden. On the other side of the inter section of Arlington and Boylston Streets there was an organ grinder with a sign that asked for business at parties and social occasions. Well-dressed people avoided him as they emerged from Shreve’s; one plump man in a tweed jacket stood in the chill gray air with a fatuous smile on his face.

Across the street from the organ grinder several boys and girls with extremely long hair stood around in Army parkas. A few sat on the steps of the Arlington Street Church. On each side of Arlington Street there was a tall young man selling papers.

The tall young man on the Public Garden side of Arlington Street stepped off the curb each time the traffic lights halted a group of cars. He walked between the lanes, waving his papers and bending to look into car windows.

Chapter 24

It was getting light along the shore drive in Nahant at quarter of six on Tuesday morning when Fritzie Webber parked the blue Le Sabre. Scalisi came up behind him in a tan Chevrolet sedan; Arthur Valantropo sat in the back seat of the Chevrolet. It laid down a thin blanket of condensed exhaust in the cold air of early morning, while Webber locked the Buick and got into the Chevrolet.

He was wearing a green nylon windbreaker and he had a nylon stocking pulled over his head. In the back, Arthur Valentropo was rolling the fabric of another stocking over his features, compressing them slowly into something strange. Webber removed a stocking from his jacket pocket. He nodded.

He reached under the seat and pulled out a paper bag. He took a Python three-fifty-seven magnum revolver from it and released the cylinder lock. From his jacket pocket he brought five bullets and began loading them into the chambers.

The Chevrolet moved off the shore drive into a residential street. Large houses, built around the turn of the century, sat well back from the road behind low stone walls and hedges still green in the late autumn.

Scalisi steered the Chevrolet into the long curved driveway at 16 Pelican Hill. The tires made a crunching sound on the white stones. About one hundred yards in from the street, a rambling gray and white, gabled three-story house stood comfortably in the wind from the sea.

The Chevrolet moved slowly up the driveway and came to a quiet stop at the garage. Scalisi turned off the ignition very slowly, as though that would lessen the change in the noise level. [What a great insight!]

They got out of the car very slowly and carefully closed each door to the first lock of the latch. In the morning light they looked first at each other through the nylon stockings. Then each of them surveyed the area. They stepped gingerly on the crushed stone of the driveway, and from there to the lawn. They approached the house in single file, walking in the grass at the edge of the crushed stone walk, the white frost melting and wetting their sneakers. Close to the back door of the house, Scalisi and Valantropo hung back six or seven paces behind Webber. Each of them had his revolver in his hand. Webber shifted his revolver to his left hand. Holding the gun toward the sky, Webber removed from his sleeve a thin metal spatula with a wooden handle. He moved from the grass onto the first of the steps leading to the back door. Scalisi and Valantropo positioned them selves at angles to the steps.

Webber crouched at the screen door and peered at the area around the knob. Placing the spatula in his teeth, he worked the handle of the door. It opened slowly, with no sound. Behind the screen door there was a wooden door with nine small panes of glass set into it. Scalisi, holding the screen door now with his left hand, bent forward behind Webber to stare at the jamb near the knob.
“How’s it look?” Scalisi said, whispering.
“Standard cylinder,” Webber said, also whispering.
He straightened up briefly and peered in through the glass.
“Chain lock?” Scalisi whispered.
“No,” Webber whispered.
His left hand came back and stuck the Python in his belt at the hip. He bent forward again. Scalisi could see the blade of the spatula passing between the edge of the door and the jamb. Scalisi heard a metallic sound. He saw Webber exert some pressure against the door. The door swung silently open.
Valantropo was on the steps now. Leaving wet footprints, they went into the back entry. In the gentle light of morning, they brushed past coats on hooks inside the entryway, then climbed three worn stair treads and opened another door into the kitchen. Except for the soft squeegee sound of their wet sneakers on the floor, the house was silent.
Webber turned around in the kitchen and tried to smile behind the nylon mask. “Okay?’’ he whispered.
In the yard behind the house and garage, Ernie Sauter rested the butt of the Winchester twelve-gauge on his hip and waved toward the bushes behind the house. Deke Ferris, bent over, ran to ward the garage. He carried a Thompson sub-machinegun. Sauter looked toward the second story of the house. At the edge of the window overlooking the back door, Sauter saw Tommy Damon. Sauter raised his hand, palm upward. Damon’s face disappeared from the window.
In the kitchen, Scalisi padded cautiously toward the door at the other end. It had a glass plate at waist level on the frame. He put his gloved hand on the plate and pushed. The door swung away silently. Scalisi looked into the hall. He let the door come back slowly. He turned to face Valantropo and Webber. He held his thumb up.
Valantropo was near the kitchen table. When Scalisi signaled, Valantropo pulled one of the chairs up and put it quietly down again. He put his revolver on the table. He sat down.
Scalisi came back to the table. He picked up a chair quietly and sat down. He rested his forearms on his thighs, the revolver held loosely in his right hand.
Webber eased his body past Valantropo. He put his revolver on the table. He lifted a chair silently and sat down. He whispered; “What’s the timing?”
On the floor above they heard footsteps. They listened intently. More than one person was walking. [] They hastened to the steps on the stairs. They picked up their revolvers. They were all facing the door to the hall when Ferris and Sauter came into the kitchen from the back entryway. As they turned toward the sound, Damon and Rufus Billings came through the hall door with shotguns pointed directly at them. Sauter said: “April fool, motherfuckers.” For what seemed like a long time no one moved, and then the three men in masks put their guns carefully on the table.

Chapter 25

Eddie Coyle had overslept. When he awoke it was nearly nine. He hurried through his shower and shave. He went into the hall and out into his kitchen in an ugly mood. His wife was watching television and drinking coffee.

She did not take her eyes off the screen.

His wife sighed. She began slowly to get up from the couch.

Eddie Coyle said nothing while his wife left the kitchen. In a while he could hear the shower running. He picked up the telephone.

Chapter 26

Dillon found the silver Continental with the black vinyl roof in the parking lot at Columbia Station in Dorchester. There was a man in the driver’s seat. Dillon opened the passenger s door and got in.
He was overweight. He wore sunglasses. He had olive skin and he wore a dark blue suit. He was smoking a cigarette.

Chapter 27


Chapter 28

Coyle came into Dillon’s place shortly after three-thirty in the afternoon. He took a stool and raised his right hand, then let it fall.
Dillon poured a double shot of Carstairs and drew a stein of draft beer. He put both in front of Coyle.

Coyle drank off the Carstairs. He drank some of the beer.

From the other end of the bar a man rose and answered the phone.

Dillon could see Coyle sitting at the bar while he talked on the telephone.

At five-fifteen a kid in a black turtleneck sweater and a suede jacket came into Dillons place. He asked for Dillon. He handed Dillon a business envelope, a fairly fat envelope.

Chapter 29

In the course of the evening Coyle had several drinks. He drank beer with Dillon during the first period. Bobby Orr swung the Bruins net and faked three Rangers into sprawls. He quartered across the New York goal, faked low and left, shot high and right, and Coyle rose up with Dillon and fourteen thousand, nine hundred and sixty-five others to howl approval. The announcer said: [] There was another ovation.
Next to Coyle there was an empty seat.

The kid arrived during the intermission be tween the first and second periods. He apologized for his tardiness.

In the second period the Rangers opened with a goal on Cheevers. Sanderson went off for roughing. Sanderson came back on. Esposito went off for an elbow check. Sanderson fed Dallas Smith for a shorthanded goal. Orr fed Esposito who fed Bucky for a goal.
Between the second and third periods, Coyle had trouble following the conversation between Dillon and his wife’s nephew. Coyle went to the men’s room. As he got up, Dillon observed that he might ask if anybody wanted a beer. Coyle returned with three beers, carried carefully before him. There was beer on his trousers.

During the third period the Rangers got another goal. Sanderson drew a five minute major for fighting. The Bruins won, three to two.

They had a drink in the tavern on the concourse of the Boston Garden, to let the traffic thin out. Dillon had trouble walking when they got outside. Coyle had more trouble.

The kid had a 1968 Ford Galaxie, a white sedan. He opened the front passenger door. Dillon and Coyle stood there, weaving back and forth.

Dillon walked quickly around the back of the car. The kid opened the drivers door, then reached in and unlocked the left rear door.
Dillon got in and sat down behind the driver. Coyle’s head lay back on the top of the seat. He was breathing heavily.

He reached down to the floor and groped around. On the mat on the right rear passenger side, he found a twenty-two magnum Arminius revolver, fully loaded. He picked it up and put it in his lap.

The traffic thinned out rapidly when they got across the river into Cambridge. They proceeded north, following the Route 91 signs. Three miles onto 91 north, they were hitting sixty-five.

When the Ford was alone on the road, Dillon brought the revolver up and held it an inch behind Coyle’s head, the muzzle pointing at the base of the skull behind the left ear. Dillon drew the hammer back. The first shot went in nicely. Dillon continued firing, double-action. The revolver clicked on a spent round at last. Coyle lay thrust up against the frame between the doors of the Ford. The speedometer read eighty-five.

The bowling alley was dark. The kid pulled the sedan in next to the Ford convertible.

They crammed Coyle down onto the floor of the right passenger compartment. They got out of the Ford.

They got into the convertible. It started at once.

Chapter 30

Jackie Brown at twenty-seven sat with no expression on his face in the first row be hind the bar of Courtroom Four of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The clerk called case number seventy-four-hundred-and-twenty-one-D, United States of America versus Jackie Brown. The bailiff motioned to Jackie Brown to rise.
Also rising was a man beyond the bar.

Getting up now, slowly, was Foster Clark, counsel for the defendant.

Jackie Brown looked at Foster Clark contemptuously.

In the corridor outside Courtroom Four, Foster Clark approached the prosecutor.

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