The Friends of Eddie Coyle
will, but we don’t want to. Are you going to be reasonable?”
    Sam Partridge said nothing.
    “I am going to gamble that you’re going to be reasonable,” the spokesman said. He took a blue silk kerchief from his jacket pocket and handed it to Sam Partridge. “I want you to fold this and put it over your eyes for a blindfold. I’ll tie it for you. Then sit down on the floor of the car here.”
    The Ford began to move as Sam Partridge squirmed down between the seats. “Don’t try to see anything,” the spokesman said. “We have to take these stockings off until we get to the bank. When we get there, you just be patient until we get dressed up again. We’ll go in the back door, the way you always do. You and I will stay together. Don’t be concerned about my friends. Just tell your people not to unlock the front door and not to pull the curtains. We will wait until the time lock opens. My friends will take care of the vault. We will come back to this car when we’ve finished. You will explain to your people that they are not to call the police. You will tell them why they are not going to call the police. I know it’s uncomfortable, but you will ride back to your house the same way you are now. We will get my friend at your house. When we get a safe distance away, we will let you go. Right now we don’t plan to hit you on the head, but we will if you make us. Otherwise we don’t plan to hurt you or anybody else, unless somebody fucks up. What you said was right: we want the money. Understood?”
    Sam Partridge said nothing.
    “You make life hard for me,” the man said. “Since I have the pistol, that is not a good idea. Do you understand?”
    “I understand,” Sam Partridge said.
    In the bank, Mrs. Greenan sobbed quietly as Sam Partridge explained the situation.
    “Tell them about the alarm,” the spokesman said.
    “In a few minutes,” Sam said, “the time lock on the vault will open. These men will take what they came for. I will then leave with them. We will return to my house. There is another man at my house, with my family. We will pick him up and leave. This man has told me that my family won’t be hurt and that I will not be hurt if no one interferes with them. They will release me when they are satisfied that they have gotten away. I have no choice but to believe that they will do what they say. So I ask you, all of you, not to set off the alarms.”
    “Tell them to sit down on the floor,” the spokesman said.
    “Please sit down on the floor,” Sam said. Mrs. Greenan and the others sat awkwardly.
    “Go over to the vault,” the spokesman said.
    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.
    “What time does it open?” the spokesman said quietly.
    “Eight-forty-eight,” Sam said absently.
    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

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