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Authors: Richard Stark
it’s jewelry,” Mackey told him. “But they’ve got a buyer, in New Orleans, he’ll drive up as soon as we do the job, we’ll
     have cash a day later.”
    Parker said, “From a jewelry store?”
    “It’s not a jewelry store,” Mackey said, “it’s a wholesaler. He’s the one sells to the jewelry stores, all around this flat
     part of the world here.”
    They were coming into the city now, with more traffic, with stop signs and traffic lights. Parker said, “This is going to
     be right in the middle of town.”
    “You know it,” Mackey said.
    “Will we go past it now?”
    “No, it’s more downtown. Where we’re headed now used to be a beer distributor. Just a few blocks up here.”
    This neighborhood was old commercial, little office buildings and manufacturing places and delivery outfits, mostly brick,
     all seedy. Evening was coming on, traffic moderate, mostly small trucks and vans. The Honda kept a steady distance behind
    After another block, Parker said, “The reason they put us in front, it’s in case we change our mind.”
    Mackey laughed. “What would they do, do you think,” he asked, “if I suddenly hit a turn, took off?”
    “We’re not going to,” Parker said.
    Mackey was making Williams nervous. People who didn’t take serious things seriously always made him nervous. Junkies were
     like that. Mackey wasn’t a junkie, but he had the style. Williams, forearms on the seatback, looked at Mackey in the interior
     mirror. “I don’t think this is the time to do jokes,” he said.
    Mackey grinned in the mirror. “You tell me when,” he said.

    T om Marcantoni was pleased with the place Jack and Phil had found. In a low-rent neighborhood of factories and warehouses,
     no private homes, this two-story brick building was one huge open space inside, concrete-floored, big enough for three delivery
     trucks and who knew how many cases and barrels of beer. The company had been absorbed by a bigger distributor, making this
     building redundant, and no one had another use for it yet. Electric and water were still on, Jack and Phil had put cots in
     the offices upstairs, and so long as they were reasonably cautious they shouldn’t attract attention.
    Phil steered the Honda into the building, behind the Taurus, and both cars stopped. Jack jumped out to close the big overhead
     door, all the others climbed out and stretched, and Marcantoni got out at a more leisurely pace, grinning.
    He couldn’t help it. It was all back on track. To think, just a few days ago, he’d thought he was screwed forever, put away
     like a goldfish in a bowl.
    From the minute he’d gone inside, he’d been hoping and looking and waiting for a way to break that bowl, but Parker had been
     right: You couldn’t do it alone. So now he had these new partners, solid guys he could count on, and he still had the old
     score, waiting for him, downtown.
    It had taken a while to be sure Williams and Kasper—or Parker now, or whoever he was—would stand up. Williams had been easier
     for Angioni and Kolaski to check up on, being a local boy, and the word had come back that he was sound; for a nigger, very
     good. For anybody, in fact, very good; cool in the action and never too greedy.
    As for Parker, it had been easier for Kolaski to get a handle on his pal, Ed Mackey. Mackey had a good reputation back east,
     a lot like Williams, but Parker was a more shadowy figure, showing up here and there, solid but dangerous. The word was, after
     a while, that you could count on him but you had to be wary of him, too. If he got the idea you planned to cross him, he didn’t
     take prisoners.
    Well, that was all right. Marcantoni was also not too greedy, and smart enough not to make trouble inside his own crew. There
     was plenty in this job for everybody. He wouldn’t cross Parker, and Parker wouldn’t cross him, so neither of them had anything
     to worry about.
    And finally, the best recommendation for Parker was that

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