The Friends of Eddie Coyle
rights,” Foley said.
    “So did I,” the black man said. “It’s the jobs they want now.”
    “The brothers will be very uptight when they hear this,” Foley said. “Should I call Military Intelligence and tell them to load and holster their movie cameras for an imminent demonstration?”
    “Probably not,” the black man said. “The way to handle it is to pass the word to some crabby dumb mick of a DA, and he’ll bugger it up fast enough.”
    “Would a City Councilman do?” Foley said.
    “Even better,” the black man said. “Better still, a City Councilwoman. They’re the best. You know where they stand.”
    “How are the brothers, anyway?” Foley said.
    “Ah, Deetzer, Deetzer, you never learn,” the black man said. “Whenever the white man calls, it’s because he’s got a hard-on for the Panthers again. Is it the Panthers this time, Foles?”
    “I dunno,” Foley said. “I dunno who it is. I don’t even know if it is, to tell you the truth. I’d be very surprised to find out it was Panthers. From what I read in the papers, they spend most of their time in court for shooting each other.”
    “Not all of them,” the black man said. “The rank and file run a catering business.”
    “Any of them looking out to buy some machine guns?” Foley asked.
    “I suppose so,” the black man said. “They run around all the time saying: ‘Off the pigs.’ I was doing that, I’d want some machine guns around for when the pigs get mad.”
    “Do you know of anybody looking to buy machine guns?” Foley said.
    “Come on, Dave,” the black man said, “you know me: whiteman’s nigger. I don’t know any more about the Panthers’n you do. Or any other brothers. Am I the best you can do? Haven’t you guys got somebody in there that can tip you? I mean, you asking me, you need help bad. You want to know what I hear on the street, I can tell you. But I’m on the government tit, too. Different government and all, but still on the government tit. The brothers don’t talk to me. Oh, they talk to me, but they don’t talk serious. If they were buying cannons, they wouldn’t tell me about it.”
    “Deetzer,” Dave said, “I need a favor. I want you to go out and see what you can hear. I got a line that the brothers’re mobbing up, getting guns from somebody that’s in with the wise guys. The idea kind of bothers me.”
    “Jesus,” the black man said, “competition I heard of. There’s always some lunatic looking around to take the numbers action. But a treaty? News to me.”
    “News to me, too,” Foley said. “See what you can find out, huh Deets?”

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. “Whaddaya want?” it said.
    “What do
you
want?” Jackie Brown said. “A man told me you wanted something.”
    “That’s not good enough,” the voice said.
    “Fuck you,” Jackie Brown said. He turned around and began walking.
    The left rear window swung open. Another voice, lighter, said: “Are you selling something?”
    “That depends,” Jackie Brown said.
    “Wait a minute,” the lighter voice said.
    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. The voice said: “Are you a cop?”
    Jackie Brown said: “Yes.”
    The voice said: “Don’t hassle me, man. Are you the guy we’re looking for?”
    “That depends,” Jackie Brown said. “That depends on what

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