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At exactly four P.M. Ruth, in a pay phone at a Shell station in Patchogue, Long Island, made the second call.

Myers residence.

Let me talk to George Myers.

Whos calling, please?

Tell him, Ruth said, its the people who have his kid.

One moment, please.

But it was only fifteen or twenty seconds before Myers was on the phone, saying, Hows Bobby? Is he all right?

Hes fine, Ruth said. Youve got the money?

Yes. Cant I speak to him?

He isnt here. You do right, youll have him back tonight.

Ill do what you say, dont worry about that. Im not the one has to worry, Ruth said. I want you to get into your car with the money. Use the Lincoln. You can bring your chauffeur along, but nobody else.

All right, Myers said. All right.

Drive over to Northern State Parkway, Ruth told him, and get up on the eastbound. Drive at a steady fifty. Well meet you along the way.

Yes, Myers said. All right.

Do it now, Ruth said, and hung up. Going outside, she got into the Pinto, drove away from the Shell station, and headed for the other phone booth.

Northward, a block from the Myers estate, Parker and Krauss sat in the Dodge and waited. Henley and Angie were back at the farmhouse, watching the kid.

Here he comes, Krauss said.

They watched the Lincoln go by, the chauffeur driving, Myers hunched forward nervously on the back seat. When it was two blocks away, Krauss started the Dodge, and they moved off in its wake.

After a few blocks Parker said, Hes going the right way. And theres nobody else with him.

Right. Theres a phone in this drugstore up here.

They let the Lincoln go on, heading for Northern State Parkway. While Krauss stayed in the car, Parker went into the drugstore and called Ruth at the other pay phone. She had just arrived, and picked it up on the first ring. Yes?

Hes on his way, Parker said. Hell be taking the ramp in maybe two minutes.

Ruth checked her watch, Right, she said.

Parker got back into the Dodge, and Krauss took off again in the wake of the Lincoln, which was no longer in sight. They entered the parkway, Krauss lifted them to sixty-five, and soon they passed the Lincoln, moving obediently at fifty in the right lane. In the back seat, Myers was still hunching forward.

In the phone booth, Ruth dialed the operator, and told her, I want to call a mobile unit in a private car.

Do you have the number?

Yes, I do.

Krauss reached their exit, took the off ramp, looped around under the parkway, and stopped next to the wall of the overpass. Theyd chosen this exit with care, it having no nearby buildings or population. Potato fields stretched away flat and dry in all directions, with stands of trees in the distance. To the south the secondary road led to the first fringes of a town, but northward there were merely trees and the black top curving away out of sight.

In the limousine moving along the parkway like a slow black whale amid darting dolphins, George Myers leaned forward in his seat, staring at the road ahead, wondering when and how they would contact him. The suitcase full of money was on the seat beside him. Albert Judson, the chauffeur, kept his eyes on the road and the pace of the car at a steady fifty.

The telephone rang.

For the first few seconds, Myers was too disoriented to realize what that sound was. His concentration had been too exclusively outside the car, out ahead of him where the kidnappers were waiting. Now, startled, he looked quickly around, then suddenly understood. Thats why they wanted him to use the Lincoln; they intended to phone him.

He picked up the receiver, almost afraid of the black plastic. Tentatively, he held it to his face. Hello?

Myers? It was the same womans voice, cold and impersonal, with a tinge of roughness.

Yes, he said. I know who you are.

Tell your chauffeur to stop at mile marker eighty-seven. At the small green sign. Youll find a milk bottle there with a piece of paper in it. That will give you your instructions.

Yes, I will. But when

She had hung up. Myers held the phone a second longer, anxious, frustrated, then leaned forward again, saying, Albert.

The chauffeur slightly turned his head, offering an ear. Sir?

Myers cradled the telephone Were to stop at mile marker eighty-seven, he said.

Yes, sir. And, a second later, Theres number eighty-six.

Myers watched the small green sign go by, then looked forward again.

It was a long mile, but at the end of it the chauffeur eased the Lincoln off onto the gravel and came to a smooth stop next to the sign with the cream numerals 87 on it. Wait, Albert, Myers said, and climbed from the car.

The milk bottle, looking like any piece of rubbish littering the edge of the highway, was on its side next to the sign. Picking it up, Myers fished the scrap of paper out of it, then tossed the bottle away and read the instructions:

Stop at next overpass. Drop suitcase on far verge of road below. Drive on.

Myers got back into the car. We have to stop again at the next overpass, he said.

Yes, sir.

The chauffeur eased them back out amid the traffic, and now drove even more slowly than before, waiting for the overpass.

It was less than a mile later, just beyond an exit ramp. The chauffeur stopped the limousine on the gravel again and Myers got out, this time carrying the suitcase. Looking around, hearing the whisk whisk whisk of traffic hurrying by, he wondered if the police were living up to their promise. Theyd assured him they wouldnt try to interfere with the money transfer in any way, wouldnt try to set any traps. Lets get Bobby back first, one of them had said, and then well go after the kidnappers. That was the way Myers felt, too, and the condition he would have in any event insisted on. But was it possible theyd been lying to him? Could some of these other cars rushing by him contain plainclothes policemen?

But all he had now was hope: the hope that he could trust the kidnappers, the hope that he could trust the police. Turning, he walked to the concrete railing of the overpass, looked over, and saw no one down below. The far verge was to his left. He walked that way, hoisted the suitcase onto the railing, and let it drop. He saw it hit the ground down there, amid the weeds, and then he turned and walked heavily back to the Lincoln.

Down below, Parker got out of the Dodge. A little dust settled where the suitcase had landed. No traffic came down the ramp, nothing moved anywhere. Parker walked swiftly back, picked up the suitcase, carried it to the car. Krauss was shifting into drive as Parker got into the seat beside him.

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