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65

LITTLE IS KNOWN OF US, Mac said. You hear that?

Were royally screwed, Ace insisted. That guy Faulk was right. What we gotta do is flee the country.

To where? Mac wanted to know. And using what for cash? We wouldnt last a week, Ace, in some foreign country, and once they look at us and start to wonder how come were on the lam, then we are screwed.

The television had moved on to commercials. More beer, Buddy said, offed the set, and got heavily to his feet. So far, he hadnt come down on one side or the other in the current dispute over whether, in the current crisis, they should (1) vamoose, or (2) do nothing.

They were in Buddys rec room again, and with some trepidation theyd been watching CNN on the old rabbit-ears antenna television set against the unfinished wall under the big silk banner that lived here when it wasnt being used at union rallies or on picket lines. Against a royal blue background, the bright yellow words curved above and below the initials:


Amalgamated Conglomerated Workers

ACWFFA

Factory Floor Alliance


As Buddy went to the World War II refrigerator for some up-to-date beer, Ace said, If that guy Faulk thinks he oughta run, we oughta listen. Those were smart guys, educated guys, remember? Harvard, or maybe Buddys right, Dartmouth, but not dummies.

Passing right over the blatant attempt to suck up to the uncommitted Buddy, One of thems arrested, Mac pointed out, which is how smart he is. And the other one skipped because Mark knows him and can identify him, and according to the TV, Mark even gave the cops Osbourne Faulks name.

Buddy, distributing cans of beer and resuming his seat, said, Not a good way to treat a pal.

And the point is, Mac said, if hed give them Faulk, hed give them us twice as fast but he didnt. And you know why?

They didnt get around to it yet, Ace said.

Oh, they got around to it, Mac said. Little is known of us, thats what the guy said, except were in the same union together.

Which means, Ace said, they know enough that theyre probably already on the way. Canada, Mac, we could disappear in Canada.

Theyre not on the way, Mac insisted, because Mark doesnt know our names.

Sure he does, Ace said.

Pointing at each of them, and then at himself, Mac said, Ace, Buddy, Mac. Thats not name enough to lead anybody to us.

Buddy said, Mac, they knew my name, from the registration on the car.

Faulk did, Mac said, and hes fled. Ace, if you make a move, youll just draw attention to us.

Looking around, Buddy said, Come to think of it, you know, I cant go anywhere until I finish this room.

Exactly, Mac said, and that took care of that.


| The Road to Ruin | c