Reasonable Men

Outside the restaurant Keaton’s town car crept along the curb, checking addresses, collecting floppy wet spring snowflakes. By this time in March, the Cleveland winter seemed endless. Lucille’s was just a cut above a diner and didn’t see a lot of limo customers, so Crump, sitting inside in a yellow plastic booth, knew it was Keaton. He felt the twinge of excitement and dread traveling along his centerline, a twinge that he remembered from the big showdowns of earlier years. He welcomed it back—things had often turned out well that started with that.

It was Crump’s kind of fun: no briefcases, no assistants, no papers. Just two grown men who had been around and knew what they were doing, and a pile of money in the balance. He set his face into the mask he would wear until Keaton had gone, a blend of detached calm and faint amusement.

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