A Steel Swiss Watch: Bainbridge and Bloom

Priscilla Bloom’s eyes fluttered open.

She looked up into Mr. Bainbridge’s flinty gray eyes in surprise. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Bainbridge smiled. He was just hanging up his cell phone. “How familiar are you with American football?”


“In American football,” he continued, his low, lurching voice giving her chills, “the quarterback—you know, the guy who throws the ball?—he’s responsible for calling the teams’ plays.”

“Where’s Ross?”

He didn’t seem to hear her. “The team meets in a huddle, and the quarterback tells them what they’re going to do. But sometimes…” He laughed ever so slightly. “Sometimes, they get to the line, and the quarterback sees what he’s up against. He sees all the possibilities in front of him, and you know what he does? He changes the play. Right there. Right before the actions starts. It’s called ‘calling an audible’, my dear.”

He reached into his pocket and removed a knife.

“What are you doing?”

He smiled again. His teeth were yellow. “Calling an audible.”

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