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Angels in the Mist

Angels in the Mist

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Angels in the Mist

413 pages
6 hours
Jan 26, 2017


What if the World Trade Center and the Pentagon weren't the only targets?

Natasha Greene: Sadly single, impulsive, the “Redheaded Blond”
Trevor Oitfinger: Sadly divorced, a Montana gentleman
Jo’Baer: The leader of a terrorist cell
Time: Days leading up to 9/11
Place: Helena, Montana, USA

Jo’Baer has his team and his weapon. He had the maps and instructions for the target until he lost them. And everything was going so well. So much for keeping a low profile in this little Montana hick-town. Now he must kill to get the documents back.

And he’s running out of time.

For some strange reason Maureen entrusts an envelope to her best friend, Natasha. When Maureen goes missing Natasha calls on Maureen’s ex-husband, Trevor, for help and suddenly they are being threatened and then pursued by strange men with Arab accents. When Maureen is found dead... murdered, Natasha and Trevor find themselves as the prime suspects. Now they are on the run from terrorists and the police, until she discovers what she believes is the murder weapon in Trevor’s truck. She then runs from the man with whom she thought she was falling in love, her only companion, Hero, a very protective Labrador retriever.

Will she stop the terrorists from deploying their weapon or will she simply redirect their target to Helena, Montana? Will she convince the police she didn't help kill her best friend? Can she put her trust back in Trevor? Will she ever find romance again?

Jan 26, 2017

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Angels in the Mist - James Paddock



It was late 2000 or early 2001 when I began writing this story of terrorists entering the United States with the intent of killing hundreds, if not thousands, of American citizens. Prior to September of 2001, such a thing was unheard of expect in the minds of fiction writers. Although, at the time, I’d been involved in the craft of fiction writing for going on eight years, this was the first full-length novel I had completed. I put the final period at the end of the final chapter in early August of that year and began several rounds of edits in preparation for locating an agent and then on to the big dream of being published.

Then real terrorists struck our soil.

At the time of this writing (this dedication . . . late in coming) it has been fifteen years and four months since that dark day in our history, and I still remember it like yesterday. Someone in leadership at the Montana-based company I was working for had brought up the news report on the conference room projection system, about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers. A bunch of us were watching it live when the second plane hit and then when the towers collapsed; it was as though the air had suddenly turned dead.

It was nearly a month before I got back to my editing, only then realizing how close the story was. As a matter-of-fact, it was so close that all I had to do was change terrorist group to terrorist cell and rewrite the last few chapters to make it part of the 2001 tragedy that not only changed our country, but also changed our entire world.

This is dedicated to the lives lost or changed not only on that day, but in the days and years that followed, and the many military who have been sent forward to ensure that this never happens again.


We’ll Never Forget

For all those brave enough to withstand,

and those who wish they were.

Angels in the Mist, coming, coming,

Taking me home, taking me home.

Natasha Greene

Chapter 1


September 7, 2001

The wisdom of time is divine

The wisdom of rhyme is mine

Natasha tapped her foot against the table leg until Maureen looked up at her. Well? Natasha said.

The wisdom of patience is divine.

Natasha scrunched her nose. Huh?

Patience, Natasha . . . patience. A virtue you weren’t born with. I’ll bet your mother went into early labor because you were rocking back and forth and tapping on her rib cage.

All right. I know I’m impatient. What do you think though?

Maureen looked down at the sheet of plain white paper with the two neatly printed lines and then presented it back to Natasha. Don’t quit your day job.

Natasha snapped the paper from Maureen’s hand. Some friend you are. I have to have a job first. She wrote two more lines and turned the page back to Maureen.

It’s September, though not too hot

This cold ice cream sure hits the spot

It rhymes, Maureen said.

All right! So I’m no Emily Dickenson.

You’re not even Emily Dickenson’s hand maiden.

I like playing with the simple two-line rhythm. There’s something clean and unassuming about it.

Unassuming? What does that mean?

Natasha opened her mouth, considered the question and then said, I don’t know. She made a pout face. But I like poetry.

I like music, but have you heard me sing?

Yeah, and you stink.

Maureen tilted her head and raised her eyebrows.

Okay! Okay! But I’m sure you still sing in the shower. This is my equivalent of singing in the shower. I just want to share my shower with someone.

Maureen bent forward, put her hand on Natasha’s arm and lowered her voice. That guy right behind you would be thrilled to share your shower, and in return he would probably be glad to give your poetry a very positive critique.

Natasha let a spoonful of cherry cheesecake yogurt slowly melt down her throat. I’m not going to look.

Suit yourself. Maureen pushed her half-eaten salad aside. I hate you, you know.


The way you can thumb your nose at calories and eat anything you want. It’s disgusting.

I have a high metabolism. What can I say? You’re the one I’m jealous of though.

Maureen laughed. Jealous of what? My love affair with green leafy food? Yeah, right.

No. You can keep that crap. You’re so damn beautiful. Every hair in place. A perky little nose. Impeccably dressed.

Do you have any idea how hard I have to work to look like this? I’d give my eye teeth to be able to roll out of bed in the morning with that fresh, alive, athletic woman look. All you have to do is shake your head to fluff up your hair, and throw on a sweat shirt and jeans. If I shook my head, the guys, if there were any to begin with, would run away. If I put on jeans and a sweat shirt I’d look like a migrant worker. She picked a piece of lettuce out of her salad. Basically, Natasha, I hate you because you’re naturally beautiful.

You’re lying and you know it, Maureen. You could have any guy you want just by snapping your fingers. You’re successful and beautiful. Why wouldn’t they come running?

Maureen leaned forward. You want to know a secret? I haven’t slept with a guy in over a year. And since I don’t drop my pants right off, I can’t get past the second date. Sure, I know a lot of single men, but ask any of them about me and they’ll say, ‘Oh sure, I remember her. I dated her twice.’

So, you’re not ready to commit yet. What’s the big deal?

My point is, Natasha, the reason I don’t get in bed with a guy is because the next morning he’ll see the real me. I don’t wish that on anyone.

Natasha laughed. "You’re beautiful no matter what you say. I sure don’t see any guys beating down my door." She stared at the dripping yogurt on her spoon before slipping it between her lips.

You’re my best friend, Natasha, and I think I need to be straight with you, not give you a bunch of consoling bullshit. It’s been nearly six months. It’s time for you to come back to life.

I’m back to life. I’m here at lunch with you, aren’t I?

Once a week lunch with me asking for a critique on two line poetry and moping around Saturday garage sales is not what I call getting back into life.

I don’t mope . . . much. I’m very happy today. Really. At least until you started picking on me.

I’m not picking on you.

Right. The next thing you’re going to say is ‘get a job!’

Maureen tilted her head and raised her eyebrows again.

Okay! I’ve been thinking about it.

The insurance money isn’t going to last forever. Maybe you should consider selling the house. Get into something smaller, a fresh new apartment maybe.

Natasha looked at her friend and shook her head. No. I can’t.

I would help you and charge no fees.

I can’t. Just the thought of it turns my insides into knots. I’d rather not talk about this, please.

Maureen lifted her chin from her hands where she had been resting. Sure. I just worry about you is all. She opened her wallet, pulled out a five-dollar bill. I’ve got to get back. This should more than cover my part. Also. . . from a folder under her wallet she extracted a large brown envelope, and slid it across the table against Natasha’s hand. Keep this for me. Don’t open it unless . . . Maureen stared at it for several seconds then extracted her hand.

Natasha studied Maureen’s smile. She was sure that that smile, Maureen’s trademark, was solely responsible for her being one of the most successful independent real estate brokers in Helena. For a second she noticed a flicker or a passing shadow. Was it worry, fear, fatigue, or a reflection off a passing car? They were close enough friends, Natasha wanted to think, that if it was something really important, Maureen would share it. They would discuss it, tear it apart, analyze it until they had transformed a big problem into a number of insignificant trifles.

Even if Maureen didn’t want to talk to her about the envelope’s contents or what meaning it was having in her life, Natasha was more concerned about something else, something even more valuable. Maureen called me her best friend, she thought, and now she’s trusting me. She felt the corner of the envelope under her hand. For once in my life I will not violate it . . . unless . . .

Unless what? What is it?

Never mind. You don’t want to know. Just keep it safe. I’ll get it back from you when I pick you up tomorrow morning.

Okay. Natasha took the last bite of her dessert.

Put it in your purse.

Natasha looked at Maureen’s calm and smiling face again and then put the envelope in her purse. Why the mystery, Maureen? Are you in trouble or is your ex after you for something?

I haven’t seen Trevor in years. No, everything is fine. It’s no big deal, really. She looked away, out the window and then back. I’m just being cautious.

There it was again, that shadow. It was in her eyes, just as quick, just as questionable. And twice in a matter of seconds. What the hell is going on? she wanted to ask. Instead she scraped at the bottom of the parfait glass, licked the spoon and waited out the silence.

So, Natasha, are you going to look, or what?

Look? She reached into her shopping bag-size purse. You told me not to look.

Maureen quickly grabbed her arm. No! Not the envelope. She lightened her grip. The guy behind you. I know you’re dying to look.

No, I’m not. I forgot all about that.

He’d look good in your shower.

Natasha rolled her eyes, blotted the corner of her mouth and then let the napkin slip off the edge of the table. Oops! I dropped my napkin. She grinned at Maureen, stood, turned around, picked up the napkin, looked at the guy and then sat back down.

Gag me with a razor blade, Maureen. He’s older than Moses, and wears white shoes for God’s sake.

Maureen stood. Maybe, Natasha. But you know what they say.

No, what?

She bent over the table and whispered, An old, ugly man is better than no man at all. Then before turning and walking away she said, Guard the envelope and don’t forget the guy. Natasha stuck her tongue out at Maureen’s retreating figure. After watching her turn left outside the door, she pulled a pen from her purse and wrote two more lines."

Trust, trust, of course you must,

But if you dare, give in to lust.

She pondered those until she saw the white shoes breeze past her table. She then wrote,

Unless of course, he wears shoes white

Then lock your doors and windows tight.

She wondered where that came from, shrugged her shoulders and wrote,

A redheaded blond, some have said,

The next one who does is going to be dead.

She closed her pen, folded the paper into her purse, added another five dollars to Maureen’s, carried it to the cashier and stepped out into the September sun.

It’s a sad Montana afternoon.

Do I deserve happiness so soon?

Chapter 2


September 8, 2001

The summer couldn’t have been passing any slower for Natasha Greene. Summer was a time to be doing things, like boating, if she knew someone with a boat, or skiing, if she knew someone with a boat and skis, or camping, if she knew anyone at all who wanted to do any of those things. These were her excuses. The truth of the matter was, Natasha avoided anyone who might ask her. Maureen was a great friend because she had little leisure time and thus put few demands on Natasha’s time. Occasional lunches and Saturday morning garage sales were just about the only time that they got together.

Saturday mornings. Natasha loved Saturday mornings.

She hit the snooze and drifted in semi-consciousness until the alarm screamed again.


She punched the alarm off this time and stared up at the light reflections in the ceiling created by morning rays bouncing off her collection of cut glass figurines—a collection she didn’t even care that much about. But they had been her mother’s.

She rolled out and stumbled into the shower.

By 7:30 Natasha was sitting at her living room window with clean hair tied back in a pony tail, full of Frosted Flakes and blueberry muffins. An old issue of Redbook rested in her lap. She decided to allow herself a little more spending allowance this morning in case she ran onto a corner table she wanted. Even if she didn’t spend a dime though, she always enjoyed her Saturday morning leisure wanderings through other people’s junk. In a way it was therapeutic.

Moping! She couldn’t believe Maureen thought she was moping.

She was engrossed in an article about time management in a professional woman’s day when the Crowley kid next door started his beat up Chevy. Is he ever going to fix that muffler? she thought and then noticed it was 7:42. Where's Maureen? She’s never late.

Natasha fetched her phone and dialed Maureen’s home. When the machine cut on she hung up and dialed her cell phone. Maureen’s voice-mail picked up. She waited through the business greeting until she got the beep.

Where are you, girl? Eight o’clock and then I’m going by myself. She started to hang up then added, Is everything okay? Call me.

The rumble of Crowley's Chevy faded down the street and Natasha returned to her magazine.

At 8:10, Natasha pulled up behind Maureen’s white LeBaron convertible. Her fun car Maureen always said. To the right sat a silver-gray BMW, her work car. Natasha wondered when Maureen ever had time to have fun besides their Saturday morning excursions.

She rang the doorbell and waited, rang it again, peeked between a part in the drapes and then tapped on the glass with her ring. No lights. No movement. She looked around the quiet neighborhood before walking to the end of the porch and retrieving Maureen’s hidden key.

Natasha inserted the key and then thought to try the door first. It was unlocked. She pushed it, stepped across the threshold, yelled Hello! and listened for a response. She rubbed the goose flesh on her arms, shivered and tried shaking off the feeling of dread.

Maureen! She looked up the stairs. Hello! She put her hand on her chest. Jeez, she whispered. Slow down heart. What the hell are you afraid of? A few steps up the stairs she looked down into the living room. Everything, as always, was tidy. She could see into Maureen’s office. Her briefcase stood on the corner of her desk. Natasha continued up the stairs.

Hello . . . Maureen? Way too quiet, she thought. Hello, hello, hellooooo?

She stopped at the top of the stairs. All the doors were open, except for the linen closet. To her left was the guest room, neat, bed made. She didn’t go in. The guest bath faced her and was obviously empty. To the right was the master bedroom. The shape of the room only allowed visibility of the dresser and mirror. She took a deep breath and rushed forward. Hey, Maureen, what the hell are you still doing in bed? Come on girl, we’ve got garage sales to . . .

The room was empty and the bed made. She looked in the bathroom and shower and then stood and looked around the bedroom.

You’re too damn neat, Maureen. Where the hell are you anyway?

At the bottom of the stairs, Natasha looked toward the office again, the dining room converted to an office, actually. She walked through the living room, into the office, and on into the kitchen.

Why do I need a dining room? Maureen answered one time when Natasha questioned why she didn’t use her dining room. I have a perfectly good eat-in kitchen. And the kitchen was huge. Copper pots and stainless steel utensils hung from an overhead rack above an island. The double stainless steel sink and ceramic stove top were spotless. Several appliances stood along the side counter top. A place setting was at the ready on the small table, including a perfectly folded cloth napkin and a water goblet. She looked out the sliding glass door at the backyard. There were a few blooming flowers. The grass was freshly cut, the hot tub closed.

Hmm! She returned to the office. After sitting in Maureen’s chair and admiring the huge, nearly clear, cherry desk, Natasha opened drawers until she found paper and a pencil. She apologized for going into the house and asked Maureen to call as soon as she got in. I’m worried about you, Natasha wrote. It’s about 8:20 now and I’m going straight home. Please call me. She signed it, Love, Natasha, and left it on the blotter. She then sat and looked about the office. This is too neat, even for Maureen, she thought. Something is out of place. After some consideration she wrote, P.S. What should I do with the envelope? She stood and walked through the living room, stopping every few steps, listening and looking around. She closed the door, engaged the lock and returned the key to its hiding place.

Natasha sat in her Geo Metro for several minutes looking at the house, wishing the air-conditioning worked a bit better. Although it was cool, the morning sun had baked the inside of her car. She backed onto the street, put the Geo in first gear and then stopped. She suddenly had the chilling realization what was wrong, why the office felt too neat. She pulled back into the driveway and stared at the house.

I have to be mistaken.

She walked through the house again in her mind, came up with the same conclusion and then didn’t know what to do. Actually she knew what she had to do. She had to go back in. She had to find out if she was imagining things.

And if she wasn’t, then what?

A shiver ran down her back at that thought. She'll leave the car running in case . .

. . . in case what?

Leaving the car door swung open, she cautiously walked up the walk and onto the porch. Everything was quiet, the typical residential Saturday morning quiet. Not even a lawn mower disturbed the cool, dead air. She pressed her hands and face against the window to see if she could get her answer through the slight part in the drapes. Wrong angle.

She retrieved the key.

She could quietly open the door, peek in and leave. She inserted the key and felt the terrible banging in her chest. With deliberate control she turned the key, slow, easy. . .


She jumped back. Maureen? Is that you? She patted her chest. Slow down. Slow down She took a breath. Maureen? She looked at the key and realized that what she heard and felt was the bolt of the lock slamming open. She took a couple more deep breaths.

No reason to be afraid. You’re just being stupid, Natasha.

Her knuckles white on the knob, her other hand pressed flat against the door, she pushed until she could see through the living room into the office. But she couldn’t see the desk. The back of a rocking chair was in the way. She pushed the door all the way open and stepped in, her gaze going up the stairs and then back toward the office. The chair still blocked the view. She started up the stairs, watching across the living room, beyond the rocking chair, into the office, looking for the familiar black leather briefcase which was on the desk when she walked in the first time, but not when she sat down to write the note. One more step and the chair back cleared her line of view. In the light spilling from the still-open door sat the briefcase, right where she first saw it, right where it was not, she was almost certain, when she walked through into the kitchen.

Leave, Natasha! Get in your car and get out of here!

She retreated down the stairs, pulled the key from the door, engaged the lock and started through the living room. You’re crazy to go in there, woman. Turn and run. She turned back toward the door, looked up the stairs and then into the dark shadows not lighted by the open door. Rivers of fear ran up and down her skin. She looked at her arms. No goose flesh, but she was shaking. She rested her hand on the rocking chair, breathed deep and waited for the shaking to subside. She shivered, took another deep breath, and continued into the office.

She touched the briefcase and wondered if she could have been mistaken, a bit too much of an over active imagination. She simply overlooked it being there when she sat down to write the . . .

Oh, God!

She backed up, turned and ran into the chair, stumbled and then rushed out the door, pulling it—SLAM!—behind her. She leaped the three steps and fell forward in the grass. Oblivious to grass stains on her knees and hands, she scrambled to her feet, ran past Maureen’s convertible and dove into her Geo. She fought with reverse and then backed so quickly out of the driveway she later shuddered at the thought that a child could have been going by on a bicycle. Two blocks away she became consciously aware of her panic. She pulled across an intersection and parked.

What to do?

She leaned back and closed her eyes. She could go to the police but would they get very excited? I wrote a note, she could tell them, and came back two minutes later to find it crumbled and then flattened. And the briefcase was there, then it wasn’t, then it was. I think my friend is in trouble.

She should go home and wait. If Maureen's in trouble, she’ll call. But what if she’s been kidnapped or is dead or something?

You’re being over dramatic, Natasha. Get a grip!

She looked around, pulled back onto the street and drove home.

Chapter 3

Natasha lay on the floor, smelling the dust in the carpet. I should vacuum, she thought. She lifted her head, looked in the video cabinet, pulled out Pretty Woman and put it back. Sleepless in Seattle came out next and then went back. She pulled four more out together, saw nothing of interest in the row behind them and shoved them back in. She grabbed The Lion King, sat up, pushed it into the VCR and watched that it started playing before going to the kitchen. She drank half of a soda while staring at her reflection in the microwave. She should try calling Maureen again.


She returned to the living room and The Lion King music. After staring at the cartoon images for several minutes she dialed Maureen, got the machine for the fifth time and hung up. At 12:02 she decided the movie was no more mind occupying than the novel or the five hundred piece puzzle spread across the kitchen table. She opened the closet and pulled out the vacuum cleaner, then went to change into something more appropriate for housecleaning.

Natasha was on her knees scrubbing at stubborn rust spots behind her toilet when the phone rang. She leaned against the bathtub and picked up the portable. Hello.

Hi, Natasha.

Maureen! Where have you been?

Sorry I didn’t make it this morning. Hope you didn’t wait too long for me.

No, actually I . . .

I had to take off last night unexpectedly. Didn’t even have time to call.

Did you get my . . .

I don’t have time to talk. I have to run.

Okay, but . . .

Natasha, remember our lunch and the guy? Maureen said rapidly, barely above a whisper.


Her voice came back to normal. Well, I’ve got to get going. I’ll try and call again later. Bye.

Natasha listened to the silence for a few seconds. Maureen? She punched the off button and stared at the wall. Again when? Tonight? Tomorrow? She stood and returned the phone to its cradle in the kitchen. She took a Milky Way candy bar from the freezer and wondered why she had been so worried about Maureen.

I got upset and cleaned my entire house for nothing?

She chewed slowly on the cold, hard caramel and realized how hot it was, how hot she was. Her hair was sticking to the sweat on her face, neck and shoulders. She pushed it all back and wondered why she had taken it out of the ponytail.

She twisted off another bite of the candy bar just as there was a knock. She glanced at the clock, 2:58, and opened her front door.

Hi, David.

David Crowley stood with his mouth hanging open. Natasha waited longer than her patience would normally allow. Well, what is it, David?

His eyes dropped to her feet then quickly came back to her face. Ah, I just happened to notice, Miss Greene, that your grass needs mowing again. He looked away, into her yard.

She twisted off another bite of the candy bar and followed his eyes. Yes, it does appear so, doesn’t it. She should have been out working in the yard instead of inside, even though the house needed it more. There was no way she had the energy now to get outside. How much?


Twenty! Last time it was ten.

He was acting nervous, fidgeting, hands in his pockets. He looked around the small front yard. But there’s more that needs done this time. Like trimming the bushes and stuff.

And stuff. She laughed. I have two scraggly bushes combined, front and back. What other stuff?

His eyes flicked across the yard again, returned to pause briefly at her chest then back to the yard. Ah . . ah . . . ah . . . it could use a little . . . ah . . . fertilizer and . . . ah . . . ah . . . weed killer or something.

Natasha remembered the halter top and short shorts she wore while cleaning, and suddenly became aware of the sweat-soaked cotton fabric pulling tight across her breasts. She sucked in a lung-full of air, arched her shoulders and grinned. Or something, huh? I don’t have fertilizer or weed killer.

David swallowed and wet his lips and turned back toward her. Ah . . . I . . . ah. He was standing a step lower than her and the bulge of her nipples was at his eye level. Ah . . . ah. He looked at her feet and then her face. She ran a hand through her hair and grinned even more. His eyes jerked away. I could . . . ah . . . take care of . . . ah . . . that part.

That’s a nice offer, David. She slowly wiped at the sweat on her neck. It is so hard you know.

He was half turned away, trying to look and not look at the same time. Ah . . . ah . . . hard, Miss . . . ah . . . Greene? He took another quick glance then watched a kid go by on a bicycle. Natasha took the opportunity to look down at herself and was amazed at how turned on she was by this sixteen-year-old.

It’s hard, David. It’s hard to keep up this entire house and yard by myself. Tell you what. I’ll pay you $12.00 to mow and trim, plus weed and feed.

Twelve dollars! He turned back toward her. Ah . . . ah . . . do you know . . . ah . . , he turned away again, . . . ah . . . how much fertilizer and ah . . . ah . . . weed killer costs me?

I have a good idea how much it costs your dad.

He glanced back at her, grinned and looked away. How about . . . ah . . . ah . . . fifteen? I need a new . . . ah . . . muffler for . . . ah . . . my truck.

Well, I could have told you that, David. Let’s strike a deal at eighteen. You and your dad can work out his share.

Sure . . . ah . . . Miss Greene. That’s . . . ah . . . ah . . . deal.

I have a hunch he’ll donate his toward the muffler. Let’s shake on it like gentlemen.

Sure. He presented his hand. She took it and held it extra long, enjoying watching him squirm.

Then it’s a deal, she said. Eighteen dollars. His eyes dropped to her breasts and back up. And you promise that it goes toward your muffler, right? He nodded and tried to pull away.

Thank you, David, she said and let loose of his hand. He ran down the steps. She watched him disappear into his garage then said to herself, You’ve still got it girl, even if he is just a kid. She went into the house and put the cleaning supplies away.

I wonder what he would have done if he were ten years older? I wonder what I would have done if he were ten years older?

She fixed a ham & cheese sandwich and drew herself a bath.

Natasha woke to David’s mower outside her window. She sat for a while in the lukewarm water trying to decide whether to run some more hot water, or get out, when she remembered Maureen’s question and her sudden termination of the phone call. Remember the guy? she had asked like she didn’t want anyone else to hear. Maybe it wasn’t a question. It could have been a statement. Remember the guy. What about the guy? He wore white shoes and was old, like fifty or more. She sat up and moved her sandwich plate to the floor. Hawaiian-like shirt and light gray slacks, she further thought, and no hair. Or maybe it was very short. What about him, Maureen? she asked out-loud. She pulled the plug, stood and reached for the towel.

Natasha pushed some of the puzzle pieces aside on the kitchen table, laid down a plain sheet of white paper and peeled back the wrapper on an ice cream sandwich. Okay, she mumbled around a mouthful of strawberry ice cream. She wrote,

Man with white shoes

What was it Maureen said? Remember the guy. She wrote that, put bold quote marks around it and then added the description she could remember. She wrote,

Briefcase there --not there – there

Note crumpled

House unlocked

Both cars in driveway

What else? She peeled back more paper, took a bite and wrote,

What else?

She underlined it, twice. The lawn mower stopped.

She didn’t say, Remember the guy. She said, Remember our lunch and the guy. Natasha wrote that down. So . . . what does it all mean? She crumpled the ice

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