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The Letters

The Letters

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Published by George W Parker
Cocaine, murder and love. What else would you expect on a summer day? It is July in Dallas and hot. Then the fat man is murdered and everything gets hotter. Private detective Marv Davis is hired for an easy job, recover some stolen items. That easy job quickly leads him into in a web of drug related murders strung between downtown alleys and North Dallas boulevards. The police and drug dealers are hot on his heels and, oh yes, a beautiful woman.
Cocaine, murder and love. What else would you expect on a summer day? It is July in Dallas and hot. Then the fat man is murdered and everything gets hotter. Private detective Marv Davis is hired for an easy job, recover some stolen items. That easy job quickly leads him into in a web of drug related murders strung between downtown alleys and North Dallas boulevards. The police and drug dealers are hot on his heels and, oh yes, a beautiful woman.

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Published by: George W Parker on Jan 27, 2013
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novels by George W. Parker The Krew Death;Juxtaposed The Letters Vanishing Trick Conversations at Night The Boy in the Box

The Letters by George W. Parker

Copyright © 2012-2013 George W. Parker Scribd Edition
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the permission of George W. Parker.

Cover design by nge!ine Co!!ier.

Scribd Edition, License Notes "his ebook is !icensed #or yo$r persona! en%oy&ent on!y. "his ebook &ay not be re-so!d or given a'ay to other peop!e. (# yo$ 'o$!d !ike to share this book 'ith another person) p!ease p$rchase an additiona! copy #or each recipient. (# yo$*re reading this book and did not p$rchase it) or it 'as not p$rchased #or yo$r $se on!y) then p!ease ret$rn to S&ash'ords.co& and p$rchase yo$r o'n copy. "hank yo$ #or respecting the hard 'ork o# this a$thor.

Chapter 1 "he s+$irre!s &ade &e !ate. (t 'as t'o &in$tes a#ter &idnight 'hen ( parked and p$t the top $p on the C$t!ass. !ight bree,e r$st!ed the tops o# the trees enc!osing the !itt!e cove-!ike parking area. ( stood o$tside the #ence o# -!d City Park %$st so$th o# do'nto'n. cross St. Pa$! Street the &bassador P!a,a .ote! sat +$iet!y. (t !ooked !ike a s!o' night over there. b!ock to the 'est 'as hooker territory. "here 'as a!'ays p!enty going on over there. po!e !ight !it the park/s entrance. -ther !ights 'ere scattered across the park gro$nds. &ong the oak and e!& trees shie!ding the parking area so&e crape &yrt!e b!oo&ed. "he park #ence 'as ent'ined 'ith b!oo&ing honeys$ck!e. "he air s&e!t s'eet. "he canted) 'ooden gate 'as st$ck open on a s!ight rise o# the gro$nd. ( 'a!ked in. "o the !e#t 'as a c!$ster o# cedar trees. (n a nook o# the trees 'as a p!a+$e to 0e!!e 0oyd. Severa! yards so$th) on the right) a 'hite stone &arker co&&e&orated 0ro'der Springs. gro$p o# si!ent) dark b$i!dings !ay si1ty yards beyond. ( didn/t see anyone. ( &oved back near the gate and 'aited in the !ight) 'atching the parking !ot. 2y back 'as to the cedars. ( &ess 'ith &y #ingernai!s 'hen (/& nervo$s) so ( had &y hands in &y pockets to keep the& #ro& #idgeting. ( tho$ght abo$t Pat 2organ/s bea$ti#$! s&i!e and that took &y &ind o## o# b$siness. ( heard the snap o# a dry !i&b behind &e. "$rning) #ighting to get &y hands o$t o# &y pockets) ( heard a 3s'ish.3 sap i&pacted against the back) right side o# &y

head. ( #e!t the s&a!! bits o# !ead as they spread the&se!ves o$t across &y sca!p. "he night 'ent b!ack. "he grave! path 'as in &y #ace. 2y head #e!t sp!it open. ( co$!dn/t &ove &y !egs. ( str$gg!ed. (t took &in$tes #or &y head to c!ear. 2y !egs 'ere as!eep. Ear! 4$rr) 0ig Ear! 4$rr 'as !ying #ace do'n across &y !egs. .e 'as dead. Cra'!ing in the grave!) p$!!ing &y !egs a#ter &e ( got o$t #ro& $nder hi&. ( sat $p and r$bbed &y !egs to restart their circ$!ation. ( had been o$t #or a 'hi!e. "he big &an #e!t as co!d as ice. &eta! sha#t 'ith a 'ooden hand!e) #or&ing a "shape) protr$ded o$t o# his back. "here 'as b!ood aro$nd the 'o$nd b$t it hadn/t b!ed &$ch. 2y !egs ting!ed as ( ro!!ed hi& onto his side. .e 'as 'earing the sa&e !inen s$it. .is handkerchie# 'as on the gro$nd near his hand. Going thro$gh his pants and %acket pockets ( gave the body a +$ick once over. .e had the once #o!ded #ive h$ndred (/d ret$rned to hi& p!$s #ive others !ike it in his 'a!!et. "e1as driver*s !icense veri#ied his identity. s&a!! sap 'as in a %acket pocket. 0y the !ight o# the po!e !a&p at the gate ( read &y 'atch) one-ten. ( had to s$ck it $p. ( crossed St. Pa$! and ca!!ed the po!ice #ro& the hote!.

Chapter 2 .e ca&e in !ate one 2onday a#ternoon in 5$!y. ( 'as reading) trying to #inish another day. 2y o##ice 'as on Park ven$e. "he address 'as the b$i!ding/s on!y reco&&endation. -n the edge o# do'nto'n the b$i!ding boo& never got near eno$gh to %ack $p the rent) b$t it 'as c!ose eno$gh a#ter the S67 b$st #or an occasiona! tro$b!ed bank c!ient to 'a!k over) or #or a 'ino 'ith rea! tro$b!e to $se the door'ay as a bedroo&. "he b$i!ding retained its tr$e char&) o!d and ine1pensive. "he o##ice 'as a sing!e roo& on the so$th side o# the b$i!ding. "he a#ternoon s$n beat do'n on it &aking it hot and $nco&#ortab!e. 5$!y in 4a!!as is a!'ays hot and $nco&#ortab!e. Short strea&ers on the air vent &oved on!y eno$gh to say they &oved. "hings happen in the heat. So$therners 'a!k s!o') ta!k s!o' beca$se o# the heat. "hey don/t ai& to get e1cited. "e&pers shorten. 8io!ence goes $p. Everything #o!!o's the &erc$ry. (/d spent the day in the o##ice) trying to stay coo!. -ther than &y book) the on!y thing ( had seen d$ring the day 'as the !ettering on the #rosted g!ass o# &y o##ice door) 2arvin 4avis) Private (nvestigator. ( !ike the so$nd o# that. (# ( didn/t (/d be raising soybeans or #ar&ing rice. -# co$rse it isn/t easy to sit back and read 'hen yo$/re driving a tractor) b$t yo$ can !isten to yo$r C4s. "he a#ternoon tra##ic so$nds 'ere a$dib!e thro$gh the do$b!e 'indo's behind &e. 2y d$sty &ini b!inds tried to stop the s$n.

9o$ get $se to the reg$!ar so$nds aro$nd yo$ and don/t notice the&. 0$t add so&ething ne' and the #a&i!iar &akes it stand o$t !ike a dissonant chord. ( !ooked $p #ro& the book. So&eone 'as &oving +$iet!y do'n the corridor. ( c!osed the co!!ection o# C. . 4$pin stories 'itho$t &arking &y p!ace and set it on the desk. ( kno' the book #or'ard and back'ard. ( can open it any'here and pick $p 'here ( !e#t o##. ( took &y #eet o## the desk and sat $p straight. !arge #ra&ed &an shro$ded the #rosted g!ass. "he doorknob 'as taken in a h$ge hand. "he door sh$ttered and s'$ng open. .e 'as big) over si1 and a ha!# #eet ta!! and #at) grotes+$e!y so. G$t&an 'o$!d have !ooked !ike a thin &an co&pared to this g$y. Easing his girth side'ays thro$gh the porta! he crossed the roo& on s$rprising!y !ight #eet. .is #!esh s'ir!ed and #!oated abo$t hi& as he 'a!ked) !ike a &an i&prisoned in a &o$nd o# %e!!o. .e 'as dressed in a s!ight!y tai!ored sack) &ade o# a !inen !ooking #abric. With a red handkerchie# in his !e#t hand he contin$a!!y 'iped perspiration #ro& his #ace and neck. When he sat do'n across #ro& &e ( 'as s$rprised the chair didn/t co!!apse $nder hi&. 3Wh$$$$ ...3 he sighed so#t!y taking the !oad o## his #eet. "he bree,e #ro& his !$ngs 'as a re!ie# to &e) coo!er than the air-conditioning. .is breath 'as s'eet s&e!!ing) &inty. 3What can ( do #or yo$ 2r....:3 34$rr)3 he ans'ered in a p!easant) 'e!!-&od$!ated voice. ;o nasa! tone. (t 'asn/t a "e1as voice) 2id'estern. 9o$ a!'ays e1pect so&eone 'ith an e1tre&e b$i!d to have an e1tre&e voice to &atch. (# yo$ had spoke to hi& over the phone yo$ 'o$!d never have drea&t 'hat he !ooked !ike. .e !eaned #or'ard o##ering &e his hand. "he handkerchie# in his other hand patted his #ace) 30ig Ear! 4$rr.3

"he hand 'as so#t and &$shy) da&p and big eno$gh to get !ost in. s it enve!oped &ine ( co$!dn/t deter&ine i# anything #ir& !ay $nderneath it. <e!easing the grip and sitting back in &y chair ( asked) 3What can ( do #or yo$ 2r. 4$rr:3 3P!ease) ca!! &e Ear!)3 he said earnest!y) 3Everyone does.3 .e 'as a hard &an to ta!k to= his #!esh never see&ed to stop &oving. .is 'eight gave hi& a rosy co&p!e1ion. With his b$i!d his age 'as hard to deter&ine. .e !ooked a !itt!e o!der than &e. .is b!$e eyes 'ere a #act tho$gh. "hey hid behind #at s'o!!en !ids. 3-kay) Ear!= 'hat/s the prob!e&:3 3(/& a#raid that (/ve been robbed.3 "here 'as a deeper reddening o# his cheeks. 3"e!! &e abo$t it.3 .is #ace gre' even redder. 3(# yo$ don/t &ind) co$!d yo$ te!! &e a !itt!e abo$t yo$rse!# #irst: ( don/t kno' &$ch abo$t picking detectives. nd ( do need the right &an.3 "he handkerchie# 'orked aro$nd his #ace. 3S$re) no prob!e&.3 ( can ta!k abo$t &yse!# to a tota! stranger. (t/s easy i# it/s b$siness. ( ta!k as tho$gh 'e/re disc$ssing a third party. 9o$ can get persona! beca$se the third party is not there. nd no one kno's i# it/s the tr$th or not. 3(/& #ro& rkansas) b$t don/t say that too !o$d in "e1as. ( 'ent to > and st$died !a'. (n the ear!y /?0/s ( &oved do'n here and %oined the 4a!!as po!ice. ( 'as yo$ng and 'anted to see %$stice in action. 9o$ kno' ho' it is 'hen yo$/re yo$ng.3 4$rr s&i!ed. 3( sa' so&e %$stice. ;o' (/& %$st trying to earn a !iving. ( keep spare c!othes in the c!oset and ( can take care o# &yse!# i# ( have to. ;o big dea!s.3

Ear! !ooked aro$nd the o##ice. 3( don/t see any dip!o&a/s on the 'a!!s.3 ( !a$ghed. 3"here aren/t any dip!o&as. ( said ( st$died) ( didn/t say ( #inished. 9o$/re s$ppose to have a degree be#ore entering !a' schoo!. ( took the !a' entrance e1a& a co$p!e o# ho$rs shy o# getting &y 0 . ( did pretty 'e!! on it and ta!ked the& into !etting &e start. Pro&ised (/d get those other t'o ho$rs right a'ay. ( never did get the&.3 3We!! they #ina!!y checked &y transcript. "hey sho'ed &e the door. @inishing didn/t see& so i&portant then. Sti!! doesn/t.3 3( had &ore than eno$gh co!!ege ho$rs to %oin the po!ice #orce. So here ( a&.3 ( s&i!ed into 4$rr/s eyes. "hey hadn/t &oved #ro& &y #ace. 39o$ &$st !ike 'hat yo$/re doing.3 3We!! ( 'o$!dn/t 'ant to be a !a'yer. "his pays the bi!!s) $s$a!!y. nd ( ans'er to &yse!#.3 ( pa$sed #or a second be#ore asking) 34o yo$ &ind i# ( asked ho' yo$ heard o# &e: 2arketing !ikes to kno':3 ( kno' it is a st$pid %oke b$t ( p$!! it o$t o# the bag every once in a 'hi!e. 4$rr/s eyebro's ca&e together in tho$ght. .e !ooked at &e 'itho$t ans'ering. ( !a$ghed. 35$st kidding. "here/s no 2arketing 4epart&ent. 0$t that/s 'hat peop!e a!'ays say) isn/t it:3 4$rr/s eyebro's re!a1ed. 34oes any o# that te!! yo$ anything:3 3-h) yes)3 4$rr s&i!ed. 3( #ee! +$ite co&#ortab!e 'ith yo$. (t/s nice to kno' 'ho yo$/re doing b$siness 'ith. "hat thing abo$t &arketing is very #$nny.3 "he handkerchie# &oved aro$nd his #ace. .e e1ha!ed another !ong #ragrant breath. 3 re yo$ &arried 2r. 4avis:3 3P!ease) Ear!) ca!! &e 2arv.3 ( !eaned back in &y chair. "he spring on the botto& s+$eaked a !itt!e. 3 nd no) (/& not &arried. (/ve got a cat 'ho passes #or &y boss and (/& trying to gro' bonsai trees instead o# raising kids.3

.e !eaned #or'ard. 3We!! yo$ see) ( a& &arried. nd that is the prob!e&)3 his voice tightened a !itt!e. 3( &et a 'o&an at a bar !ast night. She said her na&e 'as <$th .o'ard. She 'ent to a hote! 'ith &e. We had a co$p!e o# drinks together and that/s a!! ( re&e&ber $nti! ( 'oke $p this &orning and #o$nd she had robbed &e.3 gain the red handkerchie# 'orried abo$t his &oist #orehead. 3She took &y 'atch) a <o!e1= and over nine h$ndred do!!ars ( had in cash.3 3 nything e!se &issing) credit cards) bank cards) checks:3 ( asked. "he red c!oth 'orked its 'ay aro$nd the back o# his neck as he ans'ered) 3;o.3 3.ave yo$ spoken to the po!ice:3 .e sett!ed deeper into the chair. (t creaked $nder the test b$t sti!! bore $p. 3;o) ( haven/t and ( can/t. 2y 'i#e 'o$!d ki!! &e i# she #o$nd o$t abo$t this. 9o$ $nderstand don/t yo$:3 ( nodded and asked) 3Where did yo$ &eet this <$th .o'ard:3 3( 'as at a p!ace ca!!ed 2ercedes.3 3.o' &$ch !onger are yo$ going to be in to'n Ear!:3 3"'o &ore days) then ( head back ... 3 .e stopped in &id-sentence) 3.o' did yo$ kno' ( 'o$!d be !eaving:3 ( ans'ered) 3@irst) yo$r voice= Chicago) isn/t it:3 .e nodded his #!eshy #ace yes. 3 nd second beca$se yo$ 'ent to 2ercedes carrying too &$ch cash) !ooking #or so&e #$n) and yo$ #o$nd it) p!$s a 2ickey @inn. 7oca!s don/t go in there !oaded !ike yo$ did. "his sort o# thing happens a !ot $p there.3 4$rr rested back into the chair 'ith a co&p!acent !ook on his #ace. 32r. 2arvin 4avis) yo$ are the &an #or &e. 9o$/!! 'ant a retainer 'on/t yo$:3 3We!!) #irst) ( 'ant to say the po!ice 'o$!d be yo$r best bet. (/& not p$tting &yse!# do'n or anything b$t they have

a #i!e on so&e o# the gir!s 'orking this sca&. "hey co$!d probab!y #ind her #aster.3 "he handkerchie# circ!ed 4$rr/s #ace and neck be#ore he spoke) very se!# satis#ied) 3;o) 2r. 4avis) yo$/re the &an) s&art and discreet. (/& s$re yo$ can #ind her be#ore ( !eave.3 @ro& his inside %acket pocket he p$!!ed o$t a !arge) bi#o!d 'a!!et. .e e1tracted t'o bi!!s and p$shed the& across the desk to &e. "hey 'ere #ive h$ndred do!!ar bi!!s. .is b$siness) 'hat ever it 'as) &$st be good to carry that &$ch &oney a#ter being robbed. 3"his 'i!! be eno$gh to get yo$ started 'on/t it:3 he asked. ( picked $p the t'o crisp) #resh bi!!s and #o!ded the& in t'o. "hey #e!t good. ( t$cked one o# the #ivers in &y shirt pocket and handed the other back to 4$rr. 3"his/!! be p!enty)3 ( said indicating &y #ive h$ndred. 3( get A120 a day p!$s e1penses) so yo$/re good #or at !east three days.3 4$rr took the ret$rning #ive h$ndred and p!aced it back in the big 'a!!et. 3( !ike an honest &an)3 he said s&i!ing to &e. 3(# ( &ay ask) ho' 'i!! yo$ start:3 3(t/s a !itt!e !ate in the day to do &$ch. ( 'on/t start $nti! to&orro'. ( have so&e #riend/s on the po!ice #orce 'ho &ay be ab!e to steer &e in the right direction. (/!! ca!! the& #irst thing to&orro'.3 3;o na&es:3 4$rr asked 'orried!y. 3;o na&es)3 ( ass$red hi&. 37ike ( said) they/re #riends.3 (t/s a!'ays i&portant to &ake the correct #irst step. (t sets the tone #or the entire trip. "his 'as a no brainer and no h$rry. (# ( #o$nd the 'o&an) 4$rr/s 'atch and cash 'o$!d be !ong gone. She 'o$!d have traded the& #or so&ething #or her ar& or nose by no'. nd) i# ( didn/t #ind her) 4$rr 'o$!d be gone in a co$p!e o# days. .e 'o$!d have to #ace the #act= he 'as in tro$b!e 'ith his 'i#e. .e %$st didn/t 'ant to ad&it it yet.

nd ( 'asn/t going to $pset his app!e cart. (# he 'anted to spend his &oney) ( 'as in b$siness so he co$!d. ( asked) 3Can yo$ describe the 'o&an #or &e:3 3Short) abo$t #ive #oot ta!!) dark bro'n hair) and she 'eighed aro$nd 1B0 !bs.)3 4$rr ans'ered rapid!y. s ( 'rote do'n the description ( didn/t co&&ent. "here/s no acco$nting #or tastes. 3P!ease don/t be o##ended)3 ( said) 3b$t ( need to kno' 'hat race 'as she:3 .e s&i!ed and ans'ered) 3-h that/s a!! right) ( +$ite $nderstand. She 'as 'hite.3 3"hen ( g$ess that/s it Ear!. "hank-yo$ #or asking &e to he!p. Where can ( reach yo$:3 3<oo& C0D at the 2arriott across Ste&&ons #ro& the "rade Center)3 he ratt!ed o##. We stood and e1changed grips. .e !e#t. ( trans#erred the #ive h$ndred to &y 'a!!et. (t had t$rned into a pro#itab!e day. Picking $p &y book ( sat do'n and read #or a 'hi!e !etting r$sh ho$r tra##ic sett!e so&e. ( c!osed $p shop at #ive-thirty.

Chapter 3 "he a#ternoon 'as hot= the s$n beat do'n on &e. (t 'o$!d t$rn into one o# those nights 'hen yo$ co$!d hear the cotton gro'ing in the s$rro$nding #ie!ds. ( 'as standing near the dirt road in #ront o# 2o&/s ho$se. b!ack car streaked to'ard &e. "he d$st c!o$d p!$&ing o$t behind it &ade it easy to #o!!o'. "he car raced $p the road) d$st #ogging everything behind it. "he #at &an) 4$rr) 'as driving. .e roared past. Cynthia sat beside hi&. "he d$st c!o$d enve!oped &e) strang!ing &e. (t 'as in &y eyes) &y nose) &y &o$th. ( #o$ght #or air. ( 'oke $p. 2y head 'as $nder the pi!!o's) &y right ar& tang!ed in a pi!!o'case. ( p$shed the pi!!o's a'ay and sat $p. "he 7E4s on the c!ock read CE23 2. ( !ay on &y back and tried to catch &y breath. 3God) ( hate night&ares. Where did that co&e #ro&:3 ( a!'ays have good g$y) bad g$y drea&s. (/ve seen .igh ;oon too &any ti&es. !o$d) deep-throated ca!! ca&e #ro& so&e'here near the kitchen. 3"hat da&n cat. Why doesn/t she ring the door be!! !ike a nor&a! person) instead o# sho'ing $p in drea&s:3 ( c!osed &y eyes. Cynthia ca!!ed again. 3 !! right) a!! right.3 ( s'$ng &y !egs o$t o# the bed and got $p. "he !ight #ro& the c!ock 'as bright eno$gh ( co$!d see &y 'ay into the ha!!. @ro& there it 'as c!ear sai!ing a!! the 'ay to the patio doors. ( don/t !ike a c!$ttered ho$se. 9o$ sho$!d be ab!e to 'a!k a straight) i# narro') path any'here.

Cynthia shot thro$gh the opened door. 3"o$gh night:3 ( asked. 3( 'as doing %$st great &yse!#.3 ( t$rned to go back to bed and near!y tripped over her. ( patted her head. 3Go on and get so&ething to eat. (/& going back to bed.3 She &eo'ed a good night and 'a!ked o## to'ard her #ood bo'!. S!eep 'as !ong gone. ( tossed and t$rned) b$ried &y head back $nder the pi!!o's) tried every thing ( co$!d think o# to get back to s!eep. ( 'o$nd $p 'atching the c!ock. 0y a +$arter o# si1 ( sti!! hadn/t decided i# there 'as any va!idity to drea& ana!ysis. 3-h shit)3 'as &y #irst tho$ght 'hen ( ne1t !ooked at the c!ock) FE02. (/d over s!ept big ti&e. P!$s) ( 'as tired. ( p$!!ed on &y robe and h$rried into the kitchen to start a pot o# co##ee. Cynthia 'as no'here to be seen. ( co$!dn/t ho!!er at her and &ake &yse!# #ee! better. 5$st the s&e!! o# the gro$nd co##ee p$t so&e sense into &e. 32arvin) 2arvin. "here/s no h$rry. !! yo$ need to do is ca!! @.W. 9o$ can do that #ro& here. 4$rr 'on/t kno' any di##erence.3 ( 'atched the co##ee bre' 'ith an e&pty &ind) an occ$pationa! ha,ard. When ( had &y c$p #i!!ed ( &oved over to the tab!e and sat do'n. "he roo& 'as bright 'ith s$n!ight. "he air conditioner &ade it #ee! !ike a spring &orning. ( sipped &y co##ee and tried to get the kinks o$t. #ter three c$ps ( #e!t a!&ost h$&an. 3(/d better ca!! @.W. be#ore he gets b$sy.3 "he phone 'as back in the bedroo&. ( p$!!ed on so&e %eans be#ore dia!ing the do'nto'n po!ice station. "he phone has a !ong cord on it. ( &ove aro$nd bet'een roo&s a !ot. Whi!e the phone 'as ringing ( 'a!ked back to the dining tab!e. 'o&an ans'ered.

3(s 4i1on in:3 ( asked. 3Can ( speak to hi& p!ease:3 She set the phone do'n pretty hard. ( co$!d hear her ca!! across a !o$d roo& to @.W. "hen she p$t &e on ho!d. (t 'asn/t !ong ti!! @.W. picked $p and said) 34i1on here.3 3.o' are yo$ doing Gi&p:3 3 he!! o# a !ot better than yo$. .o' co&e yo$ haven/t been over !ate!y: @or so&e reason 2argaret !ikes to see yo$.3 3(t/s to$gh to get o$t to the o!d #o!ks ho&e.3 ( !a$ghed. 3.o'/s car thieving these days:3 3(/& not !etting yo$ get a'ay that easy)3 @.W. !a$ghed. 3(/& going to #inish. @or yo$ persona!!y) ( kno' a pi!e o# crap 'hen ( step in it. nd to ans'er yo$r +$estion) b$siness is picking $p. 9o$ &ight even say b$siness is brisk.3 3(# yo$/d get yo$r b$tt a'ay #ro& that desk yo$ &ight be ab!e to stop so&e o# that:3 @.W. acted serio$s #or a second. 3( &ight be ab!e to s!o' a #e' do'n b$t ( don/t think they/d stop. nd besides)3 he !a$ghed) 3"hey pay &y b$tt to sit here.3 @.W. and ( kid a !ot b$t 'e kno' 'here 'e stand 'ith each other. .e does desk d$ty in the a$to the#t division) ki!!ing o## ti&e $nti! his retire&ent. bad !eg !i&its his &obi!ity. We rode together #or three years. We 'ere eating !$nch in a ho!e in the 'a!! 2e1ican p!ace over in -ak 7a'n one day. "here 'as a screa& o# tires and a car crash. So&eone had rea!!y been crea&ed. @.W. 'as $p and o$t o# the door. ( 'as right behind hi&. big Chrys!er had p!o'ed into the rear o# a step van. (t had so$nded 'orse than it !ooked. ;o one appeared to be h$rt. "he driver o# the Chrys!er 'as backing his car $p) disengaging #ro& the van. @.W. stepped in bet'een the t'o vehic!es to take a !ook at the da&age= to be s$re they 'ere both drivab!e. .e 'as #acing the #ront o# the car. ( 'as on the side'a!k.

"he g$y in the Chrys!er tro&ped the gas. "he car !eaped #or'ard) bashing back into the van) cr$shing @.W. ( can sti!! hear his screa&. 0$rning r$bber the Chrys!er reversed. "he driver reached do'n to the #!oorboard and ca&e $p 'ith a sa'ed o## shotg$n. ( had one +$ick shot thro$gh the passenger/s 'indo'. "he car ro!!ed back into a parked car and stopped. "he g$y had been a 2eth cook) sa&p!ing too &any o# his o'n batches. @.W./s !egs 'ere a &ess. (t took hi& a year and a ha!# to get aro$nd $nder his o'n po'er. @.W. had s$pp!ied the &at$rity part o# o$r tea&. (t 'asn/t !ong be#ore ( 'as in tro$b!e 'ith the depart&ent. ( didn/t do anything 'rong. 5$st to!d the& they 'ere #$!! o# it a #e' ti&es. ( +$it the #orce abo$t three &onths be#ore @.W. 'ent back on active d$ty. 32arv) yo$ never ca!! &e $n!ess yo$ 'ant so&ething. 9o$/d think ( o'ed &y !i#e to yo$ or so&ething. 9o$ give &e no respect.3 @.W. !a$ghed again. 3What do yo$ 'ant:3 3( g$ess it 'on/t do &e any good to ask ho' 2argaret is) 'i!! it:3 ( asked. 3.e!! no) it 'on/t do any good. (# yo$ 'ant to kno' co&e over S$nday #or dinner and #ind o$t)3 @.W. ans'ered. 3We!! (/!! teach yo$ a !esson. (/!! %$st do that. .o' do yo$ !ike that:3 3S$its &e #ine. ;o' te!! &e 'hat yo$ need.3 ( to!d 4$rr/s story to hi&. 3( need so&ep!ace to start. ( 'as 'ondering i# there/s anyone on #i!e that #its the <$th .o'ard description:3 3"hat/s a!!:3 @.W. !a$ghed. 3( #ig$red yo$ 'anted &oney. (/!! see 'hat ( can #ind. Ca!! yo$ this a#ternoon. nd don/t #orget) yo$ pro&ised dinner on S$nday.3 #ter hanging $p the phone ( stood $p and stretched. 3(/d better get dressed and get do'n to the o##ice. ct !ike (/& 'orking any'ay.3

( sho'ered and shaved) then dressed #or 'ork. "he day 'as good and hot a!ready and not even noon yet.

Chapter 0y the &idd!e o# the a#ternoon ( had read the sports page) the b$siness section) the &ovies) and bro'sed the 'ant ads. "he cross'ord p$,,!e 'as giving &e #its. ( 'as saving the #ront page in case ( got rea!!y bored. (t/s the sa&e thing every day) %$st the na&es o# the peop!e or the co$ntries change. "he phone rang. ( tossed the p$,,!e onto the desk and p$t &y pen in &y shirt pocket. ;ever h$rry to ans'er a phone) &akes it !ook !ike yo$ 'eren/t doing anything. (t 'as 4$rr ca!!ing. 3Good a#ternoon 2r. 4$rr) Ear!.3 ( took &y #eet o## the desk and sat $p straight. ( so$nd better that 'ay. 3( 'as %$st !ooking #or yo$r n$&ber. ( 'anted to !et yo$ kno' 'hat a!! 'as going on.3 3(/& so g!ad ( ca$ght yo$ 2arv)3 4$rr said. .e so$nded bea$ti#$! over the phone. Co$!d have &ade a #ort$ne in te!e&arketing. 3( don/t &ean to be h$rrying yo$) beca$se ( kno' these things take ti&e) b$t &y ti&e is short. re yo$ having any !$ck 'ith &y prob!e&:3 3 ct$a!!y) Ear!) things are going rea! 'e!!. (/ve got a co$p!e o# good !eads on <$th .o'ard. "he on!y reason ( 'as in the o##ice 'as to pick $p &y ca&era. ( 'anted to try and get a shot #or yo$ to identi#y.3 32arv) that/s greatG ( kne' yo$ 'ere the &an #or the %ob.3 4$rr b$bb!ed 'ith %oy. 34id yo$ go to 2ercedes:3 3;o) (/& going to check it o$t tonight i# these other !eads #a!! thro$gh.3 3Good) it a!! so$nds 'onder#$!. Sho$!d ( stop by this a#ternoon: (/!! be in the area:3

( stood $p so ( co$!d &ove +$icker. 3( can/t say 'hen (/!! be back in Ear!. (t/!! take a 'hi!e to chase these !eads. (# ( can get so&e pict$res (/!! have to get the& processed) so ( can/t say i# or 'hen (/!! be back in the o##ice today.3 3"hat/s #ine 2arv. (/& %$st an1io$s) yo$ $nderstand.3 "here 'as a change in 4$rr/s voice. ( g$ess it 'as 'orry. (t co$!d have been #ear. 3( rea!!y can/t a##ord to have the 'i#e #ind anything o$t. nd she gave &e the 'atch. She 'o$!d kno' i# ( got a rep!ace&ent.3 3Ear!) !et &e get o## the phone and get chasing. "r$st &e) (/!! get the %ob done.3 3"hank yo$ 2arv. ( kno' yo$ 'i!!.3 We h$ng $p. 3Co&e on @.W.) co&e on) ca!!G3 ( sat back do'n. 9o$ have to keep the c$sto&er happy. (nsti!! hi& 'ith con#idence. "here 'as no 'ay ( co$!d he!p in the ti&e #ra&e ( had. ( sho$!d have given hi& his &oney back) b$t there are bi!!s to be paid. ( 'ent back to the cross'ord p$,,!e. "he te&perat$re in the o##ice had s!o'!y risen. "he air conditioner see&ed dead. (t 'as too hot to pace. ( 'aited #or @.W. "his ti&e 'hen the phone rang ( 'as on it be#ore the #irst ring 'as thro$gh. (/!! probab!y never !earn patience. 3@.W.) 'hat/s the 'ord:3 3(/& sorry son. "here is no record o# a <$th .o'ard any'here) nothing. ;one o# the kno'n perps #it her description. She has to be a ne' kid on the b!ock or a part ti&er 'e/ve not seen be#ore. (/& sorry. ( co$!dn/t even #ind anything thro$gh 2otor 8ehic!es.3 3"hat/s a!! right @.W. ( g$ess 3street 'a!ker3 #its. ( kno' yo$ did everything yo$ co$!d. "his %ob %$st isn/t going to happen.3 3We!!) so&eti&es that/s ho' they go)3 @.W. said. 3;o' yo$ aren/t going to stand 2argaret and &e $p on S$nday are yo$:3 3;o @.W.) (/!! be there. "hanks #or yo$r he!p.3

3 nyti&e son) yo$ kno' that. (/!! ta!k at yo$ !ater.3 When ( headed to the parking !ot the heat o# the b$i!dings and the concrete act$a!!y #e!t good. (t 'as rea!) c!ear-c$t) no sche&ing invo!ved #or a b$ck. ( decided to #o!!o' Ear!/s advice and try 2ercedes a#ter ( p$t the cat o$t and checked on &y trees. ;othing e!se 'as 'orking. What 'as there to !ose:

Chapter D Set back #ro& the street) do'n a s&a!! inc!ine) ?03D Greenvi!!e ven$e 'as a brick shopping center str$ct$re. s&a!! red and b!$e neon sign above and to the right o# the door 'as a!! the identi#ication #or C!$b 2ercedes. "he b!$e 2 in the center o# the sign !ooked pretty) and co!d. (t 'asn/t &y kind o# p!ace. ( entered thro$gh the heavy 'ooden door into the &akebe!ieveE da,,!ing !ights) !o$d &$sic) se1 on the hoo#. (t 'as !ate in the evening b$t sti!! ear!y in the night. "he p!ace 'as hopping. ( 'edged &y 'ay thro$gh the press o# c$sto&ers boo,ing it $p at the bar and 'aited #or the bartender to see &e. .e 'as in his &id-t'enties 'ith a !ight b$i!d) short b!ondish hair) and sideb$rns c$t $p above his ears. 3What/!! it be) sir:3 he asked. ( set a t'enty on the co$nter and ans'ered) 3-verho!t and ?>P 'ith a dash o# conversation.3 "he yo$ng &an/s eyes !it $p !ike eyes a!'ays !ight $p 'hen so&eone sees a !itt!e 3#o$nd &oney.3 3-verho!t and Seven) co&ing right $p)3 he repeated back. Snatching $p the &oney) he st$##ed it into a pocket and h$st!ed o## to &i1 the drink. When he set the ta!! g!ass do'n in #ront o# &e he !eaned #or'ard s!ight!y and conspiratoria!!y intoned) 39o$r 'ish is &y co&&and.3 .e took a &ore nat$ra! position behind the co$nter and #or e##ect) asked in a !o$d) #riend!y bartender 'ay !ike 'e kne' each other #ro& 'ay back) 3.o' yo$ doing: .aven/t seen yo$ aro$nd !ate!y.3 3-h) (/ve been keeping pretty b$sy at 'ork) yo$ kno' ho' it is)3 ( ans'ered and picked $p &y drink. "he coo!

!i+$id tasted %$st right. 3.o' abo$t yo$: 4id yo$ 'ork S$nday night:3 3S$re) (/& a!'ays here)3 he s&i!ed back. .o!ding $p one #inger and giving &e a 'ink to ho!d the conversation) he h$rried o## to #i!! so&e g!asses. ( sipped at &y drink 'hi!e ( 'aited. When he ca&e back he said) 39ea) ( 'as here a!! night. .o' did ( &iss yo$:3 3( don/t kno'. ( 'as 'ith this big g$y) a c!ient. .e/s over si1 #oot-si1 and so #at he has to sit in t'o chairs. 4id yo$ see hi&:3 3;a) ( didn/t see anybody !ike that. nd ( don/t think ( 'o$!d have &issed hi& either.3 3"here 'as a !itt!e ga!. 2aybe yo$ sa' her.3 ( described 4$rr/s 'o&an. 3;o) didn/t see her either)3 he ans'ered. 39o$ s$re yo$ 'ere here:3 ( asked. .is #ace #!$shed. .e p$!!ed &y t'enty o$t o# his pocket and he!d it o$t to &e. 3-n the ho$se)3 he said o##ering back the &oney. 3;o thanks) yo$ keep it. ( don/t &ind paying &y 'ay. "a1 ded$ction yo$ kno'.3 ( set a ten do!!ar bi!! on the co$nter and asked #or a re#i!!. .e shr$gged his sho$!ders) pocketed the t'enty and then headed to the 'e!! 'ith the ten in his hand. When he bro$ght &y second drink he asked) 34o yo$ !ike the gir! yo$r #riend 'as 'ith: Want &e to 'atch #or her:3 3;o) ( don/t think so. She 'as pretty $g!y. "hanks #or o##ering tho$gh.3 3;o tro$b!e at a!!)3 he s&i!ed. 3 !'ays happy to he!p a #riend.3 .e 'ent back to his bartending. ( raised &y drink to &y !ips and t$rned aro$nd to !ook o$t at the dance #!oor. 'o&an stood in &y vie'. She 'as a 'o&an hard to ignore) broad sho$!ders) narro' 'aist) good hips) !ong !egs) and a de!icate t$rn to

her high-hee!ed ank!es. .er thick) red hair 'as c$t even!y across the botto&. "here 'as a s!ight 'ave in it. She t$rned and sa' &e staring. She s&i!ed a big co&e on s&i!e. (t 'as too &$ch. Strong chin) high breasts) and deep) dark bro'n eyes yo$ 'o$!d never see the botto& o# &ade a co&p!ete package. ( s&i!ed back. 3.e!!o)3 ( said. "hat/s &y great opening !ine. 3.e!!o yo$rse!#)3 she said !a$ghing!y back) her eyes bright. She 'ore a crea& co!ored !inen s$it) the %acket c$t b$siness !ike. "he skirt 'as straight and c!ose #itting. si!k b!o$se co!ored !ike o!d %ade) opened on her throat revea!ing her co!!arbones and $pper shapes) giving the o$t#it snap. s&a!!) green beaded) c!$tch p$rse 'as in her !e#t hand. 32ay ( b$y yo$ a drink:3 ( asked. 3(/d !ove one)3 she said and &oved ne1t to &e on &y right at the bar. co$p!e o# g$ys &oved so$r!y to &ake roo& #or her. "hey 'ere %$st %ea!o$s. "here 'as a so#t #ragrance in the air as she stood ne1t to &e. She 'ore a &ini&$& o# &ake-$p. .er #!esh 'o$!dn/t stand to be hidden. ( &otioned at the bartender. 3What can ( get yo$:3 he asked. ( !ooked to her and she said) 3 dry) bso!$te &artini.3 .e repeated the order and !e#t. 3"hose things can be dangero$s. ( $s$a!!y 'ind $p not re&e&bering 'hat ( did)3 ( vent$red testing the 'aters. .er right e!bo' rested on the co$nter and she t$rned her body to'ard &e. 3So&eti&es that/s 'hat the doctor orders)3 she !a$ghed. "he tip o# her tong$e ca&e o$t o# her per#ect &o$th to to$ch her !ips brie#!y be#ore it ret$rned. "he !ips 'ere #$!! b$t not to the thickness o# a po$t. "hey bore the !ightest shade o# !ipstick. 3 good night/s s!eep never h$rts) does it:3 She !ooked s$rprised by &y co&&ent= she tho$ght ( 'o$!d take her co&&ent in a #ar di##erent direction. nd

she ans'ered) 3;ot $s$a!!y. nd a #e' &artinis 'i!! p$t yo$ to s!eep.3 .er drink 'as de!ivered and ( paid 'ith another ten. (t 'o$!d go on the e1pense acco$nt. We raised o$r g!asses to each other. She sipped her drink and s&i!ed. 3Wo$!d yo$ rather sit at a tab!e:3 ( asked. 39es) that 'o$!d be nice)3 she said and she !ed the 'ay to a tab!e near the dance #!oor. We sat and drank in si!ence 'atching the dancers and each other $nti! there 'as a break in the &$sic. ( introd$ced &yse!# then. 32y na&e/s 2arvin 4avis)3 ( said. 3Patricia 2organ) Pat)3 she responded s&i!ing and p$t o$t a hand to shake. ( took the de!icate !ooking thing in &y pa') e1pecting to treat it !ike a @abergH egg. (t 'as so#t and 'ar&) b$t there 'as strength there. ( !iked it. (t #e!t good. 3(t/s &y p!eas$re to &eet yo$ Pat.3 She broke eye contact and b!$shed ever so s!ight!y at &y not too s$bt!e sincerity. Withdra'ing her hand #ro& &ine she said) 3(/& g!ad to &eet yo$ 2arv.3 She reached #or her drink. When she set it back do'n she asked) 37et &e g$ess 'hat yo$ do #or a !iving.3 3Go right ahead.3 She !ooked &e $p and do'n) s&i!ed #$nny. 3(t/s no #air !a$ghing at &e.3 3(/& not !a$ghing at yo$)3 she said. 3( 'as %$st thinking ho' !$cky ( 'as to &eet a ta!!) good !ooking &an. 9o$ act ed$cated. ( bet yo$/re a cons$!tant. #inancia! cons$!tant.3 (t 'as &y t$rn to !a$gh. 3We!!) yo$/re part right.3 3-h) no. 9o$/re not an ins$rance cons$!tant are yo$:3 3;o. (/& a private cons$!tant) a private investigator. (s that better:3 .er eyes g!ittered) 39es) that so$nds e1citingG3

3;ot rea!!y)3 ( said taking $p the !ast o# &y drink. 3(ts &ore e1citing than ins$rance) ( g$ess. (t pays the bi!!s.3 3( g$ess yo$ do !ook a !itt!e to$gh to be in ins$rance.3 37ooks can be deceiving. ( don/t have the b$i!d #or heavy 'ork. (t/s too hard on the #ace. ( $s$a!!y ta!k &y 'ay o$t o# things.3 3We!!) yo$ ta!k pretty s&ooth)3 she s&i!ed. 34o yo$ carry a g$n:3 3( have one at the o##ice. ( !ike to keep it there. (t/s sa#er #or everyone.3 She rea!!y see&ed interested. She kept her eyes on &e a!! the ti&e 'e ta!ked. She 'asn/t casting abo$t) checking o$t every other pair o# pants in the p!ace. 3"e!! &e abo$t so&e e1citing cases yo$/ve 'orked on)3 she asked bright!y. ( s&i!ed) 3"here hasn/t been any.3 3( don/t be!ieve that.3 3(t/s tr$e. Wo$!d yo$ care to dance:3 She nodded yes and 'e 'a!ked o$t onto the dance #!oor. "he &$sic p!ayed and 'e danced. We stayed on the #!oor #or severa! dances. ( didn/t notice the t$nes. @ina!!y Pat said) 37et/s sit back do'n #or a &o&ent. (/& parched.3 3(/& sorry. ( didn/t &ean to keep yo$ o$t here so !ong.3 3(t/s #ine. ( need the e1ercise. ( don/t 'ork o$t as o#ten as (/d !ike to. 2y throat is %$st dry) that/s a!!.3 ( #o!!o'ed her back to the tab!e. She #inished her drink and ( signa!ed the barkeep #or another ro$nd. .e bro$ght it +$ick. ( had paid #or so&e #ast service. 3So yo$ 'ork o$t:3 3( $se to get to the gy& pretty reg$!ar. 4o so&e aerobics) !i#t so&e 'eights. "hat kind o# st$##.3 39o$ don/t !ook !ike a body b$i!der.3 3-h) ( never took it that serio$s)3 she s&i!ed. 3(t got &e o$t o# the o##ice. .e!ped re!ieve the stress. 0$t it/s been to$gh to &ake the ti&e !ate!y.3

@ina!!y that got &e aro$nd to the 3What do yo$ do #or a !iving:3 +$estion. ( 'as trying to be patient) didn/t 'ant to h$rry and scare her a'ay. She ans'ered) 3(/& in rea! estate. (/ve got an agency in 0ryan "o'er. 9o$ kno' 'here that is:3 ( did. (t/s one o# the o!der 3ne'3 high rise o##ice b$i!dings in to'n) a big s+$are) green b$i!ding on the northern end o# do'nto'n. 3"hat so$nds greatG3 3So$nds great)3 she said) adding) 3<ea! estate has s!o'ed do'n a !ot.3 She !ooked tired. She perked $p tho$gh and asked) 34o yo$ have any idea 'hat ti&e it is:3 ( !ooked into her bro'n eyes 'ith &y best p$ppy dog !ook. 39o$/re not going to disappear on &e no' are yo$:3 She grinned) 39o$/re the detective.3 ( had to !a$gh. 3"hat/s 'hat the !icense says.3 ( !ooked at &y 'atch and sa' it 'as a +$arter a#ter one. ( to!d her. 32arv) (/& tr$!y sorry. (/ve rea!!y got to get o$t o# here. ( have to &eet a c!ient ear!y in the &orning.3 34o yo$ have to !eave:3 3(/& terrib!y sorry b$t (/ve got to.3 3Co$!d ( ca!! yo$ so&e ti&e:3 ( asked as she stood $p. 3(/d !ike that 2arv.3 She reached into her c!$tch p$rse and p$!!ed o$t a b$siness card and a pen. #ter 'riting a n$&ber on the back o# the card she handed it to &e) 3"hat/s &y ho&e phone on back and the o##ice n$&ber is on the #ront. Ca!! &e.3 -rders !ike that ( can take. 3( 'i!!)3 ( pro&ised standing $p. 3Can ( 'a!k yo$ to yo$r car:3 3;o) yo$/d better not.3 She s&i!ed and !ight!y to$ched the !e#t side o# &y #ace 'ith the back o# her right hand. .er hand #e!t a!&ost as good as her !ips 'o$!d have) a!&ost. 3(/ve got to go 2arv. 9o$ ca!! &e.3 She h$rried a'ay. ( 'atched her o$t the door s&i!ing happi!y to &yse!#. 2y !$cky day.

( sti!! had a drink in #ront o# &e. Whi!e ( #inished ( !ooked aro$nd at the re&aining cro'd. ( 'as s$pposed to be 'orking. (t 'as easy to see no one #!oating aro$nd the dance #!oor #it the part o# 4$rr/s 'o&an. 2y ne' #riend the bartender ca&e over. 37ast ca!!. ;eed another drink:3 ( s&i!ed) 3;o) (/& #ine.3 .e grinned) 3( 'o$!d think so) that ga! 'as gorgeo$s.3 3She is) isn/t she: 4oes she co&e here o#ten:3 3;o) ( don/t think (/ve ever seen her here be#ore)3 he ans'ered. 3 nd ( 'o$!d re&e&ber her)3 he grinned. ( stood $p to !eave. 3Sho$!d ( keep an eye open #or that other n$&ber:3 .e 'as tro!!ing #or &ore cash. 3;o) ( don/t think there/s any need in that.3 ( tossed a #ive on the tab!e and 'a!ked to the e1it. "he door c!osing behind &e c$t o## a!! the !o$d &$sic. ( headed #or the ho$se 'ith the top do'n on the car. "he 'ar& air #e!t good. "he stars shined bright. ( #e!t great.

Chapter ! ( didn/t over s!eep. "here 'as a !ot on &y &ind. ;ot a!! o# it the headache ( had. (t rated #o$r on a sca!e o# ten. ( checked &y bonsai trees to be s$re ( had 'atered the& 'hen (/d co&e in and ( p$t o$t so&e cat #ood #or Cynthia. So&eti&es 'hen (/ve been o$t !ate drinking ( get a !itt!e care!ess. "he &orning 'as c!o$d!ess. "he s$n !ooked over everyone/s &orning r$sh ho$r. "ra##ic 'as bad going in. ( spent &ost o# &y ti&e id!ing a!ong thinking abo$t Pat. 2y big 'orry 'as trying to decide ho' !ong ( sho$!d 'ait be#ore ca!!ing her. ( 'anted to ca!! b$t ( didn/t 'ant to !ook too e1cited. ( 'anted her to think that &eeting a bea$ti#$! 'o&an 'as a dai!y thing #or &e. ;othing specia!. (/& not s$re (/& that good a !iar. 2y other !itt!e 'orry 'as 4$rr. ( had no !eads on the 'o&an. nd ( had no ti&e to #ind any. .onesty got the better o# &e and ( decided to ca!! hi& and ret$rn his &oney. ( had other things than hookers 'ith 2ickey @inns on &y &ind. ( parked on the street near the o##ice and h$rried o$t o# the &orning heat. ( carried &y %acket on &y ar& and &y co!!ar 'as $ndone) the knot o# &y tie 'as no'here near &y throat. ( p$shed the o##ice door open. (t &ade a !ight scratching noise as it s'$ng over an enve!ope !aying on the #!oor. "hat 'as the #irst !etter. "he 'hite enve!ope had been p$shed thro$gh the door/s &ai! s!ot. (t rested) #!ap side $p. "he #!ap 'as t$cked in) not g!$ed.

( stooped and picked it $p. "he I10 enve!ope 'as &ade #ro& a heavy bond paper 'itho$t a 'ater&ark. (t had no address. Sti!! standing in the open door'ay ( p$!!ed o$t the #!ap. "hree pieces o# paper 'ere inside) t'o o# the& green. ( 'a!ked to &y desk and set the enve!ope do'n. ( h$ng &y %acket on the back o# &y chair) sat do'n) and e&ptied o$t the contents o# the enve!ope. "he green paper 'as h$ndred do!!ar bi!!s. "hey !ooked and #e!t right eno$gh. ( en%oyed the& #or a 'hi!e be#ore ( picked $p the !ast piece o# paper. (t 'as a +$arter o# a sheet o# paper) &atching the enve!ope. (ts edges 'ere ragged. "he origina! #$!! sheet had been #o!ded t'ice and a d$!! straight edge $sed to tear it a!ong the #o!ds. note 'as typed on one side in Co$rier type #ont. 9o$ see a !ot o# that #ont. 32eet &e at the 'est entrance o# -!d City Park tonight at &idnight. 9o$ &$st he!p &eG3 "here 'as no signat$re= the bi!!s 'ere e1pected to get &y attention. "hey did) especia!!y since ( 'as giving #ive h$ndred back to 4$rr) &in$s e1penses. -n #irst inspection the other side o# the note 'as b!ank. 7ooking c!oser there 'ere a #e' #aint &arkings on it as tho$gh a broken piece o# penci! !ead had ro!!ed across it) chicken scratchings. 32arv) 2arv) 2arv)3 ( said) 3 !! yo$ can ever e1pect in this kind o# 'eather are scre'y %obs.3 "here/s a +$ick copy p!ace %$st aro$nd the corner #ro& the o##ice. "hey do abo$t as &$ch b$siness as ( do. /7ocation) !ocation) !ocation./ ( s!ipped the t'o h$ndred b$cks into &y 'a!!et and grabbed &y %acket) pocketing the note and enve!ope. ( don/t &ake copies o# everything that crosses &y desk. .o' co$!d ( a##ord that: 0$t yo$ can never be s$re abo$t scre'y st$##. nd ( hoped ( co$!d get those chicken scratchings to sho' $p better.

"he copy center 'as coo! inside. n even better reason to visit. 0obby 2eeker 'as the yo$ng kid 'ho &anaged the p!ace. .e 'as over beside a co!!ating &achine. .e t$rned aro$nd at the so$nd o# the entrance be!!. 3What/s cooking 2arv:3 35$st &e 0obby. @ee!s good in here.3 0obby grinned. 3( have to keep it co!d in here so the e+$ip&ent doesn/t overheat. -ne o# the perks o# the %ob.3 "he one co!!ating &achine 'as the on!y thing r$nning. ( 'a!ked over to one o# the copiers and t$rned it on. Whi!e it 'as 'ar&ing $p ( p!aced the enve!ope and note on the g!ass and c!osed the top. 3"op secret:3 0obby asked. 3Phone bi!!)3 ( ans'ered. 3"hey/re trying to scre' &e on the !ong distance charges.3 ( don/t !ike to share &y b$siness 'ith anyone. 3-h) 2anG "hey do that to everyone.3 39eah)3 ( grinned. 3(t/s one o# their &a%or pro#it centers.3 ( hit the copy b$tton. "he &achine ch$gged) did its &agic and s!id o$t &y copy. ( t$rned the note over and ad%$sted the darkness !eve!. 3( 'ish ( had a pro#it center !ike that)3 0obby agreed. ( hit the copy b$tton. 3( %$st 'ish ( had a pro#it center)3 ( !a$ghed as &y copy ca&e o$t. "he chicken scratches !ooked a !itt!e better) b$t they 'ere sti!! chicken scratches. 3Pro#its 'o$!d be nice)3 0obby ans'ered over his sho$!der as he tried to 'atch the &achine in #ront o# hi&. (t stopped co!!ating and started stap!ing the copies. (t !ooked !ike a !ot o# copies. ( #o!ded &y copies a!ong 'ith the origina!s and t$cked the& into &y pocket as ( 'a!ked over to 0obby. 3 nything interesting:3 ( asked nodding to'ard the co!!ating &achine. 3;ahh. 5$st so&e !ega! brie# crap.3 0obby pretended to stick his #inger do'n his throat and gag. 3( never see anything interesting in here.3

( grinned. 3.o' &$ch do ( o'e yo$:3 3(# yo$ t$rn the &achine o## 'hen yo$ !eave yo$ don/t o'e a thing.3 0obby grinned broad!y. 3(t gets hot in here 'ith a!! the st$## on.3 ( c!apped 0obby on the back. 3"hanks ( do appreciate it.3 ( 'a!ked back to the copier and t$rned it o##. 39o$ %$st get that phone co&pany #or &e) okay: ( hate ho' they scre' everybody.3 3(/!! do the best ( can)3 ( pro&ised as ( opened the door. 3 nd co&e back 'hen yo$ can stay !ongerG3 0obby ca!!ed as the door p$!!ed itse!# sh$t. .e gets a !itt!e !one!y in there) not a !ot o# tra##ic. 8isiting 0obby see&ed !ike a rea!!y good idea 'hen ( got back to &y o##ice. (t 'as !ike being in a toaster oven. ( p$t the note and enve!ope a'ay in &y desk and #i!ed the copies $nder the heading) 3Scre'ba!!s.3 "hen ( sat back. ( needed to ca!! 4$rr b$t his &oney 'as happy 'ith its ne' #riends. ( hated to break $p their day. 37isten) yo$ got nothing to do ti!! &idnight 'hen yo$ go chasing so&e %oker)3 ( said to hear &y head ratt!e. 3Ca!! Pat) #a'n and droo! a!! over her. 2ake a #oo! o$t o# yo$rse!#= r$in any chance yo$ ever had to rea!!y &eet the per#ect 'o&an. -r) act &at$re) take care o# b$siness. Practice so&e patience. Good things co&e to he 'ho 'aits.3 (t sti!! doesn/t ring tr$e. "he phone 'as on the desk. ( !ooked at it #or a &in$te then p$!!ed it over and dia!ed the 2arriott. n o!der so$nding 'o&an ans'ered. 3"he Ste&&ons 2arriott. 2ay ( he!p yo$:3 she asked. 39es. 2ay ( have the #ront desk p!ease:3 3@ront desk) &ay ( he!p yo$:3 "his 'as so&e kid. 39es. Wo$!d yo$ p!ease ring 2r. Ear! 4$rr/s roo& #or &e:3 "here 'as a pa$se be#ore the kid spoke again. 3(/& sorry sir. ( don/t sho' a 2r. 4$rr as being registered here.3

3.e/s a big g$y)3 ( said) 3ta!! and rea!!y #at. .e/s b$i!t !ike the .indenb$rg.3 3(/& sorry sir b$t ( don/t kno' 2r. .indenb$rg and (/ve not seen anybody s$ch as yo$ describe.3 .e h$ng $p. "hat/s service #or yo$. 35ee,) no' ( !ost &y c!ient.3 With the heat the n$&ber #o$r hangover had 'orked its 'ay $p to a seven rea! #ast. ( #ished in the top desk dra'er and ca&e $p 'ith a co$p!e o# !oose sin$s pi!!s. ( carried the& care#$!!y do'n the ha!!) tossed the& in &y &o$th and bent over the 'ater coo!er. ( can/t s'a!!o' pi!!s 'ho!e. "hey stick in &y throat) so ( have to che' the& $p. "he so$nd o# a ringing phone 'as &$##!ed by a c!osed door. When ( rea!i,ed it 'as &y phone crying #or he!p ( ran to the o##ice) b$rst in on &yse!#) and snatched the receiver o## its crad!e. 32arv 4avis)3 ( said. (t 'as to$gh to ta!k aro$nd the ha!# eaten sin$s pi!!s. "hey 'ere dry and bitter. 32arv) this is Ear! 4$rr. .o' are things going today:3 4$rr/s voice so$nded 'ar& and happy !ike so&eone pedd!ing $sed credit cards. 3Everything/s #ine Ear!)3 ( ans'ered &oving aro$nd the desk to &y chair. 3(/ve been trying to get in to$ch 'ith yo$ as a &atter o# #act. "hey don/t have yo$ !isted at the 2arriott.3 "here 'as si!ence on the other end o# the phone. (t didn/t !ast !ong. (t co$!d have been a nor&a! !ength o# ti&e. When ( get a headache above n$&ber si1 ( don/t a!'ays get things straight. 3"hat/s beca$se (/& not at the 2arriott. ( didn/t te!! yo$ ( 'as staying there.3 Ear! so$nded a !itt!e $pset. 3Ear!) (/& rea!!y sorry) b$t yo$ did.3 Ear! started !a$ghing. 3;o) 'hat ( said 'as that ( 'as at the hote! across #ro& the 2arriott. ( co$!dn/t think o# its na&e. (t/s the 7oe'/s nato!e. (t/s the #irst ti&e (/ve stayed

here. (/ve a!'ays stayed at the 2arriott be#ore. 9o$ %$st &is$nderstood &e 2arv.3 3( g$ess yo$/re right.3 Saying those 'ords 'as 'orse than s'a!!o'ing the sin$s pi!!s. ( kne' 'hat he had said. (# he 'anted to !ie that 'as a!! right by &e. "he c$sto&er is a!'ays right) even 'hen he/s 'rong. 3Ear!) the reason ( 'as trying to reach yo$ is ( need to give yo$ yo$r &oney back. (/ve tried to pick $p the 'o&an/s trai! and ( can/t catch a break. Everything is a dead end.3 30$t yo$ 'ere so con#ident yesterday 'hen 'e ta!ked.3 Ear! so$nded piti#$!. "he 'i#e &$st be a terror. 3"hat 'as yesterday Ear!. "his is today. ( can/t see taking yo$r &oney. ( don/t kno' o# anything e!se to try.3 34id yo$ go by 2ercedes yet:3 3S$re) ( 'as there a!&ost a!! !ast night. ( ta!ked to everyone. ;o one even re&e&bered yo$) &$ch !ess the 'o&an. Every'here ( go ( hit a b!ank. "he best thing ( can do is ret$rn yo$r &oney. 9o$ sho$!dn/t get shaken do'n t'ice.3 30$t 'hat a& ( going to te!! &y 'i#e: She/!! ki!! &eG3 Ear! 'as a &ass o# %e!!o. 3Ear!) !isten. 9o$/!! %$st have to te!! her the tr$th. (# she rea!!y !oves yo$) yo$ can 'ork thro$gh this. (t &ay not be #$n b$t it/!! be a!right.3 39o$ don/t kno' her 2arv) yo$ don/t kno' her. 9o$/ve got to #ind that 'o&an. (/!! be r$ined.3 .e sho$!d have tho$ght o# a!! that sooner. ( can/t stand to hear a &an cry. 3-kay Ear!) (/!! keep !ooking) b$t ( don/t e1pect to #ind anything.3 3( kne' yo$ 'o$!dn/t !et &e do'n 2arv. ( kne' it)3 Ear! b!$bbered in %oy. 3(/& sorry to be s$ch a bother. ( do st$pid things so&eti&es. 9o$ give &e a ca!! 'hen yo$ #ind o$t so&ething) okay: nd re&e&ber it/s the nato!e not the 2arriott.3

3<ight Ear!) the nato!e. (/!! ca!! yo$.3 #ter 'e h$ng $p ( 'ent #or a drink o# 'ater to get the bad taste o$t o# &y &o$th. (/& not s$re 'hich 'as 'orse) the sin$s pi!!s or 4$rr/s #ear o# his 'i#e. "here 'ere no !eads on <$th .o'ard. What 'as ( s$ppose to do: (# 4$rr 'anted &e to keep his &oney) ( co$!d do that. 0$t he 'o$!d have to take his &edicine event$a!!y. ( co$!dn/t stop that #ro& happening. "he on!y good thing ( had to say abo$t the 'ho!e &ess 'as Pat 2organ. "hat 'as a pretty good thing to say.

Chapter " ( 'ent o$t on the patio 'hen ( got ho&e. "he !ate a#ternoon s$n b!istered &e 'ith heat. Cynthia stayed inside. She didn/t !ike the heat any&ore than the ne1t person. 3What the he!!/s been going on o$t here:3 So&ething had been in &y trees. 2y e!& c$ttings) the sashiki) had a!! been d$g $p. "he pot 'as e&pty and there 'ere dry t'igs a!! aro$nd it. So &$ch #or patience. (t co$!dn/t have been one o# Cynthia/s #riends. 9o$ have to keep c$ttings 'et so that they 'i!! take root. Cats stay a'ay #ro& 'et dirt. ( took a !ook at &y shitate trees. So&ething had broken a co$p!e o# !i&bs. "here 'as a ho!e d$g in each pot. -ne o# the trees) &y dog'ood) had been che'ed on. S+$irre!s. (t had to be s+$irre!s. "hey had attacked &e !ooking #or b$ried n$ts. "he st$pid things co$!dn/t te!! the p!antings 'ere ne'. 2y #irst tho$ght 'as) 32y g$n. (/!! go to the o##ice and get &y g$n. "hen (/!! 'ait o$t here ti!! they sho' $p again. (/!! sho' /e&. (/!! &ake an e1a&p!e o$t o# /e&.3 2y second tho$ght 'as trap the&. Catch and tort$re the&. ( decided ( co$!dn/t do that either. (nstead ( drove $p to .o&e 4epot and bo$ght so&e chicken 'ire. Whi!e ( 'as near civi!i,ation ( took the drive thro$gh ro$te and picked $p a b$rger and #ries #or s$pper. (t 'as dark 'hen ( got back to the ho$se. (t takes #orever to check o$t at .o&e 4epot. Working $nderneath the patio !ights ( #ashioned a cage o$t o# the chicken 'ire and set it aro$nd 'hat 'as !e#t o# &y trees. (t !ooked !ike it 'o$!d keep the& sa#e #ro& &ara$ding predators.

"he insects b$,,ing aro$nd the !ights re&inded &e o# the ti&e and &y appoint&ent at -!d City Park. ( !ooked at &y 'atch. 3-h shit) (/!! have to h$rry !ike he!! to get there on ti&e.3 ( don/t !ike being !ate to anything. 0eing !ate is %$st a bad habit. ( ran thro$gh the apart&ent #!icking o## !ights. 2y %acket 'as on the c!oset doorknob behind the #ront door. ( snatched it $p and !ocked the #ront door behind &e. (t 'as 'ar& o$tside b$t ( s!ipped the %acket on as ( headed to the car. With the top do'n on the car the %acket 'o$!d #ee! co&#ortab!e at the speed ( 'o$!d be driving. "he s+$irre!s &ade &e !ate. "hat/s &y e1c$se #or b$rying &y #ace in the dirt and having a dead &an !aying across &y !egs. (# not #or the& ( &ight have better prepared. 2aybe everything 'o$!d have 'orked o$t di##erent. 2aybe ( 'o$!dn/t have been sapped. 2aybe ( co$!d have stopped #o$r peop!e #ro& dying. 2aybe everyone 'o$!d have !ived happi!y ever a#ter. 2aybe. s it 'as ( had to pick &yse!# $p o$t o# the dirt path in -!d City Park and cross St. Pa$! Street to the &bassador .ote! and report 4$rr/s &$rder. #ter ( &ade the ca!! ( 'ent back to the park and stood beside the st$ck 'ooden gate and 'aited) kno'ing ( !ooked st$pid. So&eti&es !ooks aren/t deceiving. ( #e!t st$pid. "he cops roared in) !ights #!ashing. #ter ( sho'ed the& the interesting ne' #eat$re in the park) 4$rr/s body) they took &e do'nto'n. (t 'as a s&a!! intervie' roo& t'o #!oors above 'here -s'a!d had been ki!!ed. "he roo& 'as a big) 'indo'!ess c!oset. (t 'as p!ain!y #$rnished 'ith a rectang$!ar 'ooden tab!e #i!!ing &ost o# the #!oor space. "here 'ere three &o!ded p!astic chairs at the tab!e. ( sat in one) the others 'ere vacant. (t 'as !ate) 'e!! a#ter 3 2. 2y head throbbed #ro& the sapping and &ade &y ear!ier hangover see& ta&e. 2y back h$rt #ro& the chair.

4etective 7ie$tenant ;ance said) 3We!!) !et/s hear it.3 .is nose 'as red) his head stopped $p. .e had a s$&&er co!d) a!!ergies. .e 'as one o# severa! cops 'ho had !istened to &y story) b$t the on!y one 'ho ca&e back #or &ore. .e 'as in charge o# the investigation. ( didn/t start right back $p. ( don/t do &$ch o# anything on de&and. ;ance 'atched &e c!ose!y thro$gh grayish) b!$e eyes set too c!ose to his nose. !! his #eat$res 'ere b$nched together &aking his #ace !ook too s&a!! #or his head. .e 'as abo$t thirty-t'o and tried to !ook o!der by 'earing his hair c$t in a b$rr. (t didn/t !ook good on hi& at a!!. .is head had too &any !$&ps on it. "he !ight gray s$it he 'ore !ooked too good to have been bo$ght on a detective/s sa!ary. 3Co!!ege ed$cated3 and 3#ro& &oney)3 ca&e to &y &ind as ( !ooked at hi&. .is nose !ooked ra'. ( kind o# #e!t sorry #or hi&. .e !eaned against the 'a!! opposite 'here ( sat) his back near the door. cassette recorder h$&&ed so#t!y on the tab!e) !istening in. When ( #e!t !ike an appropriate a&o$nt o# ti&e had passed ( said) 37ike ( to!d yo$ 7ie$tenant. ( got this enve!ope 'ith a note and t'o h$ndred do!!ars in it. "he note asked &e to be at the Park at &idnight. ( got there t'o &in$tes !ate. ( !ooked aro$nd a !itt!e) sa' nothing) then ( got sapped. "hat/s a!! there is. ( don/t kno' 'ho sent the note) or 'hy they 'anted &e there. "hat/s a!! ( kno') ( s'ear 7ie$tenant.3 3( don/t !ike yo$r story 2arv)3 ;ance said +$iet!y. 39o$ get this note) no address) no signat$re) and yo$ 'ind $p sapped $nderneath a dead &an 'ho %$st happens to be a c!ient. 4oes that so$nd good to yo$:3 ;ance #o!ded his ar&s across his chest and rested the back o# his head against the 'a!! and tried to breathe +$iet!y thro$gh his &o$th. .e 'atched &e thro$gh ha!# c!osed eyes.

7ooking aro$nd the roo& he #o$nd no'here to toss it so he care#$!!y p$t it a'ay in a di##erent pocket #ro& the c!ean ones. "hen ( po$nded &y #ace in the grave! and cra'!ed $nder hi& to take a nap.ance reached into his inside %acket pocket and prod$ced a packet o# tiss$es.e reached over to the recorder and sh$t it o##. (/& not s$re yo$/re even te!!ing &e anything) ( hope yo$ kno' 'hat yo$/re doing) /ca$se i# yo$ don/t) 'hen ( get yo$ by the short hairs) and ( 'i!! get yo$ by the short hairs) yo$ are going to be in a !ot o# pain./ S$re 7ie$tenant) that/s 'hat rea!!y happened.e care#$!!y 'iped at his nose 'ith one o# the tiss$es. "hey go to schoo! #or it.3 Cops are to$gh. 3( never said it so$nded good 7ie$tenant. What did yo$ #ind o$t abo$t &y c!ient) 4$rr:3 .0y this ti&e ( didn/t !ike the so$nd o# &y story either. @or hea!th reasons. 2oved do'n #ro& Chicago in /J3. ( %$st said it happened that 'ay.ance $nc!asped his ar&s and s&i!ed as he straightened $p #ro& the 'a!!. ( s&i!ed) 3( a!'ays kno' 'hat (/& doing) %$st so&eti&es it escapes &e #or a 'hi!e. .3 . 3( got no reason to te!! yo$ anything.e/s a big &an) 'as a big &an) in the coke ga&e. ( sat de&$re!y at the tab!e and concentrated on &y headache and ho' !ate it 'as. . 30$t yo$ $nderstand ( !ike to kno' 'ho dies on top o# &e.3 .3 . (/d rea!!y rather yo$ te!! it that 'ay. 32arv) yo$/re not te!!ing &e everything.3 37ike he to!d yo$) his na&e 'as 0ig Ear! 4$rr.3 ( nodded. . 3"hat so$nds good 2arv.e p$!!ed o$t a chair and sat do'n.3 ( decided to get a !itt!e testy) 3What do yo$ 'ant &e to say) /( ki!!ed this g$y and sapped &yse!# on the back o# the head. "his is po!ice b$siness.

3So$nds !ike +$ite a g$y)3 ( thre' in. 3Why did he 'ind $p dead on top o# yo$:3 ( #e!t at the back o# &y head and t'isted aro$nd a !itt!e in &y chair. So$nds !ike she &ay have 'orked #or hi& or o'ed hi& &oney) &aybe both.3 .ance co&&ented.o'ard) i# that/s her rea! na&e. 3So&eone he kne' got tired o# hi&. . 7east that/s 'hat the g$y at the &org$e said.3 3"hat so$nds reasonab!e eno$gh)3 .( tried to think abo$t &y headache.e 'as 'orking o$t o# So$th 4a!!as) hand!ing a #e' o# the gir!s in that part o# to'n. . 3Who!esa!e or retai!:3 ( asked. 2aybe he tho$ght since ( 'as !ess high pro#i!e than hi& ( &ight #ind her. 3( s$ppose he 'anted 'hat he said. (# yo$ &ade &e g$ess) that 'o$!d be the g$ess. ( 'as !ooking at the tab!e in #ront o# &e) #ee!ing the scratches on &y chin. 3What 'as st$ck in hi&:3 3(t 'as a gi&!et. 2$st have h$rt !ike he!!.3 3 gi&!et:3 39ea) one o# those o!d #ashion hand dri!!s. . "his one 'as a straight shanked) 1KC-inch dra' bit 'ith a hickory hand!e. She dropped o$t o# sight. (t !ooks to have been shoved into his back then t$rned a #e' ti&es) dri!!ed into his spine.e 'anted to #ind <$th . ( %$st happened to be there. .3 3(t !ooked !ike it did)3 ( co&&ented.e #ina!!y asked) 3What do yo$ think 4$rr 'anted #ro& yo$:3 ( tried to !ook tho$ght#$!. 3Who!esa!e &ain!y. We 'ere both +$iet #or a 'hi!e) e1cept #or .ance c$t a !ook at &e to see ho' ( 'as taking a!! this.ance/s raspy breathing.o tears aro$nd &y ho$se over his passing) ( can te!! yo$ that. See&s he 'as !ooking to b$y a co$p!e o# c!ean sheet &ote!s. ( didn/t 'ant &y eyes to !ight $p !ike a Christ&as tree in the 7ie$tenant/s presence.3 .

. ( !ooked hi& in the eye.ance didn/t ans'er. She gave &e a nasty &eo' as soon as she sa' &e) stood there !ooking at &e.ance said +$iet!y. . She &eo'ed a co$p!e o# ti&es) yo$r basic 3. ( hit the sack . 2aybe so&eone 'anted &e to #ind 4$rr) &aybe it 'as a coincidence. ( po$red o$t so&e #ood #or her) took a +$ick !ook at the trees) the cage 'as sti!! in #ine shape. 3We!! do yo$ 'ant to go o$t or not:3 ( de&anded. ( 'asn/t too #ar behind hi&.3 34on/t send hi& too ear!y.3 .e!! no. ( don/t kno'. "he park 'as his part o# to'n 'asn/t it: 2aybe so&eone 'anted to &ake a state&ent.e 'as 'atching &y #ace c!ose!y.e said) 39o$ kno' the bit) don/t !eave to'n $n!ess yo$ check 'ith &e. ( 'as %$st trying to &ake a b$ck. 3( got no idea abo$t that.ance didn/t ackno'!edge anything.3 . .e %$st !e#t the roo&. (/!! send so&eone over in the &orning to pick $p that !etter so 'e can r$n it thro$gh the !ab. Cynthia 'as 'aiting at the door #or &e. She 'as h$ngry.34$rr had a sap in his pocket)3 . ( p!an on resting this head.3 s ( c!osed the door she trotted to the kitchen.

. 0ig Ear!/s &$rder got three paragraphs on page t'o o# the &etropo!itan section. nd in this instance ( a!so #e!t a knot on the back o# &y head and scratches on &y chin that 'ere to$gh to shave aro$nd. Sitting in the car o$tside the store) 'ith the C on &a1 as ( sipped &y co##ee) ( tried to d$!! the ache in &y head by reading. "hey sti!! !ooked #ine. ( !et Cynthia o$t and checked the trees be#ore ( !e#t. 0$t !ooking st$pid ranks right $p there.ot &any things are 'orse than being sapped) then gri!!ed by the cops. "hat/s probab!y a good thing. So&e things are !ike that. "hat/s the price yo$ pay #or being a s&a!! ti&e crook.ad he sent the note: -r had so&eone 'anted &e at the scene o# his &$rder: "hat one didn/t so$nd !ike 4$rr/s idea. Chapter # . nd 'hen he gets hi&se!# ki!!ed ( #ee! so&e responsibi!ity. "hey need ti&e to gro' so yo$ don/t b$rn yo$rse!#.othing had bothered the&. 9o$ have to be care#$! not to overr$n the&.othing co&p$ted. -# co$rse 'hen they do deve!op yo$ have to 'ork #ast or yo$ 'i!! b$rn. . "hat responsibi!ity) and beca$se the cops 'anted to see the !etter) 'as the on!y reason ( 'ent to 'ork in the &orning. (t didn/t take !ong to give $p that !ine o# thinking. ( don/t !ike that. ( bo$ght a big c$p o# co##ee and a ne'spaper at a SevenKE!even. (t had t$rned into a s!o' 'orking %ob. Sort o# !ike 'hen the neighbor/s 'i#e . "he paper &entioned &e as #inding the body. (t 'as a per#ect day to !ay o$t at the poo! 'ith a co!d drink and rest &y head.ot even a pict$re. . . 2y c!ient) 'hatever his h$&an va!$e) is sti!! &y c!ient. What had 4$rr been a#ter: Was he #o!!o'ing &e: .o rest #or the sapped. .

( stepped aro$nd hi& and took ho!d o# the doorknob. 4a!!as Po!ice Patro!&an !eaned against the 'a!! ne1t to &y door. ( c!osed the door behind hi& and headed #or &y chair behind the desk. (/& s$ppose to pick $p a note. So&e o# the& are !ike that. 32an) this p!ace is a d$&p.is a !itt!e too #riend!y.e stepped in and !ooked aro$nd taking it a!! in. Working cops never do.3 . .is s&a!! bro'n eyes set $nder a heavy bro' g!ittered in a&$se&ent. Sitting $p ( s!id the torn paper note across the top o# the desk to hi&. Good thing ( don/t o'n any o# it) that &akes it 2aster Card/s prob!e&.3 ( he!d the door open #or hi&.3 ( d$g in the deep !o'er dra'er o# the desk. 2y interior decorator) 0r$ce= ". 3"hat it:3 39ep) that/s it a!! right.3 ( tossed the t'o bi!!s on top o# the note. .3 . s ( &oved thro$gh the door'ay ( ans'ered) 37ast ti&e ( !ooked ( 'as.e ignored it. . ( 'as %$st trying to &ake yo$ #ee! at ho&e.eoc!assica! 4etective) reviva! Phi! 2ar!o'e= b$t (/& 'ith yo$. . 2y 'a!!et #e!t dra&atica!!y !ighter.E 0r$ce o# -ak 7a'n) to!d &e this 'as . 30$t it 'on/t do yo$ &$ch good.e said) 39o$ 2arvin 4avis:3 ( t$rned the knob and !et &yse!# in. t e!even-t'enty-#ive ( t$rned into the ha!! !eading to &y o##ice. "his p!ace is shit. (/ve been p!aying 'ith it a !ot.3 3S$re)3 ( ans'ered reaching #or &y 'a!!et. 9o$ avoid any action) any decision as !ong as possib!e beca$se it/s a !ose-!ose sit$ation. .3 3"here/s s$ppose to be so&e &oney too.3 3.ey) ( $nderstand= b$siness is b$siness. Co&#ortab!y seated ( &otioned hi& to'ard the c$sto&er/s spot and said) 39ea) this p!ace is pretty bad. .e !ooked $p as ( approached hi& and ( nodded a greeting.e said) 3(/& not here #or the b$!!shit. .e !ooked at the note b$t didn/t to$ch it.e didn/t s&i!ed.

( sat do'n and 'atched the s!ack ribbon on the air vent. So&eone had gone to a !ot o# tro$b!e.ip-!ock sand'ich bag #ro& a pocket and 'ith the he!p o# the pen #ro& &y desk set) teased the notes into the bag. s he straightened $p ( shr$gged &y sho$!ders) then stood $p. "here 'as going to be &ore be#ore this 'as over.ice &eeting yo$)3 ( ca!!ed a#ter hi& as he c!osed the o##ice door behind hi&. . (t is not easy to ki!! a &an by t'isting a dri!! into his spine. ( sat and 'aited.$h:3 then the o!d !eve!) stee!y-eyed stare ans'ered &e. !! o# it)3 ( said. nd they had set &e $p to be there a!so. . . ( asked hi&) 3Short story or nove!:3 @irst he said) 3. "hey had gone to a !ot o# tro$b!e.e !abe!ed the c!osed bag) p$tting &y na&e) address) the date) and the ti&e on it= then he initia!ed it.e p$!!ed a .. 3When they/re done 'ith that) ( 'ant it back.e nodded 'ith 'hat #or hi& passed as a s&i!e and said) 3S$re thing) 0$bba.3 3.

. .o one 'o$!d %$&p hi& #ro& behind. (t 'as t'e!ve-thirty-#ive. So ( s'itched gears and tho$ght abo$t Pat.(.. She 'as &$ch easier to think abo$t. . Who 'as <$th .e didn/t 'orry abo$t !ooking the p!ace over. 5oe action #ig$re.is hair) c$t the sa&e !ength as his beard) &ade hi& !ook !ike a giant G. (/d ca!! her so&eti&e a#ter t'o. ( 'asted ti&e trying to #ig$re o$t the 4$rr connection.e d$cked his head and stepped into the o##ice. ( didn/t te!! hi& that tho$gh. ( set the book do'n.e 'as b!ack 'ith a granite chise!ed) bearded #ace.. . (t didn/t take &e !ong to get tired r$nning aro$nd it.o'ard and 'hy did 4$rr 'ant &e chasing a#ter her: nd better yet) 'hy 'as ( at his &$rder: "he entire &ess 'as a tight !itt!e circ!e.Chapter $ ( co$!dn/t he!p &yse!#) id!e hands) id!e &ind.ot even #o$r idiots 'o$!d try it. "he door 'as thro'n open. Can ( he!p yo$:3 . "he Co'boys co$!d have $sed the g$y at o##ensive g$ard) or de#ensive end) any p!ace he 'anted to p!ay. She 'as probab!y o$t to !$nch. bove the so$nds #ro& the 'indo's behind &e so&ething 'as added) t'o &en in the ha!! co&ing &y 'ay. .e !ooked at &e and asked in a deep baritone) 39o$ 4avis:3 39es .e stood 'e!! over si1 #eet eight inches and 'eighed 2J0 po$nds easi!y and !ooked !ike he 'as a!! &$sc!e. . ( !ooked at &y 'atch. . "he &an in the door'ay had a!! &y attention. ( didn/t even get to t$rn a page. . ( picked $p &y book and started reading.

3 "hen to 7ester he said) 37ester) this is 2arvin 4avis. 5ones. 9o$ &ay have heard o# &e.>. 7ester d$cked into the roo& and in his bea$ti#$! rich baritone ans'ered) 39es) 2r. 32arv)3 he s&i!ed a da. 5ones is %$st #or b$siness. . ( shook his hand. So) 'hat can ( do #or yo$:3 . 37ester)3 he ca!!ed to the big &an 'hose b$!k sti!! #i!!ed the open door'ay.3 3P!ease have a seat 2r. . 2y na&e is Wi!!ie 5ones.3 We both s&i!ed at each other so&e &ore.o' yo$ p$sh dope in So$th 4a!!as. (t 'as #ir& b$t not hard.is skin 'as !ike ebony= his hair in dread !ocks and the s$it he 'ore 'as hand se'n (ta!ian) 2editerranean b!$e si!k.. 32r.3 7ester &oved his head back o$t o# the roo&.3 Wi!!ie s&i!ed at &e and said) 37ester is nobody/s #riend) 2arv.e stepped back o$t into the ha!! and another &an took his p!ace.e !ooked !ike a &i!!ion and probab!y 'as. 3-kay Wi!!ie) yo$/re to$gh) 7ester/s to$gher and (/& dead &eat. P!ease) ca!! &e Wi!!ie) a!! &y #riends do. 39o$ don/t &ind &e ca!!ing yo$ 2arv do yo$:3 3.. 3S$re) yo$ $se to be a Wishbone tai!back #or -.e) #ive-e!even) a h$ndred seventy po$nds) a !itt!e s&a!!er than &e. . 4avis)3 he said reaching o$t a hand across the desk to &e. "his g$y 'as &ore a nor&a! si. 4on/t #orget the #ace. 32arv) do yo$ kno' 'ho ( a&:3 Wi!!ie asked. "he dark irises o# his eyes 'ere #i!!ed 'ith h$&or. 2r. 5ones)3 ( &otioned hi& to the c$sto&er/s chair.o) go right ahead)3 ( s&i!ed back.3 Wi!!ie s&i!ed.e/d !a$gh to hi&se!# the 'ho!e ti&e it took the big &an to break yo$r back over a knee. 3"hank yo$ 2arv.3 39es sir) ( kno' hi&.!ing s&i!e as he took the seat. 37et &e introd$ce &yse!#. .

5ones. .3 3-h) hi&. ( ta!ked to hi& on the phone. .e said he 'as #ro& o$t o# to'n and had been robbed by so&e hooker. . 9o$ 'ere 'orking #or hi&.either did (. 39o$ kno' 'ho ( &ean shithead) Ear! 4$rr. .3 Wi!!ie spoke 'ith no e&otion. 37ester)3 he ca!!ed over his sho$!der.is bright b!ack eyes kept 'atch on &e. .e/s dead no')3 Wi!!ie in#or&ed &e. 39es sir) 2r.e didn/t co&e in yesterday) Wi!!ie.o'/d yo$ hear abo$t it: 4o yo$ read the paper:3 3"he po!ice ta!k to &e and ( !isten. 7ester 'as back in the roo&. "hat/s a!! he to!d &e) honest.3 35$st a second 7ester)3 Wi!!ie said.e/s dead.o'ard 'as the na&e he gave &e. 3. 3"he 0ig E ca&e by to see yo$ yesterday)3 he said #!at!y) a state&ent) not a +$estion.3 Wi!!ie didn/t s&i!e at &y %oke.ayes. .e 'as coo! in that si!k s$it. "hen to &e) 39o$ got &y st$## 2arv:3 ( beca&e ani&ated on 7ester/s entrance and ta!ked #ast) 3( can see yo$r reasoning Wi!!ie b$t ( didn/t get anything #ro& 4$rr e1cept #ive h$ndred do!!ars. "o$gh 'ay to get dead) scre'ed and ske'ered. <$th . 9o$ #o$nd hi&.5ones sat in the c$sto&er/s chair) his hands c!asped in his !ap) serene!y) !ike a 0$ddhist &onk. 39o$ ca!!ed it in)3 the p!acid #ace said. .ayes: (/ve never &et E!vin . . 3.3 5ones he!d his hands peace#$!!y in his !ap as he ta!ked. ( think yo$/ve got it.3 Even tho$gh 'e 'ere having a #riend!y) s&i!ing) conversation Wi!!ie ignored 'hat ( said.3 . 3.e 'anted &e to #ind her and get his &oney and 'atch back. 39ea) ( heard abo$t it. 9o$ kno' ( don/t hang o$t on yo$r side o# .e 'as %$st 'aiting #or &e to sh$t $p. 3E!vin .e had so&ething ( 'ant.ad to ca!! it in be#ore he cr$shed &y !egs)3 ( grinned. . Gigged in the back. 39o$ got &e there.e said he co$!dn/t go to the cops beca$se his 'i#e 'o$!d #ind o$t.

( 'as co&#ortab!e 'ith that.to'n and ( don/t &ess in yo$r kind o# b$siness. "hey !e#t the door standing open.either o# the& said a good-bye. . "hen he #o!!o'ed. Wi!!ie 5ones &ade everything &ore con#$sed. ( 'ent over and sh$t the thing.ed abo$t the roo& a second be#ore saying to &e) 3Stay o$t o# &y 'ay cheapie. . (/d never seen 4$rr be#ore he ca&e in here and ( 'ish he had never co&e here) rea!!yG3 Wi!!ie !ooked &e over s!o'!y) then ga. (t 'as hot eno$gh in the roo& 'itho$t !etting the 3coo! air3 o$t.3 7ester stood to one side as Wi!!ie e1ited. ( sat do'n) kicked &y #eet $p on the desk) and #ingered the scratches on &y chin. ( g$essed o$t !o$d they &$st/ve been raised in a barn.3 "hen standing $p he said) 37et/s go 7ester.

e/s a rea! dick.3 @. snapped.W. (/& not the one #inding bodies. 2akes it hard to read a good book. <ea!!y) everything is okay. ( %$st got s$ckered into so&ething.3 39o$ &ean he/s a great detective:3 34a&n it) yo$ kno' 'hat ( &ean)3 @. ( tossed the 4$pin do'n to ans'er the phone. 3.Chapter 1% "here/s nothing !ike a &$rder to spark b$siness.ance has the case) right:3 ( ans'ered yes. . (/& not s$re 'hat and (/& not s$re 'hy. 4oes that &ake yo$ #ee! better:3 3. 35es$s Christ kid) 'here in the he!! have yo$ been:3 (t 'as @. 3"hat/s abo$t a!! yo$ 'o$!d ca!! #or. bo$t one o/c!ock:3 . 9o$ kno' that. 9o$ co$!d have ca!!ed &e.W.W.W. 0$t ( didn/t do anything 'rong.e!!) yes. What/s $p:3 3( tho$ght yo$ &ight te!! &e.o) nothing yo$ can do @.e doesn/t 'orry ho' he gets the& either.W. 3 nd 'hat good 'o$!d that have done @.othing changes that. 39o$ be care#$! aro$nd hi&.W. 3Serio$s!y son) is everything a!! right: nything ( can do:3 3. !a$ghed. . snorted !o$d!y into the phone.: ( 'o$!d have ca!!ed yo$ i# ( had needed bai! &oney. . 3.3 ( !a$ghed. 3Watch o$t #or hi& kid. 35$st here and there @.3 "here 'as a change in the tone o# his voice.W.othing &akes &e #ee! better 'hen yo$/re r$nning !oose)3 @.3 39o$ sti!! set #or the /(nvasion o# the 0ody @inders/ S$nday:3 ( asked. pro&otion is a!! he/s ever a#ter.

nd then yo$ have to tag the&. 3@o$nd any &ore sti##s hotshot:3 "he voice #ro& the phone 'as !o$d eno$gh to hear across the roo&. "he 'or!d is set $p so every action has its e+$a! reaction. gro'!ed. (t !ooked !ike a 'aste o# &y ti&e to open the 4$pin. (t &ight be hard to ho!d on to)3 ( ans'ered. 2ark L$ant/s parents !e#t @rench (ndo-China !ong be#ore it 'as ca!!ed 8ietna&. nd a !o$d one. 0y 'ay o# 2arsei!!es they &ade their 'ay to 2ia&i 'here 2ark 'as born. 34on/t bet on that #at boy)3 ( !a$ghed as 'e h$ng $p. . ( set the book do'n. .o) not in the !ast #e' &in$tes 2ark. "hat/s 'hat ti&e is #or tho$gh) 'asting.W. ( he!d the receiver 'e!! a'ay #ro& &y ear. What have yo$ been $p to:3 3Chasing a&b$!ances)3 2ark L$ant ans'ered !o$d!y. 3. ( g!anced at &y book.3 3"hat/s the on!y 'ay she/d take any !ove #ro& yo$)3 @.&erican as 5i&&y Chan. "he phone rang.e has a strange accent. 9o$ have to go to Gar!and or 2es+$ite to #ind natives.e 'orked the &etropo!itan section o# 3"he 2orning . "he on!y 'ay yo$ ever receive a !etter #ro& so&eone is to 'rite the&.e's. ( don/t kno' 'here 2ark got his voice b$t he co$!d have taken ha!# o# it back and sti!! been the !o$dest ne'spaper reporter in 4a!!as. ( picked the book $p) kicked back and started reading. (t 'asn/t a c!ever !ine b$t it 'as a !ine. 0$t he is as !!.3S$re) see yo$ then. ( think one a day is the !ega! !i&it in "e1as. nd te!! 2argaret ( send &y !ove.3 -ne o# the #acts o# !i#e in 4a!!as is yo$ se!do& &eet anyone #ro& "e1as. . 39o$/d better hope yo$ never catch an a&b$!ance. Peop!e &ove to 4a!!as to #ind a %ob) to &ake &oney. s soon as yo$ p$t yo$r !etter in the &ai!bo1 theirs sho's $p at yo$r ho$se.

.3 3"hey didn/t say anything e1cept yo$ #o$nd 4$rr/s body. "e!! &e 'hat/s going on:3 3( rea!!y can/t say anything 2ark.3 3(# it he!ps &e get a story) ask a'ay.3 2ark 'as si!ent #or a second then asked) 3(s he rea!!y part o# this:3 . What ( can do is ask yo$ so&ething. nd since 'hen did yo$ ever give a shit abo$t po!ice things:3 ( &oved the phone #arther a'ay #ro& &y ear. ( to!d yo$ that. 9o$/re not p!aying aro$nd 'ith hi& are yo$:3 39ea) kind o#. 3( started giving a shit 'hen they &entioned %ai!.ever goes any'here by hi&se!#. 3"e!! the rea! story abo$t 4$rr. . Everything (/ve heard says he is 34<>GS3 in So$th 4a!!as.39ea) yea)3 2ark sho$ted in the phone. 0$t he did co&e by a !itt!e 'hi!e ago to ta!k to &e. . So&eti&es !ying is the right thing to do in spite o# &aking a!! &y re!atives ro!! over in their graves. What do yo$ kno' abo$t hi&:3 3( don/t kno' &$ch. ( got the #ee!ing they 'anted &e to keep &y nose c!ean.as an e10ear !ine&an #or co&pany. What they re!eased is a!! ( have to say. 39o$ 'ere born that 'ay.e o'ns a bar in So$th 4a!!as o## o# (nterstate CD near 27M 0o$!evard) ca!!ed 3"he <hyth& P!ace) ho!ds co$rt there.3 3What do yo$ kno' abo$t a g$y na&ed Wi!!ie 5ones:3 3Shit 2arvG3 2ark c$rsed) 39o$ do have a nasty nose. "hey tho$ght ( &ight be sa#er there. . (t/s a po!ice thing yo$ kno'.3 3(s he part o# this 4$rr thing:3 32ark) ( can/t co&&ent.o one does)3 2ark 'asn/t as !o$d as he ta!ked abo$t 5ones) 3that/s ho' he stays ab!e to 'a!k the streets. 9o$ chasing dr$gs: What/s going on:3 32ark ( rea!!y can/t co&&ent.3 39o$ a!'ays have yo$r nose in shit 2arv)3 2ark !a$ghed.

(t 'asn/t nice o# &e to get 2ark stirred $p on 5ones. ( sti!! had the receiver in &y hand.o' don/t r$sh o## into it 2ark. nd the !ight in her eyes. 32ay ( speak to 2r. Probab!y . ( set the phone do'n. ( #!$ster easi!y. (t 'as Pat 2organ. ( 'as a pop$!ar g$y.e see&ed earnest abo$t that 'hen he +$estioned &e.3 3. ( p$!!ed her card o$t o# &y 'a!!et and read the address and phone n$&ber abo$t #orty ti&es be#ore ( p$t it a'ay. 4avis p!ease:3 3"his is he. ( picked $p the receiver on the #i#th ring. She so$nded a !itt!e s$rprised to have a &an ans'ering the phone. (t 'as a very nice #e&a!e voice. ( c!osed &y eyes and tho$ght abo$t the to$ch o# Pat/s hand on &y #ace. "he phone rang. What can ( do #or yo$:3 3We!!) #irst yo$ co$!d try ca!!ing &e)3 she said) then !a$ghed. (t doesn/t &atter ho' o!d ( get (/& a!'ays e&barrassed 'hen a 'o&an &akes a &ove. ( !ike hi&) b$t a !itt!e bit goes a !ong 'ay. ( !ooked at the book. 35es$s ChristG Why doesn/t everyone in the 'or!d %$st stop and ca!! &e:3 ( s!a&&ed the book do'n and stared at the ringing phone. 0$t he 'i!! &ake a he!! o# a story. s earnest as a dr$g dea!er can be. 0$t he !ooked !ike he 'o$!d keep 2ark b$sy.3 2ark h$ng $p. <ight:3 39ea) that/s right. nd there 'as bo$nd to be a story in hi&.32ark ( to!d yo$ ( can/t co&&ent. ( picked $p &y book. ( !ooked at the phone. . . 5ones didn/t have anything to do 'ith 4$rr/s death. !! ( did 'as ask yo$ abo$t a na&e. "he cops and the robbers &ay not !ike that.ope#$!!y he 'o$!dn/t h$rt 2ark. ( b!a&ed &y re!$ctance to ca!! on the heat. Sho$!d ( or sho$!dn/t (: (# ( h$ng $p ( kne' there 'o$!d be another ca!!. 0$t ( didn/t 'ant hi& chasing aro$nd a#ter &e.3 3Who cares: "hanks #or the tip. ( !ooked do'n at &y book.

i Pat. 0e#ore ( got very #ar she interr$pted. ( think yo$ are co!d and ca!c$!ating. 9o$ kne' that didn/t yo$:3 3( think (/ve heard that so&e'here be#ore)3 Pat !a$ghed. ( 'as trying to be #$nny. 3(t so$nds !ike yo$/ve been too b$sy to ca!! any'ay)3 she said.3 3 ren/t 'e so&ething:3 Pat !a$ghed. 3(/& sorry 2arv. ( 'as 'orried yo$ 'o$!dn/t ca!!.3 She !a$ghed again.3 3-h) yo$/ve not done that. 3 re yo$ b$sy this evening:3 ( asked. (t 'as a p!easant so$nd. .beca$se it happens so se!do&.o') ho' do yo$ e1p!ain that:3 She so$nded angry. 4avis ( think yo$ are a !iar. 7ike the other night 'hen yo$ said yo$ didn/t have any e1citing cases to ta!k abo$t.3 39o$/re not being p$shy. 3. 3( haven/t ca!!ed beca$se ( didn/t 'ant to !ook over an1io$s. (/ve been !ooking #or an e1c$se to ca!! so 'hen ( sa' the story in the paper there 'as &y e1c$se. 39o$ s$re had &e going. 9o$ see it in the &ovies &ore than in rea! !i#e. "hen the ne1t thing ( kno' yo$/re in the paper 'ith a dead &an !aying on top o# yo$. ( %oined in. (t #e!t nice to be honest.3 32r. ( didn/t &ean to so$nd that 'ay. ( 'as 'aiting #or an e1c$se to ca!! yo$. ( 'o$!d have ca!!ed b$t ( 'as a#raid (/d !ook desperate. "here &ay not be anything in the 'or!d 'hich &akes yo$ #ee! &ore . ( c!osed &y eyes) he!d &y nose) and %$&ped o## the c!i##. ( started to sta&&er o$t so&e kind o# ans'er. 39o$ can/t be!ieve 'hat yo$ read in the papers. (/& a#raid (/& being p$shy. 3(t didn/t 'ork too 'e!!. 4id it:3 3We!!) ( tho$ght it 'orked 'e!!)3 ( !a$ghed. ( 'as a#raid (/d b!o'n any chance ( had 'ith yo$.3 2y voice s+$eaked.

. 0$t (/!! have an ans'er #or yo$ by to&orro'. (/!! ta!k to yo$ to&orro'. nd ( never did ans'er yo$r #irst +$estion)3 ( tossed in not 'anting the conversation to end) b$t str$gg!ing #or so&ething to say. 3( a& a &ess Pat.v$!nerab!e than asking so&eone o$t.3 ( h$ng $p the phone and sat happi!y 'ith a st$pid grin on &y #ace. .o' do ( e1p!ain a dead &an on top o# &e in the &idd!e o# the night.o &atter ho' hot the passion) ho' intense the !ove) co!d cash and o!d pain a!'ays rear their 'iser) o!der heads. 3(/& a#raid ( a& 2arv.3 ( 'as !ooking aro$nd the o##ice #or a big rock to cra'! $nder.3 3 nd:3 Pat asked +$iet!y. ( tried to so$nd ca!&. 3Can yo$ ca!! &e to&orro': (/!! be #ree then. 3"hat/s 'hat the cops 'anted to kno'. "here/s a big dea! (/& trying to take care o# right no'. 3( hope yo$ didn/t &ind &y asking:3 9o$ have to act !ike a 3no3 doesn/t h$rt. 3. 3We/re not back to that are 'e:3 Pat !a$ghed. She so$nded a&$sed. "hanks #or ca!!ing. @ear!ess !ove is #or yo$th. "hey can &ake yo$ or break yo$ 'ith a nod or a shake o# the head. ny ti&e better than another:3 3So&eti&e !ate in the a#ternoon 'o$!d be best. "here/s nothing !ike a pretty 'o&an accepting yo$r advances to &ake yo$ act st$pid. 3What 'as that:3 Pat asked.3 3-kay) (/!! ta!k to yo$ !ate to&orro' a#ternoon. ( co$!dn/t ans'er the& either. ( 'ant yo$ to kno' that.3 32arv) ( 'o$!dn/t have ca!!ed %$st anyone !ike this. 39o$/re a &ess 2arvin 4avis)3 Pat said. 3S$re) (/!! ca!!. s yo$ get o!der everyone beco&es te&pered by past #ai!$res and persona! #inances.3 ( !a$ghed to sho' it 'as a %oke.3 nd then %$st !ike that yo$/re sky high again.

"he phone died. "he rest o# the a#ternoon ( had !eprosy. . .@or t'o ho$rs ( had been the &ost pop$!ar &an in 4a!!as. (t 'as %$st &e) &y book) and the sorry air conditioner.o one ca&e to the o##ice. . ( gave $p and !e#t the o##ice ear!y.o one even entered the b$i!ding.

e. ( 'o$!d have tried a >-t$rn e1cept #or the three-#oot ta!! concrete divider stopping &e. "he tra##ic report on the radio said a 'estbo$nd eighteen-'hee!er had overt$rned on the 7ake <ay .ipped past $s. "here/s not &$ch to do in a tra##ic %a&. ( inched the car #or'ard.$bbard bridge spi!!ing its contents) #orty head o# catt!e) onto the high'ay. "he 'estbo$nd !anes on the other side o# the &edian 'ere near!y e&pty) the cars . 0$t !ike everyone e!se ( keep trying. 0esides) as they a!'ays say back ho&e in rkansas) 3"here 'as a bree. "ra##ic 'as stopped dead in the a#ternoon heat. 9o$ co$!d see their hair b!o'ing aro$nd in the ga!e. (t 'o$!d be a bad ti&e to discover #a$!ty engine hoses. ( 'as st$ck on the inside !ane o# (-30 near the G$s "ho&ason <oad e1it. (t 'asn/t that hot. 9o$ can sing a!ong 'ith the radio) beat on the steering 'hee! and c$ss) #orce yo$r 'ay into the ne1t !ane . (t 'as hot b$t at !east the car 'o$!dn/t overheat. So ( sat) the big &otor in the C$t!ass id!ing) s$cking $p the gas. 9o$/re !$cky i# yo$ don/t get there a !ot !ater than nor&a!. ( hoped it 'o$!d be eno$gh. 2y !ane 'as stopped beca$se o# r$bber-neckers) not the 'reck. 2ost everyone aro$nd &e had their 'indo's $p and the C b!o'ing at &a1 speed. (t/s !ike those shortc$ts that are never shorter. ( had a +$arter o# a tank.3 ( 'as soaked 'ith s'eat. 2y part o# the east bo$nd parking !ot sat %$st inside o# the 2es+$ite city !i&its. 9o$ never get ho&e +$icker. ( had the air o##) &y 'indo's do'n) and &y shirt $nb$ttoned. nd even !ess i# yo$/re a!one.Chapter 11 ( don/t kno' 'hy anyone tries to !eave the o##ice ear!y.

( s&i!ed. . "hat/s abo$t three years 'orth o# e1cite&ent #or &e st$##ed into #o$r days. "here 'ere . Get o$t and kick in his car door) p$!! hi& o$t thro$gh the 'indo' and break his neck) so&ething !ike that. Genera!!y) "e1as drivers behave the&se!ves. nother #oot opened bet'een &e and the car ahead) b$t ( didn/t &ove. 7ots o# peop!e carry g$ns in their cars. "he !ast #o$r days had been b$sy.e had b!o'n a hose. . (t !ooked to &e !ike ( 'as the on!y one trying the !atter approach. Every state sho$!d &andate handg$ns in vehic!es. 2y #riend had set a #ine e1a&p!e. .e 'as !$cky ( 'asn/t packing. (/& $se to the +$ite. ( noticed a #e' o# the peop!e aro$nd &e !o'ering their car 'indo's. 9o$ never kno' 'ho is packing. 7et the g$y behind &e s+$a'k. (n "e1as tho$gh yo$ best not even give so&eone the #inger.risking !i#e and !i&b so yo$ can c$t thro$gh the ditch to the service road) 'hich is a!so backed $p) or yo$ can think. 8ery b$sy #or a +$iet g$y !ike &e. ( 'anted to te!! the g$y 'hat ( tho$ght o# hi&.is horn beca&e +$ite. "he g$y behind &e 'as taking a chance. "he g$y in the car behind &e starting honking his horn) !ike ( co$!d get o$t o# his 'ay) !ike ( 'o$!d get o$t o# his 'ay.ar threatens &e) and a bea$ti#$! 'o&an ca!!s &e #or a date. ( inched #or'ard again as the g$y behind &e c!i&bed o$t o# his stea&ing car. (t i&proves behavior) genera!!y. "here is a god a#ter a!!. ( inched #or'ard again b$t the honking contin$ed. ( #e!t sorry #or the car not the g$y.e sho$!d have tried ro!!ing his 'indo's do'n and keeping his and the car/s coo!. 7ooking in the rear vie' &irror ( sa' a b$rst o# stea& e1p!ode o$t #ro& $nder the g$y/s hood. . "hat/s "e1as and !i#e) s$rviva! o# the #ittest. ( get a c!ient) &eet a pretty 'o&an) get a second c!ient) the #irst c!ient dies and is stacked !ike cord 'ood on top o# &e) the second c!ient is a no sho' b$t ( get to keep his &oney) a dr$g c.

(t co&es in handy #ro& ti&e to ti&e. 5ones co$!d have sn$##ed 4$rr b$t then 'hy co&e by &y p!ace to scare &e: 5$st checking to see i# ( had seen anything: 2aybe this . .othing abo$t the 'eek &ade any sense.o'ard 'o&an had so&e dr$gs she took #ro& 5ones. "a!king to &e abo$t s$pper. 2aybe she 'as co&ing over to 4$rr/s side and 5ones stepped in acing the dea!.ance abo$t 4$rr sti!! see&ed the best ans'er to &e. Cynthia 'as at the door 'aiting.o'ard) #or so&e reason. ( got her #ed and then changed into shorts and a short-s!eeved shirt) 'hich ( !e#t $nb$ttoned. ( 'ent back to thinking. "he note didn/t #it in any'here 'ith 4$rr and <$th . (t 'as possib!e they sa' the &$rder and the &$rderer and kne' better than to co&e #or'ard 'ith the in#or&ation. "ra##ic in #ront o# &e began to !oosen $p. 4$rr needed to #ind this <$th .ed there had been a tra##ic %a&. Soon ( 'as &oving at a steady #ive &i!es an ho$r. nd &eeting Pat 'as %$st d$&b !$ck. When ( got ho&e and parked the car the $s$a! ro$tine started. "he g$ess ( &ade to . ( 'atered 'hat 'as !e#t o# &y bonsais and 'ent back in #or so&ething to drink.e 'as too 3big3 a &an to go $nnoticed. ( co$!dn/t see that the s+$irre!s had &ade their 'ay thro$gh the chicken 'ire yet. 4$rr 'as trying to &ove in on 5ones/ t$r#. ( ro!!ed the 'indo's $p and cranked $p the a-c.&ore radio t$nes in the air no' b$t a!! in a!! ( co$!d say it 'as +$ieter. nother #ive &in$tes and yo$ 'o$!d never have rea!i. ( bet the g$y 'ith the b!o'n hose 'as sti!! en%oying hi&se!# tho$gh. -r e&barrassed to be seen 'ith &e. (t 'as probab!y #ro& so&ebody %$st 'anting to o##er &e so&e st$pid %ob) and they 'ere a#raid to be seen ta!king to a detective. (t 'as a coo! bree.o'ard. nd ( do.e. . ( have an a&p!e s$pp!y o# that. -$t on the patio everything !ooked #ine 'ith the trees. So he co&es to &e 'ith a story he thinks (/!! accept. .

@ro& 'hat ( co$!d see she had no visib!e tan !ines and ( did !ook #or the&. (t 'asn/t either. When ( got to the door ( snapped it open and #ro. "here 'as a trace o# &ake-$p aro$nd her eyes and on her &o$th. (/& co&ing)3 ( ca!!ed across the !iving roo&.0ack o$t on the patio ( sat do'n to en%oy the #r$its o# &y !abor and 'ork on &y tan. ( s$ppose ( 'as e1pecting a sa!es&an) so&eone annoying.ispanic or (ta!ian. She 'as short) dark haired) and !ooked $p at &e 'ith a s!ight e1pression o# #ear on her #ace.3 ( s&i!ed a st$pid grin. She had tro$b!e standing sti!!) shi#ted her 'eight #ro& #oot to #oot. She 'as dressed #or the 'eather) !ike she had been at the poo!. ( heard Cynthia te!!ing &e to h$rry. ( 'o$!d have noticed other things abo$t her #irst. 3(/& sorry to bother yo$)3 she started.er hair 'as !ong) p$!!ed back in a ponytai!. What co$!d be better: (/d have to ask 4$rr ne1t ti&e ( spoke to hi&. nd she 'as 'orth !ooking at. pa!e b!$e bikini top and a pair o# c$t o## %eans %$st kept her !ega!. 3(/& co&ing. "he be!! rang again. s soon as the po!ice ret$rned their part o# it. 3Who in the he!! can that be:3 ( sat &y g!ass do'n beside the chair and headed inside. "he s$n 'asn/t +$ite do'n 'hen the doorbe!! rang. . (# she hadn/t been so near &e ( 'o$!dn/t have noticed the &ake-$p. 34o yo$ o'n a b!$e C$t!ass convertib!e 'ith a 'hite top:3 . ( h$rried to the #ront door) b$ttoning $p &y shirt as ( 'ent. ( then tried to keep &y eyes on her #ace. She had nice teeth. "he ho$se #e!t co!d a#ter being o$tside. . She #!ashed a nervo$s s&i!e.er eyes 'ere a!&ost b!ack) . 3Sorry) ( tho$ght yo$ 'ere a sa!es&an. 7i#e 'as grand= ( had a g!ass o# !e&onade in &y hand) the s$nset in &y #ace) and &oney in the bank. 5$st 'hat ( needed) a #$ssy cat. "he knot on the back o# &y head #e!t better and it !ooked !ike ( had a date #or to&orro' night. (t 'as either &y stee!y g!are or she 'as %$st a p!ain nervo$s kid.e.

2y #irst accident 'as %$st !ike this. ( didn/t bother to #o!!o' her. "hey !ooked at yo$ b$t never #or !ong. 32arv 4avis)3 ( said taking the her hand. Even ( co$!d rep!ace &y tai!!ight.er/s 'as &ore !ike a tin can. (t happens to the best o# $s. She had been driving a @ord Escort and backed into &y right rear b$&per. . So&eti&es it scares peop!e. 2y tai!!ight 'as cracked) not even broken. 3( %$st %$&ped in the car and took o##.3 She kind o# 'inced and backed $p a step. 2y da&age 'asn/t even 'orth ta!king abo$t. (t 'asn/t a c$te sight any&ore. ( !ike a person 'ith a steady ga. 9o$ never kno'. ( g$ess it/s as good as any other 'ay to introd$ce yo$rse!#. 37et/s go see. (t !ooked to &e !ike she 'o$!d need a ne' !e#t rear +$arter pane!) tai! !ight) b$&per) &aybe a ne' car. (t gives yo$ a chance to kno' the& better.er dark eyes had a nervo$s &anner. She had p$!!ed back into a parking space and gone !ooking #or &e. She s+$ir&ed trying to #ind the right 'ords. 3(t !ooks to &e !ike ( hit yo$. She 'as !ooking c$te to &e again. ( didn/t even think to !ook.o' s$dden!y ( 'as nervo$s. Paint #ro& her car 'as on the b$&per. ( !ed the 'ay. vie' o# her #ro& in #ront or #ro& behind 'asn/t interesting to &e right then. .3 ( hoped ( !ooked $nconcerned. ( added a s&a!! s&i!e hoping to re!a1 her a !itt!e. 3(/& a#raid ( backed into it. 34on/t 'orry 2iss:3 ( asked. 35o nn) 5o nn Co&bs. She 'as !ooking $p at &e not s$re ho' to take &y co&&ent. So&e peop!e !a$gh at big o!d heavy cars !ike &ine) b$t they are !ike tanks.3 . "hat 'as it. ( 'as backing o$t o# a gir! #riend/s ho$se and . "hat 'as nice o# her.3 2y voice so$nded rather deep #or &e.. 3<ea!!y) don/t 'orry.e. 3(/& so sorry)3 she started.3 She he!d o$t a hand to shake. She co$!d have %$st driven a'ay) !ots do.er car 'as a di##erent story. (t &$st have been &y #ace.

3 34on/t 'orry abo$t it)3 ( repeated. I302. <$st!ing aro$nd 'ith it/s contents she #ina!!y #o$nd 'hat she 'as !ooking #or) a I 10 enve!ope. ( didn/t &ind 'atching her 'a!k no'. 3(/ve got ins$rance. "hey/!! take care o# everything. She stopped beside &e) a !itt!e c!oser than ( tho$ght 'as nor&a!) and searched the contents o# the enve!ope. 3( !ive in the ne1t gro$p o# b$i!dings.o) ah) (/!! borro' &y roo&&ate/s car.'ha&. She ta!ked to the gro$nd as &$ch as she did to &e. ( 'as %$st going a#ter so&e) ah) 4r. () ah) hate that ( hit it. (t/s s$ch a pretty car. "hat/s 'hat ( pay the& #or. 3. (#) ah) yo$/!! give &e yo$r n$&ber (/!! have the& ca!! yo$. She !eaned into the passenger side o# her car and opened the g!ove bo1. "here/s) ah) never any p!ace to park do'n there.3 She started o## b$t stopped .ave yo$ !ived here !ong:3 3. When (/& not &ad) (/& a hea!thy &an. ( gave her &y o##ice n$&ber then asked) 34o yo$ !ive here:3 She !ooked $p +$ick!y 'ith a s&i!e.3 ( s&i!ed &y &i!!ion-do!!ar s&i!e as ( re!eased her hand.3 She t$rned and headed to her car. (t 'as t$rning into that kind o# conversation. . She headed back to &e. "hen #!ashing back $p to &e she said) 3(/ve seen yo$ and yo$r car !ots o# ti&es tho$gh. 9o$ 'ait right here. @inding a b$siness card she handed it to &e.3 3( don/t think (/ve seen yo$ aro$nd here be#ore. 34o yo$ need a !i#t so&e'here:3 . . 3(/!! ca!! the& #irst thing in the &orning. (# yo$ don/t) ah) hear #ro& the& by the a#ternoon) ca!! the&. Pepper any'ay.ot rea! !ong)3 she s&i!ed do'n at the gro$nd.er eyes #!ashed $p then back do'n. -kay:3 3So$nds good to &e)3 ( ans'ered. 7et &e get yo$ their n$&ber. (t/s si!!y not to &ake the& do their %ob.ever sa' the car parked across the street.3 5o nn stood $p as ta!! as she co$!d) abo$t D/23. She 'on/t &ind. 30esides) it !ooks to &e !ike yo$r car got the 'orst end o# it.

"hey #e!t okay. "here 'as a <anger ba!!ga&e on "8. "hat/s the $s$a!. ( co$!d hear Cynthia inside the apart&ent #ro& a do. ( r$bbed the scratches on &y chin. t !east not as . ( 'atched her #or a co$p!e o# seconds then ( headed back to the ho$se. "hat/s the reason the 'or!d goes ro$nd. s!$g o# 'hiskey is di##erent things to di##erent peop!e. 7i#e had been b$sy #or &e. E1cept it 'asn/t port ( 'as a#ter. ( set the card do'n on the co$nter and opened the !o'er cabinet beside the sink. !i+$or cabinet doesn/t have to be #ancy) %$st accessib!e. She kno's &e too 'e!!.en #eet a'ay. ( de#ine it as &ore than a %igger and !ess than a #$!! tea g!ass.a#ter a #e' steps. . s ( opened the door she shot past 'itho$t a ho' do yo$ do.othing s!oshed o$t o# the g!ass as ( 'a!ked. "here are a &i!!ion 'ays to &eet 'o&en and the on!y thing yo$ can bet on is yo$/!! never kno' the right thing to do at the right ti&e. She kno's &y #oot#a!!. ( got the -verho!t o$t and set it on the cabinet. 39o$ 'i!! !et the ins$rance peop!e take care o# yo$r car) okay:3 3S$re) (/!! do that. "he co!d air inside #e!t good. (t see&ed !ike a good idea to keep it easi!y accessib!e.3 She s&i!ed a big grin at &e then t$rned and 'a!ked a'ay. ( t$rned on the set and sat do'n to re!a1. ( p$t a s!$g o# 'hiskey in the g!ass and capped the bott!e) b$t ( didn/t p$t it a'ay. (t/s not the nectar o# the gods. ( sti!! he!d the b$siness card 5o nn had given &e in &y hand. ( picked $p the g!ass and 'a!ked into the !iving roo&. (t so$nded #a&i!iar b$t ( co$!dn/t p!ace it) &aybe a co$ntry singer. (/ve tried tricking her) 'a!king o## stride) gi&p-!egged) on tip toes) everything. ny port in a stor&) kind o#. "he na&e on it 'as 5i& "ho&pson. 5$st a change o# perspective #or the 'eary. ( 'a!ked back to the kitchen. g!ass to po$r it into #o!!o'ed.

nd he didn/t. "he <angers had a!ready done their !!-Star dive. 4ope and death go hand in hand. "hey 'ere a 'eek ear!y this season) seven ga&es o$t and #ading #ast. #ter a co$p!e o# innings ( t$rned the set o## and headed back to the kitchen.bad as 4$rr had #e!t. "he bott!ed opened easy and the s!$g #!o'ed o$t. "hey co$!dn/t have beat a West 4ivision tea& i# 5es$s pitched #or the&. ( 'as !$cky to be a!ive. ( 'ent o$tside to 'atch &y p!ants and the night sky. .

. !itt!e a#ter !$nch ti&e the phone rang. 2aybe ( give &yse!# too &$ch i&portance. 4avis) this is 5o nn Co&bs. (# yo$ don/t) yo$/!! #ind yo$rse!# chasing yo$r o'n tai!. ( had to re&ind &yse!# o# that.3 3. . 2aybe the &oon 'o$!dn/t have risen again and &aybe .3 3P!ease don/t ca!! &e 2r. . ( had decided 4$rr/s &$rder 'as a s!o' 'orking case. -nce ( got to the o##ice ( sat aro$nd staring at the 'a!!s) practicing patience) 'aiting #or !ate a#ternoon to arrive so ( co$!d ca!! Pat. ( didn/t #ee! bad) b$t a !ot o# a!coho! can %$st &ake yo$ #ee! tired. (t started to 'ork on &y nerves) even over the phone. ( got o## to a s!o' start @riday. (t &akes &e #ee! o!d. She so$nded &$ch too serio$s.Chapter 12 s (/ve said) actions #orce reactions.o' are yo$ today:3 3(/& #ine 2r. (# ( hadn/t chased a#ter 4$rr/s dead shado' &aybe no one e!se 'o$!d have died. 4avis.a!ey/s Co&et 'o$!dn/t appear ne1t go aro$nd. ( 'atched it #or a 'hi!e be#ore ans'ering 'ith &y standard !ine) 3Private investigations) 2arv 4avis speaking.othing specia! b$t it gets the day started. 4avis) 5o nn.3 ( !a$ghed. "he $s$a! &orning ro$tine 'as in e##ectE !et Cynthia in) give her so&e #ood) start the co##ee) 'atch the co##ee &ake) po$r a c$p) sit at the tab!e and sip on the co##ee. 9o$ have to give decisions a chance to pan o$t be#ore yo$ discard the&. ( i&agined her eyes shi#ting aro$nd nervo$s!y. #ter a!!) her car 'as a !ot 'orst o## than &ine.3 32r.e!!o 5o nn. 2arv so$nds yo$nger. nd @riday &orning stayed that 'ay #or a 'hi!e) nothing specia!.

"ho&pson:3 35i& "ho&pson) &y ins$rance agent. 9o$ pay these peop!e and then 'hen yo$ need the& they disappear.e 'on/t) ( pro&ise. She 'orks at >PS) over by 0ig "o'n. . 3( ca!!ed hi& this &orning and to!d hi& abo$t the 'reck. ( dr$g o$t the ye!!o' pages.3 ( h$ng $p as #ast as ( co$!d be#ore she got ro!!ing again. We don/t 'ork to #ar #ro& each other.e said he/d ca!! right then. (/!! have to go. 9o$ have his n$&ber don/t yo$:3 3S$re) (/ve got it.3 3.) ah) 2arv.o' are yo$: What are yo$ doing abo$t yo$r car:3 She !a$nched in.3 ( d$g aro$nd in &y bi!!#o!d #or the card. Co$!dn/t #ind it any'here. .o ad) %$st his na&e in the s&a!!est type si. ( dia!ed the n$&ber. (/!! ta!k to yo$ !ater.3 ( %$&ped in at the break. 3(/d better give this g$y a ca!! or she/!! never !eave &e a!one. (t/s s$ch a pretty car.e yo$ can b$y. "ho&pson had his na&e !isted $nder ins$rance agents) bare!y. .as 2r. 3Who/s 2r. (/!! ca!! this g$y and get everything straight. 35o nn) don/t 'orry abo$t &y car. . "hen ( started !ying as #ast as ( co$!d. 35o nn) (/& sorry. 39ea)3 a &an/s voice ans'ered. "ho&pson.3 3We!!) yo$ ca!! 2r.3. -kay:3 34on/t yo$ !et hi& ta!k yo$ o$t o# anything.3 3( kno' 'here it is)3 ( c$t in. (/& so sorry 2r. "ho&pson ca!!ed yet:3 She 'as as serio$s as ever. So&eone has %$st co&e in. 3"hat thing is a &ess. "hen ( re&e&bered setting it do'n on the kitchen cabinet.e 'on/t get a'ay. ( can/t drive it so ( had "o'n East @ord co&e over and to' it to their shop. ( hate that ( h$rt yo$ car. (/!! ca!! hi&. ( don/t kno' 'hy he hasn/t ca!!ed.3 . (/& riding 'ith &y roo&&ate #or no'.er sentences started r$nning onto each other. She had &e o$t o# breath. ( think the non-stop ta!king 'as &ore $nsett!ing than the sta&&ering sty!e. "he phone rang a co$p!e o# ti&es be#ore anyone picked $p. 7ike ( don/t kno' that trick. .

3 S$dden!y he 'oke $p. 3What can ( do #or yo$ 2r. What do yo$ do 'ith a g$y !ike that: ( tried to get the conversation over 'ith. "ho&pson p!ease:3 3>&)3 he tho$ght abo$t it a !itt!e bit. 4avis. 35o nn asked &e to ca!! yo$.3 .e !a$ghed a greasy !a$gh. "his g$y acted !ike ( 'as a bi!! co!!ector. 3Co$!d ( ta!k to 2r. She/s 'orried abo$t &y car getting #i1ed. "hat/s the bea$ty o# the h$&an &ind. 3Where/s yo$r appraiser at: ( co$!d go over there this evening. (t i&&ediate!y inspired &e 'ith con#idence. -ne o# yo$r c!ients) 5o nn Co&bs) asked &e to give yo$ a ca!!.3 . 3S$re) 'e ta!ked.3 39ea) 5o/s a s'e!! !ooking babe) ain/t she:3 "ho&pson again s&eared &y ear 'ith his !a$ghter. 39es) she/s an attractive 'o&an)3 ( ans'ered. 2y na&e/s 2arv 4avis. (t &ade &e 'ant a to'e! to 'ipe o## &y ear. 3"hat/s &e.e 'as a!! peaches and crea&. 3(s this the 5i& "ho&pson (ns$rance gency:3 39ea) s$re it is. "he &an co$!d have been #ro& any'here) probab!y 'as #ro& every'here.3 "he voice 'as nondescript. So&eti&es yo$ &ade a decision 'ith !itt!e or no in#or&ation.3 3Great. . 9o$ kno' ho' those !a'yers 'rite. 4avis:3 9o$ had to dra' a &ap #or this g$y.(t 'asn/t &$ch o# a 'ay to ans'er a b$siness phone) any phone #or that &atter.3 3( o'n the car she backed into. 3S$re) s$re) (/& sorry 2r. ( 'as trying to #inish the !ast paragraph o# a #$!! !i#e po!icy. She spoke to yo$ this &orning:3 "here 'as another !ong pa$se. -r stick his nose in it so he 'o$!d see it. ( decided the g$y 'as a gri#ter.

e!!o 2arv) (/& g!ad yo$ #ina!!y ca!!ed)3 Pat so$nded good over the phone. ( can/t !et yo$ do that 2r. Give &e yo$r address and (/!! have &y &an drop by. 32r.3-h) no. ( %$st 'anted to get hi& o## the phone. !! ( heard 'ere co&&ercia!s. s'eet voiced gir!) she so$nded high schoo! age) ans'ered the phone. 3. Wi!! yo$ p!ease ho!d:3 "he yo$ng voice 'as rep!aced by an easy !istening radio station. 2ost o# today/s been rotten. We/!! take care o# yo$. 3( 'as hoping 'e co$!d have s$pper tonight) i# yo$ aren/t too b$sy. . . (t took a 'hi!e to get the taste o# "ho&pson o$t o# &y &o$th. What ti&e 'o$!d be good:3 3(s eight a!! right:3 . 2organ p!ease:3 32ay ( say 'ho is ca!!ing:3 "here 'as a trace o# a gigg!e in the voice. "he g$y 'as so oi!y 'hen ( h$ng $p the receiver it kept s!iding o## the base. 3Wonder#$! no')3 ( ans'ered. 3. 2aybe yo$ can #i1 it #or &e. So it 'as past the &idd!e o# the a#ternoon 'hen ( ca!!ed Pat 2organ.3 "hat scared &e. 2ay ( he!p yo$:3 39o$/re probab!y too yo$ng)3 ( +$ipped) +$ick!y #o!!o'ing 'ith) 3Co$!d ( speak to 2s. Everything is in great shape here #ina!!y. 2arvin 4avis.is kind o# care ( didn/t 'ant or need.er !$sh voice spread thro$gh o$t &y head as she rep!ied) 3"hat 'o$!d be per#ect.o' are yo$ today:3 "he voice 'as bea$ti#$!.3 .3 ( said) 3(# yo$/!! sho' &e 'here it/s broke) ( can s$re try to #i1 it.o' do they get into b$siness: ( gave hi& the o##ice address and to!d hi& to see &e on 2onday. 4avis.o' can peop!e !ike that stay in b$siness: . 4avis. 3Good a#ternoon) P2 Enterprises.3 3"hank yo$ 2r.3 3(/d !ove that. "here/s no reason #or yo$ to be p$t o$t over this.

(t 'as &odest #or the neighborhood.3 3"hat/s s'eet)3 she said. (t/s better to o'n the s&a!!est ho$se on the b!ock and !et the big ones bring yo$r va!$e $p than o'n the !argest ho$se .She !a$ghed) 3"he on!y thing ( can sho' yo$ that is rea!!y broken) can/t be #i1ed. (t 'as even nicer to have a date 'ith a 'o&an !ike Pat. 3Can yo$ pick &e $p at &y ho$se:3 3S$re. ( !e#t the o##ice and r$shed ho&e to #eed the cat) 'ater the trees and to sho'er and dress #or s$pper. (t !ooked !ike it had %$st been &anic$red. "hree chi&neys !ocated the #irep!aces.3 We said good-byes and h$ng $p. "here are gir!s and there are 'o&en) and then there are 'o&en !ike Pat.3 7a$ghing in t$rn ( said) 3(t so$nds !ike it 'o$!d be #$n to try. -ne story ochre co!ored brick) three bedroo&s) t'o and a ha!# baths) 'ith a den) and #or&a! !iving roo&. "he ho$se 'as set back on a ha!# acre !ot. 9o$ can/t &iss it.3 3(t 'o$!d)3 she a##ir&ed. ( p$!!ed into the circ$!ar drive'ay at t'o &in$tes ti!! eight and parked the -!ds beside a si!ver 5ag N5S. "he 'ater bi!! 'as probab!y &ore than &y rent. (ns$rance) notes) and dead #at &en 'ere the #arthest things #ro& &y &ind. (t 'as nice to have a date. "he garage in back 'as served by the a!!ey.3 39o$ kno' 'here ( !ive:3 3(n &y heart. 4espite the heat the !a'n 'as a thick) !$sh green. (t/s on Park 7ane %$st o## o# Preston <oad. s yo$/re going north on Preston t$rn right onto Park and (/& the second ho$se on the right. ( !eaned back in &y chair 'ith that si!!y s&i!e ( get so&eti&es on &y #ace.3 3(/!! be there at eight. 30$t yo$/!! have better !$ck i# yo$ try picking &e $p at &y ho$se. ( 'o$!dn/t 'ant it #i1ed) b$t yo$ can &ake it #ee! better. ( co$nted &yse!# one o# the !$cky #e' this day.

30e right there)3 ( heard thro$gh the door. Co&e on in. 9o$/re right on ti&e. She had !ost her s&i!e b$t then noticed it 'as gone. "he co$ch and t'o chairs 'ere 4$ncan Phy#e. -## to the !e#t 'as the !iving roo&.3 3( can/t stand peop!e 'ho are a!'ays !ate. When she s&i!ed her 'ho!e #ace s&i!ed. 9o$ can/t depend on the& #or anything)3 Pat said c!osing the door.er !o'-hee!ed shoes kept her height a co$p!e o# inches $nder &ine. "he #!oor 'as hard'ood covered by an ancient Persian carpet. She had her hair p$!!ed back and tied !oose!y 'ith a 'ide b!ack ribbon. Pat 'as gorgeo$s. "he door opened in ha!# a &in$te.3 30$t they sho$!dn/t be)3 she s&i!ed. 32arv yo$ are in 'ay over yo$r head)3 is 'hat ( 'as thinking. Si&p!e b$t e!egant. Wo$!d yo$ care #or a drink or are yo$ ready to go:3 3 drink so$nds #ine. "he #$rnit$re 'as arranged to give a vie' o$t the !arge pict$re 'indo'. (/& in no h$rry.3 ( said thanks as ( stepped past her) adding) 3( try to be on ti&e. (t/s been a to$gh day. 3(/ve got yo$ standing here in the ha!!. 3( 'on/t arg$e 'ith yo$ there.i) there. .and have the others p$!! yo$ do'n. She 'ore %eans) a 'hite o1#ord shirt) and a b!ack and 'hite) si!k) ho$nds tooth %acket. 3. 3Sorry) ( didn/t &ean to go serio$s on yo$.3 37ook at &e)3 Pat b!$shed.3 3.3 3-kay) !et/s go back to the den and (/!! #i1 $s so&ething. 3What are yo$ doing in a p!ace this nice: 0etter yet) 'hat does she see in yo$: So&eday 'hen yo$/re . Pat had the rea! estate agent/s ho$se. ( got a good !ook at it as ( #o!!o'ed Pat. She !a$ghed. ( rang the doorbe!!.o prob!e&) &ost days are !ike that.O We 'ere in a s&a!! #oyer.

9o$/re %$st a hick co$ntry boy.3 She t$rned and !ed &e do'n a short ha!! into the den.3 . She/s big ti&e big city) o$t o# yo$r !eag$e.3 Pat took an e1aggerated bo'. 3. . "he roo& 'as h$ge) schi.3 0$t i# ( had 'anted to chop cotton #or the rest o# &y !i#e ( 'o$!d have stayed in the #ie!d. (t/s bea$ti#$!. !ight #!$sh co!ored her cheeks) 3(/d be #!attered to sho' yo$ the ho$se.ophrenic) sp!it into three sections.3 ( !a$ghed. 0esides) (/d !ike to have the ten cent to$r. "he #ar 'a!! 'as pane!ed in &ap!e and he!d one o# the #irep!aces. (n #ront o# the #irep!ace thro' pi!!o's 'ere scattered on the #!oor. ( !ike it. s tho$gh reading &y tho$ghts Pat said) 39es) ( set it $p this 'ay. gir! has to be co&#ortab!e. ( can a!&ost !ive here in this one roo&. g!ass topped 'riting tab!e) c!eared o# papers) a #o$r dra'er oak #i!e cabinet) and a &odernistic side tab!e ho!ding a co&p$ter and printer #i!!ed the space.#ee!ing e1tra st$pid ask her. 34on/t stand there staringG3 Pat interr$pted !a$ghing.aven/t yo$ been to!d it/s not po!ite:3 ( t$rned and !ooked into her deep bro'n eyes) 39es) b$t the peop!e 'ho to!d &e had never seen yo$r ho$se. 9o$/!! never kno' 'hat !eag$e yo$/re in ti!! yo$ p!ay the ga&e. -n the right 'as a !ong) !o' !eather co$ch and an over st$##ed chair arranged be#ore a &ad array o# e!ectronic gear set into the 'a!!E stereo speakers) a&p!i#iers) pre-a&p!i#iers) t$rn tab!e) tape and C4 decks) te!evision set 'ith 8C<) and 'hat !ooked !ike a short 'ave set. We aren/t !ike 'e $sed to be. (t 'as a bit &$ch. "o the !e#t 'as an o##ice area. 3<ea! estate has been good to &e.o') 'o$!d yo$ !ike that drink or have ( scared yo$ o## 'ith &y rich tastes:3 3( don/t scare too easi!y and (/& pretty thirsty) &y &o$th has been hanging open.

3 She !a$ghed and ( contin$ed) 39o$ &ake &e #ee! asha&ed o# &yse!# 'ith a!! this. "hey !ooked the sa&e.er/s ranged #ro& 2er!e "ravis to 7eopo!d Stoko'ski. 3 gir! has to stay co&petitive yo$ kno')3 Pat s&i!ed. . 34o yo$ have any rye:3 35$st -!d -verho!t)3 she s&irked. When ( said ( tho$ght the poo! and hot t$b 'ere a bit s&a!!) she !a$ghed. 3"hat and ?>P 'o$!d be very nice. 3"rying to stay #it are 'e:3 ( asked. (t/s nice to &eet a 'o&an 'ho 'i!! !a$gh at the right ti&es. 3.o) not right no'. tread&i!! 'as set $p 'ith a vie' o# the back yard) a . She repeated thro$gh b$bb!ing !a$ghter) 3<ea! estate has been very good to &e. Where are yo$ taking &e to eat tonight:3 She !a$ghed. Where did ( go 'rong:3 ( asked broad!y o# the 'or!d. .3 "he rest o# the ho$se 'as as e!egant!y and !avish!y #$rnished. (t 'o$!d take 'eeks to p!ay everything (/d !ike to hear.a$ti!$s &achine 'as in the #ar corner and a bench 'ith #ree 'eights beside it stood in the center o# the roo&. 3What can ( #i1 yo$:3 she asked. ( pro'!ed thro$gh the& as she &i1ed the drinks. 9o$ can te!! a !ot abo$t a person #ro& their records or books. She 'a!ked over to the entertain&ent center and opened a cabinet near the te!evision. ( need to get o$t o# here be#ore ( #aint or 'ake-$p.39o$ don/t hear &e co&p!aining. (t contained a bar.ave yo$ #o$nd so&ething to p!ay:3 she asked handing &e &y drink. ( tho$ght o# so&ething s&art to say b$t didn/t. 3. ( did too. She sipped on her drink as ( took &ine.3 "o the side o# one o# the speakers 'as a !ong ro' o# records. t the rear o# the ho$se the s&a!!est bedroo& had been converted into a s&a!! gy&.

( 'as carrying an e&pty g!ass by the ti&e 'e reached the !ast roo&) the &aster bedroo&. "ro$b!e #inding the ti&e and energy. 3( haven/t r$n serio$s!y in years tho$gh. 39o$/re a r$nner aren/t yo$:3 3We!! ( $se to)3 ( ad&itted. 39o$/d be s$rprised ho' @rench ( can be 'hen ( 'ant to be. ( sta&&ered o$t) 3( didn/t &ean it the 'ay it so$nded)3 then ( tho$ght o# 'hat that so$nded !ike and b$rned in &y shoes 'ith e&barrass&ent. (t 'as done in 'hite. (/& starving. 3We!!) &aybe 'e co$!d r$n together so&e ti&e. 35$st eno$gh to keep the &$sc!es toned. "hen ( tho$ght o# 'hat it &ight have so$nded !ike. 34o yo$ p$&p a !ot o# iron:3 3.3 39es ( kno')3 Pat s&i!ed.3 Pat !a$ghed. "he one yo$ 'ant to dive into. ( sho$!d have kno'.3 . !arge &irror 'as set above the #irep!ace. 3"hat/s beca$se ( 'ork o$t 'hen ( get the chance. <$nners) not %oggers) have this intensity to the&.3 "aking the g!ass o$t o# &y hand she set it on the &ant!e a!ong 'ith hers. 3. 37et/s go eat so&e dinner.( tried o$t &y best !eer) 39o$ don/t appear to have any prob!e&s. 39o$ see& pretty #ast to &e.3 !! ( co$!d do 'as h$rry a#ter her. ( don/t !ike r$nning on the streets a#ter dark so ( 'ear &yse!# o$t in here. ( $se the tread&i!! a !ot. White carpet) 'hite) go!d !ea#ed dresser) chair and chest o# dra'ers) &atching ar&oire and bed. Pat 'as !ooking at &e.3 r$nner.o)3 Pat s&i!ed.3 ( straightened $p and acted sensib!e. 3-h ( do$bt that)3 Pat said t$rning to !eave the roo&. She had that deep g!o' in her eyes. ( !ike to r$n b$t ( get ho&e pretty !ate. 9o$ kno' ho' it goes.o' this is very @rench)3 ( said. She !a$ghed and kissed &e on the cheek. #ight thro$gh the pain thing.3 3(/& s$re (/d on!y s!o' yo$ do'n)3 ( %oked.

We took the 5ag o$t #or so&e 2e1ican #ood.She !ed &e to the #ront door and o$t to her car. .

( spent a !ot o# ti&e getting it do'n pat) not to $se it every chance ( got 'o$!d have been cri&ina!. We both d$g in as her story started.3 . . 30$t don/t yo$ dare te!! anyone (/& a 9ankee)3 she !a$ghed. She p$t three spoon#$!s on her re#ried beans and 'ent back to the story.Chapter 13 2ariano/s is in -!d "o'n) the shopping area sitting on the east side o# Greenvi!!e ven$e) the n$&ber one drag in 4a!!as. . 3 nd ho' abo$t yo$: .3 ( grinned) 34on/t 'orry. -$r #ood and the second ro$nd o# &argaritas arrived.3 She reached across the tab!e and took &y hand. -$r bean and cheese nachos and drinks 'ere served.o$ston in /DB. 3Good) (/& g!ad &y secret is sa#e)3 Pat said re!easing &y hand and going a#ter &ore hot sa$ce. (t is an o!d to'n #or 4a!!as) 'here any b$i!ding over #ive years o# age is p!aced on the city/s historica! !ist. "hey &ade a ki!!ing. 3(/!! ki!! yo$. ( gave the standard abbreviated #or& o# &y !i#e) the sa&e story ( gave 4$rr. ( 'on/t ta!k.e and 2o& had a !itt!e cash and they p$t it into so&e !and. 3We!!)3 Pat started) ta!king aro$nd bites o# cheese enchi!ada) 34ad 'as in oi!. We both !a$ghed. "hat spot beca&e part o# the 5ohnson Space Center. Pat en%oyed the co!!ege degree part.3 ( crossed &y heart 'ith &y #ree hand. (/ve got so&e (!!inois and -hio b!ood &yse!#. nd that &ade &e spoi!ed. 34ad 'as trans#erred to .o' did yo$ get here:3 ( asked.e &anaged a re#inery in Pennsy!vania) 'here ( 'as born. We &$nched on the nachos and sipped &argaritas on the rocks and e1changed bios. Pat and ( sat near the back o# the roo&.

kind o# #ate thing yo$ kno'. ( to!d her abo$t &eeting 4$rr !ooking #or <$th .3 .3 Pat s&i!ed so#t!y. So&eti&es it/s nothing b$t debt. nd &oney isn/t everything.3 ( said it 'asn/t e1citing) it 'as st$pid. 39o$/re right) ( don/t hang o$t at p!aces !ike that. 4o yo$ 'ant another drink:3 she asked.3 39o$/re %$st ta!king abo$t &oney.3 ( #ina!!y got the 'aiter/s attention and ordered the third ro$nd.3 3We!!) yo$ are co&pared to &e. 3. 3(/& not a s$ccess.3 3We!!) !et &e te!! yo$ it is no big thri!! to get sapped in the head and have the po!ice keep &e near!y a!! night asking the sa&e o!d +$estions over and over.Pat/s eyes t'ink!ed as she ta!ked. "hen) a !itt!e s$dden!y and o$t o# the b!$e) she !eaned across the tab!e and 'hispered e1cited!y) 3"e!! &e abo$t that e1citing case yo$ don/t have. When he 'as gone Pat started $p again.3 ( !ooked into her eyes.o' 2arvin 4avis #inish yo$r story)3 she ordered) 3or no &ore &argaritas #or yo$. ( 'as %$st there to &eet yo$. 9o$/re &aking &e ta!k too &$ch. ( e1p!ained that 'as 'hy ( 'as at 2ercedes to &eet her.er eyes and the press$re #ro& her hand 'hen she reached over and took &ine to!d &e) 39o$ poor thing)3 as she asked) 3What/s sapped:3 .e said he had never seen yo$ be#ore. She didn/t !ook spoi!ed. She !ooked #ine.3 3 nother &argarita 'o$!d be great)3 ( ans'ered. .o'ard. ( picked $p a rea!tor/s !icense and #o!!o'ed in the #a&i!y/s on!y #ootstep.3 Pat !a$ghed. So&eti&es ( !ike #ate. nd that &ade &e think to ask) 3 nd 'hat 'ere yo$ doing there: ( don/t think yo$ hang o$t at p!aces !ike that. 3 nd yo$/re not ta!king too &$ch. ( !ike a s$ccess story. ( asked the bartender abo$t yo$. 3(/& parched.". 3So a#ter ( got o$t o# >.

3( don/t kno') b$t ( p!an to #ind o$t 'hy)3 ( ans'ered.3 She see&ed to !ike the ans'er and o##ered to r$b &y 3poor battered head)3 'hen 'e got back to her p!ace. 3"hat/s the kind o# ta!k ( !ike to hear. 0$t at the ti&e it see&ed !ike a good idea) so ( accepted her invitation enth$siastica!!y. ( drove ho&e. .3 sap) besides being the person 'ho is hit by it) is a !eather bag #i!!ed 'ith s&a!! !ead pe!!ets. 2aybe it 'as the drinks. 9o$ don/t con#ront it. . 9o$ te!! yo$rse!# everything is #ine $nti! yo$ be!ieve it. Po!ice and a !ot o# other peop!e carry the&.3 "hen she asked) 32arv) are yo$ a great detective: 7ike yo$ read abo$t in books:3 She 'as serio$s. n i&ba!ance in a re!ationship) be it &oney) backgro$nd) even height) is easy to ignore. (t 'as a!ready JB degrees and the s$n 'asn/t even good and $p yet. 9o$ don/t ackno'!edge its e1istence.ed into !i#e. (t/s kind o# a so#t ha&&er. . (t carries a good p$nch 'hen it s&acks yo$ in the head. Wo&en and ( don/t $s$a!!y 'ork o$t in the !ong r$n. ( kno' better) ( &ight have saved &y 3poor) battered head3 a !ot o# e1tra headache.3 3"hat so$nds terrib!e.er hand he!d &ine tight!y. Why 'o$!d anyone do that to yo$:3 "here 'as nothing b$t concern in her eyes. (t 'as si1 2 'hen ( dressed and kissed her good night. "he !ead pe!!ets spread o$t the i&pact o# the b!o' so it doesn/t ki!! need!ess!y. 3( have &y days. (/& bad abo$t going &y o'n 'ay. #ter dinner she drove $s back to her ho$se.er eyes b!a. (t/s $s$a!!y abo$t eight inches !ong) #!at) and has a p!ace to grip it. ( don/t &eet 'o&en !ike Pat every day.

Everything !ooked okay.3 . ( interr$pted) 3 re yo$ going o$t or are yo$ staying in:3 ( started c!osing the door. ( needed to .3 ( r$bbed &y #orehead searching #or energy. 9o$ have to get $p and get things stirring. "he can) it/s rea!!y p!astic) ho!ds a ga!!on o# 'ater. "he 'atering can 'as near!y e&pty 'hen ( #inished. (t takes a 'hi!e to #i!!.er &eo'ing didn/t so$nd kind. (t does that so&e ti&es) !ike a reverse #ever. She bo$nced o$t 'itho$t a 3by yo$r !eave3 or a g!ance back. 3Where have yo$ been a!! night: What have yo$ been doing: (/ve been st$ck here by &yse!#. 9o$ #ee! %$st as bad b$t no one be!ieves yo$. (n the bedroo& ( h$ng $p &y %acket) kicked o## &y shoes and !aid do'n #or a nap.Chapter 1 Cynthia &et &e at the door. ro$nd e!even-thirty ( 'as $p sipping #resh co##ee. ( took it inside and #i!!ed it at the kitchen sink. (/& not as yo$ng as ( $sed to be and staying o$t a!! night is sti!! staying o$t 3a!!3 night. (t #e!t !ike &y te&perat$re 'as !o'. 0$t i# yo$ don/t 'ater) everything dies. "he danger 'ith 'atering d$ring the day is 'ater drop!ets on the !eaves act !ike &agni#ying g!asses and can b$rn the !eaves. 5$st didn/t have any energy. ( had to &ake &yse!# get $p and go to the patio. Wo&en) they %$st never $nderstand. "he e!& &ay have been a !itt!e droopy) b$t that 'as a!!. 34a&nG ( didn/t 'ater the p!ants. ( 'as %$st standing aro$nd daydrea&ing) 'atching the 'ater strea& into the %$g) thinking abo$t Pat. ( 'atered care#$!!y. (t 'as part o# the a!!-nighter thing. ( he!d the door open b$t she %$st stood there ta!king to &e.

ga. . nd) ( didn/t 'ant to beco&e one.ebo-!ike b$i!ding covered the &ai!bo1es #or the co&p!e1. I10 enve!ope &ade #ro& a heavy) 'hite opa+$e bond paper. (t 'as st$ck in the &idd!e o# the &ai!. 2$ndane things !ike the &ai!) paying the bi!!s) that kind o# thing has a 'ay o# s!ipping &y &ind. thirtyga!!on trashcan sat in the center #or %$nk &ai! deposits. very specia! de!ivery. @ro& no'here it da'ned on &e ( hadn/t checked the &ai!.ebo 'aving at &e. So&eone 'as deter&ined to keep &e invo!ved.ca!! her !ater in the day. ( ripped a circ$!ar in pieces p$!!ing everything o$t. (t 'as %$st a #!yer #ro& a sing!es c!$b and an app!ication #or a sec$red credit card) b$t ( don/t !ike !eaving garbage !aying aro$nd. 5o nn 'as parked o$tside the ga. ( 'aved back) #o!ded &y &ai! $p and 'a!ked o$t to her. (/ve been in &ost every kind o# tro$b!e) #inancia!) !ega!) &arita!) %$st #or starters. ( bent over to pick the& $p. . "he post&an &$st have $sed a ha&&er to get everything in there. . ( don/t kno' 'hen ( !ast checked. So&ething abo$t co!d) pre&editated &$rder gives &e a chi!!. 2y &ai!bo1 'as st$##ed #$!!. ( set the 'ater can o$t on the patio and headed to the &ai!bo1. (t !ooked !ike a s&a!! post o##ice e1cept it 'as &issing the a$to&ated &achines that never 'ork. (t had no address on it. ( t$cked the &ai! $nder &y !e#t ar& and s&i!ed and !eaned do'n to'ard her.othing vent$red) nothing gained. "he coo! air #ro& the car air conditioner #e!t nice. ( &oved over to the trashcan to sort the &ai!. (t over#!o'ed. Going thro$gh the st$## ( #o$nd so&ething #a&i!iar. car horn honked. She 'as in another Escort) a rent car. 4idn/t 'ant her to think ( 'as on!y a#ter a one nighter. 0$t it didn/t have &$ch chance against the heat o# the concrete drive.o sta&p. ( !ooked $p. She ro!!ed the car 'indo' do'n. co$p!e o# things at the back #e!! to the gro$nd.

3( spoke to hi& yesterday a#ter yo$ ca!!ed.er eyes 'ere bright and shiny) 3() ( co$!dn/t !et yo$ do that 2arv) not a#ter ( 'recked yo$r car !ike ( did.3 . ( 'as %$st) ah) o$t r$nning aro$nd)3 5o nn !ooked $p and #!ashed a +$ick grin.e says he/s got a #riend in the $sed car b$siness 'ho co$!d he!p &e. (/& pretty good 'ith cars. "he 'o&an co$!dn/t !ook yo$ in the eye #or &ore than a sp!it second. "hen she 'as !ooking every'here b$t at &e. 3-h no. n appraiser is s$ppose to be o$t 2onday to !ook at &y car.3 . 4o yo$ kno' a good &echanic:3 3. 39o$ been o$t at the poo!:3 ( asked. So ( p$t &y #oot in it. 34id) ah) 2r. Standing above her !ooking do'n'ard 'as a p!easant sight. "ho&pson) he) ah) 'ants to tota! &y car. (t 'as the nervo$s trick again) b$t it 'as no trick.er eyes c$t $p then a'ay again.She 'as dressed #or the heat) bare!y dressed.e says ( co$!d) ah) get a better car that 'ay. 3(# yo$ #ind so&ething (/d be happy to !ook at it #or yo$.o' abo$t yo$: What/s $p 'ith yo$r car:3 32r. "ho&pson ever ca!! yo$: ( tried a!! yesterday a#ternoon and) ah) this &orning to reach hi&:3 She #!icked her eyes $p at &y #ace and then +$ick!y they 'ere o## r$nning aro$nd again.o) ( $sed to have a) #riend) 'ho 'orked on cars b$t ( don/t kno' 'here he is any &ore. 0$t then it co$!d have been the !etter t$cked $nder &y ar& &aking &e nervo$s. .3 (/& not s$re 5o nn sho$!d have been !et o$t by herse!#. (# ( had to spend any ti&e at a!! 'ith her ( 'o$!d be c!i&bing the 'a!!s. .ed. 34on/t get in too big a h$rry. What are yo$ going to do: 35o nn) yo$ sho$!d !ook aro$nd a !itt!e be#ore yo$ choose a car)3 ( said. Everything/s #ine.3 . She 'as a victi& 'aiting to be victi&i. We hadn/t ta!ked three seconds and she had &e #idgeting. .

"here 'as nothing in sight. <ight:3 3P!ease co&e) okay:3 3We!!) (/!! see ho' it goes.3"he car is not 'recked and ( don/t &ind he!ping i# yo$ 'ant &e to.3 3We!!)3 5o nn started) c$t her eyes a'ay #or a sp!it second then they 'ere back shinning bright!y at &e. She 'as inside in a #!ash and ( stood !ooking aro$nd #or the rest o# the chase.3 3-kay then. (/ve got so&e things to do this evening.3 3We!!) ( need to go 5o nn. -kay:3 . "hat 'asn/t too s&art. (t 'as as hot as a gridd!e. ( 'as covered in a !ight s'eat .3 She p$t the car in gear and eased a'ay) 'aving good-bye. Got to get o$t o# this heat.3 3-kay 2arv. (/!! see yo$ !ater. What ti&e:3 5o nn/s #ace !it $p. 39es. 3-kay. 3We!!) ( don/t kno' i# ( can &ake it 5o nn. h) 2arv:3 ( !ooked do'n into her eager eyes and t$rned the s&i!e on. 9o$ kno' the n$&ber don/t yo$:3 3( be!ieve that 'o$!d be 302. 3(/!! see yo$ aro$nd. She %$st 'anted o$t o# the heat. Cynthia raced $p !ike a dog 'as a#ter her 'hen ( opened the door.er eyes #!ashed a'ay then back $p. 9o$ 'o$!d think hot 'eather 'o$!d he!p a !o' te&perat$re) b$t it didn/t. 35$st 'hat yo$ need. nd yo$ ca!! 'hen yo$ need &e. 32y roo&&ate and ( are having a party this evening. ( 'a!ked back to the ho$se. 3Way to go 2arvin)3 ( to!d &yse!#.3 ( patted the top o# the car. 3 ny ti&e a#ter eight. So&eone to he!p 'ho doesn/t kno' 'hat kind o# he!p they need) and a party. ( 'as 'ondering i# yo$ 'o$!d !ike to co&e:3 She had a pretty s&i!e.3 "he s&i!e died and her eyes d$!!ed. What 'o$!d Pat think:3 . (/!! try.othing vent$red) nothing gained. 30$t (/!! try.

"he enve!ope !ay on the tab!e in a bed o# %$nk &ai!.e so$nded a !itt!e !ess stopped $p) not as nasa!!y. 3"hat/s a ne' one.ot that it &akes any di##erence no'. What/s a poor detective to do:3 ( !ooked at the note #or a !itt!e 'hi!e then ( got the phone.3 . "here 'as no &istaking it. (t/s abo$t the on!y thing (/ve ever done 'ith the #i!!eting kni#e. . ( g$ess they didn/t hear abo$t 4$rr/s !itt!e prob!e&. Cynthia 'as at her 'ater bo'! !icking $p re#resh&ent. "his one !ooked !ike a t'in o# the #irst !etter. 4o'nto'n gave &e a n$&ber to ca!!. (t didn/t take hi& !ong to get past the p!easantries) he didn/t $se any.#ro& being o$tside 'hen ( set the &ai! do'n on the kitchen tab!e and ( sti!! #e!t o$t o# sorts. 3What do yo$ 'ant 4avis: (t/s Sat$rday. >sing the kni#e to stir the contents ( t$rned the paper aro$nd to read the type'ritten &essage. &$!ti#aceted g$y. nother +$arter sheet o# paper and t'o &ore crisp h$ndred-do!!ar bi!!s rested there. ( s!it the side open and set the kni#e do'n.e 'asn/t g!ad to hear #ro& &e.3 ( asked) 34id yo$ get anything ne' #ro& the 2edica! E1a&iner on 4$rr:3 3Christ) yo$/re not sticking yo$r nose in this are yo$: ( to!d yo$ to stay a'ay. ( got the #i!!et kni#e #ro& the kni#e b!ock to s!it the enve!ope open. ( hadn/t heard 4$rr 'as a ki!!er.ance 'asn/t hard to reach. ( picked the enve!ope $p care#$!!y by the edges and t$rned it over so ( co$!d get the b!ade in. . 3Where 'ere yo$: 4$rr/s a ki!!erG 9o$ &$st &eet &e &idnight S$nday. . (t/s none o# yo$r b$siness. >sing on!y the edges o# the enve!ope ( picked it $p) #!e1ed it open) and d$&ped its contents o$t. (t/s the on!y chance ( haveG (t &eans &y !i#eG 2idnightG3 gain there 'as no na&e) no address) a siren 'ho $sed too &any e1c!a&ation &arks) ca!!ing to #oo!s. .

So) he hires yo$.3 .e 'as &y c!ient and he 'as ki!!ed and ( do #ee! !ike ( o'e his &e&ory so&ething.ance didn/t co&&ent. ( didn/t. 0$t .ance !a$ghed. #ter o$r bit o# #$n ( asked) 3What/s it !ook !ike #ro& yo$r end:3 3 dr$g ki!!ing. . .e pa$sed a second to take a breath. 4$rr 'anted this 'o&an he described to yo$ #o$nd) #or 'hatever reason. . .ance bit this ti&e. ny idea 'hy:3 3Why 'o$!d he hire &e #or a %ob and then sap &e be#ore ( had ti&e to scre' it $p:3 32aybe yo$/re #$n to sap)3 . P2aybe so&eone 'ants it to !ook that 'ay)O ( s$ggested.3 .e 'as a!! b$siness. ( don/t a!'ays get the right a&o$nt o# grease in it.E. 3"he 2. .o' yo$ !ike that:3 32akes a nice /case c!osed/ b$t 'hat abo$t the note ( got:3 . Probab!y beca$se his head 'as stopped $p. So ( !a$ghed 'ith hi&. (t on!y had his prints on it. ny'ay) he co$!dn/t !ook #or her hi&se!#) a#raid o# scaring her o##. So yo$/re sapped and 4$rr/s dead.e saps yo$ to be s$re yo$ don/t get in his 'ay) and then he gets nai!ed in the back by one o# his #riends.ance !a$ghed again. 7ooks !ike he sapped yo$. 34id yo$ get any prints o## o# the note or the &oney ( had:3 39o$r big #at th$&b. 3We #o$nd a sap in 4$rr/s coat pocket. said the dri!! in the back 'as ca$se o# death. 9o$ $nderstand &y responsibi!ity don/t yo$:3 So&eti&es the voice 'orks) so&eti&es it doesn/t. . "hen he #o!!o's yo$ to the park) 'atching #or the 'o&an. 3. 9o$ sho$!d try 'ashing yo$r hands &ore o#ten. nd so&eone is #o!!o'ing hi&.3(/& sorry 7ie$tenant)3 ( ans'ered in &y &ost obse+$io$s tone. She &ight be a prostit$te 'ho o'ed hi& &oney or so&ething.e thinks yo$/re &eeting her there.e 'as en%oying hi&se!# no'. 9o$ kno' ho' dr$ggers can be.

ance pa$sed #or a second and added) 3(# yo$ can #ind anything yo$ can hand!e.o.3 3 bo$t the #ootprints.e h$ng $p. Good #or hi& too. Especia!!y i# it/s b$!!shit. 9o$ sho$!d $np!$g the phone and take it easy #or a !itt!e 'hi!e. @irst a g$y trying to se!! ins$rance) then so&e 'o&an 'anting &e to take the "i&es . 2aybe (/d better !et yo$ go. Whoever sent it changed their &ind. 39o$ can/t get a +$iet second to think any'here.3 34avis) yo$/re starting to 'ear thin. (/!! $np!$g the da&n thing. ( 'as 'ondering abo$t 7ester/s shoe si.3 3(t/s a p!eas$re to ta!k to yo$ too)3 Pat/s s'eet voice #!oated over the 'ire.e a!&ost got to see a &$rder. .3 3We!!) (/& sorry.o others.era!d.3 3.3 . "hat/s a!!. ( need that #irst note back #or &y records.3 "he receiver sett!ed in its crad!e and the phone started ringing.3 3"he note sender is the ki!!er:3 ( +$eried sti!! 'orrying abo$t the voice so$nding right.ance again on 2onday.ance snorted. (/!! try . 3We!! no' a#ter ta!king to the pro#essiona!s (/& not so 'orried abo$t this second note.e as ( h$ng $p &y receiver. (t/s a case a!! its o'n. 3"he note is %$st b$!!shit. 3"he note is b$!!shit !ike yo$. We #o$nd three sets o# #ootprints there= yo$rs) 4$rr/s and the gigger/s. "he phone/s been ringing o## the 'a!!. .3 .3 ( snatched $p the phone and gro'!ed) 39ea.3 32aybe they did see it. "hat/s a!!. Go chase so&ething yo$ can hand!e. 3 re yo$ a!'ays this #riend!y s'eetheart:3 3(/& sorry Pat. 5$st !eave it a!one. (t*s got nothing to do 'ith 4$rr. So&e n$t 'anted yo$r he!p and then chickened o$t on the &eeting.3 .ance said. . "here 'ere on!y three peop!e there at the scene.30$!!shit)3 . @orget it.

3 3"hat/s s'eet 2arv. ( co$!d have sat there !istening to her a!! day. <egard!ess o# 'hat she said to &e.o Pat) it so$nds 'onder#$!.3 3( %$st 'anted to ca!! and say ( had a rea!!y good ti&e !ast night. "he si!ence o# the kitchen 'asn/t co&#orting. ( didn/t 'rite anything on the bag tho$gh= ( tho$ght ( co$!d &anage to re&e&ber everything. "here 'ere things to do be#ore this second &eeting.3 3Pat yo$ don/t kno' ho' &$ch ( en%oyed it. "hat/s 'hy these b$&s $pset &e so &$ch.o) no) don/t hang $p. ( 'asn/t going to p!ay the sap t'ice. ( %$st 'anted to sit here and think abo$t yo$. ( !oved her voice. ( p$t on so&e #resh c!othes and 'ent o$t to the car taking the bag o# evidence 'ith &e. Every ti&e ( tho$ght abo$t Pat ( 'as re&inded o# the notes.3 She #inished 'ith a short !a$gh. Ca!! &e !ater. -ver in one o# the kitchen dra'ers ( keep a bo1 o# G!ad sand'ich bags. "hat/s a !itt!e scary) isn/t it:3 3. ( &iss yo$ a!ready. nd 'hen ( tried to think abo$t the notes Pat s'ept in. She contin$ed) 34ar!ing) 'hy don/t yo$ hang $p and re!a1 a !itt!e. (/& g!ad yo$ said that. ( 'o$!d have ca!!ed yo$ a!ready i# not #or a!! the sa!es&en bothering &e. (/ve got so&e b$siness to attend to and ( need to 'ork o## so&e o# !ast night*s 2e1ican #ood. ( hope yo$ did too. "he on!y reason (/& 'i!!ing to hang $p is beca$se yo$ said yo$ &iss &e. 7ike a rea! pro#essiona! ( s!ipped the enve!ope) note and &oney inside. 0ye !ove. ( stared at the note in #ront o# &e. 2y g$n 'as at the o##ice. .3 We h$ng $p.3. 9o$/re the on!y person ( do 'ant to ta!k to. "hat &eans it/!! be a!! right to ca!! yo$ !ater) doesn/t it:3 39es) 2arv. ( didn/t kno' 'hat 'as $p or 'hy ( 'as invo!ved b$t ( 'o$!d #ind o$t. !tho$gh (/& not s$re ( be!ieve it.3 3Good-bye Pat. ( %$st 'anted to ca!! and hear yo$r voice.

CD 'on/t drop a &an. (# yo$ don/t have it 'ith yo$ are !ess !ike!y to shoot so&eone. "he b$i!ding 'as e&pty and very +$iet. !! it did 'as &ake &e s'eaty.3J0 a$to.o peop!e and no tra##ic. ( $n!ocked the big botto& dra'er and p$!!ed it a!! the 'ay o$t. .e 'o$!d he!p &e o$t o# &y te&perat$re #$nk. 0$t ( !ike the . 0$t ( co$!dn/t te!! 'hat. "he po!ice don/t carry . (t doesn/t pack eno$gh p$nch #or the&. ( care#$!!y &ade &y copies hand!ing everything 'ith the p!astic bag and 'ith the copier/s darkness setting rea!!y cranked high the chicken scratches a!&ost !ooked !ike so&ething. #ter the heat in the car and the co!d &eat !ocker the o##ice #e!t co&#ortab!e to &e 'hen ( got in there. . >n!ike &ost peop!e in "e1as ( !eave &ine !ocked $p in the o##ice desk. (t #e!t !ike a &eat !ocker in there. 7ike &ost everyone in "e1as ( have a per&it to carry a pisto!. nd 0obby 'as act$a!!y b$sy. ( #i!ed a'ay the note and &y copies. So&eti&es even a . (t 'as a co&bination ( !iked. ( stopped at the +$ick copy #irst. "here is eno$gh st$## cra&&ed in there that it is di##ic$!t to #ind the Wa!ther.3J0s. Si&p!e !ogic.e 'as having a convention in there) t'o c$sto&ers.ot that a F&& does either. When ( asked 0obby ho' &$ch ( o'ed hi& he %$st to!d &e to get the he!! o$t o# there and !eave hi& a!one. (t/s a very nice !itt!e . ( 'as hoping the hot bree.Chapter 1& ( had the 'indo's do'n b$t the top $p on the car. ( got it a#ter ( !e#t the po!ice #orce. ( #ina!!y d$g it and the be!t ho!ster o$t. So ( did. . ( g$ess &y #i#ty cents 'o$!d not &ake hi& or break hi&.

With the pisto! in &y back pocket ( #e!t ready #or S$nday evening.!ooks o# a Wa!ther. 3We!!) Pat did te!! &e to ca!! her !ater. nd inside the car it 'as a b!ast #$rnace. @irst yo$ drink too &$ch) then yo$ s!eep too &$ch. "he b$i!dings and the streets soaked $p the heat and shi&&ered in the a#ternoon g!are. "hat has to co$nt #or so&ething. bo$t ha!# 'ay ho&e it s$dden!y da'ned on &e. ( 'anted to ta!k to Pat. ( h$ng $p 'itho$t saying anything. 3We!!) it is Sat$rday.e!!o) (/& sorry ( &issed yo$r ca!!. nd ( had the ti&e. Even #at dr$g g$ys get #$nera!s. ( did 'ant to so$nd right over the phone) s'eet not to$gh. nd &aybe 'hoever sent the notes 'i!! be there. nd it is !ater. 34$rr 'i!! be having a #$nera!.3 (t 'as a !ong shot) b$t so&eti&es !ong shots co&e thro$gh. ( p$!!ed the phone over and dia!ed her n$&ber. (t so$nded rea!!y good) b$t 'hiskey 'o$!d have ended &y day right then and there. ( didn/t 'ant to !ose the day %$st yet. (t is di##erent #ro& &y 3pisto! in the pocket3 #ace. .3 ( p$shed a'ay #ro& the desk and headed o$t to the car. "here is nothing better on a hot day than 'hiskey that/s been 'ar&ing in the car. Wi!! yo$ p!ease !eave a &essage:3 Pat/s voice so$nded drea&y even on an ans'ering &achine recording. So&e peop!e do that. "he heat &akes it s&oother. ( !ooked over at the phone. nd the s&oother the 'hiskey the !ess hot the day see&s. ( started $p the car and p$t the C on &a1. ( hate ans'ering &achines. "he day had rea!!y heated $p. 0$t ( sti!! had Sat$rday evening to dea! 'ith. (t rang #o$r ti&es) then her ans'ering &achine kicked in) 3. "hey/re pretty. She/s probab!y o$t b$ying groceries.o' ( %$st needed to #ind o$t 'hen and 'here .3 ( p$t on &y 3ta!king to a bea$ti#$! 'o&an3 #ace. !! that heat &ade &e 'ant so&e hot 'hiskey. nd then the day is gone and yo$ have no idea 'here it 'ent.

"he story abo$t 4$rr/s &$rder did not &ention the #$nera!. She 'asn/t there to say he!!o. ( decided to !ook #or the cat 'hi!e ( #ig$red o$t 'hat to say to 2ark. 32aybe #at dr$g g$ys don/t get b$ried)3 ( said to a&$se &yse!#. When she didn/t co&e r$nning ( sh$t the door. ( #o$nd the 3-bits3 page and checked it %$st to be s$re. ( picked $p the top si1 inches o# the pi!e and carried it over to the kitchen tab!e. 9o$ have to be care#$! in the heat) pets get hot too. "hey $s$a!!y have the& on Sat$rdays or S$ndays. (t 'as his b$siness to keep $p 'ith that sort o# thing.othing. ( th$&bed &y 'ay do'n the pi!e $nti! ( reached "h$rsday/s. . nd ( co$!dn/t rea!!y re&e&ber i# she 'as in or o$t. 3CynthiaG Where are yo$ gir!:3 ( got $p #ro& the tab!e and 'ent !ooking #or her. . Cynthia has severa! #avorite p!aces to nap. 3Cynthia)3 ( ca!!ed #ro& the tab!e. ( &oved back $p the stack o# papers to @riday/s then Sat$rday/s. "he center o# &y bed) inside &y c!oset) and the c!othes ha&per) i# (/ve . -ccasiona!!y ( break do'n and bag the& $p and carry the& o$t to the d$&pster) occasiona!!y. 3Who 'o$!d kno' 'hat 'as being done 'ith the body:3 2ark L$ant/s na&e 'as the #irst to pop into &y &ind. Either 'ay ( had ne'spapers to search thro$gh. ( can/t a##ord to air condition "e1as.e 'o$!d either ask st$## abo$t 5ones or he 'o$!d be pissed abo$t the song and dance ( gave hi& ear!ier in the 'eek. Cynthia 'as either as!eep in the apart&ent or o$t en%oying her day. ( hated to ca!! hi&. ( opened the apart&ent door e1pecting to see Cynthia. 2y o!d ne'spapers &ake a nice pi!e beside the kitchen trashcan.o &ention o# the #$nera!. So ( stood in the open door'ay and ca!!ed her. ( drove a !itt!e #aster. (t 'as the on!y na&e to pop into &y &ind. . ( hoped ( hadn/t &issed it. ( ca!!ed a second ti&e and 'aited.the #$nera! 'as.

(t didn/t take $p near!y eno$gh ti&e. "he ha&per is a b$i!t-in at the end o# the batht$b.3 ( stood $p and p$shed the ha&per door back to 'here it had been. 3(/& sti!! trying to sett!e this 4$rr thing 'itho$t pissing o## the 4a!!as Po!ice. ( decided to %$st ca!! 2ark and see ho' things 'ent. #ter abo$t #ive &in$tes the phone rang. . 2ark so$nded pretty serio$s b$t ( co$!d te!! he 'as s&i!ing on his end o# the !ine. 3( didn/t think yo$ cared 'hat the po!ice tho$ght. 3(/& #ine 2ark.3 30$!!shit 2arvinG3 2ark s'ore right inside &y head. ( 'a!ked do'n the ha!! to the bathroo& and st$ck &y head in to get a vie' o# the c!othes ha&per= #irst co&e) #irst served. 39o$ %$st take it easy in there) yo$ hear. What do yo$ need:3 he asked. ( don/t 'ant yo$ staining anything. What/s $p:3 . 3Gir!) that 'as too easy. 3. She 'as c$r!ed $p on top o# so&e to'e!s in the back right corner. 2aybe he 'o$!dn/t press &e on anything. She p$rred so#t!y. ( opened it a !itt!e &ore and peered inside. When the beeping 'ent o## ( p$t in &y n$&ber and carried the phone 'ith &e to the kitchen to 'ait #or his ret$rn ca!!. 2ark is good abo$t ans'ering pages. (t 'as dark inside the ha&per b$t it 'as easy to see Cynthia/s eyes shining back at &e.o' are yo$ big g$y: @ind any bodies today:3 2ark sho$ted into &y ear.3 ( reached in and r$bbed Cynthia/s head. 3(# yo$ 'ere #ine yo$ 'o$!dn/t be ca!!ing &e. "hose are her top three #avorites.3 2ark !a$ghed. ( 'ent back to the bedroo& and got the phone. ( ans'ered it on the second ring.!e#t it open. (t took a !itt!e digging b$t ( #ina!!y #o$nd 2ark/s b$siness card in the top dresser dra'er and ( ca!!ed his pager n$&ber. "he door 'as open s!ight!y.e is a!'ays !ooking #or) or 'orking on a 3hot3 story.

"hat o!d boy is sti!! !aying in the &org$e. 34oesn/t so$nd !ike they 'ere very pro$d o# hi&.3 3( don/t think so 2arvin. @ind the ship&ent) #ind the &oney. 4$rr is %$st as !ike!y to have had a cash on!y operation. 3We!! 2ark) thanks #or the in#o on 4$rr. ( 'aited #or hi& to get his !a$gh o$t ho!ding the phone 'e!! a'ay #ro& &y ear. Wo$!d yo$ !et &e kno' i# so&eone does pick$p the body:3 .obody 'i!! c!ai& the body. ( had to ask 2ark) 3What is going on 'ith 5ones:3 32arvin) 2arvin) 2arvin)3 2ark act$a!!y 'hispered into the phone.3 2ark 'as ta!king abo$t a cre&ation and b$ria! at the co$nty/s e1pense.3 3-h rea!!y:3 39eah) that/s 'hat ( hear.3We!! ( 'as thinking that &aybe ( co$!d get a !ead at 4$rr/s #$nera!.e co$!d have had a!! his &oney invested in a ship&ent. 3( a& 'atching #ro& a sa#e distance and 'atching is a!! (/& doing so #ar. (# so&eone doesn/t h$rry he/!! get the 35ohn 4oe3 treat&ent here. ( 'as to!d they ca!!ed a!! his re!atives $p north and every sing!e one o# the& re#$sed to accept the body. "hat/s a dead end)3 and 2arked roared 'ith !a$ghter. .3 What 2ark 'as describing #it in 'e!! 'ith 'hat 5ones had to!d &e.3 39o$ don/t so$nd convinced. 3"hat/s 'hy (/& a good reporter. ( didn/t 'ant to give hi& the chance to start asking &e +$estions.3 ( decided it 'as ti&e #or &e to get o$t o# this conversation.3 3( a& never convinced o# anything)3 2ark !a$ghed.3 3"hey/re probab!y %$st &ad that the cops haven/t #o$nd 4$rr/s bank acco$nts yet. @ina!!y he said) 3"here is no #$nera! 2arvin. . Everyone #ig$res he banked in the Cay&ans.

3S$re 2arvin. ( 'i!! be happy to. s !ong as yo$ keep &e posted on any 5ones ne's. ( 'ant that story.3 3(/!! do that 2ark. "hanks.3 nd ( h$ng $p be#ore he co$!d screa& into &y ear again. Checking o$t 4$rr/s #$nera! had been a good idea. So &$ch #or good ideas. ( a!&ost #e!t sorry #or the big g$y tho$gh. ;o one cared eno$gh to b$ry hi&. ( g$ess it doesn/t rea!!y &atter i# yo$/re dead. 7i#e) and death) in the big city. We!!) yo$ have to take care o# the !iving. ( checked &y 'atch. (t 'as a !itt!e a#ter #ive. ( dia!ed Pat/s n$&ber. (t 'as #inishing $p the #o$rth ring and ( 'as #i1ing to hang $p be#ore the &achine co$!d kick in 'hen Pat ans'ered. 3.e!!o)3 she 'as s!ight!y o$t o# breath. ( !oved the so$nd o# her voice. 3.e!!o Pat. "his is 2arv.3 3.i) 2arv.3 She !a$ghed. ( 'as hoping yo$ 'o$!d ca!! &e back. re yo$ #ee!ing better no':3 3(/& doing great right no'. .o' has yo$r day been:3 30$sy. (/ve been trying to get so&e #!o'ers set o$t b$t it is so hot. ( had to 'ater everything %$st so ( co$!d dig in the beds.3 She !a$ghed. 3"e1as is terrib!e.3 3(t does have a #e' bad points)3 ( agreed. 3( 'as 'ondering i# yo$ 'o$!d care to have so&e dinner:3 32arv) (/& so sorry. ( 'o$!d !ove to have dinner 'ith yo$ b$t ( have a b$siness thing !ater this evening. dinner &eeting act$a!!y. .o' abo$t to&orro' a#ternoon:3 she asked. 3(/& s$ppose to have !$nch at a #riend/s ho$se to&orro'. 0$t ( can break it)3 ( +$ick!y added. 34on/t yo$ dare do that 2arvin 4avis. (/& s$rprised yo$ have any #riends i# yo$ do that to the&)3 she !a$ghed. 3We!!) ( don/t have &any) that/s tr$e)3 ( !a$ghed 'ith her. 39o$ co$!d co&e over to&orro' evening and spend the night)3 she o##ered teasing!y. !! ( co$!d do 'as gri&ace.

3Pat) yo$ 'on/t be!ieve this b$t ( have to 'ork to&orro' night.3 3<ea!!y 2arvin:3 she so$nded very e1cited. 3(s it abo$t that &$rder:3 3Pat) ( can/t rea!!y say. ( %$st 'ant to see yo$ and nothing is 'orking.3 She !a$ghed s'eet!y. 34on/t 'orry 2arv. We/!! see each other. (/& not going any'here. 7et/s p!an on 2onday night) okay:3 32onday #or s$re)3 ( said #ir&!y. 39o$ ca!! &e 2onday a#ternoon) okay:3 3(/!! ca!!.3 3 nd yo$ be care#$! to&orro' 2r. 4etective.3 3(/!! be a good boy. nd (/!! ta!k to yo$ 2onday.3 3 nd yo$ have to te!! &e a!! the detai!s)3 Pat added. 3-kay) Pat. See yo$ 2onday.3 30ye 2arv.3 nd then she h$ng $p. .aving a persona! !i#e isn/t easy. Everyone is taking care o# b$siness t'enty-#o$r ho$rs a day) seven days a 'eek. 7i#e) i# yo$ 'ant to ca!! it that. ( decided ( 'o$!d go take a nap. (t see&ed !ike a good idea. When ( 'oke $p Cynthia 'as sitting on the bed staring at &e. She didn/t see& to 'ant anything) she 'as %$st 'atching &e. "hey say) 'hoever 3they3 are) peop!e pick pets 'hich are !ike the&se!ves. So o# co$rse Cynthia 'as a +$iet) introspective) in+$isitive thing. 0$t ( think she got that 'ay #ro& 'atching &e. So 'hich co&es #irst) the chicken or the egg: "he on!y i&portant thing is they both 'ind $p together. !! the !ong nap did 'as &ake &e tired. (t 'as a +$arter a#ter si1 and ( 'ent to the kitchen to #i1 so&e co##ee and &ake so&e break#ast #or s$pperE toast) sa$sage) and eggs. ( #ried the sa$sage then scra&b!ed the eggs 'ith so&e onion in the hot grease. 9o$/ve got to die o# so&ething. (t &ight as 'e!! be #ro& eating 'e!!. When the toast popped $p ( b$ttered it and s&othered it 'ith 'ater&e!on rind

preserves. ( b$y the preserves #ro& an o!d 'o&an ( did so&e 'ork #or a #e' years ago. 9o$ng 'o&en don/t have ti&e #or s$ch things. "hey are b$sy 'ith high-rise o##ices do'nto'n and e1pensive ho&es and cars. "ake yo$r pick) preserves or a #ast !i#e: <ight no' ( tho$ght the #ast !i#e so$nded good. t !east it did as !ong as there 'ere o!der 'o&en !iving in Casa 8ie' 'ho sti!! &ade preserves. ( got a bott!e o# hot sa$ce o$t o# the re#rigerator and po$red abo$t have o# it onto the eggs. "hen ( took &y co##ee and s$pper to the tab!e. #ter t'o bites Cynthia 'a!ked in and spra'!ed o$t on the #!oor beside &y !e#t #oot trying not to !ook h$ngry. ( %$st ignored her. She co$!d stand to go on a diet. Everything see&ed #!at. "he co##ee 'as hot and strong. "he eggs 'ere spicy 'ith the sa$sage c$t $p a&ong the& and the toast 'as per#ect. (t 'as %$st &e) ( 'as #!at. ( picked $p the p!ate and c$p and carried the& back into the kitchen. ( co$!dn/t !eave the p!ate on the tab!e or Cynthia 'o$!d be into it. @ro& $nder the co$nter ( p$!!ed o$t the -verho!t and po$red a s!$g into the co##ee then took a p$!! #ro& the bott!e be#ore ( recapped it. 5$st another nor&a! Sat$rday night. "hey &ove s!o' so&eti&es. ( took everything back to the tab!e and d$g in. 2y appetite 'as better no'. "he #ood tasted great. Cynthia sat at &y #eed 'atching &e) hoping #or a hando$t. ( don/t #eed her scraps) b$t she a!'ays hopes (/!! change &y &ind. When the #ood 'as gone and &y c$p e&pty ( carried the dishes into the kitchen. Cynthia %$&ped $p and #o!!o'ed a!ong. 3(t/s a!! gone s'eetie)3 ( to!d her. 39o$ don/t need to be eating this st$## any'ay.3 See &eo'ed a 3S$re) right)3 at &e and tried to 'a!k bet'een &y !egs. ( st$&b!ed trying not trip. 7$cki!y ( 'as c!ose to the co$nter and got the dishes do'n sa#e!y be#ore ( co$!d drop the& on the #!oor. 34a&n it CynthiaG 9o$ don/t have to do that. (/!! #eed yo$.3 ( bent do'n and picked her $p. She 'eighed a ton.

;ot &issing too &any &ea!s. ( carried her over to her #ood bo'!. (t 'as #$!!. ( reached do'n and stirred the #ood $p 'ith &y hand then set Cynthia do'n. She started eating. Cynthia !ikes the h$&an to$ch. "here/s nothing !ike #resh cat #ood to bring o$t the appetite. 3We!!) en%oy)3 ( said and 'ent back to the kitchen #or &ore -verho!t. "hen ( 'ent o$tside. (t 'as sti!! p!enty 'ar& o$tside. "he patio 'as in the shade o# the b$i!ding) the s$n setting on the #ront o# the condos. (t #e!t good to &e. "he p!ants !ooked good) no s+$irre! attacks. ( 'atered the& thoro$gh!y then sat do'n to en%oy the heat and the -verho!t. bo$t ha!#'ay thro$gh the c$p ( got to thinking abo$t Pat. (t/s rea!!y great to &eet so&eone specia!. nd Pat 'as very specia!. "he heat) the rye) and the !o$nge chair a!! #e!t good. "here 'ere sti!! a #e' boats o$t on the !ake) po'erboats b!asting aro$nd) sai!boats hea!ing their 'ay a!ong. "he east hori,on 'as gro'ing dark. ( c!osed &y eyes. ( 'oke $p beca$se o# the &os+$itoes. "hey 'ere eating &e a!ive. (# there 'as on!y one &os+$ito in ;orth &erica he 'o$!d #ind &e. ( scra&b!ed o## the !o$nge chair and into the coo! ho$se #!icking on !ights as ( headed back to the bathroo&. "here/s a big bott!e o# ca!a&ine !otion in the &edicine cabinet. ( s&eared the pink st$## over the bites ( co$!d reach and gritted &y teeth over the others. 9o$ scratch the da&n things they %$st get bigger. ( rinsed &y hands o##. 2y i&age in the &irror !ooked a !itt!e 'orse #or 'ear) especia!!y 'ith t'o pink patches o# ca!a&ine on it. 3Wonder ho' !ong yo$ s!ept:3 ( asked the #ace. 3-n!y one 'ay to #ind o$t)3 it ans'ered. ( 'ent into the bedroo& !ooking #or the c!ock. "he green 7E4 n$&bers said it 'as 10E30 P2. 32$st have s!ept abo$t an ho$r and a ha!#.3 ( scratched &y head. ;o &os+$ito bite there) %$st a habit. "hen ( had one o# those interna! debates.

3( sho$!d ca!! Pat. See 'hat she/s doing.3 3(t/s too !ate too ca!!. ( hate it 'hen peop!e ca!! a#ter nine. ca!! that !ate $s$a!!y &eans tro$b!e.3 3She said to ca!! anyti&e.3 3What i# she/s not there:3 3What i# she is:3 ( do too &$ch o# that debate crap. ( do need to !earn to be patient. ( 'ent back o$tside. Staring $p at the night sky ( !ocated -rion/s be!t) three stars in a !ine. (/ve picked the& o$t &y 'ho!e !i#e. ;o good reason) &aybe they are %$st easy to #ind. ( heard so&e &$sic p!aying. (t &ade &e think o# 5o nn/s invitation. 3We!!) ( can at !east act !ike (/& having #$n.3 ( s$ppose that/s being #ick!e. 9o$ s!eep 'ith a 'o&an one night and then yo$/re o$t partying so&e'here e!se the ne1t. 2aybe it is %$st !one!y. "he nap hadn/t h$rt &y drinking &$ch. "he -verho!t 'as sti!! 'ith &e. Everything stood o$t that e1tra !itt!e bit. ( #ig$red ( !ooked !ike he!! b$t ( didn/t rea!!y care. ( 'a!ked across the patio s&oothing &y hair and headed aro$nd the b$i!ding. -$t #ront the parking !ot 'as #air!y +$iet) one car co&ing another car going. 0$t to the !e#t there 'as a party going on. "he &$sic 'as co&ing #ro& 5o nn/s apart&ent. "he "a!king .eads 'ere 30$rning 4o'n the .o$se.3 (t &ade sense to &e. (t 'as a nice night. "he stars 'ere o$t) a !ight bree,e b!e' #ro& the so$th and ( 'asn/t &oping aro$nd the ho$se. 3-h) shit) the ca!a&ine !otion.3 ( 'etted a #inger and r$bbed at the t'o b$&ps on &y #ace. ( 'asn/t very 'orried abo$t so&eone noticing. (t 'as a party a#ter a!! and it 'o$!d probab!y be darker in there than it 'as o$t in the parking !ot. 0$t ( didn/t 'ant to har& 'hat !itt!e dignity ( had. ( headed to n$&ber 302. "here 'ere peop!e standing o$tside the open door drinking) !a$ghing) s&oking. ( on!y sa' one brand o#

s&okes being passed aro$nd. "he &$sic roared o$t the door to &eet &e. ( said he!!o to a co$p!e o# strangers 'ho acted !ike they kne' &e as ( entered the apart&ent. (t 'as !o$d. (t 'as s&oky. (t 'as dark. nd it 'as cro'ded. "he apart&ent 'as a big t'o-bedroo& st$dio type. 4o'n stairs 'as the !iving roo&) dining area and kitchen $nder a cathedra! cei!ing. 4espite the s&oke yo$ co$!d sti!! &ake o$t the stars thro$gh the 'indo's high $p in the 'a!!s) the 'indo's no one co$!d ever reach to c!ean. 4o'nstairs 'as cro'ded b$t it 'asn/t a sardine can. "here 'as 'a!king space and ( started navigating aro$nd the ta!kers) the dancers and the s&okers back to the kitchen 'here a keg o# beer 'as set $p. "he conversations sho$ted over the &$sic 'ere the $s$a!) sports and se1. 3S$re the Co'boys 'i!! &ake it to the S$per 0o'!: Who can beat /e&:3 34id yo$ see that chick over there 'ith the big tits: 2anG3 3 nd 'hen ( 'oke $p in the &orning the bastard 'as goneG .e didn/t even say good byeG 2en on!y 'ant one thingG3 5$st the $s$a! conversations. "he p!ace 'as !ike 2ercedes on!y 'itho$t the #!ash. "he kitchen !ights 'ere bright re#!ecting o## the co$nter tops) cabinets and 'a!!s they s$pp!ied the !ighting #or a!! o# do'nstairs. "he kitchen 'as c!ean) no dishes in the sink) %$st a !ot o# p!astic c$ps !aying aro$nd. #e' g$ys and a co$p!e o# gir!s c!$stered aro$nd the keg) c$ps in hand. 3(/& te!!ing yo$) 0$d) 0$sh) and 2iche!ob a!! co&e o$t o# the sa&e barre!)3 one g$y 'as e1p!aining as ( 'a!ked $p. 30$sch is at the top) 0$d is in the &idd!e) and 2iche!ob is the botto&. (t a!! tastes the sa&e doesn/t it:3 .e took a !ong p$!! #ro& his c$p. Preaching dries o$t the throat. "he others drank too. So ( g$ess being preached to dries o$t the throat. (t a!'ays did &ine. 3E1c$se &e)3 ( said stepping in the &idd!e o# the gro$p) b$t ( 'as !ooking at the t'o 'o&en as ( said it. "hey 'ere both yo$ng) !ong hair) nice!y tanned) bare!y dressed !ike #or

the poo! and happy to ret$rn the !ook. ( took a c$p and began to #i!! it 'ith beer. 3( hate to say it)3 ( spoke over &y sho$!der to the beer e1pert) 3b$t yo$/re 'rong. 2iche!ob is the top portion o# the barre! and 0$sch is on the botto&.3 "he gir!s !a$ghed beca$se ( 'as c$te not beca$se ( 'as #$nny. "he g$ys !a$ghed beca$se the gir!s did. ( s&i!ed beca$se ( #e!t !ike screa&ing. What 'as ( doing here 'ith these chi!dren: ( t$rned aro$nd and !i#ted &y beer in a toast. 3"o nhe$ser-0$sch) &ay they bre' #orever.3 nd ( drank $p and everyone e!se #o!!o'ed s$it. 7o'ering &y c$p ( contin$ed &y #$nniness. 3 nd i# they can/t !et/s pray do!ph Coors can.3 Everyone !a$ghed and &ade co&&ents !ike 3;o shit)3 and 3 in/t that the tr$th.3 ( 'ent back to the keg and topped o## again be#ore vent$ring o## into the party. 9o$ never kno' 'hen yo$/!! &ake it back to the beer) or i# there 'i!! be any beer 'hen yo$ &ake it back. ( &ade &y 'ay thro$gh the s&a!! c!$ster. co$p!e o# the g$ys c!apped &e on the back as ( passed beca$se ( 'as so #$nny. "he gir!s s&i!ed and ( s&i!ed back. 'ay #ro& the kitchen !ight the !iving roo& see&ed even darker and s&okier i# that 'as possib!e. ( sipped &y beer and dri#ted a!ong the inner 'a!! trying to avoid the cro'd. (/& not s$re 'hat ( 'as !ooking #or. ( g$ess ( 'as %$st !ooking. (n the !e#t rear corner o# the apart&ent 'ere the stairs to the second #!oor. ( #o$nd a nice open area beside the& and p$t do'n &y roots. ( !eaned back against the stairs) sipped &y beer) and 'atched. Standing in the corner) drinking beer in a s&oky roo&) 'atching other peop!e having #$n &ay not so$nd e1citing) b$t it 'as a better option than s!eeping a!one. ( began to think abo$t Pat as ( 'atched the dancers and the beer began to s!o' do'n their &otions. ( 'ished she 'as there 'ith &e. -# co$rse i# she had been there ( 'o$!d have 'anted $s to !eave. ( have other ideas abo$t 'hat is #$n.

3.i 2arvG (/& g!ad yo$ &ade itG3 5o nn 'as beside &e) s&i!ing) !ooking $p into &y eyes 'ith no sign o# her nor&a! nervo$sness. ( a& not a very good sentry. ( have no idea 'hat direction she ca&e #ro&. 2y &ind had been b$sy 'ith other things. 3 re yo$ having #$n:3 She had to a!&ost screa& to ta!k to &e. 3(t/s a great partyG3 ( ans'ered ti!ting &y head do'n in her direction. 5o nn 'as dressed in her $s$a! sty!e) c$to##s and a bikini top. She &$st have had a dresser #$!! o# the&. She had her hair !oose aro$nd her sho$!ders and her &ake$p 'as heavier than ( had seen be#ore. 34o yo$ kno' a!! these peop!e:3 ( !a$ghed nodding &y head to'ard the roo&. 5o nn stepped c!ose and p$t her !e#t hand on &y sho$!der. She $sed it to steady herse!# as she stood $p on her tiptoes and !eaned her breasts into &y ar&. 3( have no idea 'ho &ost o# the& are)3 she !a$ghed. ( sti!! had &y head ti!ted do'n to'ard her so o$r #aces 'ere c!ose as she ta!ked. She s&i!ed and !o'ered herse!# back onto her hee!s) 'hich had the a##ect o# r$bbing the !ength o# her body a!ong &ine. (t #e!t pretty good. 3Where did they a!! co&e #ro& then:3 ( asked trying to act !ike ( did not #ee! her body pressing against &e. With the beer ( had dr$nk and the -verho!t ( had ear!ier it 'as a to$gh act. She did the toe thing again raising $p to ta!k into &y ear s!iding her body a!ong &ine. She had a very bright !ook in her eyes. 3( don/t kno'. 2iche!e) she/s &y roo&&ate) 'e %$st st$ck notes $p a!! over. We 'anted !ots o# peop!e to sho' $p. nd they did. (sn/t it great:3 5o nn s&i!ed. She !eaned into &e &ore. ( had to !ean into her %$st to keep $s vertica!. "hen ( rea!i,ed she 'as 'asted. ( 'as the on!y thing keeping her #ro& #a!!ing do'n. .er breath did not s&e!! o# a!coho!. (t 'as so&ething e!se. "here see&s to be

a !ot o# 3so&ething e!se3 these days. 9o$ can/t get a'ay #ro& it. ( s'itched &y beer #ro& &y right hand to &y !e#t and then ( gent!y began !i#ting &y right e!bo') pressing it into 5o nn/s chest %$st beneath her breasts) creating so&e separation bet'een $s. (t is a basketba!! techni+$e to &ake yo$r persona! space bigger. good thing abo$t dr$gs and peop!e $sing the&) they never notice s$bt!e hand!ing. (n a co$p!e o# seconds 5o nn had dropped her hand #ro& &y sho$!der and ( had her standing on her o'n. ( sti!! had &y e!bo' in her chest to keep her #ro& #a!!ing back into &e. 32arv) yo$ are so handso&e)3 5o nn said 'ith a 'ide s&i!e. 34id yo$ kno' that:3 3We!!) &y &other has to!d &e that.3 ( !a$ghed b$t 5o nn didn/t. 39o$r &other is right. nd yo$r car is so bea$ti#$! too.3 5o nn/s #ace !ost the happy !ook and it began to c!o$d $p. 3( a& so sorry abo$t yo$r car.3 nd she tried to &ove in c!oser to &e. 2y e!bo' kept the space there. ( did not care to ta!k abo$t the car and ( did not 'ant to see 5o nn cry and it !ooked !ike that 'as getting c!ose. 7ike &ost g$ys 'hen a 'o&an begins to cry ( start thinking o# a 'ay to co&#ort her. Pat 'o$!dn/t !ike that. nd ( didn/t think ( 'o$!d either. So ( said) 35o nn) don/t 'orry abo$t the car. What (/& rea!!y 'orried abo$t is= 'here is yo$r bathroo&:3 ( !a$ghed to sho' her ho' happy ( 'as. (t 'orked. She !a$ghed and pointed to a door near the kitchen. 3-ver there is the do'nstairs toi!et. (t is staying pretty b$sy.3 She s&i!ed at &e and asked) 3(s it an e&ergency:3 3(t 'i!! be soon.3 3We!! there are bathroo&s $pstairs in each bedroo&. We 'ere trying to keep peop!e o$t o# there tho$gh. 9o$ kno' ho' peop!e can be in bedroo&s at parties.3 5o nn s&i!ed and nodded her head 'ise!y. 30$t go $se &ine. (t/s the

second bedroo& and the bathroo& is c!ean.3 5o nn sti!! s&i!ed happi!y at &e. ( decided the s&i!e 'as no' st$ck on her #ace #or the rest o# the night. ( needed to e1tract &y e!bo' #ro& her chest 'itho$t !etting her #a!! do'n. 3Great) thanks)3 ( to!d her as ( began to ease &y e!bo' a'ay #ro& her. She see&ed steady) and s&i!ing. 2y e!bo' broke contact and she he!d her position. "hank God #or !itt!e #avors. ( s'itched &y beer c$p back to &y right hand and took a sip. 3(/!! be right back.3 3(/!! be 'aiting.3 5$st 'hat ( 'as hoping #or. ( h$rried aro$nd 5o nn and started $p the stairs. 3En%oy)3 she ca!!ed a#ter &e. ( acted !ike ( didn/t hear her. nd ( act$a!!y began to need the bathroo&. "he stairs !ed $p to a ba!cony r$nning the 'idth o# the apart&ent. "he bedroo&s 'ere side by side 'ith the bathroo&s separating the&. "he cathedra! cei!ing 'as sti!! too high above the ba!cony to reach the cob'ebs in the corners. "he !o$d &$sic #ro& do'nstairs see&ed to vibrate the entire second #!oor. ( d$cked into the #irst bedroo& to $se its toi!et. 5o nn had been correct abo$t peop!e) bedroo&s and parties. She had been incorrect abo$t keeping peop!e o$t o# the&. "here 'ere three peop!e a!ready there. naked &an sat on the side o# the bed ba!ancing a s&a!! &irror on his !egs. .e 'as c$tting o$t three !ines o# cocaine. -ne #or hi& and one each #or the t'o 'o&en knee!ing in #ront o# hi&. @ro& 'hat ( co$!d see o# the& above the bed they 'ere naked too. nd nice!y so. .e !ooked over at &e and one o# the gir!s grinned. ( d$cked back o$t o# the roo&. S$dden!y ( had deve!oped a nose #or cocaine. ( 'as !ike a b!oodho$nd. ( 'ondered i# it 'as 4$rr/s or 5ones/ st$## they 'ere en%oying. 2aybe it 'as a s$pp!ier to be na&ed !ater. ( hoped not) t'o/s co&pany) three/s a cro'd. We!!)

so&eti&es three is a cro'd. ( decided to take a peek into 5o nn/s bedroo& and check it o$t be#ore ( barged in. (t 'as a !itt!e better) b$t not &$ch. yo$ng &an and a 'o&an 'ere passed o$t as!eep on the bed. .er shorts and panties !ay in the #!oor and his %eans 'ere do'n to his ank!es. .e 'as !aying c!ose behind her 'ith a hand sti!! $p $nder her tee shirt. So&eone 'as snoring !o$d!y. 7o$d!y eno$gh yo$ co$!d hear it over the &$sic. ( a& not s$re 'hich one it 'as. 35es$s) ( need to get the he!! o$t o# here. What a& ( doing here any'ay:3 ( asked. ( sp$n aro$nd on &y hee!s and headed to the stairs. (# anything) do'nstairs 'as &ore #renetic) the &$sic !o$der) the s&oke thicker) the peop!e 'i!der. ( p$shed &y 'ay to the door 'itho$t seeing 5o nn and stepped o$t into the #resh night air. (t #e!t great. ( tossed the beer o$t o# &y c$p and h$rried to the ho$se !ike so&eone) or so&ething) #ro& the party &ight catch &e.

Chapter 1! "he #irst ti&e ( 'oke $p S$nday &orning the a!ar& c!ock n$&bers read 2E23 2. "heir sick!y green co!oration 'as appropriate. ( #e!t !ike a cre' &e&ber on the 3;ostrada&$s.3 E1cept it 'as &y head that 'as sp!itting open. 3-h) shit)3 ( groaned. (t h$rt to &ove. (t h$rt to !ook at the c!ock. (t h$rt not to &ove. (t 'asn/t a hangover. 9o$ have to get sober be#ore yo$ have one o# those. (t 'as a &igraine and ( get those so&eti&es 'hen ( drink and so&eti&es 'hen ( don/t. ( pressed &y #ingertips against the veins at each te&p!e. So&e peop!e say &igraines are ca$sed by the vibration o# those veins. ( don/t kno' 'here they co&e #ro& b$t ( kno' 'here they can go. pp!ying press$re to &y te&p!es restricted the b!ood &ove&ent and so#tened the throbbing. 0$t ( needed to do &ore than so#ten it. ( tried to !ay per#ect!y sti!! and contro! &y breathing. S!o') deep breathes= ho!d it and then !ong s!o' e1ha!ation. ny &ove&ent ca$sed a shooting pain. ( ro!!ed onto &y side and b$ried &y head bet'een the pi!!o's to raise the a&bient te&perat$re sti!! pressing ho!es into &y te&p!es 'ith &y #ingers. 0ehind &y c!osed !ids ( ro!!ed &y eyes $p to the $pper !e#t corner o# their sockets and concentrated on ho!ding the& there. ;othing 'orked. (t 'as 3E0D 2. ( ro!!ed o$t o# bed and 'ent to the kitchen 'here ( kept the dr$gs. ( 'as a#ter &ore sin$s pi!!s) a co&bination antihista&ine) decongestant) and ana!gesic. "he antihista&ine &akes &e s!eepy) the decongestant di!ates the b!ood vesse!s) red$cing the press$re and the ana!gesic

n$&bs everything. ( che'ed #o$r $p) 'ashed the& do'n 'ith so&e 'ater) and 'a!ked very care#$!!y back to bed) and started a!! over again. t 3ED2 2 ( 'as back in the kitchen taking #o$r &ore pi!!s. (t h$rt to &ove. When ( 'as back in bed ( tried sitting $p 'ith &y head ti!ted back over the pi!!o's. "his constricts everything in the back o# the neck. So&eti&es it he!ps. t CE30 2 ( took #o$r &ore pi!!s and again at BE12 2 ( 'as back in the kitchen. 7ike &ost over the co$nter st$## yo$ are s$ppose to take the things every #o$r ho$rs and no &ore than eight pi!!s in a t'enty-#o$r ho$r period. ( had taken si1teen in #o$r ho$rs and #ina!!y ( s!ept #or a 'hi!e. (t 'as a#ter e!even 'hen ( got $p and ca!!ed @.W. ( co$!d &ove as !ong as ( didn/t &ove too #ast. 2y head didn/t #ee! !ike it 'as going to e1p!ode any !onger. (t #e!t !ike it had. ( didn/t rea!!y care to !ook #or any o# the pieces. @.W. ans'ered the phone. 3.ey kid) 'hat ti&e yo$ gettin/ here:3 3@.W. ( can/t &ake it today.3 ( ta!ked so#t!y and very s!o'!y. 3Why the he!! not:3 32y head is ki!!ing &e.3 3(# yo$ didn/t drink cheap !i+$or that 'o$!dn/t happen.3 @.W. is a!'ays a sy&pathetic !istener. 3(t/s not that. (t/s a &igraine.3 3S$re kid) ( kno'. 9o$ so$nd !ike he!!. 9o$ okay: 9o$ need &e to get yo$ anything:3 3;o) everything 'i!! be okay. (/& %$st going to !ay back do'n.3 32argaret/!! be 'orried. 9o$ s$re ( can/t do anything:3 @.W. 'as rea!!y a big &other hen. 3;o) it/!! be okay. (t/!! %$st take a 'hi!e. 9o$ kno' ho' they go. "e!! 2argaret (/& sorry. (/!! &ake it $p.3 34on/t 'orry 2arv) (/!! te!! her. 9o$ %$st take it easy) okay:3

3( 'i!! @.W. (/!! ta!k to yo$ !ater.3 39o$ ca!! i# yo$ need anything)3 @.W. ordered as 'e h$ng $p. ( took #o$r &ore pi!!s and ate ha!# a s!ice o# bread to sett!e &y sto&ach. ( $np!$gged the phone. "hen it 'as back to bed. ( got $p at eight that evening and tried to act a!ive. (/& a bad actor. "he &igraine 'as sti!! there. "hey $s$a!!y !ast &e t'enty-#o$r ho$rs. ;othing ( co$!d do abo$t that. ( had b$siness to attend to. ( drank co##ee and ate so&e b$ttered toast and c$rsed !i#e in genera!. Cynthia 'anted o$t) then she 'anted in) then o$t. ( 'as &ore than happy to sho' her the door. ( thre' so&e 'ater at the trees 'hi!e ( 'as o$tside. (# they b$rn $p) they b$rn $p. ( took so&e &ore pi!!s and !ay do'n on the so#a. "here 'ere three ho$rs to go $nti! &idnight. 0y e!even-thirty the &igraine 'as a d$!! ache as ( drove to to'n. ( 'as e1ha$sted b$t there 'as a score to sett!e. ( 'anted 'hoever it 'asG ( don/t !ike !ooking st$pid. ( parked in the sa&e s&a!! !ot o## St. Pa$! and stood in the opened gate'ay to the park. ( 'as trying to keep an eye open this ti&e. "he .3J0 Wa!ther in &y pocket &ade &e #ee! a !itt!e better. "he night 'as hot despite a nice bree,e. (nsects 'ere going cra,y aro$nd the night-!ight. ( stepped o$t o# its bright circ!e. 2y heart raced. ( #e!t the added press$re at &y te&p!es. "he e1cite&ent brings yo$ here. 9o$ kno' 'hat/s o$t there. 9o$ kno' it/s 'aiting. 9o$ %$st don/t kno' 'here. "hat/s yo$r %ob. "he &$shy spot on the back o# &y head 'here ( had been sapped throbbed. "he o!d head 'asn/t in the best o# shape. 32arv) yo$/re a #oo!. 9o$ kno' better than this)3 ( said $nder &y breath. "he trees r$st!ing in the bree,e covered &y &$ttering. ( stood in the dark by the 0e!!e 0oyd &arker 'aiting) !istening.

screa& seared the night. (t 'as #ro& the right) do'n in #ront o# &e. ( co$!dn/t see anything. (t had been a short) terrib!e screa&. "he night had regained its +$iet even be#ore ( &oved. ( started #or'ard. ( sprinted thro$gh the darkness breathing heavi!y. "he gro$nd began to drop a'ay in a so#t grade. ( tripped and #e!!) ro!!ing over severa! ti&es. ( c$rsed) gathered &yse!# $p on &y hands and knees in the thick grass o# the park. 39o$ deserve that yo$ idiot.3 -n a!! #o$rs ( !ooked back to see 'hat had tripped &e. 2y eyes ad%$sted to the dark in a second and ( sa' it) a body. ( stood $p and &oved c!oser. .e 'as an o!der &an 'ith thinning hair. .e 'as !ying on his sto&ach. "he right side o# his #ace 'as visib!e. "here 'as no p$!se in his neck. !ight co!ored) c!osecropped) &$stache covered his $pper !ip. ( to$ched his sho$!der as ( kne!t beside hi&. .is s$it #e!t !ike si!k. (t 'as r$ined by the gi&!et protr$ding #ro& his back. "here 'as !itt!e e!se ( co$!d te!! abo$t hi& in the short ti&e ( had. E1cited voices) gro'ing !o$der) 'ere co&ing &y direction. ( stepped over the body and raced back to the parking !ot. "he !ight see&ed e1tra bright near the gate) the b$gs at the !ight a cacophony. ;o one 'as there. "he voices behind &e #o$nd the body. "he street in #ront o# &e 'as c!ear and the hote! 'as +$iet. ( started the car. "he big engine 'as sti!! 'ar& and it roared to !i#e. ( !e#t. @inding dead bodies is not a good habit. ( hoped no one sa' &y !eaving. ( 'asn/t 'orried abo$t &y head any !onger. ( 'as 'orried abo$t &y other end.

Chapter 1" "he bedroo& 'as coo!) the bed co&#ortab!y 'ar& in the air-conditioned night. (t 'as one-thirty by the green n$&bers o# the c!ock. ( had been !aying on the bed in &y shorts) 'aiting in the dark #or over #orty &in$tes. Cynthia 'as o$tside roa&ing. 2y head #e!t passab!e and ( 'as as 'ide-a'ake as a dead &an can &ake yo$. @ina!!y the #ront doorbe!! rang. (t 'o$!d on!y be one thing at that ti&e in the &orning. nd the 'ay the be!! rang incessant!y &ade it a certainty) it 'as the cops. ( t$rned on a !ight here and there as ( &ade &y 'ay s!o'!y to the door. ( !e#t the chain connected as ( opened the door a crack to peer at &y visitors. ( tried to !ook s!eepy. 32ornin/ 2arv)3 ;ance said) his #ace peering in thro$gh the opening bet'een the #acing and the door. .e !ooked !ike he 'anted to be ho&e in bed. 32ind i# 'e co&e in:3 3;o) s$re) co&e on in)3 ( said c!osing the door) $n!atching the chain) and then opening it 'ide. b$r!y p!ainc!othes cop ( didn/t kno' stood beside ;ance. .e 'as an o!der g$y) !ooked !ike a 2arine 4ri!! (nstr$ctor. 3"o 'hat do ( o'e this honor:3 ( asked &otioning the& in. ;ance ignored the +$estion. 32arv) this is 4avid Grider. .e/s 'orkin/ 'ith &e.3 ( said) 3;ice to &eet yo$.3 Grider nodded a greeting. 3Can ( get yo$ a!! so&ething to drink: Whiskey) co##ee) anything:3 ( asked r$nning a hand thro$gh &y hair. 3;othin/ #or $s 2arv. 5$st get so&e c!othes on so 'e can ta!k)3 ;ance ans'ered. 3S$re. .ave a seat. (/!! be right back.3 ( &otioned the& to'ard the kitchen tab!e. Whi!e ( 'ent to s!ip on a robe

they sat do'n at the s&a!! tab!e over!ooking the dark !ake. When ( ca&e back in they 'ere #acing the 'indo' p!acid!y. ;ance/s eyes 'ere near!y sh$t) his head !o!!ing abo$t s!ight!y as tho$gh he 'ere abo$t to #a!! as!eep. .e 'as probab!y taking antihista&ines #or his head. "he other one) Grider) 'as a di##erent &atter. .e 'as 'ide-eyed and a!ert. .e acted as tho$gh he didn/t hear &e reenter the roo&. ( start!ed ;ance 'hen ( asked) 39o$ t'o s$re ( can/t get yo$ so&ething:3 Shaken back to 'ake#$!ness by &y voice) ;ance said) 3;o) 2arv) this is strict!y b$siness) no p!eas$re. Sit do'n.3 .e &otioned &e to the chair be#ore the g!ass door) opposite the&. ( sat do'n and 'aited. Grider 'atched &e c!ose!y. .is dark bro'n eyes stayed on &y #ace. Even at this ho$r he 'as c!ean shaved. (t &$st have been to$gh on his skin) b$t he !ooked !ike he en%oyed it to$gh. 2aking hi&se!# act a'ake ;ance said) 39o$ been in a!! night 2arv:3 ( ans'ered) 3( co$!dn/t say $nti! ( kne' 'hat this is abo$t.3 3(t/s abo$t a &$rder)3 Grider said enth$siastica!!y. .e so$nded "e1an) nasa!!y t'ang. ( s&i!ed at Grider and said to ;ance) 39o$ sho$!d take so&e decongestants #or that co!d. 9o$ take too &any antihista&ines yo$/!! never get yo$r head c!eared o$t.3 3(/& not here #or yo$r doctor/s opinion)3 he snapped. 3Sorry. ( 'as %$st trying to he!p.3 ;ance ignored that and 'ent to 'ork. 3"here/s been another ki!!ing at -!d City Park) 2arv. &an driving an ear!y ?0/s convertib!e !ike yo$rs 'as seen !eaving the area. 9o$ been in a!! evening:3 3-# co$rse not 7ie$tenant. (/ve got a !iving to earn.3 3 nything 'e/d be interested in:3 ;ance asked. .e reached over to the sa!t and pepper shakers on the tab!e and

began to toy 'ith the&) p$shing the& here and there. "hey didn/t &ove #ar) %$st eno$gh to keep his hands b$sy. Grider 'as p!aying the 3bad cop.3 .e sat trying to b$rn a 'ho!e thro$gh &e 'ith his eyes. 3( don/t think so)3 ( said. 3( 'as to!d it 'as b$!!shit.3 Grider got &ad. .e tho$ght ( 'as ribbing the&. .is eyes c!o$ded 'ith a d$!!ing !ight. (n a !o'ered voice he de&anded) 3What in the #$ck are yo$ ta!king abo$t:3 .e 'asn/t a pretty pict$re. -# co$rse he hadn/t started pretty. ;ance stopped &essing 'ith the shakers. 30e +$iet 4avid)3 he said 'ith no in#!ection. Grider t$rned a deeper shade o# &ad. ;ance asked) 3What do yo$ &ean 2arv:3 3( &ean ( got another one o# those notes) torn #ro& the sa&e sheet. (t and t'o h$ndred do!!ars said #or &e to go to the park tonight at 12. 9o$ to!d &e the other note &eant nothing so ( 'ent. ( stood aro$nd #or a #e' &in$tes) heard a screa&) ran to 'here it ca&e #ro&) and tripped over the dead &an. (/d never seen hi& be#ore and #ig$red it 'o$!dn/t do &e any good to ca!! in a second &$rder) so ( c!eared o$t. Who 'as the g$y:3 39o$/re in deep shit 4avis)3 Grider grinned. ;ance g!anced at Grider then ans'ered) 3.is driver/s !icense gave his na&e as 4oy!e 0aker) #ro& 4enton. .e had a pi!ot/s !icense. "hat/s it so #ar.3 .e added) 39o$ sho$!d have to!d &e abo$t the second note 2arv.3 39o$ said it 'as b$!!shit:3 32$rder is never b$!!shit and yo$ kno' it)3 ;ance said even!y to &e. 39o$ sho$!d have to!d &e. 9o$ don/t need to be &essing 'ith it.3 3-ne o# &y c!ients) 'ho even tho$gh a dr$g dea!er) gets hi&se!# ki!!ed) the po!ice act !ike it/s nothing) !eave everything in &y !ap and it/s none o# &y b$siness:3 ( asked rhetorica!!y.

3(t/s #or the po!ice) yo$ kno' that)3 ;ance contin$ed in the ca!& tone. 3Where/s this second note:3 3(t/s at the o##ice.3 ( didn/t add it arrived at the ho$se #irst and ( took it do'nto'n 'hen ( picked $p &y pisto!. "he g$n 'as o$t in the car. 3Get dressed and !et/s go have a !ook at it)3 ;ance ended the conversation. .e 'as a'ake no'. .is +$iet ca!& 'orried &e. ( 'as &ore co&#ortab!e 'ith Grider.

Chapter 1# Grider sat in the back seat o# the co&pany Chrys!er. ( set $p #ront 'ith ;ance. (t 'as a +$ite drive do'nto'n. C!ose to 3 2 ( t$rned on the !ights in the o##ice and crossed over to &y desk. "he po!ice&en #o!!o'ed &e in. "he air in the s&a!! roo& 'as hot and sta!e. ( sat do'n) opened the botto& dra'er) and re&oved the #o!der 'ith the note and &oney in it. ( tossed it across the desk to ;ance. .e sat do'n in the c$sto&er/s chair. Grider !ooked over his !e#t sho$!der. ;ance opened the #o!der care#$!!y) !ooked at the note and the &oney in the p!astic bag then he !ooked at &e. .e didn/t say anything. .e t$rned the bag aro$nd ninety degrees so the paper 'as readab!e be#ore hi&. 3Co$!d yo$ t$rn on the air in here:3 he asked. ( !ooked $p at Grider then over to the ther&ostat by the !ight s'itches. .e didn/t !ike it b$t he &oved over there and c!icked the air on. "he ribbons on the gri!! #!$ttered s!ight!y. (t 'as a coo! breath o# #resh air in the hot roo&. 3"hey/re de#inite!y #ro& the sa&e sheet o# paper)3 ;ance noted. Grider 'as back behind hi&. 3"he #irst note/s the $pper !e#t portion and this second one is the !o'er !e#t. "his the &oney:3 39ea) that/s it. ( don/t #ig$re yo$/!! #ind any prints) b$t yo$ can try. ( 'as care#$! 'ith it. Even tho$gh it is b$!!shit.3 Grider 'anted to say so&ething. .e didn/t say it tho$gh) ;ance/s order to sh$t $p sti!! he!d. 9o$ co$!d te!! he 'asn/t happy 'orking $nder a 3yo$ngster.3

3;othing specia! abo$t the paper itse!#)3 ( said) 3Strath&ore) t'enty-#ive po$nd bond) opa+$e 'hite. ( $se it &yse!#.3 vai!ing hi&se!# o# &y !etter opener ;ance p$!!ed the note o$t onto the desk and t$rned it over. .e !ooked $p at &e and asked) 3What do yo$ &ake o# these &arks on the back:3 3"hey/re #aint) !ooks !ike the sheet 'as pressed against and &oved across a piece o# penci! !ead. Co$!d be an accident) co$!d be intended)3 ( said. 3(t/s hard to te!!.3 ;ance t$rned s!ight!y and !ooked $p into the #ace o# Grider peering over his sho$!der. 3Wo$!d yo$ &ind stepping o$tside #or a second 4avid: (/d !ike to ta!k to 2arv.3 3S$re) be g!ad to)3 he s&i!ed. .e kne' ( 'as #i1ing to get the ro$gh treat&ent. When the door c!osed behind Grider) ;ance said) 39o$/re in deep shit here) yo$ kno' that don/t yo$:3 ( nodded a##ir&ative!y. 3"'o dead &en) 'ith apparent!y no connection) are #o$nd by yo$. 9o$ have notes saying #or yo$ to be 'here and 'hen the bodies are #o$nd. 9o$ say &oney ca&e 'ith the notes. 9o$ don/t report the notes and yo$ !eave the scene o# one o# the &$rders 'itho$t noti#ying anyone. "o stretch it a bit ( co$!d even say yo$ typed these notes yo$rse!#.3 ;ance stopped and !ooked &e even!y in the eye. .is eyes 'ere red #ro& !ack o# s!eep b$t there 'as a 'ish#$! !ook seeking a reasonab!e ans'er. ( didn/t have one. 39o$ got a 'arrant:3 ( asked. 39o$ kno' ( don/t. ;ot yet.3 3"hen don/t give &e a hard ti&e)3 ( said. 3(t 'o$!dn/t take !ong to get a 'arrant and (/& not giving yo$ a hard ti&e) yet)3 he said. 3( %$st 'ant yo$ to see 'hat it !ooks !ike to &e.3 ( said) 3Ear!ier it !ooked !ike b$!!shit.3

35$st stop it 2arv. "hat 'as ear!ier and yo$ kno' it.3 ;o' he p!eaded) 3Give &e so&e he!p here 2arv. (s it so&ething yo$/re 'orking on: 4o yo$ kno' 'hat the #$ck yo$/re doing:3 !! ( co$!d say 'as) 37ie$tenant ( didn/t ki!! anyone. nd ( can/t even prove that right no') &$ch !ess anything e!se. What e!se can ( say:3 .e sat there si!ent #or a &in$te then stood $p. 35$st say good-night ( g$ess.3 .e 'orked the note back into the bag and c!osed it $p inside the #o!der. s he stood $p he said) 3(/!! have this second note and the &oney checked o$t. We/!! send yo$ a receipt in the &orning.3 .e 'a!ked to the door and stopped. 3Meep yo$r nose c!ean) 2arv.3 (t 'as an order. 3(/!! do the best ( can.3 34o better than that 2arv. 9o$ need a !i#t back ho&e:3 ( s&i!ed) 3;o) thanks. (/!! s!eep here a'hi!e and get a ta1i !ater.3 ;ance opened the door and &otioned #or Grider to #o!!o' hi&. "he door c!osed and their #ootsteps #aded o$t o# &y hearing !eaving &e a!one in the si!ent b$i!ding. "he ne1t #o!der ( p$!!ed o$t o# &y desk he!d photocopies o# the t'o notes. ( stared at the&) both sides) and #idd!ed 'ith &y #ingernai!s $nti! the s$n ca&e $p. ( 'ent o$t #or so&e break#ast.

Chapter 1$ 2onday &orning) another day) another do!!ar. ;ine h$ndred do!!ars in a 'eek is good pay #or &e. -# co$rse the po!ice 'ere ho!ding #o$r h$ndred o# it #or &e. !tho$gh they don/t pay interest) they are #air!y sec$re. nd ( had to #actor in the va!$e o# a ne' gir!#riend) a &inor car accident) apart&ent parties !oaded 'ith cocaine and t'o &$rders. !! in a!! it had been &ore than an average 'eek #or &e. "he po!ice &$st have given o$t notices o# 0aker/s death ear!y in the &orning. "hat &ade &e interesting again. "he phone started ringing and at J 2 ( started ans'ering it. <eporters #ro& the 4a!!as and @ort Worth ne'spapers ca!!ed h$nting e1c!$sives. ( kne' the&) drank 'ith the& so&eti&es b$t ( gave the& a!! the 3;o co&&ent)3 treat&ent. "hen ( re#erred the& to ;ance and the po!ice depart&ent. Everyone e1cept 2ark L$ant. When he ca!!ed ( #ig$red ( o'ed hi& &ore that that. .is boo&ing voice brightened &y day. 3What are yo$ doing to &e 2arv: (/& o$t b$sting &y ass chasing !eads on Wi!!ie 5ones and yo$/re t$rning over bodies !e#t and right. 9o$ can/t do 2E a #avor and give 2E a ca!!: 9o$ kne' this 'as going to happen Sat$rday 'hen yo$ ca!!ed &e) didn/t yo$) yo$ assG3 ( &oved the phone back c!oser to &y ear and ans'ered) 3( 'asn/t rea!!y e1pecting another dead &an) yo$ kno'.3 3.e!!) it never is 'hat yo$/re e1pecting)3 2ark sho$ted at &e. 3(t/s 'hat yo$ #ind that co$nts. Stories don/t co&e !ooking #or yo$. "hey/re !ike 'o&en. 9o$ have to chase a#ter /e&. E1pend so&e ti&e and &oney on the&. nd i# yo$/re !$cky eno$gh to st$&b!e over one 'orth kno'ing)

yo$ have to be bright eno$gh to recogni,e it. Which apparent!y yo$/re not.3 2ark ca$ght his breath and p$shed on. 3 nd ho' co&e yo$/re not in %ai!: ( ca!!ed there #irst !ooking #or yo$.3 ( !a$ghed. 3"hanks #or the vote o# con#idence.3 3Con#idence he!!) yo$ #ind t'o co!d bodies in one 'eek and it !ooks !ike the hoosego' to &e.3 3We!!) they/re 'aving charges at &e) !eaving the scene and not reporting) a!! that b$siness. 0$t so #ar nothing. "hey/re 'aiting) hoping (/& the s&a!! #ish the big one/s !ooking #or. "he ever ready scapegoat.3 2ark/s voice !o'ered. 39o$ didn/t do it did yo$:3 3;o)3 ( snapped back. 3(/ve never even &et this second g$y.3 3We!! 'hat in the he!! 'ere yo$ doing there then:3 2ark roared. 3Sa&e thing as be#ore) so&eone asked &e to be there.3 3So&eone setting yo$ $p:3 3(t !ooks !ike it) doesn/t it:3 3(s it 5ones:3 32ark) ( don/t honest!y kno'. ( don/t kno' ho' this 0aker g$y #its into anything. (t co$!d %$st be so&ebody 'ho/s seen 3Psycho3 too &any ti&es.3 2ark 'as si!ent #or a second. 37et &e nose aro$nd a !itt!e. See 'hat ( can #ind o$t.3 3S$re) no prob!e&.3 35$st one thing tho$gh. "he story/s &ineG3 2ark sho$ted) 3E1c!$sive!yG 4on/t yo$ ta!k to anyone b$t &eG3 3Whatever yo$ say) %$st don/t r$n anything $nti! ( give an -M.3 35es$s) yo$ 'ant everything.3 3(t/!! be 'orth the 'ait.3 3-kay) b$t ( 'on/t be happy.3 3Who cares i# yo$*re happy as !ong as the story is good.3 .e !a$ghed at that and 'e h$ng $p. Good #riends are #e' and #ar bet'een. 2ost o# the ti&e they are even

#e'er and #arther. 9o$ have to sho' a so#t side to keep #riends. "hey !ike to see that yo$ need the&. ( don/t !ike doing that. 0e#ore ( co$!d catch &y breath the te!evision stations 'ere banging on &y door. "hey think yo$ o'e the& a story. !! they got o# &e on tape 'as a big 3no co&&ent3 and the door sh$t in their #ace. ( didn/t think ( needed the e1tra e1pos$re. (/& not opposed to p$b!icity. ( !ike seeing &yse!# on "8 as &$ch as the ne1t g$y. (t can be good #or b$siness. 0$t not 'hen ( a& tripping over bodies. ( !ook st$pid doing that. ( don/t need &y pict$re taken that bad. ( had %$st got the door sh$t 'hen the phone 'ent o## again. ( snatched it o## the crad!e. 3What:3 3/What:/ to yo$ too.3 (t 'as @.W. 3(/& sorry @.W. (/& a !itt!e tired right no'.3 3(t so$nds !ike yo$ have a reason to be tired.3 @.W. so$nded 'orried. 3What/s going on kid: 9o$ need so&e he!p:3 3( probab!y need he!p b$t ( have no idea 'hat/s going on)3 ( ans'ered. 39o$ sho$!d have ta!ked to &e yesterday instead o# $sing the headache story. Even 2argaret doesn/t $se that !ine.3 3Co&e on @.W. (t 'as the tr$th. ( 'o$!dn/t !ie to yo$. 9o$ at !east have to be!ieve &e. So&eone/s $sing &e.3 37isten 2arv) a!! ( kno' is 'hat ( hear. nd 'hat ( hear so$nds bad #or yo$. ;ance is ta!king to the 4. .3 3.e can ta!k a!! he 'ants. ( didn/t do anything. ( can/t he!p it i# (/& b!essed 'ith d$&b !$ck.3 39o$/re b!essed 'ith so&ething)3 @.W. !a$ghed. 39o$ had better get o## yo$r ass and #ind o$t 'hat/s 'hat be#ore they p$t yo$ a'ay #or !i#e. nd that/s a #act.3 3( hear yo$ @.W. ( %$st 'ish ( kne' 'here to start.3

(n his best #ather!y voice @.W. said) 39o$ ca!! &e i# ( can he!p in any 'ay. 9o$ hear &e:3 39es) ( hear yo$. "hanks @.W.3 3"a!k to yo$ !ater kid.3 .e h$ng $p. ( sat back in &y chair. 2y sto&ach 'as $pset #ro& too !itt!e s!eep) too !itt!e #ood and too &$ch sin$s &edicine. Everyone had taken their shot. "he o##ice #ina!!y +$ieted do'n) and ( 'as g!ad. ;o one at the door and no one on the phone. ( stretched back in &y chair and #e!! as!eep. "he on!y tr$e #ee!ing o# peace and +$iet yo$ get these days is 'hen the phone is $np!$gged. ( hadn/t $np!$gged it. (t rang 'ith the $rgency on!y a phone ever ho!ds. (t 'as a #e' &in$tes ti!! noon. ( don/t kno' ho' !ong ( had s!ept) b$t ( #e!t better. "he o##ice 'as #ee!ing the e##ects o# the s$&&er s$n. -n the phone/s t'e!#th ring ( ans'ered. 9o$ %$st can/t he!p it. (t &ight be opport$nity ca!!ing. 3-h 2arv)3 Pat/s so#t voice 'hispered across the 'ire to &e. 3(/ve been trying to reach yo$ ever since ( read abo$t that second dread#$! &$rder. ( even ca!!ed the po!ice trying to #ind yo$. ( 'as so a#raid yo$ 'o$!d be in %ai!G3 ( 'ondered 'hy everyone tho$ght ( sho$!d be in the !ock$p. 3 nd)3 ( ass$red her. 3"hey/d never do that to a good !itt!e boy !ike &e.3 3 re yo$ a!! right:3 .er voice 'as !ike an evening bree,e &oving thro$gh honeys$ck!e b!osso&s. 5$st the so$nd o# it &ade &e #ee! #resh. 3S$re) (/& #ine)3 ( said. 3-h) (/& so g!ad to hear that)3 she sighed then said) 3( hope yo$ 'on/t think bad o# &e b$t ( &iss yo$. ( don/t 'ant to 'ait $nti! this evening to see yo$. Can yo$ &eet &e here #or !$nch:3 39o$ &ean at yo$r o##ice:3 ( asked. "hen) 3S$re) 'hat ti&e:3 3Wo$!d one o/c!ock be okay:3 3( think one 'o$!d be 'onder#$!. P$n intended.3 Pat !a$ghed and so did (.

We said o$r good-byes and h$ng $p. (/& not s$re 'here the transition point bet'een !$st and !ove is. (t see&s so&e'here bet'een cons$&&ation and contin$ed desire. (t/s a prat#a!! #or everyone. Pat 'as a specia! 'o&an. ( 'o$!dn/t arg$e that. ( needed to #ind o$t ho' specia!. ( had been $p a!! night) s!ept in &y c!othes and needed a shave. Seeing &e at &y 'orst &ight te!! &e ho' specia! she 'as. 0$t ( didn/t 'ant to p$sh &y !$ck that #ar. ( got the spare c!othes o$t o# the c!oset so they co$!d air and ( 'ent o$t to b$y a ra,or. When ( 'as as pretty as ( co$!d &ake &yse!# ( sti!! had a #e' &in$tes to spare be#ore &eeting Pat. ( picked $p &y %acket and 'ent o$t to have a !ook at the &orning paper. <eading as ( 'ent) ( 'a!ked a co$p!e o# b!ocks in the heat to a b$s stop. "he paper 'as the very ear!y edition. (t 'as printed be#ore the po!ice kne' &$ch o# anything. "hey bare!y &entioned the second body in the park and said nothing abo$t &e. ( tossed the paper a'ay as the b$s p$!!ed $p. "he b$s 'as one o# those .op-a-b$s things. "he ones 'ith the rabbit ears on the&. (t circ!ed aro$nd do'nto'n and ( got o## in #ront o# 0ryan "o'ers. P2 Enterprises 'as on the t'enty-seventh #!oor. ( took one o# the e1press e!evators $p. "he on!y thing 'orse than the 3gee3 #orce o# an e1press e!evator going $p is 'hen it stops. 9o$r sto&ach) do'n at yo$r ank!es) shoots $p into yo$r throat. ( hate it. "he e!evator doors opened. "he corridor 'as carpeted in a thick beige pi!e. "he 'a!!s 'ere a &i!d &$stard. (nterior decorators. (t 'as a short 'a!k #ro& the e!evators to P2 Enterprises. brass p!ate to the right o# the door gave the co&pany/s na&e. "he heavy piece o# oak opened into a !arge 'aiting roo&. (t #e!t !ike an e1pensive doctor/s 'aiting roo&. di##erent decorator had 'orked in here.

Co$ch) !ove seat) and side chairs in a 'ine co!or !eather 'ere spaced aro$nd the roo&. s&a!!) #ragi!e tab!e in the center o# the c!$ster o# #$rnit$re he!d &aga,ines. "he #!oor 'as covered 'a!! to 'a!! 'ith a short napped) ivory carpet. "he cei!ing !ooked !ike a so!id s+$are o# de#$sed !ight. (t 'as i&possib!e to te!! 'here the act$a! !ight so$rce 'as. Severa! paintings 'ere h$ng on the 'a!!s) an origina! #!ora! Georgia -/Mee#e 'ork he!d the pro&inent spot near the receptionist/s 'indo'. Pat had taste and &oney. "he s&a!! s!iding g!ass 'indo' 'as set to the !e#t o# a second oak door. "he gir! sat in a s&a!! area behind the rear-partitioning 'a!! o# the 'aiting roo&. 0!eached) short) spiked hair 'as visib!e thro$gh the 'indo'. "he head t$rned as ( entered the roo& and a #attish) yo$ng #ace 'ith e1cessive eye &ake-$p !ooked $p. 39es) &ay ( he!p yo$:3 (t 'as the sa&e gir! ( had spoken to over the phone so ( gave her the sa&e !ine again. 39o$/re probab!y too yo$ng.3 She sti!! !iked it. ( gave &y na&e and stated &y b$siness. .er voice tittered) 3P!ease co&e on back 2r. 4avis) 2s. 2organ is e1pecting yo$.3 "hro$gh the door a short ha!! !ead past the open receptionist/s area. "he gir! grinned at &e as ( 'a!ked past. .er breasts 'ere #$!!) bare!y covered by a !o' c$t r$##!ed b!o$se. ( !eered. She b!$shed happi!y. 3"he end door 2r. 4avis)3 she s&i!ed. 3"hank yo$)3 ( !eered so&e &ore. Peop!e e1pect certain things #ro& certain peop!e. >s$a!!y it/s easier to give the& 'hat they think than e1p!aining the di##erence. ( dropped the !eer a#ter ( t$rned &y back on her and 'a!ked do'n the ha!!. "here 'ere t'o doors in the ha!!. "he #irst one) to the !e#t) 'as a very #ancy 'ashroo&. "he other door 'as at the end o# the ha!!. ( stopped and knocked. 32arv) is that yo$:3 Pat ca!!ed o$t.

( opened the door and st$ck &y head inside. 3(t 'as !ast ti&e ( !ooked.3 3We!! it sti!! is)3 she !a$ghed. 3Get in here.3 Pat 'as seated at a 'riting tab!e in #ront o# a sea o# 'indo's. ( stepped inside and c!osed the door. "his is 'here the b$siness 'as done. (t 'as on the 'est 'a!! o# the to'er over!ooking do'nto'n. "he e1terior 'a!! 'as g!ass) the #$rnishings Spartan. (n #ront o# the g!ass 'a!! 'as a 'riting tab!e) a chair on either side. "he c$sto&er 'o$!d sit 'ith the g!are o# the city in his eyes. -n the !e#t side o# the !arge roo& 'as a 'et bar. "he rest o# the space 'as e&pty) devoid. (t s!ighted anyone/s appearance in it. 7ike the e1terior o##ice area the roo& 'as carpeted in a thick ivory carpet. "he 'a!!s 'ere a te1t$red so#t 'hite= the cei!ing) 'hite ti!es. "he roo& 'as !ike a 'hite c!o$d in the 4a!!as sky. Pat stopped sorting papers 'hen ( entered. She !ooked at &e and ( sa' the !ove!iest) 'ar&est s&i!e in her eyes and on her #ace (/ve ever seen. @ra&ed against the 4a!!as sky!ine she 'as 'earing a #orest green dress) s!eeve!ess) do$b!e-breasted 'ith a deep 8-neck. .er hair 'as !oose. She tossed it s!ight!y !ooking at &e. She 'as bea$ti#$!. She rose and +$ick!y crossed the space bet'een $s. "he he& o# the green dress 'as si1 inches above her knees and even 'earing open toe sanda!s her !egs had a per#ect t$rn to the&. Encirc!ing &e in her ar&s) s&othering &y #ace and neck 'ith kisses) she &oaned 3-h 2arv) 2arv) ( 'as so a#raid (/d never see yo$ again. ( tho$ght they/d take yo$ a'ay.3 ( !a$ghed and tried to p$sh her a'ay so ( co$!d speak. ( co$!dn/t &ove her. ( didn/t try too hard. ( en%oyed it. "hat kind o# thing doesn/t happen to &e every day. t !ast ( said) 3Why sho$!d yo$ think that: 4on/t 'orry abo$t &e dar!ing. (/& a big boy and ( can take care o# &yse!#.3

.er hands he!d &y #ace and p$!!ed &y &o$th back do'n to her so#t) 'ar& !ips. We didn/t ta!k #or so&e ti&e. @ina!!y she rested her head on &y sho$!der and said) 32arv) ( don/t kno' 'hat ( 'o$!d do 'itho$t yo$.3 .er ar&s he!d &e tight. ( p$shed her a'ay) p$tting so&e space bet'een $s) and raised her head $p. 7ooking into her eyes ( said) 3Pat) ( !ove yo$. 9o$ 'on/t ever have to do 'itho$t &e.3 ( g$ess it 'as the right thing to say= she gave &e a bone-cr$shing h$g in rep!y. 3;o') ( tho$ght 'e 'ere going to have !$nch:3 ( said. She nodded. 3What 'o$!d yo$ !ike:3 She !ooked at &e and said) 3( 'ant yo$ #or !$nch.3 .er hands s!id do'n &y sides to the #ront o# &y pants. ( pressed against her. She s+$ir&ed) her hands b$sy. .er #ragrant neck 'as $nder &y !ips. ( said hoarse!y) 39o$/d better te!! the !itt!e ga! o$t #ront not to bother $s.3 She ran to her desk and picked $p the phone. 3;ancy) 2r. 4avis and ( have so&e b$siness to disc$ss. We don/t 'ant to be interr$pted) okay:3 3"hank yo$.3 Pat h$ng $p the phone and &oved back into &y ar&s.

Chapter 2% (n the &id-a#ternoon heat ( ca$ght another b$nny back to the o##ice. ( spent the #ive-&in$te ride 'ondering ho' ( rated a 'o&an !ike Pat. "here is no reasoning 'ith d$&b !$ck. So&eti&es it/s the !$ck part 'orking #or yo$. -ther ti&es it/s the d$&b. (t bothered &e that the ear!y papers hadn/t &entioned &y na&e. #ter the heat o$tdoors the o##ice #e!t coo! as ( sett!ed into &y chair. ( 'as tired. "hen the phone began to ring. Picking $p the phone ( gr$nted 39ea3 into the receiver. ( 'as #ee!ing to$gh) #ee!ing &y oats) #ee!ing &y age. 39ea) &y ass. Where yo$ been:3 2ark screa&ed into &y ear. 3(/ve been tryin/ to get yo$ a!! a#ternoon. ( don/t kno' 'hy the he!! ( sho$!d 'orry abo$t 5ones. 9o$/re the hot story. ( sho$!d %$st 'rite abo$t yo$. .ave yo$ seen the evening edition: 9o$/re a!! over it. 0ig ti&e) 2arv) big ti&e. (/& pro$d %$st to kno' yo$.3 ( tho$ght #or a &in$te be#ore ( ans'ered. 3(/ve been b$sy) 2ark. .aven/t had ti&e to get a paper. ( sa' the ear!ier edition. 2y na&e 'asn/t in there.3 3-# co$rse not. (t hits the street too ear!y st$pid. "hey bare!y had ti&e to &ention the &$rder &$ch !ess yo$. "he cops didn/t give o$t yo$r na&e $nti!) shit) it &$st have been seven this &orning. 0$t yo$ &ade the a#ternoon edition. 9o$ 'ant everything don/t yo$:3 2ark got +$iet. 32arv) yo$ need any he!p:3 3Why do ( need he!p:3 3 nybody 'ho trips over a sti## every ti&e he t$rns aro$nd needs he!p.3 2ark !a$ghed !o$d!y. 3We/ve had this conversation) 2ark. 9o$/re not in so&e bar are yo$:3

34oes the Pope #art in the 8atican: 9o$/re the detective. 9o$ te!! &e.3 2ark !a$ghed. ( !a$ghed 'ith hi&. "hen he got serio$s. 3(/ve got a #riend 'ho kno's a co&p$ter. .e &ight be ab!e to he!p yo$ get so&e backgro$nd st$## on yo$r !atest sti##. (/ve not had any !$ck. "hat is i# yo$ 'ant to kno' abo$t the&. (/ve been ta!king to hi& abo$t 5ones.3 3Who/s the g$y) 2ark:3 3.is na&e/s .opkins) Stan!ey .opkins. .e 'orks o$t at <edbird #or the @ . .e/s a rebe! 'itho$t a ca$se kind o# g$y. Works #or the govern&ent b$t hates every day o# it) inc!$ding payday. 0acks $p to the 'indo' to get his check. .e/s a!'ays !ooking to he!p 'ith a story. !'ays has his #acts straight. Gets the& o$t o# the @ed/s co&p$ter net'ork. Give hi& a ca!!. "e!! hi& Shir!ey #ro& "e&p!e to!d yo$ to ca!!.3 3Shir!ey #ro& "e&p!e:3 ( !a$ghed. 3(t/s better than Q4eep "hroat)/3 2ark sho$ted at &e. 3( 'o$!dn/t kno' 2ark. What/s his n$&ber:3 With the n$&ber 'ritten do'n ( #inished &y end o# the conversation saying) 39o$ hang in there 'ith 5ones. "here/!! be a story. nd don/t get too dr$nk 2ark. "he cops &ight !ike to see yo$ do'nto'n.3 3"hey a!'ays !ike to see &e 2arv) a!'ays.3 .e h$ng $p. ( gave the n$&ber a spin. 39es) .e!!o. 2ay ( speak to Stan!ey .opkins p!ease:3 ... nother !ong ho!d on a bad radio station. ... 3.i) Stan!ey .opkins: 2y na&e is 2arv 4avis. Shir!ey #ro& "e&p!e to!d &e ( sho$!d ca!! yo$ ... .o' have yo$ been: ... Good) g!ad to hear it. ;o) Shir!ey is #ine. ( %$st got o## the phone 'ith her. She tho$ght yo$ &ight he!p &e 'ith a prob!e& ... S$re= ( can &eet yo$ this a#ternoon. Where: ... -kay) (/!! see yo$ there at CE30. 9o$ can never te!!. "he g$y so$nded nerdy. 0$t so&eti&es that is e1act!y 'hat yo$ need. 3We!! i# (/& driving o$t to <edbird this a#ternoon (/d better get the car.3 ( ca!!ed #or a ta1i. When the horn

so$nded o$t on the street ( b$nd!ed $p &y dirty c!othes and headed #or the ho$se.

Chapter 21 "he cops had saved &e A3.D0 #or parking. "he ta1i ride ho&e cost &e t'enty. (t 'as a good thing ( 'as #!$sh 'ith cash. ( didn/t have &$ch ti&e i# ( 'as going to &ake it to <edbird irport by CE30. ( grabbed &y dirty c!othes and h$st!ed o$t o# the cab and over to the apart&ent. Cynthia 'as at the door. She gave &e a &eo' that 'as not a he!!o. She had been o$t a!! night and a!! day. 34on/t give any o# that)3 ( to!d her as ( $n!ocked the door. 39o$/ve been hanging o$t at the poo! a!! day drinking &argarita/s and eating Cat Cho'. ( kno' yo$r kind.3 ( had the door open and she shot in. "here are !ots o# cats in the co&p!e1. ( kne' she hadn/t &issed any &ea!s or bo'!s o# 'ater. ( ran back to the c!othes ha&per and grabbed everything that needed to get to the c!eaners. ( don/t have so &any c!othes that ( never c!ean the&. nd ( needed to get it done pretty #ast. (t so$nded !ike Cynthia 'as b$sy at the #ood bo'! as ( ran back o$tside to the car. "here/s a dry c!eaners on every corner in 4a!!as. (t doesn/t &atter 'hich one yo$ $se. "hey a!! tear the b$ttons o## yo$r shirts. ( think there is a b!ack &arket #or b$ttons. ( dropped the c!othes o## and st$##ed the receipt in &y pocket. With that o$t o# the 'ay ( !it the a#terb$rner on the -!ds and headed do'n the #ree'ay. (t 'as sti!! ear!y eno$gh that tra##ic 'as !ight. 0!asting thro$gh the canyon ( 'ent past -!d City Park and didn/t trip over anyone) !iving or dead. nother #irst #or &e. ( got over the "rinity <iver bridge easi!y and headed so$th on (-3D. ;ear the ,oo tra##ic s!o'ed b$t not s!o' eno$gh to &ake &e t$rn o## the C. ( had it b!o'ing strong and as !ong as

tra##ic &oved ( 'as keeping it that 'ay. ( 'orked &y 'ay to the (-3D - >S-B? sp!it) #o!!o'ed B? to the right and a!! the tra##ic disappeared. ;o one 'as going &y 'ay. So$th -ak C!i## ,ipped by and there 'as <edbird irport and ( took the ne1t e1it) <edbird 7ane. "here is a 2c4ona!d/s on the northbo$nd side o# the #ree'ay. (t is one o# the big stores 'ith the p!aygro$nd inside) so the kids can p!ay o$t o# the heat. ( crossed $nder and parked. "he store 'asn/t very b$sy. -ne other car 'as in the !ot and t'o 'ere in the drive thro$gh. Stan!ey .opkins 'as s$ppose to &eet &e inside. (t 'as CE2D. Stan!ey 'as easy to identi#y. .e 'as the yo$ng g$y 'ho !ooked !ike a nerd. ;ot on!y 'as he ta!! and thin 'ith thick g!asses and an $g!y tie) he 'as 'hite and not eating anything. ( hoped ( didn/t !ook as &$ch !ike a private dick as he did a co&p$ter geek. ( 'ent over and sat do'n. 39o$ are Stan!ey .opkins aren/t yo$)3 ( asked %$st to be s$re. (t had been a 'eek o# &eeting peop!e in the strangest 'ays #or &e. ( didn/t need any &istakes. 39es ( a&)3 he ans'ered and st$ck o$t a hand. 3P!ease ca!! &e Stan.3 We shook. ( 'as s$rprised by the handshake. "here 'as so&ething there. 3"hank yo$ #or &eeting &e.3 3( en%oy he!ping)3 Stan s&i!ed. (t 'asn/t &$ch o# a happy #ace b$t it 'as 'hat he $sed as a s&i!e. 34o yo$ 'ant anything to eat or drink:3 ( asked. 3;o. ;o thank yo$. @ast #ood ki!!s.3 3-h.3 3"his is %$st a great p!ace to ta!k. "hey haven/t b$gged these p!aces yet. !tho$gh)3 and he !eaned to'ard &e) 3they do have ca&eras every'here. 9o$ have to sit in the right spot.3 3"hat/s good)3 ( nodded. .e 'as sit$ated so the ca&era behind the order takers sa' on!y his back. -# co$rse ( 'as !ooking straight into it.

39o$ 'o$!d be s$rprised ho' &$ch the govern&ent kno's. ( dea! 'ith it everyday.3 .e s&i!ed. 3<ea!!y:3 3-h) yea. "he &ore they net'ork 'ith each other/s co&p$ters the &ore they inde1 yo$. "hat/s the good part o# it #or &e. "he on!y sec$re net'ork is a net'ork o# one. "he bigger they get the &ore back doors they !eave open.3 "his ti&e he rea!!y s&i!ed. 3;o' 'hat can ( get #or yo$:3 So ( p$t in &y order) 3( 'as 'ondering i# yo$ co$!d get &e so&e in#or&ation on a #e!!o' na&ed 4oy!e 0aker:3 3"he g$y 'ho 'as ki!!ed !ast night.3 (t 'as a state&ent #ro& .opkins not a +$estion. ( s$ppose 3Shir!ey3 had &entioned it. 2aybe Stan had a!ready been e1p!oring &e. 39ea) he/s the one ki!!ed !ast night)3 ( ans'ered. 3(/& !ooking #or bio &ateria! #ro& his !icense app!ication) #!ight records) #!ight p!ans) persona! #inances) anything. Stan nodded s!ight!y. 3"hat/s a !ot o# in#o.3 3( kno' it/s a !ot b$t ( do need it. (/& not rea!!y s$re 'here this thing is going. nd ( %$st need to see 'here (/& at.3 "here 'as the grin. 3(/!! see 'hat ( can do.3 3"hanks a !ot Stan.3 "hen there 'as that a'k'ard &o&ent 'hen yo$ have to ta!k &oney. 3What 'i!! it cost &e:3 3-h 2arvin) 2arvin)3 and Stan act$a!!y !a$ghed. 3( do this #or the cha!!enge. ( !ike to see ho' deep ( can get into their syste&s. 2aybe so&eday (/!! +$it this %ob and beco&e a cons$!tant #or the govern&ent.3 nd he !a$ghed again. 3We!!) great Stan. ( appreciate the he!p.3 ( gave hi& one o# &y cards 'ith &y ho&e n$&ber on the back. We shook hands again and !e#t the p!ace. "he ca&era never did get a good !ook at hi&. (/!! have to start practicing.

Chapter 22 2ost o# the tra##ic 'as heading the other 'ay as ( drove back to do'nto'n. ( &ade good ti&e b$t it 'as #oo!ish to stop at the o##ice. (t 'as DE30. "he b$siness day 'as over. 0$t ( 'anted to see i# ( had any specia! de!iveries. "he b$i!ding 'as +$iet as ( 'a!ked do'n the ha!! to the o##ice. ( 'as pretty p$&ped $p. @inding dead peop!e 'orks on yo$r nerves. 9o$ start 'ondering 'hat yo$ 'i!! #ind ne1t. ( opened the o##ice door and #o$nd a hot) e&pty) !itt!e o##ice. ;o notes) no bodies) no po!ice) no dr$g dea!ers) no parties) no reporters. "he !ist o# 3no3 'as !ong. ( sh$t the o##ice door on a!! o# the& and headed #or the ho$se. (t 'as a +$arter a#ter si1 and it had been a !ong day) a very !ong day. ( parked beside the &ai!bo1es and !e#t the &otor r$nning as ( 'ent over to check &y bo1. ( opened it care#$!!y. ( didn/t e1pect to #ind a bo&b b$t there had been one there be#ore. "here 'as a #!yer #or a &aid service st$##ed inside and that 'as it. 2ost o# the %$nk sho's $p on "$esdays. .aving no &ai! act$a!!y #e!t good. ( drove on do'n to the ho$se and parked. Cynthia 'as at the door 'hen ( 'a!ked in. 3We!!) do yo$ 'ant o$t:3 She stared at &e and &eo'ed. 3What do yo$ 'ant: (/& not a &ind reader.3 She spoke again. She 'asn/t a&$sed 'ith &e. ( c!osed the door and 'ent to the kitchen. ( got o$t the cat #oot and ratt!ed the bo1. "hat bro$ght Cynthia bo$nding in. 3We!!) &aybe ( a& a &ind reader.3 ( had to po$r the #ood in aro$nd her head to #i!! the bo'!. She see&ed a !itt!e h$ngry. ( g$ess she had a right to be angry 'ith &e. ( got

her so&e #resh 'ater and 'ent to the bedroo& to change. "he phone rang. 3God) 'i!! this day never end: .e!!o.3 3We!!) he!!o to yo$)3 it 'as Pat. 39o$ didn/t ca!! &e this a#ternoon. ( tho$ght 'e 'ere s$ppose to do so&ething this evening:3 3 hhh)3 that had &e sta&&ering. She contin$ed. 35$st beca$se 'e sa' each other ear!ier today doesn/t cance! this even. -r does it:3 3;o) b$t.3 3"hat/s not a very good ans'er 2r. 2arvin 4avis.3 3 hhh.3 3 nd that/s not &$ch better. 9o$/ve seen /@ata! ttraction:/ ( don/t !ike to be ignored.3 3( 'asn/t ignoring yo$ PatG () (.3 nd then she !a$ghed. (t 'as a /( got yo$ rea! good that ti&e./ !a$gh. ( #e!t a !itt!e better then b$t ( 'asn/t s$re i# ( 'as rea!!y sa#e. .o' did ( #orget to ca!! her: (t had been a !ong day and ( 'as tired. ( can/t be!ieve ( 'as that tired tho$gh. 3( a& rea!!y sorry Pat. "his 'on/t speak very high!y o# &e so don/t hang $p. ( #orgot.3 She !a$ghed again. 39o$ are kidding &e) right:3 3;o) (/& sorry. ( rea!!y #orgot. ( got b$sy chasing aro$nd to'n this a#ternoon and ( #orgot.3 3-hh) 'ere yo$ 'orking on that &$rder:3 she asked e1cited!y. 3 ct$a!!y ( 'as.3 3"hen that/s okay 2arv. 4id yo$ #ind o$t anything:3 32aybe. (/!! have to see i# it pans o$t.3 32arvin 4avis yo$ have to get over here right no' and te!! &e a!! abo$t it. "hat/s an order and then everything 'i!! be #orgiven.3 Pat !a$ghed again. 3(t/s hard to arg$e 'ith that)3 ( ans'ered. 3 nd that/s the 'ay ( !ike it)3 she said in a very se1y voice.

39ea) ( had a great ti&e Sat$rday. 3(/& not $p to anything. Wo&en r$n in t'o cyc!es #or &e) none or too &any.e 'as on &y &o$th as she started to ta!k) then they dri#ted do'n to &y chest) on to &y sto&ach) and then a !itt!e be!o'. .e!!o) 5o nn. .er eyes &ade it $p to &ine #or a #raction o# a second then sett!ed do'n to &y &o$th. . She stood in the door'ay= her bro'n eyes !ooked #!at) no &ore depth than a sheet o# opa+$e 'hite bond paper.3 ( didn/t see any . 4id she ever do anything e!se: brie# top) a to'e! 'rapped aro$nd her 'aist) and a pair o# #!ip-#!ops &ade her ready #or anything. ( didn/t kno' i# she 'as being coy or d$&b.. ( g$ess ( 'o$!d #ind o$t soon eno$gh.i) . nd &ost o# the ti&e it see&s !ike one is too &any.3 Pat h$ng $p. (t can/t be the cops again.er ga. "he &ore ( sa' o# her the !ess ( !iked 'hat ( sa'. 3. 2arv.3 gain she $sed that s$!try voice on &e.3 3( !ike begging too. (/!! see yo$ very soon. ( !eaned strong!y to the !atter. 3.. What are yo$ $p to) abo$t #ive-#o$r:3 ( grinned and t$rned on the o!d 4avis char&. We!!) 'as ( in tro$b!e or 'hat: ( think everything 'as a!! right.o' co$!d ( #orget to ca!!: ( started $ndressing to #reshen $p 'hen the doorbe!! rang.3(/!! be right over there begging #orgiveness. "ho&pson ca!!ed yo$:3 "hat 'as a !ong speech #or her.3 39es) yo$ had better h$rry. 35ee. 3We!!) then ( g$ess ( had better h$rry. ( didn/t see yo$ !eave Sat$rday night.3 ( had &y s!acks and socks on 'hen ( opened the door. ( 'anted to &ake s$re yo$ had a good ti&e and ( 'as 'ondering i# 2r. "he &$sic 'as a !itt!e !o$d #or &e so ( g$ess ( !e#t a !itt!e ear!y. >&) (/& not bothering yo$ a& (:3 5o nn 'as dressed #or the beach.) this day 'on/t stop.

"here are a !ot o# dog peop!e o$t there. (t !ooked !ike she &ight be trying to esti&ate the hairs there. ( hate it that ( h$rt yo$ car. Cynthia 'as at the patio doors. 3"hat/s a good gir!.3 34on/t 'orry abo$t it) rea!!y. 3(/& sorry 5o nn. 9o$ can/t tr$st the&. (t &ight have knocked so&e sense into her. ( kne' yo$ 'o$!d he!p &e. ( petted her as ( got her !oose.3 ( 'as trying to #ind so&e 'ay to end the conversation 'hen Cynthia &eo'ed angri!y at &e #ro& so&e'here at the back o# the ho$se. . Saved by the &eo'. 30e care#$!.3 3 0!ack Cat. Patience) patience. She/s %$st a !itt!e b!ack cat.3 39o$ have a cat:3 "he 'ay she said it) cat 'as a dirty 'ord. 3(/ve been kind o# b$sy. Cats are so sneaky.3 ( bit &y tong$e and shoved &y hands deep into &y pant pockets so they 'o$!dn/t inadvertent!y s!ap the &isg$ided gir!. 3We!!) ( %$st 'anted to be s$re every thing 'as okay. (t/s best to !et s!eeping cats s!eep. 3 nd ah) no ( didn/t hear #ro& "ho&pson today 5o nn. 39ea. 5o nn/s eyes got as big as sa$cers) 'e!!) s&a!! sa$cers. ( headed back to the bedroo& to #inish changing. ( needed to get her o$t o# the door. She had her c!a' h$ng in the drape.3 ( s!id the door open and set Cynthia o$t on the patio. 2y cat. ( need to go check on the cat.3 ( kind o# sh$t the door in her #ace.bene#it to te!!ing her the tr$th. 3What 'as that:3 3"hat 'as %$st Cynthia.3 Cynthia !ooked over her sho$!der at &e then bo$nded a'ay.3 5o nn/s eyes had &oved back do'n to &y chest. .e &ight have ca!!ed so&eti&e 'hi!e ( 'as o$t tho$gh. "hanks #or stopping. ( had p!aces to be. Cynthia 'ai!ed again.3 5$st one &ore thing ( #orgot abo$t. "hat o!d car has &ade it thro$gh a !ot o# to$gh ti&es.

( rang the doorbe!!.3 3(/& sorry. (t 'as a !itt!e a#ter eight. ( got o$t o# the car and 'a!ked over to the #ront door. She 'asn/t angry. She 'as bea$ti#$!.3 nd she !a$ghed. "he !ong night and day 'as catching $p 'ith &e. ( co$!dn/t re&e&ber 'hen ( !ast ate. 4on/t %$st stand there. She had a to'e! in her hands and she 'iped her #ace as she said) 3(/& sorry it took &e so !ong to get the door.er hair 'as p$!!ed back) she 'as 'earing no &ake$p) and her #ace 'as covered in perspiration. ( 'as getting ready to do the be!! again 'hen the door opened. 4riving over to Pat/s ho$se didn/t co$nt as &oving. 3.i there)3 Pat said and gave &e the &ost 'onder#$! s&i!e. (t act$a!!y #e!t nice o$tside) hot b$t nice. She 'as 'earing a b!ack e1ercise o$t#it) tights) and . nd ( 'as starving. . (t took Pat a 'hi!e to ans'er the door. She stepped #or'ard and gave &e a he!!o kiss. nd that 'oke &e $p. 9o$ sho$!d try ringing &ore than one ti&e. 3We!!) co&e on in.ike r$nning shoes. nd she 'asn/t dressed #or dinner. ( 'as in back r$nning and ( 'asn/t rea!!y s$re i# ( heard the doorbe!!.3 . 7iving $nder the C beco&es a !itt!e steri!e.ed by yo$. (t 'as a str$gg!e to get to her ho$se. (/& %$st a!'ays a&a.Chapter 23 When (/& tired ( do pretty 'e!! as !ong as ( keep &oving. Everything 'as #ine. "here is %$st so&ething abo$t visiting a bea$ti#$! 'o&an that 'akes a &an $p. ( tho$ght #or s$re ( 'o$!d #a!! as!eep. ( p$!!ed into her drive'ay and parked beside the 5ag. "he s$n 'as sti!! $p b$t not #or &$ch !onger.

3( %$st need another ten &in$tes and (/!! be done. "hink abo$t 'hat yo$ 'ant to order.o) (/& #ine. 3Wo$!d yo$ &ind getting it yo$rse!#: ( %$st 'ant to h$rry and get this over. 39o$ !ook gorgeo$s and yo$ kno' it. We are a!! #inish ta!king abo$t that) okay:3 3"a!king abo$t 'hat:3 ( asked and !a$ghed. 3>n!ess yo$ 'ant &e to p$t so&e &ake$p on:3 39o$ kno' yo$ are the biggest tease)3 ( to!d her.3 Pat #!ashed that s&i!e at &e.3 3. 3"here no'. 3( do !ike to hear yo$ say that. She took &y hand and !ed &e back thro$gh the ho$se to'ard the e1ercise roo&.3 3"hank yo$ 2ister 4avis. 3E1act!y)3 Pat s&i!ed. 3"hat/s 'hy yo$ #orgot to ca!! &e:3 She p$!!ed &e on into the ho$se and sh$t the door.3 2y sto&ach gr$&b!ed abo$t that b$t not !o$d.She !a$ghed at that.3 She stopped $s in the ha!! and t$rned to #ace &e. .3 She !ed &e on into the e1ercise roo&.3 3We!!) ( g$ess yo$ co$!d t'ist &y ar&. 4o yo$ 'ant &e to bring yo$ anything:3 . ( think ( can #ind &y 'ay there and back.o' +$it staring at &e so ( can #inish r$nning. She 'as hot) da&p) and s&e!t 'onder#$!. 3(/& sorry 2arv)3 she said 'itho$t &issing a beat on the tread&i!!) 3( didn/t ask i# yo$ 'anted anything to drink.3 She s&i!ed.3 ( !ooked into those green eyes and said) 3Pat yo$ !ook gorgeo$s. Pat !et go o# &y hand and stepped onto the tread&i!! and started o## in a +$ick %og. 3( hope yo$/re not too starved: ( needed to get in so&e r$nning and ( can/t r$n on a #$!! sto&ach. nd i# it is a!! right 'ith yo$ ( tho$ght 'e co$!d have so&e Chinese de!ivered: "hat 'ay ( 'on/t have to get a!! &ade $p.3 3S$re. s ( 'as trying to sta&&er o$t another apo!ogy she &oved c!ose and gave &e a !ong) serio$s kiss.

(t re&inded &e o# 4$rr. 3( en%oy it. s ( !e#t the roo& she 'as rea!!y picking the& $p and p$tting the& do'n. t !east she 'as breathing hard.ot on!y did she have a good shape) she 'as in good shape. She 'as breathing easy and her head 'as $pright and #oc$sed ahead. 0$t that is not very po!ite.3 39o$ kno' 'hat ( &ean. ( #i1ed &yse!# a short -verho!t and ?>P on the rocks. nd that/s the bad thing abo$t tread&i!!s. . ( 'anted to pro'! aro$nd the ho$se beca$se that is 'hat ( do. Pat s&i!ed) 3 nd ( can/t do anything in ha!# &eas$res. (t is hard to stop the& once yo$ have the& going. #ter a co$p!e o# &in$tes she 'as ab!e to step o##. <$nning is #$n)3 she said as she contin$ed to dry her #ace and then her neck.3 nd then she started to speed $p her pace on the tread&i!!. Pat 'as r$nning at a serio$s c!ip. We to$ched at the hip no'. . Pat grinned at &e) 3We!! thank yo$. (/& g!ad yo$ !ike &y #or&. She grabbed her to'e! and sat do'n beside &e on &y right.3 .o' &$ch distance do yo$ p$t in:3 ( sipped &y drink and &oved a !itt!e c!oser.3. She picked $p speed and &oved into a sprint) !ike she 'as driving #or the #inish !ine. ( sat do'n on the 'eight bench and 'atched.3 Pat 'as 'iping her #ace. -n a track yo$ %$st stop) the gro$nd doesn/t keep &oving $nder yo$.ot right no') thanks. ( didn/t 'ant to p$t &yse!# to s!eep.3 39o$ have a rea!!y nice #or&. 0$t coo!ing do'n is good #or yo$. (t 'as obvio$s this 'as a reg$!ar thing #or her. She had a !ong #!$id stride) good ar& &otion. 39o$/re pretty serio$s 'ith that. Pat he!d the sprint #or a &in$te and then started s!o'ing do'n. ( 'a!ked back to the e1ercise roo& sipping &y drink.

( 'o$!d take so&e o# that i# yo$ don/t &ind:3 32y p!eas$re)3 ( said as ( rested &y hand on her thigh. Pat/s breathing 'as back to nor&a!.3( think ( do)3 she ans'ered. ( 'o$!d sti!! have been on the #!oor gasping #or air 'aiting #or the a&b$!ance to arrive i# ( had tried to r$n !ike she had. ( s+$ee.3 ( bent do'n and kissed her !ight!y then ( headed o## to the kitchen. 3We!!) yo$ kno'.3 3"hat/s a nice ti&e. @inding the 'ine 'as easy) !ying on its side on the botto& she!#. ( tho$ght abo$t !etting the 'ine breath a !itt!e b$t ( decided it 'o$!d have to catch its breath in the g!ass. (t sti!! needed to be opened tho$gh.ed her !eg s!ight!y and stood $p. 3(# ( take it easy that/s 3D &in$tes to r$n DM. ( 'ent thro$gh three dra'ers) the #!at'are) the kitchen !inens) and the p!astic 'rapKa!$&in$& #oi! dra'ers be#ore ( !ocated it.3 3 nd 'hat 'o$!d /at speed/ be:3 ( asked and o##ered her a sip #ro& &y g!ass.3 . @inding a 'ine g!ass 'as easy) $pper !e#t hand cabinet. 3So) 'hat is /at speed/:/3 Pat sipped her 'ine. What do yo$ r$n:3 32ain!y ( %$st r$n &y &o$th)3 and ( !a$ghed and so did Pat. 3.3 3"hank yo$. ( #i!!ed the g!ass) re-corked the bott!e) and p$t it back in the re#rigerator. ( a& pro$d o# it. ( handed the g!ass o# 'ine to her and sat do'n beside her again. . 3( $s$a!!y try to get DM in at speed.er !e#t !eg a!igned itse!# a!ong &y right !eg #or its #$!! !ength. (# ( p$sh it ( can get do'n to 2J &in$tes.3 39o$/d better 'ait.o) rea!!y. (/ve tried to get it !o'er b$t)3 and Pat shook her head) 3it %$st isn/t there. She shook her head no at the drink o##er saying) 3(/ve got so&e Pinot Grigio in the #rig. Pat !ooked $p at &e s&i!ing) 3(/!! 'ait right here. ( hated that.3 She !ooked over at &e.

Every once in a'hi!e ( get o$t and try to do so&e distance.3 She stood $p and ( did too. 0$t $s$a!!y it t$rns into &ore 'a!king and %ogging than r$nning. (/& starvedG3 Pat started o$t o# the e1ercise roo& and ( 'as right behind her. nd ( hate %ogging.3( $se to r$n the &i!e.3 3( do too)3 Pat nodded and took another sip #ro& her g!ass.3 3GreatG 7et/s ca!!. 4o yo$ 'ant any:3 3S$re) a co$p!e 'o$!d be good. . ( hate that in-bet'een st$##. 0$t that 'as a !ong ti&e ago. Mind o# a 'ay to he!p &e #orget that 9-> #orgot &e)3 Pat s&i!ed at &e over her sho$!der. 3"hat 'i!! be great #or the digestion)3 ( !a$ghed in ans'er. 3 nd 'hi!e 'e eat yo$ can te!! &e 'hat yo$ !earned today abo$t those t'o &$rders. 3( 'ant so&e egg ro!!s. 3Either stop or go. 37et/s ca!! and #ind o$t.3 Pat 'as +$iet #or a co$p!e o# seconds then asked) 3We!!) do yo$ kno' 'hat yo$ 'ant #or dinner:3 34o they have t'ice cooked pork:3 3( don/t kno')3 Pat ans'ered.

"he c!ock beside Pat/s bed gave the ti&e as BECD 2. 9o$ 'ere pretty serio$s abo$t yo$r s!eeping. 3( tried.Chapter 2 3Wake $p s!eepy head.3 3(t so$nded !ike it. Pat had a!ready picked the& $p o$t o# the #!oor and p$t the& . "here is co##ee in the kitchen and c!ean to'e!s in the bathroo&s. 9o$ sho$!d have 'oke &e $p sooner. 3( do get serio$s so&eti&es. 39o$ are the s!eepy one)3 Pat s&i!ed at &e. 3(/& not trying to h$rry yo$ o$t. 39o$ %$st take yo$r ti&e. She s&e!t da&p and c!ean. She stood back $p and said) 3. 3 re yo$ a'ake no': (s it sa#e to !eave yo$ a!one:3 ( ret$rned the s&i!e. ( ya'ned.3 Pat bent !o'er and kissed &e.3 Pat !a$ghed. ( sat $p in the bed and !ooked aro$nd #or &y c!othes.o' ( need to #inish getting ready #or 'ork. -$tside thro$gh a gap in the c$rtains ( co$!d see the sky 'as !ightening $p.3 ( reached o$t and to$ched Pat/s thigh. 3( think it/s sa#e.3 3-kay)3 ( ans'ered as she c!osed the bathroo& door behind her.3 Pat 'as !eaning over &e shaking &y sho$!der gent!y. -kay:3 3S$re) ( need to get &yse!# going.3 3We!!) ( have to get b$sy &ister.3 She &oved a'ay #ro& &y hand and to'ards her bathroo&. 9esterday 'as %$st a very !ong day. ( %$st need to get going. She 'as 'earing one to'e! 'rapped her aro$nd her body and a second 'rapped aro$nd her hair.3 She sti!! s&i!ed. ( kno' yo$ needed the s!eep.

#ter ( parked the car ( checked &y &ai!bo1 again. She headed do'nto'n and ( headed #or ho&e. (t 'as #i!!ed 'ith sheet a#ter sheet o# co&p$ter printo$ts #i!!ed 'ith 4oy!e 0aker in#or&ation. ( needed to change into so&e #resh c!othes and check on Cynthia. ( had #orgotten to do that !ast night. Pat and ( !e#t her ho$se at the sa&e ti&e.e had done t'o to$rs o# d$ty as an assa$!t chopper pi!ot in 8ietna&.e had o'ned and operated a charter p!ane service specia!i. ( tore open the enve!ope and !ooked inside. (t 'as #ro& Stan and it 'as st$##ed #$!!.on a chair. . "he e1-'i#e 7inda 'as his bene#iciary. 0$t 'aiting o$tside &y #ront door 'as a big &ani!a enve!ope. Everyone 'as going to to'n not a'ay #ro& it. . . 0aker 'as divorced 'ith no chi!dren.is bi!!s 'ere paid $p and he o'ned his p!ane c!ear and #ree.e #!e' to 2ia&i a !ot and there 'ere severa! h$nting parties to 2e1ico. . ( didn/t see her any'here. "hen ( sat do'n and 'ent to 'ork. (t 'as too big an enve!ope #or a +$arter sheet o# 'hite paper. "ra##ic 'as !ight on the #ree'ay in &y direction.e had been #!ying #or a !ong ti&e. ( cried) 3"hank yo$ Stan) thank yo$. ( 'ent to the kitchen tab!e and e&ptied the enve!ope. . . "he #irst one d$ring "et. nd he !ived 'ith his &other) 5esse. ( s!id o$t o# the bed and p$!!ed on pants and shirt and 'a!ked to the kitchen #or so&e co##ee carrying &y shoes and socks. (t 'as sti!! e&pty.ing in !ong distance service. ( 'as getting #orget#$! in &y o!d age. nd ( needed to 'ater the trees. "he enve!ope had been dropped o## by a co$rier d$ring the night.3 3CynthiaG CynthiaG Where is that cat at:3 ( got the door open and ca!!ed one &ore ti&e be#ore ( c!osed it and 'ent inside.

"he !ong yesterday #e!t good 'ashing o## &y skin and o$t o# &y hair.o' yo$ sa' the chicken 'ire not the trees. 5$st a %ea!o$s 'o&an. . sha&e. "hey didn/t !ook very pretty sitting in %ai!. -ne o# those 3P!anes o# the Wor!d3 kind o# things. So&e'here (/d picked $p a book on aviation. 0aker/s &$rder) the cops) the reporters) Stan!ey . ( had on!y taken a +$ick sho'er at Pat/s) %$st eno$gh to 'ake $p. Cynthia ran over to her #ood bo'! and ( 'ent back to sho'er and shave. ( had to 'onder 'hen 5ones 'o$!d sho' $p. Stan had sent &e so&ething. She ignored &e tho$gh and stood by the door 'aiting to be !et in. (t 'as &id-&orning. @or &e sho'ering is a ti&e #or re#!ection. "hose years in co&bat and then die in the park that 'ay. "he trees 'ere in good shape.or poised a!ong &y !e#t %a' !ine) &y #ace ha!# covered in !ather) the other ha!# pink and s&ooth #ro& a c!ose shave.e 'as the on!y one &issing #ro& 2onday/s #$n. "he cage 'as keeping the s+$irre!s o$t b$t it cost the& a !ot in aesthetic va!$e. ( &ade a note to &yse!# to ca!! 2ark and thank hi& and then ( headed o$tside to 'ater the trees. (t !ooked !ike he 'as in the 'rong p!ace at the 'rong ti&e. ( !ooked $p into &y bright green eyes and s&i!ed. . We 'ent inside. @acts are interesting. ( 'as sitting at the kitchen tab!e drinking co##ee. (t had speci#ications #or 0aker/s p!ane in it. ( have a passion #or re#erence books. ( to'e!ed o##) 'rapped the to'e! aro$nd &e and stepped over to the sink to shave. 2aybe (/& not as o!d as ( think. . ( 'asn/t s$re 'hat to do abo$t that. ( had the ra.opkins) and t'o 'onder#$! dates 'ith Pat) ( don/t kno' ho' ( s$rvived it. Whi!e ( 'as 'atering Cynthia ca&e $p. "he co&p$ter printo$ts 'ere spread a!! over the tab!e. (/!! b$y &ost any kind.othing !ooked #$nny abo$t any o# it.. ( had so&e digging to do. ( +$ick!y #inished shaving and p$!!ed on so&e pants.

3( hope yo$/re #ee!ing better. 9o$ okay:3 ( asked. ca&e to the phone +$ick!y) a !itt!e o$t o# breath. 3(s @. (/& covering Sat$rday #or a g$y) so he is taking today #or &e.W. 7ooked !ike there 'as a connection to &e.a. .3 @. 2istake n$&ber one. there:3 3. 30$t ( &ight be the on!y one. 3What are yo$ doing at ho&e shaving: 9o$ sho$!d be 'orking. So&e o# his 2e1ican and 2ia&i #!ights had e1cessive #$e! $sage. ccording to &y book his p!ane 'as $sing a!&ost t'o and a ha!# ti&es as &$ch #$e! as it sho$!d have. nd it !ooked !ike a trip $p to 4enton 'as on tap #or the day. nd ( can s!eep !ate i# ( 'ant to.3 3 nyone ( kno':3 3. nd cocaine in 4a!!as &eant Wi!!ie 5ones. 3. 3S$re) (/& okay. at the o##ice.9o$ can get anything o$t o# a co&p$ter i# yo$ kno' ho' to ask.ed into the phone. 2aybe ( had been p!aying it straight 'ith 2ark) even i# ( hadn/t &eant it.W. So ( ca!!ed the ho$se.3 3( a&. pparent!y 0aker never carried cash.is #$e! had been charged to an E11on card.3 3( be!ieve yo$ 2arv)3 2argaret reass$red. . 3What/s $p 2arv:3 he 'hee. 2ia&i) 2e1ico) airp!anes) and Ear! 4$rr co$!d on!y add $p to one thing) cocaine. Either he had serio$s &echanica! prob!e&s or he 'as #!ying &ore &i!es than he ad&itted. 2argaret is the best.o!d on and (/!! get @. (/& sorry ( &issed o$t S$nday. 2argaret ans'ered. ne' kid) even greener than yo$G3 .e/s in the bathroo& shaving)3 she ans'ered and s&i!ed) yo$ co$!d te!!. ( ca!!ed @. Stan had given &e copies o# 0aker/s #$e! bi!!s #or the !ast seven &onths.W.3 3"hanks 2argaret) yo$/re a %e'e!.e!!o 2argaret)3 ( said.W. ( rea!!y 'as #ee!ing bad. "hey to!d &e he had the day o##. With &y e!bo's on the tab!e stradd!ing the co##ee c$p) ( r$bbed the spot bet'een &y eyes 'here the pain o# ideas arises.

3 "hen he asked) 34o yo$ kno' anything abo$t that:3 3Co&e on @.3 39ea) (/ve heard o# it. 9o$ kno' ho' serio$s they take that.W. -## o# (nterstate CD near 27M 0o$!evard) right: ( tho$ght the g$y &ight act$a!!y have a ho&e. ans'ered) 3 !! ( kno' is there/s a bar in So$th 4a!!as ca!!ed 3"he <hyth& P!ace. (s there anything ( can do #or yo$:3 39es) stay o$t o# tro$b!e.W.o one is that green.3 39ea) ( kno' he is. (t/s never good.3 3(s he part o# that 4$rr thing: "he o##ice to!d yo$ to !eave it a!one.3( don/t be!ieve that. Give &e so&e roo&) okay:3 32arv) this is a &$rder) t'o &$rders.3 3( hate it 'hen yo$ say that. 3.W.o' 'hat do yo$ 'ant: (/& 'asting &y day o## here.)3 ( said trying to so$nd !ike a son to hi&) 3"hanks #or the scaring b$t do yo$ kno' 'here he !ives:3 0egr$dging!y) !ike p$!!ing a tooth) @. (t/!! be okay.W.3 3"hanks @.3 32arv) don/t &ess 'ith hi&.ance takes it. (/& a#raid they/!! h$rt yo$. "hat g$y/s bad.3 3"hat/s tr$e 2arv)3 @. !a$ghed. "he &arkings on the backs !ook !ike !ettering.3 39o$ &ean ho' serio$s . 30$t i# yo$ 'ant hi& yo$/!! #ind hi& at the bar. "hat/s 'hy ( need to ta!k to hi&. said +$iet!y.3 3( 'as 'ondering i# yo$ kne' 'here Wi!!ie 5ones !ives.3 "hen he added +$ick!y as tho$gh he 'as a#raid o# being overheard) 34o'nto'n they think those notes are co&ing #ro& a psycho. 9o$ get a !itt!e big #or yo$r britches so&eti&es and sooner or !ater so&eone is going to take the& $p #or yo$.3 . 4on/t 'orry @.3 3@.3 .e o'ns it. 9o$ can #ind hi& there.W.W.3 3(/& s$re he does)3 @.W. "hey/re not s$re 'hat they say yet) b$t they/re 'orking on it. .

39o$/re 'orse than &y &other. . (/!! be okay.3 and ( h$ng $p.W.( !a$ghed. Give &y !ove to 2argaret) @. (t on!y took a second to straighten $p the papers on the tab!e and p$t &y co##ee c$p in the dish'asher.

Chapter 2& "he drive north to 4enton is !ike the drive so$th to Wa1ahachie or the drive east to Greenvi!!e e1cept there are act$a!!y 'oods as yo$ head north. 0$t 'hen ( took the #irst 4enton e1it and e1ited o## (-3D onto >S-?? ( 'as in a di##erent 'or!d) it 'as 4enton) the co$nty seat and agric$!t$ra! center o# 4enton Co$nty that greeted &e. ( headed that 'ay. 0$t ( 'as back in the co$ntry.orth "e1as State and "e1as Wo&en/s >niversity. ( co$!d see the co$rtho$se roo# !ine peeking above the other b$i!dings. 4enton had a per#ect e1a&p!e.arvester i&p!e&ent dea!ers. (t co$!d have been 5onesboro) rkansas= 7ivingston) "ennessee= or 4$rant) -k!aho&a. 4enton is a!so the ho&e to t'o $niversities . "he grain dryer by the rai!road 'as act$a!!y #$nctioning. ( 'as back in the co$ntry. (t !ooked !ike they had %$st taken it o$t o# the bo1. (t see&s !ike every co$nty b$i!t a co$rtho$se and to'n s+$are then. "he sandstone and &arb!e shined . -n!y the na&es o# the !akes yo$ cross change to protect the innocent. "he #o$r-!ane road 'as narro'er and needed so&e 'ork done to it. ( drove past Case and (nternationa! . "he address ( had #or 0aker 'as over by "e1as Wo&en/s >niversity. "he air s&e!t &ore o# dirt than dirty air. "he #ree'ay is b$sy at any ho$r) parts o# it are $nder constr$ction) strip &a!!s #!ank it and the sa&e resta$rants serve $p the sa&e #ood. ( t$rned !e#t. 5$st past the grain dryer a sign pointed the 'ay to the >niversity b$t to the !e#t) on top o# s!ight!y higher gro$nd) 'as do'nto'n. "he 1JJ0/s 'ere boo& ti&es in .orth "e1as.

thin o!d &an 'as 'atering the yard) hose in hand. (t is i&portant to get a #ee! #or a p!ace and 4enton #e!t co$ntry and yo$ng. "he rai!road 'as %$st a co$p!e o# b!ocks a'ay to the east o# the address. >nderneath the co$rtyard trees it 'as coo!. "he ho$se didn/t have the best !ocation in to'n. 7ike 0aker/s ho$se it !ooked to have been b$i!t in the t'enty/s. ( 'a!ked s!o'!y aro$nd the co$rtho$se !ooking it over and 'as a ab!e to stay in the shade &y entire trip. "here 'as the $s$a! bank b$i!ding) hard'are store) #$rnit$re store and dr$g store. We!!) it 'as coo! #or "e1as. "he side'a!k !eading $p to . !ight bree. "he second circ$it 'as #or the b$i!dings #acing it across the s+$are. "he restoration had been recent.e kept the heat #ro& sett!ing onto yo$.and a!! the 'ood'ork 'as g!oss varnished. (t 'as the kind o# p!ace 'here they had #idd!e contests on Sat$rdays. (t 'as a big) ye!!o') t'o-story #ra&e ho$se on "e1as Street near the "e1as Wo&en/s >niversity ca&p$s. 0$t the ho$se 'as on the correct side o# the tracks. >n!ike the yard ne1t door this 0aker yard 'as overgro'n. (/& not s$re 'hat ( tho$ght ( 'as doing.e1t door to 0aker/s ho$se 'as a brick ho&e. "he 5ohnson grass and 0$##a!o grass 'as ta!! and green in the dried o$t yard. s&a!! gri!! on one corner 'as b$sy &aking ha&b$rgers. . . ( parked and got o$t. ( g$ess ( 'as %$st trying to get a #ee! #or the dead &an) to $nderstand 'hy ( tripped over his dead body in the park. "he ho$se 'as in need o# a 'ire br$sh and a coat o# paint. ( think the co!!eges kept it yo$ng. 9o$ had to be a !itt!e #arther 'est on -ak and .e had his shirt o## and 'as bare#ooted.ickory Streets #or that. (t 'as the $s$a! to'n s+$are b$t it 'as c!ean and vibrant $n!ike &ost. ( circ!ed aro$nd the b!ock then p$!!ed over and parked in #ront o# 0aker/s ho$se. ( got back in the car and headed to 0aker/s ho$se.

Stern o!d !adies are to$gh on a g$y.the #ront door 'as cracked and $neven #ro& years o# baking s$&&ers. So&eone 'as !ooking o$t at the car parked in #ront) !ooking o$t at &e. 0aker. She had to be in her &id-seventies. 0aker.e ( 'as hot. She hadn/t &ove a &$sc!e since opening the door.3 34id yo$ kno' &y boy:3 3. s&a!! 'hite haired !ady stared $p at &e. 3Can ( he!p yo$:3 she asked in a strong voice. .o 2a/a&)3 ( ans'ered pro&ising to b$y &yse!# a ne' s$it #irst chance ( got. She %$st !ooked &e in the eye constant!y 'ith her hard stee! grays. 0aker. 9o$ kno' they have been thro$gh &ore than yo$/!! ever see and probab!y p$t $p 'ith &ore than yo$ ever p$t $p 'ith. . ( knocked on the door trying not to so$nd !ike a cop. ( got o$t o# the car) crossed the yard and 'a!ked $p on the porch.ot a good day to be ta!king 'ith 2s. 39es 2a/a&)3 ( ans'ered. ( didn/t #ee! any a-c e1iting the ho$se thro$gh the open door. She 'as abo$t D #oot 2) thin) 'earing a s!eeve!ess #!o'er print shi#t 'ith her hair done !ike a Pentecost. 32rs. 32y na&e is 2arvin 4avis) 2s. "here 'as so&e &ove&ent at one o# the 'indo's. Even in the shade o# the porch 'ith a nice bree.o 2a/a& ( didn/t.3 3"hen don/t say yo$/re sorry)3 she snapped at &e. 5esse 0aker:3 39es) (/& 2s. (t 'as going to be another b!ast #$rnace day in another b!ast #$rnace 'eek. 7ike the ho$se the 'ood 'as in good shape b$t it 'as in need o# paint. 3. She 'as &aking &e nervo$s. Who are yo$:3 "here 'as &ore in the tone o# her voice than ( #e!t co&#ortab!e 'ith. "he door opened. "he #ace at the 'indo' had &oved a'ay. 39o$ #ro& a #$nera! ho&e:3 she de&anded. (/& sorry abo$t yo$ !oss.

5esse 0aker en%oyed the short b$rst &achine g$n sty!e o# conversation. 3"o$gh n$t) ain/t she boy:3 ( !ooked $p and the o!d &an 'atering his yard 'as !ooking at &e. 2aybe 4oy!e 'as better o## no': ( stared at the door #or a second be#ore &aking &y 'ay o## the porch.3 . re yo$ another cop: "hey been here a!! &orning.e !a$ghed a !itt!e cack!e and shi#ted his ai& 'ith the hose onto a dry !ooking area.o 2a/a&.is grass did !ook good. (t !ooked !ike he 'as $rinating.3Good) a!ready got one.3 3"hen ( got no reason to be ta!kin/ to yo$. 37osing that boy/s got nothin/ to do 'ith it. 3(/& not here representing 7inda 0aker) 2a/a&. "he added bree. 3"e!! the bitch ( 'on/t se!! anything. . 2ost everybody 'astes a!! their 'ater.e he!d the hose in his right hand as it spe'ed.3 5esse 0aker s&i!ed s'eet!y to &e and s!a&&ed the door in &y #ace. 5esse is %$st a to$gh n$t. 3( kno'.3 "he o!d &an s&i!ed. ( been trying to crack her open #or thirty years. ( %$st pidd!e on it every once in a 'hi!e. (/& a private investigator #ro& 4a!!as. 37inda send yo$:3 She didn/t 'ait #or an ans'er. Good thing ( don/t have a tai!. She can have every God da&ned !ast bit o# it over &y dead bodyG3 So &$ch #or &y Pentecost tho$ght. ( 'a!ked over to hi&.e #e!t good.3 . 9o$ go $p on . "he hair 'i!! #oo! yo$ every ti&e. "hey #!ood their yard everyday. 2s. 39o$ %$st spot 'atering:3 39ep) %$st 'atering 'here it needs it. 3( bet yo$r grass has the best roots in to'n)3 ( chi&ed in. ( 'o$!d have tripped over it 'ith it bet'een &y !egs !ike it 'as.3 3. 3We!!) it/s to$gh !osing yo$r son)3 ( ans'ered hi&. .3 She p$rsed her !ips and &ade an $nkind noise !ike stea& escaping.ickory Street and see i# &y grass don/t !ook better.

"he 'or!d doesn/t go a'ay. . 34oes so$nd !ike a &ess #or yo$. nother to$gh n$t. Wi!!ia&s.$sband !e#t her."he o!d &an s&i!ed at &e.3 3 nd ( hate those a$to&atic sprink!ers.3 32arv 4avis)3 ( ans'ered taking his hand. 39o$ 'on/t #ind o$t anything #ro& 5esse.e s'itched the hose to his !e#t hand and he!d o$t his right to &e. She didn/t kno' anything abo$t her boy. 3P!eas$re to &eet yo$ 2arv. 3"hat/s right.e 'as 'orth!ess any'ay.e 'as %$st re&e&bering so&ething. . 0er&$da grass !ike this here 'i!! go do'n a h$ndred #eet !ooking #or 'ater. .3 Wi!!ia&s had a s&i!e on his !ips. .o sir.3 Wi!!ia&s !eaned #or'ard and p!aced a #inger against one nostri! and b!e' his nose 'itho$t the bene#it o# a handkerchie# or tiss$e. "ripped over hi&. 9o$ here abo$t 4oy!e:3 39es sir. She/s !ived in the t'o back roo&s o# that ho$se #or 3D years trying to drive the 'or!d a'ay. 3. .e $sed his #inger to c!ean$p. 3( #o$nd his body 2r.3 Wi!!ia&s &oved a co$p!e o# steps over and ( #o!!o'ed so 'e 'ere in the shade o# a big pecan tree.e contin$ed his 'atering.3 3-r they co&e on d$ring the rain)3 the o!d &an !a$ghed. (t 'as a dry) hard grip. 3We don/t go a'ay) do 'e:3 3. ( had %$st &ade a #riend.3 Wi!!ia&s did grin at &e no'. . "he po!ice think (/& invo!ved 'ith his death and ( don/t even kno' 'ho 4oy!e 0aker 'as. t !ease he rinsed his #inger o## be#ore drying it on his pants !eg.3 Wi!!ia&s pointed the strea& o# 'ater to a #resh area.e 'asn/t grinning at &e tho$gh. (# yo$ don/t 'ater everyday yo$r grass 'i!! gro' so&e roots. 3What happened 3D years ago:3 ( asked. . So&eti&es that 'orks. 30i!! Wi!!ia&s. "hey are a!'ays shooting 'ater into the street. ( %$&ped in 'ith the tr$th.3 ( tho$ght abo$t it #or a second) %$gg!ed &y stories.

3 3Was there any p!ace aro$nd here 'here he h$ng o$t: 0ar) poo! ha!!) 'hatever:3 We had &oved back o$t into the s$n. . "he on!y reason he %oined the service 'as the Po!ice to!d hi&) / r&y or %ai!: "ake yo$r pick.3 39es) sir= 'hat 'as he !ike:3 ( asked) b$t he had &e 'ondering abo$t hi& and 5esse. 0$t he ca&e c!ose.o' don/t get &e 'rong. Wi!!ia&s 'as no' 'atering the #o$ndation o# his ho$se trying to keep the earth #ro& cracking open and s'a!!o'ing his ho&e.e stayed in tro$b!e. She didn/t $se to be that 'ay. 5esse didn/t 'ant any tro$b!e over there. 3. Wi!!ia&s 'as s&i!ing) 30oo. Poor choice) h$h:3 ( had to grin.ever had any visitors. 4oesn/t so$nd !ike he 'as thinking too straight./ .a& 'as better than .3 34id he get in a !ot o# tro$b!e:3 Wi!!ia&s snorted) &aking a /disg$sted/ so$nd. Got his &ai!. Wi!!ia&s 'as intent on his 'atering no'.3So&e #o!ks say she ran hi& o## /ca$se o# ho' she acts no'. 3.3 "hen ( &oved $p to the present.3 3What did he do to get hi&se!# in so &$ch tro$b!e:3 ( asked as 'e &oved to the side o# the ho$se 'ith o$r 'atering. 4oy!e never did any ti&e. "he $s$a!. 4oy!e s!ept over there so&eti&es. 34id he have &any visitors in the !ast #e' 'eeks:3 Wi!!ia&s c!eared his throat and spit. "hat 'as abo$t it. . 3.e 'inked at &e) 3 !ong ti&e son.e !ooked over at &e.e 'as as 'orth!ess as his #ather. 3@o!ks change and get o!d so&eti&es.3 Wi!!ia&s !ooked &e in the eye and s&i!ed.e did it a!! at one ti&e or another. 0$t yo$ 'anted to kno' abo$t 4oy!e) not &e and 5esse. 3.is .3 .e #ig$red 8iet .e 'as se!!ing the boo. .e) dr$gs) gir!s.e and dr$gs and trying to peg a!! the gir!s.$ntsvi!!e.3 39o$/ve kno'n her #or a !ong ti&e:3 . 39eah. 3"hat boy 'asn/t 'orth a shitG3 2r. 2r. -ne o# the !itt!e ga!s 'as the sheri##/s da$ghter.

3 We shook hands and ( h$rried to the car.e !ived o$t there &ore than he did here. 3"he easiest 'ay is to get on E!& and head so$th.e 'atered as he gave &e directions) $sing his #ree hand to steer &e 'ith. 3( g$ess yo$ co$!d te!! that:3 3(t 'as &y p!eas$re sir. 2r.tanned) !eathery skin g!istened 'ith s'eat. 4on/t get $p on it tho$gh. 34enton irport. ( started the engine) t$rned on the C) and ro!!ed do'n the 'indo' trying to s$ck o$t so&e o# the heat as ( p$!!ed a'ay #ro& the c$rb. ( p$!!ed &y %acket o## be#ore ( got back into the car and tossed it onto the back seat. 2y shirt 'as st$ck to &y skin. "o &e Wi!!ia&s had said /"he airport is 'est o# to'n on the other side o# the #ree'ay. s #ar as ( 'as concerned the day had been a 'aste o# ti&e so #ar. 9o$/!! be headin/ 'est then) back to'ard the interstate. ( hoped ( 'asn/t r$ining &y s$it %acket.3 34@W:3 3.3 3( en%oyed ta!king)3 Wi!!ia&s s&i!ed. Go past the co$rtho$se abo$t si1 b!ocks and t$rn right on Wi!shire. 3Son) yo$ sho$!d go o$t to the airport.3 (/& pretty good at #o!!o'ing directions. Wi!!ia&s 'ent back to 'atering his ho$se.o)3 Wi!!ia&s grinned at &e. . 0y the ti&e ( passed the co$rt s+$are ( 'as ro!!ing the 'indo' $p and the C 'as thro'ing o$t co!d air. in/t nothin/ e!se o$t there. . (t 'as a !itt!e too !ate to take the it o## no'. ( 'as soaked and the interior o# the car 'as a &iserab!e p!ace to be) 'et or dry. . Wi!!ia&s 'aved good-bye and ( ret$rned it.o' do ( get there:3 Wi!!ia&s &oved a!ong 'atering the ho$se. @o!!o' a!ong side it #or a bit heading north and yo$/!! r$n into irport <oad. 3Sorry) ( #orgot abo$t that one./ ( stretched o$t a hand) 3"hanks #or yo$r he!p sir. . 9o$/!! #ind it. "$rn 'est again and %$st stay on irport.3 ( !a$ghed.

( g$ess a!! the yo$nger ones 'orked in 4a!!as. "he !and changes 'hen yo$ reach 4enton. @2 1D1D. -n the right there 'as a 4C-3) there is a!'ays a 4C-3) and a !arge hanger. When ( reached the co$nter and stopped in #ront o# hi& he #ina!!y !ooked $p and asked) 3Can ( he!p yo$:3 ( p$t on the s&i!e) 39o$ a!'ays this b$sy:3 32ost o# the ti&e)3 he ans'ered and began to #o!d $p the paper. Everyone 'o$!d e1c$se &e #or not 'earing it. "he &an 'as reading a ne'spaper. (t is a !itt!e &ore ro!!ing and the trees t$rn into scattered &es+$ite. "here 'as so&ething abo$t the &an that to!d yo$ he 'as #ro& the So$th'est.What ( had !earned abo$t 0aker ( co$!d have p$t on a penny postcard) i# they sti!! so!d the things. (t had to be the tanned !eathery #ace) . "he 'indo' $nit they had 'as rea!!y b!o'ing o$t the co!d air. ( #o!!o'ed Wi!!ia&s/ directions and soon t$rned !e#t onto irport <oad) aka.3 ( parked in #ront and got o$t o# the car p$!!ing &y %acket a#ter &e. . (t 'as &y day #or o!der peop!e. t the back 'as a co$nter 'ith an o!der &an behind it. (t 'as co!d inside the b$i!ding. @or a !itt!e &$nicipa! airport the p!ace !ooked prospero$s. "he roo& had a #e' p!astic chairs !ined $p in the center o# the roo&. t !east ( 'as &aking the e##ort to dress $p. "he &an never !ooked $p. ( 'ent thro$gh the door carrying it on &y ar&. "he road 'o$nd thro$gh the &es+$ite trees #or a co$p!e o# &i!es 'ith the s&e!! o# hay in the air and then there 'as the airport. 3.is c!othes 'eren/t c$t 'estern) no snaps on his shirt) no %eans or boots.e!!o)3 ( said crossing the roo&. (n #ront o# &e 'as the s&a!!) nice!y b$i!t 3"er&ina!. "o &y !e#t there 'ere t'o !ong ro's o# &eta! b$i!dings) s&a!! hangers. 0$t he !ooked to be #ro& the So$th'est.e %$st kept reading. . 3(/!! probab!y catch a co!d in here)3 ( tho$ght to &yse!#.

. . 9o$/d think a &an his age 'o$!d o$t gro' it. ( he!d o$t &y hand) 32y na&e/s 2arvin 4avis. 3So the po!ice have a!ready been here:3 ( said !a&e!y b$t ( sti!! 'ore the s&i!e.3 34o yo$ kno' any o# the&:3 . 34oy!e didn/t have #riends. ( to!d hi& ( 'o$!d kick his ass i# he bro$ght any tro$b!e here. 0$t he 'asn/t che'ing tobacco.e !ooked !ike he sho$!d have done a g$est shot on 3<a'hide. . 2ade the&se!ves a rea! pain in &y ass. .3 ( kept 'aiting #or hi& to spit.e ran thro$gh a!! o# the& a !ong ti&e ago.e had the paper #o!ded no' and stood $p a !itt!e straighter.e on!y had b$siness ac+$aintances. 3Car! 4o'ns)3 the &an rep!ied as 'e re!eased each other. ( tried to give as good as ( got. 39ep) they/ve been a!! over his p!ane and the hanger.e %$st !ooked !ike he sho$!d be.ever got o$t o# tro$b!e.e never did tho$gh. .3 34o yo$ think ( sho$!d take a !ook #or &yse!#:3 3( 'o$!dn/t 'aste &y ti&e)3 4o'ns ans'ered. ( hope ( did.ice to &eet yo$. . .e 'as a co$p!e o# inches ta!!er than &e and a #e' po$nds !ighter. 34oy!e kept everything spic and span o$t here.3 nd ( co$!d see 4o'ns &eant it. "hey never got e1cited.3 3Can ( ask yo$ a co$p!e o# +$estions:3 3(# they/re abo$t 0aker) the Po!ice have a!ready asked. 34id he have any #riends aro$nd here ( co$!d ta!k to:3 4o'ns s&i!ed.the 'hite st$bb!e on his #ace and heredity. . 34oy!e get into a !ot o# tro$b!e:3 3.3 4o'ns had 'atery gray eyes that never !e#t &y #ace as 'e ta!ked. "he ins$rance co&pany sent &e o$t. So&e #o!ks !ike to %$dge yo$ by yo$r grip. (t 'as a rea! s&i!e.3 ( 'ondered i# the g$y 'o$!d kno' e1cited i# it bit hi&.3 34o yo$ kno' i# they #o$nd anything:3 3"hey didn/t act !ike it.3 "he hand that took ho!d o# &ine 'as !ike a vise.

.3 Car! !ooked &e in the eye. 5ones. ( needed to see ho' big his 'as. . 4o'ns) ( %$st ran o$t. ( #ig$red i# the po!ice hadn/t #o$nd anything ( 'o$!dn/t either. 3 nd yo$ don/t kno' any o# the&:3 34idn/t 'ant to kno' any o# the&. Wo$!dn/t 'ant the& in here.3 ( bet he did. ( %$st to!d 4oy!e to keep the p!ace c!ean or (/d kick his ass. 4o'ns) thanks #or yo$r he!p. ( 'anted to get so&e beer b$t ( had to &ake the !ong drive back into 4a!!as. .3 .3 Car! s&i!ed again. ( nodded &y $nderstanding and 'ent back o$t into the heat.e didn/t need to say it. .e 'as grinning at &e. So&eti&es he had #e&a!e visitors.3 ( st$ck o$t &y hand. 3. 34on/t bring any tro$b!e $p here.o ( don/t 2r.3.e kept the p!ace c!ean.one o# the& said ( 'as 'ith an ins$rance co&pany tho$gh.e took it and 'e shook. <e!easing &e he asked) 3Got a card ( co$!d have in case anything co&es $p:3 .3 ( s&i!ed back. . "hey never ca&e in here.e didn/t add he 'o$!d kick &y ass i# ( did.o. ( needed to go see 2r. -# co$rse ( had cards. "hey 'ere %$st pi&p !ooking g$ys in big cars) !ots o# big cars. So 'e stood there s&i!ing at each other. 3We!! 2r. 3( didn/t think yo$ did.

(t 'as a concrete b!ock b$i!ding painted beige. green 2ercedes 3J0 S7 and a po'der b!$e Cadi!!ac Sevi!!e 'ere parked in #ront.3 .e s&i!ed broad!y at &e and said !o$d!y in the e&pty roo&) 32orning 2r. 7ester stood and &oved a'ay #ro& the tab!e as ( crossed the roo& and sat do'n 'ith &y back to 7ester. Wi!!ie and 7ester sat at a tab!e in #ront o# it. (n a #$nky b!ack script 3"he <hyth& P!ace3 staggered) 'ord over 'ord) in a rainbo' arc across the #ront o# the b$i!ding. ( 'ent in.o$ston e1it. Scarred 'ooden tab!es and chairs #i!!ed the roo&. "he #ront door 'as !a&inated 'ood. 7ast year/s s&oke 'as sti!! trying to get o$t. . &i!e and a ha!# !ater ( e1ited onto 2artin 7$ther Ming 0o$!evard. Wi!!ie) 'ith his back to the door) t$rned aro$nd to !ook. . "here 'ere no 'indo's in the b$i!ding. ( s'$ng &y -!ds in beside the Caddie and c$t the engine. to$gh p!ace to get o$t o# once yo$ 'ere inside. (n the back !e#t corner 'as the bar.e &otioned to 7ester/s p!ace. "he interior 'as p!ain) the !ighting di&. Weathering had separated and broken severa! !ayers. 3"he <hyth& P!ace3 'as a b!ock ahead on the right. ( heard 7ester gr$nt 'hen ( entered. t the #ar end 'as a s&a!! stage #or !ive &$sic. 37ester) #i1 2r. So nice to see yo$.Chapter 2! -n (nterstate 30 bet'een -!d City Park and @air Park ( took the (-CD . 4avis. recent coat o# b!ack paint covered it. "hey !ooked big eno$gh. 4avis and &e a drink) 'i!! yo$ p!ease: What 'o$!d yo$ !ike 2arvin:3 .ave a seat.

( #!ipped &y chair over side'ays) hoping to hit the #!oor and .( t$rned aro$nd and s&i!ed at 7ester) 3 gi&!et 'o$!d be nice.3 . "he tie !ooked !ike a neon sign on his chest.3 . 3( can get yo$ one !ike it i# yo$ 'ant. Wi!!ie tasted his.is eyes searched every !ine o# &y #ace. .o' this is %$st &e) no cops) %$st &e= b$t #!ying to 2ia&i and 2e1ico &eans cocaine to &e. Wo$!d a bo$rbon and coke be a!! right:3 3"hat/s #ine)3 ( ans'ered. nd) no o##ense Wi!!ie) b$t that &eans yo$. Wi!!ie/s b!ack eyes !eve!ed on &e. 3. 39o$ !ike the tie 2arvin:3 he asked. 34ied S$nday night)3 ( ans'ered. 2aybe he !iked bro'sing.3 "here 'as so$nd) ( can/t say 'hat so$nd) %$st a so$nd. 3What/s it to &e:3 3We!!)3 ( began) !eaning &y e!bo's on the tab!e) &y hands crossed be#ore &e) 3he 'as a pi!ot 'ho #!e' to 2ia&i and 2e1ico a !ot. 3What do yo$ 'ant here 2arv:3 34o yo$ kno' a &an na&ed 4oy!e 0aker:3 Wi!!ie s!$&ped back in his chair and ans'ered) 3"he g$y/s dead. (t/s a bit ga$che b$t a #riend gave it to &e and yo$ kno' ho' easi!y #riends can get their #ee!ings h$rt:3 7ester ca&e over #ro& the bar and set the drinks do'n.e !o$nged back in his chair and !ooked &e over s!o'!y 'hi!e ( did the sa&e 'ith hi&. Wi!!ie !a$ghed) 37ester is not a very good bartender.3 3So:3 ( heard 7ester &oving aro$nd behind $s.e stepped back behind &e.3 7ester/s #ace re&ained $nchanged. . 3Wo&en can be sensitive can/t they)3 ( agreed) taking a sip o# &y drink. (/& not s$re 'hat he 'as !ooking #or. "he si&p!er the better. Wi!!ie to!d 7ester) 32ake it t'o.e 'as dressed 'e!!) a !ight gray !inen s$it) b$rg$ndy shirt and ye!!o' tie.

. Wi!!ie/s eyes g!o'ed as he said) 3"hirty &i!!ion do!!ars) thirty #$cking &i!!ion do!!arsG nd it/s co&ing o$t o# &y pocketG ( don/t !ike that. . . 0eing #o$nd dead sho's that. 0aker 'asn/t &ine. ( don/t need to.o b$!!shit) no hass!es. 39o$ !isten @$ck-$p) (/!! ta!k) okay:3 Wi!!ie ordered. . #ter a &in$te he stopped b$t he!d &e in the air.e sat #or'ard and +$iet!y said) 39o$/ve got it a!! 'rong @$ck-$p.o) rea!!y)3 ( s+$eaked. See 'hat ( &ean:3 3Whose 'as he then:3 Wi!!ie #!icked a hand and 7ester !i#ted &e $p into the air and did another <aggedy ndy %ob on &e.e set &e back do'n on &y #eet. 0ehind &y back they bro$ght over 100 ki!os o# coke into this to'n in the !ast #e' &onths. "he chair c!attered to the #!oor. 3"his boy 'as #!yin/ #or 4$rr. .e !o'ered &e so &y #eet rested on the #!oor) sti!! pinning &y ar&s against &y sides.do so&e #ast scra&b!ing. 9o$ kno' 'hat that/s 'orth on the street:3 ( shook &y head no. ( nodded yes. 7ester cr$shed &y ar&s to &y sides) prohibiting any &ove&ent) preventing circ$!ation. 37esterG3 7ester !i#ted &e back $p into the air and ratt!ed &e abo$t. "'o h$ge hands c!a&ped onto &y ar&s stopping &e in &id-#a!!.obody o# &ine is ever #o$nd dead. 7i#ting &e $p'ard and s!ight!y o$t'ard so &y #eet 'ere o$t o# kicking range) he shook &e !ike a rag do!! $nti! ( stopped str$gg!ing. 2y ar&s had !ost a!! #ee!ing. ( r$n a good) c!ean ship. . ( didn/t have anyone ki!!ed. 39o$ s$re yo$ can/t he!p &e) @$ck-$p:3 Wi!!ie asked) !ooking $p at &e. ( stood at a kind o# attention be#ore Wi!!ie. 3. ( think yo$ can he!p &e stop itG Can/t yo$:3 ( shook &y head no.

When ( 'as ab!e ( cra'!ed behind the 'hee! and drove do'n to'n.e &ade a &otion 'ith his right hand.o!ding &e $p 'ith one hand 7ester opened the passenger door and tossed &e in !ike a sack o# potatoes.3 t !east ( had 5ones/ 'ord he 'asn/t invo!ved 'ith the &$rders. (t 'as hot in the car) very hot. ( 'aited #or the #ee!ing to co&e back into &y ar&s.e c!osed the door so#t!y and 'ent back inside the bar. With one hand 7ester took &e by &y shirt and %acket co!!ars and !i#ted &y 'reckage o## the #!oor. ( %$st didn/t $nderstand 'hy he tho$ght ( did. 9o$ try to stick anything on &e and this/!! be nothing. (# ( had been ab!e to get back there and get it ( don/t think ( co$!d have 'a!ked back into the bar. "here is a 2edic-L$ick on Co&&erce Street. . 3L$ant yo$ ass ho!e)3 ( &$ttered to &yse!#. . 3(# yo$ 'ere here !ooking #or a story !ike yo$ sho$!d be) yo$ co$!d give &e a hand. . ( covered #i#teen #eet in the air be#ore ( crashed to the #!oor. t !ast &y &o&ent$& gave o$t. <o!!ing) crashing into tab!es and chairs) ( co$!dn/t stop 'itho$t the he!p o# &y n$&b ar&s.e carried &e o$t the #ront door. "he s$n 'as in &y eyes.Wi!!ie sat back in his chair) 37ike yo$ said) this is %$st yo$) no cops. 3Get hi& o$t o# here 7ester)3 Wi!!ie ordered.3 . 7ester gr$nted and tossed &e aside !ike a g$& 'rapper. .3J0 'as sti!! in the tr$nk) #or sa#ety. ( co$!dn/t &ove. "he rest o# &y body didn/t have that bene#it. 2y . nd it so$nded !ike he had so&e idea 'ho 'as.

What happened:3 she asked h$rrying &e inside and into @.ing &e.3 . into the !iving roo&) t$cking his shirt in and .)3 she ca!!ed !o$d!y to'ard the back o# the ho$se) 3co&e in here./s ho$se 'as an o!der three bedroo& #ra&e ho&e in @ar East 4a!!as) a!&ost Gar!and. 3Good God 2arvG3 @. 34on/t panic @.ipping his pants $p. @./s ho$se. (t took a &a%or e##ort to get o$t o# the car and $p the t'o steps to the #ront door.W.W.W. 35es$s) 2arvG3 she gasped) 3Get in here and sit do'n. 2argaret ans'ered the doorbe!!. .W.3 3God 4a&n) 2arvG3 @. Said the s'e!!ing 'o$!d be gone in a co$p!e o# days. 3<ea!!y) (/& okay 2argaret)3 ( said.e gave &e so&e pi!!s.W.3 "he #rightened tone in her voice bro$ght @.W. (t/s not as bad as it !ooks) nothing broke.W.Chapter 2" ( drove east on Gar!and <oad to @. 3@. 3(/ve been to the doctor. 7ester hadn/t serio$s!y da&aged anything b$t it had taken a 'hi!e to ta!k the doctors o$t o# hospita!i. 3(t !ooks 'orse than it is.W g!ared./s big) so#t rec!iner.)3 ( said s&i!ing. 3( to!d yo$ not to go #$cking aro$nd 'ith that g$y.3 3@. 5$st skinned $p a bit. don/t c$rse at the boy that 'ay)3 2argaret ordered so#t!y. (t/s 2arv.3 She 'asn/t !istening. s'ore 'hen he sa' &e. (t h$rt. She asked) 32arv) can ( get yo$ so&ething to drink) co##ee) tea:3 ( grinned a !itt!e crooked!y) 3(/d !ove to have so&e ice tea 2argaret. 0ehind &e the s$n 'as setting be!o' do'nto'n.W. ( p$!!ed into the drive'ay and parked beside a &ap!e tree.

W. 'as 'atching &y #ace c!ose!y) 3We!!) do yo$ kno':3 3. ( didn/t co&e over to ta!k abo$t that and ( 'on/t press charges. "hey think the 3yo$3 is yo$) that . "hirty &i!!ion do!!ars 'orth o# it.W.o) ( don/t kno' @. 2y aches #e!t a !itt!e better. "he &arks on the back o# the t'o notes &ake $p part o# the 'ord 3yo$3.3 @.3 She nodded her acceptance o# the co&p!i&ent b$t didn/t speak.e sat do'n on the divan opposite &e.e asked i# ( kne' 'ho it 'as #or.e 'aited $nti! 2argaret 'as o$t o# the roo&.3 ( grinned again and !ay back in the chair.3 She added to @.e !ooked a'ay #or a second then spoke) 3"he g$ys do'nto'n don/t think so.W.W. @. 3Wi!!ie didn/t !ike being bothered. 3"he tea is great 2argaret. did. 3"hese ki!!ings are cocaine re!ated:3 ( said yes.3 3We!!:3 @. ( co$!d g$ess b$t ( don/t think it 'o$!d be a good g$ess. gave &e a !ook.W. nd it 'asn/t #or Wi!!ie.e !et &e kno' abo$t it.W. . 2argaret ca&e in 'ith three g!asses o# tea.3(ced tea #or 2arv and 'hat abo$t yo$ dear:3 she asked @. 3What happened:3 . 3Wi!!ie didn/t !ike &y ans'er any better than yo$ do. 'aited !eaning #or'ard) his e!bo's on his knees.3 @. had stopped g!aring and ans'ered his 'i#e) 3(ced tea 'o$!d be nice honey. . @. ( !eaned #or'ard in the chair. 3Wi!!ie to!d &e 0aker 'as #!ying cocaine into 4a!!as.3 3(/!! go o$t to the kitchen and #i1 those drinks 'hi!e yo$ t'o ta!k. ( tasted the tea and it 'as per#ect) !ike a!'ays.) 34on/t raise yo$r voice to hi& again. "hey say it/s a psycho/s %ob.W. .W.3 . She passed o$t the drinks and sat do'n ne1t to her h$sband on the divan.

3 She !ooked do'n at @.3 3We!!) ( g$ess ( sho$!d head back ho&e)3 ( said p$shing $p o$t o# the rec!iner.W. in a bad spot.W. 3(/ve p$t @. 39o$/re kidding &e:3 ( asked hi&.W.e had a #a&i!y to take care o#. 2argaret %$&ped $p saying) 39o$ can/t go ho&e 2arvG . to 2argaret then back to @. "hey/!! be 'atching yo$ c!ose. . 3"he cops think it/s &e)3 ( !a$ghed.W.o) not yet)3 @. . 3( sho$!dn/t even be ta!king to yo$. ( don/t 'ant to %eopardi. 9o$ have to e1pect so&e co&pany !oya!ty so&e'here.e didn/t speak. . . . 3"hey don/t have any evidence yo$ don/t kno' abo$t. 34o they have a 'arrant:3 3. 3(/& not)3 he rep!ied #!at!y.o' can yo$ take care o# yo$rse!#:3 She !ooked over at @. ( 'ent o$t to the car.e sho$!dn/t have to!d &e anything. ans'ered !ooking back $p. 0e care#$!.W.e anything #or hi& and yo$.3 ( !ooked #ro& @. h$ng his head.e stared at the #!oor. ( 'aved good-by to the ho$se as ( !e#t.3 ( handed her &y tea g!ass. ( g$ess it/s a!'ays that 'ay.yo$/re 'riting these notes to yo$rse!#) that yo$/re a n$t r$nning aro$nd ki!!ing peop!e. 9o$ ad&it yo$ 'ere there both ti&es b$t yo$r prints aren/t on either o# the &$rder 'eapons. ( 'inced 'ith the &ove&ent. ( 'anted to keep hi& sa#e.W.3 @.e 'as a!ready above and beyond the ca!! o# d$ty #or &e as it 'as.W. .W. 2y head #e!t !ike it 'o$!d sp!it. (/!! be #ine) rea!!y. 'anting hi& to agree 'ith her. ( co$!dn/t ho!d anything against @.3 2y neck 'as sti##. 3We/re on yo$r side 2arv) yo$ re&e&ber that. 3( can/t stay here 2argaret. 0acking o$t into the street 'as one o# the to$ghest things (/ve ever had to do. "hey 'ant to tie yo$ in c!oser. then back to &e.

( t$rned the 'ater o## and 'ent into the bedroo& and $np!$gged the phone. 3( don/t need an ins$rance &an right no'. (t/s rea!!y not a very good ti&e to ta!k. ( 'a!ked care#$!!y to her #ood bo'!. . "he phone began to ring again. Cynthia 'asn/t at the door 'aiting #or &e. "he phone began to ring and the o!d head got into the aching act. With good reason) it 'as $p to the over#!o' drain. ( ratt!ed the cat #ood inside its bo1. "he phone 'as in the bedroo&. (t 'as e&pty.3 . 3"hat/s right) it/s &y car.o rep!y.3 ( h$ng the phone $p in his ear. . 3. 4avis3 35i&) can ( %$st ca!! yo$ back in the &orning:3 3We!!) it/s yo$r car not &ine. ( ca!!ed her. ( po$red so&e #ood into her bo'! and headed back to the bedroo&.Chapter 2# (# the po!ice 'ere 'atching &y apart&ent 'hen ( got ho&e ( didn/t see the&. 3. 4avis: "his is 5i& "ho&pson.is syr$py tone had s!id in the other direction.3 . Stea& ro!!ed o## the 'ater. "he o!d bones ached) so did the yo$ng ones.3 (n the bathroo& ( took a co$p!e o# the doctor/s pain pi!!s and started r$nning 'ater #or a hot bath. 3( hope ( s!eep !ike that cat. 3( 'on/t take &$ch o# yo$r va!$ab!e ti&e 2r.e!!o:3 ( ans'ered as $np!easant!y as ( co$!d. Sti!! no cat. "he bath 'ater so$nded !o$d. t !east ( 'asn/t in the t$b yet.o' are yo$ this evening:3 3(/ve been better.3 "he r$nning bath 'ater 'as a!!$ring.e!!o) 2r. (/!! ca!! yo$ to&orro'.

"hen ( tested the 'ater 'ith &y #oot. ( drained so&e 'ater) ran co!d 'ater in on top) and then c!i&bed in. . . ( p$!!ed a hand o$t #ro& $nder the 'ater and r$bbed her head. ( opened &y eyes. ( heard her cr$nching at the #ood bo'! and ( sank back into the t$b.e1t thing ( kne' Cynthia 'as sitting on &y chest !ooking at &e. Can/t yo$ stay in one night:3 She said no and %$&ped o## the bed 'hen ( &oved. "hat 'as secondary to &y aching bones. Shaking her head she raced a'ay. "here 'as a so$nd to &y right. Every %oint 'as sti## and s'o!!en and ( &oved !ike an o!d &an. Get o$t o# here. (t/s s$rprising ho' #ast the heat !eaves a batht$b.i there gir!) 'here yo$ been:3 Cynthia &eo'ed a s&a!! he!!o. 3Co&e on then) da&n it. "he abrasions on &y knees) e!bo's) back) and every'here e!se st$ng #ro& the 'ater. She didn/t care #or the 'etness. ( got a !itt!e chi!!ed so ( p$!!ed the p!$g and eased o$t o# the t$b. Cynthia 'as standing on her hind !egs= her #ront pa's resting on the side o# the t$b) !ooking at &e. (t 'as sti!! p!enty hot b$t it #e!t good. ( s!id do'n so on!y &y head 'as o$t o# the 'ater and c!osed &y eyes. ( %$st re!a1ed) didn/t even try to co$nt the sore points. ( &oved s!o'. "he 'ater 'as sca!ding. She said she 'anted o$tside. 3.3 ( opened the patio doors and Cynthia shot o$t into the dark. ( &oved a !itt!e better as ( to'e!ed o##) s!ipped on a pair o# bo1er shorts and c!i&bed into the bed. (t 'as so&ething to !ook #or'ard to. ( 'as as!eep as soon as &y head to$ched the pi!!o'. "he hot 'ater and the pi!!s 'ere doing their tricks. 3( don/t care 'hat yo$ 'ant. (t 'as a +$ick test.( stripped s!o'!y) care#$!!y and tossed the c!othes into a corner o# the bathroo&.

3St$pid cat.3 ( c!osed the doors and 'a!ked tender!y back to the bedroo&. 3St$pid dick.3 ( tho$ght at each step. Wa!king 'as not as easy as it so$nds. When ( got back to the bedroo& ( sa' the $np!$gged phone. "he things o'n yo$. ( s!ipped the %ack back in. "he phone instant!y rang. 3Shit)3 ( picked $p the receiver. (t 'as probab!y ;ance. 39ea) 'hat/d/ya 'ant:3 32arv: (s that yo$:3 a #e&a!e voice asked. 39ea) this is &e. Who is this:3 3"his is Pat. re yo$ a!! right: 9o$ so$nd terrib!e. (/ve been trying to reach yo$ a!! day. re yo$ a!! right:3 she repeated. 39ea) (/& okay. ( had a !itt!e tro$b!e today) ran into a b$!!do,er.3 32arv) are yo$ serio$s:3 "here 'as a grati#ying concern in her voice. 3 re yo$ a!! right:3 39es) (/& #ine. ( got in a #ight this a#ternoon and !ost. "hat/s a!!.3 3"hat/s a!!:3 she cried. 3(/& co&ing over there right no' and see i# yo$/re a!! right.3 30e &y g$est)3 ( to!d her. 3(/d !ove to see yo$. 4o yo$ kno' ho' to get here:3 Pat/s voice 'as beginning to &ake &e #ee! a !itt!e better. 39es) ( kno' ho' to get there. "here/s on!y one 7ake <ay .$bbard and ( haven/t #orgotten the n$&ber yo$ gave &e. ;o' be +$iet) (/!! be right there)3 she said $rgent!y. #ter Pat h$ng $p ( !$&bered to the bathroo& to br$sh &y teeth. 2$st have c!ean teeth to greet a #e&a!e visitor. ( br$shed &y teeth) &y hair) then the toi!et and everything e!se ( co$!d think o# to c!ean. 0ack in the bedroo& ( p$!!ed o$t &y one pair o# pa%a&as) a b!$e si!k pair. ( sat on the bed and s!ipped into the pa%a&a top. "he b$ttons 'ere to$gh) &y #ingers 'ere c!$&sy) b$t ( got the&

done at !ast. ( near!y #e!! o## the bed p$!!ing on the botto&s. ( cra'!ed grate#$!!y back into the bed. ( don/t think ( #e!! as!eep b$t ( &ay have. "he ne1t thing ( re&e&ber the doorbe!! 'as ringing. 3Good 7ord) she here a!ready: She &$st have #!o'n over here.3 ( 'as done in. ( don/t think ( co$!d have 'a!ked to the #ront door to !et her in. ( hoped ( hadn/t !ocked the #ront door and ( ca!!ed o$t hoping she 'o$!d hear) 3Co&e on in.3 2y !$ck had changed. "he #ront door opened and c!osed. "hen a s'eet so$nd #i!!ed the air. 32arv) 'here are yo$ dar!ing:3 30ack here)3 ( ans'ered !ike she kne' 'here here 'as. ( #o!!o'ed the so$nd o# her hee!s c!icking across the !iving roo& #!oor to'ard &e. "hen she stood in the door'ay. She 'as a goddess. .er hair 'as &essed s!ight!y. (t 'o$!d have taken a hairdresser days to i&prove on it. She 'ore a 'hite) s!eeve!ess evening dress) high in the #ront) !o' in the back) tight across her hips. .er on!y %e'e!ry 'as a s&a!! si!ver brace!et on her right 'rist. (n her !e#t hand she he!d a 'hite c!$tch p$rse. 3God)3 she gasped) !ooking at &y #ace. She ran over and sat on the bed beside &e and s&othered &e 'ith so#t) 'ar& kisses. She p$!!ed back) her eyes bored into &e) 3Who did this to yo$: "e!! &e) (/!! ki!! the&G3 3;o) no)3 ( !a$ghed. 3( co$!dn/t ho!d yo$ i# yo$ 'ere behind bars. nd yo$/re too bea$ti#$! not to ho!d.3 2y ar&s encirc!ed her sho$!ders. ( p$!!ed her do'n) bringing her &o$th to &ine #or a kiss. 2y head 'as a !itt!e !ight) either #ro& the pi!!s or her. .er so#t) 'ar& hands soothed &y br$ised #orehead) &assaged &y te&p!es. 39o$ poor thing. What can ( do: Can ( get yo$ anything:3 39o$ can get in bed)3 ( grinned.

3 re yo$ s$re yo$/re h$rt:3 Pat asked s&i!ing. She bent do'n and 'e kissed again. 3( think ( can do that)3 she 'hispered. 30$t ( &eant so&ething to &ake yo$ #ee! better.3 3"hat/!! &ake &e #ee! better.3 3( &eant !ike &edicine. So&ething so yo$ 'on/t h$rt 'hen ( do get in bed 'ith yo$.3 3With yo$ in here nothing co$!d h$rt.3 34on/t %oke)3 she said serio$s!y. 3( &ight have so&ething to &ake yo$ #ee! better.3 She opened the s&a!! p$rse and p$!!ed o$t a ro!!ed p!astic bag. "here 'as a s&a!! !ine o# 'hiteness in its botto&. 35es$s ChristG Where in the he!! did yo$ get that:3 She s&i!ed shy!y) 3(n the big) #ast 'or!d o# high po'er rea! estate) this)3 shaking the bag) 3is %$st part o# the %ob. (t takes things !ike this to &ake dea!s 'ith so&e peop!e.3 ( didn/t ask 'hat other things it &ight take. (nstead ( said) 3( don/t need that. ( can hard!y 'a!k to the bathroo& on the pi!!s the doctor gave &e. "hat 'o$!d probab!y ki!! &e.3 She !ooked a !itt!e sad) ( added +$ick!y) 30$t i# yo$ 'ant so&e go right ahead. (t/s okay 'ith &e.3 "ossing her hair so#t!y in a !itt!e no she p$t the bag a'ay. 3( don/t need that to !ove yo$ 2arv. ( %$st 'ant yo$ to #ee! good.3 She stood $p) reached aro$nd to the back o# her dress #or the ,ipper. (t 'as +$ick!y $ndone. She !o'ered the dress to the #!oor and stepped o$t o# it and her shoes. She 'ore no bra and her panties 'ere the thong type. She s!ipped $nder the cover and &oved c!ose.

Chapter 2$ ;othing is ever as $nrea! as a drea&) and nothing as rea!. When ( 'oke $p a!one the s$n!ight #i!tered thro$gh the &ini b!inds and brightened the bedroo&. 2y eyes #oc$sed on the sha#ts o# !ight across the #ar 'a!!. "he bed 'as so#t and 'ar&. "he apart&ent/s air conditioner h$&&ed +$iet!y. Pat/s i&age ca&e to &ind. 3( 'ish 'o&en !ike that 'ere #or rea!. 0$t in rea! !i#e a 'o&an !ike that 'o$!dn/t have a thing to do 'ith &e. "he cro'd she 'o$!d r$n 'ith 'o$!d a!! have brains) !ooks and &oney. (/ve got one o# those) at best t'o) b$t not a!! three. ( 'ish things !ike her happened o$tside o# drea&s.3 So&eone banged on the door. "hey 'ere !o$d eno$gh to 'ake the dead. Probab!y the reason ( 'oke $p. ( tried to sit $p. "he o!d body screa&ed in pain. ( 'as too sti## to &ove. ( #e!t !ike ( had been $sed as a &edicine ba!! and thro'n a'ay 'hen ( 'ent #!at. 7ester 'as no drea&. "he door 'as ha&&ered on again. 3.oney)3 Pat ca!!ed #ro& so&e'here in the #ront o# the apart&ent) 3so&eone/s at the door. 4o yo$ 'ant &e to get it:3 With a gr$nt ( sat $p in the bed. ( co$!d see the i&pression Pat/s body had !e#t on the bed. "he #ront door 'as po$nded on again. "he aro&a o# #resh co##ee reached &e. 3Po!ice) 4avis. -pen $p.3 !o$d) nasa! voice sho$ted. ( kno' the neighbors heard it. "hey probab!y heard it a!! the 'ay to 2o$nt P!easant. "he doorbe!! began an $nbroken ringing.

Pat ca&e into the roo& carrying a #$!! break#ast tray. She 'as a drea&. She s&i!ed. 34o yo$ 'ant &e to get the door:3 .er hair 'as p$!!ed back) tied 'ith a !ong e&era!d co!ored ribbon. She 'ore a 'hite b!o$se) $nb$ttoned) its tai!s tied together e1posing a !arge e1panse o# skin. White tennis shorts #inished the o$t#it. 0are#ooted) no %e'e!ry) no &ake-$p she 'as &ore bea$ti#$! than ever. 3;o) (/d better get it.3 ( started to s!ide o$t o# the bed and had a #!ash o# pain. (t sho'ed on &y #ace. 3 re yo$ okay:3 Pat de&anded. She sat the tray on the end o# the bed and &oved beside &e. 39ea) (/& #ine. 5$st sore. (t/s okay.3 ( stood $p 'ith her he!p. 39o$ !ook bea$ti#$! this &orning.3 She kissed &e !ight!y on the cheek. 39o$ !ook naked)3 she grinned. 34o yo$ have a robe or are yo$ going to the door !ike that:3 3"here/s a robe in the c!oset i# yo$/!! toss it to &e.3 She 'ent to the c!oset) #o$nd the robe and he!ped &e s!ip it on. 3"here yo$ are to$gh g$y. Go get /e&.3 She patted &y b$tt as ( 'a!ked a'ay. 3 nd h$rry be#ore the #ood gets co!d.3 ( opened the door. ;ance 'as !eaning on the doorbe!!. Grider and t'o $ni#or&ed o##icers stood behind hi&. ;ance took his #inger o## the b$tton and reached into an inner pocket. pack o# tiss$es ca&e o$t. .e p$!!ed a sheet #ree and ret$rned the pack to his inner pocket. .is nose 'as red #ro& repeated b!o'ings) b$t he 'orked it care#$!!y one &ore ti&e p!acing the spent tiss$e in his o$ter %acket pocket. 3Good &orning 4avis. 9o$ !ook !ike shit. 2ind i# 'e co&e in and !ook aro$nd:3 3 p!eas$re to see yo$) too. 9o$ got a 'arrant:3 3 !'ays)3 he grinned and reached back inside his %acket. "he paper in his hand 'as a !ot di##erent #ro& the tiss$es. ( took it and !ooked it over +$ick!y.

3.e!p yo$rse!ves)3 ( &otioned the& in. 3(/& going to eat so&e break#ast 'hi!e yo$ pidd!e aro$nd. 7et &e kno' 'hen ( can sho' yo$ o$t.3 "he #o$r &en separated to cover the apart&ent. Pat ca&e o$t o# the bedroo& 'ith the break#ast tray. "he cops #ro,e in their tracks. 32arvin) yo$ need to eat this be#ore it gets co!d. Sit over there at the tab!e.3 (t 'as a nice order. 9o$ co$!d see each o# &y po!ice visitors 'ishing they got bossed aro$nd !ike this. Pat !ooked at each o# the&) si,ed the& $p) then ignored the&. (t 'as 'onder#$! to 'atch. "hey %$st died right then and their. She carried the tray to the tab!e and sat it do'n. ;ance and his partners 'ere e&barrassed by her bea$ty) and 'orst o# a!!) her disinterest. "hey h$rried their search. Pat sat do'n at the tab!e 'ith &e. "he #ood 'as great. (n a conversationa! tone she asked) 3"his happen very o#ten:3 3;o) this is the #irst ti&e this &onth a bea$ti#$! !ady #i1ed &e break#ast.3 She s&i!ed and kicked &e so#t!y. ( acted !ike it h$rt. 39o$ deserve that. 9o$ kno' 'hat ( &ean.3 3-h) yo$ &ean the po!ice. ;o) not o#ten b$t its part o# the %ob. "hey don/t kno' 'ho they sho$!d be picking on so they pick on &e. (t happens so&eti&es.3 ( po$red &yse!# so&e &ore co##ee. 3.ave yo$ a!ready eaten:3 3( ate ear!ier.3 3( hope yo$ s!ept a!! right.3 Pat reached across the tab!e and to$ched &y hand. 3( s!ept #ine) honey. (/& %$st $se to getting $p ear!y. .o'/s the #ood:3 3Wonder#$!)3 ( s&i!ed. ;ance ca&e into the roo&. .e ca&e #ro& &y bedroo&. .e carried Pat/s p$rse and a s&a!! overnight bag. 3 re these yo$rs 2a/a&:3

39o$ don/t have any right)3 ( started b!asting. 5$st 'hat ( needed) another ride do'nto'n. .o' co$!d ( have #orgotten abo$t Pat/s !itt!e baggie: Pat s+$ee,ed &y hand to +$iet &e. 39o$ have &y per&ission. ( 'o$!dn/t stop yo$ #ro& doing yo$r %ob.3 2y heart 'as in &y &o$th. ;ance pa'ed thro$gh the p$rse and the bag. !! he #o$nd o# interest 'as a driver/s !icense. .e !ooked at Pat) 3Patricia 2organ:3 39es)3 Pat ans'ered. 32y ho&e address is there too. nd 'hi!e yo$/re in &y 'a!!et take a co$p!e o# b$siness cards. 9o$ &ay 'ant to b$y a b$i!ding so&e day.3 ;ance/s #ace reddened to &atch his nose. .e ret$rned to the bedroo&. 3What did)3 ( started b$t Pat he!d a #inger $p to her &o$th. 39o$ need to #inish eating)3 she said. 3(/ve got a big day p!anned.3 (n a #e' &in$tes ;ance and his #riends 'ere ready to !eave. 3What ti&e 'i!! yo$ be at yo$r o##ice 4avis:3 ;ance asked. Grider stood behind hi& !ooking &ad. "he t'o in $ni#or& stood over by the door. "hey kept their eyes on Pat. ( didn/t b!a&e the&. 3( don/t think (/!! be in today. (/& to!d ( have other things to do.3 3"he 'arrant covers yo$r o##ice too.3 3"hat/s #ine. 9o$ kno' 'here it is and the door/s $n!ocked. .e!p yo$rse!ves. ( tr$st yo$.3 7eaving the apart&ent Grider s!a&&ed the door a#ter hi&. .e didn/t !ike &y $nconcern. ( !ooked at Pat. 3( took it o$t to the car 'hen ( got &y c!othes.3 ( shook &y head. 39o$ !earn ho' to cover a!! the ang!es in rea! estate)3 she s&i!ed. 3@inish eating so yo$ can get dressed.3 3"hank yo$ #or break#ast. (/& g!ad yo$ ca&e over.3

She took &y hand. 3( 'as s$rprised yo$ had a break#ast tray. ( didn/t kno' bache!ors had s$ch things. 4o yo$ $s$a!!y serve yo$r #e&a!e g$ests on it:3 3;o) ( bo$ght it &any &oons ago in preparation #or this &orning. So yo$ co$!d bring &e break#ast.3 ( raised her hand to &y !ips and kissed !ight!y. She stood $p #ro& the tab!e. 3;o' get $p and get dressed. ;o &atter ho' nice it 'o$!d be (/& not going to spend the 'ho!e day in bed) not even 'ith yo$.3 ( dressed as +$ick!y as ( co$!d in shorts) shirt) and sneakers. "he banged $p %oints 'ere beginning to !oosen $p. (n #ront o# the bathroo& &irror co&bing &y hair ( decided the s'e!!ing and br$ises didn/t !ook too bad. 7ester 'as good at his %ob. ( sho$!d have !ooked a !ot 'orse. "he disco!oration 'here ( hit &y head on the bar 'a!! 'as bare!y noticeab!e. ( headed to the kitchen. Pat 'as 'ashing the !ast o# the break#ast dishes. grocery sack containing paper to'e!s) p!ates and things sat on the tab!e. ( s!ipped &y ar&s aro$nd her 'aist and kissed her so#t!y behind her right ear. She s+$ir&ed s!ight!y. 3.ave yo$ seen or heard a s&a!! b!ack cat o$tside this &orning:3 ( asked. Pat t$rned aro$nd in &y ar&s. 3( !et her in 'hen ( got $p. ( ass$&ed she be!onged to yo$ since it 'as yo$r screen door she 'as c!i&bing. 7ast ( sa' o# her she 'as c!i&bing into one o# yo$r c!osets #or a nap.3 cting stern she $pbraided &e. 3"he poor thing 'as starved. 4on/t yo$ ever #eed her:3 3-n!y 'hen ( can co$nt her ribs.3 ( tried #or a +$ick kiss b$t a!! ( got 'as a to$ch o# cheek. 3( be!ieve that. She/s a s'eet cat) better than yo$ deserve. What/s her na&e:3 3Cynthia.3 3(s that so&e o!d gir! #riend/s na&e:3 3(t co$!d be) b$t it/s not. (t/s %$st a na&e.3 3( bet.3

3( don/t) yo$ !ose.3 38ery #$nny) &ister.3 Pat kissed the tip o# &y nose. She p$!!ed back in &y ar&s a bit. 3.o' !ong have yo$ been ki!!ing those p!ants o$tside: Why do yo$ have the& in a cage:33 3-h shitG ( didn/t 'ater yesterday.3 ( r$shed as #ast as ( co$!d o$t on to the patio. Pat 'as right behind &e. ( %$st stood and !ooked. 3What 'as in the !arge pot:3 Pat asked +$iet!y) nodding to'ard &y sashiki. 3"hose 'ere so&e e!& c$ttings ( 'as trying to get rooted. "here are so&e insane s+$irre!s aro$nd 'ho keep attacking &e. ( had to &ake that cage to keep the& o$t.3 s ( 'atered ( added) 39o$ #orget to 'ater one da&ned day and yo$ !ose everything in this heat.3 3"hey !ook okay.3 39ea they !ook !ike they &ight be a!! right. "his is a ba!d cypress)3 ( said 'atering the tree. 3 nd this one is a "e1as Wisteria. (t/s not rea!!y a tree) it/s a vine. 0$t i# yo$ keep it tri&&ed c!ose it !ooks !ike a tree.3 ( #inished 'atering and set the can do'n. 3(t/s a!! right honey)3 Pat soothed &oving $p c!ose to &e. 3(/ve got a s$rprise p!anned) re&e&ber:3 3 !'ays prepared #or everything:3 ( asked p$tting &y ar&s aro$nd her s!i& 'aist. 3 !'ays) &ister. nd 'e don/t have ti&e #or that. We/re going to @ort Worth and have a bea$ti#$! picnic in the 0otanica! Gardens.3 She 'rapped her ar&s aro$nd &y neck. 3Why @ort Worth:3 30eca$se ( !ike it there. nd beca$se it !ooks to &e !ike yo$ need so&e pointers.3 She !a$ghed and p$!!ed a'ay #ro& &e. 3We can stop on the 'ay and pick $p the things yo$ didn/t have) !ike #ood. !! yo$ have to do is go) so co&e on.3 She headed back inside. "he grocery sack on the

co$nter 'as !oaded #or picnic. Pat took it $p in one ar&) snatched her p$rse $p 'ith the other and &ade #or the #ront door. ( had to h$rry to reach it and open it be#ore she got there. s ( !ocked the apart&ent 5o nn 'a!ked by. She stopped and stared at &e and then at Pat. Pat p$t the sack in her car and s!id in $nder the 'hee!. ( 'aved a he!!o at 5o nn and h$rried across the !ot. ( s!id into the passenger/s seat= Pat s!apped the 5ag into gear and tore o$t o# the parking !ot. ( didn/t see anything o# 5o nn or ;ance. -$t on the interstate Pat c$t o## the car/s air conditioner and ro!!ed her 'indo' do'n. She sho$ted above the 'ind noise) 3Was that one o# yo$r !itt!e #riends back there:3 3;o) not rea!!y a #riend. 5o nn !ives there. She backed into &y car the other day.3 ( 'asn/t s$re ho' Pat took that ans'er. She kept her eyes on the road) never !ooking at &e. @ina!!y she !ooked over and s&i!ed at &e) 3P$t yo$r 'indo' do'n. En%oy the air) si!!y. 0eing in air conditioning a!! the ti&e isn/t hea!thy. 9o$/!! !ove it.3 "he !ate &orning heat #!e' thro$gh the car !ike a 'ind t$nne! sa$na. ( s!id co&#ortab!y do'n into the seat and re!a1ed. thirty-&i!e drive doesn/t change the "e1as c!i&ate &$ch. (t 'as hot in @ort Worth. We sat in the shade o# a giant e!& tree and the heat 'as co&#ortab!e. (t #e!t good to &y aches and pains. We sat +$iet!y on a tab!ec!oth #ro& &y apart&ent) &y ar& aro$nd Pat/s 'aist) her head resting on &y sho$!der. "here 'ere a #e' other co$p!es) p!aying hooky #ro& 'ork) scattered abo$t on the !ong gent!e s!ope at the #ront o# the 0otanica! Gardens. We co$!d see the river across >niversity 4rive. Pat had p$t the !$nch things a'ay. s&a!! !ine o# perspiration g!istened on her $pper !ip. ( !ay 'ith &y head in her !ap. We co$!d have been #i!&ing a co&&ercia!. Pat/s #ingertips traced a !ight path

over &y #orehead. &an co$!d !earn to !ove this type o# attention. 32arv:3 Pat asked. ( opened &y eyes and stared deep!y into her +$estioning orbs. 39es s'eetheart.3 3( don/t &eant to pry) and te!! &e i# it is none o# &y b$siness)3 Pat added +$ick!y. 3Who 'as that yo$ng 'o&an at yo$r apart&ents:3 Pat !ooked serio$s. 3"hat 'as 5o nn Co&bs. She !ives a co$p!e o# b$i!dings $p #ro& &e. Why:3 3We!!) ( 'as %$st 'ondering)3 Pat s&i!ed. 3( tho$ght she !ooked #a&i!iar) b$t that na&e doesn/t ring any be!!s.3 ( !a$ghed. 3( don/t kno' 'here yo$ co$!d have ever &et her Pat. ( don/t be!ieve yo$ t'o 'o$!d r$n in the sa&e cro'd.3 Pat sti!! s&i!ed. 3We!!) yo$ never kno'.3 concerned !ook took over her #ace and she stopped r$bbing &y te&p!es. 39o$ don/t have anything to do 'ith each other do yo$:3 ( started to !a$gh b$t so&ething in Pat/s #ace stopped &e. 3Pat) the on!y reason ( even kno' her na&e is beca$se she backed into &y car.3 "he s&i!ed ret$rned to Pat/s #ace as she said) 3Good.3 "hen ( had to grin. 39o$/re not %ea!o$s are yo$:3 3We!! ( co$!d be)3 Pat ans'ered and st$ck her tong$e o$t at &e. 3She is c$te) has a nice #ig$re) and bare!y 'ears any c!othes. nd yo$ are a &an. Every 'o&an kno's ho' &en are.3 3-h) rea!!y) nd ho' a& ( 2s. 2organ:3 3( think yo$ are %$st #ine)3 she !a$ghed and bent over and kissed &e. ( reached aro$nd her neck and he!d her to &y !ips as 'e kissed. ;either o# $s 'as in a h$rry to stop. When 'e separated Pat rose $p s&i!ing) 3<e&ind &e to tease yo$ &ore o#ten.3

3(# ( get those kind o# kisses (/!! re&ind yo$ constant!y.3 We both !a$ghed. ( took Pat/s hands in &ine and kissed the&. "hen ( asked) 3What 'ere yo$ a!! dressed $p #or !ast night:3 Pat !ooked at &e and !a$ghed) 3( g$ess (/!! have to get $se to yo$ being a detective. 5$&ping #ro& one thing to another. Were yo$ even thinking abo$t &e 'hen 'e 'ere kissing:3 3-h) yes. ( 'as thinking abo$t yo$)3 ( !a$ghed. 30$t 'e are in p$b!ic and since ( don/t have a co!d sho'er here ( tho$ght ( 'o$!d change the s$b%ect.3 3"hat/s a pretty good ans'er)3 Pat s&i!ed !ooking do'n into &y eyes. 3( 'as at a party. "here/s a!'ays a party) either an open ho$se) or #or the bankers) or %$st #or the sch&oo,ers. "here/s a!'ays so&ething.3 0e#ore ( co$!d ask &ore she said) 3"hat 'as yo$r +$estion. ;o' it/s &y t$rn.3 3.ey) that/s not #air. ( didn/t kno' 'e 'ere s'apping +$estions.3 Pat grinned. 3;o' yo$ kno'. So) it/s &y t$rn.3 .er eyes 'ere bea$ti#$!) #i!!ed 'ith !i#e. 3( didn/t kno' 'e 'ere taking t$rns.3 3We!! 'e are)3 Pat !a$ghed. ( !oved that !a$gh. 3 nd it is &y t$rn)3 she e&phasi,ed. 3-kay. What is the +$estion:3 3Who did yo$ get in the #ight 'ith yesterday: nd 'hy did yo$ !et the& beat $p on yo$:3 "hat concerned !ooked 'as in her eyes. 39o$ never to!d &e !ast night.3 ( had to s&i!e at that. 3"hat/s t'o +$estions.3 39es and yo$ can ans'er the& both 2r. 4avis.3 Pat s&i!ed at &e. ( 'as g!ad to see her concern !ighten a !itt!e. 3( didn/t rea!!y !et the& Pat. "hey %$st kind o# did it.3 Pat p$rsed her !ips in a po$ty) 39o$ poor thing)3 'ay. "hen she bent !o'er and 'e kissed. When 'e parted she said) 39o$ didn/t say 'ho it 'as yet) 2r. 4avis. (t 'as beca$se o# those &$rders) 'asn/t it:3

(t 'as &y t$rn to ask a +$estion b$t a#ter that kiss ( had to ans'er her. 3"his 0aker g$y 'as #ro& 4enton.3 3"hat is the second &an) right:3 Pat asked. 39ea) the second g$y. ( 'ent to 4enton) tried to ta!k to his 2other and 'o$nd $p going o$t to the 4enton airport.3 3"hey have an airport:3 Pat asked in s$rprise. 3Every to'n has an airport these days S'eetheart. nd act$a!!y 4enton has a #air!y !arge #ie!d.3 Pat/s hands s&oothed &y hair back) &oving it a'ay #ro& &y #orehead. .er #ingers #e!t 'onder#$!. ( contin$ed ta!king. 3( heard a co$p!e o# things at the airport that &ade &e go to So$th 4a!!as.3 Pat s&i!ed. 3What 'o$!d ever &ake yo$ 'ant to go to So$th 4a!!as:3 3 g$y $p there in 4enton said 0aker had g$ests so&eti&es. "hey so$nded !ike so&e peop!e (/ve &et #ro& So$th 4a!!as.3 30!ack gangsters)3 Pat said +$iet!y. 32arv yo$ kno' the &ost interesting peop!e.3 ( !a$ghed. 3"hey are not rea!!y #riends. (/ve %$st &et the& on the %ob.3 3 nd they beat yo$ $p:3 3We!!) one o# the& did.3 nd ( !a$ghed again. 30$t he is rea!!y big.3 32arvin 4avis) ho' can yo$ %oke abo$t it: "hey co$!d have ki!!ed yo$G3 Pat/s eyes searched &ine. 3"hey co$!d have) b$t they didn/t Pat. "hey %$st 'ant &e to stay a'ay #ro& the&.3 34o yo$ think these gangsters ki!!ed those t'o &en:3 3( don/t kno' Pat)3 ( ans'ered honest!y. "hen ( to!d her abo$t visiting @.W. and ho' the cops think ( &ay be the ki!!er. nd that 'as 'hy they searched &y p!ace. 3"hat/s terrib!e 2arv. 9o$ can/t even visit yo$r #riends.3

3"hat/s okay S'eetheart) ( can see yo$.3 ( p$!!ed her do'n c!ose and 'e kissed. Every kiss !essened the aches in &y bones. "hen #ina!!y ( asked a +$estion) 3.ave yo$ ever been to the 5apanese Garden:3 3-# co$rse si!!y. "hat/s the reason 'e/re here. ( 'as %$st 'aiting to see i# yo$ 'ere $p to it. ( 'ant to see it 'ith yo$.3 39o$ a!'ays have the right thing to say) don/t yo$:3 3( try)3 Pat !a$ghed. 3;o' get $p and he!p &e #o!d this tab!ec!oth.3 We +$ick!y packed everything back into the car. "he 5apanese Garden sits #$rther back in the 0otanica! Gardens. We drove $p the 'inding aspha!t and parked. ( paid o$r 'ay in) picked $p a broch$re and 'e headed to the $pper pond. Even in the heat o# the day yo$r #irst i&pression in the garden is coo! ins$!ation #ro& the e1terior 'or!d. (t/s !$sh 'ith vegetation) trees) ba&boo) shr$bs) a p!ace o# ordered tho$ght) concentrated art. nd a !itt!e bit o# co&&erce. "here are severa! s&a!! candy-!ike dispensing &achines aro$nd the 'ater/s edge. "'enty-#ive cents b$ys yo$ a s&a!! hand#$! o# P$rina @ish Cho'. ( ro!!ed &y broch$re into a cone shape. 3What are yo$ doing:3 Pat asked s&i!ing in 'onder at &e. 3"hat has the &ap on it.3 3( don/t need a &ap s'eetheart. ( %$st need bigger hands.3 ( stooped over the &achine and p!$gged a +$arter into it) t'isted the !ever aro$nd $nti! the #ood ca&e s!iding do'n the ch$te into &y !itt!e cone. 32arvin 4avis yo$ are a geni$s)3 Pat !a$ghed. 3;ot rea!!y)3 ( grinned at her. 3( sa' a !itt!e kid do this be#ore.3 3 nd &odest) too)3 she s&i!ed. (t 'as 'onder#$! being 'ith her.

( #ed the &achine $nti! &y cone 'as #i!!ed 'ith #ood. nd then 'e stood side by side) hand in hand at the 'ater/s edge. "he $pper pond is the #irst o# the three inter!inking poo!s in the garden. "he 'ater 'as a seething &ass o# &$!tico!ored (&peria! Carp. "hey pressed $p to the edge o# the !ake in a spark!ing disp!ay o# co!or. "heir &o$ths s&acked #or #ood. 3 ren/t they bea$ti#$!)3 Pat e1c!ai&ed. 3( %$st !ove the greedy !itt!e things)3 she !a$ghed. "he !arger #ish #!opped against one another s+$ir&ing #or the #ood. "hey 'ere no &ore than a #oot a'ay 'ith &o$ths as !arge as si!ver do!!ars. We tossed #ood right into their sto&achs. Pat !a$ghed !ike a chi!d. (t didn/t take !ong to r$n o$t o# #ood 'ith both o# $s tossing it at o$r #avorite #ish. 3Co&e on)3 ( said to Pat to$ching her e!bo') 3!et/s 'a!k aro$nd a !itt!e.3 We took the path #o!!o'ing the 'ater/s edge and 'a!ked severa! #eet a!ong its c$rving side. ( stopped and pointed back the 'ay 'e had co&e. Co&ing aro$nd the c$rve 'as a strea& o# #ish in (ndian #i!e &aking !ickety-sp!it #or $s. Pat b$rst into !a$ghter. ( started to 'a!k on. 3-h) !et/s #eed the& so&e &ore cheapie)3 Pat ca!!ed a#ter &e. ( stopped. 3"hey 'o$!d eat &e o$t o# ho$se and ho&e)3 ( ans'ered. 37et/s %$st 'a!k a'hi!e i# that/s okay.3 Pat ca&e $p and took &y hand. We 'a!ked +$iet!y a!ong the 'ater/s edge. Where the $pper !ake #a!!s into the center pond) 'e crossed an arched bridge and #o!!o'ed a path thro$gh a gro'th o# ba&boo. ( kissed Pat. "hen ho!ding her at ar&s !ength ( asked) 3What does a bea$ti#$! 'o&an !ike yo$ 'ant 'ith a poor bastard !ike &e: Peop!e don/t step do'n in c!ass) there/s no advantage. "hey &ove $p.3

2oist$re #i!!ed her eyes. .er !e#t hand !ight!y br$shed the hair above &y right ear. She !ooked at &e +$iet!y and said) 3(/& in !ove 'ith yo$.3 What co$!d ( say to that: We sat on a bench at the end o# the !o'est !ake. 2ore carp s!apped abo$t the 'ater/s edge de&anding #ood. ( asked) noncha!ant!y ( hoped) 3"he bag yo$ sho'ed &e !ast night) 'as that rea!:3 Pat/s #ace reddened. 3( 'as 'ondering 'hen yo$ 'o$!d get to that. ( g$ess yo$ 'ant so&e no':3 ( got &ad. 3.e!! no ( don/t 'ant any o# that shitG ( 'ant to kno' 'hy yo$ have it:3 She p$!!ed &y hand into her !ap and he!d it. She !ooked do'n at the gro$nd as she e1p!ained) 3( to!d yo$) in &y b$siness yo$ need it so&eti&es. C$sto&ers) c!ients) connections) yo$ never kno' 'ho is going to hit on yo$ or #or 'hat. (/ve not a!'ays been ab!e to do the honorab!e thing.3 ( p$t &y ar& aro$nd her and p$!!ed her c!ose. 3(/& sorry. 4r$gs &ake &e nervo$s.3 #ter a &o&ent ( asked) 3.o' did yo$ get that shit:3 She t$rned to &e and +$iet!y ans'ered) 3"he &an yo$ #o$nd dead) 4oy!e 0aker) he #!e' a co$p!e o# &y c!ients aro$nd the co$ntry. .e bro$ght dope in too. So&eti&es he kept a !itt!e #or hi&se!#.3 She stopped ta!king. .er ga,e dropped to the gro$nd. She !eaned her head against &y sho$!der #or s$pport. ( he!d her tighter. 34id yo$ &eet hi& thro$gh those c!ients:3 She nodded her head yes. 34on/t ask 'ho. 9o$ &eet peop!e) !ike ( &et yo$. So&e o# the& are good) others aren/t. "oo o#ten its %$st part o# b$siness.3 3Why didn/t yo$ te!! &e yo$ kne' this 0aker g$y:3 ( asked !ooking into her eyes. 30eca$se ( didn/t 'ant yo$ to ask +$estions !ike this)3 she sobbed. 34o yo$ think ( a& pro$d o# it:3

( he!d Pat c!ose 'hi!e ( tho$ght abo$t b$siness and tried to #ig$re in her kno'ing 0aker. She co$!d have &entioned it sooner. We did the rest o# the garden #ro& the "ea .o$se to the 2editation "e&p!e. Everything see&ed a !itt!e #orced.

Chapter 3% So &$ch #or being a detective. ( didn/t press Pat #or &ore in#or&ation. ( co$!d have. ( sho$!d have) b$t ( 'anted the p!eas$re o# her co&pany. ( kept +$iet. Pat spent the night again. She said she en%oyed the co,iness o# &y p!ace. We dropped by her ho$se to pick $p so&e c!othes and then 'e ignored the 'or!d together. #ter she !e#t "h$rsday &orning #or her 'ork ( sat at the tab!e and re!a1ed) en%oying &y co##ee. ( 'anted to think ( co$!d !ive !ike that. 0$t ( can/t) the 'or!d t$rns. ( 'ent over and p!$gged the phone back in. t eight-thirty it rang. (t 'as 2ark L$ant. 3.ey) 'here yo$ been 2arv: (/ve been trying to get yo$ #or a day and a ha!#.3 .e 'as as !o$d as ever. 3( took so&e ti&e o##. What/s $p:3 39o$ te!! &e. ( heard ;ance 'as by to see yo$ 'ith a search 'arrant. "hen he 'ent tho$gh yo$r o##ice. What/s he a#ter: 4id he #ind anything:3 3;ance co$!dn/t #ind his ass 'ith both hands. 9o$ kno' that. .e didn/t #ind anything beca$se there/s nothing to #ind. .e/s got no !eads on the Gi&!et thing so he/s bothering &e. "hat/s a!! it is.3 39o$ s$re that/s a!! it is: 4id .opkins give yo$ anything:3 3Cross &y heart) 2ark. "hat/s a!!. .opkins gave &e a b$nch o# st$## b$t ( can/t tie any o# it in.3 3What abo$t 5ones:3 3(t/s cocaine 2ark. 5ones #ig$res in so&e ho') b$t ( sti!! can/t say ho'.3 3Shit) in that case ( got better things to do than ta!k at yo$. Catch yo$ !ater.3 .e h$ng $p.

( bore easi!y. Sitting at the tab!e) sipping co##ee and re!a1ing isn/t &y sty!e. ( needed to get do'nto'n and see 'hat kind o# &ess the o##ice 'as in. ( got $p and 'ent into the bedroo& to change c!othes. Cynthia 'as c$r!ed $p on the bed s!eeping. 3"i&e to rise and shine there Gir!.3 ( 'a!ked over and stroked her head and as she began to p$rr she raised her chin so ( co$!d scratch $nder there. 39o$/re %$st getting #at and !a,y aren*t yo$:3 Cynthia p$rred !o$der as ( r$bbed $nder her chin. 3Pat/s not here to ho!d yo$ a!! day so yo$/!! have to get $p) a!right:3 Cynthia p$rred. She didn/t care 'ho 'as 'here. She 'as happy. "hat/s a cat #or yo$. She and Pat had beco&e inseparab!e in on!y t'o days. Cynthia !ived in Pat/s ar&s and !ap. Pat he!d her) petted her constant!y. She said she didn/t kno' ho' she !ived 'itho$t a pet. 0$t ( think it 'as %$st Cynthia s$cking $p. (# yo$ keep the #ood bo'! #$!! and the !itter bo1 e&pty a cat 'i!! !ove yo$. Especia!!y i# they can s!eep 'ith yo$. 3(/ve got 'ork to d$e !ove)3 and ( gave Cynthia one !ast r$b and headed to the c!oset to get &y c!othes. She stretched her !egs o$t sti##!y) arched her back) and stretched #or a!! she 'as 'orth. "hen she !ay back and re!a1ed 'atching &e dress #or 'ork. "'o days o# rest and Pat/s !oving attention had hea!ed &e. "he grave! scratches on &y chin #ro& &y sapping d$ring 4$rr/s &$rder 'ere gone and it 'as easy to shave again. ( had no t'isted ank!es #ro& tripping over 0aker/s ske'ered body. nd to !ook at &e yo$ 'o$!d never have kno'n ( 'as on!y t'o days re&oved #ro& a tota! ass 'hipping ad&inistered by a dr$g !ord/s bigger than !i#e bodyg$ard. Everything 'as back to nor&a! as ( stepped o$t into the "e1as heat. ( 'as as #it as a #idd!e and ready #or another go at it. -n &y 'ay in ( picked $p &y dry c!eaning. ( !ike to keep that change o# c!othes. "here 'ere no parking p!aces

c!ose to the o##ice. "he ear!y bird gets the 'or&. ( parked a co$p!e o# b!ocks a'ay and 'a!ked back to the o##ice in the heat. Mno'ing ( didn/t have to stay in it &ade the te&perat$re #ee! good. "he o##ice b$i!ding 'as +$iet as ( 'a!ked $p the stairs. 2y #ootsteps so$nded !o$d to &y ears. (t #e!t e&pty !ike on a ho!iday 'eekend. 0$t it 'as no ho!iday. "he @o$rth 'as !ong past. (t 'as %$st an o##ice b$i!ding needing &ore tenants. ( p$shed the o##ice door open and heard it scrape over so&ething) %$st !ike be#ore. ( sa' the enve!ope. (t 'as !ike the other t'o specia! enve!opes ( had received. (ts being there sho'ed it had arrived since ;ance/s visit. ( hoped ( hadn/t &issed anything by staying ho&e p!aying sick. ( t$rned on the !ights and 'ent to the c!oset to hang $p &y c!othes. Satis#ied 'ith that arrange&ent ( crossed to &y desk. 2y .3J0 'as in &y %acket pocket. ( didn/t !ike it banging aro$nd in the car tr$nk and it hadn/t done &e any good so ( p$t it back in its hiding p!ace behind the big dra'er. (# yo$/re not packing a g$n yo$ 'on/t be te&pted to $se it. nd ( h$ng &y %acket on the back o# the chair. ( picked $p the !etter opener. With &y !e#t inde1 #ingernai! ( pinned a corner o# the enve!ope to the #!oor) s!ipped the opener $nder the #!ap) and s!it the end. ( carried the spitted enve!ope to the desk and ( sat do'n. @!e1ing the edges o# the enve!ope open ( 'orked a +$arter sheet o# paper o$t) b$t no &oney. Whoever 'as sending the notes #ig$red ( 'as hooked. ( 'as. ( sp$n the note aro$nd to read its typed &essage) 3Sa&e p!ace) 1 2.3 (t didn/t have a date on it. "he backside o# the !etter he!d &ore o# the #a&i!iar penci! &arkings. ( needed to get a ne'spaper and check i# there had been another &$rder. "here 'as a rap on the g!ass part o# the door and ;ance ca&e in. "a!k abo$t yo$r good ti&ing. .is co!d !ooked a

!itt!e better. .is nose 'asn/t as red and his eyes !ooked c!earer. 3.e!!o 4etective ;ance)3 ( bea&ed. 3(/& g!ad yo$ dropped by.3 ( &otioned at the c$sto&er/s seat) 3.o' did things go the other day: re yo$ #ee!ing better:3 .e 'asn/t ready #or a civi! greeting. .e 'as #ee!ing con#rontationa!) ready to p!ay 3to$gh cop3. ( had taken the 'ind o$t o# his sai!. G$ys !ike hi& are 'hy ( !e#t the #orce) they have one-track &inds. .e pa$sed in the &idd!e o# the roo& and c!eared his throat. 3"hings 'ent #ine. .o' did yo$ do:3 .e grinned) pro$d o# the snappy co&e back. .e sat do'n. 3<ea! 'e!!) thanks)3 ( s&i!ed. 3(/& g!ad yo$ sho'ed $p. (t/!! save &e a trip.3 ( p$shed the note over to hi& 'ith the tip o# the opener. 3( #o$nd this %$st be#ore yo$ ca&e in. 9o$ &$st have &issed it.3 3We didn/t &iss anything)3 he snapped !ooking do'n at the note. .e didn/t to$ch it) ( 'as pro$d o# hi& #or that. .is !ips &oved as he read it. .e #inished and !ooked $p. 3When did yo$ get this:3 37ike ( said) %$st be#ore yo$ ca&e in.3 3Says here /sa&e p!ace/. (s that the park:3 ( s&i!ed po!ite!y) 3( take yo$r +$estion to &ean that no one 'as &$rdered !ast night. (/& g!ad to here it.3 ( s&i!ed even broader. 3 nd) as to yo$r +$estion) ( can/t say ;ance. (/ve got a c!ient to protect. Even i# he/s !oony.3 ;ance re&e&bered he 'as s$ppose to be a heavy. 3"he on!y !oony 'e/ve got is yo$ 4avis.3 .e changed directions. 3( need to take this in. 9o$ have any prob!e&s 'ith that:3 he asked trying to so$nd to$gh. .e 'as sti!! a !itt!e too nasa! #or it. 3;ot &e. ( don/t have a prob!e& 'ith it. ( 'ant yo$ to check it care#$!!y #or prints. "hat &ight sho' yo$ (/& not behind any &$rders.3 ;ance/s #ace changed. 3Peop!e do'nto'n don/t think yo$/re st$pid 4avis) tho$gh ( disagree. We #ig$re it/s a

ga&e to yo$. 9o$/re %$st trying to sho' $p the depart&ent #or kicking yo$ o$t.3 .is #eat$res #ir&ed) 3(/& going to &ake these ki!!ings stick to yo$.3 3;ance)3 ( started ca!&!y) 3i# yo$ think yo$ can) yo$ go right ahead. nd 'hi!e yo$/re 'asting yo$r ti&e (/!! tie the case $p in a nice!y 'rapped bo1 and present it to yo$.3 ( took a breath) 3 !! yo$ have to go on is yo$ don/t !ike &e and ( 'as at the scene) t'ice ( grant yo$) b$t that doesn/t &ake &e the ki!!er. 9o$ can/t tie &e to the paper) the &oney) the typing) or the 'eapons. !! yo$ have is a st$pid idea. ;o') i# yo$/!! e1c$se &e: ( have 'ork to do.3 ( got $p and 'a!ked aro$nd the desk to the o##ice door. ( opened it. ;ance 'as so &ad he didn/t kno' 'hat to do= b$t at !ast he rose) red #aced) and s!ipped the note and enve!ope care#$!!y into his %acket pocket. 3( &eant to ask yo$ ear!ier) 'ho stepped on yo$r #ace:3 he sneered. 3Pa$! 0$nyan)3 ( ans'ered. 30ig d$de. 9o$ sho$!d be care#$! 'ho yo$ hang aro$nd 'ith.3 3(t 'as better than being shit on by 0!$e.3 .e 'as st$&ped by that. .e hated to) b$t he asked) 3Who/s 0!$e.3 3 big o1)3 ( ans'ered. .e g!ared) not s$re ho' to take it. 34o yo$ kno' 'hat those &arkings are on the back o# the notes:3 3"hey/re the !etters /9 - >/)3 ( ans'ered. 3Whoever is sending &e those notes took a sheet o# paper) #o!ded it in +$arters) reopened it #!at) 'rote /yo$/ do'n the center crease in !arge) !oose !etters) then tore the paper in +$arters.3 ;ance 'as not happy. .e took ti&e to scratch his head vigoro$s!y. (t he!ped his co&pos$re) 3What do yo$ think that /9->/ &eans:3 3(/& not s$re it &eans anything.3

.e stayed ca!&) 3"he psych boys say it/s a /s$b!i&ina! &essage/ #ro& the ki!!er.3 3(/!! he!p a !itt!e okay: /9o$/ is a genera! persona! prono$n. (t co$!d &ean anything. (t co$!d &ean (/& !ast on the hit !ist.3 39o$/re o$r boy 2arvin)3 ;ance s&i!ed. 9o$ 'on/t get a'ay 'ith anything. (/!! see yo$ !aterG3 .e !e#t. ( c!osed the door and 'orried abo$t that one. ( 'as &ore 'orried that &y #ace sti!! !ooked !ike ( had tang!ed 'ith 7ester. ( didn/t think ( !ooked that bad. 3We!!) at !east ( didn/t &iss anything !ast night)3 ( !a$ghed. 7et/s s$ppose yo$ kno' 'hat day the 'or!d ends. What can yo$ do 'ith that in#or&ation: What good does it rea!!y do yo$: >n!ess the day is today and the ti&e is right no' yo$ sti!! have to !ive. 9o$ sti!! have to 'orry abo$t eating !$nch. 9o$ sti!! have bi!!s to pay. Even kno'ing 'hen the 'or!d ends there are sti!! peop!e to see and p!aces to go. We!!) that is) $p $nti! it rea!!y ends. nd that 'asn/t $nti! one .2. (t 'as a !itt!e a#ter noon and Pat 'as on &y &ind. ( decided to ca!! her and see 'hat she had p!anned #or dinner. 2aybe she 'o$!dn/t be o$t to !$nch yet. ;ancy ans'ered the phone and recogni,ed &y voice. She gigg!ed at &y 'isecracks then p$t &e thro$gh to Pat. 32arvG (/& so happy yo$ ca!!edG3 Pat/s voice so$nded so#t and e1citing. 3(/ve been thinking abo$t yo$.3 3 nd) (/ve been thinking abo$t yo$)3 ( !a$ghed. 3Why are yo$ !a$ghing:3 Pat de&anded in a teasing voice. 3What have yo$ been thinking:3 3-h) (/!! te!! yo$ !ater. (t 'as %$st a #$nny tho$ght. re yo$ b$sy #or dinner tonight:3 ( asked. 3We!!) ( didn/t have any p!ans) b$t i# yo$/re going to have #$nny tho$ghts abo$t &e (/& not s$re ( 'ant to spend the night 'ith yo$.3

"hat knocked the s&i!e o## &y #ace. 3S'eetheart) ( can/t spend the night 'ith yo$ tonight.3 Pat/s end o# the conversation 'as s$dden!y very +$iet. "hen she asked) 3 re yo$ a!ready tired o# &e:3 3;-) it/s nothing !ike that.3 3What is it then:3 Pat/s voice so$nded a !itt!e happier. 3( need to 'ork tonight.3 39o$ need to 'ork:3 39es. (/ve got to be so&e'here at one .2.3 32arvin 4avis) yo$ got another !etter didn/t yo$:3 Pat/s voice 'as #i!!ed 'ith e1cite&ent. 39es ( did)3 and ( kno' ( so$nded e1cited. 3When did yo$ get it:3 she asked breath!ess!y. 3(t 'as here at the o##ice 'hen ( got in.3 3( didn/t kno' yo$ 'ere in the o##ice. ( tho$ght yo$ 'ere staying ho&e again today:3 3( co$!dn/t sit sti!! another day)3 ( !a$ghed. 3.ave yo$ to!d the po!ice abo$t the !etter:3 3S$re did. ;ance sho'ed $p right a#ter ( #o$nd it.3 3<ea!!y:3 Pat so$nded concerned. 3What did he say:3 ( !a$ghed. 3;ot &$ch. .e thinks (/& the ki!!er.3 3What:3 Pat de&anded. So ( to!d her everything ;ance had said to &e. 3.e/s a #oo!G3 she snapped. 39es) probab!y. 0$t he 'i!! be at the park tonight 'ith !ots o# he!p.3 32arv) are yo$ s$re yo$/re doing the right thing going there tonight:3 she asked in concern. 3( think so.3 3We!! (/& not so s$re it is the s&art thing to do. What i# the ki!!er does sho' $p and tries to ki!! yo$:3 ( !a$ghed. 3.e had better sho' $p. (/& p!anning on it. "hat/s the reason #or having a!! the he!p there. (/!! be a!! right Pat.3 3We!! that 'i!! be one big &ess tonight 'on/t it:3 she !a$ghed.

39es) probab!y)3 ( !a$ghed in agree&ent. 3Can ( go:3 Pat asked serio$s!y. 3;oG3 3Everyone e!se gets to go.3 3;o) yo$ can/t go Pat. "his is not a ga&e.3 3(t so$nds !ike one to &e.3 ( had to !a$gh at that. 3( s$ppose it is a ga&e b$t it is dangero$s.3 3 nd yo$ are so strong and to$gh)3 Pat !a$ghed. 3What are yo$ !a$ghing abo$t:3 Pat !a$ghed. 3(/!! te!! yo$ at dinner) okay:3 3-kay)3 ( !a$ghed in ret$rn. 3(/!! pick yo$ $p at si1.3 3Si1 'i!! be per#ect)3 Pat ans'ered. "hen she said) 3( !ove yo$.3 3( !ove yo$ too. See yo$ at si1.3 3Good-bye 2arv.3 30ye)3 ( ans'ered as 'e both h$ng $p. ( kno' ( had a si!!y s&i!e on &y #ace as ( sat there in an a#ter g!o'. ( g!anced do'n at &y 'atch. (t 'as p$shing t'e!ve thirty. (n another t'e!ve ho$rs ( 'o$!d be at the park. With the po!ice) the ki!!er and &e together it sho$!d t$rn into +$ite an event. ( hoped no one 'o$!d back o$t. ( kne' the po!ice 'o$!dn/t. nd ( kne' ( 'o$!dn/t. ( 'as #ee!ing a !itt!e h$ngry. nd &aybe a !itt!e rest!ess. "i&e does &ove s!o' so&eti&es. ( grabbed &y %acket and headed o$t to a !itt!e !$nch ca#H $p the street. -n the 'a!k $p to the ca#H ( picked $p the a#ternoon paper. -ne o# the !ead stories ca$ght &y eye) 3So$th 4a!!as Coke .o$ses <aided.3 "he ca#H 'asn/t too b$sy. ( sat do'n at a tab!e near the 'indo' and ordered. Whi!e ( 'aited #or &y chicken #ried steak) &ashed potatoes) and #ried okra to arrive ( read the story. (t beganE 3 t 1E32 this &orning 4a!!as Po!ice tea&s in a coordinated s'eep) raided t'o So$th 4a!!as ho$ses 'here 1.3 &i!!ion do!!ars 'orth o# Crack) the high!y dangero$s

#or& o# cocaine) 'as #o$nd and con#iscated. @o$r &en and one 'o&an 'ere arrested and charged 'ith possession and distrib$tion o# a narcotic. Seven other persons 'ere charged 'ith possession o# a narcotic.3 2y p!ate arrived 'hi!e ( read the rest o# the artic!e) intervie's 'ith the po!ice) na&es o# the arrested) the detai!s. ( che'ed s!o'!y and tho$ght#$!!y. ( can/t say ( rea!!y tasted the #ood. ( 'as b$sy trying to see ho' this #it in 'ith &y sit$ation. 0ack at the o##ice ( ca!!ed 2ark L$ant and asked hi& abo$t the So$th 4a!!as raid. 3@ro& 'hat ( hear)3 he said) 3"hose 'ere 4$rr/s p!aces. "hey got a tip and hit /e& hard. Why: What are yo$ thinking:3 3( don/t rea!!y kno'. (t co$!d be Wi!!ie 5ones is trying to rea##ir& his ho!d. Mind o# c!eaning o$t rats/ nests) yo$ kno'.3 39o$ &ean he #ingered the p!aces #or the cops. So$nds possib!e to &e. 0$siness is b$siness. (/!! ask yo$ again) 'hat are yo$ thinking:3 3(/& not s$re it does. "his co$!d be nothing at a!!.3 3(# yo$ get so&ething yo$/!! te!! &e) right:3 2ark de&anded ( didn/t ans'er i&&ediate!y. ( tho$ght abo$t &y date tonight at the park. 2aybe there 'as sa#ety in n$&bers. When ( #ina!!y ans'ered ( said) 32ark) yo$ can/t print this yet) b$t) ( got a third !etter this &orning. (/& s$ppose to &eet the ki!!er tonight at the park) at one .2.3 2ark 'hist!ed so#t!y. 3"hat/s pretty hot st$##. 9o$ !eve!ing:3 3-# co$rse. Why 'o$!d ( !ie:3 3We!! ( don/t kno'. "hat/s 'hy the !ie 'o$!d 'ork) isn/t it:3 ( !a$ghed. 3@$ck yo$) 2ark.3 3We!!) &aybe) b$t it/!! have to 'ait $nti! to&orro'. 7ooks !ike (/& b$sy tonight. 4o the cops kno' abo$t this:3

39ea. ;ance has the note. "hey/!! be a!! over the p!ace.3 39o$ going:3 3-# co$rse (/& going. "hat/s &y %ob.3 3-h b$!!shit. 9o$ %$st 'ant in on the action)3 2ark ho!!ered at &e. 3We!!) that too. 5$st don/t &ake it too big a sho') 2ark) okay. ct !ike yo$ didn/t kno' abo$t it $nti! the !ast &in$te. ( don/t 'ant ;ance to think yo$ heard it #ro& &e.3 3.e/!! never kno') baby) he/!! never kno'. "hanks #or the tip. "his is rea!!y good. ( o'e yo$.3 3(/!! think o# so&e 'ay yo$ can pay &e back) so don/t 'orry. (/!! catch yo$ !ater.3 ( h$ng $p. ( !ooked at &y 'atch) it 'as 1ED?.

Chapter 31 (t 'as 2E1B P2 by &y 'atch. ( 'asn/t 'atching the second hand s'eep aro$nd the dia!. "he 'atch didn/t have a second hand. (# it had &y !i#e 'o$!d have been easier. "i&e dies hard &ost o# the ti&e. So&eone 'as 'a!king do'n the corridor. .e so$nded !ike a big g$y b$t not as big as 7ester. 2aybe 5ones had sent in the s$bs. "he door open and a 'hite &an entered. .e !ooked !ike a 30$bba)3 a good o!d "e1as boy. .e 'as on!y a co$p!e o# inches ta!!er than &e b$t he had &e by a good 1D0 po$nds. .is s'eaty tee shirt covered his sto&ach b$t it 'as too short to t$ck into his grease stained %eans. "he %eans 'ere p$!!ed $p sn$gg!y $nder the overhang. .e 'ore an $n!aced pair o# heavy e!ectrician/s boots and carried a pair o# gri&y 'ork g!oves in his !e#t hand. -n his head 'as a dirty Caterpi!!ar cap and he needed a shave abo$t three days ago. .e !ooked !ike one o# &y nor&a! c!iente!e. 3Can ( he!p yo$:3 ( asked. 3 re yo$ 4avis:3 37ast ti&e ( !ooked.3 3Where/s the car at:3 .is voice 'as a deep r$&b!e. (t so$nded !ike he s&oked too &any cigarettes. Probab!y took hi& an ho$r to stop co$ghing every &orning. 3What car:3 37isten &ister)3 he said 'a!king to'ard the desk) 3it/s hot o$tside. "he co&pressor on &y tr$ck is b$sted and (/ve circ!ed this da&n b!ock #or #i#teen &in$tes !ooking #or a b!$e) /?2 -!ds or a #riggin/ parkin/ spot. Where/s yo$r car at:3 ( decided he so$nded !ike he 'as #ro& 7o$isiana.

3(t so$nds !ike yo$/re describing &y car. Why are yo$ !ooking #or it:3 "he g$y had stopped a #e' #eet #ro& the desk. .e took o## his hat and 'iped the s'eat #ro& his #orehead 'ith the back o# his ar&. When he raised his ar& he 'as not too #resh s&e!!ing. 37isten &ister) (/& %$st a to' tr$ck driver. ( don/t do repos) okay. ( 'as to!d to pick $p yo$r car and take it to the shop.3 .e p$t his hat back on. ( asked) 3What shop 'o$!d that be:3 3"he repair shop. 9o$ had a 'reck didn/t yo$:3 39ea) ( had a !itt!e accident. 0$t ( don/t need a to' tr$ck. "he ins$rance co&pany hasn/t even !ooked at it yet)3 ( added. 3Who to!d yo$ it needed to be picked $p:3 "he big g$y ro!!ed his eyes. 3"he ins$rance co&pany. So&eone #ro& the "ho&pson gency ca!!ed &e) okay: (# yo$ don/t 'ant the car taken in %$st say so.3 Why in the 'or!d 'o$!d "ho&pson have asked so&eone to to' &y car: .e kne' it 'asn/t that da&aged. nd his appraiser had never even ca!!ed. What an idiotG 3( don/t 'ant it taken in)3 ( said. ( act$a!!y #e!t sorry #or the driver. (&agine doing b$siness 'ith so&eone !ike "ho&pson: 3Whatever) it a!! pays the sa&e.3 .e reached #or his back pocket and p$!!ed o$t a #o!ded) dirty) pink sheet o# paper. 3Sign this and (/!! get the he!! o$t o# yo$r 'ay 2r. 4avis. (/ve got 'ork to do.3 ( g$ess he 'as i&p!ying ( didn/t 'ork. ( scribb!ed across the paper 'ith a pen and handed it back. .e st$##ed it into his back pocket and started to !eave. 3"hanks #or stopping)3 ( said. 39ea) right)3 he ans'ered. .e !e#t the o##ice !eaving the door open. .o' co&e no one can c!ose a door any &ore: ( got $p and c!osed the door) rehearsing a!! the things ( 'o$!d say to "ho&pson. What an ass. ( didn/t sit do'n 'hen ( got back to the desk. ( tho$ght the conversation

'o$!d go better i# ( 'as standing. ( picked $p the phone and ca!!ed "ho&pson/s o##ice. "he phone rang eight ti&es be#ore so&eone ans'ered. 3.e!!o.3 (t 'as "ho&pson ans'ering in his $s$a! #ashion. 32ay ( speak to 5i& "ho&pson p!ease:3 ( asked p!aying a!ong 'ith his !itt!e ga&e. Whatever it/s reason. 32ay ( ask 'ho is ca!!ing:3 3"ho&pson) this is 2arvin 4avis.3 32arvin 'ho:3 S$dden!y the ga&e !ost a!! its h$&or #or &e. ( picked the phone $p o## the desk and began to pace. 37isten "ho&pson) yo$ kno' 'ho the he!! ( a&. 9o$ %$st sent a to' tr$ck over here to grab &y car. What the he!! are yo$ doing:3 .e dropped so&e o# his pretenses. 39o$ don/t have to ta!k that 'ay 2r. 4avis. ( 'as %$st having a !itt!e #$n. What can ( do #or yo$:3 "he idea o# a greasy snake ca&e to &y &ind. 39o$ can give &e a straight ans'er #or one thing. Why did yo$ send so&eone over her to to' &y car:3 Was he a big o!e boy na&ed 7eon:3 "ho&pson asked. .e so$nded !ike he 'as !a$ghing. ( 'a!ked a !itt!e #aster back and #orth in the o##ice. 3( didn/t ask his na&e. ( %$st signed his stinking paper so he co$!d bi!! yo$ and then ( got hi& o$t o# the o##iceG3 "ho&pson !a$ghed. .e !a$ghed #or a !ong 'hi!e. 3What the he!! is so #$nny:3 ( de&anded. .e 'ent serio$s on &e. 3What yo$ signed 'as an ins$rance 'aiver 2r. 4avis.3 ( co$!d hear hi& grinning over the phone. 3( kno' 7eon e1p!ained it to yo$. .e a!'ays does.3 "ho&pson !a$ghed at &e. 3( o$ght to co&e over there and 'hip yo$r ass)3 ( gro'!ed into the phone.

3;o') no' 2r. 4avis= there/s no need #or that.3 .e 'as sti!! !a$ghing at &e. 3(# yo$ didn/t 'ant to re!ease $s o# o$r responsibi!ity yo$ sho$!dn/t have signed the 'aiver.3 3;o) yo$ &is$nderstand &e "ho&pson.3 ( e1p!ained) 3( o$ght to co&e over there and 'hip yo$r ass beca$se yo$ are s$ch a crook. 9o$ stea! #ro& peop!e !ike 5o nn Co&bs and yo$ get a'ay 'ith it. When yo$ get &y 'aiver) read the na&e on it. nd better yet) ne1t ti&e hire so&eone 'ho can read.3 "ho&pson 'asn/t !a$ghing. 3(/!! be seeing yo$ soon 5i&.3 ( h$ng $p the phone s&i!ing. ( had signed the piece o# paper 'ith the great &erican na&e /-,,ie 4avis./ ( #e!t pretty good 'ith &yse!# as ( sat back do'n behind the desk. ( had so&e ti&e to think abo$t ho' ( 'o$!d hand!e "ho&pson. nd ( sti!! had p!enty o# ti&e to think abo$t &y b$sy night. (t 'as CE22 P2.

Chapter 32 "he day and the a#ternoon passed. "hey a!'ays see& to do that. (t 'as %$st a#ter si1. Pat 'as 'aiting o$tside 0ryan "o'er. ( p$!!ed over to the c$rb and opened the passenger door #ro& the inside. She 'as in and p$tting the air conditioner on &a1 in a #!ash. 7ike a!'ays she !ooked bea$ti#$!. 3She''') it/s hot o$t there)3 she said and s!id ne1t to &e. .er hip and thigh pressed against &ine. 30$t it/s so nice in here. ( !ove yo$ dar!ing.3 She s!ipped her !e#t ar& $nder &y right. ( t$rned &y head and #o$nd her !ips 'aiting #or &y kiss. We p$!!ed a'ay #ro& the c$rb. ( said) 3( !ove yo$ Pat.3 (n a so#t p$rr she asked) 3What/s #or s$pper:3 3.o' abo$t 2e1ican #ood again:3 3(s that a!! yo$ ever eat:3 she !a$ghed. 3Pretty &$ch so.3 39o$ need so&eone to cook #or yo$.3 3( can/t a##ord a cook.3 ( n$dged her in the ribs as ( &ade a !e#t t$rn. 32aybe yo$ co$!d get one #or #ree.3 She h$gged &y ar& tight!y. 3(/d probab!y r$n /e& o##.3 39o$ probab!y 'o$!d)3 she agreed happi!y. 3(t/s a good thing ( !ove 2e1ican #ood.3 ( drove to a resta$rant in 7ake'ood. We sat in a booth ne1t to the 'indo's. Whi!e 'e ate 'e to!d each other abo$t o$r day. Pat 'anted &e to go #irst b$t ( 'as ab!e to convince her to start. ( to!d her ( kne' she 'o$!d 'ant to ta!k #orever abo$t &y e1citing !i#e.

She 'as in a h$rry to get to &y day so she %$st gave &e a +$ick overvie' o# a b$sy day o# 'hee!ing and dea!ing. (t can/t be as easy it so$nds to do &i!!ion do!!ar dea!s. ( 'onder i# it/s as to$gh as the peop!e 'ho do it. "hen it 'as &y t$rn. She a!ready kne' abo$t the third !etter. nd she kne' abo$t ;ance/s visit) b$t ( sti!! had to go over a!! those detai!s again. She !istened +$iet!y as ( to!d her abo$t &y conversation 'ith 2ark. 39o$/re not rea!!y going o$t there tonight are yo$ 2arv: "hat gi&!et g$y co$!d ki!! yo$G -r the po!ice co$!d)3 she c!asped &y hand tight!y. 3 nd a!! (/!! get are c!ose-$ps o# yo$r body in the paper.3 ( had to !a$gh. 3(t 'on/t be that bad. 2aybe the po!ice 'o$!d pop &e i# ( did so&ething st$pid. 0$t ( 'on/t do anything. (/& %$st the bait.3 30ait) he says)3 she said to the 'or!d at !arge. 39es) %$st bait. (t/s a to$gh %ob b$t so&eone has to do it.3 ( !ooked into Pat/s eyes and tried to reass$re her. 3(/!! be okay Pat. "he Gi&!eter 'on/t h$rt &e.3 3.o' do yo$ kno' that:3 3"here/s #o$r sections to that piece o# paper. (t 'o$!dn/t &ake any sense to sho' &e the #irst three and not the #o$rth. (/!! be sa#e $nti! then.3 Pat re!eased her ho!d on &y hand and thre' both o# her hands $p in the air to e&phasi,e her point. 3"he g$y/s a n$t 2arvinG .e doesn/t have to &ake senseG 2aybe he ki!!s yo$ and p$ts the !ast note on yo$r bodyG3 Pat/s bro'n eyes g!o'ed as she spoke. 3"hat/s possib!e)3 ( ackno'!edge. 3 nything co$!d happen i# the g$y is a psycho.3 3 nd 9-> don/t think he is:3 3;o) ( don/t. (t/s dr$gs= that/s a!!.3 She ro!!ed her eyes $p at the cei!ing. 3/(t/s dr$gs) that/s a!!/ he says.3 "hen to &e) 3(t/s eno$gh to get yo$ beat $p. (t/!! be eno$gh to get yo$ ki!!ed. 2arvin) 'hat 'o$!d ( do 'itho$t yo$= no' that ( #o$nd yo$:3

( !eaned over and kissed her so#t!y on the #orehead. "hen ( s&i!ed and said) 3( think yo$/d probab!y do %$st #ine Pat.3 She p$!!ed her head a'ay #ast. 32arvin yo$ are %$st terrib!eG3 ( took both her hands in &ine) 34on/t 'orry) Pat. (/!! take care o# &yse!#.3 She ans'ered pet$!ant!y) 37ike yo$ did 'ith that other character.3 39ea) %$st !ike that)3 ( !a$ghed. 3( !ived didn/t (: Everything is as good as ne') thanks to yo$r n$rsing.3 "hat bro$ght a !itt!e co!or and a s&i!e to her #ace) b$t she sti!! 'ent on) 3What abo$t the po!ice: .o' are yo$ going to get aro$nd the&: "hey/re bo$nd to be a!! over the p!ace.3 3"hat/s nothing to #$rro' yo$r bro' over. ;ance 'on/t be a prob!e&= he/s a co!!ege-ed$cated cop. "hey a!! &a%or in /G!ib./ "hey/re a!'ays trying to be #$nnier than the ne1t g$y.3 Pat !a$ghed) 39o$/re a #ine one to ta!k.3 3-h) ( can do &ore than crack 'ise.3 3-h ( kno' that)3 Pat s&i!ed. ( tried to ignore her. 34o yo$ care #or so&e dessert:3 39es) ( do s&arty) b$t not here)3 she ans'ered. 3We/re c!oser to yo$r ho$se. ( 'ant to go there #or a 'hi!e be#ore 'e pick $p &y car.3 ( ca!!ed #or the check. "hen 'e 'ent to &y p!ace. 4o'nto'n the 2ercanti!e 0ank 0$i!ding c!ock gave the ti&e as t'o &in$tes a#ter &idnight 'hen ( parked at the c$rb ne1t to the parking garage 'ere Pat parked. ( got o$t 'ith her. ( 'asn/t going to !et her 'a!k a!one in do'nto'n. "he 5ag 'as on the #irst !eve!. -ne o# the perks o# being attractive. We 'a!ked over and she $n!ocked the door. ( opened it #or her. She h$gged &e tight!y and kissed &e. She got in the car and ( sh$t the door sec$re!y. ( stood there $nti! she started the car the engine. She ran the 'indo'

do'n) 39o$ be care#$!G nd ca!! &e 'hen yo$ get ho&eG3 she ordered. 39es 2a/a&)3 ( s'ore) raising &y right hand and p$tting &y !e#t over &y heart. 3;o' go ho&e.3 (t so$nded !ess co&&anding than ( 'ished. "he @ar&er/s 2arket is on a b!$## above (nterstate 30 across #ro& -!d City Park and t'o b!ocks east o# St. Pa$! Street. ( parked #e'er than one o# its open sheds at #i#teen &in$tes ti!! one. ( had a si1-pack o# Coke on the seat beside &e. Coke 'o$!d have to do. (t 'as too !ate to b$y beer. "here 'as no sign o# po!ice on &y side o# the #ree'ay. "he park 'as a di##erent story. (n a #ive-&in$te spe!! ( co$nted three pro'! cars !oaded 'ith patro!&en cr$ise by the park entrance) there 'ere others on #oot inside the park. nd it !ooked !ike 2ark had &ade s$re the po!ice 'o$!d not kno' 'ho tipped the !ead) there 'ere at !east t'o "8 cre's there. "here &ay have been &ore b$t i# so they hadn/t bro$ght their vans. "hey 'eren/t being too s$bt!e abo$t their presence. With a!! that activity it sti!! didn/t !ook !ike &$ch o# a cha!!enge. ( opened one o# the Cokes and sat the rest o# the si1pack o$tside the car. ( headed a'ay #ro& the park) to'ards to'n) past the &ission on .ar'ood and Canton and then ( c$t over to St. Pa$! Street. St. Pa$! is a #o$r !ane) one-'ay street !eve! 'ith do'nto'n and the park. 5$st be#ore it reaches the park a bridge carries it across (-30. (t/s pretty 'e!! !it b$t ( didn/t 'orry. "he &ission 'as c!ose and there/s $s$a!!y street peop!e aro$nd. (# the po!ice sa' &e ( e1pected the& to ass$&e that/s 'hat ( 'as. ( p$!!ed &y pants $p high to &ake the& !ook short) 'a!ked 'ith a stoop) &oved very s!o') and tried to hide the Coke $ns$ccess#$!!y !ike it 'as a beer. se&i on the #ree'ay beneath &e roared past. -nce across the bridge yo$ can c!i&b do'n an e&bank&ent to the (-30 access road. "here is a co&&on

#ence a!ong the north edge o# the park. 2y p!an 'as to #o!!o' the #ence and #ind a good p!ace to c!i&b over it. ( tho$ght the po!ice 'o$!d not 'atch there as c!ose!y as they did the ad%acent streets. ( didn/t #ind o$t i# ( 'as right. (n &y stooped) staggering 'a!k ( s!o'!y &ade it across the bridge. ( 'as at the corner o# the park. (n a gent!e Sshape St. Pa$! c$rved past the s&a!! parking !ot ( had $sed be#ore. So #ar so good) no po!ice in sight. 2y ne1t step 'as to c!i&b do'n to the access road. "here 'as a so$nd. ( stopped. So&eone 'as singing. (t 'as retha @rank!in/s) 3<ESPEC".3 "he voice 'as a b!ack 'o&an/s) b$t not retha. S'aying do'n the street near the trees #ronting the parking !ot 'as a 'o&an. ( co$!d see her in the !ight #ro& the &bassador/s entrance. She !ooked !ike she 'as 'orking the area. She 'as ta!!) abo$t #ive #oot nine. .er !ong hair) b$shed o$t) #ra&ed her #ace. Scanti!y dressed) her s&a!!) ye!!o' ha!ter-top e&phasi,ed her breasts. "hey s'ayed independent!y above a !ong e1panse o# bare &id-dri#t. short) tiger skin print skirt i&printed the shape o# her hips. .er !ong !egs str$tted $p the street. @or a co$p!e o# seconds ( 'atched her &ove $p the street. She &ade it to the trees) and there she 'as a !itt!e o$t o# the !ight #ro& the hote!) b$t not co&p!ete!y. "here 'as a &ove&ent in the trees. #ig$re stepped o$t behind her. g!oved !e#t hand ca&e aro$nd $nder her ar& and &oved $p higher. (t #orced the ha!ter aside. "he hand grasped the right breast) the #orear& covered the !e#t. She 'asn/t #righten by the attack) s$rprised a !itt!e &aybe. Press$re #ro& the g!oved hand and ar& p$!!ed the 'o&an/s $pper torso back. She started t$rning to !ook at the person behind her. "hen she screa&ed. .er screa& !acerated the night. .er head snapped back. She sti!! screa&ed. .er hips and pe!vis thr$st #or'ard. .er $nending screa& #i!!ed the air re#!ecting o## the #ace o# the

hote!. short spas&odic contraction #o!!o'ed) then another +$ivering hip thr$st. She he!d her hips thr$st #or'ard $nti! her voca! chords #ina!!y #e!! sti!!. "hen re!eased) she #e!! #ace do'n in the street. ( dropped the can o# Coke and broke into a r$n. "he g!oved #ig$re !ooked do'n at the 'o&an. .earing &y #oot#a!!s he !ooked $p and sa' &e. .e t$rned and ran. .e ran thro$gh the !ight #ro& the hote!. .e 'ore a !ong) dark co!ored) viny! raincoat and a ski &ask. ( 'as a ha!# b!ock a'ay 'hen the #oot race started. When ( reached the #a!!en 'o&an ( 'as !ess than #i#ty #eet behind the ki!!er. ( s!o'ed eno$gh to see the 'ooden hand!ed bit protr$ding #ro& her back. "here 'as nothing ( co$!d do there. .e crossed Ervay Street in a dead r$n. ( 'as a ha!# b!ock behind again. Po!ice sirens #i!!ed the air. 2y #eet po$nded the side'a!k. ( chased hi& so$th'ard on Ervay. @!ashing !ights and screa&ing sirens ca&e #ro& a!! directions. Patro! cars screeched to a stop beside the body. "he Gi&!eter c$t right) $p a dark side street. ( 'as breathing hard b$t c!osing the distance. voice b!ared thro$gh a b$!!horn) 3Stop) or 'e/!! #ireG3 3Co&e onG3 ( sho$ted over &y sho$!der and ( reached the corner. Pisto! shots str$ck aro$nd &e. "hey 'ere shooting at 2EG ( didn/t stop to e1p!ain. ( t$rned into the dark street= the ki!!er 'as %$st ahead) &aybe a h$ndred #eet. .e c$t to &y right and into a yard. b$!!et str$ck the side'a!k sho'ering &e 'ith concrete #rag&ents. nother b$!!et 'hi,,ed past. ( stopped chasing the g$y. ( co$!dn/t breath and he 'as too #ar ahead. ;o' ( ran to save &yse!#. ( 'orked back and #orth thro$gh the dark streets and a!!eys s!o'!y trying to p$t so&e distance bet'een &e and the po!ice. he!icopter roared in) its spot!ight searched back and #orth) 'orking over the area. ( #!attened against

the side o# a brick 'areho$se. "he !ight passed over &e and contin$ed searching ahead o# &e. "hat 'as as c!ose as they ca&e. "heir search spread into a 'idening circ!e. "hey 'ere !ooking #or so&eone r$nning a'ay. ( stayed +$iet!y back in the dark and 'aited. "he roar o# the po!ice chopper d'ind!ed as it 'orked its 'ay so$th. When ( co$!d risk it) ( &ade &y 'ay care#$!!y back to the car. ( had intended #or so&eone to he!p the&se!ves to the rest o# the Cokes. nd they had. ( 'ished they had !e#t &e one. ( co$!d have $sed it. "he park across the #ree'ay 'as bright 'ith !ights. @ro& 'here ( sat ( 'atched the po!ice taking pict$res o# the cri&e scene. ( sa' ;ance and Grider 'atching over the area. "he t'o "8 ne's vans 'ere setting $p to do shots. "here 'asn/t &$ch ( co$!d do. "he po!ice 'o$!d never be!ieve a story abo$t a &an 'earing a p!astic coat on a 5$!y night in "e1as. "hey sa' &e r$nning. "hey 'o$!d be!ieve that. ( co$!dn/t go ho&e or to the o##ice) those 'o$!d be the #irst t'o p!aces ;ance 'o$!d have 'atched. @.W./s 'as o$t o# the +$estion. ( had to get to Pat) ta!k to her be#ore ;ance #o$nd her. ( hoped she ranged no higher than third on his !ist. (t 'as &y on!y chance to stay #ree. ( started the car and p$!!ed a'ay #ro& the @ar&er/s 2arket 'ith &y head!ights o##. When ( reached Canton Street ( #!icked the& on. ( 'orried abo$t &y cracked tai!!ight. (t 'o$!d have been nice i# ( had gotten it #i1ed. (t provided 3probab!e ca$se3 to stop &e and &ade the car easier to identi#y at night. ( needed so&e !$ck and not the kind o# !$ck the hooker had.

Chapter 33 co$p!e o# !ights 'ere on in Pat/s ho$se 'hen ( p$!!ed into her drive'ay. (t 'as t'o #orty-t'o .2. ( parked behind her 5ag. Pat ans'ered the doorbe!! +$ick!y and see&ed s$rprised to see &e. 3Good !ord 2arv) 'hat/s happened: What/s 'rong:3 She had changed into a green si!k pa%a&a o$t#it. She sti!! 'ore &ake-$p. ;o one sho$!d !ook that good in the &idd!e o# the night. ( stepped inside) took her hand o## the knob) and c!osed the door behind $s. 3 'o&an 'as ki!!ed at the park. "he po!ice sa' &e. "hey think ( did it. "hey/!! be here soon.3 32arv) 2arv)3 Pat said so#t!y. She &oved c!ose. 3(t/s a!! right honey) ( kno' yo$ didn/t do anything. 9o$ 'o$!d have stopped hi& i# yo$ co$!d have.3 She !ooked into &y eyes) 3( !ove yo$ 2arv. What do 'e do:3 3( need yo$ to...3 Pat h$gged &e tight!y) interr$pting. 39o$ need so&e p!ace to hide.3 She took a step back) !ooked $p at &e. 3"here/s a ho$se c!ose to here that (/&) 'e!!) the co&pany) is trying to &ove. 9o$ co$!d stay there. ;o one 'o$!d think o# it. "hat/!! do 'on/t it:3 3( need to hide the car.3 3-h) it has a garage)3 she s&i!ed i&pish!y. 3 nd yo$/!! be c!ose. ( can 'atch a#ter yo$. "hat/s okay isn/t it:3 3So$nds per#ect. 0$t 'e need to h$rry.3 Pat stepped $p and gave &e a +$ick kiss. 37et &e get &y keys and p$rse and yo$ can #o!!o' &e over there.3 She h$rried o## to'ard her bedroo&.

"he stereo 'as on in the den. ( #o!!o'ed its so$nd. -n the t$rntab!e 2$ggsy Spanier p!ayed. ( tho$ght he 'as a !itt!e too $p-te&po #or the ti&e o# the night. ( sat do'n at the desk. "here 'as a sheet o# 'hite bond paper in the type'riter) a c!osing contract typed in Co$rier. 3( 'as trying to do so&e 'ork)3 Pat said r$nning into the roo&. She had s!ipped a !inen d$ster on over her pa%a&a o$t#it. 3( kept 'aiting. ( tho$ght yo$ 'o$!d ca!!.3 She h$rried over to the stereo and t$rned everything o##. 39o$ ready:3 ( #o!!o'ed her o$tside and 'aited 'hi!e she !ocked the #ront door. She t$rned to &e) 34ar!ing) are yo$ okay:3 3S$re) (/& #ine. "hings are %$st &oving a !itt!e too #ast) ( g$ess.3 She kissed &e reass$ring!y. 35$st #o!!o' &e. Everything 'i!! be a!! right. "he ho$se is on!y a #e' b!ocks) okay:3 ( nodded and 'atched her into the 5ag) then ( got into the -!ds. We 'ent east on @orest 7ane a #e' b!ocks to .i!!crest 'here she p$!!ed into the drive'ay o# a h$ge 'hite st$cco ho$se. ( #o!!o'ed the 5ag a!ong the 'ide drive'ay aro$nd to the back o# the ho$se and the #enced back yard and the garage. "'o o# the #o$r doors 'here opening. We p$!!ed in and the doors started c!osing. Pat %$&ped o$t o# her car and t$rned on the garage !ights. She 'aited #or &e beside the ho$se access door. 30ig o!d things !ike this are a!&ost i&possib!e to &ove right no')3 she said &otioning at the ho$se. 30$t they &ake a great p!ace to stay.3 39o$ can/t stay here 'ith &e.3 34ar!ing)3 she raised a hand to &y #orehead and to$ched &y hair !ight!y) 3( can/t go back ho&e right no'. (# the po!ice are there it 'o$!d be di##ic$!t to e1p!ain 'here (/ve been) 'o$!dn/t it: (/!! %$st go to 'ork to&orro' #ro& here and i# they sho' $p there (/!! say ( spent the night at a #riend/s ho$se. Which is tr$e. ( don/t have to te!! the& 'hich #riend or 'hich ho$se $n!ess (/& in co$rt) right:3

( s&i!ed) 39o$/re terrib!e.3 3"hat/s 'hat rea! estate does to yo$)3 Pat grinned. She took &y hand and !ed &e into the ho$se. "he p!ace &ade her ho$se !ook !ike a d$&p) and it &ade &y apart&ent !ook !ike a s&a!! c!oset. We headed to'ard the #ront o# the ho$se) thro$gh the pantry) kitchen) and dining roo& into the #oyer. (t 'as !ike a cathedra!= chande!iers) crysta!) stained g!ass. Pat h$rried &e $p the staircase. "he p!ace had eno$gh roo&s to +$a!i#y as a #ive star hote!) that is i# the #ood 'as any good. Pat !ed &e into a !arge bedroo& and p$!!ed &e c!ose to her. She p!aced &y hands on the b$ttons o# her d$ster. 3.e!p &e o## 'ith this)3 she ordered. "he s$n 'as $p. ( had s!ept so$nd!y. Pat !ay ne1t to &e) her head on &y sho$!der. (t 'as 'ar& and co&#ortab!e !ying there. Easy to #orget abo$t other things. Pat stirred. .er eyes opened and ( s&i!ed. .er !e#t hand ca&e o$t #ro& $nder the covers and to$ched the corners o# &y &o$th. 32arv) 'hat/s going to happen ne1t:3 ( took her hand in &ine and kissed her #ingertips. 3(/!! ca!! L$ant) ( g$ess. ( need to kno' 'ho 'as ki!!ed !ast night) see ho' she ties into the other t'o ki!!ings. When ( can e1p!ain 'hy they 'ere ki!!ed) (/!! be ab!e to prove ( didn/t do it !ast night.3 Pat sn$gg!ed $p) &y body a'are o# her #$!! !ength. 3What can ( do to he!p:3 ( raised $p on &y e!bo' #acing her. 3(/!! need a car. When ( #ind o$t 'ho she 'as ( need to check her o$t) see 'here she !ived. Can yo$ he!p &e do that:3 3S$re honey) yo$ can $se &y car. (/!! take a ta1i to 'ork.3 3( can/t $se the 5ag. "he po!ice sho$!d be !ooking #or it. (t/s better yo$ drive it.3 39o$ %$st 'ant the po!ice to stop &e)3 Pat !a$ghed. She had a s&a!! s&i!e on her !ips as she !ooked at &y chin. She

'as thinking $p a p!an. "hen bright eyed) back to !ooking at &e) she said) 3"here/s a 0$dget car renta! p!ace do'nto'n. (/!! have ;ancy ca!! and get yo$ one. When it/s ready (/!! ca!! here and te!! yo$. "hen a!! yo$ have to do is get a cab and go pick $p the car. .o'/s that: 9o$ do have &oney #or a cab don/t yo$:3 she asked e1cited!y. "his sty!e o# !iving see&ed to s$it her. 3( can give yo$ so&e i# yo$ need it.3 3;o) that/s #ine. (/ve got it covered. What abo$t ;ancy: Can yo$ tr$st her:3 Pat s&i!ed) 39es ( can tr$st her. She kno's ho' to keep her &o$th sh$t.3 3Good) (/& g!ad to hear that. (/!! have to #eed Cynthia sooner or !ater. "hat/s a prob!e&. "he trees ( 'on/t 'orry abo$t. (/d probab!y ki!! the& sooner or !ater any'ay. 0$t Cynthia has to be !ooked a#ter.3 3( co$!d get ;ancy to do it.3 3;o. ( don/t 'ant any kind o# trai! !eading back to yo$. "hey/!! be 'atching &y p!ace !ike b$,,ards. ;o) that/s not a good idea. 9o$/re a!ready doing too &$ch as it is. ( think ( kno' so&eone 'ho can do it 'itho$t ca$sing a prob!e&.3 (t 'as ten .2. be#ore Pat !e#t #or the o##ice. She didn/t 'ant to go by her ho$se yet so she 'as going to stop at ;orth Park on the 'ay into 'ork and pick $p so&ething to 'ear. ( tho$ght she !ooked pretty good in the pa%a&as and d$ster. (t &$st be nice to have &oney) or !east to have credit cards that aren/t topped o$t. ( ca!!ed 2ark L$ant 'hen she 'as o$t the door. 3Shit 2arvG3 he s'ore ans'ering &y he!!o. 3"he 'ho!e da&n city is !ooking #or yo$G ( didn/t kno' yo$ 'ere giving &e a story 'ith yo$r head on a p!atter. What in the he!! are yo$ doing:3 ( to!d hi& &y side o# the story. ( said ( had to #ind the reason behind the ki!!ings.

3( don/t $nderstand a da&n thing yo$/re ta!king abo$t)3 he ans'ered. 3 nd ( don/t think yo$ do either. What can ( do to he!p yo$:3 3( need to kno' 'ho the 'o&an 'as !ast night. Where she !ived) 'hat 'as she doing there: (/ve got to #it her into this thing so&e ho'.3 3We!!) (/!! do 'hat ( can. "hey haven/t re!eased any in#or&ation yet. 0$t yo$ kno' they/!! be 'atching &e too. "he cops 'ere p!enty pissed o## !ast night. Especia!!y a#ter yo$ got a'ay. "hey didn/t kno' 'hose ass to rea&. (t 'as a good thing ( bro$ght so&e co&pany.3 2ark tho$ght #or a second then contin$ed) 3(t &ight take &e a'hi!e. (/!! have to ca!! in so&e &arkers. 0$t ( can do it. (t/s &y story any'ay. Where can ( reach yo$:3 3( 'on/t p$t yo$ in that spot 2ark. .o' abo$t ( ca!! yo$ in t'o ho$rs: "hat eno$gh ti&e:3 3Scre' the spot 2arv. 9o$ kno' that. 0$t yo$ da&n 'e!! kno' (/& an accessory %$st by ta!king to yo$. nd yo$ a!so da&n 'e!! kno' ( don/t &ind that as !ong as ( get the e1c!$sive on yo$r side o# the story)3 he gro'!ed. 39o$/ve got it 2ark) thanks. nd thanks #or not asking i# ( did it.3 3"hanks &y ass. 9o$/re too s&art to ki!! so&eone !ike that. 0esides) !ast night 'as the best !ead (/ve had in a &onth) even i# yo$ did do it. 9o$ don/t get stories !ike that every day.3 "hen he added) 39o$ be care#$!) yo$ hear.3 We h$ng $p. ( hadn/t been o## the phone !ong 'hen it rang. ( picked $p on the #i#th ring. (t 'as ;ancy. We #!irted a !itt!e. She see&ed to e1pect it. Pat had ca!!ed instr$ctions in. ;ancy 'o$!d &eet &e at the renta! p!ace. 9o$ have to sho' a drivers/ !icense to pick $p a car. She 'o$!d get the keys and hand the& over to &e. ( ca!!ed a cab and 'aited.

When the cab stopped o$t on the street and honked ( h$rried o$t. ( didn/t !ock the door behind &e. Pat hadn/t given &e a key. "he ride do'nto'n 'as short. ;ancy 'as 'aiting o$tside the renta! p!ace. Everything !ooked okay. ;o one sitting aro$nd in parked cars or !eaning against 'a!!s !ooking bored. ( paid the cab driver and 'a!ked over to her. 3.e!!o 2r. 4avis)3 she s&i!ed) b!$shed and he!d o$t a set o# keys to &e. 32s. 2organ to!d &e to get yo$ so&ething nice. (t/s the si!ver 7inco!n. ( hope it/s a!! right:3 (t 'as a batt!eship) %$st 'hat ( needed. ( said) 3(t/s per#ect ;ancy. ;o one kno's yo$/re here do they:3 35$st 2s. 4avis. She to!d &e to take the !ong 'ay over here. She said ( needed the #resh air.3 3We!!) 2s. 2organ probab!y kno's best.3 3 h) 2r. 4avis)3 ;ancy sta&&ered) 3( rented the car on &y o'n credit card. Wi!! yo$ p!ease be care#$! 'ith it:3 ( had to !a$gh. 3(/!! treat it !ike it/s go!d) okay:3 3"hank yo$) sir.3 She started to 'a!k a'ay. 3;ancy)3 ( ca!!ed and she stopped and t$rned aro$nd. 39es sir:3 ( stepped $p c!ose and said) 34on/t ca!! &e sir.3 ( &oved c!oser and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She b!$shed bright red and h$rried a'ay. ( got into the car and headed back to &y hideo$t.

Chapter 3 When ( got back to the ho$se on .i!!crest ( parked in #ront. ;o one 'o$!d ever associate &e 'ith the big si!ver sedan. nd besides) ( didn/t kno' ho' to open the garage doors. "here 'as a te!ephone in the sitting roo& on the right o# the #oyer. (t 'as over t'o ho$rs since ( had ta!ked to 2ark. ( sat do'n and ca!!ed. .e ans'ered +$ick!y) 3(/ve been 'aiting #or yo$r ca!!. Everyone/s ta!king abo$t yo$. "he po!ice are hot. "he !oca! "8 ne's are going to !ead 'ith yo$) and 'e o!d #ashion hacks are 'riting tho$sands o# 'ords. We!co&e to the big ti&eG3 2ark c$t !oose 'ith one o# his 130-decibe! !a$ghs. 3"hank yo$ #or yo$r s$pport)3 ( rep!ied 'ith 'hat ( hoped 'as a great dea! o# sarcas&. 3-h no) thank yo$. 2y editor is eating o$t o# &y hand right no'. .e !oved the tip yo$ gave &e. 0$t ( didn/t &ention any na&es.3 .e !a$ghed again. 3;ance has been trying to b$st &y ba!!s this &orning. Wants to kno' ho' ( kne' abo$t the &eeting. ( to!d hi& ( got the story #ro& the "8 cre'. "hey got it #ro& &e. "8 e1pos$re is good #or yo$.3 ( didn/t co&&ent. ( st$ck to &y s$b%ect. 32ark) 'ho 'as the 'o&an:3 39eah) right. "he 'o&an.3 ;o' he so$nded !ike a !o$d tape recording. 3.er na&e 'as Wanita 0anks) age t'entythree. "hey didn/t give any ho&e address) %$st her 'ork n$&ber. (t/s a p!ace ca!!ed >pto'n I1) over on 0ro'der. (t/s a &ote! abo$t si1 b!ocks #ro& the park. "hey rent sheets there by the ho$r.

3"his 0anks gir! 'orked the p!ace reg$!ar!y. nd) yo$/!! !ike this) she 'as one o# 4$rr/s gir!s b$t the &ote! pays a percentage to 5ones. "hat/s rich isn/t it:3 39ea) that/s pretty interesting)3 ( ans'ered. 3(t do yo$ any good:3 3(/& not s$re) ( hope so.3 39o$ going over there:3 he asked. 32ark)3 ( ch$ck!ed) 3( 'on/t te!! yo$ that. (t/s not good #or yo$ to kno'. 0esides) ( don/t 'ant yo$ !ooking over &y sho$!der. (/!! !et yo$ kno' everything) okay: 0$t (/ve got to have a !itt!e roo&.3 3;o prob!e&) as !ong as ( get #irst shot. 9o$ hear &e:3 he ho!!ered. 39o$/ve got it 2ark. "hanks.3 39o$ be care#$! #oo!ing aro$nd. nd !et &e kno' i# there/s anything e!se ( can do.3 ( p$t the phone do'n and sat #or a 'hi!e. ( needed to do so&ething abo$t Cynthia. ( had tho$ght abo$t ca!!ing 5o nn. "he po!ice 'o$!dn/t be 'atching her. ( do$bt anyone 'as. Ca!!ing her 'o$!dn/t have been nice o# &e. (# she tried to get into &y p!ace the cops 'o$!d be a!! over her. She didn/t kno' anything so she co$!dn/t te!! the& anything. She didn/t need the e1tra tro$b!e) no one did. 2argaret 'as &y second tho$ght. She 'o$!d be happy to he!p. 0$t her and @.W. didn/t need &y kind o# tro$b!e. ( got $p and 'andered aro$nd. So&eti&es ( think better on &y #eet. "o pass the ti&e) and to p$t o## doing anything) ( got a &aga,ine o$t o# a rack in the #oyer. (t 'asn/t recent b$t it 'as interesting. (t 'as a copy o# a thing ca!!ed 3@orec!os$res 7isting Service.3 (t sho'ed the c$rrent !istings #or property #orec!os$res. (t 'as a boo&ing b$siness. "here 'ere !ots o# na&es in in it. Cro's and .$nts and even a 2organ. Pat had a b$i!ding in -ak 7a'n !isted. ( hoped she had the &oney. .er bi!!s on that b$i!ding &ade &y credit card state&ents !ook !ike 'hat they are)

chicken #eed. ( spent so&e ti&e bro'sing thro$gh a co$p!e o# &ore back iss$es. "he phone rang. ( hesitated a !ong ti&e be#ore ans'ering. ( picked it $p and said) 3.e!!o:3 3.e!!o) yo$rse!#.3 (t 'as Pat. 3( didn/t think yo$ 'o$!d ever ans'er. 4id yo$ %$st get back:3 3;o) (/ve been here a'hi!e. ( 'asn/t s$re i# ( sho$!d ans'er.3 "hen ( asked) 39o$/re not at the o##ice are yo$:3 3-# co$rse not si!!y. #ter spending t'o ho$rs ta!king 'ith that idiot ;ance ( needed a drink. nd ( 'anted to be s$re no one 'as !istening 'hen ( ca!!ed yo$.3 She !a$ghed) 3(/& not tota!!y d$&b yo$ kno'.3 39es) ( kno' that.3 3We!!) did everything go okay 'ith the car:3 3Everything 'ent #ine) e1cept ( don/t have a ho$se key.3 Pat !a$ghed again. ( !iked the so$nd. 34on/t 'orry abo$t !ocking the ho$se. "he bank o'ns everything in there any'ay. nd they have ins$rance.3 "here 'as a short pa$se and she asked) 3What have yo$ been doing:3 3(/ve been doing so&e reading. (t/s a !itt!e dry tho$gh.3 ( to!d her abo$t the &aga,ine. 3(/& a#raid (/ve read it. 0$siness yo$ kno'. (t is dry)3 she said 'ith a ha!# sigh. 37ooks !ike rea! estate is a to$gh p!ace to &ake a b$ck right no')3 ( vent$red. "here 'as a pa$se) 3(t/s to$gh right no'. -i! is depressed) so rea! estate is do'n= there/s no b$i!ding) b$ying or se!!ing. "he banks are nervo$s #ro& their oi! !oans. So they are trying to &ake their &oney back on rea! estate. "hey #orec!ose 'hen it/s do'n) !ike no') and ho!d it /ti! it goes back $p) 'hich it a!'ays has. "hen they se!! it #or a big pro#it.3 "here 'as #atig$e in her voice. 39o$/re not having prob!e&s are yo$:3 She !a$ghed. (t so$nded tinny over the phone !ine. 3;o) not any&ore than &y share. 0$t ( kno' !ots 'ho are. (t/s terrib!e.3

3We!!)3 she said +$ick!y) 3( need to get o$t o# here and back to the o##ice. ( %$st 'anted to check on yo$. ( sho$!d be done at the o##ice by si1 and (/!! stop and get so&e groceries. Wi!! yo$ be there #or &e:3 39o$ kno' ( 'i!!.3 ( added) 39o$ be care#$! and take it easy.3 3( take it any'ay ( can get it) and yo$ !ike it that 'ay)3 she h$ng $p !a$ghing. (t 'as sti!! ear!y in the a#ternoon. ( sho'ered. ( didn/t #ind anything to shave 'ith and it #e!t nasty s!ipping back into &y dirty c!othes. ( sho$!d have asked Pat to pick $p so&ething 'hen ( had her on the phone. ( co$!dn/t ca!! her at the o##ice) so&eone &ight be !istening. 2aybe she co$!d r$n to the store #or &e !ater. "he heat 'as oppressive 'hen ( stepped o$tside. So&e things never change. nd ( s$ppose that/s good. ( started $p the batt!eship and drove do'nto'n. t kard ( t$rned so$th then east on Corinth #or ha!# a b!ock. Where E! Centro Co!!ege 5ob "raining Center sits on the corner o# 0ro'der and Corinth ( t$rned !e#t and headed north) $p 0ro'der. "he narro') tree !ined streets o# the area 'as ho&e to a &i1t$re o# b!acks and .ispanics. "he s&a!! #enced-in yards 'ere hard packed dirt) no grass) a to$gh part o# to'n. >pto'n I1 'as on the 'est side o# 0ro'der) a one story) >-shaped) brick str$ct$re. bove it a s$n b!eached sign proc!ai&ed) 3co!or "8 and radio.3 "'o 'o&en stood on the corner near the o##ice. ( drove s!o'!y) !ooking #or signs o# po!ice. ( didn/t see any. ( g$essed they 'ere o$t !ooking e!se'here #or &e. "hey had #orgotten the cri&ina! a!'ays ret$rns to the scene o# the cri&e. "he 'o&en on the corner !ooked !ike 4o$b!e 2int sisters. 4ressed in red ha!ter-tops) c$to## deni& shorts) and b!ack high hee!s they 'atched #or c$sto&ers.

(n the 'e!!-shaded yard o# the ho$se ne1t to the &ote! three 'o&en ta!ked. "hey &ight have been 'orking 'o&en or gossiping neighbors) ( co$!dn/t te!!. "hey didn/t !ook !ike they 'ere dressed #or 'ork. "he 'o&en on the corner 'atched &e cr$ise past the &ote!. "he parking !ot 'as e&pty. "he 'o&en in the #ront yard paid &e no attention. ( drove $p a co$p!e o# b!ocks to 0ea$&ont Street and t$rned aro$nd. s ( dri#ted back do'n on their side o# the street the t'o 'o&en on the corner s&i!ed and 'aved. -n c!oser inspection they didn/t !ook anything !ike sisters. "here 'as a height and co!oration di##erence. "heir #acia! str$ct$res 'ere tota!!y di##erent. "he ta!!er 'o&an 'as b$i!t to !ast) !ike a co$ntry gir!. "he other one !ooked #rai! $pside her. ( p$!!ed over to the c$rb and ran the passenger/s 'indo' do'n. "hey both &oved over to the car and bent to peer inside. 0ending to !ook inside 'as a part o# their sa!es&anship. "heir ha!ters opened 'ide giving a vie'. 3.i .oney)3 the ta!!er o# the t'o said s&i!ing. 3What can ( do #or yo$ today:3 She 'as b!acker than ebony) her skin shined 'ith a thin #i!& o# perspiration in the a#ternoon heat. 3Got a rea! nice p!ace here .on)3 she nodded in the &ote!/s direction. 3Got &y o'n roo&. Won/t cost yo$ anything e1tra) a!! #ig$red in.3 .er 'hite teeth sho'ed in a broad s&i!e. 39o$ don/t have to 'orry .oney) ( 'on/t bite. (/!! %$st nibb!e so&e.3 She had !arge) #$!! breasts. "hey pressed against the thin &ateria! o# the ha!ter. "he other 'o&an 'as s&a!! breasted) her dark nipp!es visib!e inside the !oose covering. She didn/t &ind giving yo$ a good !ook. 3.oney) yo$ !ike S$sie/s tits so &$ch) take /e&. "hey/re not e1pensive. (/!! even %oin ya) #or #ree. 5$st #or #$n. 9o$ ain/t never had t'o gir!s !ike $s be#ore:3 "he ta!! 'o&an

'etted her !ips 'ith her tong$e as she ta!ked. "hey both !a$ghed. @ina!!y ( #o$nd &y tong$e. ( said) 3"hank yo$ b$t ( can/t right no'. (t so$nds !ike #$n) b$t (/& on b$siness.3 3Shit) &an. Watch yo$ think (/& ta!kin/ /bo$t:3 3(/& sorry. ( didn/t &ean anything by that. ( %$st 'ant to ask a co$p!e o# +$estions.3 34a&n po!ice again)3 S$sie spat at &e. "hey both stood $p to &ove a'ay #ro& the car. 3WaitG3 ( ca!!ed. 3(/& not the po!ice. (t/!! be 'orth yo$r ti&e.3 ( p$!!ed &y 'a!!et o$t and tossed three t'enties on the seat near the 'indo'. "he ta!!er one bent +$ick!y to retrieve the &oney. Whi!e picking it $p she asked) 3Watch yo$ 'ant pig:3 34id yo$ kno' Wanita 0anks:3 3S$re ( did. Everybody did. "he po!ice kno' that. Who are yo$:3 3;obody)3 ( ans'ered. 3Was Wanita se!!ing coke:3 3Shit) ;obodyG 4o ( !ook st$pid:3 She tossed the &oney back do'n on the car seat. 39o$ think (/& a #oo!: skin/ shit !ike that.3 ( added another t'enty. S$sie p$shed in to snatch $p the &oney. 3S$re she 'as se!!in/)3 she said. "he ta!!er 'o&an !ooked at her in disg$st. 3Where 'as she getting her st$##:3 3 #at 'hite d$de. 4on/t kno' his na&e. ( %$st kno' he 'as bad. -ne ti&e he !e#t &e tied $p a 'ho!e night.3 "he ta!!er 'o&an gave S$sie a p$sh and nodded $p the street. po'der b!$e Cadi!!ac 'as &oving to'ard $s. 3"hat/s a!! ( kno' &ister.3 S$sie st$##ed the &oney in her shorts and stood $p. "hey 'a!ked a'ay #ro& the car and !eaned their backs against the &ote! 'a!!. ( eased the big car a'ay #ro& the c$rb. 5$st opposite &e the Cadi!!ac stopped at the intersection. ( kne' by the b$!k behind the 'hee! 'ho 'as driving. ( 'aved at 7ester as ( drove past hi&.

Chapter 3& "here 'as a 0eer 0arn on Corinth) near Sears. ( stopped to $se one o# the pay phones. "he phone on the other end rang #o$r and a ha!# ti&es be#ore it 'as picked $p. 3"his is ;ance. What can ( do #or yo$:3 3.e!!o 4re'. "his is 2arv 4avis. .o' are yo$ today:3 9o$ co$!d hear ;ance/s chin drop. "he backgro$nd so$nds o# the po!ice station s$dden!y stopped. ( i&agined ;ance 'aving e1cited!y #or +$iet. When he spoke it 'as in a s!o' &eas$red tone. .e so$nded !ike he 'as a!&ost over his head co!d. ( 'as g!ad #or hi&. 3(/& doing pretty 'e!! 2arv. (/& g!ad yo$ ca!!ed.3 "here 'as tota! si!ence in the o##ice behind hi&. 39o$ kno') yo$ sho$!d rea!!y co&e do'n here and ta!k to &e.3 With a short !a$gh ( ans'ered) 3( don/t think that 'o$!d do &e any good) 'o$!d it:3 3We!!) yo$ &ight be s$rprised.3 3( 'o$!d be. 7isten) (/& not going to stay on the phone #orever) so te!! the tracers to h$rry. ( need yo$ to do so&ething #or &e ;ance. ( think yo$/re the on!y one 'ho can do it.3 32arv) (/!! do anything ( can to he!p yo$. 0$t yo$ can he!p yo$rse!# by t$rning yo$rse!# in to &e. We co$!d $se @.W. as a go bet'een.3 3Save the speech 4re'. (/& not co&ing in $nti! ( catch the bastard doing the ki!!ing. nd ( don/t have hi& yet. 0$t in a co$p!e o# days ( 'i!!. >nti! then 'o$!d yo$ #eed and 'ater &y cat:3 3What:3

3Wi!! yo$ #eed &y cat: ( can/t get to her and ( don/t 'ant to ask anyone e!se /ca$se yo$/!! give /e& a hard ti&e. So ( tho$ght (/d %$st ask yo$. 9o$ don/t &ind do yo$:3 3Scre' yo$r catG3 39o$ 'o$!dn/t 'ant to do that. (/d have to ca!! the SPC . ( can see the head!ines no') /Po!ice b$se Mi!!er/s Cat./ "hat 'o$!dn/t !ook good. 3So %$st be s$re she has #resh 'ater and p!enty to eat. 4ry cat #ood is #ine. nd ( do rea!!y appreciate it. ( don/t kno' 'hat ( 'o$!d do 'itho$t yo$.3 ;ance 'as so &ad he co$!dn/t ta!k. .e %$st sta&&ered. ( didn/t 'ait #or hi& to get his !ines straight. 32y) &y) !ook at the ti&e. ( need to be going 4re'. "here is a ki!!er to catch yo$ kno'. "hanks #or yo$r he!p.3 ( h$ng $p and drove a'ay +$ick!y #ro& the 0arn. ( had been on the phone !onger than ( p!anned. 0$t Cynthia did need to eat. ( 'as do'nstairs in the den 'atching the si1 o/c!ock ne's take &y na&e in vain 'hen ( heard Pat p$!! $p o$t #ront. ( 'ent to the #ront door to &eet her. "here 'as so&e sh$##!ing noise o$tside. ( p$!!ed the door open and there 'as Pat dressed to ki!! in a dark green) s!eeve!ess si!k dress shi#ting t'o sacks o# groceries aro$nd in an e##ort to get the door open. 39o$ didn/t co&e straight here did yo$:3 ( asked. Pat s&i!ed) 3(/& g!ad to see yo$ too.3 She stepped inside and p$shed the door c!osed 'ith her #oot. ( took one o# the sacks and she gave &e a kiss on the cheek. 3(/& sorry. (/& %$st nervo$s. 9o$ 'eren/t #o!!o'ed 'ere yo$:3 3;o dar!ing) no one #o!!o'ed &e. (/ve been circ!ing b!ocks and c$tting thro$gh a!!eys #or the !ast #i#teen &in$tes. "he ice crea& is probab!y &i!k no'. ;o) i# there had been anyone #o!!o'ing ( 'o$!d have seen the&.3 She took &y ar&. 34on/t 'orry so &$ch. "his p!ace is sa#e.3 3Why did yo$ park o$t #ront: 9o$/re staying aren/t yo$:3

39o$ 'orry too &$ch.3 Pat s&i!ed. 3-# co$rse (/& staying. ( didn/t 'ant to open the garage and risk so&eone seeing yo$r car si!!y. ;o') ( 'i!! have to !eave ear!y in the &orning to r$n $p to the ho$se and dress #or 'ork. ( can/t b$y ne' c!othes everyday.3 3(# yo$/re going to !ook this good yo$ sho$!d.3 (/& a#raid ( 'as grinning !ike a schoo!boy. 3.o' do yo$ !ike shopping be#ore 'ork:3 3( didn/t. ( 'ent on in to the o##ice and ca!!ed over to ;ei&an/s. ( shop there a!! the ti&e. "hey/ve got &y si,es so ( to!d the& 'hat ( needed and they bro$ght this over. 4o yo$ !ike it:3 39o$/re gorgeo$s in it. (t &$st be nice to ca!! in an order #or c!othes and have the& send yo$ so&ething this bea$ti#$!.3 3(t can be nice. 0$t right no' ( don/t 'ant to ta!k abo$t that.3 She stepped c!ose and gave &e a !ong) thoro$gh kiss. 3(/& a!! yo$rs)3 she 'hispered. She ran the back o# her hand across &y $nshaven #ace. 3(t !ooks !ike so&eone needs to take care o# yo$.3 3( co$!d $se so&e care.3 Pat took a step back. 3We!!) ( co$!dn/t get yo$ any c!othes. ( tho$ght that 'o$!d !ook a !itt!e too obvio$s. 0$t ( did get a ra,or and so&e shave crea&. ( didn/t kno' 'hat kind o# a#ter-shave to get so ( bo$ght a!coho!. Wi!! that be okay:3 ( !a$ghed. (t/s nice to be taken care o#. ( #e!t !ike a #attening ca!#. 3S$re) that/s #ine.3 37et/s get this st$## into the kitchen. "hen 'hi!e yo$ c!ean $p (/!! 'ash yo$r c!othes and r$n yo$r s$it thro$gh the drier #or a co$p!e o# &in$tes. "hat sho$!d b!o' so&e o# the 'rink!es o$t. nd !ast b$t not !east (/!! start so&e s$pper.3 39o$/ve a!ready spoi!ed &e.3 ( p$t &y #ree ar& aro$nd her 'aist as 'e headed to the kitchen.

We set the groceries on the kitchen co$nter and ( reached o$t to p$!! Pat to &e. She %$&ped a'ay !a$ghing. 3;ot so #ast &ister. 9o$ get o$t o# those nasty c!othes #irst. "hen 'e eat. #ter that (/!! te!! yo$ abo$t &y visit 'ith yo$r #riend ;ance: nd then) (/!! !et yo$ chase &e aro$nd the ho$se.3 She gave &e a kiss. 30$t ( 'on/t r$n too #ast. ( 'ant yo$ to save yo$r energy.3 Whi!e ( 'as in the sho'er Pat ca&e and took &y c!othes. #ter ( dried o##) 'hi!e ( shaved) ( 'as tort$red by the s&e!!s co&ing #ro& the kitchen. ( co$!dn/t re&e&ber eating anything a!! day. ( 'as 'earing a bath to'e! 'hen 'e sat do'n to eat in the break#ast area. "he sa!ad) steak and potatoes !ooked #ab$!o$s. 3( hope yo$ don/t &ind eating in here:3 Pat s&i!ed. 39o$ don/t !ooked dressed eno$gh #or the #or&a! dining roo&.3 She !a$ghed and ( #e!t &yse!# b!$sh. ;o &atter ho' o!d yo$ get that can sti!! happen. 34ig in)3 she said. 34on/t 'ait on &e. (/!! get this thing open and then (/& right behind yo$.3 She 'as t'isting a corkscre' into a bott!e o# 'ine. 39o$ don/t &ind Ca!i#ornia 'ine do yo$:3 ( &oved the steak aro$nd in &y &o$th so ( co$!d ta!k. 3;o) that/s as good as any. (/& not &$ch on 'ine.3 Pat po$red t'o g!asses and set the bott!e on the tab!e. 39o$ pre#er to take yo$r drink !ike a &an) don/t yo$:3 She !a$ghed. 2y #ace 'as red again as ( ans'ered. 3"he hangovers aren/t as bad that 'ay.3 ( took a sip o# the 'ine. (t 'asn/t bad. 3We!!) yo$ don/t have to 'orry abo$t hangovers tonight. ( 'ant yo$ happy) not passed o$t.3 Pat/s eyes g!ittered as she sipped #ro& her g!ass. 3;o' te!! &e abo$t yo$r day and then (/!! te!! yo$ abo$t &ine.3 ro$nd &o$th#$!s o# s$pper ( gave her the detai!s on &y day. She #o$nd the 7ester sighting interesting.

3"his 5ones g$y that 7ester 'orks #or) he/s got to be behind everything. Every ti&e so&ething happens his head pops $p.3 She !eaned #or'ard and re#i!!ed &y g!ass then her o'n. 3We!!) he is invo!ved in everything)3 ( ans'ered. ( p$shed &y e&pty p!ate a'ay and took $p &y g!ass. 30$t he/s invo!ved beca$se o# the coke. .e/s a!'ays going to sho' in things. ( think the ki!!er !ies e!se'here.3 3-h) yo$ 'o$!d.3 Pat &ade a #ace at &e. 39o$/re #riend ;ance thinks so too. .e thinks its yo$.3 She st$ck her tong$e o$t at &e. 39o$ better p$t that thing 'here it be!ongs)3 ( said trying to so$nd to$gh. 3(/!! p$t it there !ater)3 Pat s&irked. 3-kay) yo$ do that.3 3( 'i!!) don/t yo$ 'orry.3 3 nd don/t yo$ &ake a pro&ise yo$ 'on/t keep.3 3( keep &y pro&ises)3 Pat !a$ghed. 3So no' (/& going to te!! yo$ abo$t &y day.3 3We!!) so ( get to 'ork and ;ancy/s a!! e1cited. ;ance has a!ready ca!!ed t'ice !eaving orders #or &e to ca!! hi&.3 Pat !a$ghed. So did (. 3;ancy 'ants to kno' 'hat it/s a!! abo$t. She/d heard a !itt!e on the radio co&ing to 'ork so she kne' yo$ 'ere invo!ved.3 Pat s&i!ed) 3She has a cr$sh on yo$. "hinks yo$/re c$te.3 ( gave &y best c$te !ook. 3So) any'ay) ( te!! her as !itt!e as ( can b$t !et her kno' she/s part o# the gang. Peop!e !ike being in a gang. ( kno' ( !ike being in yo$r gang)3 Pat !a$ghed. 3( e1p!ained abo$t the car and ho' to go abo$t renting it and getting it #or yo$.3 Pat re#i!!ed her g!ass. 3"his ta!king is dry 'ork.3 "hen she !eaned #or'ard to e&pty the bott!e into &y g!ass. 39o$ have to do yo$r part yo$ kno'.3

( &oved +$ick eno$gh to grab her be#ore she co$!d sit back do'n and ( gave her the best kiss ( co$!d &$ster. 3.$&&) ( !ike that)3 she 'hispered in &y ear. She !aid her head on &y sho$!der #or a second) then p$shed &e a'ay. 39o$/!! have to 'ait ti!! (/& #inished 0$ster.3 She sat back do'n and gave &e a stern !ook. ( gave a sheepish !ook and sat do'n. 3So by this ti&e &y c!othes have sho'n $p and so has ;ance.3 Pat &ade a #ace. 3 nd he has that Grider g$y 'ith hi&. "hat &an is !ike a 4ober&an on a short !eash. 9o$ %$st kno' he 'ants to %$&p on yo$ and tear yo$ $p.3 Pat sh$ttered s!ight!y thinking abo$t hi&. 3.e does !ook !ike a r$bber hose kind o# g$y)3 ( added. "he 'ine 'as having a decided e##ect on &y g!ibness. 3"hey started right in. /Where have yo$ been: .o' co&e yo$/re dressing in the o##ice: When 'as the !ast ti&e ( sa' yo$:/ "he sa&e o!d +$estions over and over and over.3 Pat !ooked stern #or a second. 39o$/d think they co$!d co&e $p 'ith so&ething origina!. 0$t no) the sa&e thing #or t'o ho$rs.3 She s&i!ed at &e. 39o$ 'o$!d have been pro$d o# &e .oney. ( p!ayed the d$&b broad ti!! ( 'ore the& o$t. "hey !e#t bored to tears. (t 'as great. ( had /e& be!ieving ( didn/t even kno' 'hat day it 'as.3 Pat !a$ghed. ( %oined in. 3 nd 'hi!e they 'ere badgering &e) ;ancy 'ent and got the car #or yo$. (t 'as great. (t rea!!y 'as.3 Pat/s eyes had a g!o') one o# those !ooks that says a tho$sand things b$t yo$/re never rea!!y s$re 'hat is being said. So yo$ take a chance and hope yo$/re right. ( got $p) 'a!ked over and stood behind her. ( p$t &y hands on her sho$!ders. She see&ed to !ike their presence. 3(/& sorry (/ve bro$ght yo$ so &$ch tro$b!e. ( didn/t &ean to.3 She stood $p) &y hands dropped a'ay #ro& her. She t$rned aro$nd and p$shed the chair bet'een $s aside. .er

hands to$ched &y chest. She stepped in c!ose and ( he!d her tight!y. 3So #ar) it/s been &y p!eas$re)3 she said her breath hot against &y chest. 37et/s go $pstairs.3

Chapter 3! <e!ationships change. 9o$ either gro' and adapt to the changes or the re!ationship ends. 7i#e is pretty si&p!e. 9o$ on!y have to decide 'hich 'ay yo$/re going. ( 'oke $p abo$t eight-thirty that night. Pat 'as s!eeping peace#$!!y beside &e. (/ve never been ab!e to s!eep !ike that. Especia!!y 'ith &y &ind doing !oops. ( got $p +$iet!y) p$t &y to'e! on and headed do'nstairs to #ind &y c!othes. Pat s!ept $pstairs. ( sat do'nstairs. Everything ch$rned in &y head. "he +$estions t$&b!ed aro$nd. Why had 4$rr co&e to &e: Who set hi& $p: Who set &e $p: Why any o# this &ess: 5ones/ #ace kept popping into vie'. .e #it the bi!! in a!&ost every 'ay. !&ost. "he a!&ost did it in. "he !itt!e !ight ca&e on in &y head and s$dden!y the &$rders &ade sense. ( sa' the reason #or the&. Stranger things have happened. 2y re!ationship 'ith Pat changed. "he path o# tr$e ro&ance is never easy. We had taken a road 'ith three &$rders on it) a road 'hich &ade &e a #$gitive and her an acco&p!ice. "hat/s so&e road. <ea!ity set in. ( 'a!ked the #!oor) scratched &y head. "he idea re&ained. t ten o/c!ock ( sat do'n in the den and t$rned on the "8. Pat ca&e do'nstairs in a s!ip. She !ooked 'orried. 3( 'oke $p and yo$ 'eren/t there. nd yo$/re a!! dressed.3 ( s&i!ed and 'a!ked over to her. ( he!d her tight!y. 3( co$!dn/t s!eep. "here/s too &$ch going on.3

She raised a hand to &y #ace) !ooked deep into &y eyes and said. 3(t 'i!! be okay .oney. ( kno' yo$ can take care o# everything.3 "he "8 b!asted o$t &y na&e. We both t$rned and !ooked at the set. ( crossed over and #!ipped channe!s. "he !ead story every'here 'as 3"he Gi&!et 2$rderer.3 "hey sp!ashed &y pict$re across the screen every chance they got. Pat ca&e over and took &y hand. She !ed &e to the co$ch and 'e sat do'n. 39o$ !ook c$te on "8) .oney. 0$t it &akes yo$ !ook a !itt!e heavy.3 She s&i!ed. 3We!!) thank yo$. (/!! try to get better pict$res do'nto'n ne1t ti&e.3 She he!d &y hand tight!y. -$tside the station do'nto'n ;ance gave an intervie'. .e 'as s$rro$nded by ca&eras and reporters. .e !ooked !ike he 'as en%oying hi&se!#. 3We consider 4avis ar&ed and very dangero$s. (# yo$ sho$!d see hi& or think yo$ see hi& report it i&&ediate!y by ca!!ing F11.3 ( hoped the ga!s at the &ote! 'o$!dn/t report seeing &e. -ne reporter shoved a &ike in ;ance/s #ace) 3When do yo$ e1pect to &ake an arrest:3 ;ance !ooked into the g!are o# the &ini ca& !ights. .e s&i!ed) 3.is arrest is i&&inent.3 ( #e!t better) that &eant they had no idea 'here ( 'as. ( %$st hoped he had #ed Cynthia. @o!!o'ing ;ance/s intervie' the ne's c$t to a bar on >pper Greenvi!!e. Everyone 'as drinking gi&!ets. "he reporter said a!! across to'n the gi&!et 'as the ne' 3in3 drink. 35es$sG3 ( said and crossed to the "8 and snapped it o##. 3Peop!e 'i!! &ake a #ad o$t o# anything.3 ( sat back on the co$ch beside Pat. 3"hey/re %$st peop!e)3 she said. 3"hey can/t he!p that.3

"here 'as a short si!ence be#ore she asked) 3Why haven/t yo$ said anything abo$t the ki!!ings: 4o yo$ have any ideas:3 35$st dr$gs)3 ( ans'ered. 3Peop!e %$st being peop!e.3 ( p$t &y !e#t ar& aro$nd her sho$!ders and p$!!ed her to &e. .er head rested against &y chest. .er hair s&e!t s'eet. 34$rr 'as a dr$g dea!er) re!ative!y ne' in to'n. @o!ks take it $nkind!y 'hen so&eone &akes inroads in their territory. 4$rr stepped on so&e toes. nd 0aker 'as 4$rr/s transportation &an) &ade his pick$ps. 3Wi!!ie &oved 4$rr and 0aker o$t o# the 'ay. "he 'o&an) Wanita 0anks) 'orked #or 4$rr) probab!y se!!ing to the gir!s and their %ohns. She &$st have kno'n so&e na&es) so they &oved her too.3 Pat n$,,!ed her head against &y chest. She p$!!ed her !egs $p $nder her on the co$ch. .er hand id!ed a!ong the inside o# &y thigh. 2y right hand to$ched Pat/s hair. (ts so#tness 'as re#reshing. She t$rned her #ace to &e and ( kissed her s!o'!y) thoro$gh!y. -$r !ips parted. 3So 'hy are the po!ice sti!! a#ter yo$ s&arty:3 3( g$ess the dr$g thing is too obvio$s. Peop!e are peop!e. "hey !ike to co&p!icate things. "o &e &ost everything points to Wi!!ie 5ones.3 Pat/s head sett!ed back do'n onto &y chest as ( ta!ked. 3(# yo$ checked on it those t'o crack ho$ses the po!ice popped 'ere probab!y 4$rr/s. "he tipster probab!y 'as Wi!!ie.3 3(t certain!y so$nds !ike 5ones is the one)3 Pat &$r&$red into &y chest. She !ooked $p at &e) 3Can/t yo$ go to the po!ice 'ith a!! this: "$rn hi& in: Get the& o## o# yo$:3 3S$re ( co$!d) i# ( ta!ked #ast. 0$t it 'o$!dn/t do any good. (t doesn/t e1p!ain the notes yo$ sent &e.3 Pat sat $p !ike a s'itch had been thro'n. She sta&&ered s!ight!y) her dark eyes not tota!!y i&penetrab!e) #ear

sho'ing aro$nd the edges. 3What do yo$ &ean the notes ( sent yo$:3 3( &ean yo$ sent &e those notes. 9o$ sent 4$rr to set &e $p #or a #a!!. 9o$ and he p!anned to ki!! 0aker and &aybe the gir!) and b!a&e it on &e. 4$rr/s &istake 'as not rea!i,ing he 'as the #irst step in the p!an. (s this his ho$se:3 Pat didn/t say anything. She %$st !ooked at &e. 3(t doesn/t &atter. Everything points to Wi!!ie e1cept the notes. "he po!ice have &ade too big a dea! o$t o# the !etters. ( can/t %$st e1p!ain those a'ay. "hey 'o$!d sti!! pin it a!! on &e. 9o$ kno' that. 3.e!!) they can get a h$ndred psychiatrists 'ho/!! say (/& a psycho %$st !ike ( can get a h$ndred that/!! say (/& not. (t e+$a!s o$t. 0$t 'hen there aren/t any &ore Gi&!et ki!!ings it/!! p$t a bad !ight on &e) 'on/t it: >n!ess ( give the& yo$.3 "here 'as &oist$re in her eyes) her shock so#tening) 32arv) don/t say things !ike that) yo$ #righten &e. "e!! &e yo$ don/t &ean it.3 39o$ kno' ( do. Why did yo$ pick &e: 4id yo$ #ig$re &e #or a sap beca$se ( don/t have a big o##ice in a #ancy b$i!ding:3 She %$st stared at &e. 3(t doesn/t &atter. 9o$ ki!!ed three peop!e beca$se they kne' yo$ 'ere dea!ing cocaine. ( sa' in that &aga,ine yo$r -ak 7a'n b$i!ding 'as posted #or nonpay&ent #o$r &onths ago and no' it/s paid $p. 9o$ sho$!dn/t !eave that sort o# thing !aying aro$nd. ;ot that it 'as yo$r on!y give a'ay. Everything has been o$t o# ki!ter since 'e &et.3 Pat/s eyes searched &ine. "hey didn/t see& to !ike 'hat they #o$nd. ( kept on ta!king. 39o$ &$st have &et 0aker thro$gh a charter #!ight. 9o$rs) his) 'hoever. ( #ig$re 0aker introd$ced yo$ to 4$rr. >sing the& to #ront #or yo$) yo$ 'ent into the coke b$siness to pay o## yo$r debts.

30aker #!e' in the dope. 4$rr &oved it thro$gh his o$t!ets. 9o$ so!d to the carriage trade. nd yo$ !a$ndered thro$gh rea! estate dea!s. When yo$ paid yo$r debts o## yo$ decided to he!p yo$r partners #orget yo$r na&e. 3( g$ess Wanita s!ipped &e the #irst t'o notes. ( don/t kno' 'hy she did it #or yo$. ( s$ppose yo$ threatened to give 0aker to the po!ice. ny'ay) she he!ped. 9o$ did the third note) since it 'as #or her. 9o$ had the ti&e "h$rsday &orning. (/& not s$re 'hy she didn/t go to the po!ice at that point b$t hookers dea!ing dr$gs can act #$nny so&eti&es.3 Pat sat a'k'ard!y on the edge o# the co$ch. .er eyes 'ere &i1edE #ear) sha&e and pride. 34on/t say those things 2arv. 9o$ kno' ( !ove yo$G 9o$ have got to be!ieve that and tr$st &eG ( 'o$!dn/t) co$!dn/t do those terrib!e things yo$/re sayingG3 ( stood $p in #ront o# her) 39es) ( kno' yo$ !ove &e. nd ( kno' yo$ did do those things. 4o yo$ 'ant &e to sho' yo$ the type'riter at yo$r ho$se) the one yo$ 'rote the notes on: "he !ettering is as distinctive as #ingerprints yo$ kno'.3 ( !ooked into her !ove!y #ace) 3 nd &y !ove. 9o$/re co$nting on that. 4id 4$rr think yo$ !oved hi&: 4id 0aker: 4oes everybody: (s that 'hy 'e he!p yo$:3 "ears ran do'n her #ace. She nodded s!ight!y and said) 39es) so&ething !ike that. 0$t a!! that 'as be#ore ( &et yo$. 9o$ have to be!ieve that. 3 #ter 'e &et ( didn/t 'ant to h$rt yo$ b$t ( co$!dn/t stop. ( had to see it thro$gh. 9o$ see that don/t yo$) don/t yo$:3 ( sat do'n and p$!!ed her tight!y to &e. 39es) ( $nderstand. ( $nderstand ( !ove yo$ too &$ch to t$rn yo$ in.3 Pat thre' her ar&s aro$nd &y neck and kissed &e happi!y. 34o yo$ think 'e can p$t everything on Wi!!ie. #ter a!! he is a dr$g dea!er:3

3( don/t kno')3 ( said s!o'!y. 3"he !etters &ake it to$gh. .e 'o$!d have to be set $p 'ith the type'riter so&e ho'. (/!! have to think abo$t it.3 3-h dar!ing)3 Pat bea&ed) 3( kno' yo$ can do itG ( kno' itG3

Chapter 3" .arsh!y braked tires screa&ed to a stop o$tside the drive'ay. car horn so$nded an $nbroken b!are. ( stood $p. 3Stay here. (/!! see 'ho it is.3 Pat !ooked s$rprised. ( 'as ten #eet a'ay #ro& the #ront door. "he stained 'indo's in the #oyer e1p!oded #ro& a !ong b$rst o# a$to&atic g$n#ire. ( dropped to the #!oor a&id the sho'ering g!ass sp!inters. second #$!!y a$to pisto! and a p$&p shotg$n added to the stra#ing g$n#ire tearing into the #ront o# the ho$se) the 5ag$ar) and the 7inco!n. "he staccato hits on the cars contrasted hot!y 'ith the popping and th$dding so$nds #ro& the 'a!!s aro$nd &e. "he #ront door sp!intered and gave 'ay. "he !ead entering thro$gh the open 'indo's and door shredded the dry 'a!! interior. 'hite ha,e #i!!ed the air. hand he!d spot!ight bea&ed into the roo&. @!attened to the #!oor ( snaked back to the den and Pat. Even that #ar back in the ho$se the air b$,,ed 'ith b$!!ets. Pat 'as on the #!oor behind the co$ch #ace do'n) ar&s covering her head. ( shook her) screa&ing above the g$n#ire) 3 re yo$ a!! right:3 She 'as too #rightened to &ove. ( shook her again. 3We/ve got to get o$t o# hereG3 ( dragged her to the kitchen. "hat p$t &ore 'a!!s bet'een $s and the #ront o# the ho$se to #i!ter the #!ying !ead. "he #iring never s!ackened. "hey &$st have had a tr$ck!oad o# a&&$nition. Pat regained a !itt!e co&pos$re. (t 'asn/t as di##ic$!t to !ead her into the garage. ( sho$ted) 3.o' do yo$ open the da&n door:3 ( hoped no one 'as 'aiting o$t back #or $s.

3(t/s the s'itch by the !ights)3 Pat ans'ered. She c!$ng tight!y to &e. ( hit the s'itches and a!! the doors began to raise. ( p$shed Pat to'ards &y car and h$rried a#ter her. "he -!ds/ engine roared and ( #ried r$bber getting o$t o# the garage be#ore the doors 'ere #$!!y $p. .aving the top do'n saved &e a #e' inches. ;o one 'as o$t back 'aiting. ( 'ondered 'hy. (n the #ront the g$n#ire had not !et $p. ( heard a gro'ing 'ai! o# po!ice sirens. 3What/s behind the back #ence:3 ( de&anded. 3"here/s an a!!ey.3 3We/!! have to give it a try. .o!d onG3 ( sp$n the 'hee! and tro&ped on the gas. ( 'asn/t de!icate going thro$gh the #ence getting to the a!!ey. "he shooting stopped. "he po!ice sirens so$nded brighter. "he a!!ey 'as c!ear. ( reached the end in ti&e to see a b!$e Cadi!!ac #!ash by. ( had seen it a co$p!e o# ti&es be#ore. ( p$!!ed o$t into the street and t$rned !e#t. ( reached the corner 'here 'e co$!d see the ho$se. "he #ront 'as destroyed) the 5ag and the 7inco!n) heaps o# scrap. So &$ch #or ;ancy/s credit. "he #irst patro! car #!ashed onto the scene. ( eased the -!ds a'ay #ro& the c$rb. .o$se !ights in the entire b!ock 'ere s'itched on 'ith the presence o# the po!ice and the +$iet o# the night. 3With a!! the e1cite&ent no one 'i!! notice the car)3 ( said. Pat didn/t co&&ent. She !ay cr$&p!ed in the seat beside &e. ( tho$ght o$t !o$d as ( headed do'nto'n. 3"hat 'as Wi!!ie/s boys 4ar!ing. ( don/t think he !iked the idea o# pinning the &$rders on hi&. We/re !$cky he on!y 'anted to scare $s. (# they had covered the back o# the ho$se 'e/d be dead.

34o yo$ have any idea ho' they #o$nd o$t abo$t yo$ or did they a!ready kno':3 Pat didn/t ans'er) she didn/t have to. (t 'as obvio$s she 'as in over her head. ( to$ched her on the sho$!der) 39o$/re okay aren/t yo$:3 She raised her head. ( grinned and in a #raction o# a second she 'as pressed tight!y against &e. ( 'rapped &y ar& aro$nd her and he!d tight as ( drove. 3(t/!! be a!! right)3 ( ass$red. 3Everything/!! be #ine. We/!! go over to &y o##ice. "here/s a chance the cops 'i!! sti!! be 'atching the p!ace) b$t &aybe not. We/!! have to take that chance. When Wi!!ie/s boys try again (/d rather be there.3 (t 'as the 'itching ho$r 'hen 'e got to the o##ice. Everything 'as +$iet) not a car o# any type in sight. ( parked o$t #ront. We 'ent inside. ( ca!!ed 2ark L$ant at his ho$se. .e picked $p on the #irst ring. 37ord 2arv) 'hat in the #$ck are yo$ doing:3 he sho$ted at &e. 3( %$st got a ca!! #ro& the paper. "he po!ice say yo$r car 'as spotted in ;orth 4a!!as !eaving a g$n batt!e.3 ( to!d hi& 5ones 'as a#ter &e and this 'o&an. ( didn/t give hi& Pat/s na&e. ( said she kne' a!! abo$t 4$rr/s dr$g dea!ings. .e bo$ght it. 3We!!) 'hat can ( do to he!p:3 he de&anded. 3Stay near yo$r ho$se and keep the phone c!ear. ( &ight need yo$ to get the cava!ry #or &e.3 32arv) don/t do anything st$pid. "here/s no cava!ry any &ore.3 3"hanks #or the cheer#$! tho$ght.3 ( got o## the phone. Pat 'as in the c$sto&er/s chair beside &e. .er #ace 'as pa!e b$t she 'as ho!ding $p. ( took her hands in &ine. 3(/& sorry yo$/ve had to go thro$gh a!! this. 9o$ !ook !ike yo$ co$!d $se a drink. ( kno' ( need one.3 ( re!eased her hands and opened the center dra'er o# the desk. t the #ar back 'as a ha!#-pint o# rye) #or e&ergencies.

( got the bott!e o$t) broke the sea! and handed it to her. 3(/& sorry ( don/t have any c$ps b$t ( don/t $s$a!!y have g$ests here 'ith &e.3 She took a s&a!! sip and gri&aced. 3Go on) take so&e &ore. 9o$ &ight need it be#ore !ong.3 She took another) bigger sip. 3"hat/s the nice thing abo$t rye) the sips get bigger and the bott!e s&a!!er. 7et &e take that.3 ( got the bott!e) drank so&e) then set it on the desk. ( &oved &y chair a !itt!e to the !e#t. 39o$/!! have to &ove .oney. ( need to p$!! o$t the botto& dra'er.3 Pat scooted her chair aside. ( p$!!ed the big #i!e dra'er co&p!ete!y o$t o# the desk and sat it do'n on the #!oor. "aped to the back end o# the dra'er 'as &y ho!stered .3J0 Wa!ther PPM. .aving the o##ice opened a!! the ti&e &eant ( co$!dn/t !eave a g$n !aying aro$nd. "hey/re 'orth too &$ch #or that. nd the tro$b!e they ca$se is &ore cost!y. ( checked the &aga,ine and &ade s$re there 'as a cartridge in the cha&ber. ( p$t the pisto! on the chair bet'een &y !egs) tossed the ho!ster into the dra'er) and p$t the #i!e dra'er back in the desk. Pat &oved back ne1t to &e. 3.o' &$ch coke did yo$ bring in:3 ( asked. 3P!ease 2arv) ( don/t 'ant to ta!k abo$t that no')3 she p!eaded. 39o$/!! have to te!! &e event$a!!y)3 ( said. ( s$ppose ( !ooked !ike ( &eant it. She +$ick!y s&i!ed 'ith so&e pride and said) 3(n the !ast #ive &onths 4oy!e #!e' in a h$ndred ki!os.3 "hat %ived 'ith 'hat Wi!!ie said. So did the &oney) ( #ig$red) 220 po$nds at abo$t A20)000K!b. &akes an invest&ent o# AC)C00)000. With a street va!$e any'here bet'een A10 to A20 per gra& that/s a 1D.C &i!!ion to 30.J &i!!ion do!!ar ha$! 'ith a net pro#it o# 11 &i!!ion to 1B.C &i!!ion do!!ars. ;ot a bad day/s 'ork. 3What kind o# sp!it did yo$ have:3

3@i#ty-#i#ty 'ith 4$rr. 4oy!e kept a po$nd #or his share.3 She s&i!ed. .er eyes b!a,ed 'ith the &oney ta!k. 3What did yo$ do 'ith yo$r part:3 3So&e o# it ( p$t do'n against the b$i!ding &ortgage. 0$t &ost o# it is in a Geneva bank.3 "he hot s&i!e stayed in p!ace. ( started to ask 'hy Wi!!ie had visited. ( 'as stopped by the so$nds o# a car p$!!ing $p o$tside the b$i!ding. -$r s&a!! s!ice o# +$iet ti&e 'as over. ( p$t a hand o$t to Pat. She c!$tched at it. -ne car door opened and s!a&&ed c!osed. (t 'asn/t open !ong eno$gh #or &ore than one person to have gotten o$t. We heard the door o# the o##ice b$i!ding open and c!ose. "hen #ootsteps. "hey &oved thro$gh the b$i!ding to'ard $s.

Chapter 3J ( p$!!ed &y hand a'ay #ro& Pat and stood $p. @o$r +$ick steps to the door and ( had the o##ice !ights o$t. -n!y the !o' 'attage b$!b o$t in the ha!! o##ered any !ight. 32ove over there in the corner)3 ( 'hispered harsh!y. 3( don/t think that 'hite s!ip 'i!! sho' $p too bad.3 She see&ed #ro,en to the chair. ( had to h$rry back to her and ha!# !i#t= ha!# p$!! her o$t o# the chair 'ith &y right ar& and p$sh her in the direction ( &eant. 3Get do'n !o' and stay do'nG3 ( ordered. "he so$nd o# her brie# &ove&ent 'as #o!!o'ed by si!ence. ( sat back do'n and &ade s$re the Wa!ther 'as easy to get to. ( didn/t take &y eyes o## the door. "he #rosted g!ass in the door 'as a 'hite sheet o# 'ar& !ight. ( sat back in &y s'ive! chair and re!a1ed. "he Wa!ther 'as 'ar& to the to$ch. S!o' steps &oved do'n the ha!! to &y o##ice. "he !ight #a!!ing on the g!ass #ro& the ha!! 'as b!ocked o$t by a h$ge #or&. "he door s'$ng open 'ith a terri#ic #orce and s!a&&ed into the 'a!! 'ere it st$ck) the doorknob e&bedded in the dry'a!!. "he ha!! !ight si!ho$etted the &an in the door'ay= it 'as !ike 5a&es rness in 3"he "hing.3 3( kno' yo$ in there &other-#$cker)3 7ester said +$iet!y. 3Where is she:3 3 re yo$ asking 'here &y &other is:3 ( asked !ight!y. 37ast ti&e ( sa' her she 'as on a s!o' b$s to <apid City) So$th 4akota.3 3@$ck head)3 he said. ( !oved the tone o# his deep voice. .e stretched o$t his !e#t ar& to the 'a!! #or the !ight s'itch. ( #!icked on the desk !a&p and ai&ed it $p at hi&.

37ookin/ #or a !ight:3 ( asked. 7ester 'as start!ed and b!inded. (t 'as a co&#ort to see his hands 'ere e&pty. With the desk !a&p on the roo& 'as !it so Pat cro$ched in the dark. .e &oved #ast) #aster than any &an that si,e has a right to &ove. .e 'as across the roo& and a!&ost over the desk be#ore ( co$!d react. With a back'ard !$nge ( sent the s'ive! chair t$&b!ing to the #!oor. 2y right hand grasped the Wa!ther as ( #e!!. When the back o# the chair i&pacted on the #!oor ( had &y head raised eno$gh to keep the 'hip!ash #ro& cracking &y head against the #!oor. ( gave a gr$nt 'hen ( hit and ro!!ed to &y !e#t a'ay #ro& the chair. ( raised the pisto! and ai&ed at 7ester/s broad chest. .e raised $p to his #$!! height and 'ith one hand #!ipped the desk $p and over bet'een hi& and the g$n) sending it do'n at &e. "o &y !e#t ( ro!!ed and ro!!ed and ro!!ed hearing the desk crash to the #!oor and #ee!ing the #!oor sh$dder. ( hit hard against the !e#t 'a!! o# the o##ice) n$&bing &y !e#t e!bo'. ( scra&b!ed $p to a sitting position and !ooked #or 7ester. .e 'asn/t a#raid o# a pisto!. ( #ired and hit hi& in the chest and sto&ach #o$r ti&es be#ore he even took notice. (t bare!y s!o'ed his &o&ent$&. .e dove at &e. .e ca&e in $nder &y raised right ar& and ca$ght &e in the ribs) driving &e back into the 'a!!. 2y g$n hand #!e' o$t o# contro!. Pain shot thro$gh &y ribs. "he breath 'as near!y knocked o$t o# &e. 2y grip on the Wa!ther !oosened. 7ester had de!ivered the hit 'ith his right ar& and sho$!der. "hey !ay heavi!y and i&potent across &y !ap. .e &$st have had a 'eak sho$!der) &y ribs aren/t that to$gh. .is !e#t hand raised and took &y #ace in its hard) dry grasp. .e p$!!ed &y head #or'ard ready to bash it back into the 'a!!.

(t 'as i&possib!e to breath in 7ester/s pa!&) &y nose 'as s+$ashed c!osed) &y &o$th c!a&ped tight. "he pain in &y chest &ade &ove&ent o# &y right ar& s!o' and tedio$s. ( bro$ght the pisto! do'n and t$rned the barre! in to'ard &y body. ( t$cked it $nder &y right ar&pit against 7ester/s head. ( p$!!ed the trigger $nti! the Wa!ther #e!! si!ent. ( &$st have p$!!ed a #aint) the ne1t thing ( kne' Pat had the back o# 7ester/s shirt knotted $p in her hands trying to p$!! hi& a'ay #ro& &e. ( shoved hi& a'ay the best ( co$!d. .is body 'as a gore. With his 'eight o## &y !egs ( &oved a'ay and stood pain#$!!y $p. ( $sed the 'a!! #or s$pport ti!! Pat p$t her ar&s aro$nd &e and he!ped &e to the door'ay. (n the !ight #ro& the ha!! ( s!id do'n to a sitting position on the #!oor. 32arv) 2arv) are yo$ okay:3 she cried covering &y #ace in so#t kisses. 3( think ( broke a rib)3 ( ans'ered as !ight!y as ( co$!d) trying not to #righten her any &ore than she a!ready 'as. 34ar!ing) 4ar!ing) yo$ 'ere 'onder#$!)3 the kisses sti!! #a!!ing. 3We/ve got to get yo$ to a doctor.3 3;o) not yet. (/ve got to go see Wi!!ie. (# ( don/t stop hi& 'e 'on/t be sa#e any'here.3 30$t yo$/ve ki!!ed his &an. .e 'on/t co&e a#ter yo$G3 32en are easy to get. ;ot as good as that one b$t sti!! easy to get. (/ve got to get hi& no' 'hen he doesn/t e1pect it. ;o' he!p &e $pG3 0ack on &y #eet) in the !ight) ( sa' ( 'as covered in b!ood. 3(/ve got so&e c!ean c!othes in the c!oset over there) 'i!! yo$ get the&:3 Pat #$&b!ed thro$gh the dark to the c!oset. "he desk !a&p 'as o$t) broken) and ( didn/t #ee! !ike &oving to the 'a!! s'itch #or the cei!ing !ight. (nstead ( str$gg!ed o$t o# &y %acket and shirt. Pat ca&e back 'ith the c!othes and h$ng the& on the doorknob.

3We need so&e 'ater to c!ean yo$ $p a !itt!e. Where/s the bathroo&:3 she asked. ( to!d her 'here it 'as and 'hen she !e#t ( s!id back do'n to a sitting position on the #!oor.

Chapter 3$ .aving an o##ice in a !ess than desirab!e !ocation has its advantages) no po!ice responded to the g$n#ire. Pat ca&e back 'ith a 'ar& 'et to'e!. She got the !ights on and #o$nd the bott!e o# rye. 3.ere)3 she said ho!ding the bott!e $p to &y !ips. 3"his st$## 'i!! c$re anything.3 (t b$rnt going do'n b$t the 'ar&th #e!t good. Pat &oved the bott!e to her &o$th and took a pretty good hit. "hen she started in on c!eaning &e $p. ( 'as a &ess. She &ade t'o trips to the bathroo& #or #resh 'ater. ( #inished the rye d$ring the c!ean $p. ( #e!t &ore !ike &yse!#. "he rib h$rt !ess. Witho$t he!p ( got to &y #eet and $nder &y o'n po'er retrieved the Wa!ther #ro& beside 7ester. ( 'iped the g$n c!ean 'ith the to'e! then $sed it to cover $p 7ester/s head. (t 'as the best ( co$!d do at the ti&e. ( t$rned #ro& the body and 'ent to the overt$rned desk and set it $pright. 3What are yo$ !ooking #or:3 Pat asked. She stood near the door. #ter c!eaning &e she had not vent$red back into the roo&. "he big &an/s body &ade her nervo$s. 3(/ve got to get a dra'er open)3 ( ans'ered &otioning 'ith the g$n. 3( need so&e b$!!ets #or this thing. ( can/t go to Wi!!ie e&ptied handed= can (:3 32arv yo$ don/t have to go over there at a!!. We/ve got ti&e to get a'ay right no') be#ore Wi!!ie kno's anything has gone 'rong. We can go to the airport and be on o$r 'ay in a ha!# ho$rG3 ( 'as cro$ched beside the desk) si#ting thro$gh the dra'er. ( !ooked $p at her. She 'as very appea!ing standing

across the roo& in her dirty s!ip) p!eading 'ith &e. (t/s not every day that happens. (t/s not every day so&eone !ike her approaches so&eone !ike &e in a #ancy) high-c!ass bar. (t/s not every day three peop!e are &$rdered and ( ki!! a #o$rth. nd it/s a good thing. She had ki!!ed #or &oney) a !ot o# &oney. ( had to re&e&ber that. (t 'as easy to #orget. She had a 'i!d) #rightened !ook in her eyes. .er breasts 'ere pointed tart!y) and her shape!y !egs 'ere spread in a bo!d stance. 3(/ve got to go over there. ( can/t have hi& chasing a#ter &e) endangering yo$.3 ( #o$nd the cartridge bo1 and e&ptied it into &y coat pocket. ( dropped o$t the &aga,ine) #i!!ed it and snapped it back into p!ace. ( r$&&aged aro$nd $nti! ( #o$nd the ho!ster. ( s!ipped the g$n in and stood $p. "he ho!stered g$n #it sn$g!y in &y 'aistband at the s&a!! o# &y back. >nderneath the %acket it 'as invisib!e. ( 'a!ked over to Pat. "he b$!!ets in &y pocket %ing!ed !ike !oose change. 3(/ve got to #ind o$t ho' &$ch he kno's abo$t yo$ and 4$rr. We/re not sa#e /ti! 'e kno' 'hat he kno's.3 ( kissed her. She t$rned her #ace aside #ro& &y kiss) then t$rned back. 39o$ don/t have to goG We don/t have to 'orry abo$t Wi!!ie. !! 'e have to do is get in the car and drive to the airport. 0$y t'o tickets any'here and goG "hat/s a!!G ( !ove yo$ 2arv) ( do. Can/t yo$ do this #or &e) %$st !eave 'ith &e: We co$!d be so happy= ( 'o$!d &ake yo$ happy. 9o$/d see.3 (t so$nded good. Catch a p!ane and !eave everything behind #orever. (/ve heard they have short &e&ories in !itt!e S'iss vi!!ages. "he !ook in Pat/s eyes) the press$re o# her body ne1t to &ine) ( 'anted her then &ore than anything. "hat decided it. ( g$ess (/& %$st st$pid. When ( #ind so&ething ( have to have) so&ething ( can/t do 'itho$t) (

re#$se it= do 'itho$t it. ( te!! &yse!# (/& keeping &y independence. (t/s not &acho. (t/s %$st st$pid) sti!!) ( do it. 3We/!! ta!k abo$t getting o$t o# here a#ter (/ve seen Wi!!ie. We need to &eet so&e'here sa#e !ater.3 Pat/s eyes 'ere &oist. 3We can &eet at &y o##ice. (# the po!ice 'eren/t 'atching this p!ace they sho$!dn/t be there either.3 3-kay) good. We/!! &eet there. 9o$ take 7ester/s car. 9o$/re not dressed #or a ta1i. nd ( can/t a##ord to drive yo$) so&e cop &ight spot &e then yo$/d be in the &idd!e o# another #ight. When yo$/re sa#e on yo$r 'ay) (/!! !eave.3 She nodded agree&ent. ( 'ent to 7ester and patted hi& do'n. "he keys 'ere a !itt!e di##ic$!t to get o$t o# his pants/ pocket. When ( had the& 'e t$rned o$t the !ights in the o##ice and !e#t hi& a!one in the dark. .e had nothing to #ear.

Chapter % -$tside) beside the b!$e Caddie Pat tried again. 32arv) don/t go over there. P!ease) (/& begging yo$.3 ( 'rapped her in &y ar&s and he!d her tight!y. 3(t/!! be a!! right)3 ( said so#t!y. 3( have to take care o# this. "here/s no 'ay aro$nd it.3 Pat shivered s!ight!y. (t &ay have been in resignation or the night air &ay have been coo! dressed as she 'as. She separated #ro& &e and !ooked &e in the eyes. 3-kay to$gh g$y. 9o$ do that. 0$t yo$ 'atch o$t #or yo$rse!#. 9o$ be!ong to &e.3 She s&i!ed and ( grinned back. 3;o' give &e the keys so 'e can get this over)3 she ordered ho!ding o$t her !e#t hand. ( dropped 7ester/s keys in her hand and !eaned #or'ard to give her a kiss. 3;o 'ay b$ster)3 Pat !a$ghed p$!!ing back. 39o$ can save that #or !ater. 9o$ %$st get in yo$r car and get going.3 She got in the Caddie !eaving &e standing !ike a #oo!. "he big engine ca&e to !i#e. Pat ran the 'indo' do'n. 3Good bye !ove)3 she said as she eased the car a'ay #ro& the c$rb. ( 'atched her drive a'ay. When she 'as o$t o# sight ( 'a!ked do'n to the C$t!ass. (s a convertib!e &ore recogni,ab!e 'ith the top $p or do'n: With &y tai!!ight it didn/t &atter. (t 'as hot o$tside and ( 'anted to be co&#ortab!e. ( en%oy the 'ind in &y hair. "he top stayed do'n. "he Wa!ther rested co&#ortab!y against &y kidneys and ( headed #or the 3<hyth& P!ace.3 (t 'as one thirty-three 2. "he p!ace 'as a!! !it $p. (t sho$!d have been hopping b$t the parking area 'as deserted e1cept #or the 2ercedes. ( parked beside it.

"he s$rro$nding streets 'ere +$iet. #ter ( c$t the engine the crickets and katydids started right $p. With the 'ar& 'ind r$st!ing the tops o# so&e trees near by ( 'as re&inded o# the park. ( got o$t o# the -!ds and 'a!ked inside. 5ones sat by the bar. .e 'as dressed in 'hite. .is si!k shirt) opened at the throat) revea!ed a heavy go!d chain. si!very si!k %acket 'as draped over the back o# his chair. .e didn/t see& too s$rprised to see &e. 30$siness a !itt!e s!o' Wi!!ie:3 ( asked as ( c!osed the distance bet'een $s. 3;o s!o'er than $s$a! @$ck-$p. What brings yo$ o$t this !ate:3 .is dark eyes !ooked intent!y at &e. "hey never strayed #ro& &y #ace. ( ignored the +$estion and stopped a step in #ront o# his tab!e) 32$st be to$gh to keep this p!ace open 'ith this kind o# c!iente!e:3 Wi!!ie 'as starting to !ook a !itt!e angry) 3(t/s a!'ays to$gh to keep a b$siness going. What do yo$ 'ant here &an:3 3( tho$ght it 'as ti&e 'e ta!ked a !itt!e) by o$rse!ves.3 -$r eyes never broke contact. ( don/t kno' abo$t hi& b$t &y nerves 'ere str$ng so tight ( didn/t need to !ook aro$nd) 'atching #or tro$b!e. ( 'o$!d have sensed so&eone/s entrance) #e!t their vibrations. 3We got nothing to ta!k abo$t)3 Wi!!ie said. .is ring covered !e#t hand tapped !ight!y on the tab!etop. 3( think 'e do. Why 'as 7ester #o!!o'ing &e:3 Wi!!ie #!ashed a big grin at &e) 3Shit &an) 7ester ain/t #o!!o'in/ yo$. 9o$ ain/t 'orth #o!!o'in/.3 .e !a$ghed at his o'n i&itation dia!ect. 3.e to!d &e he sa' yo$ /ro$nd so&e o# the gir!s today. 2an) yo$ can have a!! the #$n yo$ 'ant) that/s no &atter o# &ine= !ong as yo$ pay.3 .is hand sti!! rapped on top o# the tab!e. .e sat at ease behind the tab!e. 3"hat &ote! is yo$rs isn/t it:3

3(/& interested in ho' it does)3 he s&i!ed i&pish!y. 3Why yo$ interested: 7ike one o# the gir!s: "ake her) she/s yo$rs. Ca!! it a present bet'een #riends.3 3( !ike Wanita 0anks)3 ( to!d hi&. "he grin so$red on Wi!!ie/s #ace. 3She/s dead. pity too) /ca$se she 'as so&e good st$##. 7iked yo$ 'hite boys too &$ch tho$gh. 9o$ spoi! a good 'o&an treatin/ /e& nice. 2ake her think she/s a !ady) think she !ike anyone e!se. 9o$r 4addies sho$!d teach yo$ better.3 ( asked) 3What 'hite boy did she !ike) 4$rr:3 Wi!!ie !ooked s$rprised. 3( tho$ght yo$ 'ere s&art. ;obody !iked 4$rr) the #at bastard. Wanita !oved to #!y.3 30aker:3 3S$re) @$ck-$p. 9o$ think ( &eant) Wi!ey Post:3 .e !a$ghed) so re!a1ed) so in co&&and. 3.e 'as a da&n good #!y boy) too. (/!! &iss hi&= #or a 'hi!e.3 30aker #!e' dope #or yo$: 9o$ said he 'orked #or 4$rr.3 3( say 'hat ( 'ant to say 'henever ( 'ant to say it. ;o' (/& saying he did. .e got aro$nd) a !itt!e too &$ch #or his o'n good.3 ( 'as con#$sed. 0aker 'as #!ying #or Wi!!ie a!so: .o' did that ang!e in 'ith Pat: Wi!!ie stood $p #ro& his chair. 37ester didn/t ki!! those peop!e in the park:3 ( asked) b$t it 'as &ore a state&ent) $sing $p ti&e. 3;o) b$t he/s o$t !ooking #or yo$ no'. 9o$ %$st keep getting in the 'ay. ( to!d yo$ to stay o$t o# &y b$siness. ( &eant it. 9o$ 'hite peop!e are a!'ays !ooking) !ooking and !ooking.3 .e !a$ghed at &e. "he !ast !a$gh 'as his and on &e) he tho$ght. ( stood and 'atched hi& $nti! the so$nd o# his !a$gh e1ited the c!$b. "here 'as no s&i!e on his #ace. We stared) &es&eri,ing each other.

( broke the si!ence) 37ester/s dead. ( b!e' his #$cking brains a!! over &y o##ice 'a!!. .e didn/t !eave a &essage #or yo$.3 roar ripped o$t o# Wi!!ie. With both hands he !i#ted the tab!e bet'een $s and #!ipped it over at &e. ( 'as 'aiting #or it= ( had a!ready practiced 'ith it. We %$st keep on trying the sa&e tricks. So&eti&es they 'ork) !ike at the o##ice= so&eti&es they don/t. ( stepped back and de#!ected the tab!e o## to &y !e#t. ( 'atched hi& t$rn) reach into his %acket. .e sp$n back) a #!ash o# g$n &eta! in his hand) and he sa' the Wa!ther in &y hand. ( shot hi& t'ice in his &$sc!ed) r$nning back sto&ach. G$t shots take #orever to hea!) i# they do hea!. ( tho$ght abo$t shooting hi& in the knees so he 'o$!d never 'a!k again. 0$t he a!ready had his hands #$!! as it 'as) c$r!ed $p on the #!oor ho!ding his g$ts in his hands.

Chapter 1 ( parked a co$p!e o# b!ocks a'ay #ro& 0ryan "o'er. "he streets 'ere e&pty. ( 'as !$cky not to be spotted by the po!ice yet. "hat broken tai! !ight &arked &e #or the 'or!d. nd the da&age $p #ront #ro& the #ence didn/t he!p any. 2aybe &y !$ck 'o$!d ho!d. ( h$rried inside. (nside the e!evator ( !eaned against the 'a!!. 2y ribs ached. ( c!osed &y eyes. "he air-conditioning &ade &e shiver. (t had t$rned into a !ong day no'here near an ending. "he e!evator stopped. ( !ooked at the pane!. (t 'as Pat/s #!oor. ( &oved to the #ront o# the car. "he doors s!id open. "en #eet #ro& the e!evator stood #o$r po!ice&en ar&ed to their teeth) decked o$t in their best SW " o$t#its and beside the&) three p!ainc!othes&en headed by Grider. 2y heart %$&ped into &y throat. ( #ro,e. "hey 'ere !ooking above the e!evator) 'atching the indicator !ight. Grider 'as the #irst to !o'er his eyes and !ook inside the opening doors. Even the short hairs on the back o# his neck brist!ed 'hen he sa' &e. "he !ook on his #ace &ade &e &ove. ( !$nged #or the e!evator b$ttons. (t 'as s!o' &otion. ( banged on the b$tton pane! and 'atched each and every one o# the& !ook at &e. 2o$ths #e!! open. .ands 'ent to g$ns. Peop!e b$&ped into each other as they &oved. So&e o# the& got into #iring positions) others got o$t o# the 'ay. Grider sho$ted not to shoot as he &oved to'ard the e!evator doors. (t 'as the on!y ti&e in &y !i#e e!evator doors c!osed be#ore so&eone co$!d get a hand in. 2y knees 'ent 'eak.

"he doors s!a&&ed together. "he e!evator #e!! o$t #ro& $nder &y #eet. ( had hit severa! b$ttons on the pane!) the highest being 1?. When the doors opened ( pressed a!! the !o'er #!oors and got o$t. "hey 'o$!d have to search every #!oor roo& by roo& to #ind &e. ( needed ti&e to think. ( needed to see Pat. 4id the po!ice have her: "he !onger ( h$ng aro$nd the &ore peop!e the po!ice 'o$!d bring in. ( needed to &ove. "he 'ays o$t o# a high rise are !i&ited. ( ran do'n the corridor to the stair'e!!. ( headed $p. "he po!ice 'o$!d sea! o## the b$i!ding and search it #ro& the gro$nd $p. (# ( &ade the& &iss &e on the #irst pass ( &ight s!ip thro$gh the peop!e 'atching the e1its. (t 'as a s!i& chance. When ( reached the eighteenth #!oor ( had changed &y &ind. "he best de#ense is a good o##ense. ( signa!ed #or an e!evator and tr$sted in d$&b !$ck. When the doors opened ( stepped in and pressed the b$tton #or the gro$nd #!oor. "hey 'o$!dn/t e1pect &e to drop right in the &idd!e o# the&. .o' had they kno'n 'here ( 'o$!d be: ( hoped ( co$!d s!ip thro$gh be#ore they got organi,ed. (t 'as a !ong chance b$t the on!y one ( sa'. "he #!oors c!icked by the dropping e!evator. "he e!evator s!o'ed) and stopped. (t 'as the #i#th #!oor. "he doors opened. 4etective ;ance stared in at &e and &y Wa!ther. .e !ooked !ike he had %$st 'oke $p. .e 'as a!one. With the pisto! ( &otioned hi& inside. "he doors c!osed. ( said) 32ove to the #ront o# the car p!ease.3 ( patted hi& do'n and took a 0eretta #ro& its ho!ster. ( dropped it to the #!oor. 39o$/!! never get o$t o# here)3 he said trying to so$nd to$gh. (t 'as too ear!y in the &orning. 3With yo$r he!p ( 'i!!)3 ( said. 3What 'ere yo$ doing on the #i#th #!oor:3 .is #ace reddened) 3( 'as 'aiting on a SW " tea&.3

3Why 'ere yo$ on the #i#th #!oor:3 ( prodded hi& in the back 'ith the Wa!ther. 3 h) ( had to $se the bathroo&. ( bo$ght so&e 2e1ican #ood at ?K11. (t/s tearing &y sto&ach $p.3 "he back o# his neck 'as beet red. 3 &an yo$r age sho$!d kno' better. 9o$ get 'hat yo$ pay #or these days.3 "he e!evator ca&e to a stop on the gro$nd #!oor. ( pressed the pisto! into the s&a!! o# ;ance/s back. ( spoke +$iet!y) +$ick!y into his !e#t ear. 3"his 'i!! stay right here) don/t #orget it. We 'a!k straight o$t the #ront o# the b$i!ding. Where/s yo$r car parked:3 3We parked $p the street) in a garage to'er so no one 'o$!d see the cars.3 3"hen 'e/!! 'a!k to yo$r car. Got that:3 ;ance nodded. "he doors opened. "he !obby 'as e&ptyG We goose stepped rapid!y across the !obby and o$t the #ront doors and on do'n the street. 3Where/s everybody at:3 2y Wa!ther prodded ;ance a!ong. 3"here/s %$st eight o# $s)3 he said over his sho$!der. 3( didn/t 'ant to a!ert everybody i# it 'as a crank ca!!.3 3So&eone ca!!ed it in:3 39ea. "he s'itch board took a ca!! #ro& a 'o&an saying yo$ 'ere over here.3 3What e!se did she say:3 3"hat 'as it. She didn/t stay on the phone !ong.3 Pat 'as the on!y person 'ho kne' 'here ( 'as going to be. She had ca!!ed the po!ice to r$n inter#erence #or her. She 'as probab!y a!ready on a p!ane o$t o# the co$ntry. ( #e!t st$pid. ( 'as st$pid. 2y voice so$nded ro$gh. 3 nd yo$ didn/t 'ant to 'ake $p the brass:3 ;ance didn/t give an ans'er. .e had been in the can and not $pstairs 'hen ( ran into his &en. .e hadn/t kno'n ( 'as in the b$i!ding and ( g$ess

his cre' had started !ooking #or &e on the seventeenth #!oor. We 'ere ha!# a b!ock a'ay #ro& the parking to'er. ( h$rried ;ance 'ith a prod o# the Wa!ther. gain the night 'as #i!!ing 'ith po!ice sirens. "hey had beco&e the backgro$nd &$sic o# &y !i#e. ;ance !ed &e inside the garage. .is $n&arked @ord 'as on the gro$nd !eve! beside a van. We stopped at the rear o# the car. .e t$rned aro$nd to #ace &e. 34avis yo$ don/t have the g$ts to shoot &e #ace to #ace.3 ( s&i!ed. ( s$ppose it 'as a cra,y s&i!e /ca$se ;ance s$dden!y !ooked !ike his $pset sto&ach 'as 'orse. 3(/ve p$t t'o &en do'n a!ready tonight ;ance. nd either one o# the& &ade three o# yo$. 3(/ve got t'o +$estions #or yo$E 'here are the car keys and did yo$ #eed &y cat:3 ;ance started #$&b!ing aro$nd in his pocket #or his keys. s he did he said) 3S$re ( #ed yo$r cat. What kind o# g$y do yo$ think ( a&: ( 'o$!dn/t !et a !itt!e ani&a! !ike that starve. nd) and ( 'atered yo$r trees too. "hey !ooked !ike they needed it rea! bad.3 .e #o$nd the keys and handed the& over to &e. 3"hat 'as rea! nice o# yo$ ;ance) thank yo$.3 ( &otioned hi& to step a'ay #ro& the car. .e &oaned 'eak!y. When he sa' &e opening the tr$nk a !itt!e co!or ret$rned to his #ace. 3C!i&b in)3 ( ordered. .e did as he 'as to!d) 'ith the Wa!ther/s he!p. 3Watch yo$r head)3 ( said and s!a&&ed the tr$ck !id into p!ace. ( $n!ocked the driver/s door and s!id in. ( 'hee!ed s!o'!y o$t o# the garage and eased onto the street. 0ehind &e the night g!o'ed &$!tico!ored #ro& the re#!ected and re-re#!ected po!ice !ights against the g!ass e1teriors do'nto'n. ( started p$tting so&e distance bet'een &e and the&.

Chapter 2 9o$ hear abo$t being ca$ght in the 'hir! o# events. (t/s a !ot !ike &eeting rich) bea$ti#$! 'o&en. (t doesn/t happen very o#ten. "hat/s a good thing. ( drove s!o'!y thro$gh the e&pty streets to the so$th ri& o# to'n. @ro& the service road ( co$!d see the so#t c$rve in St. Pa$! Street. 5$st #orty #eet a'ay #ro& &e the dark shado'ing trees hid #ro& vie' the spot 'here Wanita 0anks had died. "here 'as a po$nding #ro& the car tr$nk. ;ance screa&ed o$t) 3.E7PG .E7PG3 ( stepped on the gas and t$rned a sharp right ai&ing do'n the !ong entrance ra&p to the #ree'ay. "he takeo## and t$rn pitched ;ance against the side o# the car 'ith a th$d. .e 'as +$iet #or the ti&e being. Watching both &y speed and &y rear vie' &irror ( h$rried care#$!!y into the night. 4o'nto'n 4a!!as dropped behind &e and "e1as Stadi$& !oo&ed ahead as ( crossed the "rinity <iver. t the sp!it ( veered !e#t onto 11C and headed #or the airport. 7os Co!inas and its c!ay banked cana!s ca&e and 'ent. "he stars in the night sky 'ere bright and c!ear. So&e o# the& began to &ove. ( 'as at the airport. "he entrance to 4K@W airport is !ike a !arge parking !ot. series o# booths stretch across the northKso$th high'ay raising and !o'ering their boo&s. "here 'as !itt!e tra##ic. ( s!o'ed) stopped) and took &y ti&e sta&ped parking ticket and drove in $nder the raised ar&. "he airport stradd!es the high'ay. >sing gro$ps o# &ini-c!over!ea#s the high'ay o##ers entrance to a p!ethora o# ter&ina!s. Where 'o$!d Pat be: Was she even here:

&erican ir!ines has the &ost #!ights o$t o# 4K@W. ( #ig$red ( &ight as 'e!! try the& #irst. ( e1ited #or the east ter&ina!. "he road sp!it. rriva!s c!i&bed to the top !eve! o# the ter&ina!. "he depart$res sank be!o'. "he narro' road t$rned and dropped to the covered parking. -pposite the ter&ina! entrance ( cr$ised s!o'!y #or a parking p!ace. "o &y s$rprise ( #o$nd an open spot near the door. "hat/s a #irst. ( p$!!ed in and parked. ( trans#erred the Wa!ther #ro& &y %acket pocket to the g!ove bo1. ;o one e!se 'as in the !ot. ( stopped at the rear o# the car and gave the tr$nk a so!id rap on its top 'ith &y #ist. 39o$ sti!! in there ;ance:3 37et &e o$t o# hereG3 he ans'ered. ( rapped on the tr$nk again. 3( can/t do that yet. 9o$ %$st be +$iet or (/!! open this thing $p and gag yo$. 4o yo$ hear &e:3 3( hear yo$)3 he ans'ered +$iet!y. ( 'aited a &in$te to be s$re he took &e serio$s!y. ( crossed over to the ter&ina! and entered thro$gh the do$b!e g!ass doors. "he esca!ator took &e $p to the ticket co$nter. "here 'ere three 'o&en 'orking the co$nter. "hey 'eren/t b$sy) %$st 'aiting #or their shi#t to be over. "hey !ooked at &e as ( 'a!ked over. ( !ooked a !itt!e ro$gh. "he night had not been kind. "he #irst one) a short) dark haired 'o&an 'ith a big dia&ond 'edding band asked) 32ay ( he!p yo$:3 3( s$re hope so)3 ( s&i!ed. She 'as a pretty 'o&an 'ith her hair pinned $p in back. She 'ore the dark b!$e &erican ir!ine/s $ni#or&) skirt and vest 'ith a !ighter b!o$se $nderneath. (t #it her 'e!!. 34o yo$ have any #!ights !eaving soon #or Geneva) S'it,er!and:3 She pecked at the keyboard arrayed be#ore her on the co$nter. 3;o) 'e don/t. "here/s a #!ight to ;e' 9ork that

departs in three ho$rs. (t connects 'ith Geneva= b$t that/s the best ( can do #or yo$ right no'.3 34o yo$ have any i&&ediate #!ights #or other internationa! destinations:3 She gave &e a !ong !ook b$t 'ent back to the keyboard) 3"here/s a #!ight to 2e1ico City departing in #i#teen &in$tes.3 ( got e1cited. 3Can yo$ check the passenger !ist #or &e:3 .er #ace beca&e stony. 32ay ( ask 'hy:3 3(t/s an e&ergencyG3 ( said and e1p!ained) 32y gir!#riend and ( had an arg$&ent ear!ier at @riday/s. ( sa' an o!d gir!#riend there. ny'ay Pat) that/s &y gir!#riend) stor&ed o$t and took &y car ho&e. When ( got to o$r apart&ent she 'as gone. She !e#t a note saying she 'as !eaving #oreverG (/ve got to #ind her= (/ve %$st got toG "hat other gir! doesn/t &ean anything to &e.3 "he 'o&an !ooked over at the other t'o and shr$gged her sho$!ders. Wo&en !ove a &an 'ho has !earned his !esson. She started back on the co&p$ter. 3What/s her na&e:3 she asked. 3Pat 2organ.3 She p$nched in Pat/s na&e) 'aited a second) then said) 3(/& sorry. ( don/t #ind her !isted any'here in o$r bookings. (/& sorry.3 .er pretty #ace act$a!!y did !ook !ike she 'as sorry. 32aybe she/s booked on another air!ine.3 3God) ( hope ( #ind her.3 2y distress 'as convincing. ( thanked the& #or their he!p and h$rried a'ay. "here are &i!es o# gates in the east ter&ina!. When ( 'as o$t o# sight o# the ticket co$nter ( 'ent thro$gh the #irst sec$rity point ( reached. "hat 2e1ico City #!ight so$nded too good to pass $p. -n the bank o# &onitors !isting #!ights ( #o$nd the gate n$&ber. ( h$rried. 9o$ don/t attract attention h$rrying thro$gh the airport. ( see&ed to pass a tho$sand gates be#ore ( reached the right one.

red head near the boarding gate ca$ght &y eye. ( stood at their rear and searched the #aces and backs o# heads ( co$!d see.0anks o# inter!ocked chairs #aced the 'indo's over!ooking the r$n'ays. "he seats on either side 'ere e&pty. . ( 'a!ked over and sat do'n.

She had the nicest !ips. ( co$!d see a to$ch o# skin 'here her ar& entered the %acket s!eeve. 3So 'here did yo$ get the c!othes:3 concerned !ooked #!ashed across her #ace. . ( took the ticket #ro& her. She thre' her ar&s aro$nd &y neck and p$!!ed &e to her) kissing and h$gging &e !ike ( 'as a !ong) !ost !ove. (t 'as a thri!! to see her. 39o$/re not $pset are yo$: We co$!dn/t !eave 'ith &e in a s!ip co$!d 'e:3 . 3( 'as so a#raid yo$ 'o$!dn/t &ake it in ti&eG . (/& a!'ays prepared. She 'as dressed to trave! in a !ight !inen s$it. "hat broad) happy co&e-on s&i!e covered her bea$ti#$! #ace.Chapter 3 Pat !ooked $p.3 She s&i!ed. 3(t/s best to trave! !ight any'ay. We/!! be o$t o# here in a &in$te 4ar!ing) don/t 'orry.o' here/s yo$r ticket and boarding pass)3 she reached into the p$rse she he!d on her !ap and p$!!ed o$t a ticket #o!der. 3( didn/t bring any bags)3 ( said.3 3(/& not 'orried)3 ( said re!a1ing into the chair.er b!o$se 'as si!k and s!eeve!ess. @ro& inside the #o!der she handed &e a one-'ay) #irst c!ass ticket to 2e1ico City 'ith &y na&e on it. 34ar!ing) dar!ingG3 she gasped o$t thro$gh her a##ections. "here 'as e1cite&ent in her eyes. 3Where did yo$ get the c!othes:3 3We!!) yo$ kno' &e. Pat sett!ed back in her seat ho!ding &y right hand tight!y. 34id yo$ check yo$r bags yet:3 she asked.

( asked her) 3 ren/t yo$ going to ask &e ho' it 'ent 'ith Wi!!ie:3 3( kno' ho' it 'ent 4ar!ing.3 She !a$ghed. 9o$/re a&a. 3( had so&e things at the o##ice. 3.3 Pat act$a!!y b!$shed. (t/s an easy thing to do. She 'as a handso&e 'o&an. "hat/s 'hat yo$ saidG3 ( ignored that one. .( s&i!ed. "here 'as a si!ence bet'een $s 'hi!e 'e e1changed !ooks. (/& s$re yo$ co$!dn/t he!p yo$rse!#. #ter a!! he did start it.3 3( ki!!ed hi&)3 ( said.3 39o$ didn/t see any po!ice:3 She p$!!ed her hand a'ay. "here/s a #riend there 'ho/s been taking care o# so&e things #or &e.e sho$!dn/t have tried to ki!! yo$. 4on/t #ee! bad abo$t it. 30eca$se 'e 'ere s$ppose to &eet here.o) (/& not $pset. 3 &ong other things)3 she s&i!ed.e 'as a dr$g dea!er and those kind o# peop!e are dangero$s. ( s&i!ed) 3. ( !ooked at her pro#i!e) her s&ooth high #orehead) deep dark eyes) sharp!y etched nose) and strong chin. Why:3 3(# yo$ didn/t see any po!ice 'hy didn/t yo$ 'ait:3 Pat t$rned to #ace &e. 39o$/re %$st so reso$rce#$!. 3-# co$rse not.3 She took &y hand and !ooked back o$t into the e1c$se #or night at the airport. She t$rned sad) bro'n eyes on &e and said) 39o$ poor thing. "hen 'e have to #!y do'n to 0e!i. 9o$/re here.3 ( took her hand in &ine. .3 Pat s&i!ed. 3"he 'ay things have been ( decided it 'as s&art to keep so&e there.e. . ( $sed &y !e#t hand to t$rn her chin to'ards &e.3 32oney:3 ( asked.o' co&e 'e/re going to 2e1ico City:3 3We!!)3 she said in a h$shed 'hisper) 3( kno' 'here 'e can get so&e good passports in 2e1ico City. 39o$ didn/t have any c!othes at the o##ice be#ore.ing.

o' &any years have yo$ been 'orking 'ith hi&:3 She didn/t ans'er &y +$estion.3. ( kno' it is. 5ones to!d &e 7ester 'asn/t #o!!o'ing &e. nd they kne' it 'as 4$rr/s ho$se. 9o$ started stea!ing #ro& hi& and se!!ing to 4$rr. 9o$/re 'orth thirty &i!!ion do!!ars. ( didn/t rea!i. "hat &eans they ca&e to 4$rr/s ho$se beca$se o# yo$. -nce yo$ 'ere by yo$rse!# yo$/d give the& 'hat they 'anted) the dr$gs) the &oney) anything) everything.e &$st have seen &y car in the a!!ey 'hen he 'as !eaving.e 'asn/t trying to ki!! &e)3 ( said. . Whether ( can prove it is another &atter. 3(t 'as yo$ he 'anted. 30$t no' at the o##ice 7ester 'as a#ter &e. 5$st 'anted to scare $s. (/& g!ad yo$ tho$ght ( %$st &ight r$n yo$ do'n: "hat ( %$st &ight get a'ay #ro& the po!ice yo$ sent to yo$r o##ice: 3.e ho' co&p!icated things 'ere be#ore. Sho$!d ( !et yo$ &ake a phone ca!! and #i1 that error:3 . . "hey !et $s o$t o# there. !! they needed 'as so&eone to cover the back.o' co$!d ( get into 2e1ico: 9o$ need (4 there too. 3Why 'o$!d he 'ant to ki!! &e: (/ve never &et the &anG "hat/s abs$rdG3 3. 3( s$ppose so&e'here a!ong the !ine yo$r c$t got too s&a!!. 3(/& #!attered yo$ bo$ght the ticket #or &e. "hat/s 'hen he kne' ( 'as 'ith yo$.o Pat) it/s tr$e.3 Pat 'as si!ent= her hands 'ere !i&p over &ine. "hen yo$ started i&porting on yo$r o'n) $sing 0aker and 4$rr. "heir po!ice 'o$!d be a!! over &e 'hen 'e !anded.3 Pat shook her head) dis!odging &y hand. nd it 'orked. (/& s$rprised the po!ice aren/t a!! over &e here. ( !i#ted her chin so ( co$!d !ook into her #ace. 3"hey co$!d have ki!!ed $s then i# they/d 'anted too. "hey didn/t 'ant anything to happen to yo$. She !a$ghed) b$t it 'as a !itt!e too high pitched #or &y co&#ort.

3( can/t do that Pat. "he big #ish eat the !itt!e #ish.3 3"hey/re not 'rongG3 she cried o$t. "hey 'ere &aking the second boarding ca!! as 'e e1ited the sec$red area. "he attendants at the gate &ade the boarding anno$nce&ent #or the #!ight. Pat and ( sat there 'atching the !ine #or&) 'atching the attendants take boarding passes. 3"hat/s the 'ay !i#e is. "hey 'ere a +$iet gro$p and &ost!y as!eep. 39o$/re the big #ish Pat. (/ve got to set things right. "here/s p!enty o# &oney. We can get on the p!ane and !eave this. We can be so happy togetherG3 (t 'as an enticing o##er. 3( !ove yo$ 2arv. ( hoped yo$/d #ind &e."here 'ere tears in her eyes. . Peop!e in the 'aiting area stood and began to &ove to the gate. We/re the big #ishG3 ( shook &y head. 9o$ kno' that) don/t yo$: -h) ( do !ove yo$ 2arvG 9o$/ve got to be!ieve &e. 7et/s get on the p!ane.3 ( stood $p and took ho!d o# her ar&) he!ping her to a standing position.

t the e1it gate ( paid the parking charge and 'e headed back to 4a!!as. ( had to give hi& a !ot &ore credit than ( had be#ore. po!ogetica!!y) she said) 3.o!ding Pat by the e!bo') ( escorted her +$ick!y thro$gh the !obby and back to'ard the esca!ator.3 She !ooked straight ahead. Pat !ooked start!ed 'hen she heard the voice. ( 'as starting to !ike the g$y.ica!!y) h$&oro$s!y) 3(s that the po!ice in the tr$nk:3 .ang in there 4re') it 'on/t be &$ch !onger.o) ( didn/t have any !$ggage. 3. .3 3-kay)3 he ans'ered.on. We reached the car. "hat/s "e1as. When Pat #ina!!y spoke she asked +$i. "here 'as a #ragi!e #ragrance in the air.Chapter . (t 'o$!d be a co!or#$! s$nrise. "his 'as a!! ( had at the o##ice. 3. ( opened the door #or Pat and 'a!ked aro$nd and got in. "he sky 'as !ightening $p behind the city. ( banged on the tr$nk. ( !ove this)3 his &$##!ed voice ans'ered. . We c!osed the distance to the esca!ator and rode do'n to the !o'er !eve! and 'a!ked +$ick!y thro$gh the doors o$t to the parking !ot. S&a!!) bi!!o'y c!o$ds cro$ched near the hori. (t 'as $nco&#ortab!y hot.e 'as taking a!! this rea! 'e!!.. "here 'as si!ence in the car #or a short distance.ance: 9o$ sti!! in there: 9o$ doing okay:3 3S$re) (/& #ine. 34o yo$ 'ant to try to get yo$r !$ggage o## the p!ane:3 ( asked.er hair s'ir!ed bea$ti#$!!y) the ends shining bright!y in the !ights o# the !obby. She shook her head. @ive-thirty in the &orning and it 'as hot.

3 3(t 'asn/t anything. 3"hat/s the po!ice. .ance.3 "hat 'as a!! she said #or a &o&ent then she ta!ked) 3(/& sorry abo$t that 2arv. "he ear!y &orning tra##ic 'as thickening b$t it 'as sti!! easy going. 3"here 'o$!d/ve been no !oose ends at a!! that 'ay. (t 'as a ca!&) s'eet) happy !a$gh.o one ( co$!d ta!k to) no one !ike yo$G !! this %$st happenedG ( co$!dn/t he!p itG 9o$/ve got to be!ieve &e) yo$/ve got toG3 ( re!eased &y right hand #ro& the 'hee! and encirc!ed her sho$!ders) p$!!ing her tight!y against &e.oney.3 Pat !a$ghed !ight!y.3 She gasped. L$iet!y she said) 3( !ove yo$. 2oaning so#t!y as i# in pain she crossed the distance bet'een $s and c!$tched &y neck) b$rro'ing her #ace into &y sho$!der) 'iping tears o## against &y %acket. ( didn/t !ook over at her.( drove) keeping &y eyes on the road. We 'ere in 4a!!as speeding a!ong the #ree'ay. ( rea!!y a&G ( %$st didn/t kno' 'hat to doG ( 'as a#raid o# 'hat yo$ &ight !earn #ro& Wi!!ie. "hen so&eone tries to take it a!! a'ay. . "he east sky 'as g!o'ing= p$##y) paste! co!ored c!o$ds #o$ght each other to be !ooked at.e 'as one o# the cops staked o$t at yo$r o##ice)3 ( ans'ered.e !oaned &e this car. . "here 'as a +$ick sni## #ro& Pat and she h$gged &e tighter.ing) . #ter a!! those terrib!e things yo$ said abo$t &e at &y ho$se) 'hat co$!d ( do:3 39o$ co$!d have $sed a gi&!et on &e)3 ( ans'ered her. 9o$ have to bite and kick and scratch #or everything yo$ get. 32arv) 2arv) ho' can yo$ say that: ( !ove yo$G 9o$ %$st don/t kno' ho' hard it*s been. 39o$ are a&a. 3Where are 'e going:3 Pat asked in a 'eak 'hisper. 9o$ re&e&ber 4etective .3 3( !ove yo$) Pat. 30$t ( s$ppose yo$ kne' that:3 3-h. ( had to do so&ethingG "here 'as no one ( co$!d tr$st then. 3( be!ieve yo$ dar!ing)3 'as a!! ( said as ( drove on. .3 We 'ere si!ent #or a 'hi!e driving do'n the road.

Getting o!d &$st be to$gh on the syste&. back o$t in a &in$te. 9o$/!! !ike hi& and 2argaret.ance) 35$st a !itt!e !onger kid. 2argaret 'ent into the kitchen to &ake it. 3(/& sorry #or the tro$b!e @. .3 Pat sn$gg!ed tight!y against &e. Get in here +$ickG3 She !itera!!y p$!!ed $s both inside the ho$se and s!a&&ed the door sh$t behind $s.3 ( didn/t 'ait #or an ans'er. She acted as tho$gh 'e 'ere a co$p!e %$st arriving back into to'n.3 She s&i!ed at &e and s!id o$t o# the car.W. 'asn/t in the bathroo& this ti&e. Pat sat !ooking at &e) hesitant!y.W.W.e !ooked as!eep.W. "hey 'on/t bite. ( took Pat $p to the #ront door and rang the be!!. . 3Where have yo$ been:3 she asked &e. She 'as shocked. 3Good 7ord 2arvin 4avis.W.e/!! be ab!e to he!p. "he s$n 'as $p 'hen ( p$!!ed into @. 2argaret #o!!o'ed @. (t 'as a da&n good act) too. "o 2argaret he said) 3We got any co##ee:3 "hen to $s) 39o$ a!! 'ant so&e co##ee:3 ( dec!ined b$t Pat said yes.W. t !east @. 3"hey/ve got a dragnet o$t #or yo$G "his ho$se has been #$!! o# po!ice gri!!ing @.W. 2argaret ans'ered the door. ( th$&ped on the side o# the car and said to ./s ho$se.:3 2argaret !ooked at &e #or a &o&ent then h$rried back to'ard the bedroo&. She 'as in her ho$se robe b$t !ooked !ike she had been $p #or a 'hi!e. . 3Co&e on in.3 3(t/s okay) no prob!e&)3 he ans'ered s!eepi!y.3(/& going to @. ( opened &y door and got o$t. hoping he co$!d !ead the& to yo$G3 32argaret) (/!! te!! yo$ everything !ater) okay: Can ( ta!k to @./s drive'ay and parked.3 3Good.

ho!ding &y hand o$t to hi&. ( think she/!! te!! yo$ a!! abo$t it. . 3 nd yo$ need to send so&eone o$t to "he <hyth& P!ace. "hat 'as i&possib!e.3 Pat/s #aced !ooked &ore be'i!dered than @.e/s in the tr$nk. 39o$ need to have so&eone check o$t her ho&e type'riter. .e !ooked at &e b$t stretched o$t a hand. Pat 'as in shock.3 ( ca$ght &y breath and asked) 34o yo$ &ind i# ( !ay do'n #or a 'hi!e: 2y ribs ache and (/& a !itt!e tired. ( had spent &ore than one night there a#ter having a !itt!e too &$ch #$n. 3. 4on/t 'orry @.y or the best actress a!ive.ance is o$t in the car)3 ( said. (t 'o$!d be a &irac!e i# ( saved &yse!#.e &anaged to nod his head to &y +$estion..W. !ooked at &e) then at Pat) and then back to &e. She had e1pected &e to save her.W.W.3 @. ( rea!!y got hi& that ti&e.@. She/s either cra. "hey 'atched &e c!ose the bedroo& door as 2argaret ca&e back in 'ith c$ps o# co##ee. Mind o# !ike this ti&e.) ( rea!!y &ean this 'hen ( say it= this is the 'o&an ( !ove) Pat 2organ. !ook &ore s$rprised.3 ( had never seen @. 0oth o# the& see&ed to $nderstand nothing abo$t 'hat 'as going on. ( shot 5ones !ast night) this &orning. ( o'e hi& a !ot and ( pro&ised hi& an e1c!$sive. .. ( gave hi& the car keys.ere)3 ( said to @. ./s. 3.W. She/s been r$nning coke into to'n and she 'as trying to get rid o# a!! her connections.W.W. 4i1on. ( didn/t give hi& ti&e to co&&ent) 3Pat/s the Gi&!et ki!!er @.e &ight sti!! be a!ive . ( 'a!ked past hi& back to the spare bedroo&.W. ( did the introd$ctions) 3Pat) this is &y best #riend in !i#e) @. 3@. 'as d$&bstr$ck. She did the !etters on it. 9o$ &ight even #ind the #o$rth section o# the !etter o$t there. it 'as se!#-de#ense.W. @irst tho$gh yo$ have to ca!! 2ark L$ant.W.3 "hey shook hands and said he!!o. 3.

( had a !ot on &y &ind= kidnapping a cop) staying o$t o# %ai!) !oving a &$rderess) keeping &y !icense) #eeding the cat and 'atering the trees. "he End . 0$t 'hen the going gets to$gh the to$gh get going. nd $g$st is a!'ays a bad &onth. "he -!ds sti!! had a cracked tai!!ight and no' so&e #ront end da&age. (t 'as %$st 5$!y. ( 'o$!d have to ta!k to that "ho&pson g$y again and have 5o nn 'orrying &e. ( p$!!ed o## &y %acket and dropped it to the #!oor) t$rned the air on high and !ay do'n across the so#t bed. "he coo! air #ro& the 'indo' $nit #e!t good. !ot to 'orry abo$t."he bedroo& 'as s&a!! 'ith a 'indo' air-conditioning $nit in it. We sti!! had $g$st to go. 9o$ don/t a!'ays kno' 'here they/re headed tho$gh. (t &akes it to$gh to s!eep.

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