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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.

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

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

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

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

Sitting $p ( s!id the torn paper note across the top o# the desk to hi&.e ignored it. 9o$ avoid any action) any decision as !ong as possib!e beca$se it/s a !ose-!ose sit$ation. .ey) ( $nderstand= b$siness is b$siness.3 ( d$g in the deep !o'er dra'er o# the desk.e said) 39o$ 2arvin 4avis:3 ( t$rned the knob and !et &yse!# in.3 ( tossed the t'o bi!!s on top o# the note. ( 'as %$st trying to &ake yo$ #ee! at ho&e. t e!even-t'enty-#ive ( t$rned into the ha!! !eading to &y o##ice.e said) 3(/& not here #or the b$!!shit.3 3.3 .3 3"here/s s$ppose to be so&e &oney too. (/ve been p!aying 'ith it a !ot. "his p!ace is shit. 32an) this p!ace is a d$&p.3 ( he!d the door open #or hi&. . . Good thing ( don/t o'n any o# it) that &akes it 2aster Card/s prob!e&. ( c!osed the door behind hi& and headed #or &y chair behind the desk. (/& s$ppose to pick $p a note. 2y interior decorator) 0r$ce= ".e !ooked at the note b$t didn/t to$ch it.e !ooked $p as ( approached hi& and ( nodded a greeting.eoc!assica! 4etective) reviva! Phi! 2ar!o'e= b$t (/& 'ith yo$. s ( &oved thro$gh the door'ay ( ans'ered) 37ast ti&e ( !ooked ( 'as. Co&#ortab!y seated ( &otioned hi& to'ard the c$sto&er/s spot and said) 39ea) this p!ace is pretty bad.3 3S$re)3 ( ans'ered reaching #or &y 'a!!et. 4a!!as Po!ice Patro!&an !eaned against the 'a!! ne1t to &y door.e stepped in and !ooked aro$nd taking it a!! in. ( stepped aro$nd hi& and took ho!d o# the doorknob. So&e o# the& are !ike that. 3"hat it:3 39ep) that/s it a!! right. . 30$t it 'on/t do yo$ &$ch good.3 .E 0r$ce o# -ak 7a'n) to!d &e this 'as . . .e didn/t s&i!ed. Working cops never do. 2y 'a!!et #e!t dra&atica!!y !ighter. .is s&a!! bro'n eyes set $nder a heavy bro' g!ittered in a&$se&ent.is a !itt!e too #riend!y.

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

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

9o$ &ay have heard o# &e.o) go right ahead)3 ( s&i!ed back. . ( shook his hand. So) 'hat can ( do #or yo$:3 . 32r.3 Wi!!ie s&i!ed at &e and said) 37ester is nobody/s #riend) 2arv. . 32arv) do yo$ kno' 'ho ( a&:3 Wi!!ie asked. 4avis)3 he said reaching o$t a hand across the desk to &e.e !ooked !ike a &i!!ion and probab!y 'as.is skin 'as !ike ebony= his hair in dread !ocks and the s$it he 'ore 'as hand se'n (ta!ian) 2editerranean b!$e si!k. 5ones. "his g$y 'as &ore a nor&a! si. 37et &e introd$ce &yse!#. "he dark irises o# his eyes 'ere #i!!ed 'ith h$&or. 4on/t #orget the #ace.e) #ive-e!even) a h$ndred seventy po$nds) a !itt!e s&a!!er than &e. 7ester d$cked into the roo& and in his bea$ti#$! rich baritone ans'ered) 39es) 2r. 37ester)3 he ca!!ed to the big &an 'hose b$!k sti!! #i!!ed the open door'ay.e stepped back o$t into the ha!! and another &an took his p!ace..>.3 39es sir) ( kno' hi&.3 "hen to 7ester he said) 37ester) this is 2arvin 4avis. . 3S$re) yo$ $se to be a Wishbone tai!back #or -. 32arv)3 he s&i!ed a da.. 39o$ don/t &ind &e ca!!ing yo$ 2arv do yo$:3 3.3 3P!ease have a seat 2r.e/d !a$gh to hi&se!# the 'ho!e ti&e it took the big &an to break yo$r back over a knee. P!ease) ca!! &e Wi!!ie) a!! &y #riends do.o' yo$ p$sh dope in So$th 4a!!as. 2r. 3"hank yo$ 2arv. 2y na&e is Wi!!ie 5ones. 5ones is %$st #or b$siness. . (t 'as #ir& b$t not hard. 5ones)3 ( &otioned hi& to the c$sto&er/s chair.3 Wi!!ie s&i!ed.3 We both s&i!ed at each other so&e &ore.!ing s&i!e as he took the seat. 3-kay Wi!!ie) yo$/re to$gh) 7ester/s to$gher and (/& dead &eat.3 7ester &oved his head back o$t o# the roo&.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.3 ( 'as !ooking aro$nd the o##ice #or a big rock to cra'! $nder. ( 'ant yo$ to kno' that. She so$nded a&$sed. "hey can &ake yo$ or break yo$ 'ith a nod or a shake o# the head. s yo$ get o!der everyone beco&es te&pered by past #ai!$res and persona! #inances.3 32arv) ( 'o$!dn/t have ca!!ed %$st anyone !ike this. 0$t (/!! have an ans'er #or yo$ by to&orro'.v$!nerab!e than asking so&eone o$t.o' do ( e1p!ain a dead &an on top o# &e in the &idd!e o# the night. .3 3-kay) (/!! ta!k to yo$ !ate to&orro' a#ternoon.3 3 nd:3 Pat asked +$iet!y. "here/s a big dea! (/& trying to take care o# right no'. ( tried to so$nd ca!&.3 ( !a$ghed to sho' it 'as a %oke. 3(/& a#raid ( a& 2arv. "here/s nothing !ike a pretty 'o&an accepting yo$r advances to &ake yo$ act st$pid. ny ti&e better than another:3 3So&eti&e !ate in the a#ternoon 'o$!d be best. 3"hat/s 'hat the cops 'anted to kno'. 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. (/!! ta!k to yo$ to&orro'. 3What 'as that:3 Pat asked.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. 3We/re not back to that are 'e:3 Pat !a$ghed. 39o$/re a &ess 2arvin 4avis)3 Pat said. .3 nd then %$st !ike that yo$/re sky high again. 3Can yo$ ca!! &e to&orro': (/!! be #ree then. @ear!ess !ove is #or yo$th. ( co$!dn/t ans'er the& either.3 ( h$ng $p the phone and sat happi!y 'ith a st$pid grin on &y #ace. "hanks #or ca!!ing. 3( a& a &ess Pat. 3( hope yo$ didn/t &ind &y asking:3 9o$ have to act !ike a 3no3 doesn/t h$rt. 3S$re) (/!! ca!!.

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

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

(t !ooked to &e !ike ( 'as the on!y one trying the !atter approach.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.e sho$!d have tried ro!!ing his 'indo's do'n and keeping his and the car/s coo!. ( inched #or'ard again as the g$y behind &e c!i&bed o$t o# his stea&ing car. 7ots o# peop!e carry g$ns in their cars. nother #oot opened bet'een &e and the car ahead) b$t ( didn/t &ove. . ( noticed a #e' o# the peop!e aro$nd &e !o'ering their car 'indo's. "hat/s "e1as and !i#e) s$rviva! o# the #ittest. (n "e1as tho$gh yo$ best not even give so&eone the #inger.is horn beca&e +$ite. "here is a god a#ter a!!. Every state sho$!d &andate handg$ns in vehic!es. . Genera!!y) "e1as drivers behave the&se!ves.ar threatens &e) and a bea$ti#$! 'o&an ca!!s &e #or a date.e 'as !$cky ( 'asn/t packing. "he !ast #o$r days had been b$sy.e had b!o'n a hose. 7ooking in the rear vie' &irror ( sa' a b$rst o# stea& e1p!ode o$t #ro& $nder the g$y/s hood. 8ery b$sy #or a +$iet g$y !ike &e. "hat/s abo$t three years 'orth o# e1cite&ent #or &e st$##ed into #o$r days. ( 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. 2y #riend had set a #ine e1a&p!e. ( inched #or'ard again b$t the honking contin$ed. "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$t o# his 'ay. (t i&proves behavior) genera!!y. 7et the g$y behind &e s+$a'k. ( #e!t sorry #or the car not the g$y. 9o$ never kno' 'ho is packing. ( s&i!ed. (/& $se to the +$ite. . ( 'anted to te!! the g$y 'hat ( tho$ght o# hi&. "he g$y behind &e 'as taking a chance. Get o$t and kick in his car door) p$!! hi& o$t thro$gh the 'indo' and break his neck) so&ething !ike that. . "here 'ere .

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

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

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

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

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

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

( had to re&ind &yse!# o# that.e!!o 5o nn. -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. .3 3P!ease don/t ca!! &e 2r. 9o$ have to give decisions a chance to pan o$t be#ore yo$ discard the&. (# ( hadn/t chased a#ter 4$rr/s dead shado' &aybe no one e!se 'o$!d have died.3 32r. nd @riday &orning stayed that 'ay #or a 'hi!e) nothing specia!. 2aybe ( give &yse!# too &$ch i&portance.a!ey/s Co&et 'o$!dn/t appear ne1t go aro$nd. ( didn/t #ee! bad) b$t a !ot o# a!coho! can %$st &ake yo$ #ee! tired. 4avis) 5o nn.o' are yo$ today:3 3(/& #ine 2r. 4avis) this is 5o nn Co&bs. (# yo$ don/t) yo$/!! #ind yo$rse!# chasing yo$r o'n tai!.othing specia! b$t it gets the day started.Chapter 12 s (/ve said) actions #orce reactions. . (t started to 'ork on &y nerves) even over the phone. 2aybe the &oon 'o$!dn/t have risen again and &aybe . (t &akes &e #ee! o!d. She so$nded &$ch too serio$s. 2arv so$nds yo$nger. #ter a!!) her car 'as a !ot 'orst o## than &ine. ( had decided 4$rr/s &$rder 'as a s!o' 'orking case. ( got o## to a s!o' start @riday. !itt!e a#ter !$nch ti&e the phone rang. "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$p) sit at the tab!e and sip on the co##ee. ( 'atched it #or a 'hi!e be#ore ans'ering 'ith &y standard !ine) 3Private investigations) 2arv 4avis speaking. 4avis. ( i&agined her eyes shi#ting aro$nd nervo$s!y.3 3.3 ( !a$ghed. .

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

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

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

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

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

3 Pat took an e1aggerated bo'. 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$rn tab!e) tape and C4 decks) te!evision set 'ith 8C<) and 'hat !ooked !ike a short 'ave set. (t/s bea$ti#$!. (n #ront o# the #irep!ace thro' pi!!o's 'ere scattered on the #!oor.aven/t yo$ 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. (t 'as a bit &$ch. !ight #!$sh co!ored her cheeks) 3(/d be #!attered to sho' yo$ the ho$se. 3<ea! estate has been good to &e. "he roo& 'as h$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.3 . ( !ike it. 9o$/re %$st a hick co$ntry boy. 0esides) (/d !ike to have the ten cent to$r.3 ( !a$ghed. "he #ar 'a!! 'as pane!ed in &ap!e and he!d one o# the #irep!aces. 34on/t stand there staringG3 Pat interr$pted !a$ghing. 3.#ee!ing e1tra st$pid ask her.3 She t$rned and !ed &e do'n a short ha!! into the den.o') 'o$!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$th has been hanging open. g!ass topped 'riting tab!e) c!eared o# papers) a #o$r dra'er oak #i!e cabinet) and a &odernistic side tab!e ho!ding a co&p$ter and printer #i!!ed the space. She/s big ti&e big city) o$t o# yo$r !eag$e. . gir! has to be co&#ortab!e. s tho$gh reading &y tho$ghts Pat said) 39es) ( set it $p this 'ay. ( can a!&ost !ive here in this one roo&. We aren/t !ike 'e $sed to be.ophrenic) sp!it into three sections. "o the !e#t 'as an o##ice area.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

3 She !ed &e on into the e1ercise roo&.3 3"hank yo$ 2ister 4avis. 39o$ !ook gorgeo$s and yo$ kno' it. 3E1act!y)3 Pat s&i!ed.She !a$ghed at that. Pat !et go o# &y hand and stepped onto the tread&i!! and started o## in a +$ick %og.3 3S$re. ( think ( can #ind &y 'ay there and back. 3"here no'. "hink abo$t 'hat yo$ 'ant to order.o' +$it staring at &e so ( can #inish r$nning. s ( 'as trying to sta&&er o$t another apo!ogy she &oved c!ose and gave &e a !ong) serio$s kiss. 3( hope yo$/re not too starved: ( needed to get in so&e r$nning and ( can/t r$n on a #$!! sto&ach. .3 3We!!) ( g$ess yo$ co$!d t'ist &y ar&. She took &y hand and !ed &e back thro$gh the ho$se to'ard the e1ercise roo&. 3"hat/s 'hy yo$ #orgot to ca!! &e:3 She p$!!ed &e on into the ho$se and sh$t the door. 4o yo$ 'ant &e to bring yo$ anything:3 .3 2y sto&ach gr$&b!ed abo$t that b$t not !o$d. 3Wo$!d yo$ &ind getting it yo$rse!#: ( %$st 'ant to h$rry and get this over. She 'as hot) da&p) and s&e!t 'onder#$!.3 3.3 She s&i!ed. 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.o) (/& #ine.3 She stopped $s in the ha!! and t$rned to #ace &e.3 ( !ooked into those green eyes and said) 3Pat yo$ !ook gorgeo$s. 3>n!ess yo$ 'ant &e to p$t so&e &ake$p on:3 39o$ kno' yo$ are the biggest tease)3 ( to!d her. 3( %$st need another ten &in$tes and (/!! be done. 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 Pat #!ashed that s&i!e at &e. We are a!! #inish ta!king abo$t that) okay:3 3"a!king abo$t 'hat:3 ( asked and !a$ghed. 3( do !ike to hear yo$ say that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

there:3 3. 3S$re) (/& okay. ( ca!!ed @. pparent!y 0aker never carried cash. Either he had serio$s &echanica! prob!e&s or he 'as #!ying &ore &i!es than he ad&itted. 3(s @. 9o$ okay:3 ( asked. nd ( can s!eep !ate i# ( 'ant to.3 @. 3( hope yo$/re #ee!ing better.3 3( a&.o!d on and (/!! get @. 3. "hey to!d &e he had the day o##. ne' kid) even greener than yo$G3 .9o$ can get anything o$t o# a co&p$ter i# yo$ kno' ho' to ask. Stan had given &e copies o# 0aker/s #$e! bi!!s #or the !ast seven &onths.a. (/& covering Sat$rday #or a g$y) so he is taking today #or &e. 3What are yo$ doing at ho&e shaving: 9o$ sho$!d be 'orking.e/s in the bathroo& shaving)3 she ans'ered and s&i!ed) yo$ co$!d te!!. 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.W.W. (/& sorry ( &issed o$t S$nday. at the o##ice. 2argaret ans'ered. 30$t ( &ight be the on!y one.is #$e! had been charged to an E11on card. 3What/s $p 2arv:3 he 'hee.W. nd it !ooked !ike a trip $p to 4enton 'as on tap #or the day. So ( ca!!ed the ho$se. 2ia&i) 2e1ico) airp!anes) and Ear! 4$rr co$!d on!y add $p to one thing) cocaine. So&e o# his 2e1ican and 2ia&i #!ights had e1cessive #$e! $sage. ( rea!!y 'as #ee!ing bad. 2aybe ( had been p!aying it straight 'ith 2ark) even i# ( hadn/t &eant it. 2argaret is the best. . 2istake n$&ber one. 7ooked !ike there 'as a connection to &e. . ca&e to the phone +$ick!y) a !itt!e o$t o# breath.ed into the phone.e!!o 2argaret)3 ( said.3 3"hanks 2argaret) yo$/re a %e'e!. With &y e!bo's on the tab!e stradd!ing the co##ee c$p) ( r$bbed the spot bet'een &y eyes 'here the pain o# ideas arises.W.3 3 nyone ( kno':3 3.3 3( be!ieve yo$ 2arv)3 2argaret reass$red. nd cocaine in 4a!!as &eant Wi!!ie 5ones.

!a$ghed. (t/s never good. (s there anything ( can do #or yo$:3 39es) stay o$t o# tro$b!e.3 3( hate it 'hen yo$ say that.3 .W. (t/!! be okay. "hat/s 'hy ( need to ta!k to hi&. said +$iet!y.W.3 39ea) ( kno' he is.3 "hen he asked) 34o yo$ kno' anything abo$t that:3 3Co&e on @.3 3(/& s$re he does)3 @. "hat g$y/s bad. 4on/t 'orry @.W.3 39ea) (/ve heard o# it. "he &arkings on the backs !ook !ike !ettering.3 3"hanks @.3 .W. Give &e so&e roo&) okay:3 32arv) this is a &$rder) t'o &$rders. (/& a#raid they/!! h$rt yo$.W.ance takes it.3 "hen he added +$ick!y as tho$gh he 'as a#raid o# being overheard) 34o'nto'n they think those notes are co&ing #ro& a psycho. 30$t i# yo$ 'ant hi& yo$/!! #ind hi& at the bar. .)3 ( said trying to so$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) @. ans'ered) 3 !! ( kno' is there/s a bar in So$th 4a!!as ca!!ed 3"he <hyth& P!ace.o one is that green.W.3( don/t be!ieve that.e o'ns it.3 3(s he part o# that 4$rr thing: "he o##ice to!d yo$ to !eave it a!one.3 32arv) don/t &ess 'ith hi&. 9o$ kno' ho' serio$s they take that.W.3 3( 'as 'ondering i# yo$ kne' 'here Wi!!ie 5ones !ives.3 3"hat/s tr$e 2arv)3 @. 3.3 39o$ &ean ho' serio$s .3 3@. -## o# (nterstate CD near 27M 0o$!evard) right: ( tho$ght the g$y &ight act$a!!y have a ho&e. "hey/re not s$re 'hat they say yet) b$t they/re 'orking on it.o' 'hat do yo$ 'ant: (/& 'asting &y day o## here. 9o$ can #ind hi& there. 9o$ get a !itt!e big #or yo$r britches so&eti&es and sooner or !ater so&eone is going to take the& $p #or yo$.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

W. ans'ered !ooking back $p. h$ng his head. 3(/& not)3 he rep!ied #!at!y. (/!! be #ine) rea!!y. ( 'inced 'ith the &ove&ent. . "hey/!! be 'atching yo$ c!ose. 3"hey don/t have any evidence yo$ don/t kno' abo$t. .e anything #or hi& and yo$. "hey 'ant to tie yo$ in c!oser.W. . ( 'ent o$t to the car.W. ( 'anted to keep hi& sa#e. 0e care#$!.W.3 She !ooked do'n at @. to 2argaret then back to @. 9o$ ad&it yo$ 'ere there both ti&es b$t yo$r prints aren/t on either o# the &$rder 'eapons. .W.e had a #a&i!y to take care o#. ( don/t 'ant to %eopardi. .W. 2argaret %$&ped $p saying) 39o$ can/t go ho&e 2arvG . 9o$ have to e1pect so&e co&pany !oya!ty so&e'here. 2y head #e!t !ike it 'o$!d sp!it.e stared at the #!oor. ( g$ess it/s a!'ays that 'ay.e sho$!dn/t have to!d &e anything. 3( sho$!dn/t even be ta!king to yo$. ( 'aved good-by to the ho$se as ( !e#t.yo$/re 'riting these notes to yo$rse!#) that yo$/re a n$t r$nning aro$nd ki!!ing peop!e.e didn/t speak.W.3 @. 0acking o$t into the street 'as one o# the to$ghest things (/ve ever had to do. in a bad spot. 3(/ve p$t @. 3We/re on yo$r side 2arv) yo$ re&e&ber that. ( co$!dn/t ho!d anything against @.o) not yet)3 @.3 ( !ooked #ro& @.3 3We!!) ( g$ess ( sho$!d head back ho&e)3 ( said p$shing $p o$t o# the rec!iner.3 ( handed her &y tea g!ass. . 3( can/t stay here 2argaret.e 'as a!ready above and beyond the ca!! o# d$ty #or &e as it 'as. 34o they have a 'arrant:3 3.3 2y neck 'as sti##.W. then back to &e. 39o$/re kidding &e:3 ( asked hi&.o' can yo$ take care o# yo$rse!#:3 She !ooked over at @. 'anting hi& to agree 'ith her. 3"he cops think it/s &e)3 ( !a$ghed.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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