THE ANYTHING GOES GIRL
Copyright ÂŠ 2013, 2015, 2017 Barry Knister All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher. This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the authorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Published by Open Window an imprint of BHC Press Library of Congress Control Number: 2017932133 ISBN-13: 978-1-946006-48-6 ISBN-10: 1-946006-48-3 Visit the author at: www.bwknister.com & www.bhcpress.com Also available in eBook Cover, interior, and eBook design by Blue Harvest Creative www.blueharvestcreative.com
ALSO BY BARRY KNISTER BRENDA CONTAY NOVELS Deep North Godsend OTHER NOVELS Just Bill Dating Service
JULY 13, 1998 Shortly after noon in the western Pacific, rain began falling north of Guam. It continued south to the Eastern Carolines, and reached Pirim at dusk. For the next two hours, the dense shower moved like a brownish curtain over the atoll’s chain of unpopulated islands. By ten it had reached the main island, shrouding Pirim’s five hundred acres in a severe downpour. When it rained there, words like shower and downpour didn’t apply. The water pounded down with biblical purpose, reducing everything below to a bowed, compliant silence. The paths leading to the lagoon became shallow rivers, and every tree hung low before the onslaught. Rivulets streaming off tin roofs formed beaded curtains at the doorless entryways. Inside the shanties, the islanders were doing what they did most nights—repairing fishing nets and nursing babies, shouting gossip over the steady drumming. The radio signal was poor due to the rain, but the islanders accepted whatever was broadcast, even white noise. Conversation revolved around tomorrow’s feast, a kama dip.
The Elders were gathered in the meeting house to give the American his title. ◆◆◆◆◆ The meeting house stood at the south end of the village. It was big but simply constructed, open on all sides with a dirt floor, and a steeply pitched thatch roof. The Elders sat inside on mats, facing one another in two rows. Each man’s place was determined by status and age. Above the men hung kerosene lanterns, and shadowed above the swinging lights loomed the undersides of the island’s longest seagoing canoes. A large tin basin and a gallon jug rested between the two rows. For three hours, the men had been refilling the basin and drinking sachao. Tonight, their drink was made from the fermented seed pods of banana trees mixed with yeast, and some of the American’s sweet-tasting soda-fountain syrup. One of the Elders leaned forward and grasped a cup made from a coconut shell. With all the reverence of a teaceremony in Japan, he dipped it in the basin, filled it, and sat back. He offered it to the American as custom required—cup in his right hand, hand resting on his left forearm. Vince Soublik bowed and accepted it, but didn’t drink. He rose with the cup and crept behind the men. He was tall and tanned, big in the shoulders from years of competitive swimming. His brown hair was cut short, and he wore only faded blue swim trunks. Stopping now before Chief Karl, he rested the drink on his forearm, stooped low and looked away. His head was pounding, but the cup was always offered with a bow and turned face. “Yeyrum. Seyor-in-Leporoi,” the chief said. Seyor. His new title. Granted permission to drink, Vince maintained the bow—the longer the pause, the greater the courtesy. Hearing murmurs of approval, at last he crept back to his place and sat before raising the cup to his lips.
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Overhead, wasps flitted among the suspended canoes. He saw they were safe ones. Last year, Cal Moser had released the first swarms of wasps as part of his agriculture study. To escape that first day, everyone had run into the lagoon. He finished and lowered the cup, then shook himself to show pleasure. “Inenen mwao, pwuh?” the chief said. “Ahng, ihmo, inenen mwao.” After sixteen months he was fluent in the language, in full command of the island’s system of hierarchy and protocol. It was a great honor for an outsider, a mehn wei, to be given a title. But his head… Half hearing talk of the district ship’s long-delayed visit, Vince reached forward to stir the basin. The headaches must be caused by some island crud his mehn wei immune system couldn’t handle. Sometimes the pain was so severe he had to visit Moser for a shot. He filled the cup for the man on his left and sat back carefully. Or did the cup go next to the man on his right? All at once Vince could not remember the order of passing. It was important, a matter of etiquette— A much sharper pain stabbed through his head. He heard laughter, unintelligible Pirimese words. Someone took the cup as he struggled to his feet. He was supposed to ask permission, but stumbled from the meeting house amid more laughter. In the darkness outside, tall palms hung limp from the slowing downpour. Rain seethed in shallow pools and fell cool on his naked shoulders. As the pain in his head pulsed, Vince looked around the sodden clearing. Kerosene lanterns glowed in the surrounding shanties. A radio played somewhere. Vince focused on his own house and saw a lamp was still burning. Nauko was waiting up for him. Something moved in the entry—Freestyle. The dog saw him and came quickly down the step.
As it splashed across the clearing, Vince started for the path on his right. Nauko. He focused on her, away from the pain. Soon he would be with her, braiding her hair in their cozy little house. He pictured himself standing behind her, feeling the thick texture as she read aloud from one of his books. Seeing her in his mind made the pressure in his head hurt less. There she was, reading, stumbling over a word as he weighed her lush hair in his hands. It moved him, what he was seeing and feeling. For the first time, Vince understood what it meant. You love her, he thought. It’s true. You’re over Caprice, and love someone else. He stepped under the dripping trees and followed the path to the beach. As the dog trotted alongside, Vince forced himself to walk slowly. Drinking sachao wasn’t the problem. Not the diet, not the climate. Once the baby was due, he could call for the float plane. He and Nauko would fly to Pohnpei. The dog saw something and bolted down the coral path, then lunged into the undergrowth. The stray had chosen him some months ago, and now lived under his house. Like an electric shock, another sharp pain stabbed his forehead. Damn. Pretro got the headaches, too. And Perman’s wife. Reaching the narrow trail to Moser’s, Vince left the main path. The entomologist spent the days in his lab, and typed up field notes at his house in the evenings. “Hey Moser!” He moved with care, watching the dark ground for fallen coconuts. Looking up, he came to a stop. Moser’s clapboard house was dark. That meant the entomologist was still at his lab, waiting out the rain. Worried and disappointed, Vince turned away. The dog was still barking as he stumbled back along the narrow trail. Aspirin and ibuprofen had no effect on the headaches. Not Tylenol, not even codeine. A coconut fell somewhere, the thud like a blow to his temple. He was sweating now, breathing through his mouth.
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He tripped on a root, caught himself. Mosquitoes had found him, thick everywhere in the still-dry interior. It had never been this bad. The pain increased, and Vince lost his balance. He fell back, landing hard on sharp bits of bark and coral. He drew up his legs and gripped his head. The small punctures on his spine and shoulders felt like last year’s wasp stings. Groaning, he rolled over and staggered to his feet. “Jesus, God!” He stumbled back toward the main trail. Water, cover— anything to stop what was happening. In seconds he reached the broad coral path, lunged left and ran flat out. “Shit! Help!” People would hear, come find him. No path met his feet, no sensation, just a swarming hiss fitted to his head like a helmet. He remembered the wasps and flailed the air. Locked between past and present, Vince lunged down the wet trail, crying, stumbling. He saw it happening again, his face and Nauko’s covered with stings, both of them racing to reach the water, screaming women behind them with babies— ◆◆◆◆◆ Hearing shouts, Freestyle stopped barking and turned to listen. The dog stood twenty yards off the main path, having chased a rat up a swaybacked palm. He barked one last time, then spun and tracked through vines and fallen branches. In seconds he trotted onto the main path, just in time to see the man disappear at the end of the road. The dog bolted after him. He skirted fallen palm fronds, coconuts, outrigger canoes pulled up for the night. Reaching the end of the coral path, he bounded down onto the beach. The man was slogging out into the lagoon, waving his arms, yelling. Freestyle crossed to the water’s edge and stopped. Part Labrador retriever, he loved to swim, but something was
wrong with the big pool. He stood before the rain-battered lagoon and barked, watching the man. The rain now stopped, and Freestyle splashed into the lagoon and began paddling. Head high, he struggled to keep the man in sight. The water grew smooth, and moonlight silvered the glassy surface. Still the dog labored. The water was now the way it should be, and the man would have the stick. This one put out food and never kicked, so Freestyle had come to stay. He plowed on, head high, to the place. He swam in a circle. Gone. Even his smell. For another minute the animal circledâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;barking, looking. But it was hard to do, tiring. Looking one last time, he turned and started back. It was wrong. Where was he? He put out food every day and was waiting somewhere, to throw the stick. Exhausted, the dog reached shore. He shook himself, then turned to face the lagoon, shook himself. For the next several minutes he loped up and down the beach, up and down, looking out. At last he stepped to the place where the man had run into the lagoon. Freestyle settled there, panting, facing out. Water spread before him, onyx black and glazed with moonlight.
MONDAY, JULY 27 W-DIG STUDIOS, SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN 8:40 P.M. “Okay, people, one more time. On three.” Everyone groaned. Feeling guilty, Brenda Contay watched as staff members again took their places in the main corridor. She drained her coffee and handed the cup to the producer’s assistant, Joyce, before stepping back into the littered office. She moved to the desk and picked up her phone. “Do the hair,” Jerry said from the open entry. “Lots of hair. Let me see.” Brenda put down the receiver and fluffed it out. Trendy shirt collar loosened and headset on, Jerry scrutinized her like a fashion designer before nodding approval. “Perfect.” He stepped away and the tracked camera and operator once more rolled into position outside her office. Brenda raised the receiver. “One, people!” She pretended to listen to the dial tone. “Two…three!”
She slammed down the handset, grabbed her helmet off the desk and ran into the hallway. “World War Three, Bren—go!” She made it look that way, as if something crucial or desperate or tragic was driving her. She huffed as she ran—they were miking her breathing and shoes. People ahead again looked up with fake surprise and fell back. At this point the camera would focus on her bomber jacket, blazoned with her Lightning Rod logo. When she was halfway to the exit doors, Lou Stock glanced up from a clipboard. In his signature blazer, the news anchor offered his Thumbs Up bit of business, holding a pen to prove he wrote the news. She reached the double doors and slammed through. Blinded by halogen lamps, she pulled on her helmet and ran down the barrier-free ramp. Her cameraman Ned waited next to the Harley. She swung onto the saddle and jump-started the cycle as he hopped in the sidecar. She gunned the engine, waited for Ned to raise his camera, and engaged the clutch. The cycle shot forward. Very bogus, but real enough in its own way. Why say it wasn’t? Nearing the studio entrance, she saw the security guy outside the guardhouse signal Ten Mile was clear. Brenda gunned the bike onto the road and turned east before opening it up, the Harley revving higher in her hands and spine. ◆◆◆◆◆ Just before the expressway bridge, Ned lowered the camera and nodded for her to ease back on the throttle. It was dark now, rush hour long over. Brenda swung the motorcycle in a wide U turn and started back. “Got your packing done?” he asked. “What’s to pack? Brazilians live naked.” “True. Did Sam buy you a new bikini?” She glanced at her cameraman. His flapping aloha shirt was covered with parrots, blond ponytail dancing above the
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bullet-shaped back of the sidecar. She looked back to the road. “Sam moved to California.” “No way. Since when?” “Two weeks.” “You never told me.” “He moved, that’s all,” she said. “He got a very good offer. We’re still friends.” “Brenda, come on. What happened? How long were you together?” Ned was being sympathetic, and thought she wanted to talk. It embarrassed her. Nothing had “happened,” and she felt no need to confide in someone. She couldn’t even remember how many months she and Sam Towland had been together. “I wish you were going with me,” she said. “Nah, I don’t do Spanish. They have someone lined up for you named Julio.” “Portuguese,” she corrected. “In Brazil they ‘do’ Portuguese.” “Whatever. Anyway, you’ll love it.” She knew better. There would be no time to get the feel of the place. All tabloid TV required were good visuals and shoot-from-the-hip first impressions. But agreeing to go to Rio next week was her compromise with Jerry, the new producer. He had refused her request for time off until she mentioned the latest offer from NEWS 2. “Whoa Brenda,” Jerry had said. “This is W-DIG, remember? We’re family, this is where it all started for you. If you need time off, okay, but how about a little quid pro quo? Here’s how I see it: Brenda Does the Barrio—I love it already.” Right, she thought. Family. She neared the station’s bright neon sign. Jerry was a con artist, and she missed her old producer. He was in Texas now, a straight shooter. The guard waved as she reached the gated entrance and swung in. Brenda passed up the broad drive and guided the cycle around the studio’s east wing. At the parking lot’s far
end, Maintenance had put up a utility shed for the Harley. They had painted her logo on the side, and a cartoon version of the motorcycle charging forward, like something out of the old Roger Rabbit film. She entered the shed and braked. Ned unwound his legs, hoisting himself out of the sidecar and stretching as she turned off the engine. “Sure you don’t want to talk?” he asked. “Go get a margarita?” “Thanks, Ned. Really, everything’s fine.” He shrugged and handed her the video camera. “Give that to the boy genius,” he said and winked. “See you man-yanna.” “What if he wants to do it again?” “Nah, he had it the first time,” Ned called over his shoulder. “The last two takes were so we know he’s an auteur.” She locked the bike and swung off. Outside the shed, Brenda rolled down the door and locked it before heading toward the studio. It was a nice July evening, warm, no wind. Big, puffy clouds floated in the night sky. It was winter in Brazil, but Rio would be hot year-round. She thought again of Sam Towland. How long had she been with him? Late January? No, December. They had met at a studio Christmas party for ad clients. Brandy punch and shrimp. He had come up and said, “You work nights, I work days. We were made for each other.” She smiled as she walked, remembering. Not a bad line, and there had been some truth to it. In the following weeks, what she came to think of as a separate-but-equal, don’t-askdon’t-tell arrangement had developed between them. He gave her a key, she gave him one. They sent e-mails and left voicemail. Several times a month, they penciled in half a night to eat in an overpriced restaurant, then make love in whichever apartment was more convenient. She had a feeling the good sex with Sam Towland could be explained mostly in terms of being too busy to waste any opportunity. When Sam told her
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he was moving to Silicon Valley and promised to call, she’d known he wouldn’t, and felt relieved. Brenda pulled open one of the double doors and stepped inside the studio. Ned had been right, the corridor was empty. She stepped into her office to get rid of the helmet, and saw the message light blinking on her phone. She pressed the button. “Hello, Brenda. Gordon Poole again. Elaine and I are looking forward to Friday. You wanted to know white or red. Elaine says it’s going to be Italian, so bring red. See you Friday.” Ever since Gordon’s call last week inviting her to dinner, Brenda had felt slightly cornered. It had been over a year since she’d seen Gordon, and she knew what had put her in his thoughts. She stepped out of the office and walked toward Jerry’s door. When she was at Davison Polytechnic, Dr. Gordon Poole had helped save her life. At least the life-of-the-mind part of it. The door to Jerry’s office was open, and his assistant sat at her desk outside reading the paper. Shaking her head, she turned the page. “Hi.” Joyce looked up. “Hi there. Stephen Spielberg wants to see you.” She looked back down at the paper. “I thought they phased it out.” “What’s that?” “The Peace Corps,” Joyce said. “Some local guy died on an island ten days ago. In the Pacific.” “He should’ve come here.” Brenda moved past the desk to the open entry. “He could have caddied for Spielberg.” The producer’s office was big, paneled, covered with plaques and awards others had won. Perched on his leather couch, Jerry patted the seat next to him with his remote. Just then, the monitor on the wall was filled with the back of her bomber jacket, her butt working hard in tight Levis.
“Absotively knockout,” Jerry said, pointing the remote. Now she was back-pedaling up the corridor. “In Rio I’m thinking Spandex with a satin bomber jacket, no helmet. They have no helmet laws down there.” Brenda pictured her graying English professor seated in his den, watching her butt in the new opening graphics. Embarrassing. Perhaps Gordon had watched her last night, doing the interview with a rabid pro-life sculptor. The woman’s latest piece had just been installed at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Nine shrink-wrapped fetuses arranged as tick-tack-toe on a gallery wall. Thursday, W-DIG would air the interview with the Greenpeace nut in Ann Arbor. During an argument over harp-seal hunting, he had tried to skin his neighbor with a filet knife. She handed Ned’s camera to Jerry, and looked again at the monitor. Once more she was racing forward, the anchor Lou Stock waiting to give her a Thumbs Up. “Well, now, that really makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Your neighbor says he thinks people have to earn a living and doesn’t give a bleep about baby seals. You tell him he’s full of bleep, go home and come back with a filet knife—” Everyone in the Wolverine Bar laughed. “Get him, Brenda, do it!” someone yelled at the TV. “If you ever saw—” “Yes, I’ve seen the pictures. Cute little baby seals all bloody out on the ice. But please don’t tell me that justifies trying to turn your neighbor into steak tartar—” More laughter.
Across the street, a man stood at a pay phone. He was dressed in a gray glen plaid suit, white shirt, repp tie. He watched through the window as the bartender handed a phone to one of the customers and moved back down the bar. “Bennett Fox? Mr. Fox, my name’s Lindbergh, I’m with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I’d like to talk to you about Vincent Soublik. We understand you were roommates. Correct. No, just Bureau procedure anytime someone dies we’ve done background on. That’s right. State Department, Peace Corps. Anyone we’ve cleared for Foreign Service. Now, if possible. Good, the law quad. Yes, I do. First floor, south wing. Fine, say in ten minutes.” He hung up and moved along South State. The student was in his second year, living in the law quad. Monday through Thursday, Fox worked from nine to three for a mortgage firm, doing property assessments. Then he hit the books in the law library until six. He ate in the union, hit the books again until ten, and usually ended up in the Wolverine Bar. He drank two Molsons, watched the news, and went home alone. His girl lived in Chicago, but she was working for the summer in Gla-
cier National Park, Montana. She missed Fox and e-mailed every day, messages full of mountain scenery and gossip about co-workers in the resort hotel where she waited tables. Fox had phoned her about his old roommate’s death. She’d written she was sorry. In the cabinet where he filed his lecture notes, he kept hard copies of her e-mails, along with the snail-mail letters from his former roommate. Lindbergh reached South University and crossed the road. The law quad was on his right. He passed before the Gothic entrance, and headed to the next cross street. On his left, the dark rear window of a parked Ford Explorer reflected the sidewalk behind him. Watching the window, Lindbergh waited at the intersection until Fox had turned in at the law quad before following. He walked through the passageway, then moved to the colonnade on his right. Fox’s ground-floor room faced the courtyard. A minute later, a light came on above Fox’s window air conditioner. Lindbergh moved to the end of the colonnade. Across the courtyard, lights shone in four upper-floor windows. All but Fox’s window were dark on the first level. He entered. The building formed a rectangle, all rooms accessible from an inner corridor. He followed the dim hall, and at the corner turned left again, completing the square. He stepped to Fox’s door and knocked. The student opened it, looking nervous. “Bennett Fox?” Lindbergh took a photo ID from his breast pocket and held it out. Fox studied it, smiled and looked up. “Charles Lindbergh? Seriously?” “Afraid so.” “You must catch a lot of flak.” He stepped in. “So would you if you joined the Bureau.”
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Fox closed the door and motioned to the easy chair at the foot of his bed. “How so?” “You must be studying too much to watch TV.” He waited for Fox to roll his swivel chair over from the desk. Both sat. The student crossed his arms and thought about it. “‘The X-Files,’” he said after a moment, smiling. “I’d be Agent Fox Mulder forever.” “They’d never let it go.” “What do you do about it?” “Maybe later,” Lindbergh said. “We’d appreciate anything you can tell us about Vincent Soublik. After leaving the States, did he call you from the islands? Make a phone patch by ham radio, anything like that?” “Nope, not much phone use there. He said mold screws up a lot of technology. He wrote a few times. I have to tell you, it’s really weird he drowned. He was All-State, if anyone—” “We know he swam in college. You say he wrote. Did you keep the letters?” The student got up and went to his file drawers, which Lindbergh had searched that morning. It had been easy to do, the dorm all but empty before the start of the fall term. But trust needed to be established. Without trust, people withheld details. “I reread them after his mother called,” Fox said, leafing through the drawer. “When was that?” “Wednesday. They were planning the funeral, but now Peace Corps says there’s no body. She’s really upset.” He closed the drawer and came back with the letters. Lindbergh took them and counted. Eleven, the right number. He studied the postmarks and opened the last. The contents were familiar, but he pretended to read before looking up. “Headaches?”
“Right. If you read them all, he mentions headaches several times. Bad ones, like migraines.” “His medical evaluation says he checked out fine before leaving.” “They started after he got there. Not in training—he trained in Hawaii. They started once he got to Pirim.” “He never mentioned anything to Peace Corps.” “It’s in the letters. Vince said he didn’t want them taking him off the island. If he called in, he was sure they’d come take him off. He had a girl there.” A good segue. “Another Volunteer?” “No, Pirimese. Vince was the only outsider on the island.” Lindbergh refolded the letter and slotted it in the envelope. “We’d like to make copies. You’ll get the originals back.” “Sure.” “What do you think, Mr. Fox? You were roommates for two years. Close friends. Is there anything here, between the lines, that raises doubts for you?” The student crossed his arms again and looked at the ceiling. Lindbergh noticed Fox had taken off his shoes. “Correction,” Fox said, looking at him. “I said he was the only outsider. He wasn’t. There was someone running a study out there on bugs. A researcher of some kind.” “Calvin Moser.” “That’s the guy. If there’s more to what happened, Moser must know it.” Lindbergh put the letters in his coat pocket and coughed. Time to get down to business. He leaned forward and folded his hands. “You say he had a girl. An islander.” “Right.” “Was he concerned about anything back home? Any chance he was depressed?” Fox looked at him. After several seconds, he nodded. “Now I see where this is going,” he said. “You have background on
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him, so you know about Caprice. You mean was he depressed because of her and killed himself. No way, not a chance. For a while last year, yeah, after she dumped him. Maybe that’s why he went out there, to get away. But Vince had it together.” Very good, something new. “We don’t know about Caprice. Is she a student here?” “Was. She’s from Louisiana. Baton Rouge.” “Last name.” “Thibodeau.” He spelled it as Lindbergh wrote. “She’s black,” Fox added. “Her father owns some car dealership, they have a lot of money. He didn’t like Caprice being with a white guy. He made her break it off and come home.” “Do you know if Vince wrote to her?” “Yeah, the first year. She called this spring. She said she hadn’t heard from him, did I know anything. I told her he had a girl.” “When you talked to her, did Caprice make any mention of the research project?” “Could be, I don’t remember. Why don’t you ask her?” Fox’s tone sounded wary. “I suppose it looks bad when someone you cleared for service dies out there,” he said. “Probably, it looks better if you can say he killed himself.” “No one’s trying to make it look like anything.” “Right.” Fox was definitely hostile now. “Anyone else Vince might have talked or written to?” “No idea. How’d you know I was at The Wolverine?” Lindbergh turned the page in his pocket notebook and sneezed. “We’ll be done here pretty soon. I’d appreciate a glass of water.” The student stepped to the sink next to his closet, turned on the water, rinsed his glass and filled it. Looking sullen, he stepped back and handed it over. “Chilly in here. Mind turning down the air conditioner?”
Fox frowned, but turned to the window, reaching for the unit’s control panel. Lindbergh counted a beat. Sparks flew. From behind, the student seemed to jump. Thrown back with great force, his feet left the ground before his head and back struck the cement floor. Lindbergh stood as Fox’s body shuddered. Possibly, the student was already dying from the shock caused by faulty wiring in his window unit. The wiring was a dedicated line, two hundred and twenty volts. But he was young. The building was old, with ungrounded sockets. This particular room might once have been a shower, or janitor’s closet. The student had landed on a drain hole that would serve as an earth ground. Lindbergh stepped to him and emptied the water on Fox’s stocking feet. He took out a handkerchief and wiped the glass clean before positioning it on the edge of the desk. He reached down carefully, raised the wire and dropped the hot end on Fox’s wet foot. As the body jumped, he tipped the empty water glass off the edge of the desk. It shattered next to the student’s convulsing thigh. Soon the body stopped moving. After a full minute, Lindbergh toed the hot wire off the student’s leg. As the Bureau had trained him, in covert situations it was best to work with available resources. Where possible, never introduce foreign elements into the environment. Fox didn’t work Fridays or weekends. The mother or girlfriend might call, but they would not suspect anything before Monday. He checked what he’d written and pocketed the notebook. Using the handkerchief, he rolled the swivel chair back under the desk, then moved to the door, listened, stepped out and closed it. Walking quickly down the empty hall, Lindbergh retraced his steps and went out the emergency exit into the parking lot
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behind the quad. He pocketed the handkerchief and moved outside the perimeter of light cast by security lamps. Once back on South State, he slowed and walked to his rental car.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Barry Knister was a university professor before turning to full-time writing. His first novel, The Dating Service was published by Berkley. His second, Just Bill is a novel for adults about dogs and owners, and was published by Gold Mountain Press. Knister has also published three novels in the Brenda Contay suspense series. Knister is the past secretary of Detroit Working Writers, and served as the director of the Cranbrook Summer Writers Conference. He lives outside Detroit with his wife, Barbara, and their Aussie shepherd, Skylar. Visit the author at his website: www.bwknister.com or at his publisher: www.bhcpress.com