Lisa dropped their daughter off at her mother's, then she and Neal sped south to Charlottesville, thirty minutes away. In a shopping center north of town they found the office for US. Cellular. They opened an account, bought a phone, and within thirty minutes were back on the road. Lisa drove while Neal tried to find Carl Pratt. Aided by generous helpings of champagne and wine, Joel managed to sleep for several hours over the Atlantic. When the plane landed at JFK at 4:30 p.m., the relaxation was gone, replaced by uncertainties and a compulsion to look over his shoulder. At immigration, he at first stepped into line with the returning Americans, a much shorter line. The mob waiting across the way for non-U.S. was embarrassing. Then he caught himself, glanced around, began cursing under his breath, and hustled over to the foreigners. How stupid can you be? A thick-necked uniformed kid from the Bronx was yelling at people to follow this line, not that one, and hurry up while you're at it. Welcome to America. Some things he had not missed. The passport officer frowned at Giovannis passport, but then he'd frowned at all the others too. Joel had been watching him carefully from behind a pair of cheap sunglasses. "Could you remove your sunglasses, please?" the officer said. "Certamente," Joel said loudly, anxious to prove his Italianness. He took off the sunglasses, squinted as if blinded, then rubbed his eyes while the officer tried to study his face. Reluctantly, he stamped the passport and handed it over without a word. With nothing to declare, the customs officials barely looked at him. Joel hustled through the terminal and found the line at the taxi stand. "Penn Station," he said. The driver resembled Farooq Khan, the youngest of the three, just a boy, and as Joel studied him from the backseat he pulled his briefcase closer. Moving against the rush hour traffic, he was at Penn Station in forty-five minutes. He bought an Amtrak ticket to D.C., and at 7:00 left New York for Washington.
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John Grisham - 2005