How Will I Know You?

"No, not disappeared. Before she died, Susanne reminded herself. For almost a month she'd allowed herself to think there was a possibility she would see her daughter again, but after the most recent visits from the police chief, there was no way to sustain that fantasy.

And not only had she died rather than having run away or been taken off somewhere -- still to return or be returned to them -- she had been murdered. And Martin -- Martin! -- had been accused of doing it. In the almost twenty-four hours since Doug Armstrong notified them of the crime, Susanne barely allowed the fact to penetrate the haze of shock she still felt from the first news that her daughter was dead. The chief had told them without elaborating that the police felt confident in their 'good evidence' against the suspect they had in custody. 'Locked up,' Armstrong added, as if anticipating their need to be reassured on this point."

***

"I'm not sure if I feel a bond with Percy because we're both black or because we've both worked security jobs, but it's probably both. He calls me Pablo because, he says, Picasso is the only artist he ever knew anything about, before me. I repeated my conversation with the man in the sauna, and he shook his head and said White guys as if I'd know exactly what he meant, which, in a way, I did. Still, I felt a little bad about the encounter. The man in the sauna was awkward, but at least he thought about things. So did Susanne. So did I. But at the moment, I wasn't in the mood for those things. I held her close and, my mouth moving in her hair, whispered that I hoped she wasn't going to be sorry about what we'd just done."

***

"It was a new line of questioning. The first day, when he thought it was possible Joy might have run away, the chief had asked just a few things, acting as if Harper's answers weren't important. Now that her body had been found, he paid more attention. 'Was it about drugs?'

When she looked down at her lap and shook her head again, he sighed. 'We were hoping you might do your best to come up with something to help us. If you don't mind my saying, you don't seem all that sad about this. I thought she was your best friend.'

Was. Was your best friend. Of course he used the past tense because she was dead, but he didn't know the past tense had begun before that.

***

"If someone had told him in high school that someday he'd find himself groping around underwater for something nobody wanted to touch, he'd have laughed and said, Yeah, that'll happen. Right after I become a Boy Scout. But he took the class, then joined the crew, because he knew it would boost his stock in Doug's eyes (which he cared about only because Alison cared about it), and he wasn't sure how else to do that...

"But before now he'd only gone under to bring up a gun a guy he'd known in high school had used to shoot his wife and her woman lover, and the broken pedal of a five-speed belonging to a boy abducted by his ex-con junkie father as he rode home from school one day. This would be his first attempt to locate an actual person, and in zero vis, at that. Was anyone ever ready for this?"