through the shame and gave him a nice little rush.
He needed a bigger fucking rush. He had money. The afternoon of hanging around that day care center parking lot, waiting for some mother to leave her purse in the car while she went in to pick up her kid, had paid off. Maybe it wasnât exactly robbing banks, but shit, those women deserved it. Why werenât they home taking care of their kids anyhow? Fuck âem. Theyâd only been good for seventythree dollars, but that was enough for a buzz good enough to enjoy thinking through his possibilities.
Somehow, heâd get his chance at whatever there was in that house of old lady Dunwoodieâs. Meanwhile, heâd wait. And watch.
It took Sallyâs brain three tries to figure out waking up. Impressions shifted, shuffled around seeking some kind of jigsaw fit, and finally came to the astounding resting place of Meg Dunwoodieâs cool and peaceful bedroom, Laramie, Wyoming.
The last thing she remembered seeing was the taillights of Dickie Langhamâs Albany County patrol car, shrinking off down Eleventh Street. She had a vague memory of dragging herself up the stairs. The housekeeper had turned on a lamp on a bedside table in the master bedroom. Sally walked toward the light, kicking off her Birkenstocks in the hallway, yanking her shirt over her head as she crossed the bedroom threshold, throwing the shirt into a corner. She sat down on the bed, hauled off her jeans and underpants in one move, unhooked her bra and tossed it on the floor. She turned down the covers, switched off the light, and slipped under a sea green satin coverlet between cool, fine, clean sheets. She was asleep in seconds, stone dreamless for hours.
Pearly pink light filtered in the windows on three sides of the spacious bedroom. She was pleasantly warm, her face cool in the chilly mountain morning air. She stretched, rubbing her body against the soft sheets, and realized how much room there was in the carved mahogany queen-size bed. Why would an angry spinster poet need a queen-size bed?
She pushed disorder into sequence, willed thoughts in line. She had learned to be good at thinking a thought from one end to the other. She had woken up in this bed because her new day job put her here, in Laramie: scene of some of her most unforgiveable crimes. She had come back in order to be paid excellent money to read and write and talk and think. To do exactly what she was good at, and happy doing. Dickie and Delice had welcomed her gladly, but she didnât deserve gladness, welcome, gratitude, or, for that matter, forgiveness. She was a professional. She couldnât expect love, but she could demand respect.
And the fact that Hawk Green might be five walking minutes from where she lay was of no significance what-soever.
Sally swung her legs out from under the covers. She wiggled her toes, stretched her back, and decided sheâd better start out her new life in Wyoming by going for a morning run. She was far from used to the altitude, and figured sheâd spend more time walking and gasping than running, but at forty-five, she meant, when possible, to follow the path of wisdom, health, and responsibility, even if it was Laramie out there. She laughed. It occurred to her that all twenty thousand roads had been paved with such intentions.
Still, a run couldnât hurt. She brushed her teeth in Meg Dunwoodieâs gleaming bathroom, a palace of vintage mirrors, crystal cabinet knobs, and tiny sea-green tiles. Washed her face, put on her running tights and bra, and a holy relic T-shirt from the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, California. Pulled on her socks and shoes and clipped on her Walkman, flipped on the tape, and stepped out into the crisp morning.
Her legs felt surprisingly good after four days in the car, and the first song on the cassette, taped off a broad-cast of the hallowed KFAT radio in Gilroy, California, was the Grateful Deadâs