She dropped her keys in their usual spot on the table beneath the coatrack. Sunlight seeping through the transom over the front door lit up the darkly paneled foyer, and white specks of dust moved in the bright light as she took off her coat and hung it on a peg.
"I kept calling out, Gilly, honey?" she tells the woman doctor. "I'm home. Is Sweetie with you? Sweetie? Where's Sweetie? Now you know if you have Sweetie in the bed loving up on him, and I know you are, he's going to come to expect it. And a little oF basset hound with his little short legs can't be getting up and down off that bed by himself."
She walked into the kitchen and set several plastic bags on the table. While she was out, she stopped at the grocery store, figuring she may as well while she was right there at the shopping center on West Gary Street. She took two cans of chicken broth out of a bag and set them near the stove. Opening the freezer, she took out a package of chicken thighs and set it in the sink to thaw. The house was quiet. She could hear the wall clock tick-tock in the kitchen, a monotonous, chronic tick-tock she usually did not notice because she had too much else to notice.
In a drawer she found a spoon. In a cabinet she found a glass, and she filled the glass with cold tap water and carried the glass of water, the spoon, and the new bottle of cough syrup down the hallway toward Gilly's room.
"When I got to her room," she hears herself tell the woman doctor, "I said, Gilly? What on earth? Because what I was seeing… It didn't make sense. Gilly? Where are your pajamas? Are you that hot? Oh Lord, where's the thermometer? Don't tell me your fever's gone up again."
Gilly on top of the bed, facedown, naked, her slender back, buttocks, and legs bare. Her silky golden hair spilled over the pillow. Her arms stretched out straight above her head on the bed. Her legs bent like frog legs.
Oh Lord oh Lord oh Lord. Without warning, her hands began to shake violently.
The patchwork quilt and sheet and blanket beneath it were pulled down and hanging off the foot of the mattress, flowing off and pooled on the floor. Sweetie wasn't on the bed, and that got caught in her thoughts. Sweetie wasn't under the covers, because there were no covers, not on the bed. The covers were on the floor, pulled off and on the floor, and Sweetie was caught in her thoughts, and she wasn't startled, hardly even aware, when the bottle of cough syrup, the glass of water, and the spoon hit the floor. She wasn't conscious of letting go of them, and then they were bouncing, splashing, rolling on the floor, water spreading over old wood planks, and she was screaming, and her hands didn't seem to belong to her as they grabbed Gilly's shoulders, her warm shoulders, and shook her and turned her over, and shook her and screamed.
Trudy has been gone from the house for a while, and in the kitchen JL Vlucy picks up a copy of a Broward County Sheriff's Office offense report. It doesn't say much. A prowler was reported and it might be connected to an alleged breaking and entering that happened at the same residence.
Next to the report is a large manila envelope, and inside it is the pencil drawing of the eye that was taped to the door. The cop didn't take it. Good job, Rudy. She can do destructive testing on the drawing, and she looks out the window at her neighbor's house and wonders if Kate has begun her return trip from drunk, believing that going around the bend will somehow make her less drunk, or whatever it is that people believe when they are drunk. The remembered smell of champagne makes Lucy queasy and fills her with dread. She knows all about champagne and rubbing up on strangers who look better the more the alcohol flows. She knows all about it and never wants to make that trip again, and when she is reminded, she cringes and feels a deep, sick remorse.
She is grateful that Rudy has gone off somewhere. If he knew what just happened, he would be reminded, and both of them would fall silent, and the silences would only get deeper and more impenetrable until they finally have a fight and get beyond one more bad memory. When she was drunk she took what she thought she wanted, only to find out later that she didn't want what she had taken and was repulsed by it or simply indifferent. This is assuming she could always remember what she did or took, and after a while, she rarely remembered. For someone still in her twenties, Lucy has forgotten a lot in life. The last time she forgot, she began to remember when she was standing out on an apartment balcony some thirty stories up, dressed in nothing but a pair of running shorts in the dead of a very cold night in New York, a January night after a day of partying in Greenwich Village, just where in Greenwich Village she still has no idea and doesn't want to know.
Why she was out on the balcony she still isn't sure, but she might have thought she was going to the bathroom and took a wrong turn and opened the wrong door, and had she decided to step over the balcony, assuming it was the tub or who knows what, she would have fallen thirty stories to her death. Her aunt would have gotten the autopsy reports and determined along with the rest of the forensic profession that Lucy committed suicide while drunk. No test on earth would have revealed that all Lucy did was stumble out of bed to use the bathroom inside a strange apartment that belonged to a stranger she met somewhere in the Village. But that is another story and one she does not care to dwell on.
After those stories there are no others. She turned on alcohol to pay it back for all the times it turned on her, and now she doesn't drink. Now the smell of drink reminds her of the sour odor of lovers she did not love and would not have touched sober. She looks out at her neighbor's house, then walks out of the kitchen and upstairs to the second floor. At least she can be grateful that Henri was a decision that drinking did not make. At least Lucy can be grateful for that.
Inside her office, Lucy turns on a light and snaps open a black briefcase that is no bigger than a regular briefcase, but it is a rugged hard shell and inside is a Global Remote Surveillance Command Center that allows her to access covert remote wireless receivers from anywhere in the world. She checks to make sure the battery is charged and operational, and that the four channel repeaters are repeating and that the dual tape decks are dually capable of recording. She plugs in the command center to a telephone line, turns on the receiver, and slips on headphones to see if Kate might be talking to anyone from inside the gym or her bedroom, but she isn't and nothing has been recorded yet. Lucy sits at a table inside her office, looking out at the sun playing on the water and the palm trees plaving in the wind, and she listens. Adjusting the sensitivity level, she waits.
A few minutes of silence pass, and she slips off the headphones and places them on the table. She gets up and moves the command center to the table where she has set up the Krimesite Imager. The light in the room changes as clouds touch the sun and move on, and then more clouds drift past the sun and the light dims and brightens inside the office. Lucy pulls on white cotton gloves. She removes the drawing of the eye from its envelope and places it on a large sheet of clean black paper, and she sits down again, puts on the headphones again, and removes a can of ninhydrin from a fingerprint kit. She takes the top off the can and begins to spray the drawing, moistening it, but not too much. Although the spray contains no chlorofluorocarbons and is environment friendly, she has never found it especially human friendly. The mist bites her lungs and she coughs.
She takes off the headphones again and gets up again, carrying the chemical-smelling damp paper over to a countertop where a steam iron is plugged in and resting upright on top of a heat-resistant pad. She turns on the iron and it heats up fast, and she pushes the steam button to test it and steam hisses out. Placing the drawing of the eye on the heat resistant pad, she holds the iron no less than four inches above the paper and starts the steam. Within seconds, areas of the paper begin to turn purple, and right away she can see purple marks from fingers, marks that she didn't leave because she knows where she touched the paper when she removed it from the door, and she didn't touch it with her bare hands, and the cop from Broward didn't touch the drawing because Rudy wouldn't have allowed that. She is careful not to steam the piece of tape, which is nonporous and will not react to ninhydrin, and the heat will melt the adhesive and any possible ridge detail on it.