There were two more messages, she saw now, one right after the other.
Hey girl, any job news????
And any word from Douglas?????
Dani, in her bright new condo, waiting for Talia to have good news.
Talia hadn’t yet told her about the seizure. It would only worry her and
make the Providence job and decent health insurance and someone to
look out for her seem all the more urgent.
Talia stuffed her phone deep into her pocket. She’d heard from
Douglas twice since their meeting. First a phone message saying he had
enjoyed meeting her, then a text suggesting possible restaurants for their
date. Now even that exchange seemed like something from a previous
She had come to a Victorian house with scuffed front steps and a
carved placard hanging from a signpost.
Pierre D. Pierre
There used to be a neon “Psychic Readings” sign propped in the win-
dow, but some months ago it had been replaced with this elegant one.
Talia pressed the buzzer, which appeared not to function, then knocked
on the door, a quick rap-rap-rap. The sound of her knuckles against the
wood conjured, momentarily, Gordie on the other side, tapping their
Instead the door was opened by a man perhaps a decade older than
Talia, taller and browner, with thick graying curls that came to his
ears. He was wearing a blue tracksuit and carrying a small pajama-clad child.
Well practiced now, Talia swiftly explained her errand. The child,
perhaps a year old, watched coolly from the comfort of the man’s chest.
“So,” Talia concluded, “I’m wondering if you or maybe your neighbors
have any information.”
There was a flicker in the man’s eyes as he nodded. “Please, come in.”
At last. Talia stepped into a dimly lit foyer and was waved into a sit-
ting room, its shades drawn. “I return, one minute,” the man said, his
voice low, his accent warm, and disappeared down the hallway.