“Mr. Mosley,” I called and tried to push past her. She was a little thing, but she understood leverage and kept me pinned against the door frame.

“Who are you?” she asked.


“McKenzie,” a voice told her.

Reverend Winfield was sitting on Mr. Mosley’s sofa next to another deputy. He was the minister of the King of Kings Baptist Church of Golden Valley. I had met him on those few occasions when I attended services with Mr. Mosley.

“McKenzie,” he said again, shaking his head. “It’s too late. He’s gone. He’s gone.”

Gone? Gone? What does that mean, gone?

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Another voice said, “Let him through.” That got me past the door and as far as the kitchen, where I was stopped again. In the kitchen I found several more deputies, one of them working a camera. Mr. Mosley was on the floor. Suddenly he seemed so small, so fragile, so old. He was lying on his stomach, his face turned to the side. His eyes were open. He was still grasping the handle of the ancient percolator, the coffeemaker now on its side, its contents spilling out on the floor and mixing with his blood. There were two mugs on the counter above him. Mr. Mosley had been pouring a cup of coffee when someone shot him twice in the back of the head.

It was the same kind of day as before. The sky was blue and cloudless. Bees buzzed. Birds sang. People went about their business. Except they did it in slow motion and their voices were like sounds heard from the bottom of a pool. The reverend rose from the sofa and approached me. His arms opened. I could see him so clearly—the deep creases in his face, the gray in his mustache, the tiny specks of lint on his black suit jacket. Oddest of odd, I could see myself, too. A man with a comical expression on his face, tears in his eyes and on his cheeks and dripping from his chin, and no voice, only a strange guttural sound like a man makes when he’s strangling …

“I’m sorry,” the deputy sheriff said. He didn’t look sorry. He looked like a man with questions to ask.

It had taken a while for me to shove the pieces back together. Most of them, I’m sure, were still lying on the floor where I collapsed. I had seen things, some of the worst sights humanity had to offer. Yet none of them—not even the savage murder of Jamie Carlson last fall—had rocked me in the same way as seeing Mr. Mosley zipped into a black vinyl bag. Until now I had managed to keep all those displays of brutality at a distance, even those I had committed myself. True, they had a way of sneaking up on me and messing with my head at the oddest moments—during a ball game, at a supermarket checkout, while doing yard work—but not often and never for long. Now I felt the weight of all of them at once.

Reverend Winfield had discovered the body. He had come by to drop off a turkey-sized deep fryer that Mr. Mosley had lent the church and found him on the kitchen floor. I know because he kept telling me over and over, even as I repeated my own story—I was helping Mr. Mosley with his bees. We’re not at fault, we don’t deserve this, we told each other, told ourselves. This went on, between wails and sobs, for what seemed like a long time.

Finally a sense of acceptance, and with it coherent thought, began to seep through the sorrow. Function returned. Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, legs, hands, feet began working again. I breathed in and out.

“I’m sorry,” the deputy repeated. His name tag read BREHMER. There were sergeant’s stripes on his sleeves. His expression was neutral, and his voice was calm. “What was your relationship to the victim?”

No, no, don’t ask that. Don’t make me think about that. Not now. I took the question and quickly built a wall of brick and mortar around it.

“My name’s McKenzie.” I was speaking quickly. Don’t think, don’t feel. “Let’s cut to the chase. I know who did this. His name is Frank Crosetti. He lives two and a half miles from here—”

“How do you know?”

Don’t interrupt. Let me finish before the wall crumbles.

I spoke over the sergeant’s questions, telling him the story in chronological order, telling him about the bees and Ivy Flynn and the meeting with Crosetti and Billy Tillman—making sure he knew that Tilly and Susan had no intention of cooperating with him but maybe would change their minds once they had time to digest what happened. I withheld nothing except one vital piece of information.

“I don’t know the exact address,” I said. “But I can take you there.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“I can identify Crosetti for you.”

“Thank you, but—”

“I was eleven and a half years on the job. I know how to take care of myself. I know how not to get in the way.”

“Mr. McKenzie—”

“Call Sergeant Robert Dunston of the St. Paul Police Department. He works homicide. He’ll vouch for me.”

“It’s not procedure.”

“I’ll wait in the car.”

Brehmer gave that a moment’s thought. “Are you armed?”

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