“And what are your chances of finding that one man? What are your chances of getting to him if you do?”

“What happens to me if I don’t? Besides, remember Bill Tierney, our history teacher in high school? Remember what he used to say about success?”


“Half the battle is showing up.”

“I’ll see you, Bobby.”


“I can’t wait. If they’re looking hard for me, they’re probably also watching my friends. You could get into a lot of trouble just for calling me.”

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“What are you talking about? I called home to wish my lovely wife a good morning.”

“You’d better talk to her, then, in case they wire you to a polygraph.” I handed the phone to Shelby and went into the living room. I dressed quickly. Shelby had just hung up the phone when I returned to the kitchen. She was standing in bare feet. The bright morning sun streaming through the kitchen windows surrounded her like the golden aura Renaissance artists painted behind angels and saints. I cupped her face in my hands and kissed her forehead.

“I gotta go.”


Twenty-five minutes later, I was ringing Margot’s doorbell.

Disappear, I told myself. Take a page from Frank Crosetti’s playbook and vanish. The FBI couldn’t find me—and neither could Danny and his partner—if I didn’t exist, if I adopted a new identity, if I became someone else for a time. It’s not that difficult if you know how, if you know the right people, and if you have the money. Problem was, all my cash was locked in a safe in my basement, and the people I needed to deal with didn’t take checks. Which is what brought me to Margot’s at 7:00 A.M.

I had worked my way around Falcon Heights, parked in the lot of the University of Minnesota golf course on Larpenteur Avenue about a quarter mile from my home, and strolled casually to Margot’s—just a neighbor taking his morning constitutional.

Margot was wearing a short white terrycloth robe when she opened the door. If she had anything else on, I didn’t notice.

“What do you want?” she asked, then said, “Let me rephrase that. Good morning, McKenzie. What brings you by so early?”

“Remember that canary yellow swimsuit you wore the other day? I’d like you to put it on.”

“Honestly, McKenzie, I wish you’d come back later. I’m much more fun after I’ve had a cup of coffee.”

I gave Margot a head start, watching her carefully from her kitchen window, vowing not to leave her house until she disappeared around mine. She walked barefoot slowly across her lawn, careful not to spill a drop of coffee from her enormous mug. “C’mon, c’mon,” I heard myself mutter, at the same time regretting that I had suggested she carry the innocuous prop in the first place.

Margot paused when she reached the pond and took a sip of coffee. She seemed fascinated first by the fountain and then by a silver 747 that arched across the cloudless sky, studying both as if they were new to her. She sipped her coffee some more.

“Now you’re just trying to annoy me,” I whispered.

Eventually she began moving again, slowly, leisurely, taking her own sweet time as she crossed my lawn and passed my garage. I had told her to behave casually, but for God’s sake! Finally she turned the corner of my house and vanished from view.

I was off. I dashed from her back door and sprinted across the lawn. I rounded the pond and ran in a straight line toward my own back door, house key in hand—if I didn’t beat my personal best time in the 200-meter, I came damn close. I let myself in quickly and quietly. Cautiously I closed the door, took a knee, and waited to regain my breath. The house was still—I heard no sound and felt nothing to indicate that it was occupied. After a moment, I crept through the kitchen to the hallway, where I had a view of the front porch. Through lace window curtains, I could see Margot. She was leaning against the railing and glancing at the headlines in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that she held with one hand while sipping coffee from the oversized mug in the other.

I heard his voice before I saw him.


Margot looked startled. “May I help you?” she asked.

“Wilson,” the man said. He appeared on the porch next to her. He was holding his credentials for Margot to see. “FBI.”

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