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.Each item was hand-painted and therefore individual, yet they were of a piece so all fit together.Terri, secretly hoping the cats would break something, returned to the counter and cash register to check a price shed forgotten to put on a large bowl, one with a painted background of white magnolias.When Inez walked toward the counter, Terri said, Thank you for calling me.I should have said that when you walked in.Inez had called Terri the evening when theyd received the vituperative emails from Mariah, after speaking to Liz.You know how Terri gets, Liz had said.Shell hear this through the pipelineprobably tomorrowpitch a fit, and fall in it.True, Inez had replied.Ill call her now.Give me twenty minutes, but then will you call, too? Youre so good at calming people down.Liz paused.Maybe because you calm animals.Well, we are just animals.Inez had called Terri, who carried on as expected.Now Inez said, No need to thank me.I think weve gone over these bizarre and sad events enough.Inez really hoped Terri had gotten it out of her system.She didnt want to go over it one more time, nor did she have the patience for Terris emotions.Maybe the cold was making her cranky.She didnt know and, at that exact moment, she didnt care.Harry, trying to keep tabs on her two bad cats, had noticed an unusual foot-high fat-bottomed glazed pot, with cork stopper and hardened wax around the stoppers edge.She picked it up.This weighs a ton.Oh.Dismay played on Terris face.That shouldnt be out here.I havent cleaned it up yet.Im a bit rattled with well, you know.Here, let me take it to the back and clean it.Looks clean to me.No.If youre interested, you should see it at its best.Terri grabbed it.The fat-bottomed vase slipped through her hands, smashing to the floor.It cracked in half but didnt split wide open.The cats moved closer.Inside was a plastic bag filled with something.Sharp odor.Mrs.Murphy sneezed.You see, Terri explained nervously, theyre shipped from Mexico packed with sand, to make them more stable.Also, more of them would break in transit if they were hollow.And here I am, breaking one.She knelt down, squeezed the two thick crockery halves together, and walked the vase back into her storage area.Harry, Inez, and the cats heard water running.Inez plucked a mustard-colored cup off the shelf, whispering to Harry, Id better buy something.When Terri returned, she brightened at the sight of a sale, no matter how small.Good choice.I dont trust her, Pewter remarked.Me, neither, Mrs.Murphy agreed.Back in the station wagon, Harry inserted her square key, put her foot on the brake, then hit the start button.Inez laughed.Cant they make cars with keys anymore?Guess not.Harry smiled.Its a great vehicle, truly, but Im with youkeep it simple.She checked her rearview mirror after pressing the button for the wiper in the long window over the tailgate.Think you got everything?Yes.You were smart to hit the grocery store first.I usually wait until Wednesday or Thursday for that, but I havent been as organized as I should.I havent helped.You and Fair gave up half a day to pick me up, give up your bedroom, move some of your clothes and things aroundtime-consuming.Inez, dont give it a second thought.We love having you.Youre a sweetheart.Inez petted Pewter, ignoring her wet paws.Mrs.Murphy jumped in the rear to snuggle up to Tucker.As they drove slowly through the snow, Harry remarked, Sand.I know.Thought about that, too.Inez, are we jaded? Have we watched too many crime shows?It was awfully white.You know, Im not saying one word about it.None of my business.Well, if it is cocaine, youd think shed have more money.Inez breathed deeply.This countrys duplicity about drugs is really quite horrifying.That it is.Well, lets hope we have overactive imaginations.Harry let it go at that.Smelled terrible, Pewter told them.Inez stroked her head.You always have something to say.An apple-wood fire crackled in the fireplace, the distinct fruitwood odor filling the large upstairs bedroom.Years ago, when Harry had upgraded her heating system, she divided the house into zones.She usually kept the upstairs at fifty degrees.Now that she and Fair had moved up there so Inez could have the master bedroom downstairs, she pushed the thermostat up to sixty-five.Because the original part of the old Federal-style house had been built in the 1830s, every room had a fireplace.With succeeding generations and more-modern technology, indoor bathrooms were created [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]