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.After all, whose money was it? The little girls in Bayshore? It was nobody’s, really.Walter had stolen it from Inge.Inge had gotten it from me as a gift.I had received it from Sig.Sig had stolen it from the NYPD, who’d gotten it from criminals, or from the taxpayers, perhaps: Hey, maybe it was my money after all.For the next couple of days I read and waited and went to movies and bars, either the club on Third or the funky place down on Houston, or the lounge in the hotel, where a Johnny Hartman wannabe warbled throughout the night.I contacted no one.I did not return to my apartment.On the third day after that I showed up at the offices of my telephone service.I was handed eighteen messages, responses to my notice and ads.Three asked for descriptions and prices for everything.Eight asked me to send descriptions and prices for the stereo equipment only.Four wanted the records alone.Two asked only about the Horowitz recordings.And one caller wanted only the Charlie Parker stuff.My hands shook as I held the pink message slip.It could have been anyone, this caller.Any one of a million Parker buffs.But oh, I knew it was Valokus.I knew it.How did I know? The caller gave his name as Rodney Dameron.An obvious phony that combined the name of the white trumpeter in Bird’s quintet—Red Rodney—with the name of the elegant pianist Bird had worked with in his early days—Tadd Dameron.Maybe Henry was every bit as dumb as Justin Thom had claimed.Mr.“Dameron’s” address was on West Fifty-seventh Street.Judging from the numbers, it was between Eighth and Ninth avenues.He gave his apartment number as 810.I got into a taxi.The Daisy Chain Inn was part of a nationwide franchise of motels that seemed to run the gamut from family getaway to nightmare crack house, depending on whether the inn was located in Orlando or Watts.This one was medium grimy.Maybe a little hooking going on, but nothing too heavy.I sat there in the cab, across the street from the dirty blue canopy, for fifteen minutes or so, thinking that, maybe, a miracle would occur and I’d see Henry going in or out.That didn’t happen, of course.I told the driver to take me to the Gramercy Park Hotel.Once in my room, I dialed Information and got the number of the Daisy Chain Inn.I called.I told the operator I wished to speak with one of his guests: Rodney Dameron.“He’s in room 810, I think.”“Just let me check,” I was told.He put me on hold for a few seconds and then came back on the line.“Yes, that’s right.I’ll ring him.”“No, don’t bother,” I said quickly.“There’s my other line.I’ll call back.”I took my gun out of my bag and rubbed it along the quilt in a kind of burnishing stroke.I’d gone over Larry’s instructions a hundred times, wondering if I’d ever understand the lure of these cold and weighty enigmas called guns.Mine was unloaded now; the clip was in the bureau drawer.But I’d logged a number of hours over the past few days standing in front of the vanity mirror and studying myself as I slid the weapon in slow motion from my purse; as I aimed it and pouted like Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde; as I held it at my hip and pretended to be Wyatt Earp; as I ran from one end of the room to the other spraying imaginary bullets and grotesquely mouthing the word “muthafuckaaah” like a drug dealer in one of those death-in-the-ghetto movies.I lay down on the bed, the Proust book open on my stomach.Damn, what I wouldn’t give for a warm madeleine just about now.And a cup of china black from that piss-elegant tea shop on the rue Christine.My mind drifted back to the afternoon Henry and I had spent making love, drinking a shamelessly overpriced bottle of wine from the Loire and looking at a book of photographs of Paris in the 1950s.What if we’d met then? I’d asked him, being whimsical.Perhaps, I’d speculated, he’d be a soldier of fortune and I an emigré beatnik.We’d spend our days drinking bitter coffee and collaborating on books, and our nights listening to Juliette Greco in the darkest café in town.This is why I love you, Henry had said when my flight of fantasy was exhausted.Your imagination [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]