Thursday, August 1, 2013


“You’ve got to realize that back then I was very angry about the lab and my situation. And with Donna kidnapped I was scared too.”

Adams didn’t respond, just lit his cigarette and took a drag.

“Michael and I drove home after the police left. We had a big fight that started in the car and kept going long after we got back to our apartment. He eventually stormed out and went somewhere.”

Adams tapped some ash into his coffee cup. Leslie continued, “We’d been fighting for months. Leaving my government job was too much. Michael was against it: ‘It ruined our Life Plan’. That, and the day with Donna, was the last straw.”

Leslie paused and took a long draw from her cigarette. “When I got up the next morning I noticed that Michael had come back while I was asleep, but it looked like he didn’t stay long and left for work early.”

Leslie took a languid puff, gently exhaled some smoke and watched it drift to the ceiling, taunting the disabled smoke detector.

“That was it for me. I stuffed everything I thought I’d need to travel into my backpack and left a note. After I locked up the apartment on my way out I pushed the key under the door. I wasn’t coming back. I didn’t know where I’d go, but on my trip down to the lobby, the elevator muzak was playing Galveston. I’d never been there, and didn’t have any associations with that town, so that seemed as good a place as any to hide out. I went to the bank, withdrew as much cash as I could, and then headed for the train station.”

Leslie stubbed out the remainder of her cigarette and absentmindedly ground the ash with the filter.

She gave Adams a three-mile stare. “Do you remember the poem that starts something like ‘there are many strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold’?”

Adams put down his cigarette and replied encyclopedically, “Robert Service; The Cremation of Sam McGee; ‘the arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.’”

“Believe me, there are tales from the Gulf of Mexico that can make your blood run just as cold as those from the Arctic Circle.”

The next instalment can be found here.

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