There had, at one time before Katrina, been a park, perhaps beneath his feet, right where a surveyor had discovered the young woman’s body. Ike couldn’t tell anymore. There was just this no-man’s-land of tall weeds between the levee and the Brad Pitt houses, their solar panels absorbing the mid-morning sun . . .
It’s all been falling apart now for the last eight days—I needn’t mention the other times. I don’t think they’re important. Silly thing, really: I picked a basket of cherries, pit them, and went to put them in the freezer—pie, I’m thinking—and they dropped all over the floor. I stared at them down there and got down and punched the floor, screaming something (I didn’t think it was important to remember). Then I went to bed for eight days . . .
Officer Leon James slipped out the back door of the Quayside Oil Company, where he worked part-time as a security guard on the overnight shift. In his hand was a paper bag containing the cold meatball sub that he brought from home but had forgotten to eat. Instead, he’d spent his break dozing in an office chair, his chin nodding toward his chest . . .
She came up to me in the parking lot behind the Slung Rig after the show. The lot reeked of piss, puke, and exiled pizza scraps. Even the rats were too finicky to troll around this Hamden hole, where headbangers and punkers partied or balled inside their cars whenever there was a gig. Those who could get it on around this stench had a better constitution than me—that, or some sort of mutant fetish, but hell, that’s mutants for you . . .
The bells of the village clang. Sunlight bounces over both steeples and through the curtains. Periwinkle shutters open onto the square, and from the street, the beginning chatter of our neighbors heading up the lane to meet the bread van floats in on the breeze. A minute later, the other set of bells on the other church sound . . .
Two a.m. at The State Diner came with a refill on my half-drunk coffee and an impatient smile on the lips of the waitress who’d been hovering nearby. My appointment was late, but my wallet was empty, so I couldn’t afford to leave. A week of poor sleep, too much caffeine, and more than one drive-thru meal meant my stomach was churning like the Buttermilk Falls after a storm, but I glanced over the menu anyway . . .
So Johnny Fizz was dead and now it was my problem.
Not because I was some hotshot Austin cop working the 6th Street district, wrestling with drunken punks the way Stevie Ray had wrestled with that fire-breathing Strat. No, it was my problem because I’d played in a band with Johnny for years, and I knew at least a hundred people who wanted to see him with his head blown off . . .
It was full of backpackers, Udaipur: dreadlocked, slightly malodorous waifs and strays from the Western world, decked out in worn sandals and ill-fitting local garb, gathered from their travels around Asia . . .