My left wrist is throbbing like a siren so I barely register Jackie’s request. She’s the tour’s PR lackey, in charge of pushing me through the subterranean bowels of the Home Depot Center to my press conference . . .
Never take a job in summer—that’s rule one. Rule two is never trust anyone. They have that rule all over, but rule one, that’s my thing. No one thinks straight in summer. You can’t rely on anyone after November . . .
Elizabeth heard the door bang and footsteps clatter in the kitchen. She was relieved that it was not her daughter’s gait. This was another teenager. A girl holding a gun. Dear God, where did these children get these weapons? What possessed them? . . .
Where had I gone wrong? In four years as a mother, I thought I’d done a good job. So where had I failed? I pictured myself twenty years hence, cornered by a crime reporter. “I tried my best,” I’d sob. “But he began dealing in stolen property at four, and it was downhill from there . . .”
The nurse pulled onto the outer road parallel to the interstate. The blue friendliness of the St. Luke’s sign radiated faintly in the dawn light as he accelerated before the red admonition of the emergency sign took over his view. He clicked off the malfunctioning turn signal. The morning traffic was light, almost nonexistent. He waited until he had reached forty-five miles an hour to remove his skull-and-bones do-rag, the first phase of his elaborate post-work ritual . . .