Here, but not remembered

Audrey had a sudden taste for murder.

“Who do I go to?” she asked quietly.

The woman was pierced from ear to ear. “How heinous do you want it?”

“Heinous. Grisly. Quick, but not too quick.”

The pierced woman scribbled a few names. “They’re all professionals,” she said.

Audrey scanned the short list. She pointed to a name.

“You won’t be disappointed,” the pierced woman said.

• • • • •

But for the footsteps, the house was dead quiet. Carl walked into Evan’s room, expecting to see him finishing homework or playing a video game. Instead he was flopped on a beanbag chair, reading After Dark. Joe was lying on Evan’s bed with Ties That Bind. Both paperbacks were by Phillip Margolin.

Pam Wells/The Pullets

“Your mother is missing a book,” Carl said.

“Which one?” Joe asked.

“She can’t remember.”

“Not helpful, dad,” Evan said.

“I know. You guys into murder, too?”

“Murder one,” Evan said.

Joe laughed. “Yeah, mom turned us onto it. She found out this author lives in Portland. He’s really a criminal defense lawyer, so it’s all totally realistic. And mom’s got murder on the brain since she tried to kill Aunt Jeannie.”

“She did not try to kill Aunt Jeannie,” Evan said. “Not very hard, anyway.”

• • • • •

Audrey was curled on the couch around The Last Innocent Man. More than a dozen books by Phil Margolin were stacked on the end table.

The Margolin marathon would last for several days, until Evan complained that all the murders were blurring together. So many books, so much crime. Carl couldn’t keep the lawyers and judges and detectives straight. Joe had been reading them in order and could more easily follow some of the continuing characters. Audrey was determined to read all of them and was sure she could find the missing book, called Gone, But Not Forgotten.

“It’s around here somewhere,” she said.

©2010 Pam Wells


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