>NEVER A FRONTWARD STEP, PART SIX

>“So I was out there last night,” I said into the receiver. I rubbed my ankles against the expert starch of the hotel bed sheets. The sun came through the window and squiggled signatures of dust in the air. “He’s a big-wig, this guy. Thought I’d take a further look.” Back across the international static, my wife sighed.

“So this is another thing, now,” she said.

“Just a detour,” I told her. “It could be helpful, in the long run.”

“How much longer will it take?”

“It’ll only add a day or so. I promise.”

“A day or two?”

“Yeah.”

“But you hate water.”

“Gotta learn to love it some time. It’s got me surrounded.”

“Goodnight,” said my wife from her darkened slice of the earth.

After I hung up, I stared at the ceiling. I took a long cold shower, washing away not only the archaeological accumulation of sweat that had built up on my from only one morning outdoors, but a persistent image of Yvette Henry that had somehow crawled into my mind.

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