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The idea of some mangy little nobody with grimy fingernails even thinking about touching her… Well, but it wasn’t thinkable, was it? That was the whole point. Back in the city he’d have snapped the kid’s neck with his two hands, and that would’ve been that. Dumped him in a landfill or in the trunk of an abandoned car; if push really came to shove there was a sausage factory in Paramus that would take the kid, no problem. But Walt couldn’t do any of those things here, not without screwing up his plans for finishing off that other loose end.

Meanwhile, my ability in the happily-ever-after department looked doubtful as well. For instance, back in the city I’d just finished divorcing a guy whose idea of faithfulness consisted of leaving his wedding ring on his finger while he slept with other women, an activity he pursued so regularly you’d have thought he’d entered a contest, and if there’d been one for most commandments broken in a single marriage, Victor would have won it. And I had Sam, whose idea of sobriety was… well, I’m not sure what my son’s notion of sobriety consisted of then.

Hi! ” She’d turned up the thermostat on the water heater when she came to work for us. So nowadays before taking a shower we had to calibrate “hot” and “cold” with the delicacy of someone working the controls on a nuclear reactor. “Band-Aids,” Ellie said, taking the words out of my mouth. She looked up from the list. “Okay, then, if the thermoses are full of coffee and the cooler is packed with sandwiches… ” “Done,” I confirmed, already looking forward to these. I’d packed them but she’d made them: ham salad on fresh homemade bread with real mayonnaise, sweet pickles, and lettuce out of the cold frame she’d constructed from old storm windows in my backyard.

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