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EVERY SECRET THING PDF

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EVERY SECRET THING. Patricia Campbell Hearst with Alvin. Moscow. Methuenl hbk£ ISBN Shortly after the kidnap of Patty Hearst, on. film every secret thing pdf. Every Secret Thing is a American crime film directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on a novel of. Every Secret Thing may refer to: Every Secret Thing (Hearst book), a memoir by Patty Hearst Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version .


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Every Secret Thing: A Novel. Laura Lippman. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Thursday, April 9 3 There are no seasons in the basement of the Clarence Mitchell

Now these were the ironic, selfconscious shades of iMacs and junior high school fashions. But she was too big for it. It had to be hormones. Thank God the afternoon classes would be fourth-graders.

The fourth-graders reminded her of Alice, the lost Alice. In remembering her daughter, Helen always imagined her from the back—the part in her hair, two tails of yellow hanging down on either side of her head, tied with bows that Helen fashioned from fabric remnants and Christmas ribbon.

She conjured up her smell, which was sharpest at the back of her neck, varying with the day and the weather. Chalk, soap, grass, suntan lotion, chlorine, peanut butter, pickles. She saw that neck bent over the kitchen table, intent on a project—a Christmas gift, homemade Valentines—saying to herself, as she must have heard Helen say: A mistake, an accident?

Whose idea was it, baby? You can tell me. Tell Mama what happened. Always, always. Maybe it will change things. Just tell the truth, Alice. But Alice had shaken her head, refusing to tell Helen anything. Menstruating at eleven, not even in sixth grade. Helen had started at thirteen, and her mother thought that was young.

But remember, you have to be responsible now. Suddenly, anachronistically, she could remember everything—the seat of her suit pulling at the rough-textured concrete, the sun on her back, the baby oil cupped in her palm, ready to anoint her lovely freckled shoulders.

She had been right about that much, at least. Had he recognized Helen, in her sunglasses and piled-up hair seven years ago, racing across his television set? No, Alice thought. What we had was better. Thin, crispy fries, which went straight from the freezer to the fryer. Actually, the food at Middlebrook had been pretty good allaround.

It may have had the worst reputation in the state, but it had the best food. Really, Alice, you have to trust me. Really, Alice, this is for the best. Really, Alice, I believe you. But what did really really mean when Sharon said it? Did it indicate that everything else Sharon said was fake? Or was it supposed to show that what followed was extra-real, really-real, super-size real?

Treat yourself. Just not every day. I got really fat while I was in Middlebrook. No, she just liked the way adults panicked when she spoke this way, enjoyed their frantic reassurances. Sticks and stones, grownups said when you were little. Turned out they were the ones who feared words. I got my GED. She was so easy to please, there was no joy in it. What do you plan to study? I have to get a part-time job and help pay my way.

Alice knew she would. Sharon cared about Alice, she announced often, a note of pride in her voice. Sharon could not think so well of herself for sticking by Alice unless sticking by Alice was a weird thing to do. Alice was interested in spite of herself. She was quite keen to know what she should do.

She always had been. She liked those magazine articles with rules and checklists. She tore them out and tried to follow them, but it was never as easy as it looked. There was always something—an ingredient, an assumption—that kept her from completing everything as prescribed.

Kosher salt, for example, for homemade pedicures. Not that she would have been allowed to give herself any kind of spa treatment at Middlebrook, but she had been looking ahead to a day when she could. Sharon leaned forward. So Sharon had friends? Friends in New York, no less. Why did she have friends in New York? Connecticut was right next to New York. It was all she had to offer, conversationally.

She had never been there herself, but she had heard her mother speak of it. It was known as the Nutmeg State. To spell it, you have to Connect i to Cut. Have you talked to them lately? Talk to them much. I only saw them once a year, before. Certain words had an almost hypnotic effect. Related to the self, of course. But ish was usually reserved for those things that were inexact— oneish, warmish, newish—or kind of gross. Oh, ish, her friend Wendy would squeal when something offended her.

Alice would have been mocked for lisping. Alice understood. Her lawyer had changed very little over the seven years. Helen had kept herself up. She kept herself up. But over the past two years, Helen had begun to look her age, no more, no less. She knew it, too, and claimed to be complacent about it. Breezy, a little silly, talking about things that no one else on Nottingham Road could make sense of.

She believed she had a tumor. Someone had left behind a newspaper—a real newspaper, not one of those shameful things from the supermarket racks—with a story about a woman at Johns Hopkins who had a pound tumor in her stomach.

Then they took the tumor out, and she was normal again. The skin was soft, yielding, yet she thought there might be something unwanted beneath its folds. The doctor was kind, listening intently with no expression on her tired face. She took notes, prodded Alice all over, asked her questions. Just observe yourself. I mean—take notes for a week or two, and include how you feel when you eat.

Learn your own patterns, and then adjust accordingly. Portion control is half the battle. But now, sitting in this too-cheery diner with Sharon, she considered the idea. Girls in books were always keeping notebooks, or diaries. She could do that, she supposed. Not because she lacked discipline. She had plenty of discipline. Before a day passed, she knew she would be hiding things. Because someone else would read it. One point for Alice. No, I mean are you going to look for a job, or enroll in summer school?

Have you learned how to drive? I could teach you, if you like. We only have one car, and my mom uses it for work. She teaches art in a summer program, you know. Depending on where the job is. Yes would be the normal answer, and Alice was so keen to do and say the normal things, the expected things.

Which were not, of course, always the truthful things, or the things she really wanted to do. Or maybe a conversation was more like a game of Twister, which Helen sometimes played with Alice and Ronnie on rainy summer weekends. Right arm—red. Left leg—blue. You could twist yourself up some, but not too much. This pleased Sharon for some reason.

She squealed with delight, bobbed her head. Never again. But not even Sharon would ask Alice such a question. Sharon believed in Alice, always had. Idle hands. How could anyone think she wanted to see Ronnie? My mom said. But when I was a kid, it was a discount department store, like Kmart or Target. Yet they always ended up proving the opposite. The one near D. Ronnie had gone to Harkness. Alice had been stuck in Middlebrook. Alice had learned long ago not to ask such questions out loud.

But she had never stopped thinking them. Sometimes, she felt her fat was like a cave, and she lived far inside it, watching the world with glowing eyes. Ronnie Fuller was used to waking in the morning with strange yearnings. She just kept forgetting she was now in a position to do something about them. Some of them, at least.

Still, even after a month at home, she had to think for a moment when she opened her eyes before she could place herself in the world. Her new room, a middle bedroom with no windows, was dark as a submarine and somewhat plain. She decided to look for a substitute at the convenience store at the foot of the long, winding hill where her parents now lived. She had the day off, so she walked straight there as soon as she was dressed.

After surveying her choices through the fogged glass, she selected a Mountain Dew. The dark-skinned, turbaned man at the counter took her money without comment. That happened to Ronnie a lot. She tried to keep her thoughts to herself, but they made themselves known, which usually got her in trouble. Was he saying he was sick? Her mind was so busy turning over those questions that she turned the wrong way leaving the store, walking toward the old house by force of habit.

Or so she told herself. The house had been empty, for both her parents were still at work, and the last brother had moved out months ago. Her father used to say the town house on Nottingham was built of cereal boxes—it was damp and frail, the walls yielding easily if someone happened to bump them hard, or even throw a punch.

And with three boys around, those things happened. Besides, Ronnie had gotten a nice send-off on the other end—not a ceremony, which would have been queer, but a handshake from her doctor and hugs from some of the staff. And if someone had tried to tell her as much, she would have been puzzled by this information. Better to give than to receive, right? The giving should be enough. When you get home. All the staff did, for she had been one of the better-behaved kids in the unit.

Most of the juvenile offenders assigned to the Shechter unit were sullen teenagers whose borderline felonies, things like robbery and car theft, had been compounded by addiction problems.

But Ronnie had all but auditioned to get her bed there, trying to convince the necessary people that she was just crazy enough, no more, no less. The campaign had begun by accident, around the time of her fourteenth birthday. Ronnie had taken to poking her body with a ballpoint pen, inoculating herself wherever the skin was softest—crooks of elbows, tops of thighs, backs of knees.

The pinpricks began to itch; she scratched. The infection got so bad that she ended up running a high fever, which meant a trip to a hospital emergency room. The attending doctor sent her to Shechter for observation. Once observed, she was sent back to Poolesville. But Ronnie had made her own observations.

Shechter was clearly the place to be. After all, it was a program for crazy kids, and her family had fought hard against the assumption that she must be crazy, or confused about right and wrong, perhaps even retarded. The buildings at Poolesville were new and clean, and Ronnie usually preferred new to old.

Yet the onetime school turned juvenile detention center was where she wanted to be. Maybe it was the lack of fences, or the rolling farmland that surrounded it. From the front lawn, she could watch the college girls—what they wore, what they carried. But she understood that she could not say she wanted to go to Shechter, quite the opposite; she had to pretend to be going along with the rules and structure of Poolesville, had to deny the evidence of her own made-up craziness.

What could they do? No matter how closely they trimmed her nails, they always grew back. They could cover the tips with Band-Aids, put her hands in restraints at night, but unless they were willing to rip out her nails all the way to the beds and extract her teeth, they could not disarm her.

She liked the doctor, as much as she could like anyone who got to tell her what to do, who decided when she was right and when she was wrong. He seemed to be on her side. Yes, Shechter had been pretty good. She had tried out the word on the new place the day she first saw it.

So this was home. Good, there was a dishwasher. One less chore for her. And a microwave, too. Ronnie had climbed the stairs, knowing what layout to expect—a master bedroom across the front, which would get the light, one dark interior room, a small bedroom in the back, and one bathroom for all.

Her room, the dark room in the middle, had a bed, a dresser, a small lamp—and nothing else. She pulled two bills from her back pocket and looked for a place to hide them. It was hard to hide things in an all-but-empty room. She took the clothes she had packed in her overnight bag and placed them in one of the drawers, then hid the money in the folds of a T-shirt. No, her mother might go there. The bed was made with a new spread, white with little raised dots.

She lifted the thin, bumpy cotton and slid the bills, a ten and a twenty, between the mattress and box spring, as far as her arm could go. The money had been intended for cab fare and it had started out as two tens and a twenty, old bills almost reproachful in their limpness, as if her parents wanted Ronnie to remember that their money was scrounged from pockets and purses and wallets, not snapped up from an ATM or a bank teller.

She would take a bus home or hitch, but she would keep as much of that forty dollars as possible. Of course, the staff never would have allowed such a thing, so she had gone through the pretense of summoning a cab to the top of the hill, of waving to them all as she climbed in. It was then that the counselor had given her the small gift-wrapped box, the one still in her bag. She had felt grand, a bit like a girl in a movie—perhaps the one about the girl who learned she was a princess—riding down the hill.

He was white but foreign, with a strange accent and an acrid body odor. I get ticket if I discharge you here. You call for long ride. You must go or pay. He was a cheater. Ronnie had never been much good at arguing with anyone, but cheaters were the worst.

Ronnie offered him one of the tens and waited for her change. The man took the bill and put it away. Because she was a girl, because she was young.

But now she was supposed to work toward solutions. Unfortunately, the lessons of the hospital had assumed there was always some nice neutral person who could step in, a doctor or a principal, a teacher or a parent.

Use your happy tones, Ronnie. Anger is just a letter away from danger. Plus, you owe me tip. Now she had only thirty dollars, and thirty dollars might not be enough to take a cab all the way home. She could take a bus, but it would have to be at least two buses, and which two buses? Plus, she needed change for the bus, and no one would give her change unless she bought something, which would mean losing another dollar or two out of the thirty.

Then she hid in the chip aisle until she was sure he was gone. She had never done this before, but her older brothers had. And there had been a girl at Shechter who had bragged about getting rides all the time.

Which, at Shechter, usually meant someone was really nuts, scary nuts. Some people said authoritatively that Ronnie had killed her entire family, despite the fact that her mom visited regularly. Others said Ronnie had been part of a thrill-kill, that her boyfriend had talked her into murdering someone just for fun.

Ronnie liked the idea of being credited with a boyfriend. She also felt a strange, sour pride in the fact that no one ever came close to guessing why she was really there. Anyone who was alive in Baltimore that summer would probably remember the story of the missing baby and how she had been found dead, and then the constant EVERY SECRET THING 83 mention of two eleven-year-old girls, two eleven-year-old girls, two eleven-year-old girls, can you believe it, the baby was killed by two eleven-year-old girls.

Victoria had no idea who she was or what she had done. Ronnie persisted, not afraid for once to show her ignorance. But she knew what Victoria meant. She had no idea what Victoria was talking about. But twitch. Out on the street, Ronnie turned her back, as Victoria had advised, and walked as if she had a destination. Were they rich, or did they call in sick to their jobs? Her dad had been known to go missing from his job, as he put it, but he said it was bad luck to lie about being sick.

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He had never told her what those stories were. No, thank you, no, really. The next guy was older, behind the wheel of a van with the name of a painting company stenciled on the side, and he was freckled with paint.

Not a van, Ronnie knew, although Victoria had not thought to tell her this. Never a van. She felt as if she were trudging along one of the board games she had played as a kid, Candy Land, or the one with the ladders.

She had to pick carefully if she was going to get home with her thirty dollars. The third one was just right, everything Victoria said. A tie and a four-door black car, not new, but not old. His face was shiny and red, although the interior of his car felt cool through the window he lowered to talk to Ronnie. The Crab King? Hop in. My cousin goes there. He named more names. She just kept shaking her head and shrugging her shoulders. Use a fake address to get into a better school. I went to Calvert Hall myself.

They had passed a hospital, and the racetrack. She was keeping tabs because you never knew, Victoria said, where you might get put out. Now it looked like the neighborhood where Ronnie had grown up, except everyone on the street was black. The driver—he had said his name was Bill—took several quick turns and they ended up on a narrow road along a stream. The car slowed, and Ronnie made sure she was holding the door handle, but there was no shoulder and he kept going.

He passed through a neighborhood where all the houses were white, and Ronnie realized she knew it, that she was close to home.

The houses began to peter out, and they were in a dense corridor of trees that were just beginning to bud. Somehow, the stream was now on the left side. When had they crossed it? Ronnie had not noticed a bridge. And then there was a barrier, a big sign saying the road was closed until further notice.

Instead, he had to settle for brushing against nylon. They call it a nature trail, but Jungle Land would be more like it. Or Baltimore Safari. Walk through Leakin Park, see if you come out alive. They could make one of those reality TV shows about it. I thought it was because—well, I heard something really bad happened here once.

You want to tell me a ghost story, honey? Come sit on my lap and tell me your story. Tell Uncle Bill your story. Alice Manning. Just pull up your shirt, show me those pretty little things. Tell Uncle Bill. Tell Uncle Bill what you let the boys do to you. She tried to rein it in. They took her away from her mother and they made a. But the baby was sick, all along, she was going to die anyway. And the girls—well, one of the girls—got scared and said they had to take her back.

I know the girls who did it. They went to my school. He wiped his hand on his pants leg, turned the key in the ignition, and said to Ronnie: She had sat on her bed, thinking about her choices. She could have gone downstairs and seen what was in the refrigerator. She could have taken a walk, headed down the street to the convenience store. The store stood where her old street and her new street met, a hinge between the old life and the new.

Instead, she had decided to take the gift-wrapped box from her bag and open it. The square box had a sticker on it: Port Discovery: Back then, all the museums had been boring adult ones, full of vases. The box yielded, from layers and layers of spun cotton, a collection of key rings, all with little toys attached. The counselor had painstakingly written on its tiny surface: But why a key ring? It seemed a weird gift. And then Ronnie had understood. She would open her own doors, and close them behind her.

It was April now, and that Etch-a-Sketch, long wiped clean, was in her hand, clenched so her keys—just two, to the front door lock and the dead bolt—dug into her palms. She could not risk slowing down, or even staring openly.

It was early, anyway, and Helen often slept until noon on Saturdays. But if their paths did cross, if she saw Ronnie and said hello, then Ronnie could ask, as if it had just occurred to her, as if she had not thought about it almost every day for the last seven years: Do you remember the honeysuckle? She knew Helen would. The top speed could have been 90 or 95, but made for a nice round number, and the television reporters always used the biggest numbers they could get away with, whether it was speed or snowfall.

You know—the temperature will be thirty-seven degrees today, but it will feel like twenty below! But the bar had lived to tell the tale, and the only visible change was the guardrail on the curve.

On late nights, Lenhardt could be found at the curve of the reconstituted bar, or sitting at a plasticcovered table, buying rounds for his detectives. But she needed to be one of the guys tonight, even at the risk of pissing Andy off. Which is really superstitious. But Lenhardt grinned knowingly. How many times I gotta tell you that? Sometimes she hated being so fair, so blond.

Lenhardt took pity on her. I mean Potter. I mean Porterchinski. I got a special name for you, too. Only dead ones. They were always the ones who turned. Lenhardt misread her mournful expression, seemed to think she was feeling sorry for herself. No one had criticized her over the past four days, or suggested she was inadequate in any way.

She had been praised for some of her work. Yet she felt rebuked, stupid, exposed. A kid had seen through her. A jumpy killer, with the impulse control of a mouse on Ritalin, had gotten to her. Her Nokia cell phone chirped.

Andy typed his good night: Even his text message sounded angry. Beneath the table, Nancy typed back: They had been together since high school, one way or another, but it was only lately they had fallen into the habit of sniping at each other. But what did her mother know about twelve-hour days that left you feeling at once victorious and ashamed?

If anyone could understand, it should be Andy, who had been a police and was now working for the feds while attending law school at night.

It was supposed to be a robbery, with a gun. The gun was supposed to be for show, to get the money. After all, he knew better than anyone the potential vindictiveness of his buddies, all former employees at New York Fried Chicken.

If it were, robbery would be working it. She had to learn. It had been so easy to catch them, so hard to break them down. They had an insolence that left her breathless. Her Polish grandfather had escaped from Europe with nothing but the clothes on his back, survived the sinking of an ocean liner, and refused the easy names pressed on him when he arrived at the Port of Baltimore in Josef Potrcurzski had carried his own knife, and later a gun, guarding his block like a sheriff in the Old West.

They had a robbery so they could kill someone. You found the casing in the parking lot.

Maybe they shot and missed, what with the vic swinging that knife around, assuming they were telling the truth about that. Poor bastard died defending the honor of New York Fried Chicken. Because he told them to clean out the fryer, and put those napkins out, and make sure the tables are wiped down.

Because he enforced the hair net rule. He knew how to tell a story, how to get his audience hanging on his every word. The fast-food true believer met the West Side Existentialist Club, and the existentialists won. Their bum, their tax dollars, their detectives.

Besides, we represent the victims, remember? We work for the citizens of Baltimore County. He always plunged after the initial high of getting the work done. Nancy experienced the same thing, if to a lesser degree.

It felt good to get the clearance, but the process exacted a price. Grayson Campbell. Grayson Campbell the Third, or maybe it was the Fourth. Died in a nursing home. Last time I stopped to talk to him, he thought I was his stepson.

The name was familiar. The sergeant never stopped learning, never stopped studying. And she never stopped watching him. Her family alleges. It was her husband.

And he left this planet without telling me where he left her.

Where do county guys go to dump their bodies? Too much acreage. She needed to go back on her diet. She calculated calories and carbs, pondered buying a stationary bike. An awkward silence fell. Although the two had spent plenty of time alone together, they seldom socialized. Guy was really big on gardening. Everything was mulched. But picking on Infante would somehow even up the day, make up for what happened when the last of the quartet was being maneuvered into handcuffs for transport to the county jail.

This was the one who had done it, the one who had taken the knife and driven it into the victim again and again and again. That was a mistake, not knowing when Lenhardt was mad at you. They told us plenty, by the way. Your buddies, your pals, your confederates.

He had told Nancy he used it for the very associations it raised. Confederate—Confederacy— Civil War—slavery.

For the young black men of Baltimore, the wrongs done to their ancestors brought them nothing but shame. To have been a slave was to have been weak. To be descended from slaves was just as bad. But only Lenhardt would think it through this way. He had killed him to show the others the price of such valor. Now he lunged at Nancy, grabbing a handful of her ass. When she passed, he gave her a curious look, then helped himself, distributing the punishment he thought fair.

The kid had to lie there and take it. He had touched a cop. Life was just a long game of emotional tag, one bad mood passing from person to person.

The Kenwood Homecoming Queen again. Besides, I already know where he is. Was it for her? No way. Leakin Park. Even a near homonym, such as Lincoln or leaking, could make her jump. The name always brought back the little lean-to in the woods, or the silhouette of her classmate from the academy, Cyrus Hickory, standing in the door. He told her to stay back, but Nancy had to prove she could do whatever he did, so she crossed the stream, walked up to the falling-down house— No.

She backed away, so she was moving away from the little house in the woods, splashing backward through the polluted stream, edging up the hill, her gloved hands empty, blessedly empty. You should go home, too, Nancy. Joyce Brothers herself could save your relationships, Kevin. Infantes that had come and gone in the last twenty years. He got up and headed to the bar. The barmaid had a trace of a limp, but she was still redheaded and still pretty, in that hard, shellacked-hair way of a county barmaid.

Out of nowhere, Lenhardt asked: Of course he would know. Cops gossip like Polish grandmothers. You know the background on Porter, right? A shame, but she brought it on herself. You think about it? But Andy has one semester of law school left, and I just made Homicide.

How many kids you got? Be good?

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Where had that come from? But she took his advice, took it across the board. The person who loved her before, the person who loved her after, the person who swore he would love her always.

Andy went back to sleep, but Nancy never did, not that night. She stared at the ceiling, adding seven to eleven, then subtracting it. The call had to be a wrong number. She was strapped into a cart on aisle 11—Baby Needs, Foot Care, Feminine Hygiene—when her mother, Mary Jo Herndon, remembered a new kind of hair gel she had seen advertised just that morning. The gel promised to get rid of the frizz while adding shine.

She saw herself with straight, glossy hair, tossing it around as she laughed with some man. Maybe Bobby, maybe not. Hair care was one aisle over, but there was a woman between Mary Jo and the end of the aisle, a big-butted woman who was studying the Dr. It was easier to leave the cart, step around the woman, and jog to the hair care aisle.

After all, she was just going to grab the gel and then go to the cash register. The trip was already out of control.

Mary Jo had come for toilet paper and charcoal, and now her cart was almost full. There was a whole line of products in sleek lavender bottles, but the manufacturer called it a system, suggesting it was all-or-nothing. Part of her mind knew this was a gyp, a bluff. But Mary Jo also believed an expensive purchase could be transforming. The product might not be any better, but choosing to pay extra was a way of saying you deserved a little luxury in this world and that mind-set could make it so.

You deserve better. She grabbed a bottle of the lavender stuff and trotted back to aisle Aisle 11 was empty. No Jordan, no cart, no big-butted woman staring down at the Dr. Mary Jo must have gone the wrong way, turned right when she should have turned left.

No problem. She retraced her steps, heading to aisle 9. That was empty, too. When she reached the second aisle, she no longer knew what was happening or how it would end, and then all bets were off, all promises voided. A child cried, sharp and scared, and Mary Jo ran toward the sound with gratitude and relief. But the child she found on aisle 3 was a boy, his face red from where a hand had just lashed out, his mother glaring at Mary Jo, ready to defend herself.

Mary Jo left them, thinking: You are so lucky to have a child to slap. She promised God she would never slap Jordan again, never raise a hand to her in any way if he would just give her back. Never again, she promised. You hear me, God? She would be a better mother overall, patient and kind, not even yelling.

She would be nicer to her sister, although Mimi did have a way of lording over her, making Mary Jo feel like a fuck-up because Bobby had proved to be so unreliable. What else? Oh God, she would be so perfect in every way if Jordan turned up. He was going to tell her to stop shouting, stop running. Has long curly hair like mine, only kinkier and darker?

A dress. Jordan was going through this stubborn phase where she insisted on wearing dresses every day. In the car, Jordan had pulled the top off her Sippee Cup, leaving a dark red stain on the front. Stains came out if you treated them right. There was her cart, with all her things—the toothpaste and the toilet paper and the potato chips and the charcoal and the two plastic lawn chairs in case they cooked out tonight, if Bobby stopped by for dinner.

And there was Jordan in the booster seat. Her dress was blue. Right, she knew that. She grabbed the girl from the cart and covered her with kisses, asking what had happened, demanding to know who had moved the cart, but giving Jordan no chance to answer. She started sobbing, thinking of all the possible bad endings. Only then did Jordan begin to cry and babble. But her threeyear-old vocabulary was not up to the task of telling her story.

Was she in the way? Who would do a thing like that? What kind of store is this? She would sue, she would raise a fuss. What kind of person pushed a cart with a baby into this little corridor by the bathrooms? The pharmacist shrugged. At dinner that night, he would tell his wife the story, putting all the blame on Mary Jo. His own children were grown.

He could afford to be smug, all the near misses his family had known over the years long forgotten. Bobby slammed out, leaving her to clean up after their cookout. Mary Jo went to bed alone.

Every Secret Thing: A Novel

If he had commented on her hair, she might have told him the story of what happened in Rite Aid. Or not. Bobby might have used it against her, and even Mimi would have found a way to blame Mary Jo. It would be two months before the next child disappeared. It began in midMay, with a disturbingly early heat wave. It began again on Memorial Day, when the private swim clubs opened for business, even though the heat wave had receded and the weather had reverted to the cold and dreary days of April.

It began with each last day of school, district by district, with the city of Baltimore always the last to release its children. It began every Friday about 4 p.

A new summer ritual was also under way that year—the disappearance of children, little girls. They went missing from parks and stores, from yards and porches. But no one noticed, because the girls reappeared minutes later, before their absence had been logged.

Even the girls themselves did not seem to recognize the extraordinary thing that had happened to them. By the time the vernal equinox actually arrived, summer already seemed careworn and used.

This happened to be the day that Nancy put on her best suit and went to the courthouse, perhaps the ugliest public building in all of Baltimore County, no small distinction. The fourth would be tried on robbery and manslaughter charges, which was the deal he had cut for himself. He chose to risk the near-sure death sentence of being a witness, to the guaranteed death sentence given to anyone convicted of a capital crime in Baltimore County.

Duty done, Nancy and Infante met their sergeant at the Italian place on Washington, the chain restaurant that she liked so much. Lenhardt always insisted on treating, claiming the county would pick up the tab, but Nancy suspected these lunches came out of his pocket. Nancy was pretending to enjoy a small house salad. She was remembering the woman she had met back in April, a woman whose life had tested her faith yet never weakened it.

Very devout. They need to throw that sucker out and go back to the original recipe. She was no more religious than the average lapsed Catholic, but it was not a subject about which she could joke. Lenhardt was on a roll, the topic of religion having struck his fancy for some reason.

His, not ours. Not a one of them at the table—two Catholics and a Lutheran—at least she thought Lenhardt was a Lutheran—had the credentials to play even half-assed theologians. He knows how much fun it is. She wanted my house and my furniture, though. And all our money, not that there was so much of it, but her lawyer told her to drain every penny out of our joint accounts. She caught a glimpse of her face in the metal napkin holder and the effect was far from what she intended.

Even allowing for the distortion of the napkin holder, she looked silly, like a cartoon character trying to be menacing. At any rate, one night when she was out, I let myself in. It was one a. Again, his grin confessed all. I had this picture of a boat, kind of a painting, and I just really liked it. What kind of pervert do you think I am? But I look at the cat, twisting around my feet, and when I look at my feet, I see my shoes and I remember—Lorraine loved shoes.

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ASHLEIGH from Indiana
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