At seven the next morning, Harry took a shower. He combed his hair and put on a clean shirt and some cologne. He looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. You could see the crack in the leather where his belt used to buckle two notches tighter. He got out a jacket and hung it on the front door knob. He checked his wallet. Two twenties. Enough, he guessed. Then he pulled the desk chair up to the crack in the curtains. He sat to the side. Timing was crucial.

About eighteen minutes to eight, the Claiborne bus rounded the curve on Jefferson Highway from the east, its brakes squealing as it stopped half a block from the Riverbend. Harry’s heart started beating faster. He kept his eyes on the street. Forty-five seconds later, he could see the brown coat and white stockings down at the end of the sidewalk. She walked slowly, not in any hurry to get home. Just a few seconds more. He’d deliberately left his car at the far end of the parking lot rather than right in front of his apartment like he usually did. That way, he’d be walking toward her, naturally.

From Thanksgiving