“And you killed him?”

“No. He ran off-”

“The truth, Gold.”

“… I hit him. I hit him too hard and… he died.”

“Where’s his body?”

“I don’t know. I left it in the alley behind the club we’d been drinking in.”

Bullshit. The body of the son of a prominent vintner, who’d been reported missing, didn’t go unidentified for months. Alicia Summers’s body had, but the circumstances were entirely different.

Hy let it go for now.

“After you killed Larry, why did you leave the money here?”

“… I couldn’t start coming around right away; it might’ve made his folks suspicious.”

“And why did you come for it tonight?”

“That detective, Julia Rafael, called me, wanting to talk again. I think she’s on to something. I decided to grab the money and take off.”

“Did Haven Dietz realize you were her attacker and demand something from you?”

“Something that she heard Julia Rafael say on the phone to Mrs. Peeples put it all together for her. She wanted the money. I was supposed to bring it to her apartment at six Sunday evening.”

“But instead you killed her.”

No response.

Hy moved the light again, and Gold squirmed.

“Did you?”

“Yes, yes, yes! Turn that light off! Please, turn it off!”

Hy didn’t heed Gold’s request. Instead, he asked, “Did you go to the offices of McCone Investigations on the night of Monday, July seventh, to look for the Dietz and Peeples files?”

No response.

He brought the light close in again. “Answer me.”


Hy waited in silence until he heard a whimper.

“Are you ready to answer me now?”

“Yes! Yes, I went to the pier in the afternoon and hid there until everybody left and the guard was drinking. I was afraid of what might be in those files.”

“But you couldn’t access them, could you?”


“Did you shoot a woman who came into the office that you were searching?”

“I didn’t know who she was, but I’d been to that pier before, and I was afraid she might recognize me. I panicked. I was trying to save myself.”

“At my wife’s expense.”

Hy held the light on Gold’s face a few seconds more, then switched it out. Said to John, “Turn on the overheads, would you? Let’s get him out of here.”


They came through the door of my room-Hy and John, supporting a man between them. I knew from his photographs he was Ben Gold. A pair of concerned orderlies followed.

Hy turned to the orderlies, said, “Sorry, this is private business.” Motioned for them to leave and shut the door.

Gold wore a buttoned-up coat. I could tell that under it he was handcuffed. The look on Gold’s face was one of terror. Hy shoved him forward.

“There,” Hy said, pushing him close to my bed. “See? That’s what you’ve done to my wife!”

Gold closed his eyes. Hy shook him, forced his gaze onto mine. “I want you to see, dammit! This is what you did to her. I can also show you crime scene photos of Haven Dietz. You disfigured her for a hundred thousand dollars, then you killed her so you could keep the money.”

Gold’s mouth worked.

“Where’s Larry’s body?”

Rasping breaths, but no answer.

Hy said to Gold, “I’m asking you one more time. Where?”

“I… don’t… know.”

Hy hit him. Hit him hard enough to send him flying across the room and crashing into the wall. Gold slumped on the floor, gasping.

The orderlies were through the door now. John went to speak with them while Hy took out his phone and speed-dialed. I listened as he talked to Adah.

“She’ll contact the SFPD,” he said after ending the call. “They like her a hell of a lot better than me.”

The orderlies remained by the door, watchful.

I looked down at Gold. On his outflung arm I saw the gleam of the finely woven silver bracelet that had ultimately revealed him.

Metal grazing my fingers…


Silver links in the brief, harsh light…



No. Not falling any more.



It was my birthday-a perfect summer afternoon in San Francisco, even though the rest of the country was well into autumn. I sat in my wheelchair in a spot of sun on the deck, Alice the cat curled on my lap-she’d really become fond of this chair and the way we could zip around-watching Ralph stalk a bird in the backyard. He was getting old and slow and would never catch it.

No big party, no dinner out, no trip to Touchstone or the ranch. This year I’d opted for a quiet day and an intimate dinner at home with Hy. Most people who’ve been confined to hospitals for over two and a half months would’ve been aching for company, balloons, cake, champagne, presents-the works. But I’d had more company and excitement since I was shot than the average person does in a decade. Being right here, right now, with my husband cooking up something exotic in the kitchen was exactly where I wanted to be. I’d gone through the round of birthday calls and cards, e-mails and floral deliveries, and now here in the sun I felt pleasantly sleepy.

I’d come a long way in a short time, but I still had a long way to go. My doctors said my recovery was a miracle, and I certainly agreed. If I hadn’t crashed when I did, needing immediate risky surgery, I might have remained cut off from the world for the rest of my life.

When you experience something that shattering, you realize how casually we take all the givens-speech, motion, the ability to communicate with a glance or a gesture. The urge to make love, which last night had moved Hy and me to a successful conclusion. The ability to imagine a future.

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