We were in the elevator on our way downstairs for lunch, when it occurred to me to ask Frank why he wasn’t with the others at the crash site. He answered in a matter-of-fact kind of way, “I’ve been shelved.”
He had been given desk duty as a result of informing Agent Sanchez about his suspicions concerning the crash which had killed Sam and, of course, this latest one, which we both suspected was an attempt on Saul Abramovitz’s life.
Frank, the investigator, was being investigated by the NTSB and the FBI. “So, I’m having lunch with a criminal.” “It would seem so”, he said averting his glance so I couldn’t see the wicked little smile that crossed his face.
I had him pegged as a cheeseburger with extra onions for lunch type. Instead, he ordered the filet minion, oven roasted potatoes, spinach au gratin, and a Heineken! He was trying to impress me. Secretly, I was very pleased. “She’ll have the same,” he told the waiter.
“Frank, as delicious as that sounds, that’s just a little too heavy for me at lunch. I’d like the salad nicoise, please. And a glass of white wine since we’re celebrating your getting ‘shelved’.
The waiter taking our orders, while being very cordial, acted as though he’d never seen a black woman and a white man having a meal together in the middle of the day. I got that all the time when Sam and I went out. I called it the ‘hooker thing.’ Most white people assumed that’s what I was.
“Frank, tell me more about what happened with Saul and Rebecca. Sylvia Abramovitz mentioned it again today.”
“All I know is that we found Rebecca in the woods behind our apartment building in the process of killing Saul’s dog. Strangest damn thing I’d ever seen. She was only ten or twelve at the time, but, as I think of it now, she was already into ritual killing.”
“Why do you think she chose Saul’s dog?” “Opportunity? Revenge? In retrospect, Saul was a bit of a bully. And when Rebecca started dressing up as a boy and calling herself Lester, well let’s just say Saul had plenty of ammo.”
I remembered the photo that had led us to seek out Rebecca. In the photo Rebecca’s bright red hair was pulled back and tucked under a baseball cap. She was wearing baggy boy jeans, a white tee shirt and a light weight plaid shirt. She looked like your average everyday little boy.
The waiter brought our lunch and a refill on our drinks. I pushed my salad around on my plate contemplating what would cause a beautiful little girl, as Rebecca must have been with that red hair, to dress up as a boy and commit ritual murder. Loneliness? Abuse? Stress? Perhaps some combination of the three. “Were there other little girls on your block?”
He finished chewing the bite of fillet minion he’d just put in his mouth before answering my question. “Tons. Of course, we didn’t play with them or let them be a part of our group, though.”
“You let Rebecca be a part of your group.” I could see he was taking a moment trying to remember why – why that little girl and not the others. He took another moment before answering. “She wasn’t a girl girl. She was like one of the guys.”
“Maybe too much so,” I said.