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А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я


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Chapter Sixteen

Sleep was a stranger that would have no part of Brazil's life at the moment. He kicked the sheets off again, got up for water, walked around in the dark for a few minutes, sat down in front of the computer screen and stared at the map and its blue fish. He drank more water and imagined that West was tormented, too.

He hoped she was fitful and full of bad dreams, her heart aching as she thought of him. Then his fantasy was shattered by a face he did not know, someone named Jim. Brazil thought hard of every cop he knew West was acquainted with, and he could think of no one named Jim she would be remotely interested in. West liked tall, well-built men who were intelligent, funny and sensitive, men she could watch movies and go drinking and shooting with. She was tired of being hit on. She required patience and a gentle touch. Indifference sometimes worked, too.

Brazil stalked back into his bedroom. It was almost five. West had made it clear she didn't intend to run with him this morning because she hated running and needed a day off. Brazil put on sweats and went out by himself.

He ran fast through the Fan, picking up speed as he obsessed about Jim. All Brazil knew about him was that he drank Heineken, or at least had brought a six-pack to West's house, so it was also possible that he simply thought she liked Heineken. Jim might not drink beer at all. He might be into Scotch or fine wine, although Brazil had noticed neither in West's kitchen. Of course, he hadn't looked in her cabinets.

He hadn't looked in her bedroom as he had walked past because he knew he couldn't bear seeing men's clothing in a pile on the floor, the bed a mess. Brazil clipped off five miles. He worked with free weights and did ab crunches until his upper body was on fire. He took a long, hot shower, miserable and furious.

Brazil shaved and brushed his teeth in the shower and decided he couldn't let West get away with this any longer. Damn her. He played and rewound and played again and again the last time they had touched, on Christmas Eve, when he'd gone to her house to deliver her Christmas present. He'd saved money for months to buy her a gold and platinum bracelet that she had stopped wearing days after they moved to Richmond.

Brazil felt used. He felt lied to and trivialized. If she really loved him as much as she used to say she did, then how could she suddenly get involved with someone named Jim and how long had it been going on? Maybe she'd been cheating on Brazil from the start, was seeing some other Jim back in Charlotte, had Jims all over the world. Brazil was going to call her and demand an explanation. He toweled his hair dry as he rehearsed what he would say. He put on his uniform, taking his time as he debated.

Hollywood Cemetery usually came alive around dawn. Clay Kitchen worked maintenance and took his job very seriously. He also liked overtime and found that if he showed up around seven each morning, he could add a good ten hours, or two hundred eighty-five dollars and eighty cents, to his twice-monthly paycheck.

Kitchen drove his blue Ford Ranger slowly through the Confederate soldiers section where eighteen thousand brave men and General Pickett's wife were buried, their simple marble markers closely spaced in perfect rows that were hard to mow around. Kitchen parked by the ninety-foot-high Confederate Monument pyramid, built of granite quarried from the James River in 1868 when the only machinery was strong bodies and fearlessness and a derrick.

Kitchen had heard the stories. There had been accidents. The workers had gotten very nervous. The project's timetable had stretched into a year and everyone was getting tired. When all that was left was to climb to the top and guide the capstone into place, the crew balked. Forget it. You got to be kidding. No one would do it, so an inmate at the nearby state penitentiary allegedly volunteered and performed the perilous task without incident, on November 6, 1869, while a happy crowd cheered.

The grass was getting a little high about the pyramid's base and in need of string trimming. But that would have to wait until Kitchen finished his inspection of the one hundred and thirty-five acres that kept him so busy. He moved on, cruising along Confederate Avenue, then Eastvale and onto Riverside, which took him to Hillside and on the Presidents Circle, to Jeter and Ginter, eventually approaching Davis Circle where he saw the problem immediately and from a distance.

Jefferson Davis was wearing a red-and-white basketball uniform. The hat he held in his left hand had been turned into a basketball, although an oddly shaped one. His skin had been painted black. The marble base he stood on had been turned into a gym floor.

Kitchen sped ahead, shocked, crazed, almost out of control. He slammed on the brakes to get a closer look. The number on the jersey was 12. Kitchen was a sports fan and knew without a doubt the University of Richmond Spiders uniform. The number 12 on the jersey was that of Bobby Feeley, who was one of the most pathetic recruits Kitchen had ever seen. Kitchen yanked the portable radio off his belt and raised his supervisor on the air.

'Someone's turned Jeff Davis into a colored basketball player!' Kitchen declared.


Chapter Fifteen | Southern Cross | Chapter Seventeen