Excerpt

2

face, olive complexioned like his own, a nose with a small bump in its center, a full-lipped mouth. Silver hoop earrings contrast with her dark skin. The dress fits a bit too tight around her body and the skirt seems shorter than stylish. She has nothing of his wife Sara’s classic good looks or elegance, yet the woman emits an effortless erotic aura.

The bus pulls to a stop at the curb just as Posner moves to the spot where he knows the door will open. A solitary newspaper page races determinedly through the morning air just past where he stands, as if it, too, wishes to board and escape the city. The paper plunges to a stop as it clings to a post that carries a parking sign, before it gently slides down to the sidewalk. That’s as far as you’ll go today, Posner muses as he turns toward the just-opened door.

The woman is presumably somewhere behind him now, waiting with the few who will board at this first pickup spot. Posner knows the driver and attendant—regulars on this run, as is he. Nevertheless, he calls out, “Amagansett,” and moves up the stairs. He finds an aisle seat a bit more than halfway down and drops his backpack on the adjoining window seat. He removes his newspaper from the backpack, leans into the seat, and stifles a yawn.

Pulling out the Wednesday Sports section, he begins to scan the headlines just as a flicker of pink and white passes and moves further toward the rear. He briefly follows the movement until she passes, then contemplates her circumstances, as if it were a kind of challenge, like the old television show, “What’s My Line?” where a celebrity panel must ponder the occupation of a mystery guest. Posner guesses that her occupation is that of a housekeeper or nanny, and that she has been in the city for a night to visit family or friends. Her features and coloring lead him to believe she has probably emigrated from some place far more exotic than the Hamptons.