“OH, JESUS!” TEDDY sat up. He was crying. He felt he’d wrenched himself awake, tore his brain into consciousness just to get out of that dream. He could feel it back there in his brain, waiting, its doors wide open. All he had to do was close his eyes and tip his head back toward the pillow and he’d topple right back into it.

“How are you, Marshal?”

He blinked several times into the darkness. “Who’s there?”

Cawley turned on a small lamp. It stood beside his chair in the cor


ner of the room. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.

Teddy sat up on the bed. “How long have I been here?” Cawley gave him a smil of apology. “The pills were a little stronger than I thought. You’ve been out for four hours.” “Shit.” Teddy rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands.

“You were having nightmares, Marshal. Serious nightmares.” “I’m in a mental institution on an island in a hurricane,” Teddy said.

“Touch,” Cawley said. “I was here a month before I had a decent night’s sleep. Who’s Dolores?”

Teddy said, “What?” and swung his legs off the side of the bed.

“You kept saying her name.”

“My mouth is dry.”

Cawley nodded and turned his body in the chair, lifted a glass of water off the table beside him. He handed it across to Teddy. “A side effect, I’m afraid. Here.”

Teddy took the glass and drained it in a few gulps.

“How’s the head?”

Teddy remembered why he was in this room in the first place and took a few moments to take stock. Vision clear. No more thumbtacks in his head. Stomach a little queasy, but not too bad. A mild ache in the right side of his head, like a three-day-old bruise, really.  “I’m okay,” he said. “Those were some pills.”

“We aim to please. So who’s Dolores?”

“My wife,” Teddy said. “She’s dead. And, yes, Doctor, I’m still coming to terms with it. Is that okay?”

“It’s perfectly fine, Marshal. And I’m sorry for your loss. She died suddenly?”

Teddy looked at himand laughed.


“I’m not really in the mood to be psychoanalyzed, Doc.” Cawley crossed his legs at the ankles and lit a cigarette. “And I’m not trying to fuck with your head, Marshal. Believe it or not.’But something happened in that room tonight with Rachel. It wasn’t just her. I’d be negligent in my duties as her therapist if I didn’t wonder what kind of demons you’re carrying around.”

“What happened in that room?” Teddy said. “I was playing the part she wanted me to.”

Cawley chuckled. “Know thyself, Marshal. Please. If we’d left you two alone, you’re telling me we would have come back to find you both fully clothed?”

Teddy said, “I’m an officer of the law, Doctor. Whatever you think you saw in there, you didn’t.”

Cawley held up a hand “Fine. As you say.”

“As I.say,” Teddy said.

He sat back and smoked and considered Teddy andsmoked some more and Teddy could hear the storm outside, could feel the press of it against the wails, feel it pushing through gaps under the roof, and Cawley remained silent and watchful, and Teddy finally said:

“She died in a fire. I miss her like you... If I was underwater, I wouldn’t miss oxygen that much.” He raised his eyebrows at Cawley.  “Satisfied?”

Cawley leaned forward and handed Teddy a cigarette and lit it for him. “I loved a woman once in France,” he said. “Don’t tell my wife, okay?”


“I loved this woman the way you love.., well, nothing,” he said, a note of surprise in his voice. “You can’t compare that kind of love to anything, can you?”

Teddy shook his head.

“It’s its own unique gift.” Cawley’s eyes followed the smoke from his cigarette, his gaze gone out of the room, over the ocean.  “What were you doing in France?”

He smiled, shook a playful finger at Teddy.

“Ah,” Teddy said. ‘

“Anyway, this woman was coming to meet me one night. She’s hurrying, I guess. It’s a rainy night in Paris. She trips. That’s it.” “She what?”

“She tripped.”

“And?” Teddy stared at him.

“And nothing. She tripped. She fell forward. She hit her head. She died. You believe that? In a war. All the ways you’d think a person could die. She tripped.”

Teddy could see the pain in his face, even after all these years, the stunned disbelief at being the butt of a cosmic joke.

“Sometimes,” Cawley said quietly, “I make it a whole three hours without thinking of her. Sometimes I go whole weeks without remembering her smell, that look she’d give me when she knew we’d find time to be alone on a given night, her hair—the way she played with it when she was reading. Sometimes...” Cawley stubbed out his ciga rette. “Wherever her soul went—if there was a portal, say, under her body and it opened up as she died and that’s where she went? I’d go back to Paris tomorrow if I knew that portal would open, and I’d climb in after her.”

Teddy said, “What was her name?”

“Marie,” Cawley said, and the saying of it took something from him.

Teddy took a draw on the cigarette, let the smoke drift lazily back out of his mouth.

“Dolores,” he said, “she tossed in her sleep a lot, and her hand, seven times out of ten, I’m not kidding, would flop right into my face.  Over my mouth and nose. Just whack and there it was. I’d remove it, you know? Sometimes pretty roughly. I’m having a nice sleep and, bang, now I’m awake. Thanks, honey. Sometimes, though, I’d leave it there. Kiss it, smell it, what have you. Breathe her in. If I could have that hand back over my face, Doc? I’d sell the world.” I, The walls rumbled, the night shook with wind.

Cawley watched Teddy the way you’d watch children on a busy street corner. “I’m pretty good at what I do, Marshal. I’m an egotist, I admit. My IQ is off the charts, and ever since I was a boy, I could read people. Better than anyone. 1 say what I’m about to say meaning no offense, but have you considered that you’re suicidal?” “Well,” Teddy said, “I’m glad you didn’t mean to offend me.” “But have you considered it?”

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