Tourist Season
    “Verbatim,” the city editor said. “Fine and dandy.”
    Mulcahy phoned Dr. Remond Courtney and told him that Skip Wiley hadn’t showed up for work.
    “Oh?” Dr. Courtney did not seem surprised, but it was hard to tell. Courtney was an expert at masking his reactions by saying things like Oh and I see and Why don’t you tell me about it.
    “I was wondering,” Mulcahy said impatiently, “how things went today?”
    “How things went?”
    “With you and Mr. Wiley. You had an appointment, remember?”
    More silence; then: “He became abusive.”
    “Became abusive? He’s always abusive.”
    “Physically abusive,” Courtney said. He was trying to remain clinical so Mulcahy wouldn’t suspect how scared he’d been. “I believe he threatened my life.”
    “What did you do?”
    “I talked him out of it, of course. I think we were doing much better by the end of the hour.”
    “Glad to hear it,” Mulcahy said, thinking: Wiley’s right, this guy is useless. “Tell me, did Skip say where he was going after his visit?”
    “No. He left in a hurry. It had been a strenuous session for both of us.”
    Mulcahy said, “So what’s the verdict?”
    “What the hell is wrong with him?”
    “Stress, fatigue, anxiety, paranoia. It’s all job-related. I suggest you give him a year off.”
    “I can’t do that, doctor. He’s a very popular writer and the newspaper needs him.”
    “Suit yourself. He’s a nut case.”
    A nut case who sells newspapers, Mulcahy thought ruefully. Next he tried Jenna.
    “I still haven’t seen him, Cab. I’m getting a little worried, too. I’ve got a spinach pie in the oven.”
    Jenna had the most delicious voice of any woman Cab Mulcahy had ever met; pure gossamer. Even spinach pie came out like Let’s do it! The day Skip Wiley moved in with Jenna was the day Cab Mulcahy decided there was no God.
    “Does he usually call?” Mulcahy asked.
    “He doesn’t do anything in a usual way, you know that, Cab.” A silky laugh.
    Mulcahy sighed. In a way it was his fault. Hadn’t he introduced them to each other, Jenna and Skip, one night at the Royal Palm Club?
    Jenna said, “Skip makes contact two or three times a day, in various ways. Today—nothing, after noon.”
    “What did he say,” Mulcahy ventured, “when he … made contact?”
    “Not much. Hold on, I gotta turn down the stove … okay, let me try to remember … I know! He said he was on his way to get a new muffler for the car, and he also said he murdered the psychiatrist. Is that part true?”
    “Of course not,” Mulcahy said.
    “I’m glad. He’s got such a crummy temper.”
    “Jenna, did Skip mention when he might be making contact again?”
    “No, he never does. He likes to surprise me, says it keeps the romance fresh. Sometimes I wonder if he’s just testing me. Trust is a two-way street, y’know.”
    “But he comes home for dinner?”
    “Almost always,” Jenna said.
    “If he comes home tonight,” Mulcahy said, by now eager to escape the conversation, “please have him call the newsroom. It’s important.”
    “I’m getting worried, Cab,” Jenna said again. “This spinach is starting to clot.”
    What an actress, Mulcahy thought, she’s just terrific. When Skip Wiley first seduced Jenna, he’d thought he was getting himself a gorgeous blond melon-breasted bimbo. That’s how he had described her to Mulcahy, who knew better. He had warned Wiley, too, warned him to proceed with extreme caution. Mulcahy had seen Jenna in action once before; she was magnetic and purposeful far beyond Skip Wiley’s ragged powers of comprehension. But Wiley hadn’t listened to Mulcahy’s warning, and chased Jenna shamelessly until she’d let herself get caught.
    Mulcahy’s speculation about Wiley’s weirdness included the possibility that Jenna was the key.
    Mulcahy swept the clutter from the desk into his briefcase, put on his jacket, and threaded his way through the newsroom toward the

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