It would have been so easy to remain in that position, gazing into the snapping and cracking flames
before me, my mind nowhere in particular. But besides having the curiosity of a cat, I also have a
strong sense of responsibility. It might be going overboard to make another trip to Joe’s home, but a
telephone call was an absolute must.
I pressed the memory button and number five on my cordless phone and listened to three rings.
“Hello. The Wise residence.”
It was her. I recognized the flat voice immediately. It was the waif from earlier. Who was she? And
what was she doing answering Joe’s telephone? Why had she answered his door?
“Put Joe on the phone, please.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Wise can’t come to the phone right now.”
“Mr.Wise is having his bath . . .”
Whatever else she said went unheard when I dropped the phone and shot off the couch.