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By Ed Gorman




“Is Faith there?” I said.

“Not right now. I’m Marcia.”


“The babysitter. I live in the building. I work the night shift at Rockwell. On the line. That’s why I can babysit this morning.”

“Oh. Where’s Faith?”

“I’m not sure.”

“She didn’t say?”

“Not exactly.”



“I’d like to ask you a question.”

“All right.”

“Is there something you’re not telling me?”

“Is this Mr. Walsh?”

“Yes. Why?”

“She said you’d probably be calling.”

“Oh. Did she say anything else?”

Hesitation. “Just that I wasn’t, uh, supposed to say anything.”

“Say anything about what?”

Hesitation. “Well, you know, the way she left and all.”

“What about the way she left?”

Hesitation. “She’ll get mad. You know her temper.”

“I know her temper.”

“So maybe I shouldn’t say anything.”

“I’m right across the street, Marcia. I can walk over there easily enough.”

Sigh. “God, you make it sound like a threat or something.”

That, anyway, had been my intention. “So what about how she left?”


“Marcia, we’re wasting time.”

“Well, she was crying.”

“Do you know about what?”

Hesitation. “I’m not sure.”

“Sure you’re sure. Now tell me.”

“Well, she found something.”

“Found something?”

Hesitation. “It probably isn’t anything. I mean, I’ve got a cousin named Rosie and she found the same thing and the doctor told her it wasn’t anything to worry about at all. She has to go back and get it checked every six months or so, but she’s fine. Just fine.”

“What did she find?”

“I really don’t think I should say any more, Mr. Walsh.”

“Did Faith tell you how much I care about her?”


“Well, I care about her a lot.”

“She said you’re a nice man.”

“Well, Marcia, put yourself in my place.”


“You call up and a stranger answers and she says she’s babysitting and that Faith is gone.”

“Oh. Right.”

“And furthermore, she tells you that Faith has ‘found something’ and then she mentions something about a doctor and a cousin named Rosie who has to go back every six months for a checkup. Do you think that would scare you, Marcia?”

“I guess, sure.”

“Then you’ll tell me?”

“It’s just a lump. I really don’t think it’s a big deal at all.”

“A lump?”

“Yeah. On one of her breasts. That’s what she found this morning. You know how she gets. Sort of hysterical. I’m not putting her down or anything, but she does kind of overreact sometimes.”

“I suppose she does, yes. So where did she go?”

“To her doctor’s office. She took a cab.”


“So I’m watching Hoyt.”

Hoyt is a year-and-a-half. His favorite food is from Dairy Queen. His favorite TV show is “Sesame Street.” Faith insists I am Hoyt’s father. I am not convinced of that as yet. “Did she say when she’d be back?”

“Probably two hours or so.”

“And she left when?”

“About an hour ago.”

“I’d like you to do me a favor.”


“I’d like you to leave her a note that says to call me as soon as possible. I’ll be at my office.”

“All right, Mr. Walsh. I’ll write it out right now before I forget it.”

I said thank you and hung up.


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