Next day May 3
Peter never joined me last night. After Billie disappeared, I took Juniper for a last walk around the block. In an attempted to work off some of my confusion about Peter and Lura’s relationship, Jacob’s anger with him and my own place in his world, I must have walked too fast. About halfway around the 12th Avenue block, Juniper sat herself down on the sidewalk, cocked her head at me and wouldn’t budge. I wound up carrying her home.
“That’s not good discipline,” said Professor Sergeant when I reached the verandah. He was smoking a very academic-looking pipe and leaning back against the top step. Juniper found a spot for herself on his chest.
“I guess not,” I agreed, finding a seat for myself against a column. I faced his profile and, not far behind, Phoebe’s darkened windows. Upstairs, I could see Veronica’s lights were off, her windows shut. Professor Sergeant’s blinds were half closed; the lights behind them dim. Only my own three living room windows glared, the lights behind them bright as noise. Anyone passing by could see the mess on my desk, the titles of the books on my shelves.
“Did you see Peter leave?” I asked, removing the leash and choke chain from Juniper’s neck. She still wore her little red collar. Prof. S. took the leash from me and removed the choke chain.
“Just try without it for a while,” he said, attaching the leash to Juniper’s collar.
“Did they say when they’d be back?”
“He’ll be back.”
We sat for a few minutes inhaling the night. We couldn’t see the plants grow, but night is when they reach out and change.
“Somebody killed my dog,” he said.
“Your dog died,” I said. “It was an accident.”
“My dog was killed,” he said. “And I want you to help me figure it out.”
“But, why? I mean, why would anyone want to kill a dog?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe whoever did it wanted to get at me.”
“But who are you? I mean, to get at? Have you?” I faltered. “An enemy?”
“I’m not being paranoid,” he said. “Veronica never liked me. Never.”
“She’s a vindictive, silly woman.”
“You think she’s responsible?”
“I do. But I don’t know for sure. I’m going to find out.”