From Chapter 30 of the book with no name
My dreams were filled with Miles and Iva Wuchnik. Iva climbed onto the catafalque to lie next to her brother. The top of the tomb was so thick with blood that she had to do the backstroke to keep from sinking in it. Iva pulled the rebar from Miles’ chest and stuck it in her ear, where it turned into a giant cone for eavesdropping on cellphones. Somewhere in the background I could hear Leydon chanting, In death they were not divided. Wade Lawlor appeared, holding a microphone. Shame on Shame Lunski, he cried, murdering a hard-working vampire.
It was a relief to wake up, to find myself in my bedroom with sunshine seeping around the edges of the blinds, rather than swimming in Miles Wuchnik’s blood. I sat in bed, hugging my knees to my chest, trying to remember the important points from my encounter with Iva. I’d been too tired to write them up when I got home last night.
She’d gone on about Chaim Lunski: she saw him on television all the time, she’d said, wanting to fill America with illegal immigrants. I didn’t think Lunski was on television—he wasn’t a publicity seeker. Iva saw his face or heard his name on Wade Lawlor’s show. Miles had been doing some dangerous investigations that would show up Lunski, Iva said. And Lawlor would heap fame and glory on her brother.
I walked slowly to the kitchen to put on water for coffee. Did that mean Lawlor had hired Miles Wuchnik? The two-bit Berwyn PI and the man with the thirty-million-dollar annual contract from Global? Wade Lawlor had hundreds of investigators at his command, but maybe he was spreading his net wide, trying to snare Lunski.
On a whim, I logged onto Lawlor’s website, to see if he was offering some kind of reward for nailing Lunski. I didn’t see a header that said “Wanted, Dead or Alive,” but he did have a tip line.
If you have information on any topic Vital to the Survival of Our Republic and our Christian Values, email me: Wade.Lawlor@GEN.Net
Photos of some of his loyal viewers were shown, with a little blurb about the vital information they’d supplied. Other tipsters hadn’t wanted to be publicly identified. As I scrolled down, my own name jumped out at me. An anonymous source had claimed that my mother was an illegal immigrant.
The fury I’d felt at the Herald-Star offices last night welled up in me again. How dared they, how dared they, these faceless, mindless, cowardly, jackboot-licking pond scum? I was shaking with rage, halfway to my closet to collect my gun when I pulled myself together. Who did I think I could shoot? Lawlor? Harold Weekes, the head of GEN’s news division? Or just the guts of my computer? Even if I could track down the anonymous tipster, what could I do about it—it wasn’t against the law to post messages about someone’s dead mother.
A night soon after I’d learned my mother was ill, that she might not get well came to my mind.
One of the women on south Houston whom Gabriella had scorched for her advice on how to control me—your daughter is a disgrace to the neighborhood, the woman had said, and Gabriella had said, she’s growing up to inhabit a larger world than you’ll ever visit. As I walked past the woman’s house she’d spat out an insult about Gabriella, Melez, she’d called her. I’d grown up hearing that Croatian word: my mother was a mongrel, a half-caste—half Jewish, they meant. I’d jumped up the stairs in the dark and been on the point of punching her when my father materialized.
“Come on home, Tory” he’d said.
I was fifteen and as tall as he was, but he picked me up and carried me down the stairs. He didn’t berate me and he wouldn’t listen to my side of the story. He sat me down on our back stoop, where we’d listened in the darkness to Gabriella working on her breathing exercises: cancer was not going to still her voice, she was determined about that.
After a time, Tony said, “The worst cops are the ones whose gun is their first weapon, instead of their last. The best cops go into a situation head-first, not hand-first. You remember that, Tory: you get yourself into trouble you don’t need with that hot temper of yours. And anger doesn’t make a bad situation better. It depletes your strength and it depletes your mind.”