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34 6 ~ Sam Sam only half-heard the first beep of the Special Ed bus. He had spent all afternoon trying to breech the cyber-defenses of a university admissions office for a client who suspected racial bias in his law school rejection. Sam was supposed to prove discrimination , but the firewall was tougher than he expected. When the horn sounded a second time, louder and longer, he scooted his desk chair over the pine floorboards to the second floor window. Most days, Emily zipped out the front door to meet Zoe before Mr. Gonzalez had the flashers on, but Sam didn’t see her or her car. At the third insistent honk, Sam grabbed his jacket and hurried downstairs. The bus driver was helping Zoe maneuver down the steps with her crutches. Her rhinestone headband sparkled, even though the afternoon had turned cloudy and it looked like snow. “Papa, I’m going to marry Señor Gonzalez,” Zoe said. She turned to wave goodbye to the silver-haired driver. “Right?” “Si, si,” the driver said, handing Zoe’s backpack to Sam. “Hasta mañana, Missy.” Zoe scampered ahead to the front door, her sticks clacking on the sidewalk. “I want a snack. Can we cake bookies?” “Sounds dunky hory to me,” Sam said, following his daughter onto the front porch. He had started talking to Zoe in spoonerisms when she was an infant, even though it drove Anna crazy. By the time she was four, Zoe had figured out how to switch the first sound of words by herself. It was their secret language. As he dug into his jeans pocket for his emergency key to Anna’s half of the house, Emily’s car sputtered to the curb. “Sorry I’m late.” Emily slammed the car door and caught up to Sam and Zoe in the doorway. “Thanks, Sam.” “No problem.” “We’re going to bake cookies.” Zoe headed for the kitchen. Ellen Meeropol ~ 35 Emily tapped Zoe’s shoulder to get her attention, and pointed to the bathroom. “First your cath,” she said. “Then your snack.” “I’m too hungry to wait.” Zoe turned back towards the kitchen. “You know your mother’s rules. Hurry up. Your papa will wait for you.” Sam hadn’t moved from the front door, uncertain if he should come in, or go back to his apartment. “Right?” Emily looked at him. Sam nodded. When Zoe closed the bathroom door, he followed Emily into the kitchen. Emily went right to the computer and pushed the power button. While it powered up, she started pulling food containers from the refrigerator and cupboards. “Thanks again.” Emily opened the jar of peanut butter and sniffed. “Noproblem.”Sampointedatthecomputer,stillloading.“WhenareyouandAnna goingtoletmeupdatethatdinosaurforyou?” Emily didn’t answer. Sam had been making that offer for years. When Anna had first discovered that she was pregnant with Zoe, she and Sam had carefully planned the kitchen desk space. Sam would be able to work on the computer while watching the baby play on the kitchen floor, and Anna could return to her teaching job. That was before the ultrasound. Emily plunked the armful of snacks on the table, leaned over the desk, and typed, then waited. Sam could hear the dial-up tones. So slow. Finally, she typed again and hit enter with a small flourish. “Ready,” Zoe called. Emily hurried towards the bathroom. Sam could picture the scene inside. Emily would inspect Zoe’s hands, making sure that she had washed them carefully. She would watch the girl lubricate the small plastic catheter and insert it until the yellow stream splashed into the toilet. He scooted the kitchen chair closer to the monitor and saw a Google search for “Frozen Babies.” He clicked on the first entry and read a front page story in the city newspaper from August 24, almost three months earlier. The partially decomposed bodies of two very young children were discovered yesterday by hikers in a remote section of Forest Park. Springfield Chief Detective Marshall Mahon revealed today that the bodies were hidden in a deep gully in the rarely-used southeastern section of the park. He theorized that they were frozen there over the winter and promised a full investigation, with prompt arrest of those responsible. Why was Emily interested in this stuff? He heard the flush of the toilet, clicked on the Back arrow, and then on the second search entry, dated October 29. Chief Mahon announced this afternoon that the frozen babies...


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MARC Record
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