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195 tuuro’s confession Tuuro was expected to memorize his confession. There was nothing for him to take home and study because nothing should be leaked out. The confession was extremely explicit, because—Mrs. Calder said—people were idiots and needed things spelled out. Something came over me. I took out my swollen penis and I forced . . . He couldn’t read it. “What do you mean you can’t read it? You can read, can’t you?” Mrs. Calder tugged her cross out of her cleavage. She had worked for twenty-eight years for a man she called the crown prince of Cleveland newscasters. He had retired to California , so now she worked for Nenonene. “Everyone trusts me,” she’d told Tuuro. “I’m what you call impeccable.” She was certainly not what Tuuro would call impeccable, her feet up on her desk, boots dripping melted snow. Tuuro read the speech again. The only way he could get through it was to say each word alone, as if he were reading a list. “You don’t sound real,” Mrs. Calder said. “You’re worse every time.” She bit her thumb. “Haven’t you ever totally lost control? Think of a night you got drunk and hit somebody.” 196 s ha r p a n d d a n g e r ou s v i r t u e s Tuuro looked at the floor. He had been moved from Allyssa ’s two weeks before to a Cleveland apartment—the first floor of a frame house—by a woman named Akira who referred to herself as the General’s henchwoman. Another henchwoman brought him groceries. He understood from the beginning that Nenonene had plans for him, but plans like these had never crossed his mind. “Are you perfect?” Mrs. Calder said. “Are you one of the chosen few who’ve never done anything wrong?” He thought of his feelings about the pastor; of the girls he looked at late at night on his computer back in Dayton; how he’d walked off from the message center in Cincinnati, knowing that the lipsticked man was about to shoot the customer. He said, “No.” “Then can we have a little passion? A little remorse?” Mrs. Calder’s eyes narrowed. “Your daughter’s how old, six? They say a kid can only remember one month back for each year of their age. She’s probably forgotten you by now.” She will want to forget me, Tuuro thought. Nenonene, he thought, almost choking. The conversation he’d imagined them having—what a joke. Instead Tuuro had been prepared as an object of use, brought to Mrs. Calder’s office to practice a script about his performing acts worse than any he’d ever imagined, all at the will of a man who would use anything , even his own grandson, to consolidate his power. The monstrous thought filled Tuuro that Nenonene could have arranged Cubby’s death himself. He had certainly arranged for the demise of Tuuro. Tuuro saw again Allyssa at the end of the stone driveway, waving after him until he couldn’t see her from the back window of Akira’s car. Would Allyssa, at least, understand that he was mouthing a lie? Tuuro tried to speak, but his emotions were too much for him. “Just keep reading the thing, okay? We’ve got a timeline here.” Mrs. Calder said. “Jesus, I told Neno it’d be easier with a pro.” 197 tuuro’s confession I t wa s t h e Audubon calendar arriving in the mail that made them think to turn on Diana’s perc. They hadn’t had mail for weeks. The road to the Center over the Englewood Dam (one of the famous Dayton-saving dry dams—a giant earthen wall with an opening at its base for the Stillwater River) was less than a mile away, and the electric mail carts were as solid and reliable as any vehicle. But Charles suspected the mail carrier let their letters accumulate until he could no longer postpone the trip. They didn’t look like people worth visiting. Charles had stopped shaving, and the hairs of his lower beard caught on the upper buttons of his shirts. Diana, who had only summer clothing, had taken to raiding the lost-and-found boxes, and often felt so cheerfully motley she’d rush into the bathroom to gape at herself in the mirror. The women’s lost clothing was decorated with...


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MARC Record
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