K is for Killer Page 58

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Lorna never did the first nice thing for either one of us. Well, she did now and then, but you practically had to lay down and beg."

"How'd you find out about her death?"

"The police stopped by the house and asked to speak to Daddy. He was the one who told Mom, and she told us. It was kind of creepy. I mean, we thought Lorna was out of town. Off on vacation, is what Mom said. So we didn't think anything about it when we didn't hear from her. We just figured she'd give us a call when she got back. It's horrible to think she was just laying there, moldering."

"It must have been awful."

"Oh, God. I started screaming, and Berl got white as a ghost. Daddy was like in shock. Mother took it the worst. She still isn't over it. She was staggering around shrieking and crying, practically tearing her hair out. I've never seen her like that. She's usually the one holds the rest of us together. Like when Grandma died? This was her own mother. She kept real calm, made airline reservations, packed our bags so we could go back to Iowa to the funeral. We were all young kids, acting dumb, boo-hooing real pitiful. She got everything all organized, as cool as you please. When we found out about Lorna, she just fell to pieces."

"Most parents don't expect to outlive their kids," I said.

"That's what everybody says. It doesn't help that the police think she was murdered and all."

"What's your opinion?"

Trinny made a mute shrug with her mouth. "I guess she could have died from her allergies. I don't like to think about it. Too icky for my taste."

I shifted the subject. "Were you the one who went to San Francisco with Lorna last year?"

"That was Berlyn," she said. "Who told you about that?"

"I met the guy on the tape."

She glanced up from her work with interest. "Which one?"

12

She had the good grace to blush. Despite the dark brown hair, she was fair-complected, and the tint hit her cheeks like a heat rash. She dropped her gaze to the work in front of her, suddenly much busier than she'd been before. I could tell she was casting about for a way to change the subject. She bent over her work. I guess it was important to get the paint dots just right.

"Trinny?"

"What?"

"How'd you happen to see the tape? And don't say 'which tape' because you know exactly which tape I'm talking about."

"I didn't see the tape."

"Oh, come on. Of course you did. If you didn't, how'd you know there was more than one guy?"

"I don't even know what you're talking about," she said with pious irritation.

"I'm talking about the porno tape in which Lorna appeared. Remember? Your mother told you."

"Maybe Mom told us that, too. About the other guy, more than one."

I said, "Uhn-hun," in my most skeptical tone. "What happened, did Lorna give you a copy?"

"Nooo," she said, giving it two sliding syllables, high note to low, offended by the notion.

"Then how'd you know there was more than one man?"

"I guessed. What do you care?"

I stared at her. The obvious conclusion leapt to mind. "Were you the one who wrapped it and put it out in the mailbox?"

"No. And anyway, I don't have to answer." This time the tone was sullen, but the blush came up again. This was better than a polygraph.

"Who did?"

"I don't know anything about anything, so you might as well change the subject. This is not a court of law, you know. I'm not under oath."

An attorney in the making. For a moment I thought she'd put her fingers in her ears and start humming, just to shut me out. I cocked my head, trying to catch her eye. "Trinny," I sang. She was studiously engaged in the T-shirt in front of her, adding a gaudy orange spiral of puff paint. I said, "Come on. I don't care what you did, and I swear I will never say a word to your parents. I've been wondering who sent the tape to them, and now I know. In a way, you did us all a favor. If your mother hadn't been upset about it, she wouldn't have come to me, and the whole investigation might have died where it was." I waited and then gave her a line prompt. "Was it Berlyn's idea or yours?"

"I don't have to answer."

"How about a nod if I guess right?"

Trinny added some lime-green stars to the T-shirt. It was getting tackier by the minute, but I felt as though we were getting someplace.

"I'll bet it was Berlyn."

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