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The doorbell rang and she nearly jumped out of her chair. Bartholomew was watching her. “I’d get it for you if I could,” he said.

She ran to the door and looked through the peephole. It was David. She threw the door open.

“This isn’t something I was expecting,” he said.

“Come in. Come on in,” she said.

“You sure?”

She frowned. “Of course.”

He stepped in. “All the old crap is being thrown back up,” he told her.

“I know.”

“You still believe in me?”

“Unconditionally,” Katie said.

He smiled, closed the door and drew her close to him.

“Pete’s trying to help-I mean me, specifically. He managed to get me in to see the crime scene. And I managed to get a few of my own pictures.”

“Oh?” she seemed worried.

“Hey, I went to school for this. I took a couple of courses in crime-scene work.”

“So-you think that this will help you find out what happened in the past?” She stared at him frankly. She stepped back and put her hands on her hips as if she were indignant for him. In no way did it seem to occur to her that it was just too odd that this had happened right after he had returned.

“It’s either the same killer or a copycat,” he said. “Thanks to Pete, I won’t have to rely on the memory of what I just saw.”

“Shall I send out for some food?” she asked. “I can cook something-”

“No,” he said. “Let’s head out.”

“On the streets?” she asked, surprised.

“Duval Street, as a matter of fact. I’m not hiding. I didn’t do anything then, and I sure as hell didn’t kill a stripper I’ve never seen before. Hell, if they’re going to come at me, I’m going right out where they can do it!”

“He doesn’t look overly agitated,” Bartholomew commented. He was perched on a stool next to her at an open-air bar on Duval; David had just been cornered by the press again.

He could have gone into public speaking, Katie thought. He managed the press well. He spoke about leaving Key West after Tanya’s death because his home memories were far too painful. He managed to make the Becketts sound like the typical American family, and when he spoke about Craig and his grandmother, affection was apparent in his tone. He admitted that he didn’t understand how such bizarre murders could have occurred so far apart; yes, there might be a copycat at work, especially since some aspects of the crime seemed to be different. He had every confidence that the police would find the killer. Someone wanted to know how they thought they would find a killer now-when they hadn’t done so years ago. Someone else suggested that they wouldn’t try as hard. Stella Martin had been a stripper and probably a prostitute.

David clearly stated that he was sure the police would work every bit as hard; a human life was a human life, none less valuable than others.

Katie sipped a rum and Coke, listening to him. Bartholomew watched him, and turned back to her. “Ah, if I could but taste that grog,” he moaned. “Hey!” He straightened in his seat. “Look. There.”

Katie looked down the bar. There was a woman with huge breasts and tight shorts sitting at the end of the counter, shaded by some of the palms that covered the bar.

“I’m looking,” she said.

“I don’t know her name, but she works at the strip club.”

“And you know this because…?” Katie asked.

“Well, I may be dead, but I can watch!” Bartholomew said.

Katie stood up and came around the bar slowly. She didn’t recognize the woman. Strippers, however, had a tendency to be very transient. She might not have been in Key West long.

“Hi,” Katie said, sliding up on the stool beside her. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine, fine,” the woman said, trying to act as if she hadn’t been crying. She seemed defensive. And scared.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you. You just appear to be very sad, as if you’d lost a friend, and I just wanted to say that I’m so, so sorry.”

The woman had been twirling her swizzle stick in her pink drink; she looked over at Katie. She nodded slowly. “Yes, we were friends. Stella had a few bad habits, but…she liked money. She wanted to travel one day-far, far from Florida. She was born in a trailer up in Palatka, and she always wanted to get out of the state.”

“Well, we can imagine heaven as a place far away, and maybe as wonderful as anyplace she might have wanted to see.”

The woman stared at her. “You-you’re Katie-oke, right?”

Katie nodded.

“Stella liked to stand outside and listen. She had a nice voice.”

“She should have come in to sing,” Katie said. “Do you know who…was she fighting with anyone? Do you know where she’d been?”

“She picked up a kid the night before… Well, they say she died Sunday afternoon sometime. Yeah, she was with a kid. I might recognize him if I saw him again. But…he was young. He didn’t look like a killer. Then again, that’s what they always tell us-God alone knows what a killer looks like. Oh, Lord-she was murdered!” the woman said, and huge tears formed in her eyes again.

“Hey, hey,” Katie murmured. She didn’t try to tell the woman that everything was all right-murder wasn’t all right. “What’s your name?” she asked.

“Morgana,” the woman said.

“Um-is that your real name?” Katie asked.

The woman managed a smile. “Yeah, it’s my real name, not my stripper’s pseudonym. My mom was a big fan of the King Arthur tales and fantasy.”

“It’s a pretty name,” Katie told her. “Just unusual, even today. Umm, did Stella see anyone regularly?” Katie asked.

“Anyone?” Morgana asked. She blushed and looked away. “Lots of anyones. Stella said that these days, people came to bars-men and women-just to hook up for the night. She was smarter. You could get paid for sex, and why the hell not?”

“I meant like…like, almost a boyfriend, maybe?”

The woman sat up and stared across the street. “Yes,” she said slowly. “Yes.”


The girl pointed.

Katie followed her line of vision.

She was pointing at Danny Zigler.

The museum was closed for the day, but as the afternoon rolled in, reporters announced on radio and television that it would be reopened the following day.

Fantasy Fest was coming.

Key West might have once been one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, but the days of privateers, wreckers and sponge divers were long gone.

The city survived on tourism, cruise ships and snowbirds longing for the sun. Fantasy Fest drew people from around the globe, and it was one of the many local festivals that kept the local shopkeepers, innkeepers and restaurant owners and workers in business. The fest went beyond just the obvious; the business surging down the Keys kept construction workers, charter captains, meter readers, housekeepers, antiques dealers and jacks-of-all-trades surviving, as well.

David made a point of staying on Duval Street during the day. He spoke with any reporter who approached him.

Katie was glad to see that he intended to keep himself in the public eye.

She was somewhat annoyed because she couldn’t seem to get a minute to talk to him alone.

It was late when the news of the spectacular murder gave way at last to interviews about the upcoming festival days. David had made himself so available that by nightfall, he had spoken to just about every reporter who had rushed down to the city.

Morgana had disappeared by then. But as David slipped his arm through hers, suggesting that they pick up food somewhere and head back to her house or the Beckett home to eat in peace, Katie managed to tell him that she had talked to the woman, and that Morgana had told her that Stella Martin had carried on a somewhat long-term relationship with Danny Zigler.

He listened to her gravely, and then said that they should head to her place. Along the way, they picked up a few to-go meals from the Hog’s Breath Saloon. They headed to Katie’s.

Bartholomew was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Katie hadn’t seen him all afternoon.

They set up their meal on Katie’s dining-room table. “I know you’ve already been talking to Danny,” Katie said. She shook her head while chewing a piece of chicken. “But…I…Danny is kind of a skinny little guy. And we’ve known him forever.”

“Hey, women have lived with serial killers for years and not known what their husbands or boyfriends did at night,” David reminded her.

“Okay-but you seem to think that whoever killed Tanya had an agenda. So maybe he’s not your usual serial killer,” Katie pointed out. She shook her head. “But Danny! I can’t believe it, and yet…Morgana did say that Stella Martin saw him…regularly.”

“As a customer?”

“More like a boyfriend. That’s what I asked her-if Stella saw anybody more like a boyfriend,” Katie told him.

“That doesn’t necessarily make him a killer,” David said.

“Do you think that they’ll get anything from forensics?” Katie asked.

“I don’t know,” David said. He finished off his last bite of chicken and stood, slipping his hand into the pocket of his short-sleeved tailored shirt. “You have a computer here?”

“Sure-what’s that?”

“I’m going to study the photographs I have of the murder scene.”

“In the back,” Katie said, rising, as well. “In the family room.”

David nodded and walked on through. He hit the power button and waited for the computer to boot up, then slid in the small memory stick he held.

He looked at Katie. “You may not want to see these.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. This is the age of media-soldiers dead on the battlefield, et cetera. I’m fine.”