Free Sharp_Objects by Gillian Flynn

Book: Sharp_Objects by Gillian Flynn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gillian Flynn
long since you’ve been back?”
    “Years. Eight to be precise.”
    “But you still have family here.”
    “Oh, yes. Fervent Wind Gapians. I think that’s the preferred term, in answer to your question earlier today.”
    “Ah, thanks. I’d hate to insult the nice people around here. More than I already have. So your folks like it here?”
    “Mm-hmm. They’d never dream of leaving here. Too many friends. Too perfect a house. Etcetera.”
    “Both your parents were born here then?”
    A table of familiar guys about my age plopped down at a nearby booth, each sloshing a pitcher of beer. I hoped they wouldn’t see me.
    “My mom was. My stepdad’s from Tennessee. He moved here when they got married.”
    “When was that?”
    “Almost thirty years ago, I’d guess.” I tried to slow my drinking down so I didn’t outpace him.
    “And your father?”
    I smiled pointedly. “You raised in Kansas City?”
    “Yep. Never dream of leaving. Too many friends. Too perfect a house. Etcetera.”
    “And being a cop there is…good?”
    “You see some action. Enough so I won’t turn into Vickery. Last year I did some high-profile stuff. Murders mostly. And we got a guy who was serially assaulting women around town.”
    “No. He straddled them and then reached inside their mouths, scratched their throats to pieces.”
    “We caught him. He was a middle-aged liquor salesman who lived with his mother, and still had tissue from the last woman’s throat under his fingernails. Ten days after the attack.”
    I wasn’t clear if he was bemoaning the guy’s stupidity or his poor hygiene.
    “And now I’m here. Smaller town, but bigger proving grounds. When Vickery first phoned us, the case wasn’t that big yet, so they sent someone mid-range on the totem pole. Me.” He smiled, almost self-effacingly. “Then it turned into a serial. They’re letting me keep the case for now—with the understanding that I’d better not screw up.”
    His situation sounded familiar.
    “It’s strange to get your big break based on something so horrible,” he continued. “But you must know about that—what kind of stories do you cover in Chicago?”
    “I’m on the police beat, so probably the same kind of junk you see: abuse, rape, murder.” I wanted him to know I had horror stories, too. Foolish, but I indulged. “Last month it was an eighty-two-year-old man. Son killed him, then left him in a bathtub of Drano to dissolve. Guy confessed, but, of course, couldn’t come up with a reason for doing it.”
    I was regretting using the word junk to describe abuse, rape, and murder. Disrespectful.
    “Sounds like we’ve both seen some ugly things,” Richard said.
    “Yes.” I twirled my drink, had nothing to say.
    “I’m sorry.”
    “Me too.”
    He studied me. The bartender switched the house lights to low, an official signal of nighttime hours.
    “We could catch a movie sometime.” He said it in a conciliatory tone, as if an evening at the local cineplex might make everything work out for me.
    “Maybe.” I swallowed the rest of my drink. “Maybe.”
    He peeled the label off the empty beer bottle next to him and smoothed it out onto the table. Messy. A sure sign he’d never worked in a bar.
    “Well, Richard, thank you for the drink. I’ve got to get home.”
    “It was nice talking with you, Camille. Can I walk you to your car?”
    “No, I’m fine.”
    “You okay to drive? I promise, I’m not being a cop.”
    “I’m fine.”
    “Okay. Have good dreams.”
    “You too. Next time, I want something on record.”

    A lan, Adora, and Amma were all gathered in the living room when I returned. The scene was startling, it was so much like the old days with Marian. Amma and my mother sat on the couch, my mother cradling Amma—in a woolen nightgown despite the heat—as she held an ice cube to her lips. My half sister stared up at me with blank contentment, then went back to playing with a

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