Day 79, Chapter 79
Seventy-nine days! Holy crap!
|The good ship JPatt.|
I was searching the interweb for references to being adrift in a lifeboat for less than 79 days, since I thought that would be hilarious to include in today’s post, when I discovered the story of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey: in 1973, they spent…117 days on a rubber raft in the Pacific Ocean before being rescued! 117! Woah! What are the chances? (Their book was aptly named 117 Days Adrift.) Their yacht was smashed up by a whale – a lot like the famous Essex, of Nathaniel Philbrick’s brilliant In the Heart of the Sea, except those guys were out there for 93 days and ended up eating each other. If I had a writing partner in this experiment – like my very own Maxine Paetro – I probably would have eaten her by now.
Sarah Wells was dressed for her night job, black clothes and shoes, car pointed toward Pacific Heights. She hit the turn signal and took Divisadero as the light went red. A cacophony of horns blared, damn it. Brakes screeched, and she narrowly avoided a collision with a station wagon full of kids.
Oh my God. Focus, Sarah!
She’s distracted because her girlfriend, Heidi, showed up earlier that night with “perfect blue fingerprints on the soft flesh” of her arms and a “still-vivid bite mark on her neck” from her abusive husband, Pete “WCF” Gordon. (Remember, the cases in this book are bound together in an intricate web of… oh, never mind.)
“He’s out of control,” (Heidi) said. “But it’s not his fault.”
“Whose fault is it? Yours?”
“It’s because of what he went through in Iraq.”
Actually, when you think about it, it’s kind of Lindsay’s fault, since she’s done such a shitty job of catching Pete. If she had just gotten her act together and caught that “freak,” then Heidi would never have gotten bitten in the first place, right? (Iraq? C’mon.)
“I know, I know,” Heidi had cried out, putting her head on Sarah’s shoulder. “It can’t go on.”
Ah, poor, naive Heidi. Of course it can – for 37 more days, my friend.
Anyway, Lindsay is on a new job this evening – her “grand finale” of burglaries. She’s headed to “widowed philanthropist,” Diana King’s house to steal all her jewelry. Diana is “a big wheel on the charity circuit” and is “frequently photographed and written about in the glossies and every month in the Chronicle.” On this particular evening, King is having an engagement party for her son at her home – the perfect opportunity for Hello Kitty to strike. Sarah parks her Saturn in the Whole Foods parking lot, locks her wallet in the glovebox (good thinking!), and sneaks into the side yard of King’s “superbly restored cream-colored Victorian.” (What wealthy socialite lives next to a Whole Foods?) She catches a break when she finds an air conditioning unit in a window below the master bedroom, which acts as the perfect step stool for her to get up to the second floor window.
Using the air conditioner as a foothold, she easily gained purchase, and then she was through the open bedroom window and inside the house.
Getting in had almost been too easy.
Tell me about it – you’re definitely gonna get caught this time, Sarah! You were doomed as soon as you called this job your “grand finale” – that always means that you’re going to get caught or killed or maimed in some way. See you tomorrow!
Go to Day 80