K is for Killer Page 57


Trinny shrugged. "I guess."

I folded it twice and tucked it back where it had been. "Mind if I sit down? I was hoping I'd have a chance to talk to you."

"Fine," she said. She slid the lever on the iron to the off position.

"I hope I'm not interrupting dinner preparations."

"I got a casserole in the oven. All I have to do is heat it and make a salad real quick."

I took a seat, wondering how to coax some information out of her. I wasn't even sure what I wanted to know, but I considered it a bonus to be alone with her. She was wearing the same cutoffs I'd seen her in before. Her legs looked solid, her bare feet tucked into rubber flip-flops. Her T-shirt this time must have been an XXL, the front emblazoned with a painted design. She moved from the ironing board to the kitchen table, where she sat down across from me and began squeezing a tube of paint in a Jackson Pollock-type design on the front of a new T-shirt. Dots and squiggles. Hanging from a knob on one of the kitchen cabinets was a completed work, its lines of paint puffed out in three dimensions. She caught my gaze. "This's puff paint," she said. "You put it on and let it dry, and when you iron it on the wrong side, it puffs out like that."

"That's cute," I said. I got up and moved closer to the kitchen cabinet, taking a moment to inspect the finished product. Looked dreadful to me, but what do I know? "You sell these?"

"Well, not yet, but I'm hoping. I made this one I got on, and whenever I go out everybody's like 'Oh, wow, cool T-shirt.' So I thought since I wasn't working I could set up my own business."

My oh my. She and her sister Lorna, both driven by the entrepreneurial spirit. "How long have you been doing this?"

"Just today."

I took my seat at the kitchen table again, watching Trinny work. I began to cast out my line. Surely there was something I could wheedle out of her. To my right was a stack of travel brochures, touting Alaskan cruises, ski holidays, and package tours to Canada and the Caribbean. I picked up a pamphlet and began to scan the copy: "The world's last unspoiled paradise… stunning white beaches… deep azure lagoons…"

Trinny saw what I was doing. "Those are Berlyn's."

"Where's she going?"

"She doesn't know yet. She says Alaska looks good."

"Are you going, too?"

She made a disappointed face. "I don't have the money."

"Too bad. It looks like fun," I said. "She doesn't mind traveling alone?"

"Nuh-uhn. She likes it. Not all the time, but if she has to, she says. She did the one trip already, in the fall."

"Really. Where'd she go then?"

"Acapulco. She loved it. She says she'll take me if she goes back."

"That's neat. I was in Viento Negro last summer, but that's as far south as I've been."

"I haven't even been that far. Berlyn's always liked to travel. I don't have the same bug. I mean, I like it and all, but there's stuff I'd rather do."

"Like what?"

"I don't know. Buy clothes and stuff."

I tried another tack. "Lorna's death must have been hard. Are you doing okay with that?"

"I guess so. It's been hard on them. I mean, Mom and Daddy used to be a lot closer. Once Lorna died, seems like everything changed. And now it's like Mom's the only one caught up in it. Lorna's all she talks about. Berlyn gets her feelings hurt. It really pisses her off. It's like, what about us? Don't we count for anything?"

"Were you close to Lorna?"

"Not really. Lorna wasn't close to anyone. She lived in her world and we lived in ours. She had that cabin, and she liked it private. She hated it if people stopped by without asking. A lot of times she wasn't even home. Nights especially she'd be out somewhere. She made it plain you should keep away unless you called first and got yourself invited."

"How often did you see her?"

"A lot over here, whenever she stopped by. But at the cabin, maybe once or twice in the three years she lived there. Berlyn liked to go over. She's kind of nosy by nature. Lorna was real mysterious."

"Like what?"

"I don't know. Like, why was she so picky about people dropping in? What's the big deal? She didn't have to worry about us. We're her sisters."

"Did you ever find out where she went at night?"

"Nuh-uhn. Probably wasn't any place special. After a while, I more or less accepted her for what she was. She wasn't sociable, like us. Berlyn and me are buddies. We like to pal around and double-date and stuff like that? Right now, like, neither of us has a boyfriend, so we see movies and go out dancing on the weekends.

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