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           William got up about an hour after Lucy had left for work. He felt thick and the face that stared back at him from the mirror was not the face of a successful black actor. Black actors had dignity. They had rage. William had a headache and the creeping edge of despair.

           Mornings were the emptiest time of the day.

           He wandered around for a bit. Checked his answering machine.

           He needed people around. Lucy was out driving people to the airport and shit.

           He picked up the phone and hit a random number on his speed dial. “Hey, it’s William!...William Shiner….We met at Nick’s place, in the canyon?...Yeah! That’s right! That William Shiner! Listen, I’m having some friends come over this afternoon for a couple of drinks….Great. Great. Glad you can come. Let me give you the address.”

           By the time he’d done that a couple dozen times he was feeling better.

           He padded down to his mailbox. No checks. Lots of junk. Stan the doorman waved at him. “Your friend got a package,” he said. William took the Tyvek envelope. It was addressed to Lucy Brown, c/o William Shiner. The return address was hard to read, but it looked like S. Banni or S. Bassi, which meant it was that guy who had buried the old man.

           Since it was c/o him, and since he was on the case with Lucy, he figured he could open it. Inside was a little black book. An old one. Like guys used to use to record girl’s phone numbers. Very Hugh Hefner. He paged through it, frowning, standing in the lobby.

           Names. Lists of names and funky symbols.

           Later, he thought. Right now he had to order booze for the party.



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