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CHAPTER 1

He saw her every Sunday for almost a year before she disappeared and everything went to hell.

She would stride purposefully into the parking lot sometime before three on Sunday afternoons, well-dressed, well-coiffed, like she was going out, not to a wedding or anything, like maybe going out on a date or on the town with the girls, dressed-up just enough but not too much, like that. Always with the same cloth bag she carried on her shoulder, too small to be a suitcase, way too big to call it a purse. In her forties probably, not tall, but well-built and looking good, good enough to interest Ryan the first time he saw her.

She had the combination to access the box on the pole, and she would go over and pick up the key for one of the car shares parked in the back near the fence. Then she would toss her bag over onto the passenger seat of the little Toyota, fire it up, and pull quickly and expertly out of the yard and off along Paré, heading east.

He would see her again in the evening, usually sometime after ten when he was outside taking a cigarette break, waiting for his shift to end at eleven. She would drive into the lot from Paré, straight to the back, a decent parking job most of the time, not always easy to accomplish with all the taxis scattered willy-nilly around the place, often poorly parked. Then she would drop the key back in the box and walk out onto the street the way she came in.

It was quite a hike from here to the Metro, he thought the first time he saw her leaving like this. A woman might think twice about walking alone through a deserted industrial park at night, but it didn’t seem to bother her.

Sometimes she was dressed the same when she came back, most often not: she had her hair up now, not loose like before, and likely she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt when she got out of the car. Her hair was long and the colour of chocolate, dark chocolate, 70% cocoa; she could put it up or wear it loose, she looked alright to him either way.

At first, he was just a disinterested observer, idly watching her coming and going. Then he got to know her habits on Sundays, and she got to know his; it was like they were on the same shift. She would look over and smile at him relaxing on the bench in front of the office before going up to work, just a quick smile as she headed for her car share in the back. And when she dropped off the key in the evening, she would glance over to the same bench where he was sitting, smoking. He would wave a small salute at her, and she would smile quickly again and disappear into the night.

He found himself waiting for her, dragging out his break if she was late, smoking a second cigarette. He was the boss after all. He could spend the whole hour out here in the yard if he wanted. And Sundays were generally quiet all day and dead by ten. He could go home, really; no-one much would know the difference.

He guessed her big cloth bag contained a change of clothes. He also guessed she had a standing reservation with CommunAuto, the car share service, for the same time every Sunday, because a car was always parked there waiting for her, even in bad weather, even in busy periods.

Well, almost always. This one time the car share had been reserved in the morning by some-one else, and that person was late bringing it back. She had to wait for her car, on her cell phone with CommunAuto, looking at her watch, tapping her foot. Ryan saw his chance and tried to make small talk with her, hoping to get something going. She was friendly enough and polite, but she was obviously worried about her ride, and he didn’t get very far. The car pulled in just after three, and then she forgot about Ryan altogether; she was speaking sharply with the poor young guy who was mumbling lame apologies, talking about traffic. She didn’t have time for his excuses. She waved him off, slammed the door, and zoomed off up the street. The underpowered Toyota Yaris didn’t have enough torque to burn rubber, but she gave it her best shot all the same. The young guy watched her go. Then he turned to Ryan.

“What’s her problem?” he said. “I was only three minutes late.” That’s when Ryan realized he was also three minutes late. He shrugged, told the kid to forget about it, and hustled up the stairs to the office.

One day in February it was snowing when she picked up the car in the afternoon, and by the time she got back there was a good six inches on the ground and more coming down. She was late, close to eleven. The snow had slowed her down on her way back from wherever she went on Sundays, he guessed. She fishtailed lightly on the way into the lot, then got stuck in a drift near the fence. Ryan went over and pushed her clear, and together they got the car parked.

“Thanks,” she said.

“You’re welcome,” he said. Then he tried to get a conversation going, tried again to make something happen. “Lousy weather, eh?” Not the world’s most impressive pickup line, he knew it, but at least it made her laugh.

“No kidding,” she said. “It’s going to get worse, I think.” Then they just stood there looking at each other. Her hair was flecked with snowflakes, and her cheeks were red from the cold and from the exertion of pushing the car. He thought this made her look very attractive, and he didn’t want her to leave, he wanted to find a way to keep her talking. But the wind was picking up, flinging ice pellets at them as well as snow, and the ice was like little knives making a thousand tiny cuts in the exposed skin of his face. He was cold and miserable, and he couldn’t think of anything else to say to her.

“Thanks again,” she said. “Gotta go.” She shook the snow out of her hair, pulled the hood of her parka up over her head, and rushed off into the night.

After that they always spoke on Sundays. And she told him her name one afternoon, and she asked him for his. Then it was always “Hello, Alex” and “How’s it going, Anne”, like that. He felt they were making progress, not as much as he’d like, of course, but still it was something. And he could tell she liked him, although she seemed reserved somehow: she always seemed to find a way to cut the conversation short. For a while he thought that maybe she was just shy. Then he realized, no, that wasn’t it, she actually had this air of confidence about her. He could see it in the way she walked, the way she dressed, the way she carried herself. And he remembered her talking to the poor kid who was late with the car share, giving him a hard time: that was definitely not shy.

One Sunday afternoon he arrived later than usual, or maybe she was early, one or the other, and he was behind her for once as she approached the office. That’s when he saw her parking her car, her other car, the one she left on the street when she went to pick up the car share. This car was not much different, another little Japanese job, a Mazda. Not new, a 2009 maybe. He was strolling along Paré when he saw Anne getting out of this other car, locking it with the remote, and hurrying down the street toward the office.

He followed her into the yard and saw her glance over toward the bench where he was usually seated, ready for their customary greeting, maybe a little chit-chat. He saw her hesitate and look around. Then she saw him coming in behind her.

“I’m late today,” he said. She smiled briefly, but he could see she was disconcerted, she didn’t like this. She liked order, he was thinking, she liked routine, she wanted things to go the way they should, the way they always do. She glanced back up the street. Was she worried that maybe he saw her other car?

Ryan took his spot on the bench and lit up a smoke. Anne went over to pick up her Yaris; she waved at him on her way out of the lot.

He never saw her other car again, though he kept an eye out for it when he came in to work on Sundays. She was parking it somewhere else now, hiding it, he thought. He was intrigued. Anne had a car, her own car, but she left it on the street and drove a cheap rental to wherever she went on Sundays. Why? Was she a spy? An undercover cop? Was she going to some clandestine rendezvous and her identity had to be kept secret? What could it be?

One day in June there was no car waiting for her when she walked into the yard, and this was not just some guy running late, caught in traffic or whatever. This time there was no car at all, a major screw-up at the car share service. She was on the phone with them for twenty minutes, giving them hell while they tried to find something for her, some “solution”, they were saying. She waited around until well after three, most of the time on hold. Ryan got Jean-Paul to fill in for him on the supervisor desk, and he sat on the bench with Anne, keeping her company.

In the end a CommunAuto manager drove up in one of their Toyotas, a shiny new Prius hybrid this time. He gave her the key, and she peeled out of the lot half an hour late. Ryan got a cab for the car share guy so he could get back to wherever he came from.

On the bench, waiting for the CommunAuto guy, they talked, the only time they ever had what you could call a real conversation. And this time, for the first time, she was ready to talk. It was like she wanted to talk.

He told her his full name, Alexandre Ryan, and he told her he worked up there on the second floor in the dispatch office of the taxi company, as a supervisor. She said that’s good to know, because every time she saw him he was just sitting here on this bench smoking cigarettes, and she had thought maybe that was what he did all day long. He knew she was poking fun at him, and he liked it. There was laughter dancing in her eyes, and he felt hopeful, like maybe the teasing was her way of coming on to him, like maybe something was finally going to happen.

She told him her full name was Anne Dawson. She said she used the car share service to visit family on Sundays. He said that was good to know, because she seemed very mysterious to him, and he had been thinking maybe she was like a secret agent going off to meet up with her co-conspirators, working on a plan to thwart international terrorism or whatever. She laughed.

“God, no,” she said. “Nothing as exciting as that. My life is really pretty dull.” She stopped laughing, gazed at him deadpan for a second.

Then she said, “Sometimes I wish something would happen to spice things up a bit.” Her eyes were sparkling with laughter again, she was resting her hand lightly on his knee, and he realized that, yes, he was right, today she had decided to flirt with him. He was about to come out with an appropriate response, but then the CommunAuto guy pulled up, and she was on her feet in a flash.

“See you later, Alex Ryan,” said Anne as she drove out of the yard. “See you tonight.”

He didn’t see her later; he didn’t see her again. He waited for her on the bench that evening and smoked three cigarettes, but he spent the time alone. He began to worry. Maybe something happened to her. An accident on the road? Or the car broke down, and she was stranded out in the country somewhere? It was early June, and it was still cold sometimes at night. He was feeling like he did when he was waiting up for Crissie when she was sixteen and late home after a date. Except this time he wasn’t drinking.

Finally, sometime after eleven, the Prius pulled into the parking lot, but it wasn’t Anne behind the wheel. It was a guy, forties maybe, cargo pants and a baseball cap, nervous. He parked the car in the front in a taxi spot, got out and looked around, jiggling the key in his hand. He spotted Ryan, walked over to him.

“You can’t park there,” Ryan told him. “The car shares go in the back, against the fence.” The guy looked pissed off.

“I’m leaving it here,” he said. “What am I supposed to do with the key? Give it to you?”

“Nope,” said Ryan. “I don’t work for CommunAuto. Put the key back where you got it when you took out the car.” He was jerking the guy’s chain a bit, just to see what he’d say. The guy looked around some more, still nervous.

“I’m returning the car for a friend,” he said.

“Oh yeah? Where’s your friend? She didn’t tell you where to leave the key?”

The guy looked at him. “Fuck you,” he said, and he threw the key onto the front seat of the Prius and started walking away. Ryan laughed. Pushing this guy’s buttons was too easy.

“You want me to get you a taxi?” he asked. “It’s getting cold, and it’s a long walk from here to anywhere at this time on a Sunday night.” The guy turned around.

“Yeah,” he said. “It is damn cold tonight. Call me a cab if you can.”

So Ryan called up to Jean-Paul, and they dispatched a taxi for the guy, and he was gone.

CHAPTER 2

Ryan came in early the next day and walked around the neighborhood, looking for Anne’s car, the other car, the Mazda. He had a feeling. He didn’t want to be right about it, but he was. He found it in front of a warehouse on Ferrier, one block up, one block over. A parking ticket was tucked under a wiper.

So she didn’t come back to the yard, and she didn’t come back for her car. Where was she? What happened to her?

He tried the door. Locked, of course. He looked inside. Tim Horton’s cup in the holder. Sunglasses hanging on the rear-view. Some papers on the front seat, and some kind of brochure. A couple of quarters on the console beside the gear shift. Sweater on the back seat. Water bottle. CD, Eva Cassidy.

Anne always seemed pretty organised, and he knew she liked to be prepared. On a hunch, he bent down and felt around under the fender behind the front wheel. Bingo. A spare key in a magnetized container.

He hesitated briefly, turning the key around in his hand, unsure. Then he opened the door, grabbed the parking ticket, and tossed it in the back. He sat in the driver’s seat, looked around. He opened the glove box. Small car, huge glove box. Cell phone charger, hand lotion, granola bar. Kleenex, small umbrella. Mazda3 owner’s manual. Some maps: map of Montreal, map of Quebec. Another CD, Janey Street. Who was Janey Street?

Then – bingo again – here was the car registration in a plastic window sleeve, buried under everything else. And look at this: the name was not Anne Dawson, it was Chantal, Chantal Dorval. From the file number, he could figure out her date of birth. 1968, May 10th. That made her, what, forty-six? Younger than Ryan, but not by much. Same birthday as his daughter. Not the same year of course; Crissie was born twenty years later, 1988.

He had asked her name, and she told him Anne Dawson, but apparently that was not her name. Switching cars, using a false name… What was going on? Why was she hiding? From what, from who? Then he thought this: maybe she really was Anne Dawson, and this was some-one else’s car. Maybe she borrowed the Mazda from this other woman, Chantal Dorval, then she drove it up here, parked it on the street, and rented another car for the day. He found this idea preposterous. He was sure she had given him a false name. He just didn’t know why.

Tucked behind the registration was her insurance card. Belair Insurance, policy good until 2015. Same name, Chantal Dorval. And here was her address: 4300 de Maisonneuve Ouest. He knew the place: big complex in Westmount, a hundred apartments at least. The rent was not cheap.

Now what? After a minute he started the car, drove it down to the office, and parked in the back with the car shares. No need to pick up more tickets.

Again: now what? Missing person’s report? He imagined the interview at the police station.

“Who’s missing, sir? How do you know? What’s your relation to the allegedly missing person? No relation at all? I see. Maybe she just went away for a couple of days, did you think of that? So she left her car on the street. So what? That’s not illegal. You accessed her vehicle, you say? You entered it, moved it, without the permission of the owner? That’s an infraction, sir…”

The Mazda’s digital clock told him it was almost three, time to go to work. He locked the car door and pocketed the key, went upstairs to the dispatch office, and replaced Ronnie Marcil on the supervisor desk. Ronnie looked stressed. Long day, he was saying, happy to get away.

This was Monday, a business day, and today the job kept Ryan busy until after six. Then everything died down for the evening as usual, and he had time to think again. He looked at the big monitor on the desk in front of him, plugged Chantal Dorval into Google, and pressed enter. Up popped the usual Linkedin and Facebook stuff. There were more than a few Chantal Dorvals on Facebook, of course. Dr. Chantal Dorval, an ophthalmologist in Quebec City, looked to be around sixty or so. Chantal ‘Tally’ Dorval in San Francisco, web designer, probably in her twenties.

Then, okay, here she was, Chantal Dorval, Montreal. And yes, this was definitely her. Very nice picture, 32 Facebook friends. And here she was on Linkedin: 53 connections and another nice headshot, although this one was different; here she looked more serious, more professional. And look at this: she was a senior manager at the bank, the same bank where Crissie worked. She was in HR, Human Resources. She’d been there for twenty years, according to her bio.

Now what?

Ryan unplugged his headset, transferred his lines to Jean-Paul Addington, and went outside for a smoke. Anne’s car share was still parked where Cargo Pants left it yesterday, out in front with the taxis. He went over and took a look inside the Prius. The key was still lying on the seat. Otherwise, nothing there.

He found a log book in the glove box, with the starting mileage where she had entered it in a precise blue script. 27,342 km. He looked at the odometer: 27,403. The car did, what, 61 kilometers since she took it out? Wherever she was, she didn’t go far, 30 km, tops.

He popped the trunk and went around back to take a look. As he lifted the lid, he squeezed his eyes tight shut, like a kid, suddenly afraid of what he was going to find. He went to open his eyes and saw her, Anne, Chantal Dorval, as pretty as ever, but her eyes were closed, her skin was pale, and she was dead.

Then he blinked. The trunk was clean and empty, except for her big cloth bag.

CHAPTER 3

Ryan picked up the bag, closed the trunk, and went back upstairs to the office, back to work.

“Watch out for 2796.” Jean-Paul looked frazzled, glad to see Ryan. “He’s got one of the CN runs, picking up in Beauharnois. He says he knows where to go, but I don’t think so. I think he’s full of shit.”

Jean-Paul Addington was an undersized man with an oversized handlebar mustache which he waxed and groomed obsessively. He was quick to pass judgement on the drivers, to say they were lying or cheating or bending the rules. Sometimes a bit too quick, in Ryan’s opinion.

He put Anne’s bag down on the floor beside him, got on the phone, and called 2796, André Millar. This time Jean-Paul was right: the guy was full of it. He didn’t know anything about CN, didn’t have a clue where to go to pick up the client. Ryan cancelled the trip, put it back in the system, and it went out again, this time to a guy who knew what he was doing. Millar was squawking on the phone.

“That’s my trip, dude,” he was saying. “You can’t do this to me.”

“I just did,” said Ryan. “You want to do these CN runs, man? Fine, you know what to do. You come to the office, you sign up for it, you do the training, then you’re all set.”

Millar wanted the CN runs alright, but he didn’t want to invest the time to get authorised. Too bad. Ryan hung up on him. Then he gave his lines back to Addington, who didn’t look too happy about it.

“If anything goes wrong, just call me,” said Ryan. “I’ll be in the lunchroom.” He picked up Anne’s bag and walked on out.

The lunchroom was deserted. Only six employees were plugged in on Monday nights, and the supper break rotation was over, everyone was back at work. He sat down at a table, opened the bag, and looked inside. He was right. Anne brought a change of clothes with her on Sundays. A complete change: jeans, t-shirt, bra, panties, white cotton socks, even a pair of running shoes.

This afternoon he’d moved her car and rummaged around inside it, and he knew that was reckless and illegal. Now here he was invading her privacy again, taking it to another level, pawing through her personal stuff, her underwear. He was feeling very uncomfortable, but he was worried. “See you tonight,” she had called to him on her way out of the parking lot. She had been planning to come back, like she always did. He was afraid something had happened to her, that she was in trouble, that wherever she was, she needed help. He kept going.

Make-up kit, a small change purse, a brushed leather wallet. Pack of gum, Dentyne Ice. Cell phone, an IPhone, pretty case but not the latest model. IPhone 4, it looked like. Condoms, package of twelve, unopened, still in the plastic bag from the drugstore. A few keys on a big ring with a fob in the shape of a dolphin, souvenir of Ogunquit, Maine; house keys, car keys and a remote. For the Mazda? He went over to the window, aimed the remote at Anne’s car down there in the lot, and pressed the unlock button. Lights flashed on the car. He pressed the lock button; the lights flashed again.

He went back to the bag. Two more granola bars, a small package of tissues, tampons. A hotel pen, Holiday Inn. Another pen, a Cross, silver. A flash drive. City of Montreal street parking receipt, and a credit card receipt. Floss. A little bag with some makeup stuff. An e-book reader, a Kindle with a leather cover, very nice.

He opened the change purse. A couple of loonies, quarters and dimes, pennies. She still carried pennies around? Why? He picked up her wallet. Cash, a hundred bucks, clean shiny twenties, the new ones, all stuck together. Straight from the ATM, probably. A few credit cards, hospital cards, library card, Blockbuster Video card. Blockbuster? Didn’t they go out of business? Driver’s license. Some loyalty cards, an Air Miles card. A couple of business cards: a real estate agent, and a woman from the bank, a Senior Vice-President. A card for something called Résidence de la Paix, looked like a nursing home. An old photograph, colours faded, a little boy. Her son, maybe? And here was another, better colour, more recent. A different boy, not the same one. Another son?

Where the hell was she, he wondered. She never changed her clothes yesterday. Wherever she was, she was still wearing her going-out-on-the-town stuff, the white blouse and the cool grey skirt she liked to wear on Sundays. And she had nothing with her: no cash, no credit cards, no house key, no cell phone, no nothing.

Where was she? What happened to her?

He put her stuff back in the bag and took it into the office with him. He sat down, loaded Facebook again, and navigated to her page. Two clicks of the mouse and he discovered that all her information was readily available, no privacy controls at all. That was surprising. On the other hand, there was not much to see here: she was not very active on Facebook, so maybe she didn’t care. Last post on her timeline, six weeks ago, happy birthday to Lise. Who was Lise? One click and he was on her page: Lise McTavish, two hundred and eight friends, thirty-seven happy birthdays, and once again, no controls. This woman was on Facebook every day; she posted constantly. She also worked at the bank, in HR, same as Anne, Chantal. If Anne didn’t show up for work, Lise might notice. Or not. It was a big place. Maybe they weren’t that close.

In the whole year Chantal Dorval had posted no more than three or four times. A link to a Goodreads page, another to a music video. In February, some photographs on a beach, on vacation somewhere. And here was a comment on one of the pictures, Lise McTavish again. So they probably were friends at work, not just ‘friends’ on Facebook. Lise was making a joke about the ocean. Apparently Anne can’t swim, she’s afraid of the water.

He lingered on the photographs, admiring shots of Anne relaxing in the sun in a bikini. That was when he realized that he wasn’t investigating anymore, he was on his way to becoming a stalker, or more accurately, a lurker, sneaking around Facebook, spying on people without their knowledge, surreptitiously prying into their lives. He was suddenly uneasy, and he was about to log off Facebook when - wait a minute, what was this? - Chantal Dorval had one Facebook friend in common with him. Who did they have in common? Arnie Cavendish. Who the hell was Arnie Cavendish, and why was he Ryan’s friend?

Like Anne, Chantal, Ryan was not a big Facebook guy. He had quite a few ‘friends’ because he knew a lot of taxi drivers, but he rarely posted anything. When he logged in, it was mostly to keep up with Crissie, who was an active Facebook person: she posted regularly, everywhere she went, everything she was doing. She put up links to her favorite bands, movies, cat videos, all kinds of random stuff. Sometimes she even posted pictures of her lunch. Her life was an open book. Too open, Ryan told her. Lighten up, she told him. She told him that a lot.

Ryan had a grand total of eighty-three Facebook friends, and apparently one of them was Arnie Cavendish. He clicked on the link, went to Cavendish’s page, checked out his picture. Then he remembered the guy. He used to drive a cab, weekends. Ryan hadn’t seen him in years.

Facebook told him that Arnie was in real estate now, selling houses on the West Island. Doing well, if you believed any of this self-serving crap, well enough he didn’t need to drive a taxi anymore. Arnie used to sell him contraband smokes in the bar; that was his connection to Ryan. What was his connection to Chantal Dorval?

He pulled up the driver database on his screen and entered Cavendish, Arnold. He found a phone number and called it on an outside line. Monday night at nine, maybe catch him at home? Bingo. Cavendish answered on the third ring.

“Chantal Dorval?” he said. “Yeah, I remember her. Nice looking broad for her age. I tried to sell her a condo last year. She wasn’t really serious about it, so it didn’t work out. I tried hitting on her too, but that didn’t work out either. Haven’t seen her since.”

“She’s your friend on Facebook.”

“So what? So are you, Ryan, and I don’t have a clue what you’re doing either. I have five hundred Facebook friends, man. Comes with the territory, real estate and all. You know who might know what she’s up to? Freddie Marlowe. You remember him. Another weekend taxi driver, like me. Sells insurance. Sells hot IPads too, last time I saw him.”

The name meant nothing to Ryan, and he said so.

“Well, it doesn’t matter,” said Arnie. “He’ll remember you. It was Freddie who gave me Chantal as a lead, told me she was looking at condos. Maybe he knows something.”

Ryan was about to hang up, then Arnie said, “I haven’t seen you at the Ringrose in like forever, man. You should stop by sometime, have a few beers, like the old days.”

“Okay, sure,” said Ryan, but he knew it was not going to happen. Then he did hang up.

Now he was looking through the list of Chantal’s Facebook friends. No Freddie Marlowe. He plugged Marlowe into the driver database, found a cell number, and called him. Marlowe also answered on the third ring.

“I saw Taxi Soleil on the call display,” he said. “Blast from the past, I had to answer. What’s up, man?” He obviously remembered Ryan. He still couldn’t place the guy, didn’t mention it, just faked it.

“I’m trying to get hold of Chantal Dorval,” he said.

“Whoa,” said Marlowe. “Watch out for Chantal, man.”

“How so?”

“She might be looking for a fuck buddy. Very nice for a while, but she has these rules. Break her rules, and she drops you like a stone. She dumped me after three weeks.”

Ryan wasn’t sure what he had been expecting from Freddie Marlowe, but this was definitely not it. He had a pen in his hand; he began taking notes on the back of an office memo. Buddy, he wrote. Rules.

“You broke a rule?” he asked.

“I wished her happy birthday,” said Marlowe. “On Facebook.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Against the rules. She sent me this text where she basically fired me. Then she unfriended me on Facebook, and that was it. I never saw her again.”

“Pretty harsh,” said Ryan. He wrote Fired and underlined the word.

“No kidding,” said Marlowe. “I called her to talk about it. She hung up on me, then she changed her number. I got the message, never bothered with her again.”

“How did you meet her?”

“I picked her up in a bar downtown. Or she picked me up, I guess. We both had a lot to drink. She came home with me, and we had sex, and then she left. A few days later she calls me up and propositions me. Let’s be fuck buddies, she says. I’ll come over every Sunday afternoon, and we’ll do it, and that’s it. No strings, no commitment. Sure, I say, why not? What’s not to like about the idea?”

Ryan wrote Sunday afternoon, underlined Sunday twice.

“Go on.”

“So the next Sunday she comes over around four. She’s got a bottle of wine, very nice wine by the way, and pretty soon we’re naked, we’re knocking back the wine and doing it like rabbits.”

“Then what?”

“Then she left. On the way out she explained the rules. ‘I don’t want a relationship with you,’ she says. She’s talking to me like a school teacher, real slow, making sure I understand. ‘I don’t want to cuddle,’ she says. ‘I don’t want to go out for dinner with you. I don’t want to hear how was your day. I don’t want to meet your mom or any of your friends. We’re sex buddies, and that’s it. If you try to make this something else, I’ll drop you immediately.’”

Ryan circled the word Rules on the memo. “And what did you say?”

“What do you think? I said, ‘Okay! Bring it on, fuck buddy!’”

“Why am I hearing a ‘but’?” asked Ryan.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Peter C. Foster is a Montreal author, writer and erstwhile taximan. Semi-retired, he lives a quiet life in the Deep East End of the city, sipping quality wine at the Café Chabot and grilling Portuguese chicken on the barbecue.

Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
Just go to my website, www.petercfoster.com. You'll find out more than you want to know. Guaranteed.
Q. When did you decide to become a writer?
A.
I must have been around twelve years old when I wrote my first work. I called it a novel, but it was actually a short story. Science fiction, no less. I published it in a spiral notebook, designed a cover, and distributed the one copy to my brother and a couple of friends. I never looked back.
Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
My wife said, "Why don't you write a story about a guy who finds a body in the trunk of a car?" And I said okay. Although, as it turns out, there is no body in the trunk. Sometimes the story turns out to be different from what you started out with.

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