The Desperate Artist Visits an Aunt

Scott had apparently gone home, in the middle of July, in the middle of July, he had apparently gone home.  He must have been in a hurry because no one seemed to know about it; it was coarse of him.  But it was Scott, a man who had entered and exited my life just a couple of times and not once with forewarning, not once in advance.  He was just there and then he wasn’t, going about his business the way millions of others do in this very city.  Except for the fact I knew him.  I knew him.  And I knew he did these things.

         Not even Jaime, his friend who needed a brushing-up on English for his bank test could tell me where he was.  It was news to him that he had returned.  He told me they had plans to go to the horse-races at the hipódromo next week because he had just bought a horse. 

         “Scott bought a horse?  How much can one of those guys cost?”

         “I think he was part of a group of investors.”

          Jaime had called me the very next day and told me we could meet that afternoon, but not at his regular apartment (for that was where he was hiding the body, I figured), but at his aunt’s flat down on the Castellana, just before the Villamagna Hotel.  That’s one of those modern 5-star wonders in Madrid.  His aunt lived in one of those buildings which still had a carriageway at the entrance.  The reception was lofty and regal, with stone and wood cladding throughout.  The lift was in the center, octagonal and with windows on all sides.  It creaked and cricked all the way up to the fourth floor.  It was so quiet I could hear the elevator’s ropes and the belts tensely swinging from above.

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