Hollis was in the back at a table piled with books and a space among them where he was writing when Carol came in.

Hello, she said.

Well, look who's here, he said coolly. Hello.

She was wearing a gray jersey sweater and a narrow skirt as always, dressed well.

Didn't you get my message? she asked.


You didn't call back.


Weren't you going to?

Of course not, he said.

He looked wider than the last time and his hair, halfway to the shoulder, needed to be cut.

I went by your apartment but you'd gone. I talked to Pam, that's her name, isn't it? Pam.


We talked. Not that long. She didn't seem interested in talking. Is she shy?

No, she's not shy.

I asked her a question. Want to know what it was?

Not especially, he said.