Jan. 6th, 2011

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"Excuse me?" James looks up from the photo, and the one on the left repeats himself. James shakes his head. "No, I don't recognize this man, I'm sorry." He hands it back to the woman on the right.

The woman in the maroon suit looks at the photo again, and her eyes widen. "Oh, this is the wrong picture." She smiles awkwardly. "Just a moment." She shuffles through the folder. "Here it is."

He doesn't need long to examine it. "Yes, of course, this is Hollis. But I haven't seen him in ten years."

"Are you sure?"

"Am I sure that I haven't seen my ex-husband in ten years?"

She brightens. "Yes, that's the question."

He looks at David, who shrugs, then back at her. "No, I haven't seen him."

"Mmm." Her expression dims as she shuffles the photo away again. "You know, we lost track of Mr. Cooper two years ago when he was evicted. We're very concerned."

"Excuse me, I know this is none of my business," David says, a clear sign that he's about to stick his nose into someone else's business. "But why are you so interested in Hollis? Who exactly are you people again?"

The woman looks her partner and laughs. "Oh I'm so sorry." She opens the folder again and takes out a photograph. "This should answer your question."

David examines the picture, then hands it to James, who frowns. "I told you, I have no idea who this is. Is he related to why you're looking for Hollis?"

Her partner murmurs something and the woman winces, pressing her hand to her mouth. "I'm so sorry. I don't know where my head is." She takes the photograph back and puts it away. "Did Hollis ever talk to you about a key?"

"A key?" James repeats.

"Or a gambit? The word gambit?"

David frowns. "Isn't that a chess term?"

"Hollis was obsessed with books," James says. "Not keys... not chess. Just... books. And I haven't seen him in ten years."

She smiles. "Of course. Well. If he is in touch... could you contact us?"

David and James exchange a look that says absolutely not, and David smiles, or at least shows his teeth. He has nice teeth. "And how would we--"

She reaches for the picture again.


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T. Oso

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