Chapter 34

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"Most people are predictable," Zandra says as she rides with Chris and the camera crew in their van. "They stay in one general area, stick to the same routine, talk to the same people. If you can pattern someone, you can find out almost anything about that person. Ask any private detective. Ninety-nine percent of their job is sitting around, watching, waiting, patterning."

Chris nods from behind the steering wheel. Zandra detects a hint of suspicion around his eyes. It's in the way they lift his brows. It confirms something Zandra's kicked around since she met the producer.

He still thinks I'm a fraud.

"So you want us to film the people going in and out of this dope house for what exactly?" Chris says and guides the van into a familiar neighborhood. "You could solve all of this with a call to police."

Thank goodness he doesn't know about the files. They're Dvorak's insurance policy against me doing just that. In come the police, out come the files.

Zandra chooses a different route to explain things to Chris. "Calling the police puts a stop to everything. The showdown, the crescendo to our pitch, gone. I want dirt, not prosecutions," she says.

Chris starts saying something but stops. Zandra reads the shape his lips make as the first syllable in "but," as in, "But aren't you a psychic?" The question never leaves the hangar.

Smart move, Chris.

Zandra continues. "I want head counts, profiles, buyers, sellers, regulars, timing, everything and anything, Chris, even if it doesn't seem important. If they call for a plumber, I want to know the measurements on his ass crack when he's fixing the sink. Everything. Once I've got dirt, I can plant the seed."

"Ass cracks. Got it," Chris says. "You want inches or millimeters?"

"I want you to pull over here," Zandra says and points to a public parking lot flanking one of the city libraries. It's not common for libraries to sit in the middle of residential neighborhoods, but Stevens Point had to do something about the crime in foreclosed homes during the Great Recession. The solution came in the form of a bulldozer and a state grant. More importantly, it offers a clear view of Dvorak's house.

I wonder how many people looking at books and using computers in the library know they're across the street from someone like Dvorak.

The Dvorak typewriter. The library. Zandra's mind, ceaselessly sorting through the static of life for patterns, wonders if there's a connection between the two. Should she be turning Chris's cameras toward the library?

No. People can find patterns in anything, allowing their imagination to fill in the blanks. The trick is to know which are true and which are false.

"Remember. They know who you are," Zandra says, turning in her seat to face the camera crew. She opens the door to get out. "Keep a low profile. Don't spook them. Break out the night vision if you've got it. Try not to eat or drink anything, or need to use the bathroom. Sound good?"

"Wait. If we're trying to keep a low profile, why are you getting out?" Chris says.

Zandra slides off her seat and onto the parking lot. She nods toward Dvorak's house. "I'm going to go over and say hi."

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