Amy Bloom

I‘m Not a Cop

August is Summer Reading Month in Daily Nutmeg. Please enjoy this excerpt from Amy Bloom’s “I’ve Never Been to Paris,” published in New Haven Noir.

“This is mine,” he said, pointing to a little blue MG. “I finally got rid of that old Honda I was telling everyone about.”

The car was dashing and silly. It could only be driven by Bertie Wooster or a seventy-year-old geezer with a checked touring cap perched on his bald head. I would have thought a man like Daniel would drive a mud-splashed Jeep or a Maserati bought for him by a grateful old lady.

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“Adorable. It’s not what I would have envisioned for you.”

“Nice that you envisioned me and my car. I know what you mean—I wouldn’t have picked it out myself, but it’s what I got and I can’t complain.”

I opened the passenger door and plopped in; it would have been just as easy to toss myself over the side. I wondered if he’d take me straight to my place or suggest a drive to the top of East Rock, a favorite stop for sex and suicide. If the world was run properly, all men who looked like Daniel would be wonderful human beings and all the good-for-nothings would look like Jim Fiske or worse, and women would be able to focus all of their energy on their children, their careers, and world peace.

“Dell, I want to be open with you.”

Oh, that’s never good. “Yes. Good, ” I said.

“There’s something, well, in my past which most people don’t know about. I don’t want people to know. But I wanted to tell you about it so you didn’t hear it from someone else. Because I like you, and . . . well, that’s it, really. I just like you.”

“Daniel, if there’s something you want to tell me, I want to hear it. I’m not a cop; I’m barely a PI. I’m mostly just a nosy person. I’m just curious. You can tell me anything.”

How do I know there’s no God? Because I wasn’t turned into a sizzling pile of ash right then and there.

He seemed indignant. “It doesn’t have anything at all to do with Bullfinch’s murder, Dell. It just doesn’t reflect very well on me.”

I nodded encouragingly, hoping that there’d be more excellent kissing and then he’d slip and tell me that he was Oliver Bullfinch’s bastard son and that he had killed him with the bronze bust.

He glanced and turned left, away from Whitney Avenue, away from the lights. I admired his beautiful forehead with one furrow creasing it, the thick golden-red brows, smooth fox fur above the strong Scandinavian nose, down to the movie-star jaw and the constellation of dimples from cheek to chin. Ridiculous. Like dulce de leche ice cream in human form.

“Can I ask you a question?” I was trying to keep my detective brain working while my downtown party district was figuring how we could take a little break from all this tedious good behavior.

“Sure. We’ll just drive. It’s easier to cruise and talk.”

“Did the cops question you?”

He frowned and pressed his foot down. The little blue toy took off like a kid was hurling it across the room. “Of course.” He smiled and put his hand on my thigh. “And would you like it if I told you what I told them?”

“I would.” And I would try really, really hard to concentrate.

“I was with Allison from two until about four. Then I went for a swim. Laps. You can check with her and with the kid at the desk at the gym. Lots of people saw me. I’m in the clear. Plus, I had no reason. I just got tenure.”

He shifted and patted my knee. It seemed premature to object. I didn’t want to object. I didn’t want to die, but he didn’t look like he was planning to kill me. Crush me, maybe, in his arms. Squeeze me where a woman wants to be squeezed. Please, I thought, let him not kill me too soon.

Excerpted from “I’ve Never Been to Paris” by Amy Bloom, copyright 2017 Amy Bloom, included in the anthology New Haven Noir edited by Amy Bloom. Used with permission of the author and Akashic Books.

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