From the author of the critically acclaimed memoir South Mountain Road comes a powerful story of one woman's emotional, intellectual, and sexual awakening.
Following her success as an Academy Award-nominated screenplay writer (Children of a Lesser God) and highly praised memoirist, Hesper Anderson pens an evocative novel that reinforces her reputation as a compelling storyteller.
Long divorced and her children grown, Callie Epstein is packing her house to move to Northern California. Uncovering a box of long-forgotten home movies, she sits back to watch her family's life unfold again before her eyes, reliving the best and the worst years of her life.
In the center of Greenwich Village is an enclave of green called the MacDougal Gardens. A block long, it can only be reached by the sixteen houses that border it. Or, as some say, by the ghosts who once lived here and enjoy coming back to visit. It's the late sixties, and women like Callie are discovering The Feminine Mystique and The Sexual Response of the Human Female. Feeling trapped in a passionless marriage, Callie begins an affair with a neighbor that leads to a desired, but wrenching, separation from her husband. She soon finds herself struggling to support three children and grappling with her turbulent emotions. In an act of desperation, she accepts an invitation from her lover's unsuspecting wife to stay with them at the beach, hoping to win more than his affection with her presence. At the end of a summer filled with secrets, Callie faces a shocking revelation as the quiet community within the MacDougal Street Gardens implodes.
Unable to remain in New York, emotionally or financially, Callie moves her family across the country to Los Angeles. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery and a search for real independence.
In Callie, Hesper Anderson has created an unforgettable heroine who will resonate deeply with all women.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Hesper Anderson is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Maxwell Anderson and the author of several screenplays and teleplays. She lives in Napa, California.
Read an Excerpt
MacDougal Street GhostsA Novel
By Hesper Anderson
Simon & SchusterCopyright © 2005 Hesper Anderson
All right reserved.
Moving is hard when you don't want to leave. I had wanted to leave. I'd wanted to leave for at least five years, but I'd forgotten that by midMarch, my chosen moving date, the San Fernando Valley is in bloom. In the backyard of my house on Alta Vista in Studio City the jasmine is sweet, the buds on the camellias are opening, and the gnarled plum tree that shades half the garden is crowded with pink-white blossoms.
In my study, a converted garage that overlooks all this, I'm making boxes and packing stacks of screen and television scripts that I've written over the past twenty years. Some were sold, some not, some filmed, some not. I take a couple of framed writing awards down from the wall and stick them in with the scripts. I place uneven strips of tape across each upended box, turning it over and filling it -- taping, turning, filling. I'm tired and sad, part of me wanting to glue myself to these familiar walls, part of me feeling twinges of excitement. I'm going home to the woods. Not the Eastern woods that I grew up in that were dotted with wild dogwood, and trees that never reached the sky, but the woods of Northern California where the pines and redwoods rise above the clouds.
I'm scared too. New places frighten me because I seem to be missing a sense of direction. In 1969 when I moved my children from New York to Los Angeles, I was lost for the first three years. You could find me at freeway exits, crying and huddled in our puttering VW Bug, the one with the back seat missing, completely turned around. I lost a job I needed badly at that time because I couldn't find MGM, which took up about six square blocks of Culver City -- hard not to find. I gradually figured out that the hills were south of me, the ocean west, and as a novice writer I learned the routes to the various studios. Now I know this valley and these canyons like the back of my hand, and I'm moving to a new valley, new hills, where I'll be lost all over again. The whole idea makes me break out in a sweat, so I put the scripts down, take deep breaths, and tell myself there's nothing to be afraid of anymore. And there isn't. That was then when everything was new.
"There's nothing to be afraid of anymore," I keep repeating as I stretch, and look around the chaos of moving for something else to do, something to take my mind off the old fears. I decide to tackle the storage closet that I've been avoiding. Lots of books, old toy baskets -- I've told my grown children to go through their stuff or it's going out, but they know I don't mean it -- all of Danny's Doctor Dolittle and Oz books that he's saving for the children he doesn't have yet. A box of old crayon drawings, crude cartoons and pictures for my wall that say "I love you, Mom" and "Mom, the best is yet to come," encouragement from scared kids.
But we're okay now. We're better than okay, and there's nothing to be afraid of anymore. I keep whispering the words, like a prayer that will make it so, as I pull more boxes out of the closet. Some are labeled, some not, and they clearly haven't been touched since I moved into this house twelve years ago. It was the first house that I was able to buy after putting three children through college at the same time, and I savored the sense of ownership even though the children were on their own by then. They enjoyed coming home to it for holidays, but still I'd wished I'd been able to give them a home when they were young. "Oh, cut it out," I say aloud, shutting off the old guilts as they intrude like unwanted friends at the door. "I did great," I say, as I wipe dust balls and a dead spider off an unmarked box. "Didn't I, Sandy?" At the sound of his name Sandy thumps his tail on the tile floor and looks up at me with warm hazel eyes. He's a mix, God knows what-all in there, but he's got a retriever's loving gaze, which I find comforting at moments like this.
I open the box and see about ten video cassettes, all labeled "Danny's Super 8's." Years ago, I'd transferred all of Danny's old movies to video, and given them to him for Christmas. He must have stored them here, along with his old books and stuffed animals, and we'd forgotten all about them. I take them out of the box and dust them off, part of me tempted to look at them right away, part of me thinking that if I'm trying to leave old fears and guilts behind, that would be a stupid thing to do.
"Come on, Sand, let's go," I say as I dump the tapes back in the box and head for the house and the VCR. We leave the study, walk through the yard, still smelling of jasmine, plum and lemon blossoms, and enter the French doors that lead into the living room. It's quiet, filled with golden afternoon sunlight, and once again I have no idea why I'm leaving. The sunlight in the East was never like this, and I don't know what it will be like in Northern California. But the house is already sold, the new house waiting; it's too late to change my mind. Besides, I'm finally retiring from the business of writing for hire, and thinking again about the novel I'd imagined writing twenty-five years ago. A small house in the northern woods seems like the perfect place to do it.
I stick a tape into the VCR. None of the tapes are labeled -- no dates, no places -- just pieces of our lives jumbled together out of order. I sit in the rocking chair, close to the screen, and lean forward, staring at a beach that's bleached by time. Where is this? When? Irwin runs into the frame -- tanned, young, horn-rimmed sunglasses. He dives for a beach ball, catches it, and throws it back. The camera jerks to Jake, about seven, so adorable that I want to reach out and bring him back to me, just as he was. He catches the ball, laughing, and tosses it to Emma, who's brown, blond and giggly, and grabs it with both small arms. It's Amagansett, the summer of '67 I realize -- the summer before '68 when everything erupted in the outside world, and in our lives.
The camera shifts to me, applauding at the water's edge, also looking young and tanned, even happy, though I don't remember much happiness that summer. Then there's a shot of Danny on a raft, trying to catch a wave, and then riding it in, grinning up from the foam. Then Irwin is picking up Emma, carrying her, and they both wave, blinking into the sun.
The screen turns to snow at that moment, crossed by jumpy, vertical lines, and then a small stucco house appears. There's a ragged lawn in front, a path leading to a narrow, cement porch, and darkened windows. Oh, my God, this is the Whitsett house in Van Nuys. It's '70 or early '71, which was, without question, the worst year of my life. It was probably the worst year of the kids' lives too, but no one would think so as their images bounce onto the screen. First there are trick shots of Jake, making his shoes disappear, then a set-up scene of Emma and Jake arguing, hands on their hips, both so young and sweet that I smile and wipe away sudden tears. Then Danny and a friend -- Jake must have been shooting this -- are playing good-guy/bad-guy, chasing each other across the low roof. Now I appear, getting out of the VW Bug in the driveway, grinning, doing a little dance step up the path to the house. "I remember," I whisper. "It was the day I paid off that sonofabitch Meekel." The screen again turns to snow, and I stop the tape and close my eyes, rocking quietly in the chair, seeing it all.
Night after night I lay awake, planning the murder of the IRS man. The little bastard must have confiscated hundreds, thousands of bank accounts. He had taken mine that had two hundred dollars in it, and he'd taken my son Jake's that had seventeen dollars and fifty cents. If I stalked the IRS man carefully why would anyone suspect me? I knew what he looked like -- hairline mustache, fishy eyes. I knew his last name, Meekel, and I knew where his office was on Hollywood Boulevard. All I had to do was follow him home on a moonless night, shoot him before he got to his front door, and disappear. Getting ahold of a gun would be a problem, but it was possible.
The Cramers, friends of my parents from long ago, lived in Palm Springs, and I drove my children there every three months or so, our VW Bug with the back seat missing, struggling up the long, desert hills for a needed weekend. I knew that Ben Cramer kept a gun in his study, beneath some papers in the top drawer of his filing cabinet. It wouldn't be hard to steal it; he probably wouldn't miss it for a while, but that's where I got stuck, lying awake in the little house on Whitsett. I couldn't figure out how to get rid of the gun.
I'd go through the whole plan at three in the morning, only disturbed by an occasional siren screaming down the avenue, and again at dawn, while the children still slept, and the mourning doves began their mournful calls. I'd see Ben's studio, his wall-to-wall files, his penciled illustrations on his drawing table, and I'd find his loaded gun, put it in my straw beach bag, and take it home. I'd follow the IRS man to his house, put a bullet in his head, drive home in the VW Bug, first praying that it wouldn't stall outside his house, and then what do I do with the gun? If I put it back in Ben's file it could be traced to him. If I went to Santa Monica and threw it off the pier it could wash back up on the beach. If I threw it in a trash can it could be found and traced. If I buried it in the backyard our dog might dig it up the way she'd dug up the baby squirrel that my son Daniel had buried in a shoe box.
Danny, twelve at the time and lonely, missing his father, his home, his old school, had poured milk and love into a baby squirrel -- maybe too much of both. He tried desperately to save the animal, keeping him warm on tissue paper in a shoe box, feeding him from a bottle, but the squirrel died and Danny buried him in the shoe box beneath the pepper tree with a note between his paws, saying how much he loved him. Months later our young Labrador dug up the tiny, gray bones, and Danny cried again and buried the squirrel again. I cried with him, silently, watching through the window.
Our black Labrador, Blanca, was bigger now and buried and dug up whatever she could find in our dirt-packed backyard. She would surely dig up the gun that I would use to blow Mr. Meekel's brains out. So, in my angry, circular fantasies, I couldn't get rid of the gun. Even if I'd figured it out, I probably wouldn't have killed him. I say probably. I hated him more than I've ever hated anyone. It wasn't the idea of taking his life that bothered me. It was the idea of jail. I had a horror of being locked up, of being trapped, and here I was, lying awake on a rented sofa bed in the den of a small, ugly, rented house, so deeply trapped that I couldn't see the sky.
I knew that I had done it, thrown myself down this hole, been an emotional idiot craving love, or something. I still didn't know what the something was because I hadn't found it. I was down there in the dark, surrounded by my children, who counted on me. I counted on them too. I knew that I shouldn't, but they were the only family I had.
The night dream of killing the IRS man was preferable to the fear of the next day, or the feelings of remorse that made me sweat and twist in the rented sofa bed. Anger was better than fear or pain. It was higher up on the tone scale. The Scientologists had said that. They were a scary bunch, with some strange ideas, but they'd been right about that. Anger was definitely better than fear, remorse or pain.
I relished my night fantasies, prolonged the image of Mr. Meekel's spattered brains, because the first sunlight brought fear. We were hiding our money, the children and I, in a shoe box (another shoe box) in my closet. We had a few five-dollar bills and some singles and that was it, with no idea of how or when there would be any more. I'd bounced a five-dollar check at Ringside Market on the corner of Whitsett and Van Nuys Boulevard. That's how I'd found out that the IRS had confiscated our bank accounts. Jake was eleven and the seventeen dollars and fifty cents was money that he'd saved, a dime and a quarter at a time, out of his allowance. That and my two hundred were applied to the three thousand I still owed from 1968, my one affluent year.
To explain the debt I have to go back to '68 and a brief financial accounting. The emotional accounting is complicated and will take longer. I had exploded out of a thirteen-year marriage. If I hadn't left, or pushed Irwin out, none of this would have happened. But I had, and it did. When Irwin and I separated we went to Irwin's lawyer and worked out a separation agreement. Irwin was then the vice president of an advertising agency, earning a lot by '68 standards, and we agreed that I would receive close to twenty thousand a year for my children and me. What I hadn't understood, because I knew nothing about such things, was that the money was declared alimony so that Irwin could deduct it, and income to me, which meant that I owed taxes on it. In 1969, after Irwin married Kathleen, quit his job, and showed no income, I owed the IRS seven thousand dollars for that year.
Everyone told me later that I'd been stupid to let Irwin's lawyer work out our separation agreement, but Irwin was still my best friend. I wasn't in love with him, but I loved him and trusted him. I'd believed him when he'd said, "I'll always take care of you and the kids." He'd said it so many times during our marriage, and even after we'd separated, that I'd whisper the words to myself in the dark in the sofa bed, with a kind of disbelief. I had hurt him badly -- I knew that -- but the children, whom he'd seemed to love so much, hadn't done anything to him. I wasn't angry with Irwin, just confounded. My anger was directed at Kathleen, who controlled Irwin and the money. It was Kathleen's money, after all; Irwin no longer had any. Any checks that managed to make it from Cape May, New Jersey, to Whitsett Avenue were signed Kathleen Riley Epstein.
The last time I saw Irwin was at a meeting with our lawyer in New York when Irwin said that he had to cut our payments down to about a third of what they had been. I said that that was impossible -- we wouldn't be able to stay in the city -- what was I supposed to do? Irwin shifted in his chair and his eyes were half closed, a look that I recognized. Jake's face would get the same look. Whenever they were uncomfortable, or in unwanted photographs, their eyelids would droop over their beautiful, nearsighted, brown eyes. Irwin squirmed, suggested that I get a job, which I'd already done, and basically said that he had no idea. I turned to the lawyer, keeping desperation in check, asking what I could do, and he explained patiently that no court could order a father to pay child support if he owned nothing and had no job.
"Jesus Christ! You've got to be kidding," I stammered before managing to pull myself together enough to make sure, in writing, that whatever came to us was declared child support, not alimony. Of course, I still owed the IRS seven thousand dollars. I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep the children in the Little Red School House, which they loved, or stay in the city. It took me a while to decide what to do.
I'd visited Los Angeles with my parents when I was young and I remembered how beautiful the canyons were, and the winding drive down Sunset, and the first glimpse of the Pacific. I didn't want to leave New York and the Connecticut countryside where I'd grown up, but I'd heard that it was cheaper to live in Los Angeles and that the public schools were good. I thought I should be able to get some kind of job. Also, I'd sold a couple of short stories, and had a New York agent, who said I might be able to get writing work. Anything valuable, like the silver my mother had left me, her fur coat and a few antiques, I'd sold before we left New York. Most of it went to the IRS; the rest of it flew us from one coast to the other. I'd kept a few treasures -- the carved dresser that I'd had as a girl, a golden Oriental rug, my mother's bed and dressing table, a few precious books. I'd put them in storage and hadn't been able to send for them.
After our bank accounts were confiscated the levies began to arrive in the mail, official-looking documents that said that any income or salaries due to me would automatically go to the IRS until the three thousand still owed to them was paid. They were all signed by Mr. Meekel. There was a levy on any salary I might earn, and on any royalties I might receive from my father's songs, which usually didn't amount to much. There was a levy on any work that I might do for Quantis Productions, a company that consisted of two has-been producers who had helped get me through 1970 by hiring me to write a script for next to nothing. When Quantis went bust I answered some ads for real jobs -- receptionist jobs, part-time secretarial -- but I found that I was hopelessly unqualified. I was a thirty-four-year-old English major with no resume and no skills. I could barely type. The early stories that I'd done I'd written in longhand and taken to a typist. The small monthly checks that came from Cape May were also levied by Mr. Meekel.
The children were worried about me, and scared, and each expressed it differently. Emma, a gentle nine-year-old then, sat on the front step, waiting for the school bus and prayed silently. Jake tried to make practical suggestions while fixing himself a peanut butter sandwich. Danny decided that he didn't feel well and should stay in bed. I managed to get myself up, take a shower, get all three on the bus, and stick my batch of levies in an envelope. I drove over Coldwater Canyon, luminous in the morning light, and smiled when I reached the spot where the trees got straight. The children had said that you can tell when you enter Beverly Hills because the trees get straight, and they were right. The trees were ragged and haphazard until the Beverly Hills sign, and then they were suddenly tall and stately.
I took my levies to my accountant, Edwin Self, a strange little fellow whom I'd gone to about my tax problem. He had arranged a payment plan with the IRS, a hundred a month until it was paid off, a plan that I had adhered to, and that the little creep Meekel had decided to ignore. Mr. Self, looking up at me with beanlike eyes, told me that I needed to bring in all my receipts to prove that I was feeding and clothing three children so that he could prove to Mr. Meekel that the money Irwin owed was child support, not alimony.
"But it is child support -- he's wrong!" I said. "I made sure when we changed the agreement before I left New York that it be declared child support."
"The IRS can be slow to catch up with these things," he answered. "I'll call them. But it would still be a good idea to bring me those receipts."
Determined to keep some sort of forward motion going, I went home, gathered receipts, and then tried to figure out how we could eat until all this got straightened out. I had no credit because Irwin had canceled all of our joint credit cards, and I certainly couldn't get credit on my own. The only thing I thought I could do was to keep running up the milk bill. The milkman delivered once a week -- milk, butter, cottage cheese -- and I didn't have to pay him until the end of the month. Sometimes he'd let it go for two months. So I figured we could live on cold cereal and whatever I could get the milkman to deliver.
In bed later, with a pile of receipts beside me, and some cash still hidden in the closet, I began to think about being safe, about what it had been like, how it had felt. I remembered my room when I was a little girl, the ivy wallpaper in the moonlight, the tall white birch outside my window, the sound of Eastern rain on Eastern trees, the warmth of my quilt as I drifted off to sleep. I was afraid of ghosts then, and witches, but it was such a different kind of fear. It wasn't the fear of living, the fear of each coming day.
It felt safe when I was married too -- too safe. But if I'd known about this kind of fear I never would have left. And if I'd known what the children would go through, I certainly wouldn't have left. I'd wrestled endlessly with that, sitting quietly while they were in school -- could I get through five more years of this, ten more years? Could I manage to stay until they were grown up? I tried so hard to stay married because they loved their father so much and he loved them. He was the stability in their lives. They loved me too and I loved them, but no one could accuse me of being stable. I was the emotionally fragile one, or so we all thought. Then why leave them, in desperate circumstances, with just me?
The only answer I could come to was Kathleen. Irwin had turned to her three months after we had separated and she had taken him over. I said once, jokingly, that Irwin had become a walk-in. In science fiction when a soul leaves a living body and another soul comes in that's a walk-in. I was joking, but I simply couldn't imagine how the man that I'd known had turned into the present-day Irwin.
"I'll always take care of you and the kids," Irwin had said. "Yeah, right, shit," I muttered to the ceiling. Then, suddenly angry with myself, I sat up and reached for a cigarette. I lit it with a snap of the match, wondering why I had ever expected such a thing. Why should a woman have the right to be taken care of, and a man not? Of course, it was how most of us were brought up, I answered myself. In the fifties when we were in college a young woman was supposed to be married right after graduation, or before. If not, you were in danger of becoming an old maid. Very few wanted careers; most wanted the perfect husband and perfect babies we saw on the covers of the women's magazines. That's certainly what I wanted; I'd never pictured anything else. And along with that came the idea that the husbands would work, and the wives and children be taken care of. It wasn't fair, I decided, not to the husbands and not to the wives, some of whom would later seem like old children, unable to take care of themselves.
I was twenty and Irwin twenty-two when we were married. I had lost a lot, wanted someone to cling to, and a family of my own. Irwin wanted to be a writer, was scorned by his family of businessmen, and needed me and mine to believe in him. My father had supported both of us until he'd died suddenly of a heart attack only four years after Irwin and I had married. We had two babies by then, a toddler, Danny, and an infant, Jake, and my father had left everything to his new wife. It wasn't that much -- a lovely house on Long Island Sound, a car and some royalties -- but it left us stranded, and Irwin was faced with having to go to work. He'd wanted to be a journalist, and he was freelancing, selling an occasional piece, but it wasn't enough to live on.
We were both devastated when my father died. I'd been very close to him, and I couldn't imagine this world without him. We were sitting on the edge of our bed, in the small West End Avenue apartment, trying to calm a screaming little Jake, when the call came. I'd answered the phone, handing the baby to Irwin, and heard my older brother, Ted, say as gently as possible that our father had died. He'd been standing in the kitchen, making coffee, and simply fallen to the floor. I didn't cry right away -- I was too shocked -- but Irwin did. It was the first time I'd seen him cry. He put the baby down, covered his wet face with his hands, and said over and over again, "Now he'll never know." I knew what he meant, that my father would never see him become successful.
Then Irwin did a strange thing -- he stopped trying completely. He decided to forget about writing, and all his dreams of success, and become a businessman. He found a job in advertising, was good at it, good with people, and in what seemed a very short time became an account executive. As he kept rising in the agency, I kept telling him that he didn't have to give up writing. He could write in the evenings and on weekends as my father had before he had a few hit songs, as so many artists had that I'd known, but Irwin just shrugged and said, "Maybe sometime." It became clear that he was angry. He had, somehow, not bargained for this -- this job of supporting a family. I felt that, as much as he loved us, he was quietly angry from the day he had to go to work. I tried again and again to tell him that the job was just temporary, that if he just kept writing and sending stuff out he could still make it, but he shrugged this off and his desk remained untouched and his typewriter stayed covered.
Years later, early one morning, Irwin brought morning coffee up to me in bed, and in his natty three-piece-suit, and with undisguised irony said, "Well, I'm off to my temporary job as senior vice president of Waller, Burns and Cormic." I laughed, a sad laugh, but Irwin could usually make me laugh. I wondered if he could make me laugh now. The old Irwin could have; I didn't know about the walk-in.
The other strange thing about all this was that once Irwin married Kathleen and quit his job, he started writing again. I guess it's not strange; he got what he'd wanted in the first place. He didn't have to worry anymore about supporting a family or making a living. But what about his children? I kept coming back to that.
When I could no longer pay the orthodontist, and couldn't take the boys to get their braces adjusted, I'd asked Irwin, over the phone, if he could help with their braces but he'd said, "If they were with me I'd pay for it. With you, forget it." That was when I'd begun to understand how possessive his love was. It made sense in terms of me; I'd left him, but it didn't make sense in terms of the children who he'd loved so much. Especially Danny, who had entered Irwin's heart the moment he was born.
Danny had been the most beautiful of the three babies, with gray-blue eyes and long black lashes. The rest of us had brown eyes, but the two grandmothers had had blue, and my mother, who'd died years before, had had the long dark lashes. I don't think that's why Irwin loved Danny the most, but he did -- it was obvious. After the other two were born, all eighteen months apart, Irwin took Danny everywhere with him and left Jake and Emma to me. When we went to Amagansett for the summer Irwin drove with Danny and put Emma, Jake and me on the train. When we went to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, Irwin went ahead with Danny, and I followed with Jake and Emma.
Irwin's favoritism didn't bother me while we were together. If Irwin loved Danny the most, and Danny loved his father the most, that was okay with me because Danny was by far the most active, and when they were little I was understandably exhausted. Jake, at six months, could concentrate for a couple of hours on a simple puzzle; Emma could just sit in her carriage or baby chair and smile at the world. And their temperaments didn't change that much as they grew. Danny, a natural athlete, was always moving; Jake, a natural scholar, was studious and determined; and Emma was bright and loving and increasingly beautiful. So in a strange way -- the kind of thing that happens in families without anyone knowing it -- Danny became more Irwin's child, and Jake and Emma became more mine.
It worked, kind of balanced itself out, until Irwin and I separated, and it still worked until Kathleen took over. During the spring and the early part of that first summer apart Irwin and I remained good friends. He rented a car for us to drive to the converted barn we'd rented, drew a map for me because I'd never done the trip alone before, and blew kisses to all of us as he stood on the sidewalk and watched us go. Once we were back in the city, the children back in school, and Irwin and Kathleen living together, Kathleen decided that the children's visits were too difficult, and they became less and less frequent.
Danny was the most hurt, of course. I knew that he would be. When I'd agonized for hours about whether I could stick it out for five more years, ten more years, it was mainly Danny that I was concerned about. And I was right. In the boys' room, in the house on Whitsett, Danny slept in the top bunk, hurt and unhappy, and furious with me for taking him away from his father. I told him that he could probably go and live with his father and Kathleen if he really wanted to, but he'd shrug and say miserably that he wanted to stay with us. I don't know if he did, or if he was afraid that Irwin and Kathleen might say no if he asked them.
& copy 2005 by Hesper Anderson
Excerpted from MacDougal Street Ghosts by Hesper Anderson Copyright © 2005 by Hesper Anderson.
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