I. The knocker sounds once. The knocker is of brass, a cast hand, distinctly feminine, grasping a ball which, at rest, leans against a plate bolted to the door. Flipping it up and letting it fall of its own weight fills the house with an explosive crash.
Millie jumps. She stands still in the kitchen, hears her husband’s feet whisper overhead, as he treads lightly to the front balcony. A shutter squeaks open.
“Damn.” She is making coffee.
She goes to the foot of the stairs. Andrew Devlin stands at the top, wearing undershorts. He is not a sleek man, and wastes little time in the sun. Furthermore, the patches of fur on his body are bleached a dull grey. She is astonished to see this. Then she smells orange blossoms.Pulvos higienicos, his favorite talc.
“That was Mooney.”
You’re meeting him on the beach? He had his towel.”
“If he goes to the same beach, and I see him and he sees me, and we want to talk, then we’ll meet.”
“I don’t want you screwing around while I’m gone. I’ve told you that.”
“You have. And I ignore it. I ignore you. You drunk. Crying and banging your fists on the wall. And screaming in the middle of the night. Calling me whore. Crying! Don’t tell me how to act, Andy. Don’t tell me anything. Don’t talk to me. You look awful in that powder. And your face looks boiled.”