Walker was watching her carefully from behind the sunglasses. Her knees parted, almost imperceptibly, a quarter of an inch, no more, as she spoke. With his empty glass he gestured for her to continue.
'For a while you worked as a tracker.'
'You found Orlando Brandon.'
'I came across him. By accident.'
'A very fortunate accident. For you, at any rate. People had been looking for him for three years. The buy-out must have been considerable.'
Walker waited, studying her.
'Not so fortunate for him, however,' she said. 'If I remember rightly, he was dead three weeks after you found him.'
She dug around in her bag and found another pair of sun- glasses. Blew dust off the lenses.
'How many pairs do you have in there?'
'This is the last,' she said, her eyes disappearing behind the shades. 'I would like you to find someone for me.'
'That's illegal. Besides, like I told you, I was never a tracker.'
'I appreciate that, Mr Walker, but I will, if I may, explain myself a little further.'
Walker shrugged. 'What's all this Mr Walker bit?'
'The situation seems to demand it,' she smiled. 'Can I continue?'
Walker nodded. Shrugs, nods, smiles.
'Have you heard of Alexander Malory?'
' No. Should I have done?'
'There have been a number of articles in the paper about him.'
'I don't read the papers.'
'Well, he's disappeared.'
'A lot of people disappear. Or try to.'
'Hence the need for trackers.'
'What's your interest in him?'
'I am his wife.' On cue she removed her sunglasses. As an expression of frankness it was so perfectly executed that Walker suspected it might not be genuine. 'We're separated. That was years ago. He was very generous. Since then, however, certain irregularities in his dealings have come up. The police are interested in him. They don't yet have a warrant for him but they will have one soon. There are other people interested in him also. To speak plainly, they want to kill him. It's possible he is trying to evade them but he moves around a lot anyway. It's equally possible he is just off travelling. Earlier I said he had disappearedin a way he is in a state of constant disappearance.'
'And I want to find him. For two reasons. If he is simply travelling, I would like to warn himas I say, our parting was entirely amicable.' Walker poured more orange into her glass. 'The second reason applies wherever or whatever he's doing. My lawyers have found a loophole in our arrangements. I need him to sign and fingerprint a copy of one of our contracts.'
'It's a new legal requirement with certain documents. I don't know why. But once he's done that, whatever happens to him, everything comes to me. He has to sign this before the police get to him. If he dies or is arrested before this document is signed, I lose everything.'
'Everything you have or everything you have coming to you?'
Walker had been studying her closely. Now, suddenly aware that she was scrutinizing him, he asked hurriedly, 'So why me? There are trackers who'
'Too unreliable. It's quite possible that trackers have already been employed to find himby the people who want to kill him.'
Excerpted from The Search by Geoff Dyer. Copyright © 2014 by Geoff Dyer. Excerpted by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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