Anna Pigeon 03 Ill Wind by Nevada Barr

By Nevada Barr

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Anna used the Navajo word for spirit or—she was never quite sure—evil spirit. "Could be. " She grimaced at her gun and escaped down the hall. Once divested of the dead weight of her gun and the airtight shoes required by NPS class "A" uniform standards, Anna felt less hostile. By the time she'd poured herself a generous dollop of Mirassou Pinot Blanc, she was civilized enough to join the party in the front room. " It was a nightly ritual that seldom failed to amuse. "Arms like toothpicks! Look at that," Jamie was exclaiming.

Since neither the cliff dwellings nor the museum opened for visitors until nine, the park was quiet. In the clear morning air a comforting illusion of isolation crept over Anna. Law enforcement at Mesa Verde taxed her energies in a way the hard physical work in the backcountry never had. People's needs were immediate and complex, their wants changing with the hour. Anna suspected mankind descended not from the ape but from the mosquito. In swarms they could bleed one dry. With morning's peace came the animals: those just coming on diurnal duty, those going off nocturnal shift, and the crepuscular crew with a split shift framing the day.

As if my not folding like I always did with the flowery courtship business is pushing him near some edge. This last note seemed, well . . " Patsy apologized with a particularly bright smile. Anna would have laid odds that Patsy Silva had apologized a lot in her thirty-seven years; sorries and smiles poured like oil on life's troubled waters. " "Yes. I kept it. At least I've learned that since the divorce. Anything edgy, I keep. You can't imagine how silly this all sounds, even to me, when I try to tell it to some big burly policeman who thinks his wife would die and go straight to pig heaven if he ever paid her this kind of attention.

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