WHITE GIRL MISSING

I love Laura Lindsay.

I mean I fucking love Laura Lindsay.

And when I say I love Laura Lindsay, I mean I love Laura Lindsay more than a 38-year-old man with a wife and a kid should love a 21-year-old girl.

Especially one I've never met.

One I'll probably never meet.

And one who in all likelihood is dead.

And when I say she in all likelihood is dead, I mean we just don't know.

Somebody probably knows.

But I'll never fucking know.

And Pete and Repeat down at the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast will probably never know.

And her family probably doesn't know.

The police don't know. They don't know! Trust me, even though every local resident of Brattleboro, Vermont thinks the police not only know but are in on her disappearance, they don't know. There is not some huge police coverup of Laura Lindsay's vanishing. They police may be corrupt. But an entire dynasty of police covering up essential information that could clear this thing forever—for the family, for the town, for everyone—not likely. Trust me, in my 20 years of true crime investigation, it's just never happened. Not once. The police do not know where Laura Lindsay is.

No one fucking knows.

Well, maybe Lisa Morabito.

She might know.

But she won't talk to fucking anyone.

I went to that bitch's house to ask her some questions.

She acted like a murderer.

And I've interviewed fucking murderers.

Every fucking murderer I've met has been nicer than this fucking bitch.

Talk about making yourself conspicuous.

She yells, "How did you find me?" and slams the door in my face.

I mean a smart murderer—or someone with something to hide—would invite you in, make you coffee, chat it up with you for half an hour, and act like they had nothing to hide. Can you imagine Ted Bundy slamming the door in someone's face? No, you fucking cannot. Smart people with something to hide don't act like they have something to hide. Lisa Morabito knows where Laura Lindsay is—I guarantee it. I would cut off my left testicle if Lisa Morabito doesn't know what happened to Laura Lindsay. That bitch fucking knows. I wouldn't be surprised if, the day I went to Lisa Morabito's house, Laura Lindsay wasn't right behind the door listening to everything we said. And by everything we said I mean Lisa telling me to get off her motherfucking porch.

I get told that a lot as an investigative journalist.

Get off my fucking porch.

I'm gonna call the cops if you don't get off my motherfucking porch.

I have a shotgun and I'm gonna blow your motherfucking head off if you don't exit yourself off my motherfucking porch in the next five seconds.

People don't necessarily like to answer questions about their missing daughters, neighbors, and residents of their jurisdiction. But when a white, 21-year-old girl goes missing—just goes poof in the middle of the night and a body is never found, a person is never found, her credit cards are never used again, ground searches turn up nothing, helicopters with forward-facing radar turn up nothing—that's a story. People want to know. And that's where I come in.

I write true crime books.

I've written six.

The book on Laura Lindsay would have been my seventh.

But things got fucked up.

I had this camp counsellor. Used to lecture us on the importance of carrying foot powder. Said, "You never know when a ten-minute walk is going to turn into a five-day survival hike."

He was right.

That guy was right.

He was motherfucking right.

And that's what happened with this Laura Lindsay situation. What should have been a ten-minute walk turned into a five-day survival hike.

And I wasn't carrying my foot powder.

A fucking bitch goes missing. It happens all the time.

Then Seventeen and the local papers and the Investigation Discovery channel come in and do their thing.

I come in and do my thing.

I try to keep it to a higher level.

I mean I have a fucking degree in this shit.

So for them it's sensation. It's leaving out facts to imply that things happened that didn't really happen.

But I'm trying to make a living at this shit.

This is my fucking reputation, you know?

I got to get this shit fucking right, or people will never buy my books again.

So I find an angle.

But I find a true angle.

At least that's what normally happens.

But with Laura Lindsay, it was like that bitch was specifically trying to fuck with not only this book, but my entire career.

She refused to be pinned down.

And I wanted to pin that bitch down. The more time went on, the more I wanted to pin her down in the nastiest way. It was like she was asking to be fucked—and I mean fucked—but she only wanted to be fucked by someone worthy of finding her.

She or her dead corpse.

Which I wasn't going to do—fuck her dead corpse. But finding her dead corpse would have been as good as fucking the live Laura Lindsay—at least for me it would have. But the problem is Laura Lindsay's dead corpse wouldn't reveal itself.

The bitch parks her wrecked car in the lot of the Walmart Supercenter on Brattleboro Road in Hinsdale, New Hampshire.

By all accounts she walks in.

By all accounts she never walks out.

She never goes back to her car.

She's never found in the Walmart.

Police were on her tail for driving erratically. They thought she was drunk—which she probably was.

They saw her walk into the Walmart Supercenter.

They saw the fucking bitch get out of a wrecked car—windshield cracked, axles broken—and go into that Walmart.

Then that was it.

There has never been a credible sighting of Laura since.

Now either she's hiding out working in the produce section, or that bitch snuck out the back and wandered into the woods and died of a head wound..or maybe she killed herself..or maybe she was abducted.

Or maybe Laura Lindsay staged one of the most brilliant disappearances in the history of intentional goddamned motherfucking disappearances.

The question is: just how smart is Laura Lindsay?

Is she smart enough to intentionally wreck her car—but not enough to kill herself—to put bottles of alcohol in her passenger seat to lead us all to believe she was drunk, to have someone waiting for her in an SUV behind the Walmart, walk casually through the back warehouse and get in the friendly vehicle, and disappear to Canada with her new boyfriend or Lisa Morabito, and then live so quietly that she never raises any kind of flag on any kind of radar? Change her name? Work invisibly in some coffeehouse in a tiny town and maintain the discipline of never contacting her family again?

Did she want to get away that fucking bad?

If so, why?

Are the sexual abuse theories correct? Because whether there was actual sexual abuse or not, and whether she meant to kill herself or just get away for the weekend—or if she meant to get away forever—the intentional disappearance theories do hold one thread in common for me.

And that was that she was trying to get away from something.

And I believe that something was her family.

But, dear reader of present book, don't become distracted by the theories surrounding Laura Lindsay's disappearance.

Because that is the least important thing about this story.

Theories come. Theories go.

But you know what's constant?

People's obsession with the dead.

Or people's obsession with the missing.

And you know what's become really constant for me?

My obsession with Laura Lindsay.

I mean I'm about to get fucking divorced over this shit.

I have a wife. I have a five-year-old daughter.

That's what I should be paying attention to.

Licking my wife's pussy when we're in bed at night.

Kissing my daughter's forehead and reading the motherfucking Berenstein Bears.

Right? That's where my focus should lie.

A little book writing on the side. A little investigation. Write a decent book on Laura Lindsay.

That's just not how it's worked out.

My writing room looks like a cross between John Nash's woodshed in A Beautiful Mind and the den of a serial killer stalking his next victim.

Laura Lindsay is my victim.

She's no longer my research subject.

She's my motherfucking victim.

I should be making phone calls to the residents of Brattleboro and Hinsdale. Instead I'm driving to Vermont.

I live in fucking Ohio, people.

I have regular hotels I stay at in Brattleboro.

The bartenders recognize me.

The day drinkers recognize me.

They all know I'm writing a book.

They know it's about their Laura Lindsay.

And you want to know something about New Englanders? For one, it's that they don't tell you shit until they get to know you. You can't just ask a New Englander a question. Fuck. The bartender won't even serve you a drink unless he knows you. It's a very mind your own business type of place. So when writers come in—especially after every cheese news outlet in the world has already come and gone, raped the towns and every shop owner in them for information about this missing girl—they're not exactly welcoming. I mean, in a way, you get the sense that everybody but you knows exactly what happened to Laura Lindsay and it's your job to find some special key to put in some special lock to get them to simply tell you what it was.

I hoped to do that by hanging around Vermont and New Hampshire as much as possible, making myself seem local.

My wife was not a fan of this idea.

My daughter was not a fan of this idea.

I started off not being a fan of the idea, either, but the more I flew into Burlington and rode the Amtrak down to Brattleboro, and the more tantalizing but minuscule clues these fucking Vermonters dealt out to me (one card at a time), the more Vermont became my home and Ohio became the inconvenience of being further from the facts.

You have to understand something about locals.

Locals know what is going on.

Whether it be the locals of a family, a town, a club..the locals know what is going on, either by intuition or by proximity. But locals see things that outsiders don't see by the simple fact of their being around all the time. So locals are where your story is. Trust me. If your serial killer goes to Florida, you go to Florida. You're gonna meet someone, wandering around a dock polishing a boat, who knows where your killer is. You're not gonna get that making fucking phone calls from Ohio.

With a missing person, you need the family.

The family knows.

Nine times out of ten, the family knows.

That's why I was so frustrated with Mike Lindsay.

I didn't think he knew.

In fact I was pretty sure he didn't have any idea where his daughter was.

But I'd bet you my right testicle he knows somebody who does.

That's why it irked me so much that motherfucker was so motherfucking unhelpful when it came to finding his daughter.

Wouldn't you at least want to find her dead body, rotting in the woods of Vermont, clutching that last bottle of gin she grabbed from her car, nursing herself with a little alcoholic warmth before she froze to death?

I realize I haven't established the bottle of gin.

I'm a bad narrator. Spank me and send me home from school.

The gin..

Well, look, I don't want to get into a bunch of details since this is just the intro chapter and shit, but I'll tell you one thing:

This book is about how Laura Lindsay fucked my life.

And it's about how I fucked up hers.

2

You have to beware a fucking cunt who goes missing.

Cunts who get murdered are one thing.

You can count on them.

You can tell a story with an ending.

But cunts who go missing?

That's a cunt you have to watch out for.

I mean a cunt who dies..at least you can trust the cunt not to show up at your door someday, ruining your fucking book about how she died. You know? I mean—like—some of us are trying to write books here. A cunt who's dead is something you can write about with confidence. But a cunt who goes missing?

Fuck.

I mean a cunt who goes missing..she could be living with her grandmother in Arizona having the time of her life and you're writing this dark-ass true crime story and Investigation Discovery is getting all these people involved in your life, worried that you're dead, when really you're working as a waitress at some diner, taking care of your kid, just needing a break from your psycho-ass family and maybe your abusive father or boyfriend or just the pressure of being the star student of every school you ever attended.

The valedictorian of my high school disappeared like that. He could have gone to Yale. You know what he did instead? He moved to a small town and fixed cars. Yeah. He worked in a motherfucking garage, fixing vintage cars, probably doing calculus in his head the whole time, just for fucking fun.

Sometimes people's lives get to be too much for them.

And they disappear.

They have the fortitude to—say—never speak to their brothers and sisters again. Their mom. Their sexually abusive dad.

And who can fucking blame them.

It's a free country—or so the saying goes.

If you want to fool us all and vanish into thin air, go right ahead. It's not like anyone cares about you or anything. It's not like any of us wonder where you went.

Anyway I hate cunts who disappear.

It messes up my whole writing process.

Fuck cunts who disappear.

I hate motherfucking cunts who disappear.

But I think I've expressed my opinion on this matter.

See, the essential problem with Laura Lindsay is we don't know if she disappeared. That's my personal theory. But Vermont is a big place. New Hampshire is a big place. And that little rugby-playing bitch might have just run out the back of that Walmart Supercenter, right up the side of some mountain near Hinsdale, and froze to death in the snow. Or gotten eaten by a bear or bigfoot or whatever. In all likelihood, that cunt snuggled up to a rock, drank that bottle of gin, felt all warm inside, and she's still up there decomposing, far from a trail where anyone will ever find her.

Like I said, New Hampshire is a big place.

There are lots of mountains there—even right behind the Super Walmart.

Those mountains have trails on them.

A lot of people walk those trails.

But people don't walk all over the goddamn mountain.

If she strayed from the trail, even fifty feet, it could be that no one finds her for a hundred years.

And her beautiful little hands, and that empty bottle of gin, and that 21 year old's beautiful cunt are decomposing summer after summer and by the time some hiker does find her, she won't have any cunt at all.

I have to tell you—and I hope you can appreciate this angle on this case—but I hate to think of a beautiful girl's cunt going to waste.

Not that Laura Lindsay's did.

Oh no.

According to her classmates, Laura Lindsay's cunt saw plenty of action before she was abducted or lost in the woods or disappeared to Arizona or whatever happened to her.

And if she was abducted, then she was likely raped and murdered, and her cunt saw some extra action toward the end.

That's what Laura's father thinks.

Mike Lindsay, right?

He thinks—or says he thinks—that some local dirtbag raped and murdered his daughter..that she spent her final moments in horrible ways.

Now what are the chances that while Laura Lindsay was running though the Super Walmart she encountered a serial killer? Or what are the chances that when she ran through the stocking area, out the back of the Walmart, that there was a serial killer right there? What are the chances that sometime earlier in the day a serial killer saw her, followed her, and grabbed her behind that store?

A lot of people think the chances are pretty good.

Because it turns out that New England is a really popular place for serial killers and dirtbags in general.

It's kind of like the retirement home that Florida is, except for people who like to rape and murder little girls.

New England has lots of unsolved serial murder cases.

The FBI must love it there.

Is it something about the remote atmosphere? The ability to live in relative obscurity? Everyone in New England is basically hiding—compared to, say, New York City. In New York, you may not be friends with your neighbors, but you're going to see them coming and going. In Vermont, you can do things like bury women in concrete slabs behind your house and no one will ever notice.

Some people think that's what happened to Laura Lindsay.

That some scumbag nabbed her, raped her, cut her body into little pieces, and entombed her in a brand new concrete porch behind their house. This isn't just a general theory. There's a specific house they think she's buried under. It's called the flat-roof house, and soon after Laura's disappearance, the owner of the flat-roof house poured a brand new concrete patio out back and that's where they think she's buried.

Most residents think the police have enough evidence to make an arrest but they're holding back because they know they don't have enough evidence for a prosecution.

I shit you not.

These Vermonters are crazy.

They think the police know who did it, that they know where Laura Lindsay's body is buried, but that no prosecutor will take the case because they don't think they can win.

They think it will mess up the prosecutor's win/loss record, and that's why Laura Lindsay's killer will never be brought to justice.

I think it's much more likely she's sitting in a coffeehouse in Tucson having a cup of Illy.

You see why I hate a cunt who goes missing.

You see the problems it poses for me.

I'm trying to write a book.

People don't like books with messy endings.

I would like if Laura Lindsay was dead.

That would make a good ending for my book.

I just don't think that's the case.

I mean think about it. A serial killer?—I don't care how many serial killers there are in New Hampshire—a serial killer catches the trail of a beautiful woman when she stops for gas, when she crashes her car..when she passes through the produce section of Walmart?

You're a serial killer.

You're shopping for groceries.

You're trying to decide between Gala and Macintosh and here comes this beautiful woman—bleeding from the head, confused—running through the Walmart and you say: Gee, I guess I could finish my shopping..or..I could leave my cart right here, follow this girl through the stocking section of the Super Walmart, and somehow get her to come with me to my caravoiding the police who are also following her on suspicion of a DUIand then I'll take her back to my house and rape her and kill her and eat her and bury her under my porch or whatever serial killers do.

I just don't see it.

Actually I have trouble seeing serial killers shopping at a Super Walmart—but I guess they do. I see them shopping at back woods country markets and shit.

But that's probably not the case.

They probably shop at Super Walmart like everyone else.

Think of it: that apple you just picked up? Was probably just rejected by a serial killer.

Anyway, you can believe in the serial killer theory if you want.

I will think less of you.

I will question your intellect.

But believe it if you want.

You've probably watched too many true crime shows like the rest of the country and you think that serial killers are hanging out in every minivan parked in the lot of every Walmart Supercenter in existence, but please believe me as a journalist when I say that they pick the most extreme cases for those shows and most people who go missing do not end up chained to the ceiling in someone's basement.

Laura Lindsay is not a victim.

Laura Lindsay is a psychopath.

She's a brilliant, mentally ill cunt who is trying to mess up my book.

She probably reads my blog.

She has the upper hand—right? Because all the information I know, I share online. Whereas all the information she knows, she keeps to herself. If I say I'm going to Tucson to put up missing person posters, Laura Lindsay knows. She can prepare her friends. She can go to Bisbee for the weekend. She can move to fucking Canada.

She's probably reading this right now.

Why do I think she's not a victim?

Why do I think she's a psychopath?

I'll tell you. I'll tell you soon enough.

But first, let's get some of the details of the story straight.

I'm not sure how far to go back.

She liked to camp with her dad. They went on mountain hiking trips around Brattleboro. They camped together. They camped in the same tent. Was there sexual abuse? We don't know. But probably. Why do I say probably? Because Mike Lindsay won't answer any questions. I mean half of what you learn in journalism is from what people don't say. Like when people really, really, really don't want to answer a question..well..obviously they're hiding something. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred. People who have nothing to hide speak freely. Refusing to answer a question is like waving a huge red flag above your head that says: Look here! And then there's the much more delicate art of noticing when people subtly leave things out. When they don't make a big deal about not saying something, but there are holes in what they say. That's a little harder to learn, but that's where you'll get your most valuable information in an interview..in noticing the holes.

Anyway, they liked to camp together.

Shared a tent.

She was a straight-A student.

Rugby player.

Let's stop here.

I think you can infer quite a bit from her choice of sport.

If she was a tennis player, I wouldn't say you could infer shit. But a person who likes to play a violent contact sport which requires no helmets is a certain type of person.

Not a lesbian, though—definitely loved cock.

And this unlucky—or brilliant—bitch packs up her dorm room, leaves a note for her professors saying she has to go take care of her grandmother who is sick (a lie), takes a nighttime drive along Brattleboro Road heading out of Brattleboro towards Hinsdale and the Super Walmart, gets in an accident, cracks her head on the windshield, runs bloody through the Walmart, then out the back, where nobody—including me—has any idea what happened next.

There are more details about the events of that night, but first I think we need to get into Laura Lindsay's past, because no matter how hard her family tries to sell her as the all-American girl, this is one bitch who is definitely not.

3

Let me tell you about Laura Lindsay.

Laura Lindsay was a cock whore.

Laura Lindsay was a thief.

Laura Lindsay was a liar and a cheat and a criminal psychopath.

I mean there it is.

When her family tells the story, of course it sounds a lot different. It sounds like Laura Lindsay was a straight-A student, she excelled at sports, she was the best friend anyone could have.

Blah blah blah. All that bullshit.

Look, you might think I'm exaggerating when I say Laura Lindsay was a cock whore. I mean what is a cock whore, anyway? Aren't we past the days of villainizing women by counting the number of men they sleep with?

Well I'm not talking about the number of men she slept with.

I'm talking about sleeping with five or six guys in a row.

I'm talking about showing up in the locker room after a swim meet and fucking every guy in there.

One after another after another.

So it's that kind of behavior that motivates me to use the term cock whore.

I think it would be fair, if one was so inclined, to upgrade to the term insatiable cock whore.

And you might wonder why I call her a thief.

Well, maybe it's because she got kicked out of West Point for stealing a pencil.

Yes.

This excellent student—she was a straight-A student—on a class trip to Fort Knox, stole a pencil from the gift shop.

Now think of that.

This is a girl with a 140 IQ—at least.

She can get into West Point.

She can get straight A's at West Point.

She can be the star player on the rugby team at West Point.

She can be a tutor to her peers—literally a math tutor for the school.

And she can learn to shoot the .50 caliber machine gun that's mounted to the top of a Humvee and certify at the highest level possible ("Expert"—that's better than "Sharpshooter").

But when she goes to the gift shop at Fort Knox, one of the most highly guarded military installations in the United States, she steals a pencil.

What kind of a person does that?

No. That's a serious question there.

Because we're trying to figure out whether Laura Lindsay got drunk and killed herself in the woods, was abducted by a serial killer, or faked her own disappearance and remained hidden from her family, law enforcement, and a dozen investigative reporters for the last 15 years.

Just how smart was Laura Lindsay?

And just how fucking crazy.

West Point was not the only school Laura Lindsay was kicked out of. Prior to attending West Point, Lindsay attended Amherst, where she was kicked out. And right before she disappeared, she was about to be kicked out of SIT—the School for International Training, a graduate institute where Laura managed to be admitted even though she didn't have an undergraduate degree. Her focus was on "Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation."

At Amherst, Laura was on a mission to fuck as many of her professors as possible.

That's not why she was kicked out, though.

Laura Lindsay was kicked out of Amherst for breaking into a cafeteria to steal ice cream sandwiches.

You heard me right.

Midnight. Girl breaks a glass window and then the locked lid of a frozen dessert case. Caught by a security guard. She is sitting on top of the dessert case eating ice cream sandwiches. They said there were like 12 wrappers on the glass next to where she was sitting.

Does that sound like a mental health problem to you?

Because it sounds like a mental health problem to me.

You're smart enough to tutor West Point students who are too dumb to do calculus, but at your previous college you..what?..get so hungry in the middle of the night that you can't wait till tomorrow to eat some ice cream?

Is that a judgment problem?

An eating disorder?

At SIT she stole one of her hallmates' credit cards to order pizza. And I'm not talking one pizza. I'm talking three pizzas. To eat by herself. So bulimia is an option.

In fact, bulimia runs in high-pressure families.

Laura's father went to West Point.

Laura went to West Point.

Everybody in the fucking family went to West Point.

Bulimia is definitely an option.

Also at SIT, Laura stole inconsequential items from her hallmates' rooms. She had a collection in her desk drawer: hair pins, pages torn from notebooks, USB drives, ChapStick. I mean like literally a cherry lip gloss from the girl who lived next door.

Oh and I forgot to mention: the pencil Laura stole from the Fort Knox gift shop said, "My daughter is a West Point graduate."

I'm not a psychologist, but I think there was a need to please her father.

Oh and I also forgot to mention that at SIT Laura might have killed some people.

It's speculation of course so I didn't know how to get into it.

I mean I like this girl—I'm not trying to make her look bad.

In fact you might remember from before that I fucking love Laura Lindsay.

I fucking love that little girl.

And whatever she got herself into—if she got abducted by a serial killer or fucking abducted by aliens—I care for that girl and I want the best for her. That's why I'm writing this fucking book. Because I want to find that little whore. And bring that little whore back to her parents—well, her father..her mother is dead. But I think we need to either find that fucking whore's dead fucking bones in the mountains of Vermont or find that fucking whore drinking coffee with her kid in some café in Vermont—

Oh, did I mention? Laura Lindsay might have been pregnant.

That might have been why she left.

I mean she might have, she might not have—I'm just speculating.

But yeah, that bitch might have been fucking pregnant.

And that might have been part of the reason she freaked out and skipped town.

She had already fucked up enough shit. Getting pregnant at 21 was not going to improve matters.

Can you imagine how Laura Lindsay's father would have reacted if he found out she was pregnant?

So those are some of the reasons behind the skipped town theory. Laura was under pressure at school. Trying not to get kicked out of her third college for the petty crime of ordering pizza with someone else's credit card (when she had money). Abusive boyfriend. Multiple drunk driving accidents which she somehow managed to get out of. And now she's pregnant? It might have been enough to make her say: You know what, I'm moving to Tucson.

Or it might have been enough to make her say: You know what, I think I'll kill myself. As in: end it all. Get drunk in the mountains she loved and freeze to death. Intentionally.

Before she left SIT that night, she returned a textbook she had borrowed from a classmate.

Then she packed the entire contents of her dorm neatly in 12 boxes.

That's the kind of thing people do before they kill themselves.

They don't want their family to have to deal with the mess of cleaning up their dorm, so they go ahead and pack everything up so their family doesn't have to.

Tying up loose ends.

Why else would you pack up your entire dorm room?

But the fucked-up thing is, she might have intended to kill herself and never got the chance to.

She might have run out the back of that Walmart Supercenter expecting to climb a mountain and kill herself..and then been abducted by an opportunistic killer of some sort, been handcuffed in the back of a van, taken to some remote cabin, stripped naked, raped, and killed.

And all the while she's saying:

"Go ahead. Go ahead. I was going to do it anyway. I don't give a shit if you kill me. At least this is something we can do together, you and me, stranger, as the last experience I ever have. Rape my pussy. Get some use out of it. It's always only ever caused me trouble. Fuck me, stranger—I know you're gonna kill me after. This way my family won't ever find me—they'll never know what happened, so hide me good, ok? Hand over the gin, will you? I want to be good and drunk when you do it. Do you have a gun? Yeah. That's much preferable to freezing in the woods. Although..I hear that right before you freeze to death, your whole body has a warmth to it..that it's like you're not dying at all but like you're sitting by a fire at home. I'm glad we met tonight. Use me. Use me like the useless piece of shit I am."

And how dissatisfying for our killer. I mean, who wants to kill someone who already wants to die? Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Of overpowering the other person? Of taking over their will? Of dominating them as a human being?

Oh well. At least he got a good piece of ass.

Laura Lindsay's classmates spoke highly of her pussy.

I interviewed that swim team.

I interviewed the shit out of them.

I asked them questions that would make your mother blush.

And all in all the swimmers said she had a good pussy.

I guess further detail is irrelevant but let it be said that the swimmers, other students I interviewed, and the many professors Laura Lindsay fucked testified that her pussy had all the qualities that make good pussy.

I guess I'll leave it at that.

You either know what makes good pussy and can fill in for yourself or you don't. If you don't I would recommend putting this book down and going and getting you some good pussy. Given the choice between getting pussy and reading about pussy, one should always choose getting pussy.

Anyway Laura Lindsay had a good pussy.

At least that's what I hear.

I admit it's hard not to think about the serial killer angle.

To imagine scenarios.

Her taunting him with how much she wanted to die anyway.

Her telling him she didn't even care if he raped her.

Her cumming by the cock of the man who would kill her.

Ten minutes before she died.

If she did cum at the end, I hope she had a good one.

Sometimes all a bitch can hope for in this world is one last fuck before she dies.

It's a rough world for women.

So many men just want to fuck a bitch and then kill her.

It's a tough world.

Especially for college girls.

I mean they have that thing that everyone wants.

And once you fuck them, you've got to kill them..just to keep them quiet.

It's fucked up.

I just imagine Laura Lindsay saying, "Go ahead and kill me."

Poor bitch.

I mean she wanted to die anyway.

At least she wanted to get away.

Whether it was for a weekend or forever, we may never know, but she wanted to escape.

And by whatever means, it seems she has.

Did I ever tell you what Laura's mother said to her at Thanksgiving, back when Laura's mother was still alive?

The whole family was sitting around the table: mother, father, two sisters, brother, Laura.

And Laura's mother goes (as Laura's eating stuffing): "What's the point if you're just going to throw it up later?"

In front of the whole family.

I mean everybody knew she was bulimic.

Everybody.

The whole family, her classmates, her boyfriends.

But to say it at Thanksgiving, while everybody's supposed to be all warm and loving and everything..I think that shows a significant amount of disregard, don't you?

4

I found the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast while researching my book.

It was put together by two armchair detectives who liked to think of themselves as more than armchair detectives.

The would go on and on about how they drew their information from sources who were nothing more than armchair detectives.

Their names were Pete and Repeat.

I liked to think of them as Thing One and Thing Two.

Their conversations would go like this:

Pete: "We wanted to put together this podcast based on information drawn from the many armchair detectives on the internet who are obsessed with this case."

Then Repeat would say: "Would you call us armchair detectives?"

And Pete would say: "Yeah. I'd say we started out as armchair detectives. But I'd like to think that with this podcast..and the documentary..that we've become something more."

Pete was the egotistical one.

Repeat kept Pete in check.

Well he tried to anyway. Pete, like most egoists, didn't even realize when Repeat was trying to reign him in. He was so full of himself he couldn't even hear what his own broadcast partner was saying.

Pete would say: "We started out making a documentary, but we realized how much work that was going to be. And the documentary is still slated to come out next year, but we found that the podcast was a way to promote the documentary while disseminating information about the case in a..would you say a..lower-tech way?"

"I'd say a lower-tech way, yes. But the podcast has become our primary focus at this point, wouldn't you say?"

"I'd say at the moment it's our primary focus."

Which is the weak man's way of saying they stopped working on the documentary 'cause it was too hard and they did a podcast instead.

But I'm not insulting them.

I loved their podcast.

In fact, aside from my book, it was the best thing Laura Lindsay had going for her.

It regenerated interest in an old case.

A case that, without public interest, would never be solved.

It put pressure on the Brattleboro police.

People were calling in.

It was still a cold case, but now there were officers working it.

And who knows, some armchair detective that they managed to get to come on their show might reveal information that led to the location of Laura Lindsay.

Plus—selfishly—the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast drove traffic to my blog and generated interest in my book.

So I was all for it.

But they were grating as hell.

Half their fucking podcast was spent trying to differentiate themselves from "armchair detectives." Pete, especially, was pathologically obsessed with making sure we all knew he wasn't an armchair detective—which is exactly what he was. It's like it wasn't enough for him to be interested in the case, or helpful to the case..he had to have the status of a real investigator.

Let me tell you something about a real investigator.

Let me tell you the difference between me and them.

I knock on doors.

I conduct interviews.

Oh, and I publish books that sell thousands of copies.

Yes, Pete and Repeat did go to Brattleboro once or twice.

They did ask around.

But to be an investigative journalist, you've got to be willing to track down Mike Lindsay when he doesn't want to talk to you. You've got to do more than follow the family blog on Laura and do on-air interviews with Vermonters who speculate on what happened to that 21-year-old girl. I mean they've got people on that show who think the police abducted Laura Lindsay.

I'm no fan of the police.

I think it's fair to say they've been royally unhelpful in this case.

Are they incompetent? Yes.

Did they abduct and kill a 21-year-old college student? No.

And that's where I have to depart with the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast.

They'll interview anyone who has a theory.

Totally uncredible witnesses.

People with impossible stories about serial killer police chiefs and elderly people chopping up a girl's body into a million pieces.

I'm sorry, but Mrs. Franz—an 83-year-old retired kindergarten teacher—did not abduct and murder a college-aged rugby player in tip-top physical shape.

And that's the kind of theory they entertain on their show.

They're wrapped up in this conspiracy that about 80% of the town of Brattleboro believes in also, that the police killed Laura Lindsay. I mean, look, I agree they fucked up the investigation. I think their incompetence makes them partially responsible that she's never been found. But this isn't fucking Bad Lieutenant. Was their some drinking and driving being done among the cops? Yes, there was. Were they shooting heroin, raping, and chopping up one of SIT's most promising Conflict Transformation students? I don't think so.

I mean their prime witness for that theory is a guy who pulled a gun on himself in a police station to threaten death by cop. A police officer. Pulled his own gun and waved it around, not sure if he was going to kill himself or one of the other officers who worked there. So he got fired. You think maybe he has motivation to get back at the Brattleboro police department? You think maybe that's why he's spinning stories about psycho killer police chiefs?

I think maybe it is.

Still, Loving Laura Lindsay was my best friend for a while. I'd fall asleep listening to it and it gave me the same comfort as a teddy bear. Hearing Pete and Repeat say—constantly—that this episode they weren't going to speculate on anything—they were just going to give the facts—and then to hear them spend the entire episode speculating on everything from Laura Lindsay's natural hair color to the condition of her tires to what she might have said in a certain phone call that was not recorded that nobody was ever going to know what was said in—all that was like my mother singing me to sleep.

They speculated about everything.

Like why a woman would have a jar of green olives in her car.

I'm talking 15, 20 minutes on how a jar of green olives might relate to her disappearance.

They had deep theories on this motherfucking shit.

Maybe green olives were the perfect last meal for someone killing themself in the woods. Details why this might be the case which if you think I'm going to repeat here you have no idea who I am or what my purpose of mentioning this podcast is.

Or stuff like: maybe she was pregnant. Green olives are an odd thing to eat, so maybe the was pregnant.

Maybe she was pregnant.

No, I mean listen, maybe she was pregnant—that's a pretty good theory.

But not because she had green olives in her car!

Why did she use MapQuest instead of another mapping program that would have come pre-installed on her phone? What did that say about her state of mind? What kind of person would install an app versus using a default app? Would someone who was planning to intentionally disappear install MapQuest on their phone to throw off detectives?

That's the type of shit they'd discuss.

I mean wake up fellas.

Bitches eat green olives.

Even non-pregnant bitches.

They eat them for the same reason they eat dill pickles.

They're a low-calorie snack.

Bitches get hungry.

Bitches don't want to consume a whole lot of calories.

Hence a bitch might be snacking on a bottle of green olives while she drives—regardless of whether she's intentionally driving herself to her death or not.

People who kill themselves sometimes eat last meals.

Just because someone is nourishing their body with food does not mean they're not about to kill themselves.

It isn't as straightforward as: "Someone who was about to kill themself isn't going to be eating because there's no point since they're about to die."

Which is actually something Pete said on the podcast.

I almost jumped through the computer and strangled him for that one.

I mean you say at the beginning of the episode: We're not going to speculate.

Next thing you know you've determined that because the fucking cunt had a bottle of green olives in her car that she couldn't have been on her way to kill herself.

If I ever kill myself, I'm eating a fucking steak.

Then I'm going to send a video of it to Pete and Repeat to show them how stupid they are.

Oh I forgot to tell you this:

(And this is what really pissed me off about them.)

They called me one of their armchair detectives.

They said: "We want to make it very clear that we're not aligned with Matthew Temple or his book and we don't necessarily agree with everything he says. His theories are his theories. We're not partnering with him. Some people think he's a third wheel on this podcast and we want to make sure you know that's not the case. We're very interested in the work he's doing. We love his blog. We can't wait for this book that's coming out in the fall. But our original vision was that Matthew Temple would be just another of our armchair detectives and that we would interview him, yes—we would listen to and incorporate his theories—but we want to make it clear that just because Matthew Temple has a theory, that doesn't mean we necessarily agree with it."

Pete said that.

I'm one of their armchair detectives?

It's just inconceivable to me that they don't seem to realize the true hierarchy here. I'm writing a book. You're doing a podcast. My book will be published by Simon & fucking Schuster. It will be researched, fact based. Your podcast—which I love—but your podcast is a lower level of product. I'm sorry, guys, if you're reading this, but you are armchair detectives. Very useful ones. Ones with a large listenership. Ones who might help solve this case and find Laura Lindsay. But a book is a finely crafted item. It takes hundreds or thousands of hours to write. You just pop off at the mouth and talk about why green olives are proof that someone didn't kill themself.

And you call me one of your armchair detectives?

You don't own me.

I'm not working for you.

I'm a professional author.

You're amateurs. A couple of guys with a Windows PC and some fifty-dollar webcast software.

This is ego, yes, and yes it's unattractive, but let's be realistic.

You'll never make that documentary.

You'll never write a book.

You're popularizing a crime that went cold a long time ago.

You're doing the family a service.

But your show.

It's a mess.

It's one really irrational speculative guy and one, soft spoken, slightly more rational guy who gets less airtime since the speculative guy is spending all his time talking about what a 21-year-old girl would and would not do.

How do you fucking know?

She carried a bottle of Tylenol PM so she's a drug addict? I don't even think Tylenol PM contains the ingredients you think it does. It's right there in the interviews: her dad said she got headaches from a rugby injury. I'm not saying that's why she had Tylenol PM in her car..because I don't speculate. I'm saying there's a simpler explanation than Laura Lindsay being a drug addict. People get headaches. They take medicine. Consider that.

Was she an alcoholic? Now there's a question to speculate on. When her car was found, a red liquid was splattered over the upholstery. A box of Franzia was crushed against the windshield. Her 44-ounce cup from 7-Eleven didn't have soda in it—it had wine. There was a queen-size bottle of Kahlúa in the back seat. And of course the bottle of gin—which we know she purchased earlier by watching state liquor store surveillance footage—was missing.

Now what kind of girl takes a bottle of gin with her to the woods if her intention is to kill herself?

I guess Pete and Repeat will just have to speculate their way to the bottom of that one.

5

We all have fucking girls we're missing.

And I don't mean missing in the sense that Laura Lindsay's missing.

I just mean missing.

In all the normal ways that girls go walking out of our lives, when they go to school or get married or have babies or move to Thailand to be in the Peace Corps.

Don't you have a girl you miss like that?

A girl who used to sit next to you on the bus and you would both write in your journal and you would wonder what she was writing and hope she was writing about you?

That's the kind of girl I'm talking about.

And those girls, even though you're close at one time, invariably disappear. They disappear from your life and go out into the vast world of other men and jobs and big cities and now they're sitting on the subway next to some stranger writing in their journal, and they're sure as shit not writing about you.

I had a girl named Cory Caswell. We went to an all-black school in Dayton but Cory was white like I was. She was a naughty little cunt who liked to take her clothes off and that was fine with me.

We used to play in the plant yard at Cargill, running between the tracks, climbing on the trains avoiding the guy who walked the yard in the morning planning that day's moves. See they have to make as few moves as possible because the railroad charges them for every move. Anyway. That's where me and Cory used to play.

She used to push her panties down with her jeans and show me everything.

I mean she was a cunt.

What can I say?

A cunt is a cunt is a cunt is a cunt.

And Cory was definitely a cunt.

She was a cunting cunt.

A cuntful cunt.

She was cuntastic.

At least to me she was.

I've never much been attracted to black cunt.

I mean have you seen it?

White cunt is beautiful, like a piece of bubble gum.

Black cunt looks like some gorilla out of the Amazon.

Or wherever they have gorillas.

But you know what I mean?

White cunt makes you want to stick your dick in it.

Black cunt makes you want to throw up.

I don't see how black dudes eat that shit.

And I understand why they like our women.

If you were black, and you got to fuck a white woman, you'd be happy too. Happy not to have to deal with fucking gorilla pussy. Fucking black cunt. Give me white cunt any day.

White cunt is glorious.

Black cunt is like some kind of punishment, like God said You fucking asshole. You fucked up. Now I'm gonna make you fuck some black cunt.

Then you gag and almost vomit.

If I had to eat black cunt I would vomit all over it, I swear.

It's amazing black people even reproduce.

White cunt is pretty.

Black cunt looks like a gorilla spontaneously combusted.

Ugliest shit I've ever seen.

Anyway Cory had a pretty cunt.

And that bitch liked to show it off. We'd be in between trains and she'd just push her panties down real quick. Like those old men who go to Catholic schools and show Catholic schoolgirls their cocks? Cory was like that but she was a white girl who showed her cunt to me. I think guys and girls have the same urges. I mean I don't personally have the urge to show people my genitals, but I understand that some people do, and Cory was one of those people, even though she was a girl.

Her pussy was hairy, but it was this thin, young-girl hair that you could see through to her slit.

I've thought about that slit a lot.

Black girls don't really have a slit.

Theirs is more like an open wound.

A bloody, gorilla wound with ingrown hairs and I mean I'm going to stop talking about it because truly when I think of black pussy it makes me want to give up my food.

You could never covet a black pussy.

You could covet a white pussy.

You could want it so bad..want it to be yours..that you would do anything to get it. Even kill a girl. Take her from behind a Walmart and fuck the shit out of it then kill the fucking bitch just so she could never tell anyone what you did to her cunt and bury her in the woods or something.

That's the kind of action a white pussy can inspire.

A black pussy..not so much.

I mean I'd be embarrassed to fuck a black pussy.

I wouldn't tell anyone.

If I did fuck a black pussy I wouldn't kill her to hide the fact.

She probably wouldn't even care.

Black girls are so desperate for white dick that if you did abduct a black girl with a black-ass gorilla pussy like an open fucking wound she'd probably beg you to fuck it again and again and again.

And you'd fuck it.

But you'd be vomiting the whole time.

Look, I'm just telling it like it is.

White guys hate black pussy.

They might not talk about it to your face, but get a bunch of white guys together and the first thing they'll be talking about is how much they fucking hate black pussy.

White guys love to talk about that.

How gross it is and shit.

How it makes them want to vomit.

How it makes them think of apes.

It's not just the pussy, either—it's the face.

Did you ever notice how a black woman's face looks like an ape?

I'm serious.

Set all political correctness aside and really look at a black woman's face.

Take in her features.

Take in the general shape.

Take in the way she moves and talks.

I think—if you're honest with yourself—that you'll see a fucking ape.

So it's not strictly a matter of pussy.

It's a matter of face.

Their bodies are too big.

They're just not the kind of thing you'd covet.

Definitely not the kind of thing you'd put on the news.

Imagine that: a news story about a fucking ape who got abducted raped and buried in the concrete behind someone's house. They might as well do a story on a new crosswalk. Black people don't make good news. Neither do Mexicans. If the news did stories on missing apes and Mexicans, they'd lose their sponsors right away. Why do you think all the missing women stories are about white people? It's because that's all anybody wants to have sex with. A story about a white girl gone missing is a story about Cory Caswell, the girl who used to show you her pussy on the train tracks. A story about a white girl missing is a story about a girl you'd like to fuck—but are never going to—because some sicko beat you to it and raped the shit out of that bitch and buried her behind his house.

And you like to think about that.

Yeah, sure, you're sorry that her last moments were getting her pussy reamed by some dick she didn't welcome—and then probably getting her head cut off. But you know you wish you were that rapist. We all do. We wanted to be the last man she had sex with. We wanted to be the one who cut off her head. I'm just saying theoretically. I'm a writer, not a rapist.

But there's a little bit of rapist in all of us.

A little bit of killer, too.

And when Cory Caswell walks out of your life, it leaves a hole.

And then Laura Lindsay walks into your life.

And she fills that hole.

Sure, you'll never get to fuck her, you'll never get to see her cunt, but you'll get to feel her loss just like you felt Cory Caswell's loss—and that's close enough to love for most of us.

I told you I loved Laura Lindsay.

I told you I fucking loved her.

That's because when you write the kinds of stories I do, you develop a relationship—a sick relationship—with these missing people and these dead people and you even develop a sick relationship with the people who took them and killed them. You have to, 'cause you're researching this shit so you can write an accurate book. And so what starts out as a reproachable question becomes just your job, and you find yourself asking maids if there was blood or shit or cum left on the mattress, like that's something anyone should be asking anyone. And you ask it in this impersonal way, because you can't afford to become invested in the answer to such a question—your psyche can't afford it—and yet you are invested. You care if it was blood or shit or semen. You write it in your notes. You catalogue your notes. You order them. You decide what to tell people who read your book. Do they need to know it was shit left on the bed?

Yes.

They need to fucking know.

These people fill up your life like they were real relationships, even though they're dead or gone or missing or in jail. I mean some of these poor bitches got sold to slavery. That's where they went missing. Some freaks from Dubai abducted that bitch, drugged her, shipped her overseas and are fucking the shit out of her as we speak. She'll be sedated for the rest of her life. When she gets too old they'll dump her in the desert. That's the fact of some of these missing girls.

Laura Lindsay? I think not.

That bitch just up and vanished.

I think there's more chance that she was abducted by bigfoot than by some opportunistic killer.

And I don't believe in bigfoot.

But I guess I want to tell you something.

It's something about Cory Caswell.

I loved that girl.

That's not what I wanted to tell you but I did love that girl.

Here's what I wanted to tell you:

We were never boyfriend and girlfriend or anything.

We just liked to play in the plant yard at Cargill.

And one day, when Cory and I were playing between the cars, the railroad moved a car that Cory was in between.

And it cut her in half.

There were no last moments.

There were no words goodbye.

If I had been a little lower on the car, it would have cut me in half, too.

And I wish it had.

But I was up and she was down and the cars coupled and that huge metal hook hooked its way through Cory Caswell's body and that was it. Her head went back and the bottom half of her fell through the coupler and from then on Cory was in two pieces and she never showed me her beautiful white cunt again.

So I lost Cory Caswell.

She went missing, in a sense.

She went missing from my life.

So I like missing girls.

Especially missing white girls.

I don't like them.

Well I don't like that they're missing.

Except I kinda do.

Because they remind me of Cory.

And that beautiful white cunt.

That I never got to have.

Seeing your girlfriend's dead face cut in half by a rail car is something you'll never forget.

If you don't understand why I wrote this chapter then you're too fucking dumb to read my book.

6

Open sad music.

Mood music.

Fade up.

Then voiceover.

Laura Lindsay was born on May 12, 1980, in Brattleboro, Vermont. By the age of 21 she was five ten and a hundred and twenty pounds. On January 4, 2001 in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, Laura Lindsay parked her crashed Honda in front of the Walmart Supercenter on Brattleboro Road. She entered the Walmart. There has never been a confirmed sighting of Laura since. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Laura Lindsay, please contact the Brattleboro Municipal Police. This is the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast.

Fade out mood music. Enter our loving hosts. This is how every episode of the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast begins.

They might as well say her bra size.

I mean is that really the most important thing you can think to say about a woman in her intro, that she's five ten and a hundred and twenty pounds. Sounds like you're describing a piece of meat, which I'm sure to a lot of people that's exactly what Laura Lindsay is.

"Hi, I'm Thing One, and I'm here with Thing Two. This is the first episode of the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast and we're here to discuss the physical details of a poor bitch who disappeared into the woods one night, never to be seen again. It could have been bigfoot..we don't know. It could have been aliens..we don't know. We decided to do a podcast..why, Thing Two?"

"Well, maybe we should talk about the documentary we started making that we're never going to finish since we're merely armchair detectives with more ego than armchair detectives. We're not filmmakers. We don't have any idea what we're doing! We just like to kid ourselves that we're going to make a film and get it into Cannes and be the definitive Laura Lindsay resource."

"That's right, Thing Two. In a podcast, you really have a lot more control over what you want to say."

"It seems like the perfect vehicle."

"Right. We're branching out into a different medium."

"This is something that is really polarizing."

"Some people might not want to show their face on a documentary, but they might be willing to be interviewed for a podcast."

"It's a spooky story. There are some questionable characters involved who may be listening at some point."

"Hopefully."

"So let's get into a surface-level introductory timeline for this podcast. In future episodes we'll go deeper into the details. We'll go as deep into this as we can. By the way, we're filming this for the documentary. Thing One, let's talk about what happened."

"She's probably the most popular missing person on the internet."

"Well when a white bitch with a healthy-looking cunt vanishes mysteriously, of course she's going to be popular."

"Now, do you actually have pictures of her cunt?"

"I do not. But I'm working on getting them as we speak. I have some reliable sources down in the Brattleboro area who claim to have super high resolution photographs of that tight little bitch's cunt and I'm involved in some—well, not quite legal, but—let's say *semi-*legal efforts to obtain said photographs."

"And we're going to put those on the blog."

"Absolutely. The blog will contain any and all photographs I obtain of Laura Lindsay's cunt—tasteful or not. I mean we're here to get to the bottom of this disappearance, not to mince words or censor facts or withhold essential information from the public."

"So the pictures are going up."

"Rest assured, any pictures I obtain of Laura Lindsay's cunt will be on the website."

"So she's very popular."

"Yes, if you Google that bitch you get something like a hundred and sixty-seven million sites? So she's very popular."

"And does anyone else have pictures of her cunt?"

"Not that I know of. The thing to know about this little cock whore is that the media and Seventeen magazine and the Investigation Discovery channel made her out to look like the all-American girl, and, really, the more the internet dug into her, the more these armchair detectives uncovered about her life, they discovered that she was far from it."

"Far from it."

"So far from it. I mean we have her sucking monkey cocks at the Brattleboro zoo."

"Does Brattleboro even have a zoo?"

"I'm pretty sure they do."

"I think you're thinking of the cow cocks she was sucking at the FFA program in Bennington."

"No, these were definitely monkey cocks."

"I'm pretty sure Brattleboro doesn't have a zoo."

"These were monkey cocks. They were pig cocks. I think there was even an elephant cock in there somewhere."

"Brattleboro's a town of 11,000 people. I don't think towns that size usually have a zoo."

"Well they must at least have a petting zoo."

"But what would an elephant be doing at a petting zoo?"

"Can we move on? I mean for all we know she was sucking zebra cocks. The point is she's not an all-American girl."

"No she's not."

"She's not."

"That we can agree on."

Then these guys will go on a five-minute rant about what the fuck an armchair detective is. Obsessive. Unprofessional. Working from their mother's basement. All their research is done through the internet. They're amateurs but they think they're something more. They work in their spare time. They are not professional detectives. This is a hobby. They're obsessed. Obsessed. Did I mention they're fucking obsessed?

There's different levels of armchair detectives.

Some just sit back and peruse reddit.

Some back up their research with action.

Pete and Repeat aren't saying their action is bad or good—and they'll get into that later. Certain people. Too early to mention them now. This is just the first episode. We'll get into them in later episodes. They're too juicy to release to us greedy listeners now.

"Would it be safe to say we're armchair detectives..with a camera?"

"Yeah, I would say for a time I was. I didn't know what to do. All I knew was that it was a really interesting story and I wanted to do something. And I think by teaming up with the next level of detective, we've become the next level of detective. I mean what if we find her? What if we solve this case? Then you've reached the next level after that."

"It's scary. This is a real family. Maybe she doesn't want to be found. We're ruining her life if we find her."

"Exactly."

"But who knows if it was a murder or what."

"And you have to be careful about that. A lot of people will talk about this case and say, 'the murder of Laura Lindsay.' "

"But we don't know."

"There's a lot of inaccurate information about this case. The murder of Laura Lindsay. The abduction of Laura Lindsay."

"All we fucking know is there was a disappearance."

"Fucking armchair detectives. They use the word 'abduction' and next thing you know there's a million subreddits that say, 'The Abduction of Laura Lindsay.' And I'm like, Guys, you're fucking idiots. There was no abduction."

"At least not that we know of."

"Not that we know of."

"Maybe Brattleboro does have a zoo."

"I think they at least have a petting zoo."

"With zebras, though?"

"Whatever."

"So. The night she went missing, she crashed her car on Brattleboro Road in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. How does that happen? Is this just one more bitch who can't operate a fucking vehicle, or what?"

"Earlier that evening, she sent an email to her boyfriend. We can get into that later—the actual wording of the email. She took money out of an ATM. Something like three-hundred and eighty dollars."

"All she had."

"Yeah. Went to a liquor store. Purchased Kahlúa, vodka, Baileys, and a big-ass bottle of gin."

"What kind of gin was it?"

"It was store brand. This bitch wasn't drinking Hendrick's. You have to remember, this is a 21-year-old girl. She's probably never had good gin in her life. To her, store brand is the same as whatever else, it's just within her budget."

"So she bought a big bottle."

"The biggest one they had. She also purchased a box of wine."

"Franzia."

"Yes."

"Was that the merlot or the cabernet?"

"I don't know but I'd say for a college girl like that, probably the merlot. I mean again, what does she know about wine? It's not like she's been taking trips with her father to Napa Valley all her life. She's just gonna pick the cheapest wine their is. She wants to get drunk—she's not looking for a religious experience. Obviously. Or she wouldn't be buying boxed wine."

"Is Franzia merlot cheaper than Franzia cabernet?"

"You know, I couldn't say. But I think so. If I had to guess I'd say yes. I mean merlot is your more basic wine."

"About as basic as it comes."

"Right. And if you're a 21-year-old girl, what do you care? You just want to get a buzz while you're driving..pour that Franzia into your 44 ouncer, pop behind the wheel, and go for a drive in southern New Hampshire."

"And that's when the high-speed chase happened."

"Yes. An officer of the law apparently thought Laura was driving above the speed limit—"

"Do we have any confirmation on that?"

"Only the word of the officer and the information he filled out in the incident report."

"Ok."

"Why, are you saying the officer may have lied?"

"I'm just asking what we know and how we know what we know."

"All we have is the word of the officer. Officer Frankie Pup, a junior officer with the Brattleboro police force."

"Wait a second. If he was a Brattleboro police officer, what was he doing in New Hampshire?"

"I think they're a little loose about the jurisdictions around there."

"Loose with the jurisdictions? You can't be loose with the jurisdictions. If I'm a Vermont police officer I can't pull someone over in New Hampshire."

"Well he didn't pull her over."

"But he chased her."

"That's right, he chased her on Brattleboro Road near Hinsdale."

"Hinsdale, New Hampshire."

"That's right."

"Well that seems like a problem to me."

"It seems like a problem to me, too. I'm just reading what it says here."

"Is that the police report?"

"Uh-huh. It's a photocopy I obtained from a source who I'd rather not reveal."

"But it says that a Brattleboro police officer was chasing Laura in New Hampshire."

"Yes. Officer Frankie Pup of the Brattleboro Police Department pursued a black Honda matching the description of Laura's car along Brattleboro Road in New Hampshire to the Walmart in Hinsdale."

"Where Laura got out and was never seen again."

"Yes, where she went into the Super Walmart and as far as we know, never came out."

"Or came out the back and was abducted."

"Or came out the back and hiked into the woods and died a lonely death in the mountains she loved so much."

"Or got driven by her boyfriend to Missoula, Montana where she's been living under the radar ever since."

"I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"This is a girl with a chaotic life. She had multiple drunk driving incidents. Possible murders which we'll get into in a later episode. She stole her hallmates' credit card to buy pizza. She got kicked out of two colleges for offenses that you'd think someone as smart as her would be smart enough to avoid. What are the chances that just by moving to a different state that her whole personality would change and she would avoid police interaction for 15 years or however long it's been? She's..I mean she's a maniac. Just moving to Montana's not going to make her not a maniac. If she disappeared on purpose, we would have heard from her. She would have done something stupid, something illegal, something that would have put her in the news. It's her nature."

7

My wife's name is Sarah.

If it was Sara we probably wouldn't have gotten married.

But it's Sarah, with an h.

Sarah says: "Why do you have to go there again?"

And I say: "To do research."

"But why do you have to go there?"

"Because," I say. "I'm not an armchair detective."

I laugh.

She says: "Why are you laughing."

"Nothing. It's just something Pete and Repeat say."

"I don't want Casey to be here by herself for a week."

"It's 10 days," I say. "And she'll have you."

"But I won't have you," my wife says, and she kisses me.

"This is something I've gotta do."

"What's her name again?"

"Whose name?"

"That girl you're tracking."

"Laura."

"Laura what?"

"Laura Lindsay and I'm not tracking her."

"What are you doing to her?"

I give my wife a look.

"I'm investigating. I need to talk to people who saw her the night she disappeared. The liquor store clerk. The police officer. The employees of the Super Walmart."

"I think it's so corny that she disappeared in a Super Walmart."

"If you died, it wouldn't matter where you died, I would never think it was corny," I say.

"What if I died in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese's?"

"I wouldn't think it was corny."

Sarah whispers.

"What if Casey died in a ball pit?"

I look over at our daughter. She's playing GTA V on the PlayStation 4.

"I wouldn't think it was corny. Anyway, I have good reason to believe that Laura Lindsay isn't dead at all. I think she's sitting in a coffeehouse in Tucson having an espresso right now."

"Then why don't you go to Tucson?"

"I am planning on going to Tucson."

"When were you planning on telling me this?"

"When I got back from Vermont."

"You know, there is a difference between writing a book and having an obsession.." She whispers again. "..about a 21-year-old woman."

"I've written books before."

"But you didn't have pictures of them taped to your wall."

"Yes I did. I absolutely did. I had pictures of every single one taped to my wall."

"But you had one. With this one you have like 17. Do you masturbate to her?"

"No!"

"It's ok if you do, I just wondered."

"I don't masturbate to her."

"But you like her."

"What's not to like?"

"Does she remind you of anyone?"

"Like who?"

"I don't know. Like one of your college girlfriends."

"Not really."

"Are you sure? 'Cause it seems like you know this one. Like..know her..connectively..universally. Like she's more than just a missing girl to you."

I sigh.

"She is.."

My wife examines my face.

"..more than just a missing girl to me."

"At least you can admit it."

"This'll be the last one, I promise."

"The last what?"

"The last book."

"Oh, I thought you meant the last obsession. But it's not going to be, is it?"

"What now isn't it going to be?"

"The last obsession."

"You know, Sarah, there are loops in this world. And most of them are closed. But some of them are open. And the open ones are maddening, where the edges don't connect."

"No," my wife says. "You think the world is like math, where everything adds up. But this world isn't like math. It's not so neat and tidy and you just want it to be so bad that when numbers start disappearing on you—or white girls in your case—you feel like there's been an affront against you when there hasn't. It's just that the universe doesn't owe you a final answer. There's no solution. You think you're solving a geometry problem and at the end you're gonna get to put QED. But there's no QED in life."

I thought about what she said. But Laura Lindsay was somewhere—wasn't she? I mean she couldn't be nowhere.

She's either in the woods or she's in Tucson or she's buried in the concrete behind some opportunistic killer's house. Or on the outside she got eaten by bigfoot or taken as a love slave. Or on the really outside she got abducted by aliens. If you believe in that sort of thing. But just because people disappear to us doesn't mean they're really gone. They're somewhere. We just don't know where. And sometimes we really, really want to find out. Especially when it's a white girl.

Doesn't it just boggle out minds when something goes unaccounted for? I mean even just your keys. Your phone. It's in the house. It's in the car. Maybe you left it at the airport but your phone is somewhere. You just have to find it.

"So how long are you gonna be gone?"

"I told you. Ten days."

"Isn't Vermont cold? You hate the cold."

"Florida has mosquitos and I hate mosquitos but I spent a month down there catching Mr. Noriega."

"Congratulations. You put a 74-year-old man in jail. And don't tell me what he did. I know. You told me. I read the fucking book, remember? Last time I make that mistake. No offense. But not everyone was built to go to the dark places. What if you find this girl, and she's in the woods, and you see her bones, and because of the cold she's not entirely decomposed, and there's her rotting flesh and your idea of her created by those 17 pictures on your wall is shattered at the reality of her rotting corpse—"

"They have summers in Vermont."

"So?"

"So she would be entirely decomposed. After 15 years. It would just be bones."

"And?"

"And what? What did she have with her? I know you know."

"A backpack and an extra-large bottle of gin."

"So that's what you're gonna see? And you're gonna stand there and think about it for a long time, and take pictures, and write some scene for your book where she dies in the woods and you're gonna speculate the shit out of it like those guys you listen to on the radio—"

"Sarah, what's the point?"

Her big brown eyes look up at me, like drops of liquid from an eyedropper, and she takes one step—one step closer to me—and she stares at our daughter shooting a pedestrian in the back of the head for no reason and she says:

"The point is I'm gonna miss you."

Our discussions about Laura Lindsay weren't always so amorous. Sarah would wake me up in the night, turning me over by my shoulder, and say:

"You were thinking about that bitch when you fucked me."

I turn all the way over.

"Sarah, you're trying to pick a fight."

"No," she says. "I can tell when you're thinking about her. You fuck different."

"How do I fuck different?"

"Like you're fucking a teenage girl."

"She wasn't a teenager, first of all, and secondly, how do you fuck a teenager that's different than how you fuck a 36-year-old?"

"Please."

"Please what?"

"Please don't be stupid. You know very well the difference between fucking a teenager and fucking your wife. I know you want to fuck her."

"Even if I met her—even if she's still alive—she wouldn't be 21 anymore. She'd be..actually she'd be exactly my age."

"But she's frozen," my wife whispers. "She's frozen in time. So to you and all the other armchair detectives she's always 21."

"I'm not an armchair detective."

"That's part of why you like her. You fantasize about having a relationship with this wild young girl who had the guts to disappear."

"She might have been abducted by some psycho."

"But that's not what you think. She's in a coffeehouse in Tucson. That's what you always say. You want to meet her. Then you want to retroactively fuck her at 21."

"Listen to what you're saying. If it was 10 in the morning, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"You do. You want to retroactively fuck that little girl. She has a vitality—or you perceive her to have a vitality—that you didn't have or will never have..or think you will never have."

"What does it even mean to retroactively fuck somebody?"

"It means to go back in time and fuck them at an earlier age."

"Ok. Sarah. It's..3:51am. Let's go to sleep and pick up on this over a bowl of Cheerios."

"Ok," Sarah says, rolling over on her side. "But you want to retroactively fuck that girl."

I consider saying something else but—I think wisely—decide not to.

Then I would catch Sarah going through my files—something she never did on any other case. I would get up to go to the bathroom and when I came back to my office, Sarah would be sitting in my swivel chair poring through my notes document.

"She fucked three men..members of the swim team..in a locked indoor pool with other girls present?"

Sarah looks up at me.

"Did she make them all cum?"

"Yes," I say.

"So she fucked one guy..then with his cum still dripping out of her, she pulls down the next guy's shorts..fucks him..then, with both guys' cum dripping out of her..intermingling, her very wet pussy manages to get this third guy off? I'm not buying it."

"Can I please have my desk back?"

"What does this have to do with the story? Are you writing a book to impugn her character or to find out where she went missing?"

"I don't know."

My wife laughs.

"That is the last thing I expected you to say. You've written six books, yes? And they're all in the genre of true crime. So does it really matter that she fucked these three guys all in a row? I mean is that somehow responsible for her disappearance?"

Then she looks at me like a college professor and says:

"Is it relevant?"

"I don't know."

Sarah laughs again.

"I'm gathering information. I don't know how the story is going to piece together. It might be relevant, it might not. I can't discard it just because it's libidinous. And I'm not entirely comfortable with you reading my notes. A project has an early stage—like a baby—where it's too soon to peek in the oven."

"Only a man could have come up with that metaphor."

"I know it doesn't make any sense."

"No, you've got pregnancy..you've got baking..all the domains of women. And you mix them together like blueberry muffins and an infant are the same thing."

"I really don't think it's that offensive if you aren't looking to be offended."

"No? You know what is offensive? Your use of the word girl. WHITE GIRL MISSING? That's the title of your book. She was 21!! That's not a girl. That's a wo-man."

She says it with two syllables to make sure I know what she means.

"I'm fully aware of that," I say.

"Then why are you perpetuating this juvenile use of this word? God, I don't believe you. Do you have any idea of the power dynamics of using that word in this context—"

"Sarah! Sarah. Yes. I have every idea of the dynamic. Trust me. I get it. When I speak of adult females I call them women. I do not call them girls. Even in my own mind—generally—I think of adult females as women. But girl means something to us all that woman does not. And it's incorrect—I agree it's incorrect! But even missing white woman syndrome..it doesn't have the punch that it would if it were called missing white girl syndrome. Girl is one of the most controlled concepts in our language. There is an aspect of ownership that girl implies that woman does not."

"That's disgusting."

"It may be disgusting but it's the truth. I'm not trying to write a book about how the world is supposed to be. I'm trying to write a book about how it actually is."

8

Let's talk about Brattleboro, Vermont.

It's a town of 11,000 people.

It was founded in 1723 or 1771, depending on how you count it.

Nudity is legal within the city limits.

Now let's really talk about Brattleboro.

It is very, very cold in Brattleboro. Unless you like to hike small mountains, there isn't much to do. So a lot of what happens in Brattleboro is a whole lot of drinking. Laura liked to do both.

She climbed small mountains.

She climbed tall mountains.

And she drank. She drank a lot.

She drove drunk. We know this because she was pulled over on several occasions when her car ran off the road or she hit other cars while speeding, usually tail-ending them when that kind of accident was totally avoidable, even for a driver who's drinking.

So she was kind of a bad driver.

This isn't meant to support the female stereotype, but the fact is Laura was an especially bad driver.

I think it's 'cause she had a lot on her mind.

Like because she was smart.

You know, like she was thinking about things while she was driving.

Things that weren't driving.

I don't know. I can't say why. But I can say that Laura was in a number of drunk driving accidents during her time at SIT, mostly one-car accidents like running into a guard rail or bumping into the occasional pedestrian. And there are the six drunk driving incidents that we know of, from public record, from conversations with the police, every single one of which Laura was able to get out of without being arrested.

This is an interesting point about Laura.

Or at least an interesting question.

How do you get out of six drunk driving incidents without being arrested? Without having your license suspended? Without going to jail?

Being a white woman helps.

Being a cute girl helps.

But it's not enough.

When a police officer checks your record on that sixth accident and sees that you have five prior drunk driving incidents, what exactly did Laura say or do to not get arrested that sixth time?

If you listen to reddit, Laura "smoked pipe" to get out of these situations—ie sucked the officer's dick.

I believe this is possible.

I also believe she was such a creative talker—such an intelligent talker—that she was able to verbalize her way out of these situations. A girl with a 140 IQ could manipulate people if she had to. The most she ever got from any of these police stops was six months probation, the terms of which are so vague that I've never been able to figure out by talking to the police exactly what they were.

She was tricky.

She'd do things like call a tow truck first, then be in the cab of the tow truck by the time the police arrived. Then it was harder to question her—she wasn't the drunk driver guiltily staring into an officer's flashlight—she was the victimized little girl seeking shelter in the safety of a tow truck on a freezing winter night.

What else she did, I don't know.

I don't know if she smoked pipe.

But I do know this: she was manipulative. She would have to be. The police have procedures they're supposed to follow. It's called the law. And when police don't follow the law, with respect to someone who's broken it, it's clear there's something more that's going on.

What else about Brattleboro?

I can tell you it's the least friendly place I've ever done interviews.

Murderers I've interviewed in their homes have been more friendly to me than the average shopkeeper in Vermont who I interviewed about Laura.

This isn't really specific to Brattleboro.

Or Vermont.

It's a New England thing.

People in New England, like everywhere else in the world, have their own etiquette about how they talk about other people's business. In New England you're either in or you're out. You're either a local or a stranger. Strangers—outsiders—they get treated differently. This is no different than most places. But in New England, let's say you walk into a bar and you're obviously a stranger and you order a beer. Well, they might not serve you the beer, just because you're an outsider. I mean it's a business that sells beer, and you're of age to buy beer, but the bartender might just tell you that they don't feel like serving beer right now.

And they won't serve you.

That's how Vermont works.

You have to chat with the bartender in the right way first.

You have to get to know them.

You have to convince them you're ok.

Then they might serve you the beer.

So when I go walking into a convenience store, for example, and say I'm here to talk about Laura Lindsay, they clam up like Hannibal Lecter if you ask him to take a test. They immediately determine you're an outsider, you're not worth talking to, you don't deserve information about Laura Lindsay (the ultimate insider since she disappeared there) and they just won't talk to you.

"You want to buy a pack of cigarettes?"

"No, I'm not a smoker."

"A pack of Marlboro Reds."

"I'd like to ask you a few questions about Laura Lindsay. It'll only take a second."

"I'm sick of answering questions about Laura Lindsay! Who are you with? CNN? Investigation Discovery? How many shows are they going to do on that girl?"

"Actually, I'm writing a book."

"Ok, how many books are they going to do on that girl?"

"What I want to do is get some of the details straight, some of the details that they've gotten wrong on those shows—"

"They got all the details wrong!"

"I know. It's a shame. There's really no such thing as investigative journalism anymore. It's all entertainment—"

"Your book, too! You just want to make money off a dead girl!"

"So you think she's dead?"

"Don't try to trick me like that. All you want is to sell a million copies of your book and be on Oprah."

"My books don't sell that many copies."

"But once you go on Oprah they will."

"I don't even think Oprah has a show anymore."

"But you want your book on her book club."

"I think the chances of my book being on Oprah's book club are extremely slim. Oprah does inspirational books. A book about a missing college student who may have died in nefarious circumstances doesn't exactly fit the profile."

"And why do you think she died under nefarious circumstances?"

"Don't you?"

"Everybody knows that."

"Everybody knows what?"

"That she died under nefarious circumstances. You don't think I know what nefarious means?"

"Obviously you do."

"She was killed. She was raped and killed. That's what sick men do to young girls. I even know who did it."

"You do?"

"Of course I do. Everyone around here knows. But you're not going to get anyone to tell you."

"Why is that?"

"Because. It's a small town. If I tell you who a murderer is, guess what happens next? I get murdered. You don't think he'll know who told him?"

"Anything you tell me is in confidence—"

"Anything I tell you is in confidence, yeah, yeah. You think this is the first time I talk to a reporter? Every time, something bad happens. They put a cat head on my sidewalk. A cat head. How many cats have to die to protect that little girl. Some things are secret for a reason. Did you know that, Mr. Reporter Man? Some things, when you reveal them, bad things happen. Remember in Indiana Jones when he tried to steal the statue? A big-ass boulder came crashing down on him! And the same thing will happen to you! Don't mess with what doesn't want to be messed with."

"Did Laura ever come into the store?"

"She came in all the time."

"What did she buy?"

"I am not going to tell you what she bought. You think if she bought a packet of eggs that that will tell you how she was murdered?"

"So you're pretty sure she was murdered."

"One-hundred percent sure."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because I know the killer."

"Do you realize you have a legal obligation to divulge that information to the police? Not telling them is obstruction of justice, which is a crime, which you could go to jail for."

"Do you think I'm dumb? I know that."

"Is there something about the police department that makes you feel unsafe telling them what you know?"

"I don't have to tell them. They already know."

"The Brattleboro Police know who Laura Lindsay's killer is."

"Of course they do. They've known since day one."

"Then why don't they do anything about it?"

"I can't speculate on police business."

"You have no idea why, if the police know Laura's killer, they wouldn't make an arrest?"

"You are a reporter, yes—a writer?"

"I write true crime books."

"Then you check the facts, you talk to people like me, you write what you know to be true."

"As best I can."

"And you don't speculate on things you don't know."

"I try not to."

"I try not to also. I don't know why the police do nothing. I am not privy to their inner workings. I do not know what factors go into deciding when to question someone, when to make an arrest. I watch CSI: Miami—that is the extent of my knowledge about police work, and I suspect a lot of what they are telling me is not true. So I cannot speculate, as you ask me to, and I'm sure you can understand why."

"Certainly."

"Now are you going to buy anything or are you going to get out of my store?"

That's pretty much how interviews went.

Sometimes they went worse.

When I went to the chief of police, I went to his house.

Extremely bad idea.

Vermonters don't like it when you go to their house.

Chief Donny comes out with a baseball bat.

"Get the fuck off my lawn!!"

"I'm Matthew Temple, I'm writing a book about the disappearance of Laura Lindsay, I just have a few questions—"

"I SAID GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN!!"

"Well, yes, but if you just have three minutes—"

"Do you see this baseball bat, son?"

"I'm 38 years old—"

"Well I'm 57, so you're son to me, ok? Do you generally make it a habit to correct people's speech when you're trespassing on their property?"

"Typically I decide on a case-by-case basis."

"And does the fact that I'm holding an aluminum baseball bat figure into your decision?"

"Not really, no."

"Well it should. 'Cause in about five seconds I'm gonna bash your motherfucking head in."

"Under local statutes, is that considered a threat of bodily harm?"

Chief Donny takes a step forward.

"Don't get smart with me, son. If I feel like bashing your head, I'll bash it in as I please. We have a little thing up here in New England that you may not understand in the rest of the country. It's called property rights. It means you stay the fuck off my land. We're Constitutionalists. Do you know what that means?"

"I suppose it means you believe in the Constitution?"

"That's exactly what it means. Now get off my land before I end your career as an investigator of Laura Lindsay. Who are you with? CNN?"

"I don't think CNN cares about Laura Lindsay anymore. Once they do their initial story—15 years ago?—that's pretty much it. Laura Lindsay is old news now."

"So why do you care about her?"

"Because. I don't make TV shows. I write books. I think this is an interesting case. I think it still has relevance. And it's a mystery that for some reason no one seems to be able to get to the bottom of. I believe there are people who know where Laura Lindsay is. I believe I can find those people. I believe we can get to the bottom of this mystery and give some peace to her family—"

"You don't give a fuck about her family."

"I absolutely do."

"Well guess what. This conversation is boring the shit out of me. 'Bout the only thing that interests me from here on out is taking this bat to your Harvard-educated intellectual head. So I seriously recommend you turn around and walk away before I fuck up your skull so you won't be giving any more interviews. And that is a threat. And I intend to make good on it. You've got 15 seconds to try me."

"Thank you very much, Chief. Have an excellent day."

I head toward my car.

"And by the way," I yell, "I went to community college."

9

Mike Lindsay.

The question you gotta ask yourself is:

Do you want to find your daughter, or do you not?

Or, maybe:

Do you already know where your daughter is?

Because from the beginning Mike Lindsay acted like he knew where his daughter was.

Let me not speculate why, as in the style of Bert and Ernie, as in The Odd Couple, as in the Olsen Twins, those podcast motherfuckers..let me not speculate, but let me give you evidence why I think this.

Most critical piece first:

They never had her declared dead.

When someone is missing for 15 years, you declare them dead, have a funeral, and move on with your life.

Why wouldn't you declare them dead?

You might not if, say, they were working using their Social Security number, and declaring them dead would cause them a serious problem called the inability to work.

That's one reason you might not declare a person dead.

And here's another thing about Mike Lindsay:

He doesn't do media coverage.

He declines interviews.

He didn't want me to write my book.

What father of a missing daughter doesn't want as much publicity as possible that might help find her?

Maybe a father who doesn't want her to be found.

I think he's gone through phases.

I think first he was convinced she went to kill herself in the White Mountains—that she was dead in the snow.

Then I think someone—Laura's friend Lisa Morabito—told him what happened, swore never to tell another soul, and from that point on, Mike Lindsay has known what has happened to his daughter but not where she is.

I think at first he was happy to help her disappear.

Then I think he started to miss his buddy, and he decided to try to find her.

That's when he wanted the FBI involved.

Because he knew if the FBI was involved, they could easily find his daughter and he and his pal would be reunited.

They would play rugby together.

They would camp.

They would summit the peaks of Vermont.

(It would be old times.)

The FBI has databases that state police do not.

If Laura was alive and using her Social Security number, a few keystrokes would find her.

But here's the problem:

Disappearing is not a crime.

The FBI is specifically chartered not to deal with missing people.

Moving out of state isn't a crime.

Moving to a different country isn't a crime.

Moving without telling anyone where you're going is not a crime.

So unless they thought she met with foul play, it wouldn't be their job to find her.

In fact, even if they knew exactly where she was, it would be totally none of their business to do anything about it, especially tell Mike Lindsay.

Hence Mike Lindsay's recent campaign to change his story from believing she killed herself on her favorite mountain to, instead, incriminate every Vermont citizen possible in the murder of his daughter to force the FBI to get involved.

Lisa Morabito told him that his daughter disappeared.

Like on purpose.

And Mike Lindsay went along with that for a while.

Then he wanted his daughter back.

But the one person who knew where she was—Lisa Morabito—had sworn the 2001 equivalent of a blood oath to her friend Laura that she would never, ever tell where Laura went.

She just told Laura's dad the rough outline so he wouldn't worry.

I think that's the most likely story.

You can tell from the syntax of Mike's letters to the governor, the FBI, state representatives, that he's making shit up. He's bullshitting. He uses all this complex language to ask for help finding his daughter—asking to get the FBI involved—but anybody who knows anything knows that liars can never state things simply.

If he was sincerely asking for their help, and he really didn't know anything, his letters would be simpler. This is my problem. This is my request.

But they're not like that at all.

They're like: I humbly ask for your assistance in a matter of grave importance. My daughter was a stellar student at Amherst College with a 3.8 GPA and dominating performance in extra-curricular activities. He mentions all sorts of achievements from West Point. She can operate a .50 caliber machine gun. Never mentions she got kicked out for stealing a pencil. Laura Lindsay is a third-generation West Pointer. Stuff like that. Third-generation West Pointer who got lectured by the police for ordering pizza off her hallmate's stolen credit card. Oh and I did I mention that she demonstrated very common suicidal behavior before she left SIT, packing up her room in nice, neat little boxes presumably to make them easier for her family to deal with? I did?—I mentioned that. But yeah, despite this behavior, she was probably abducted raped and murdered by some "local dirtbag" (her father's terms). An opportunistic killer more likely than a hypomanic college student getting overworked, in too much trouble, possibly pregnant, and deciding to end her life?

Mike Lindsay didn't make any sense.

He would do talk shows—that media he would do.

But he had to give them a list of questions of what they could and could not ask—beforehand—so he could control the interview.

Anything about the disappearance? Ok to ask about.

Anything about Laura's current whereabouts? Ok to ask.

Anything about Laura's past, starting one day before her disappearance and going all the way back to the day she was born? Strictly off limits.

He did fucking Geraldo.

He did Jerry Springer.

But he doesn't want a book.

Books have real journalism in them, you see.

Books you don't get to give the author a list of questions beforehand.

Books tend to reveal things you'd rather not reveal.

And those of us in the missing persons business know that what a person did in the days and weeks leading up to their disappearance is the key to finding out what happened to them.

To Mike, all that was taboo.

Which frankly means he had something to hide.

He either didn't want to tarnish his daughter's reputation (further).

Or..he knows more than he's willing to reveal.

I think this last thing has a 100% chance of being true.

I think if the FBI did get involved, it would be a disaster for the family.

I think Mike knows they're not going to get involved because he knows his daughter didn't meet with foul play.

I think his efforts to involve the FBI are disingenuous.

I think his mind is mixed on the whole matter.

On Geraldo, he said: "We just want our little girl back. I mean god forbid, if she's locked in some bleep's basement—if she's been stuck there this whole time—it's a *bleep*ing cruel world where a pretty girl like that becomes a target just because she might tempt the base desires of some dirtbag who just wants to have his way with her, whether that be for one night or 15 years—we just don't know."

And Geraldo said, "It must be very tough for you as a father. How are her brother and sisters dealing with it?"

"We adjust. We move on. We're not setting a place for her at the table every night. Anyway my other kids are adults now—they're on their own. Will this affect them for the rest of their lives? Of course it will. Will we—will I—go to my grave not knowing what happened to my daughter? At this point I'm sure I will. And that's a parent's worst nightmare: dying, never knowing what happened to your buddy. We were buddies! I was close to the other three but Laura and I had a connection!"

"Do you care to elaborate on what kind of connection?"

"Just a father-daughter connection like you would not believe. I mean they say you love your kids equally—and you do—you love them equally, but that doesn't mean you aren't more connected to one or the other. Just like any two people."

"What was it you think you and Laura shared the most?"

"Just a sense of adventure. You should have seen her face when she climbed those peaks. We had a whole set of mountains we went around to, New Hampshire, Vermont. She beamed when we reached the top. And she would reach in her pocket and take out an apple, polish it on her coat, and hand it to me as a way to celebrate that we'd reached the top. That's what kind of girl she was."

"She sounds like an amazing woman."

Mike tears up. It looks fake to me.

"I'll never meet her equal."

Geraldo looks at Mike weirdly, like even he knows that was an inappropriate thing to say.

"You'll never meet her equal?" Geraldo says.

Mike wipes his face.

"Not if I live to be a hundred."

"That seems like a strange thing for a grieving man to say."

"Does it?"

"Well..yes."

"Is there a right way and a wrong way to grieve now? During the searches my wife only came out twice. Do you know how much grief the local papers gave us over that? She must not care. She must not love her daughter. She knows she isn't buried in the snow. People grieve in different ways. Sometimes they laugh and that seems very inappropriate. So I've never met my daughter's equal and I think I never will? What's so inappropriate about that? Is there some implication you're making that I fail to grasp? Laura was an extraordinary person—"

"Was or is?"

"Was or is—I don't know. Do you know what that's like, not knowing if your daughter was or is? It's hell. It's hell for you and it's hell for the whole family."

"How is your wife?"

"She's dead. She died of cancer."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"Yeah, me too. Real fuckhole of a life."

"Do you see a grief counselor?"

"There's nothing a grief counselor can do for me that I can't do for myself."

"It was just a question."

"There's nothing that can be done."

"Well, thank you, Mr. Lindsay, for coming on today. This must have been difficult."

"It wasn't that difficult."

"Well thank you for coming on anyway."

"I just want to say, that if she didn't kill herself..if some dirtbag has her locked up or buried underneath his porch..I'm coming for you..I'm coming for your ass..and when I find you, I'm gonna show you how a man treats a woman..man to man..and you're going to learn the Oxford American Dictionary definition of pain."

10

You're Laura Lindsay.

You're playing rugby.

You incur head wounds as a matter of business.

You climb mountains for fun.

You are a badass.

In subjects that give your classmates physical revulsion—like advanced calculus—you excel. You get perfect scores on tests. You can switch majors every time you switch colleges, and magically get yourself admitted into programs you don't qualify for—because you're that smart. You can talk your way into anything—and out of anything.

You're Laura Lindsay.

You are a sex goddess.

You are.

Admit it, you are.

Guys would do anything to have you.

Teachers, students, adults, kids, teenagers..fuckin' babies are attracted to you.

You're Laura Lindsay.

You're a fucking badass.

Oh yeah—I already said that.

Well it's worth mentioning twice: you're a fucking badass.

You work for what you have—it's not like life was served up your ass on a silver spoon.

But you have skills—your work, applied, gets you somewhere. Some people, they can work their asses off and it never gets them anywhere. But you're Laura Lindsay..when you work, a pinch of effort gives you a pound of result.

Uh..where was I..you're Laura Lindsay..you're a goddess in disguise..you came down to Earth from heaven to teach boys how to fuck, thereby turning them into men. You're Laura Lindsay..you wake up with your hair washed and dried and combed and you don't even wear makeup to look like a pageant queen etc etc. You're who all the guys want and all the girls want to be (forgive the heterocentricity etc etc la la la Laura Lindsay is the best).

Oh yeah.

You're Laura Lindsay.

You're a fucking god.

You're your father's favorite child.

He's wrapped around your motherfucking finger.

The pinky one.

On the left hand.

When you say Dad, get your fucking snowshoes, he gets his fucking snowshoes.

When you say Dad, we're going for a hike, Dad goes for a fucking hike.

When you say, Dad, we're going up the mountain, you two are going up the fucking mountain.

The reverse has been true.

When you were a kid, when Dad said, Laura, we're doing sprints in the yard, you did sprints in the fucking yard.

When he said, Laura, get the soccer ball, you got the fucking ball.

You're a team, you're one, you always have been.

If you were ever in trouble, Dad would step in.

If he ever needed taking care of, you'd be by his side.

At least that's what you'd like to think.

Dad was never close to the other kids like you.

You two are buddies.

You use that word to describe each other: buddy.

Buddies are close.

Buddies help each other out.

Like let's say you needed to leave town for whatever reason and you needed $4,000. Well, Dad would get you $4,000. Even if he didn't have it to give. And in fact, you have a copy of your dad's debit card and know his pin number, so if you needed $4,000, you wouldn't even really have to ask—you could just get it.

Dad wouldn't mind.

That's why he gave you a copy of his debit card and his pin number.

Because he would never want you to be in need.

I mean these student work-study jobs—what do they pay?

Not nearly enough.

Not enough to live as a college student, that's for sure.

So why do you steal your hallmate's credit card and use it at Domino's? Is it for the thrill of it—to see if you'll get caught? Why does someone with money steal other people's money to buy pizza?

Why does someone with money steal a pencil from Fort Knox?

She's not simply a klepto—she doesn't steal things all the time.

But people with mania do similar things—because people with mania are impulsive. And that's one of the theories that psychiatrists like about Laura Lindsay: that she was on the bipolar spectrum, and some of her behavior can be explained if she was in a manic or hypomanic episode.

Bipolar people have sex with more partners than usual.

Unusual partners.

It's like their everything is turned way up.

Laura was never diagnosed bipolar. But some of her behavior fits, which is why I mention it.

Also, people in mania—especially people coming down from mania—are much more likely to kill themselves than normal people, which fits with the suicide theory nicely. See, mild forms of mania feel so good that when a person comes down from them back into normal mentality, the switch is so jarring and—frankly—so horrible that a bipolar person in this state may want to kill themselves to avoid—basically—being in a normal brain. This is what I'm told.

Was Laura Lindsay manic?

I don't know.

I'm just telling you what the psychiatrists have told me.

So you're Laura Lindsay.

So when you tell your buddy that you want to hike into the Green Mountain National Forest north of Bennington, your buddy goes.

You two get your camping gear.

You drive to the base of the small hills outside of Bennington.

You stop by the Chelsea Royal and grab your usual Chesapeake Bay Benedict.

Then you start up the hills.

It's an easy hike—not a mountain hike—but you love this area and have since you were a little girl. You and your dad were buddies then, too.

You figure what's the point of a hike without a camp, so you almost always camp when you're hiking.

Dad carries a pistol. You carry mace.

Mace is much more effective in a bear attack because a 9mm pistol doesn't tend to do much damage to a bear. Besides, why do permanent damage to the thing when he's only trying to defend himself. You carry mace.

You camp in the snow.

You camp in the springtime, too, but you and Dad are expert at clearing out a space for the tent—even in total darkness—so that you're not lying on snow all night which melts with your body heat and turns into a block of ice which is really uncomfortable to sleep on. You have to clear the snow.

"Hey, old man, you doin' alright back there?"

"Hey, young woman, I'm doin' fine."

You always hike in the front. Dad always hikes in the back. This is because you are the expert hiker of the two. Dad's eyes aren't the best anymore, and you know how to pick out the rocks and the roots and the moss patches to stand on. You never hike with snowshoes unless there's more than three feet of snow. Only novices hike with snowshoes unless there's a lot of snow. And you can tell a true Vermonter when they hike: out-of-towners bring all sorts of gear: scarves, ski poles, fuckin' goggles that cover your entire face. It's just like living in the desert: desert people don't wear shorts. They wear long pants until it gets above a hundred degrees. Vermonters are the same: we don't wear scarves, gloves, neck warmers and all that shit. A true Vermonter only needs one thing when they're hiking and that's a wool hat. None of this shit with fur and ear flaps like you're some kind of Russian explorer.

No.

A true Vermonter hikes with a simple wool cap. That's it.

"How far we goin' today, Laur?"

Laur is what he calls me.

"I wanna go up to where that stone circle is where the water gathers and the moss."

"Alright, just wondering."

So we hike to the stone circle, with the water and the moss, that stays liquid even when everything else turns to ice—an underwater spring. When it's warm it's full of snakes—non-poisonous ones, little gray ones, I don't know what they're called. But the moss grows even through the winter. And I always liked that place because it was like magic.

When we're setting up the tent, Dad brushes up against me, then stands behind me while I'm bending the pole to stick into the ground.

He puts his hands around both sides of me and holds the pole.

"I got it."

But he doesn't move.

He helps me stick the pole all the way into the ground.

When we sit by the fire, we sit right next to each other, and we tell old family stories which are half-true—you know the kind. It's always a little more dramatic the way we tell it than the way it actually happened. And in truth, we don't remember how it actually happened. We just remember our version of it.

When we undress in the tent, we do it in front of each other. Dad strips down to his thermals and I strip down to my underwear. When you sleep in cold weather, you want to have as little on between you and your sleeping bag as possible. The more clothes you wear, the colder you'll be. The best for me is just a bra and panties. Then the sleeping bag can do the rest. When you wear clothes it's actually preventing the heat from your body from echoing back with the sleeping bag. When you're in your underwear, the bag can do its job.

I get down to a white bra and white panties.

Dad has his gray thermals.

It's not a fashion show, but I always remember exactly what we wore every time we slept together.

It burns into my mind.

He's in his mummy bag and I'm in mine. We get the kind that are rated to like negative 50°C and weigh about one pound.

I'm exaggerating. But they're warm.

We just have one light between us, a fold-out flashlight that's the size of a deck of cards when closed. It's yellow. It's solar powered. It lights up the whole tent.

Dad and I have our bags closed around our heads.

Just our faces sticking out.

We're looking at each other.

"So, you still thinking SIT for next year?"

"Yeah, I wanna stay close to home this time."

"Well you're certainly welcome to stay at the house."

"No, I think I wanna stay in the dorms."

"Does SIT even have dorms?"

"They have a few."

"That must be a tight-knit crew."

"Yeah."

"Can you eat there?"

"Dad, they have a cafeteria, pool, workout room. I mean it's small but it isn't that small. They've been doing work. SIT is expanding."

"Oh, I didn't know."

Then we're quiet for a long time.

"You tired?" he asks.

I say, "No."

"How's my little buddy doing tonight?"

"Your little buddy. Is that what you're interested in?"

Dad turns off the light.

Then he's on top of me, outside the sleeping bag, rubbing his hands and his groin all over me, and I can feel his dick getting hard and rubbing on my legs. They're held together by the mummy bag, though, so he can't do more than that.

Then he unzips the bag.

And he crawls inside with me.

It's a tight fit—and I mean that in every way possible.

I shaved my pussy for him before we left for our hike.

Because I know he likes it that way.

This is what being buddies means.

And Dad and I have been buddies for a looong time.

Really since I was a kid, though he didn't start fucking me till I was 14.

He comes all the way inside my bag.

My pussy is already wet for him—this might be incest but it isn't rape.

He shoves his cock in me.

And he fucks his little girl.

He fucks his bud.

He says, "Laur, Laur, Laur," over and over again.

He cums in me.

Then he gets me off with his fingers.

He knows my pussy well—knows just how to make her cum.

And I make no sound.

But I let the orgasm come.

My dad is the best sexual partner I've ever had.

When he crawls out of my mummy sack I've got cum all over me and it's cold against the inside of the nylon.

Dad zips himself back into his bag.

"Goodnight Laur."

"Goodnight Dad."

11

Now that's what I call speculating.

But what else are you going to do on this case?

You have no details.

I mean I wouldn't put that in my book but you can't help thinking it.

What dad calls his girl, "Buddy?"

You're not supposed to be buddies with your kids.

You're supposed to be their goddamn parents.

But the way Mike Lindsay talks about his daughter Laura, if you have half an intuition, you have to think that there was something inappropriate going on between them. It's not just that they were sleeping in one tent—that's normal. But there's an instance in this case—right before the accident—where they were in a hotel room sleeping in one bed. That's not normal.

I'm not saying they were having sex.

I'm just saying there seemed to be a lack-of-boundaries issue between them. Like the thing with the debit card PIN. You don't give your daughter your debit card pin. You get her her own bank account with her own debit card—which she had. It's like a husband and wife who share the same email address—there's something wrong there. It's not a determiner of anything..but it's a red flag.

Mike Lindsay never let me interview him.

He never spoke to me one time.

He didn't even answer his own phone.

When I called, I got the maid.

We became friendly.

Sometimes she would let details slip.

Oh I didn't mention to her I was writing a book. I thought that would be counterproductive.

But she would tell me things.

Things like Laura and Mike were at a cabin that weekend.

In a certain resort.

So I'd call the resort they were staying in and ask if they had any two bedrooms.

They'd say no.

"All our guests are romantically entangled. Well..they tend to be couples."

"I bet."

I'd hang up.

I understand when people travel, they share rooms to save money. But everywhere Mike and Laura Lindsay went, they shared a room. Shared a bed, tent, sleeping bag, whatever.

And I did have a chance to interview her sister. The currency trader, Kate.

And when I asked Kate if Laura and Mike were especially close, she shut down. Like shut down the interview. If you have nothing to hide, that's an innocuous question. It can be answered with a yes or no without any discomfort.

But Kate had something to hide.

And as I may have mentioned, it's the things people don't tell you when you ask them questions that give you the most information.

Are Mike and Laura especially close?

And you can't answer that?

That's an indicator.

Nothing about that question suggests anything untoward.

To shut down an interview after someone asks it tells you everything you need to know.

All we can really hope is that motherfucker Mike Lindsay really did make his daughter cum after he used her 21-year-old pussy to get his 50-year-old dick off.

She deserved it.

But it must be weird to have your father make you cum.

The thing that comes back to me time and time again, as I look at this story, is that Laura Lindsay did run away on purpose. And that she did run away from something. And that what she ran away from was her family.

Not just her dad.

But the whole entire family.

The third-generation West Point thing. Your granddad, your dad, two of your sisters..all graduated from West Point. Maybe Laura stole that pencil just to make sure she would never graduate from West Point, because deep down she never even wanted to go there.

Honestly I don't even think she wanted to go to college.

Sure he was smart.

But she kept changing her major..from engineering, to nursing, to conflict resolution. That doesn't sound like someone who has a plan of what they want to do. That doesn't sound like someone for whom going through the system is working.

At all.

I think she wanted to fuck up.

She might have even wanted to be a fuck up.

Subconsciously, consciously, whatever. When you're stealing credit cards for fun, you're obviously bored or unhappy or something.

You know, I had this girlfriend in high school. She went to college. Everyone in her family went to college—that's what they did. She studied engineering. She had a post in the Army. But she told me one time, after she quit all that, that what she really liked was to play with dirt.

"Like when I was out there," she said, "and we were building a bridge, I was the engineer, so it was my job to do calculus and differential equations and tell everybody what to do. But what I really wanted to do was jump down in one of those trenches and grab a shovel and play with dirt."

This is a smart girl—like Mensa smart.

And so was Laura Lindsay.

Maybe Laura wanted—not to play with dirt, but—to be in the mountains. Smart people don't always want to go to college and be intellectual superstars. They know that they're smart. Some of them don't have a need to prove it to anyone—they're smart for their own good, and that's enough. Maybe Laura was like that.

I don't know. I'm just speculating.

But I know of several people like that—including myself—who are Mensa smart but don't care to prove it by rocking the corporate world.

The valedictorian of my high school—remember?—fixes vintage cars. He could have gone to Yale. He didn't want to.

And I'm the same way. I got the highest score in my class on the SATs—even higher than the valedictorian, even higher than the girl who liked to play with dirt—and I hated college. Hated jobs, too. So much ego and gatekeeping in universities..those places were never even really about what they claimed to be. They said they hired the smartest people they could find. They didn't. They hired people who would say yes—that's who they hired. People who wouldn't have new ideas, who wouldn't cause trouble. Maybe that's why I kept getting fired.

I just wonder if Laura Lindsay wanted to escape the lineage of college graduates, even—if she was smart enough that she hated college. Maybe smart enough to see the life that graduating from West Point would lead to. Maybe she wanted to avoid that at all costs.

Family is oppressive for some.

Their politics.

Their culture.

Their money or lack of money.

Some people need to escape—all the way—just to survive.

The more I learn about Laura Lindsay, the more I think she was one of those.

I think she didn't like where her life was going.

I think she just wanted to play in the snow.

Or, more accurately: to hike mountains.

And they have mountains in a lot of places in this country.

I think she liked the harshness.

And I started to think, if she was alive, that that's the kind of place I would find her.

A harsh place.

A place few others could go.

A place that was very very cold or very very hot.

A place with mountains.

A place populated with deadly animals.

Because that's what thrilled her about Vermont—if I may do my own little psychological profile.

The cold.

The snow.

The bears.

The deadly peaks. She had a book in her car about people who had died hiking in the US. Mostly on mountains. Mostly in winter. It was bookmarked to a particularly deadly chapter where rescue workers died while trying to pull an elderly man off a peak in New Hampshire.

She liked the danger of it.

She liked that, every time you did it, you might die.

So there was no way I would find Laura Lindsay in someplace without natural dangers. Like she would never be in Las Vegas. Or New York. Those places are dangerous, too, but Laura liked to be on the mountain, where a wild animal or the weather could kill you. Those were natural deaths—honorable deaths. Getting stabbed in the city would have seemed like failure to her. But getting eaten by a bear..freezing to death..those were hero's deaths, deaths died doing something significant. Like climbing a mountain peak.

I knew she felt like a failure, too.

And that scared me.

Because I knew she would consider intentionally freezing to death in New Hampshire to be honorable, too.

It's like when people take an overdose of pills, they often curl up in their bed under their favorite blanket. That's their comfort place. The mountains were Laura's. And there was a big-ass mountain right behind that Walmart that she could have easily climbed.

Sometimes I think of her, clinging to a boulder, bottle of gin in hand, getting all nice and warm off the alcohol, crying at how she had ruined her life again and again, got kicked out of schools, never said no to her father, maybe gotten pregnant by him, drove drunk, hit people while driving, taken too much money out of her father's account, been a bad older sister to her brother by never paying attention to his music, been a whore.

She might have seen herself that way.

And if she was bipolar, that could have easily pushed her over the edge. Did you know that something like one-third of bipolar people kill themselves? Yeah, it's something like that—it's really high.

So I just see her up on that mountain, getting her last bit of enjoyment and her last bit of numbness from a life she hated, a life she felt guilt about, and letting herself freeze to death in a place she loved. Seeing herself as one of the heroes from her book.

She would always be the girl who died on the mountain.

Unless of course nobody found her—which was presently the case.

I hate to think of someone regretting their life so much they let themselves die. Or make themselves die, more accurately.

I hope Laura was not one of these.

I hope—as I always say—that she's sitting in a coffeehouse somewhere drinking an espresso.

Few people have the strength to walk out of their lives.

I hope Laura did.

Because if we find out this is just another dumb serial killer story and that girl is buried in a block of concrete—I just can't have that happen again—that's how too many of my books end.

Occupational hazard of writing true crime.

Most disappearances aren't exciting stories of people starting again in their ideal environment and flourishing in a new life that they never could have lived under the pressure of their family system.

Most are just fucking dumbasses on drugs who rape a girl and kill her so there's no witness.

Or girls sold into slavery and sent to Dubai.

Or people killed by someone for their life insurance.

Or people killed by an ex-lover.

Jealousy and money: those are the two main reasons people disappear. And they disappear by getting shot. And when people disappear in this way, they're always found. The killer always goes to jail. It's always at least two lives ruined.

But those crimes always get figured out.

That's why Laura is different.

Everywhere you look, nothing makes any sense.

Her dad told her to put a rag in her tailpipe to make the car run better. At least he says he did.

The only reason I can think to put a rag in a tailpipe is to purposely stall out the car.

Why?

So you can make her have an accident?

So you can follow her and abduct her when she stalls?

It's stuff like that, that just when you think you know what happened, Mike Lindsay calls the police—proactively—to tell them he told his daughter to stuff a rag in her tailpipe.

That just doesn't make any sense.

It's like he knew what their theory would be and he wanted to dissuade them from it. But the real effect it has is to shine more suspicion on Mr. Lindsay than before. If you've ever had kids, you know what I mean. When a kid comes to you and says, "Don't worry about what's going on in the sandbox," do you think your first instinct is to not worry about what's going on in the sandbox?

No.

You rush outside to see that motherfucker.

12

Oh yeah: the problem with these dead swimmers.

No less than six Michael Phelps motherfuckers show up dead in the SIT swimming pool in the time Laura Lindsay was there.

Now I'm not saying Laura had anything to do with it.

But that's a lot of dead swimmers.

And they all drowned.

There were no signs of struggle.

No physical evidence. Least not that the coroner was releasing.

They just drowned, in their own pool, one by one, over a series of four months.

And they were the four months leading up to Laura Lindsay's disappearance.

Not saying she killed them.

Just sayin'.

In my entire amateur and professional career in true crime, I've never heard of anything like that.

There's no such thing as a swimming pool serial killer.

Serial killers usually like to stab people. Did you know that? Yeah, stabbing is the most common way serial killers kill people.

They don't drown them.

And if they did, they wouldn't drown them without strangling them.

Sometimes little kids drown each other—a brother and sister? I'm talking five or six year olds. Sometimes younger. They don't know what they're doing. One just holds the other under and they die. Then they grow up and realize what they've done. They're usually very unhappy people.

Except in Hollywood, drowning is almost always an accident.

But six SIT students drowning in a four-month period is not an accident.

You would think the police would be interested in that.

To tell you the truth, I don't think Brattleboro has much of a police department.

I mean no offense to them.

I just don't think they're equipped to handle things like this.

I mean people do die in Brattleboro.

A grocery store wine manager shot the general manager in the head because the general manager was an asshole. This is two 50-year-old men. Crimes like that are unheard of.

There's a psych hospital there—people have killed themselves inside the hospital before. It's no one's fault..they went there because they were suicidal.

But when people call it a sleepy little town, they're right. There's hardly any crime. Other than alcohol, there's not a lot of drug activity. Except for this one bad block they call BrattleBrooklyn, it's a calm motherfucking place. People are well off. It's racially cohesive—which is to say it's all white. Which I only mention to say that there's not a lot of racial tension.

So anyway when six Michael Phelps motherfuckers showed up dead in the swimming pool for the School for International Training, I think the B-boro police were a little outclassed. Of course the FBI showed up after number four but they just "observed" while they let Barney Fife and Associates pretend like they could handle a crime scene.

Then again what was the crime scene?

A dead boy in a pool with no signs of struggle.

Students who wouldn't talk.

You have to give it to these tight-knit college fuckers.

They're like motherfucking gangsters.

Rather go to jail than snitch on a crew member.

No one saw him go into the pool.

No one was there with him—magically.

A lone guy goes swimming laps one night and gets his head stuck underwater for three minutes. Fucker's brain stops—heart too. What the fuck could have caused that?

Six times this happened.

You interview these kids—I interviewed them—and they're like:

"I didn't even know Michael Phelps."

And you're like, "You were on the swim team with him."

"But it's not like everyone was asshole buddies," they say.

And you're like, "The swim team had eight people on it. Six of them are dead. You really didn't know Michael Phelps?"

"Not really. I mean I knew him. I just didn't know him well."

"How did you know him?"

"From swim team." (Obviously.)

"Ever socialize?"

"We drank together?"

"Where did you do that?"

"Mostly in the dorms."

"Was he a big drinker?"

"I don't know."

"Well how many drinks would he have in a night?"

"How many drinks? Mostly he did keg stands."

"So he was a beer drinker."

The the student laughs at you like you're a fucking idiot.

"Yeah." (Ha ha ha.) "He was a beer drinker."

"How did he gets keys to the pool?"

"The pool was unlocked."

"When you weren't using it for school activities, the pool was unlocked?"

"All the buildings at SIT are unlocked. Does this look like UCLA to you?"

No, it looked more like a summer camp, actually.

"Are you sad that Michael Phelps died?"

"What am I a suspect or something?" (Huge laugh.)

"No, and I'm not the police anyway. I'm just asking you, person to person, if you're doing ok with the death of your teammate."

"I went to counseling and shit."

"Was it helpful?"

"No. It was a student counselor. What do you think?"

"Do you know Laura Lindsay?"

Silence.

"She was a student here."

Total. Fucking. Silence.

"Well did you know her?"

"Yeah I knew her."

"What did you think of her?"

"Smart bitch. Bitch I'd like to bone."

"So you thought she was pretty."

"I said I'd like to bone her, motherfucker. You got wax in your ears?"

"Would you say a lot of people would have liked to bone her?"

"Yeah. And a lot of 'em got their chance, too."

"She was promiscuous?"

"That's just a word that old people use to put a woman down for liking sex. We study shit like that here. So I'd appreciate it if you didn't call her that. She liked to fuck. What's a hot cunt gonna do?"

"I guess fuck."

"Tha's right."

"So you never fucked her."

"Unfortunately, no."

"Did Michael Phelps?"

"Look, what Laura and Michael did is between Laura and Michael, you know—it's inappropriate for you and I to be talking about that shit."

"Do you think she killed him?"

"Killed him? No, motherfucker. What the fuck is you on? You think that girl was goin' around killin' people..you got the wrong idea."

"How do you know?"

"She wasn't the killin' type."

"How do you know?"

"I just know. The same way you know if a bitch is good to go. You just get a feeling about these things, you know what I'm saying?"

I nod.

"You know when a bitch likes you," the kid says.

"I know," I say.

"You get a lotta pussy at your age?"

"Not now that I'm married with a six-year-old daughter, no. Getting pussy isn't my first priority."

"You wanna find that bitch."

"What bitch is that?"

"Laura motherfucking Lindsay."

"Yes I want to find her."

"You wants to fuck that bitch, too, don't you."

"I just want to find her for her family."

"Naw, I can see it in your eyes. You wants to fuck that bitch."

"Life isn't all about fucking."

"That's just the kind of thing a guy who wants to fuck a bitch would say."

"Well, thanks for talking with me. I wish you could remember more about Laura and Michael's relationship. It would really help me out."

"If I think of anything I'll call."

"That would be great."

And that's pretty much how it goes, when interviewing these students. You know they were there—or knew somebody who was there—when it happened, when one of these guys drowned. I'm sure they were just as helpful to the police.

I heard rumors of parties.

Sometimes people would let something slip.

Orgies in the pool, late at night, where Laura Lindsay got off three guys in a row. Stuff like that. Just enough consistency in the rumors that I knew something was there, I just didn't know exactly what.

I wish I had never met Laura Lindsay.

I wish I had never heard of her.

I got a wife ready to divorce me.

I got a kid who no longer has a stay-at-home father.

She has a father who lives in Vermont. In hotels. Driving to the crash site where Laura hit her head—supposedly—where there never appeared to be any crash. The eyewitness testimony didn't support it. The police report—even though it reported a crash—didn't support it. And Laura's car didn't support it. The only thing that made sense is that she crashed her car on purpose and was accidentally seen by some neighbors who called the police. Laura didn't mean for anyone to see her. She wanted to crash her car, make it look like she ran into the woods and died, but really there was another car—likely driven by Lisa Morabito—that was there to take her off to Canada or an international airport or however she planned to disappear. That was the only thing that made sense.

The alcohol was a plant. She wanted to make it look like a drunk driving accident.

But then the police show up and instead of transferring into the car with Lisa, Laura Lindsay has to run—has to drive away to avoid the cop. Otherwise, eventually, she's going to jail for drunk driving. So she speeds down Brattleboro Road towards Hinsdale—maybe with a head injury—and ducks into the Super Walmart to get away from the police.

I interviewed everyone who worked at the Walmart.

Yes, they saw her.

Yes, she was carrying a bottle of gin.

Yes, she ran into the stocking area.

An employee on break says he saw a black SUV pick Laura up and leave—like peel the fuck out from behind the store—but I don't believe his account because when I interviewed him he was on heavy drugs and I think that could have affected his reporting. But he definitely says he saw Laura run out of the back of the Walmart, and he mentioned the bottle of gin..so that much I believe.

And that's as far as I can get.

No body.

No further witnesses.

No police arrests.

After a while you wonder if you're doing this for the truth or out of a sick obsession with the girl herself. Which I definitely have. And I've told you that from the beginning. I crossed the line in this case. I'm not just writing a book. And a lot of people have crossed the line in this case. You can pursue a mystery without getting emotionally involved. But that's not what Laura Lindsay does to people. Like Pete and Repeat—they're obsessed. They admit it. And they call me obsessed—and I admit it. If she wasn't a young, attractive college white girl then we'd probably give less of a fuck. That's the theme of this book. It's a question we have to ask ourselves: why aren't more missing black women on the news? Why aren't more missing men on the news? It's because—did I say this before?—it's because the same reason that makes serial killers want to find and own these women is the same reason we want to find and in a way own these women. We are attracted to these women, to find them, for the same reasons some people are attracted to them to make them disappear.

And it's a sick reason.

It's because we feel like we own them.

The serial killer wants to own them literally—own their physical life.

But we detectives—reporters, police, true crime writers, documentarians, podcasters—we want to own her, too. We want to own her information. We want to own knowledge of her life.

As if it's any of our business.

But we make it our business.

13

You want a difficult chapter?

What about that one where I compared black girl pussy to gorilla pussy?

Was that difficult for ya?

Make you think I'm a racist?

Give you some insight into the thought process of some of these motherfuckers running around here?

Describing black pussy as gorilla pussy bother you?

Well how about this? A pregnant woman being chased around an office building at night by her Army boyfriend with his weapon drawn because she was pregnant and he didn't want her to give birth to the little thing?

That shit really happened.

The girl? Laura Lindsay of course.

The boy? Laura Lindsay's boyfriend—real name Francis, nickname Butch, Second Lieutenant in the US Army—drew his weapon when Laura came to visit him after hours—at his invitation—supposedly for sex. But the real story? Is he probably wanted to kill her.

This is all on video tape. This all really happened.

This is the part where Laura hid under a solid oak conference table for half an hour while Butch scoured the office building for his girlfriend with his gun drawn, then finally gave up and went to the parking lot, got in his Camaro, and left.

Laura got up from under the conference table and called the police.

They came and made sure she was safe to leave the building.

The whole thing was hushed hushed by the Army of course. You can't have Second Lieutenants pulling their guns on pregnant girlfriends in SAIC buildings after hours when the lights are out and neither of them has any business being there.

The police deferred to the Army because the Army told them it was a matter of national security—standard operating procedure in the US. Everything is a matter of national security when you want to keep anything a secret.

So they kept it a secret.

But the footage is there, and I've seen it. Don't ask how. I even have a copy. It's in a safe deposit box in a bank in Dayton, Ohio and I won't hesitate to use it if Butch—Francis—ever tries to hurt Laura again.

Assuming Laura's still alive.

Which I obviously do.

Here'a theory I do entertain.

Which ends with Laura dead.

Just so you don't think I'm one note about all this.

Lisa Morabito picks Miss Lindsay up behind the Walmart in a black SUV.

They drive to a cabin—some friend of Morabito's who's away for the weekend.

Laura has head trauma from the crash—from hitting her head against the windshield.

Neither girl realizes how bad it is.

So the whole time Lisa and Laura are driving to this cabin, Laura's bleeding is getting worse—she's hemorrhaging inside her skull, slowly dying from her head injury, and her behavior becomes even more erratic than usual, so that by the time the girls arrive at the cabin, Lisa has to practically carry Laura inside.

Then they start to drink.

Laura gets more loopy than gin would get you normally.

Then she passes out and dies.

No one kills her. She doesn't kill herself. There's no opportunistic killer, no serial killer. She doesn't run away to Timbuktu.

She dies from a head injury in her self-inflicted car crash that was supposed to make it look like she ran into the woods to avoid a drunk driving accident, but she never got to escape—this town, this life—she ended up passing out on gin and blood to the head in Lisa Morabito's friends' cabin and never waking up.

So what does Lisa Morabito do?

Well, Lisa Morabito is a bad bitch.

Not afraid to get her hands dirty.

In fact, in all likelihood, Lisa Morabito severely maimed her childhood friend with a pipe bomb. She learned to make these by watching her father. Her father went to jail for Lisa's crime—he claimed he did it to save his daughter from growing up in a juvenile detention center. But Lisa Morabito was not a beautiful princess fairy. She was more of a red-horned servant of the devil.

So then, this Lisa who is not afraid to get her hands dirty, drinks the rest of the gin, drags Laura outside in the woods, and buries her somewhere nobody is going to be looking for her. No one knew that Laura was even with Lisa. No one knew about Lisa's family friends' cabin. It was a hundred miles outside the search area.

Lisa buries her friend, sits on top of the mound of dirt, lights a cigarette, and in her own way says her goodbyes.

She knows it will snow soon—it snows every few days.

The people who own the cabin only go there once a year.

By the time summer rolls around the ground will have frozen and thawed, frozen and thawed, been rained on, gone through that season they call "mud" in Vermont and other cold places where all the snow melts and water rushes down the mountain. After all that there would be no more mound, just flat dirt blending in with the rest of the mountain, a deep grave that no one would ever find.

That's a theory I can buy.

That I can believe.

Because Lisa Morabito disappeared too—right around the time Laura did. She wasn't in classes for a few days. She didn't show up for rugby practice. Not many people talk about that when they talk about this case, but to me it's a critical element. It tells me that probably either Lisa Morabito drove Laura to Canada or Montana or wherever she ended up..or that something like what I just described, happened. With the head wound and shit.

Why wouldn't Lisa just call the police?

I mean if this head-wound scenario is what happened.

I think it's simple: it's out of respect for Laura.

It's out of respect for her friend.

I don't know enough about Lisa to be inside her head, but I find it plausible at least that a girl who almost killed her best friend by handing her a pipe bomb and running away..would think it best to maintain Laura's dignity with a clean disappearance rather than the complex truth that she faked a car accident to get away and accidentally busted her head enough to hemorrhage herself and die.

It's embarrassing.

At least that's how I think Lisa Morabito would see it.

And Lisa has something to hide.

Someone who, when I go to her house to interview her, says, "How did you find me?" and then slams the door in my face and tells me to get the fuck out of her life or however she said it?

That's something with something to hide.

And it isn't that Laura Lindsay fucked three guys in a swimming pool.

It's something big.

Lisa Morabito is the biggest missing piece in this whole puzzle. If she would talk to me, I know—I just know—this whole thing would be solved.

But this mystery doesn't want to be solved.

That's why the Lisa Morabitos of the world are keeping their mouth shut.

If Laura was abducted by a serial killer, Lisa Morabito wouldn't know that. See why I think the killer angle is bogus? In that case, all Lisa could be doing is protecting Laura's reputation—hiding something Laura did that would make her look bad. People like that don't slam the door in your face.

I told you I've interviewed killers before.

They don't even slam the door in your face. They invite you in. They make you tea.

I've never in my life met someone who responded to an interview request like Lisa Morabito.

Which is why I know she knows something.

She knows something important.

Specifically, she knows how Laura Lindsay died.

Or where Laura Lindsay is hiding.

She knows one of those two things.

Guaranteed.

But I can't make her talk.

The police can't make her talk, either.

They're just as frustrated with her as I am.

She's the key to this whole thing, though.

One way or another, that girl knows the truth.

And she's sworn—to Laura, herself, or somebody—never to tell it.

"How did you find me?" That's the talk of somebody who's guilty of something. I half-believe that Laura Lindsay was on the other side of that door, too—that she and Lisa were living together, that Lisa Morabito was sheltering Laura Lindsay.

But I'll never know.

Something to keep in mind: certain of these interviews took place in the days and weeks following Laura's disappearance.

Some took place years later.

I gathered material for my book throughout the years.

Made fewer and fewer trips to Vermont.

But it takes a while to get a book like this together. And you learn that the longer you wait, the fuller the perspective that develops.

It's not just a story about a missing girl.

It's a story about the town, the people, and the family around her. The students, the teachers, the shopkeepers, the neighbors, the bartenders that knew her.

It's a story about the police and their investigation.

It's a story about whether they did their job properly.

And it's a story about an archetype which is partially in each of us, of the person who wants to get away, whether through death or escape, and it's about whether we're able to pull that off ourselves or whether someone helps us with it against our will.

We all want to get away sometimes.

We all want to die sometimes, even if just for a moment.

We all wonder what it would like if someone killed us.

If we were abducted.

What it's like to be raped—if you don't know already.

And we all want the loop to be closed..for the missing person to be found. And when it doesn't happen, it drives us crazy.

People just don't disappear.

That's what we think.

But they do.

Actually they do all the time.

I think if I had a boyfriend chasing me around his office building with a pistol because he didn't want me to have his baby..I might disappear, too. I might have that baby somewhere safe, where that boyfriend could never get to her. That might give me enough resolve to stay hidden forever.

I've finished my book now. I know what happened to Laura Lindsay. I'm going to tell you soon. Forgive my roundabout way of telling this but I feel it's important for you to have the sense that I did when I first looked into it. It was like a box of photographs, all out of order, and I would pick them up and try to make sense of each one, and none of them made sense by themselves, and together in twos and threes they made even less sense. But by combining them and re-combining them into longer and longer strands, the scrap box that was Laura Lindsay's life came into focus, and I learned what was junk and what was gold—what to pay attention to and what to ignore.

I learned that Laura and her father had had a sexual relationship. This from interviews with her brother.

I learned that Laura's promiscuity far exceeded what any one person at first knew. She had a greater sexual appetite than anyone I had ever met or heard of.

I learned that her criminal nature was extreme. She held a West Point classmate captive in an ammunition room—just for fun—with a few of her friends. Just to see if they could get away with it.

And her drinking was accelerated beyond the level that a 21 year old is usually able to achieve. She drove drunk all the time. She had multiple hit-and-runs. She was responsible for broken bones, fractured skulls, students in comas.

She was a maniac.

14

Fucking my wife..but imagining Laura Lindsay.

Her quilted white panties.

The shape of her vagina.

Cumming in her.

Holding her down by the hips and just cumming on the front of her panties, not even cumming inside her, just cumming on that beautiful white gusset that covered her hole.

These are the things I think about.

Breathing the stench of her period blood.

Choosing not to wash the next morning, to keep her smell.

Laura Lindsay was in my wife's bedroom more than I'd like to admit.

But I can admit it with you.

Because no one will ever read this.

This is the making of.

The making of the true crime book about Laura Lindsay.

I keep it on my share drive in a private folder.

It's mine and mine alone.

Only me and the hackers and eventually the entire world will have access to it.

By then I won't care.

Did I tell you that during the investigation it came out that Laura drank from a red and white plastic cup that said I LOVE COCK? It was a big deal to the police. They used to say that she had brought some kind of sexual crime upon herself—that she wanted to be abducted, raped, and killed..just because she drank from that cup.

I think that's bad police work.

But I like that Laura loved cock.

I like to think of her worshipping a cock—perhaps mine—loving it up and down with her lips and tongue and mouth, the way a woman should worship a cock she loves.

I wish Laura Lindsay loved my cock.

Which is where I become less than objective in my own investigation. I think I've admitted this already. I love Laura Lindsay. I believe I've stated that. I fucking love Laura Lindsay—I believe those were my exact words.

I mean I want to find her and fuck her.

That's what I want to do.

I'm not working for the family.

I'm not even working for my book anymore.

I want to find the girl and fuck her.

I don't care that she's not 21 anymore—that she's close to my age.

I mean this isn't the book, right?—this is the book about the book?

So we can be honest here?

Well. I want to find the girl and fuck her.

And when I fuck my wife..it's Laura Lindsay every time.

I think Miss Lindsay is a sociopath—that's what I think.

I think she tricked us all.

She never got abducted.

She didn't die in the woods.

She didn't die at all.

She arranged the whole thing to make us all guess for about 15 years and she's out there somewhere raising a kid and living a whole new kind of life.

And I want to fuck that sociopath.

I want to fuck the sociopath who did that.

I want to fuck the girl who fooled us all.

That's gotta be a good fuck.

This is what I'm thinking while I'm jerking off to Laura's wanted poster in my writing room. Door closed. Wife yelling at me from just outside the door.

"Why is your door locked?"

"Because I want some time alone!"

"Are you jerking off?" she whispers, so Casey doesn't hear.

"Maybe I am."

"Are you jerking off to that girl's picture?"

"No. Of course not."

"Unlock this door."

"Sarah. I'm trying to write."

"I'm ready for you to be done with this book."

"I'm ready too. Believe me. I just have to find an ending."

"There is no ending! There's no solution to the mystery! You're never gonna figure out what happened. It's just..she's gone. Some people get found. Some people never do. Don't you think that 15 years is long enough to look?"

I mumble something.

"What was that? I can't hear you with your door locked!"

"I said I don't think it's too long to look."

"Well I do. Do you hear what your wife is subtly trying to tell you?"

"Sarah, this is my work—"

"Wrong. This is obsession. I think we need couples counseling."

"You want to go to couples counseling?"

"No. I'm telling you we are going to couples counseling or something has to be done."

"That's extremely nebulous."

"Figure it out."

She leaves.

I try to get it up again to Laura Lindsay.

I imagine her masturbating in her dorm room.

I imagine her fucking her father, riding him, her on top.

I'd never think this about my own daughter—she's far too young, for one—but I have no problem getting off to the idea of Laura getting off her father's cock, riding him like a pony.

And I think of Cory Caswell—the girl who got cut in half by the train cars coupling?—yeah, that Cory Caswell.

I think of her sometimes when I cum.

I don't know if it's Cory Caswell who got cut in half by that train or Laura Lindsay, but it might as well be both.

I love them equally.

Sick quality of loving girls.

Because it's not just being straight..it's a girl fetish.

A fetish with girls and femininity women and bitches and whores.

It's not just liking girls.

It's liking everything about them.

Some men just fuck women.

Some men really like women.

Some men love women.

And some men really love women—like me.

Sometimes I think it borders on wanting to be a woman.

But you see how that's coveting?

Wanting something that isn't yours—in this case a whole sexuality.

Do I just want to be close to women or is being close to women a way of being a woman?—just for a second.

Just for a moment.

Just while I own them.

Just while I'm in their pussy.

Just while they get me off with everything woman about them.

Everything girl.

So yeah, I mean I know why I'm obsessed with the Laura Lindsay case.

I'm still obsessed.

Knowing you have a problem doesn't make that problem go away.

But my office has turned into a bit of a shrine.

It even makes me feel uncomfortable, to walk in there.

After a while I settle in, though.

The details of Laura's disappearance act on me like a sedative.

I get off.

I pretend to write.

I compose bullshit responses to my publisher telling him the book is almost done! You'll be so happy! It's amazing! I have new and original insight!

In reality there is no ending.

My wife is right.

There will never be an ending.

I hate Laura Lindsay.

I hate her for dying, or disappearing, or whatever she did.

I hate that I ever heard of that bitch.

And when you've studied someone for 15 years, even if they died by serial killer, yes you are allowed to call them a bitch.

That fucking bitch.

I think I'm gonna call my book, Laura Lindsay Ruined My Life.

How's that for a title?

Motherfuckers.

You've never written a book.

You don't understand.

If it took 20 years to finish the book on Laura Lindsay, it would be worth it.

I'm not building a model plane here.

Some stories deserve to be told. And they deserve to be told right.

You go to any length to tell them.

Any length.

And there's no such thing as divorcing yourself from a story (speaking of divorce). You're always enmeshed, if you're doing it right. Otherwise your book sucks. If I wasn't jerking off to Laura Lindsay, something would be wrong. I mean most people just don't fucking care about what they're doing, which is why they make shitty product. You know how they say there's no such things as halfway crooks? There's no such thing as halfway writers either.

We have Mobb Deep to thank for that one.

And the motherfucker's right.

This isn't a spare-time sort of investment.

There's no time clock.

You don't get paid by the hour.

In fact you might never get paid.

Sarah didn't quite understand that when we got married.

Anyway I've had sex with Laura a thousand times in my mind.

If I was a serial killer, Laura's the kind of girl I would take.

You know when you meet someone, sometimes they have so much life you just want to suck it out of them—take it from them for yourself.

That's Laura to me.

Would I rape her?—Yes.

Would I kill her?—If I thought it would make me feel better.

'Cept I write—that's what I do.

I creep through public records and jerk off to wanted posters—that's what I do.

I re-listened to all 50 hours of the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast to see if I missed anything.

I hated hearing Pete and Repeat hash and rehash every goddamn item in Laura's goddamn car, but they were doing their job just like I was doing mine, just like reddit was doing its, just like the armchair detectives were doing theirs, just like the whole internet was..doing its best to find Laura Lindsay.

We were all peeling the onion, believing there was a center.

I doubled down in a late episode of the podcast, reiterating my claim that Laura was a sociopath.

Pete and Repeat went crazy.

The next episode, they had on a forensic psychologist to refute my claim using the PPI (Psychopathic Personality Inventory)—a standard instrument measuring psychopathy, usually in adult prisoners, which usually means serial killers, which I didn't think Laura was. So for me it was a bit of a technicality that the PPI didn't peg her as a sociopath. She was manipulative, placed blame on others, showed no remorse except about getting caught, bold, uninhibited, mean. I didn't really care if Thing One and Thing Two had a junior forensic psychologist who said she didn't qualify—she qualified to me. In essence, she qualified.

In my own mind and my own text, I doubled down on the idea that Laura had bipolar. I have bipolar. Some of Laura's erratic behavior made me think she had it, too. It takes one to know one? Well, after 38 years of living with those genetics, when I looked at Laura, I saw them too. She was definitely manic or hypomanic toward the end, before she disappeared. Some of the traits of mania overlap with the traits of sociopathy. Promiscuity, for example. Promiscuity may have been what killed Laura Lindsay. She may have gotten into a car with someone she didn't know, flirtatiously, to avoid the police, and that person may have—that night—turned into an opportunistic killer.

You know?

Picked the girl up to help her.

Pretty girl.

Flirt with the girl.

Girl flirts back.

Make a move on the girl.

Girl rejects the move.

Get angry.

Pull over.

Decide to teach her a lesson.

This is not unusual. We have this idea that when people kill people, they had in mind they were going to do it beforehand.

Not so.

In regular life, you know how one thing leads to another?

Same thing with killing.

You might pick up a girl to give her a ride.

That might turn into a perceived advance by the girl.

A returned advance by the guy.

A rejection by the girl.

Emotions hurt..and the next thing you know you might knock that girl out, throw her in the back of the car, fuck the shit out of her, and kick her unconscious body to the curb.

(Or something of that nature.)

Anyway, Laura's promiscuity may have been a liability.

And promiscuity is one trait of mania.

Laura had many traits of mania: impulsiveness, elation, poor judgment, increased physical energy. Making big plans. Risk taking. She had it all.

Some people are afraid of people with mental illness. They're afraid they're dangerous. But the fact is people with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators. They're more vulnerable. By looking at some of the traits I listed, I think you can see why.

15

Now I hate reddit.

I hate the interface, I hate their terminology.

It seems like a forum for 20 year olds who still haven't figured out how to shave.

But it was reddit that led me to Laura Lindsay, and I will always be grateful for that.

Reddit, to me, is a place for people to exchange memes about the President and post fart videos. It's not a site I take seriously. Over the years, though, there have been forums about Laura Lindsay (I refuse to use the term subreddit—I have that much self-respect), so because I'm researching Laura Lindsay, reddit has become a necessary evil in my box of tools. I have to stay up on what's being said about her on reddit, Facebook, everywhere.

I don't relish Facebook either.

They're like the tools that people use when they don't know how to use the internet. They're the AOL of this time period—but probably most of you don't know what AOL is.

When I go to reddit to browse the Laura Lindsay forums, I get a feeling like I'm in a low-class strip joint or a dive bar. Nothing wrong with dive bars. But dive bars are covered in a film of muck that started collecting on every surface since the day the place opened because no one who works there is paid enough or cares enough to wipe things down with a rag at the end of the day.

That's how reddit feels to me.

It feels like a bunch of people who left the house in their pajamas.

It feels like how people dress to go to Walmart.

It's the lowest common denominator of claim pretending to be fact.

Almost everything is false.

Ninety-nine out of a hundred seconds spent there are wasted.

It's just a bunch of people who know absolutely nothing and loooooove to talk about it.

It's like the opposite of a dictionary or an almanac.

Or a term paper with footnotes, where statements have to be based on other statements in a sensible way that contributes to the entire human corpus.

Reddit does not contribute to the entire human corpus.

It is mainly a huge distraction.

More random than Wonderland.

At least usually it is.

But sometimes it isn't.

Which is why you have to keep going back.

Because buried deep within haystacks of trolls..

..sometimes..

..a fact appears.

You don't know it's a fact.

But sometimes you can feel it's a fact.

Then you have to check other sources, because nothing can be concluded from reddit.

But sometimes reddit can spark an idea.

And every once in a while that idea is true.

That's what happened with Laura Lindsay.

CNN didn't find her.

FBI with FLIR didn't find her.

Reddit found her.

Well, reddit and me.

You have to stop looking at the internet as a secondary source. The internet is the primary source. CNN et al. is bullshit. More than half of what they say is false. You can't rely on them for information. They're entertainment only. Or: fear dissemination only. Now the internet is more than half false. But TV has 1,000 channels. The internet has millions. So while it is difficult to sort through what the internet has to offer, it is possible to find the truth there—or something close to the truth. On TV, this is not possible.

Investigative journalism doesn't exist on TV anymore. Even the smartest person on TV—which I consider to be Rachel Maddow—isn't telling you the truth. She isn't telling you the whole truth. She can't. Why isn't she telling you the whole truth? You're gonna have to figure that out for yourself—I'm not trying to get myself killed here.

Anyway reddit found Laura Lindsay, end of book, blah blah blah.

Who posted the post that revealed the truth of what happened to her after she ran out of the back of that Walmart that night? Some armchair detective?

Not exactly.

Laura Lindsay wanted to be found.

I mean in a Zen Buddhist sense.

Like some mysteries want to be solved, some don't—that sort of thing?

This one wanted to be solved.

Because it had become a phenomenon.

The whole internet was looking for Laura Lindsay.

She became the most popular missing person in the country—15 years after her disappearance.

Why?

Because she's a white woman, of course.

We don't allow missing white women in this country.

We have to keep track of them at all times.

White women aren't allowed to die.

They're not allowed to disappear.

We have things for them to do.

They need to suck our cocks, make dinner, and work for less money than their male counterparts, doing the same job.

These bitches are very important to us and we can't just have them running off.

Gorilla-pussy bitches dying in the ghetto—that's one thing.

But New England tight-pussy West Point psycho bitches—who are white—that's another.

Gorilla-pussy bitches can get lost in the jungle, for all we care.

White bitches we keep on a keychain.

Who do they steal and take to Dubai? White girls.

Who do black men want to fuck? White girls.

(That's just a little review of the last 15 chapters.)

Anyway the internet wanted to find this white bitch real bad.

Pete and Repeat may make fun of armchair detectives, but you watch, armchair detectives are the people who are going to solve this sort of thing in the future.

And people even closer to the source.

Who found the Unabomber?

The FBI?

No.

His sister-in-law and his brother.

FBI publishes the manifesto, family members recognize the writing—boom—Unabomber caught.

That's the future of investigative journalism, 'cause I'll tell you, Anderson Cooper ain't doing any.

The internet wanted Laura Lindsay. They wanted a body. They wanted a backpack and a bottle of gin and a dry set of bones, somewhere in the New Hampshire hills. They wanted somebody's brand new concrete porch dug up, a body found, a serial killer caught. They wanted Laura Lindsay, alive, living in Ireland, whisked away by her father to avoid jail time for drunk driving charges.

They didn't know what they wanted.

But they wanted something.

And sometimes just wanting something bad enough..is enough to find it.

Sometimes wanting something..makes it come into existence.

Gettin' too eastern for you?

Well take it this way: if you don't look for something, then only luck will find it. If you look for something a lot, your chances of finding it go way up.

The internet looked a lot.

It wasn't just Pete and Repeat.

There were other podcasts.

More shows.

More subreddits—though it pains me to say the word.

And more people taking trips to Brattleboro and Hinsdale..more people knocking on doors tryin' to get themselves shot.

It wasn't just me and Seventeen magazine tracking this thing down. It was every asshole who read a post online and fashioned himself a detective badge out of cardboard and neon Magic Markers. Then they'd just waltz up to some neighbor's door that had been knocked on a hundred times and start asking questions—which as you know is a technique I employ. But these kids from middle America didn't seem to understand that New Englanders like their privacy—I might have mentioned that.

The result—if you'll trust my summary—is that a bunch of Vermonters get even more pissed that this story about their little girl is now blown up to the size of the Goodyear Blimp..and..*and..*the flow of new facts coming into the internet isn't exactly a flood. It's much more of a trickle.

And they're ridiculous facts.

There's a cabin in the woods that SIT students like to party at. So what? Maybe Laura was headed for the cabin that night. The FBI searched the cabin two days after Laura disappeared and there was no sign that anyone had been there in months. We already know this, people. But on reddit, that type of "information" is a big deal. There's a cabin in the woods. Laura partied there before. We think we may have solved this. The FBI needs to re-search the area and they'll find her body.

I don't think so.

Or: Laura may have mixed her Franzia with root beer. Who cares? She was drinking and driving. So what if her 44-ounce 7-Eleven cup had 22 ounces of wine in it and 22 ounces of root beer, instead of 44 ounces of wine. It doesn't matter. She might have refilled her cup—did you ever think of that? The fact that she mixed wine with root beer does not mean that she "was not that drunk."

This is what reddit brought us.

One of the guys Laura fucked in the pool had a small dick.

A picture of the dick.

Thank you, teenagers who can't shave and programmers who can't design a decent message board.

A picture of the guy's dick.

How is that gonna find Laura Lindsay?

And yet, from this shitheap of a community came the post that solved the mystery once and for all.

And I learned an important lesson:

Sometimes it's better not to go looking.

I write true crime books, so it's my job to go looking.

And usually when I go looking, I find a dead body and a murderer.

But this time was different.

This was the story that ended my career.

And not by choice, either.

A single reddit post, pointed out to me by Thing One and Thing Two in their intolerable podcast, ruined Laura Lindsay's life and ruined my own by what it revealed—and what it set in motion.

One night, I was falling asleep in my bed, listening to the umpteenth podcast from Pete and Repeat, and they mentioned a joke post someone had made to a subreddit (cringe) and it was mentioned in the context of a bunch of other misleading crank posts and they were all useless time-wasting pieces of shit posted by teenagers who can't shave and I was almost asleep when I heard this one joke post and it went like this:

I just want to live my life. I don't care about all this attention. In fact, I wish you would stop looking. I am happy and safe and don't need any help. There is no need to worry. I am living in Canada. I have my mountains. So much of what you said about me is false and you have to remember that I am a real person with needs just like your own and I only did what I had to do. That's what every animal does. Look at nature. Every animal does what it needs to survive.

And then in bold letters:

STOP LOOKING.

A prank, right? It has to be. If Laura Lindsay—the actual Laura Lindsay—was alive somewhere, she would never post online! It had to be a prank. Just some non-shaving teenager trying to push the fictional narrative in a direction he liked. There's no way it could be Laura Lindsay.

And yet, the more I listened to it, the more I thought about the language, the less sure I became.

It was intelligent. She only posted once. The Canada thing was obviously bullshit but the rest of it..rang true.

Then I thought:

No. Could this motherfucking cunt have been stupid enough to post on reddit?

Feeling sure I was being duped like the rest of the world, I had a friend of mine track down the IP—a vintage apartment building in the heart of Tucson—4th Avenue, the arts district. There's no snow in Tucson..but there's some bitchin'-ass mountains. I knew right then it was her. Intuitive pattern matching and a $50 hack by a college buddy..that's how I found Laura Lindsay.

I told my wife I was leaving.

She told me we were getting a divorce.

I didn't care.

My ultimate interview would be with Laura Lindsay herself.

16

I got off the plane in Tucson.

If you expect me to describe Tucson—like give you paragraphs to help you understand what it looks like and what it feels like and all that shit—then go read another book.

Read a book that spoon feeds you shit.

You've never been to Tucson? You don't know what a desert looks like? You don't travel around your own country to learn about new places?

Fuck you.

Go take a trip to Tucson, look around, then come back and read the second half of this book.

Motherfuckers.

That's the stupid thing about this business. You're writing books for people who have no imagination..when the principal thing you need in order to read a book is imagination.

Fuck me. I think I'm going through the initial stages of true crime burnout.

I gotta get into drawing manga or some shit.

Anyway.

I got off the plane in Tucson.

As soon as I de-planed, I could smell that bitch's cunt.

You know in Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal Lecter says he can't smell her cunt even though Multiple Miggs in the next cell can? You know he could smell her cunt for real—he was just being polite because it's not nice to say you can smell a woman's cunt.

This is how this was.

You study a bitch for 15 years you can smell her cunt, her butt, you know what kind of snot she has in her nose—everything. If Laura Lindsay coughed within earshot, I would know it was her.

That bitch was within crossbow range.

I went to 4th Ave and stapled up MISSING PERSON posters.

This super-hip bitch working the counter at the Epic was like:

"I know Laura Lindsay."

I said, "You do?"

And this super-hip bitch said, "Yeah, she comes in here all the time."

I said, "How do you know it's her?"

"Because. She matches your picture."

"Did she call herself Laura Lindsay?"

The super-hip bitch shakes her head.

"She just orders coffee. She doesn't tell me her name."

"But don't you do like at Starbucks, where they tell you their first name so you can get the coffee to the right person?"

"This isn't Starbucks," she says, offended.

"But you're sure this was her."

She nods.

"Pretty sure."

I told you that bitch was within crossbow range.

I could practically smell her menstrual blood.

Any minute she could walk in here with—

"Did she have a kid with her?"

"Yeah."

"How old?"

"I don't know..twelve? Thirteen? He never speaks."

"Is he mute?"

"He's not mute. He's just shy I think."

"Does she tip well?"

"What do you care?"

"I'm an investigative reporter. Well, I'm a crime writer. I've been trying to find Miss Lindsay for 15 years."

"Well she's been right here."

"For 15 years."

"I don't know if she's been here 15 years but she's been here as long as I have."

"How long have you been here?"

"I never agreed to an interview with you."

"Ok, well this girl..who comes in here..does she look like a girl who has something to hide? Does she seem worried, like she has a secret she's afraid everyone's going to find out?"

"I have no idea."

"Does she look like a girl who was raped by her father?"

"Again, I couldn't say."

"So you don't mind me leaving a few posters up here?"

"You're welcome to, but there's no need."

"Why not?"

"Because..Laura Lindsay isn't missing. I told you she comes in here all the time. If you want to find her, just hang around and order a coffee or something."

"No. I don't drink coffee."

"Why don't you?"

"Good for the pipes, bad for the nerves. Least that's what my doctor tells me. Can I leave you my card? Or will you tell her to call that number when you see her?"

"Sure, man."

Later, I was downtown drinking at the Hotel Congress. I was drinking straight gin—well gin—'cause that's what Laura would have been drinking that night. About five of these in, the bartender, obviously knowing I was from out of town, asked me what I was doing in Tucson.

"Have you heard of Artwell Noriega?" I said.

"Wasn't he some kind of drug lord or something?"

"You know, just because someone has the last name of Noriega doesn't mean they're Manuel Noriega. Noriega is a very common Latin last name."

"So who is Artwell Noriega," this bartender asked.

"He's a serial killer. I wrote a book on him. Don't pretend like you're interested. If you're not into true crime, you're not into true crime. It's like I'm not into My Little Pony. Not saying you are. But it's a niche, I know that. I'm only famous in certain circles. But in those circles, I'm very famous."

The bartender served me another drink.

"So how many people did he kill?"

"Who?"

"Artwell Noriega."

"Seven. Seven including his wife. Seven including his girlfriend and daughters. They were twelve and six at the time. Killed them on a boat. You've seriously never heard of Artwell Noriega?"

"Guess I'm not into true crime."

"Have you ever heard of Laura Lindsay?"

"No. Who's she?"

"She's only the biggest missing person case of the last 20 years. And I have it on good authority that she's hiding out here, in Tucson—she's not dead at all."

"Whose good authority?"

"A barista who words at the Epic Cafe."

"Oh yeah, Sandra, with the shaved head?"

"That's the one."

"Sandra's on meth. I wouldn't believe a word she says. A friend of mine was supposed to move in with her and Sandra was supposed to come up with half the deposit—"

"What does that mean: Sandra's on meth?"

"It means she's on meth. She smokes, and shoots, and snorts crystal methamphetamine and she works high, she fucks high, she sleeps high..she's always high. She said she saw your.."

"Laura Lindsay."

"Laura Lindsay..right. What did you show her a picture or something?"

"A missing person poster."

"That could have been a poster of Lady Gaga and Sandra would have said it was Laura.."

"Laura Lindsay."

"Laura Lindsay. Right. I'm just saying—you asked—and I told—but you might not want to trust any motherfucking thing that comes out of Sandra Lucifer's mouth."

"Her last name is Lucifer?"

The bartender laughs.

"I know, isn't that weird?"

"It's really weird," I say, and pay, and I get up and leave.

The next day I hung out at Epic Cafe.

I watched Sandra Lucifer work and she did appear to be on meth. Scratching. Distractibility. Pure bliss. So that's the secret some of these ultra-sexy super-hip mega-fashionable 20 somethings have under their baggy paramilitary cargo pants: they're on meth. Of course they look so cool all the time.

I looked at my Laura Lindsay posters. On a wall with a zillion other posters, advertising non-AA sobriety groups, guest houses for rent, bands, bands, more fucking bands.

I got here off a reddit post.

Some fucking asshole duped me into coming to Tucson and they won. Motherfucker won. Fucker convinced me that Laura Lindsay post was real and that it came from Tucson. Probably did some script kid hacker shit where they fake the IP.

Honestly, if you're older than 24, it's hard to survive in this world.

I went to Lucifer.

"Another coffee?"

"No, another one of these and my heart will burst."

"I thought you said it was good for the pipes."

"Ok, my head will explode."

"You still lookin' for your girl?"

"Yeah, did you really see her?"

"I'm pretty sure. I'm pretty sure she's been in here a few times."

"I thought you said she comes here all the time."

"Well. I have definitely seen someone who looks like that."

"Like the woman on that poster right there."

"Yeah. If you wait around long enough she'll come in."

"But do you think I'll be waiting for days, hours, weeks?"

"Why does it matter?"

"Days my wife might divorce me, hours she probably wont, weeks she definitely will."

"I'd say weeks."

"I'll have another coffee."

"Even though your head is going to explode?" says this bald-head girl.

"Even though," I say.

"You want me to put something special in it?" she asks with a tilt of the head.

"Something special?"

"Yeah. Something special. Something to make your wait go faster."

"Thank you, Sandra Lucifer, but I better not."

"Ok," she says, and un-tilts her head. "But you never told me your name!"

"It's Matthew Temple."

I consider telling her about Artwell Noriega but decide not to.

This is what it's like being a writer. Investigator. You sit around in coffeehouses situated in towns where Laura Lindsay probably isn't at talking to baristas who are meth freaks, trying to get viable leads off them because you are a fucking loser.

It's a very inefficient job.

In terms of sheer resource expenditure, it's almost unfathomably wasteful. It will have taken me 15 years to write this book. I will have spent 60% of my life and tens of thousands of dollars on travel and lodging and just time away from everything else I could do to make money. There's no way I could break even doing this. Or make a living!? No. This book will sell twenty thousand copies and after taxes I'll make about that many dollars. Maybe double. Over 15 years.

In my real life I'm a journalism professor.

Yeah. That's right. This scumbag you've been listening to for 16 chapters teaches journalism at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. They trust me to teach little kids how to write. How to investigate crimes or just tell a story about a basketball game. That they allow me to teach kids anything is a fucking miracle.

You sit in coffeehouses.

You put up missing posters.

You talk to girls named Sandra Lucifer who aren't even in their right mind. You make up wild stories like it's the bartender who's lying and Sandra Lucifer really has seen Laura Lindsay and the whole town is covering up the fact that she's here. Something like that would almost have to be the case if she was living here. But it's not that hard. How many people do you know? Just tell those few people that you'd prefer not to be found and ask them to please not go to the police with your whereabouts. What friend isn't going to do you that favor? What do they care? You're not in danger. How many people would she have to convince? Five? Ten? Her employer, lover, a few friends? What, is the grocery store checker going to look at her ID and make the connection? We live in a world of seven billion people—at least a million of them are named Laura Lindsay.

I'm not saying that's literally true, I'm just illustrating that detective work is very random. It's mostly a waste of time. Like me talking to meth heads is a business expense. You see what I'm saying? It's not like picking a combination lock; it's rather more nonlinear.

But I had a feeling about that reddit post.

And the feeling hadn't changed.

If Laura Lindsay was alive, what would she want?

For us to stop looking for her.

For me to stop writing my book.

For Pete and Repeat to stop their podcast.

For all of us who cared to stop caring.

Exactly what she said in the post.

STOP LOOKING.

So of course, what was I doing? Exactly the opposite of what whoever had made that post had wanted—or pretended Laura Lindsay had wanted—all of us to do.

17

I did go to the Epic the next day, headache and half-remembering telling the Hotel Congress bartender I was famous.

At least I'm not in Brattleboro where the chief of police comes at you with a baseball bat.

Still, I'm supposed to be inconspicuous.

If Laura Lindsay was here, I didn't want her running away on me.

I tried to put myself through her whole life—what I knew of it—and build it all the way up to this point—this particular day—and imagine what I'd be doing if I was her.

I might be hiking.

I might be drinking.

I might be fucking a stranger.

I might be playing a sport.

I might be camping somewhere way the fuck out of town.

If I had a kid, I might be picking him up from school. I could check the schools. But if he was 15, no, I wouldn't be picking him up.

I had the IP of her apartment, so I decided to go over that way.

Turns out she lives right across from a bar.

The motherfucking Lucky Leprechaun.

I went inside this Lucky Leprechaun, ordered, and sat by the window. I basically played on my tablet and watched people come and go in and out of Laura's apartment building. It was green. It looked like it had six units. I imagined Laura living on the top floor. Someone came in or out about once an hour.

I thought about my wife, back home. Sarah, packing her things, going to live with her mom, taking our daughter with her.

The poor bitch couldn't stand the heat.

So she had to get out of the kitchen.

Fuck her.

At some point it struck me that Laura might work at the Lucky Leprechaun. I looked behind me.

Nope.

Just an old man scrubbing the bar.

"You want another?"

I go over to him. Take my glass.

"Gin is a man's drink," he says.

I say, "I know a girl who drank it, too."

"Musta been a special girl."

"Yeah," I said, catching myself believing I knew her, know her, had ever known her.

"What's her name?"

"She's dead."

I look in his eyes.

"I'm sorry," he says.

He looks really sorry.

"But there is this other girl I'm looking for."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. Well. I mean she's my age. So she's not really a girl. She used to be. She's more of a woman now."

"What's her name."

"Laura. Laura Lindsay."

"Laura Lindsay?" the man says.

"Yeah, Laura Lindsay."

"You're looking for Laura Lindsay."

"Yeah, been looking for a long time."

"Well, you don't have much farther to look."

I quell my excitement; there are many Laura Lindsays in the world.

"Why don't I have much farther to look."

"Because. She works here! She's my Friday bartender."

"She only works on Fridays? Can a person make enough money to live, just working on Fridays?"

"Don't think she needs the money. She just likes the crowds."

"Hey. Can I show you a picture of my Laura Lindsay and see if it's the same as your Laura Lindsay?"

"Sure," this guy says.

So I navigate to the missing poster on my tablet and show it to him.

He squints.

"How old is she in that picture?"

"Twenty-one."

"By god, I think that is Laura. Wow. She was a looker at that age."

"Why, is she not a looker at this one?"

"No, she still is."

"Do you want to fuck her?" I ask.

"If she'd let me, I wouldn't hesitate," the man says.

"This is your Laura Lindsay."

"Yes."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm pretty sure."

"When does her shift start?"

"In five minutes."

"Ok, do me a favor, my friend, if you do I'll leave a hundred-dollar tip. Don't tell her I was asking about her. I want to see if she's the same one with my own eyes."

"That's fine," the man says. "And don't worry about the hundred-dollar tip. We do alright around here."

"Thanks man."

I tap the bar and go back to my seat at the window.

Five minutes later, Laura Lindsay is walking across the street toward the Lucky Leprechaun.

God dog dog god damn.

That bitch is still alive.

She looks exactly the same.

I'd raid that bitch's pants at 50, much less 39.

Ho-ly shit.

After all this time.

Who can do that?

Who can pull off disappearing..to another city..living under the same name..living under major national media scrutiny..and never be found?

She walks in the doors and I'm frozen still.

She goes behind the bar.

She and the old man talk about what they're out of, what they need to buy.

"And keep that guy in gin!" the old man yells. "He's our best customer!"

"Right now it looks like he's our only customer," Laura quips.

"That's why he's our best."

Laura laughs.

"He's famous, too."

I turn and look at them.

"I heard last night we had a famous guest staying at the Congress."

"What are you famous for?" Laura asks me.

"I'm not." I cough. "I was just drunk and talking shit."

Laura looks through me. I'm sparked by the eye contact.

"Fan of gin?"

"Yeah. I knew a girl who used to drink it," I say.

"I like gin myself," she says.

I say, "I know."

She laughs harder this time.

"How do you know that?"

"I'm psychic. I can tell what people's favorite drink is by looking at them."

"What's mine, then?" says the old man.

"Oban."

"Fuck a duck," says this 70 year old. "How in the fuck did you know that?"

"I told you. I can tell by looking."

"What's your line of work, young man?"

"Professional drinker."

"Bullshit."

"But my hobby is a college professor."

"In what subject."

"Fucking journalism."

"You should go on America's Got Talent."

"To guess people's drinks?"

"Yeah, I've never seen an act like that. Have you ever seen an act like that?"

Laura burns into me.

"Nope," she says.

"I bet Heidi Klum would love it," says the old man. "What do you think her favorite drink is?"

"Kahlúa. Black Russian."

Laura glares at me.

"Now why do you think that?" the man says.

"Intuition."

"I don't believe in intuition," Laura says, washing a glass.

"Neither do I, really. I think intuition is the highest form of intelligence. Totally explainable," I say. "Nothing magical about it at all."

"Then explain it. Why would Heidi Klum drink a Black Russian."

"I can't. I mean I could. Theoretically. But the algorithm is so complex it would take hours."

"Well," Laura sighs, "why don't you sally up to the bar and explain it. I've got time. Do you got time?"

"I got time," the old man says.

I find a seat at the bar.

Laura says, "I don't think you like gin."

"Why would you say that?"

" 'Cause I can read people, too."

"Then what do I drink?"

"Orange juice."

"You're right."

"Then why are you here?"

"Couldn't find a juice bar."

"Why are you at this bar?"

"Looking for someone."

She points at me.

"Someone you're having an affair with."

"Nope."

"Have you ever had an affair?"

"No. Have you?"

"Never been married," she says. "You want some orange juice in that gin?"

"Drinkin' it straight."

"Why?"

"Reminds me of a girl I knew."

"She died, didn't she."

"I thought she did," I say. "But now I'm not so sure."

"Did she have a funeral?"

I shake my head, looking at this beautiful face.

"She's prob'ly not dead then 'cause dead people usually have a funeral. That's the easiest way to figure out if someone's dead, is try to remember if you went to their funeral."

"That makes sense."

"Then why didn't you think of it?"

"I was confused..by..a bunch of details."

"Yeah," she says. "Details can be confusing. Women are better than men at handling situations with lots of details. Don't feel bad."

"Is that true?"

"Yes, it is true. In situations where there's a lot of superfluous information floating around—false indicators, irrelevant facts, or just a lot of noise like in a Walmart—women are better than men at picking out what matters and what to ignore."

"Like a Walmart?"

"Or any kind of complex store. That's why women's clothing is arranged differently than men's clothing—did you ever notice that?"

"No."

"When you and your wife go shopping, you stand back in the aisle and let her go in and do the dirty work, don't you?"

"How do you know I'm married?"

"Wedding ring!"

She holds up her empty ring finger.

"Anyway," Laura continues, washing glasses all this time, "men's clothing is arranged by size. That way you can find what you're looking for in a way that matches how your brain works."

"How are women's clothes arranged?"

"Randomly," Laura says.

"Then how do you find anything?"

"By sorting out the irrelevant details. Something you men have trouble doing. Want another gin?"

Laura smiles at me, and it's the same smile from all the pictures..only 39 years old..and she's warm and flirty and beautiful as ever.

I take the gin.

The Lucky Leprechaun fills up.

I keep my seat at the bar.

Laura has to serve other customers, but she stops by me with regularity and says one of her Laura Lindsay witticisms, every phrase proving that she has a superior mind, a mind that could walk away from her life forever.

I watch her, the way she bends over to get beers from under the bar, the way she turns her body halfway, extending an arm to reach something instead of taking the two steps required to get there. She puts her elbows on the bar and talks with dirt-covered vets who are in there spending their check. She has a smile for everyone.

She even has a smile for me.

Even though she knows exactly who I am.

Or at least the type of person that I am.

A hunter.

A hunter of her.

She had to know this would happen someday—who knows, maybe it's already happened? And she handled it then, as she handles it now, like she handled those cops who were on her for her sixth motherfucking DUI.

Like a pro.

Without a hiccup.

Is Laura Lindsay gonna be phased by me?

I don't think so.

I imagine our life together, after my wife leaves me. Two brainiacs in Tucson, living in her vintage apartment. My daughter could visit her son—maybe the two of them could strike up a relationship once Casey was old enough! I would be the true crime writer who found Laura Lindsay and married her. The perfect match! Then I was trying to figure out what I was saving Laura Lindsay from and what I had been doing all these years.

I sat there well past closing time.

Laura kept serving me drinks.

She asked me what Barack Obama would drink and I said, "Something stupid like beer."

"Why is beer stupid," she chuckled.

"The calories!"

"Why would he drink it?"

"He just doesn't seem like a drink-savvy guy. I hear he does cocaine."

"I think all of our presidents do," says Laura.

I slurred the word motherfuckers.

Laura cut me off. She served me water while she cleaned the bar. Soon it was just me and her and even the old man who owned the place had left. I thought of him as the Leprechaun.

We're outside.

The doors are locked.

The lights are off.

Laura has her arm through mine.

"Where are you going now?" I say.

"I'm taking you to my place."

"And why would you do that."

"So I can put you in my bed."

"For what purpose?"

"So you can strip me of my clothes."

"Why would I strip you of your clothes?"

"So you can take my panties off."

"Then what will I do?"

"Then you'll stick your cock in me."

"Why?"

"So you can fuck the shit out of my vagina."

18

Her apartment was a two bedroom. One door closed—I assumed that's where her boy slept.

The kitchen counter was lined with liquor bottles.

There were pot pipes.

A bag of heroin.

A glass pipe that I don't know what it was for.

She led me by the hand down the hall to the last bedroom.

Laura Lindsay stripped off her clothes to a purple bra and panty set.

"I can't," I say.

She touches my dick.

"Why not?" she says.

"Because. I haven't been completely honest with you."

"What?" she says. "You're genetically female?"

"No, I'm serious. You can't have sex with me."

"I can do whatever the fuck I want."

"I don't want to upset you."

"Mmm..times I've been upset with a cock in my puss..zero," she says. "Are you thinking of your wife?"

"Um. Not exactly."

"What's on your mind?"

She sits down on the bed.

"It's just..I've been thinking about you for so long."

"I know. It was a rough wait, wasn't it."

"It was rough."

"Was it hard?"

"Yes it was hard."

"Did you jerk off to me, to my wanted poster? It's ok, everyone does."

"What do you mean, everyone?"

"I mean people like you, who want to find me."

She puts my dick in her mouth.

And that was pretty much it.

I didn't have anything to say after that.

She got me hard.

I pushed her back on the bed.

I imagined her as 21 years old.

I pulled off her purple panties.

She undid the strap on her bra.

And..

..well..

..what? Do you want all the fucking details?

My god, this isn't Fifty Shades. It's a book about the making of a crime book—it's a very different genre.

But I will say her pussy was soft and like a little pocket—totally tight for having had a kid. It was easy for me to imagine us 20 years younger, fucking. Or 15..whatever.

She made me cum seven times.

My cock is hard right now thinking about it.

She made me cum with her mouth, with her puss, with everything. She fucking held my face to hers while we fucked and said dirty things directly in my ear. She told me when to cum—and I came. Laura Lindsay was in control.

Once I woke up with a hard cock and I rolled her over on her back, spread her legs, licked her till she was wet, and fucked her again. She was barely awake. She made no effort to participate. She just let me fuck her, like a corpse, let me use her for my own purposes. It's what I had been doing all along.

I came in her. I didn't care if she got pregnant. It would be an honor to have Laura Lindsay's baby.

At 5am I found myself turning her sideways, fucking her from behind, and it was like the first few times I ever fucked—the squeak of a plug in a hole. I lasted a minute, came, rolled on my back, and went to sleep.

In the morning she was taking a shower—humming—and I realized I glorified her, glorified everything about her. She had become a god.

We walk to breakfast at the Hotel Congress. Order. Sit outside.

We both have alcoholic drinks for our first meal.

She drinks a gin, straight.

I drink something called a Dillinger Sidecar ##2. Bourbon. Because John Dillinger was caught in Tucson? Geez.

After about the fourth drink I tell her I'm writing a book about her.

"You're what?"

"I'm a true crime writer. I've written six books. The next one is about you."

"I thought—"

"I thought you knew," I say.

"No!"

"Then what did you think? All that wordplay in the bar last night?"

"I thought you were an armchair detective!"

"I'm not a goddamn armchair detective. If I was I'd be sitting in my armchair. Armchair detectives don't come all the way to Tucson to interview subjects!"

"Is that what you call last night? Interviewing your subject?"

"I'd call that a thorough interview."

"Fuck, man. I thought you were just some reddit dude. You're writing a book?"

"Been writing it for 15 years."

"Motherfucker. Fifteen years? Are you like obsessed?"

"If I have to be honest I'd say yes."

"Please. Be honest. I like for guys who stick their dick in my ass to be honest!"

The waiter brings us our fifth drink.

Laura downs hers.

"What is the book about?"

"Your disappearance."

"You can fill a whole book with that?"

"I have some questions I'd like to ask you, actually."

"Now?"

"If you have time."

"I have time, it's just..I want to stay disappeared! Is your book going to reveal..that I'm here?"

"Well..yeah."

"No. No. That's a problem for me. You have become a problem. Armchair detectives are one thing—those I can keep at bay."

"How exactly do you keep them at bay?"

"I tell them I'm a different Laura Lindsay."

"Don't people around here know?"

"Of course they do. But they're my friends. I just tell them not to tell anyone."

"And they just..don't..tell anyone?"

"Yes. I said they were my friends."

"Do the police ever ask you questions?"

"Hello, Mr. Crime Writer. I haven't committed a crime. Why would they ask me questions? You say I disappeared. I say I moved."

"You moved under very suspicious circumstances."

"They're only suspicious to you because you're investigating them. What comes first, the detective or the mystery?"

"The mystery."

"Wrong. The detective comes first. He creates the mystery by detecting. I would say your IQ is about five points lower than mine."

"I always thought yours was about five points higher than mine."

"I think you're right."

"So do you have time for some questions?"

"You can't publish this book."

"I am going to publish it."

"You fucking fuck. You fuck me and now you're going to really fuck me. You don't even know how much you're going to fuck me so let's bargain."

"Bargain for what?"

"For the rights to your true crime novel."

"For the rights?"

"The right not to publish it."

"It's not going to happen."

"Free blowjobs for life."

"I live in Ohio."

"Free ass fucks for life."

"I live in Ohio. Look. What harm is it gonna cause you?"

"What harm? When I get brave enough I'll tell you."

We sit through a drink. Laura never takes her eyes off me. Her face goes through as many expressions as the sky. I don't have time to describe them all but insert a bunch of emotion words here and you'll get the picture.

She finally looks away.

"I don't believe I let you fuck my pussy."

"Last night it was your vagina."

She looks back at me.

"You can't publish this book."

I tilt my head to one side and sip from the Dillinger Sidecar ##2.

She leans forward.

"We have to work something out."

"What, are you worried about your reputation?"

"No I'm not worried about my reputation."

She sits back in her chair.

"More happened in Brattleboro than you know about."

"Maybe you want to tell me about it."

"Oh, fuck. Can we have another drink??!!"

The waiter brings us one.

"So what is your thing? You get off on bringing people to justice?"

"I get off on getting to the bottom of things."

"Some things don't want to be gotten to the bottom of."

"We're at odds, I admit—in some ways—"

"You don't even know what you're talking about."

"How do you know," I ask Laura, "what I know?"

"Because," she says. "I know what you don't know. And what you don't know can hurt me."

"Then tell me privately."

"You expect me to believe you'll go off the record?"

"I just said I would."

"Forget it. I can't trust you. And no amount of pussy licking is going to make it so! I don't believe I fuckin' let you fuck me."

"You seemed to enjoy it. Wasn't it good?"

"It was good. That's what's so fucking infuriating."

"So tell me what happened."

"Just..quit..with the whole investigative journalism thing. We've already established that I'm five IQ points above you. That gives me somewhat of an advantage here."

"I'm interested to know the truth."

"Just shut up."

"If you say it at this table, it stays at this table."

"What were your other books about?"

"Artwell Noriega—"

"The dictator?"

"No, he's an American serial killer. Killed his wife, his kid—"

"I don't wanna know who he killed."

She sips her drink.

"I'm not into true crime."

"Ok, I'm sorry."

"Where is Artwell Noriega now?"

"He's dead."

"See why I don't want you to write a book about me?"

"The book is mostly written. Except the ending."

"And this is that, right here—the ending—right?"

"Hopefully."

"See what you don't understand," she whispers, "is that for you the ending is a book deal. For me, the ending is a jail cell. Or worse. Like Artwell Noriega."

"What have you done that would land you in a jail cell?"

"Wouldn't you like to know."

"I already know a few things."

"But what you know is the proverbial tip of the iceberg, man. I'm talking serious shit here."

"How serious?"

For the first time, her eyes look scared.

"As serious as it gets."

"Murder?"

"I have a kid. That's who's sleeping behind door number one up there. He needs me. We have a peaceful life here. I've changed. I'm not who I was back then."

"People rarely change. I mean in their true nature."

"Yeah but things do change. Hormones change. You get wiser."

"I suppose."

"Behavior can change."

"Has yours?"

"Yes. Yes. And I need a second chance here. Why wouldn't you give me that second chance?"

I drink my Dillinger.

"Aren't I worth that second chance?"

I look at her. I try to read her to the core.

She seems like she deserves the chance.

But I'm a writer.

And I came here for my story.

That's my nature.

And my nature hasn't changed.

"Who did you kill?"

"Who says I killed anyone?"

"You did. By not denying it when I asked you a second ago."

"How 'bout this: I give you one thing for your story and you agree to leave out my present location."

"As opposed to you telling me nothing and me saying you live in Tucson?"

"As opposed to you fucking up my life, yes."

"Would it be something good?"

"Yes. It would be something very good. But you'd have to promise to leave out where I live."

"I don't know, Laura. I'm not a police officer. My job isn't to figure out every little thing you did that might be juicy or illegal. I'm a true crime writer and my book is about your disappearance. Now that I found you, the book is over."

"It isn't over for me."

"It's kind of not my problem."

"You're a fucking sonofabitch motherfucking cocksucker."

"Last night was great," I say.

"Fuck yourself."

"Your pussy has really recovered after the birth of your son..what's his name?"

"I revoke everything you did to my pussy."

"Too late."

"I'll fuck you for the rest of my life if you don't write your book."

"What's it like to be a girl and know that's your only coin? Whether a guy fucks you? That that's all you're worth to him?"

"Alright I'll tell you one thing."

"In exchange for no location?"

"For you not revealing my location, yes."

"Is it something good?"

"For you it will be."

"On the record."

"Yes if you promise not to say where I am."

"I promise."

"Ok. Those guys who died in the swimming pools? The ones who drowned? They didn't die by accident. I killed them."

19

"But I killed them by accident!" she says.

"You what?"

"It's this thing I do."

"You drown people?"

"No, listen..fuck!"

"Fuck what?"

"I'm gonna have to move again now that I've told you this."

"What's the thing you do? I'm interested."

Then—get this—she digs in her pocket and opens a tiny bottle of green olives. She sits in the hotel chair with her legs spread, munching on olives, and she tells me everything.

"When I was a little girl. And I used to masturbate. I used to rub my legs together like in a frenzy! I would rub them together so tight that I would get rug burn! Not rug burn but leg burn. Skin burn. That's how tight I would rub them together. So hard it would make red marks all up and down my thighs!"

"And what in the fuck does this have to do with six SIT students drowning in a four-month period?"

"Then," she says, "when I got a little older, I would play this game in the treehouse with the boy next door. His name was Aaron. I would rub his pee pee and he would sort of try to finger me although he always failed to find the right hole and I think I got shafted—if you'll forgive the pun!"

Laura laughs maniacally.

I sit stone silent.

"So I tugged on his dick and sometimes a drop of liquid would come out and I would get so excited that I would almost pull his dick off!"

"I'm sure you didn't almost pull his dick off. Dicks are attached pretty well."

"No. I almost pulled it off. I was in a frenzy. You don't understand. Let me give you one or two more examples."

"I'm not sure what they're examples of, but go ahead."

"One time, I was making out with this girl, and I fingered her so hard she bled."

"Come again?"

"I fingered her so hard she bled."

"I'm sure that happens all the time."

"She had to go to the hospital."

"And what did they say? You tore her hymen, some of her vaginal wall?"

"I ruptured her cervix."

"I don't think cervixes rupture."

"This one did."

"So you were a little rough with this girl's vagina. What are you trying to tell me?"

"I'm telling you..that sex whips me into a frenzy."

"It whips you into a frenzy? Are you fucking with me?"

"I am not fucking with you."

"So, what, you were fucking these boys in the pool and you got whipped into a frenzy and you drowned them like rubbing your legs together too hard as a kid masturbating?"

"Let me tell you how it happened."

"Please do."

"Ok. We went for night swims sometimes."

"Who did?"

"Me, Lisa Morabito, and the guys' swim team."

"Sounds like a recipe for disaster."

"It was."

"Clearly."

"So Lisa and I started teasing the boys by taking off our bikini tops and one thing led to another—"

"Hold it right there. One thing led to another might be ok when telling stories to your friends, but I'm a writer. I can't put in a book, One thing led to another. Ya dig?"

"Yeah, yeah. We'd take off our bikini tops and rub our tits in these boys faces to watch their dicks get hard. And they would get a little handsy but we always pushed them off. We put our tops on right away. Then we assumed they jerked off when they went home and that was it."

"Until one night.."

"Until one night, I said, Fuck it, if these boys want to get handsy then let's get handsy. So I jerked one of them off."

"You did what?"

"With my mouth."

"You sucked him off."

"With my tits and with my mouth. I don't know what you call that. But I held my tits together—"

"I'm familiar with the process."

"—and he came all over my chest and I was like licking his cum off my tits and then I thought, I should get something out of this so I said: 'Take off your shorts.' Lisa was like, 'No.' Why not? He got off. I want this motherfucker to get me off. Take off your shorts. All the way, motherfucker!"

And I start taking off my bikini bottoms.

And his cock is like a tent pole.

And I lie on the side of the pool and I say: "Now make me cum."

And he's like, "I can go inside you?"

And I'm like, "You know how to fuck, don't you? Stick it in and make me cum. I got you off."

So he sticks it in and the next thing you know we're in the water and he's got me up against the side of the pool and my arms are back and he's holding onto the edge and this SIT boy is fucking the shit out of me. I didn't know SIT boys could even fuck at all—it's such a serious school. People studying conflict resolution tend to be gentle when they fuck. But not this one. He gave me a good hard pound against the wall of that pool and even in the water I came. I wish I could see an underwater shot of my pussy juices shooting out into the chlorine—"

"Ho ho ho—hold on. Thank you for the detail but how does this end up with this conflict resolution student accidentally drowned in the SIT swimming pool?"

"So Lisa's like, 'Laura, stop, you're choking him!' And she was right. I had my thighs around this boy's neck and he was underwater and I was trying to get this boy—I forget his name—"

"The first one killed?"

"Yes."

"Marcus."

"Whatever. This boy's neck was between my thighs somehow and I was rubbing them like I did when I was a little girl when I came and I was going to cum again on this stupid boy's mouth in the water and Lisa was screaming: 'Laura! Laura! Stop!' "

"And where is the rest of the swim team at this point?"

"Trying to pull him up to see if he was still breathing."

"I think we know the answer to that question."

"You know, you can make light of this all you want, but I killed a man—"

"Six men."

"I lose control when I cum. What can I say?"

"How am I still alive then? After last night?"

"You didn't make me cum. Sorry. Just being honest. And I don't kill every guy who makes me cum. It's gotten better as I've gotten older."

"Have there been others? Besides those six?"

"Yeah, a few. But not many. I've got it under control."

"Why didn't the swim team tell on you?"

"It's college. You don't tell on your friends."

"They just looked the other way on a murder."

"They didn't think it was worth me going to jail. It was an accident. Besides, none of us were supposed to be at the pool. They didn't want to get caught."

"Seems like an odd balance of fear and justice."

"You really are a writer, huh? An odd balance of fear and justice. Are you gonna use that in your book?"

"I'm not sure there's going to be a book."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I'm not so sure I feel all that great about telling your story anymore."

"Why not? If I'm going to jail I at least want to be infamous."

"Let's not assume you're going to jail."

"Yeah right Red, the jig is up."

"The jig?"

"You've never seen Malcom X? It's only one of the greatest lines in film history. Ha ha ha. Red, the jig is up."

"It's one of the greatest lines in film."

"What's the difference?"

"That's like saying biology makes us want to fuck. It's nature that makes us want to fuck. Biology is just the study of nature."

"I'm not sure that's true."

"It's true. It's like saying prime numbers are a feature of mathematics, not the universe."

"I'm pretty sure prime numbers are a feature of mathematics, not the universe. And Red, the jig is up is one of the greatest lines in film history. Not in film. In film there are no great lines—there are only lines. It's critique that makes a film or a line great."

I look at Laura.

"Do you know what a psychopath is?"

"Are you going to lecture me on the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath because I've had that conversation before."

"No, I'm asking you to give me a layman's definition of a psychopath."

"Look, I'm not a true crime writer. Or a psychologist."

"It's murder without malice. That's the definition."

"First time a guy's called me a psychopath over breakfast."

"Well you've never had breakfast with me before."

"And you did make me cum," she says.

I try to discern if she's telling the truth.

"I told you. It's under control now."

"You fuckin' scratched me up pretty good!"

"There are vestiges," she says.

"Most serial killers have below-average IQs."

"Really?" she says, sipping her gin.

She never breaks eye contact with me.

"Yeah," I say. "It's only the smart ones we're interested in."

"Who are the smart ones?"

"Ted Kaczynski had an IQ of 167. He's the smartest one we know of."

"What are some others?"

"Ted Bundy."

"What was his?"

"Same as mine—136. Yours is 140."

"I'm smarter than Ted Bundy."

Laura almost loses her gin.

"There's also such a thing as organized versus disorganized serial killers."

"Oh, so I'm a serial killer now?"

"Technically."

"Am I organized or disorganized?"

"Like Ted Bundy, you're disorganized."

"How do you know my exact IQ?"

"You took an IQ test at West Point."

"Oh, I was just fucking around when I took that."

"IQ tests are designed to withstand people fucking around."

"How can they do that?"

"You know the MMPI?"

"No."

"It's a test that can measure your personality and some kinds of mental illness. But it can also tell when you're lying. Like if you exaggerate your answers, the MMPI measures that."

"Do you have to be smarter than someone to design a test that tests the intelligence of someone smarter than you?" Laura asks, flagging down the waiter for another gin.

"No, you don't," I say.

"How do you know so much about testing?"

"I read a lot," I say.

"I read a lot, too," she says.

"What do you read about?" I ask her.

"Whales," she says.

"So this rubbing your legs together..and the pool thing..this happened six times?"

"You lose count. I told you I was in a frenzy."

"But it happened approximately six times."

"Well. There were eight men on the swim team. Then there were two. So."

She bites her straw.

"Is there anything else you want to tell me?"

"About whales?"

"About anything."

"Sure. You know how there are so many drunk driving deaths around Brattleboro each year."

"Yeah. Winter time. Nothing to do but drink. Same all over New England, Canada, Russia."

"Well. A few of those were mine."

"How many is a few?"

"Typically it's three, isn't it!"

"How many is it in this case?"

"Four..five..I'm not really sure, ok—I'm not good with numbers."

"But they're like..dead?"

"Yeah, they're fucking dead. I hit them with my car. Their brains are all over the back highways of Vermont. Is that creating a clear enough picture for you?"

"Yes, clear enough."

"Fuck. I'm fucked, aren't I?"

"Not necessarily. But we've got to get you out of Tucson."

"Who's we? Why do we have to get me out of Tucson?"

I'm looking at my phone.

"I just got a text from my publisher."

"What does it say?"

"It says I used the Find Your Friends application. I know you're in Tucson. Laura's there too, isn't she? Don't try to save her. We're going with a temporary version of the book. It'll be on Amazon by 3pm Pacific Standard Time. I know you. Don't do anything stupid."

"What does that mean?"

"It means we've got to get you out of Arizona. Fast."

20

"Ian. Wake the fuck up. We have to get the fuck out of town before I go to fucking jail."

He comes out looking like..well, like a sleepy teenager.

"Who's this?"

"This is Matt Temple, the guy who's writing the book that's going to end our peaceful life as we know it."

"I prefer Matthew."

"This is Matthew Temple, the guy who's writing the book that's going to end our peaceful life as we know it."

"Wait. How do you know my name."

"Oh, I figured out who you are. I've read your fucking blog."

"And?"

"Let's just say I know who Artwell Noriega is."

"You've read my book on Artwell Noriega?"

"No. I haven't read it. I know it. Why do you think I'm even talking to you. 'Cause this motherfucker," she says to her son, "really can ruin our motherfucking lives. Ian. Shower. Passport. ID. Cash. You've got fifteen minutes."

While Ian showers, Laura picks up the glass pipe and smokes..something.

"I know about you and your dad."

"You know about everything, don't you?"

"So how do you relate to Ian? Brother? Son?"

"Brother. Son. It's a modern life, you know."

"It's a long drive, but if we get you into Canada, you won't have as many armchair detectives looking for you. And also the police."

"Why are you helping me? It's because you want to fuck me, isn't it? You basically just want to fuck me."

"Laura."

"It's ok. That's all anyone wants. Not just from me. From everyone."

"I don't just want to fuck you! Last night was fucking..off the charts. But I see you here. I see you have a son. I see you escaped. You escaped everything you needed to. It's one thing writing a book about somebody for 15 years. It's another thing to see them face to face."

"So what? We tandem drive to Canada—"

"You have a car?"

"Yes. We tandem drive to Canada and then you leave or you stay..which is it?"

"I have to get back to my wife!"

"The one who's leaving you."

"Yes!"

"This doesn't sound like a fake breakup, Matthew. This sounds like a real one."

"Thank you for your assessment."

"Any time."

"Anyway she won't divorce me."

"I thought that's exactly what you said..that your wife was going to divorce you."

"She won't divorce me. She'll just make us miserable for the rest of our lives."

"Sounds like a real winner."

Laura takes another hit off her pipe.

"Ian. You got seven minutes. Stop jerking off and get your passport. You want me to suck you off?"

"No! I want you to get serious! This is walking away from your life, right here, right now."

"I know," she says. "I did it before."

Respect. Respect. She has done it before. If anyone can do it, Laura Lindsay can.

"What does Lisa Morabito know?"

"Everything."

"About the swimmers—?"

"Hit and runs, everything. More stuff than I've even told you. That's part of the problem. If I go down, she's an accessory to murder or obstruction of justice or whatever you get for not saying anything."

"Can I ask you something?"

"You stuck your dick in my pussy so you can ask me anything you want without asking me first if you can ask me."

"Ok. How did you change?"

"I haven't, really."

"You must have. Or else you would have got arrested here."

"The main reason? These."

She tosses me a bottle of prescription pills.

"Lithium?"

"Yeah, and other stuff. I have a sick mind, Mr. Temple. And it turns out it gets a whole lot less sick if I take an elemental salt that's been used to treat mood disorders since the time of the Greeks."

I hand her back the pills.

"Is there any reason the Arizona State Police would be looking for you?"

"..Yesss.."

"Is it bad?"

"..Yesss.."

"Tell Ian to get his things."

And that was when I turned to the dark side. That was when I became an enemy of my own book. Was it just 'cause I fucked Laura Lindsay? Maybe. She was an excellent fuck. But I wasn't imagining myself living a life with her in Canada. I wanted to get her up there, out of harm's way, tell her never to post on reddit again, and get back to my life.

Problem was, I didn't have a life anymore.

My life was chasing Laura Lindsay.

I chased her till I found her.

Now I had no life.

I called my publisher.

"No. See. Well. There's been some developments. No. No. You cannot publish a temporary version on Amazon. Because it would cause problems. You don't understand because you're not a writer. Your reputation doesn't rest on every book you write. You know what happens to a cinematographer who works on a shitty movie? He gets another job. You know what happens to a director who makes a shitty movie? He never works again. You're only worth as much as your last book, if you're a writer, and if you put that version up there you're not going to be screwed, but I am. Fuck. Work with me on this, asshole. I've worked with you on everything over the years. Everything. Remember Artwell Noriega? Remember the cuts you wanted to make? What did we do? We made the cuts. Now I need you to work with me a little bit and not publish that temporary version. Give me 48 hours. Give me 24. Ok, give me eight. Eight hours and you go live on Amazon. I'll send you the full book in a week. You don't understand, but I've come to understand that there's more to this story than we originally intended. It's not just a missing girl. I can't tell you. No, she wasn't killed by anyone. I can't tell you that. Fuck, Nelson. Nelson, you're gonna fuck a lot of people if you do this. Oh yeah? Fine. Fuck you."

"That your publisher?"

"Yeah."

"You two are pretty tight, huh?"

I look at Laura. She's dressed in a bikini with shorts on. She's holding a towel. Her son is standing next to her, texting.

"Ian?"

He looks up.

"You ready to go to Canada?"

We drove all day, all night, all day again. Laura and I slept in one room, Ian in another. When we were fucking, she'd tell me about the swimming pool murders and how she'd be holding them underwater trying to get off on their drowning mouths and Lisa Morabito would be standing at the edge of the pool cheering her on, saying:

"Kill that motherfucker. Cum in that motherfucker's mouth."

She told me how she killed a state trooper when he got out out of his car to investigate her—she smashed him up against the side of his cruiser by just pulling forward as soon as he opened the door.

She told me again about how she rubbed her legs together when she got herself off as a child and I pumped cum into her vagina, as deep as it could possibly go, and I held her there in a $50 hotel bed with my cock inside Laura Lindsay's pussy—which I guess is what I wanted all along.

I owned her pussy.

She would let me do anything I wanted with it.

She made it my toy.

She would lie on her back, completely still except her facial expressions, and her passivity, letting me use her like she was a girl who didn't know how to fuck, got me off in 40 seconds flat.

No serial killer had chased her down and raped her.

It was me.

I chased her down for 15 years.

This was my reward.

I was the one who wanted her body.

Not some scumbag.

Me.

The writer of her biography, the writer of the story of how she disappeared.

This is how she disappeared.

I drove her to Canada.

She would get her mountains, her snow.

I would get the satisfaction of finding Laura Lindsay in every way.

I didn't want to write about her.

I wanted to fuck her.

And not fuck in the sense of having sex.

Fuck in the sense I had fucked Artwell Noriega.

And if my book went live, I would have fucked Laura Lindsay that same way.

Fucked their life.

I realized, with my cock in her ass, that that's the business I was in: fucking people's lives.

That was the real end of my books.

That was the real end all along.

"Do you like my ass?"

"Yeah."

"Do you like fucking me in the ass?"

"Yes, I do!"

"Does it make you think of little girl pussy?"

"What?"

"I want you to do something for me."

"Ok."

"I want you to imagine you came into my room. And I'm five years old. And you're my brother. And your cock got hard, seeing my little slit lying there under the covers. And you fucked me. And what you feel right now—my ass—how smooth and tight that is—is how my little girl pussy felt when I was five and you were my older brother and you fucked me for the first time. Are you pretending that?"

"Yes."

"Do you think that can make you cum?"

"Yes."

"Cum for me, ok? I want you to cum in my ass."

They always say crazy people are the best in bed.

I think Laura Lindsay qualified.

I did cum in her ass, that night. And I came in it every night on our way north. What turned me on the most were her stories of killing people. Imagining her getting off on a drowning boy's mouth—that's more exciting than you'd think. Her admissions of fellating police to get out of DUIs..I imagined myself as the officer and hated that I could get off on that abuse of power..but I did. I did get off. On that and every other story she told me.

During the days we'd drive. Up through Utah and eventually Montana.

Laura sucked me off on long stretches of road, with Ian in the back seat. I tried not to be too loud when I came. When she was done, Laura zipped me up, swallowed my cum, and we kept on driving.

Ian barely spoke.

When he did, somewhere in Montana, he said:

"So why'd you write that book anyway?"

"I was trying to find your mother."

"But she's right here."

"A lot of people thought she was dead."

"Why did they think that?"

"Because usually when a young woman goes missing it's because someone's raped and murdered her or sold her into sex slavery overseas. So we all thought that's what had happened. Or.."

"Or what?"

"Or that she had killed herself."

"Why would she kill herself?"

"People sometimes do."

I sigh.

"It was just a theory."

"And because of your book we now have to move to Canada?"

"I'm sorry, Ian."

"It's ok. I'd rather be in Canada anyway."

"Really? Why?"

"More white girls. Fewer Mexicans."

"Tucson has plenty of white girls."

"Have you ever lived in Tucson?"

"No."

"Trust me. It's filling up with Mexicans."

And we left it at that. I don't have a problem with Mexicans but I wasn't about to lecture Laura Lindsay's kid on his racism.

When a girl is sucking your dick, you'll put up with a lot.

And that's what Laura Lindsay was to me: a girl.

A girl with a mysterious past.

A girl who had gone missing.

A girl who would always be 21.

A white girl.

A girl with a pussy I wanted to fuck.

A crazy girl.

A girl I loved.

A girl I had loved for a long time.

From a distance, yes, but I loved her.

Like I said in the beginning:

I love Laura Lindsay.

And when I say I love Laura Lindsay, I mean I fucking love Laura Lindsay.

21

It took us three long days to get to Alberta, mostly because we had to stop in hotels and fuck a lot. I don't know if Laura was just trying to keep me happy so I'd help her and Ian get to Canada or if she was trying to convince me not to write the rest of my book, or what. The fact is we had sex a lot.

"Do you want to know the one thing you need to know to be a girl?" Laura asked, turning to me during one of our long stretches.

I was driving so I didn't look over at her.

I also didn't respond.

"Everyone wants your pussy."

I still didn't respond.

"You might think it's about lipstick and tampons and Hello Kitty, but it's not. It's about one thing. When you're a girl," she says, "everyone wants your pussy. That's all you need to know to be a girl."

I hoped she would stop there, that this wouldn't be one of her hour-long diatribes that other than the scenery had been our only entertainment on the road.

But my hope was in vain.

She continued.

She talked on and on—for about an hour—obviously about how when you're a girl everyone wants your pussy and additionally made the case for this being the only fact you needed to know as a girl.

"I mean, when you're checking out at the grocery store, that guy wants your pussy. When you're buying a movie ticket, that guy wants your pussy. You could be buying a movie ticket online," she said, "and the guy who built the website? He wants your pussy. That's all you need to know as a girl. It's the first thing anyway. It's like the ultimate piece of girl wisdom that will guide you through every situation in your life. Everybody likes to make fun of pussy. Nobody likes how it looks. Everybody hates how it smells. But everybody—I mean everybody—wants it. So when you have one, people do weird things around you. Namely, anything they think will help them get your pussy—which is everything possible they could do. Give you money, hold the door, say anything and everything they think you want to hear about the world—and about yourself—to get in your pants. I mean that's 99% of guys right there and 61% of girls." (I'm not sure how she came up with this figure.) "Even straight girls—your straight girl friends—in a sense—want your pussy. I mean they don't literally want it—aesthetically they think of it like you think of another guy's dick. Last thing you would want anything to do with. But guys are the same way. A straight guy—even though he wants nothing to do with it—he worships an alpha male's dick. Like a straight girl..she hates the smell of another girl's pussy. She hates thinking of her on the rag. But even among straight girls, pussy is something to be coveted, in a sociobiological sense.."

She would go on an on—and I guess that's where those four extra IQ points came into play..I had absolutely no interest in her lectures. I couldn't tell if they were fact or bullshit or just random firings in a slightly crazy brain, but when Laura wanted to talk, she talked. It was like she was writing a book on the fly. I was a little bit jealous.

Ian sat in the back streaming music onto his earbuds. I had us all turn off location services on our phones. I didn't have us remove our SIM cards and run over them with the car. As far as I know, the only person looking for us was my publisher, and he's not James Bond or anything.

Ian was unperturbed by any topic—look who he had for a mom. He was uninterested in participating with Laura's speeches, and I didn't blame him—he and I were alike in this manner.

When we got to Alberta, though, he lit up.

"Is this really Canada?"

"That's what it says on the sign," his fucking mother said.

"Where are we gonna live?"

His mother turned around in the seat.

"Just pick a town, ok? Something by the mountains. When you see one, we'll stop there, and we'll live there. Alright?"

Ian nodded.

"That's seriously the life," I said. "I mean I'm sorry you had to leave Tucson and all, but—"

"Yeah, you fucked that up."

"I'm sorry. But seriously, you get to pick a town a live. I have to go back to my wife."

"No you don't," Laura said.

"Of course I do."

"You're staying with us."

She put a hand on my knee.

"I have to keep an eye on you."

I looked over at her skeptically.

"Keep your friends close and your enemies—whatever," she said. "You..in an office somewhere..wondering about me—as you seem to have proclivity to do—is not good for me. In fact that doesn't work at all for me. I gotta keep you right by my side where you can be controlled by pussy and ass and mouth and hands and all the parts of me that have any sway over you at all."

"Your mind also has sway over me."

"Yeah, I know it does. I was just being crass."

"Please don't be. If I was only physically attracted to you I never would have written the book."

"You're also attracted to the fact that I'm a sociopath," she whispered.

"I feel like you know things about me that you shouldn't," I say.

"I told you I read your blog!"

"You read my blog..about you," I say.

"Of course. I read all the Laura Lindsay stuff online. Especially your blog. It's hard to find well-researched, quality material about myself because of all those armchair detectives on reddit, but when it comes to the Laura Lindsay corpus, there's nothing like the Matthew Temple blog. Bold idea, by the way, putting all your research out on the web for everyone to see. I noticed that's the first time you've done that for a book."

"You're researching me just like I'm researching you."

"Of course. Did you think this went one way?"

"You might have been dead."

"But you never thought so. You said that from the very beginning. You told that theory to Pete and Repeat on the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast every time you went on the fucking show!"

"You listen to the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast?"

"Naturally!"

"How do you know I call them Pete and Repeat?"

"Trade secrets, my friend."

She says this in a British accent. I don't know if it's supposed to indicate she's a spy or fucking what.

"Seriously, that's something I only say to myself—"

"We all know hackers, Matthew. There's nothing fifty bucks can't buy, right?"

I look at her with one eye raised.

"I'm not living with you."

She squeezes her claws into my leg.

"That's what you think," she says.

Then she looks ahead in the dusk and hums—a happy tune like somehow when she woke up five days ago she knew, in five days time, that she would be right here.

I tried to convince myself I was sitting next to a murderer but it just didn't fit.

She was the accidental murderer.

Maybe that could be the title of my book.

But there couldn't be a book.

Why?

Because I cared.

Why?

Because I cared what happened to her.

To her and Ian.

And why?

Because I didn't want to fuck up somebody's life.

Somebody who was in fact trying their best.

And then I knew I was too wrapped up in it to be objective.

And I didn't care about the book.

All I cared about was the psychopath sitting next to me.

And her kid.

Her fucking kid.

I called Casey that night. Sarah answered the phone.

"Put Casey on."

"Where are you?"

"Just put Casey on."

"You and I are not going to survive this."

"I know."

"You know but do you care?"

"No, Sarah, I don't care. You haven't been nice to me in months."

"You haven't been nice to me in years," she says, and sets the phone down.

Like two little children.

Casey picks up the phone.

"Daddy?"

"Hi, baby. Whatcha doin' tonight?"

"Watching Frozen."

"Haven't you seen Frozen enough times?"

"There are never enough times."

"Aww, baby, that's true. For a good movie, there are never enough times. Is Mom being nice to you?"

"What do you mean?"

"When's the last time you ate?"

"Before Frozen."

"What are you going to do next?"

"Watch Frozen."

"Why don't you have Mom read to you?"

"She's busy."

"Really? Why? What is she doing?"

"She's talking to her lawyer," Casey said, and put the phone down, apparently thinking this was a good endpoint to our conversation.

Sarah came back on.

"I'm divorcing you," she seethes.

"Yeah. I know. You only told me like a million times!"

And I end the call.

I mean you have to get divorced, at some point..certain marriages..we were good to each other for a time but..two people..you outgrow each other..hard on the kids..but..I mean..it's better..in the end you have to.

That night we slept in one of those motels that's made up to look like Native American tepees. They only had one left so me, Ian, Laura all slept in the same tepee. There were two beds and they came with heavy wool sleeping bags and my hands touching Laura over hers turned into me climbing on top of her and rubbing my hard cock between her legs and then me reaching between her legs with my hands and rubbing everything I could feel about her through the fabric. Then I was crawling inside the bag with her and thinking of the story she had told me about her dad, when they went camping together, how he would crawl inside the bag with her and fuck her pussy from the age of 14.

And I didn't feel bad.

I did what any sensible man would do.

I imagined that Laura was still 14, and I was her dad, and that Ian wasn't lying next to us trying to drown out our noises with a pair of dinky earbuds, and I put my cock in her 14-year-old pussy and I rubbed it around and I felt all those innocent little 14-year-old textures and I thought about what it would be like to fuck Casey (when she was a little older) and I pretended that every sound 39-year-old Laura made was a sound made by a 14-year-old Laura and I wondered what it would be like to fuck your daughter for the first time.

I wondered what it had been like for Laura's dad.

I wondered what it had been like for Laura.

I called this research.

I told myself I was doing this for the book.

And in the end, maybe I was.

Maybe I had no loyalty to Laura and Ian and I was just researching my motherfucking book.

An author has to go all the way to get the details he needs to be able to write an accurate book—correct?

I was simply going all the way.

I was doing what was required.

I was getting to know Laura Lindsay.

If this is what I had to do to get her to tell me her stories, then this is what I would do.

She was an elusive little bitch.

But I was determined.

How can I write a scene about Mike Lindsay fucking a 14 year old without myself fucking a 14 year old?

I mean I wasn't actually going to fuck a 14 year old.

But I was going to fuck the same cunt he fucked.

I was going to fuck the same fucking cunt that Mike Lindsay fucked when he fucked his daughter.

I was going to cum in her.

Feel what he felt.

Fuck her with no condom.

Have a baby with her if that's what it took.

If that's what it took to get into Mike Lindsay's mind.

Then I looked in Laura's eyes in the light from Ian's phone and you know what she said to me?

She felt the way I was fucking her and she heard the way I was talking to her and she remembered—she remembered—what she had told me about her dad.

And she tightened her pussy muscles and she said:

"I know what you're doing."

22

"Well here it is," Laura said, scanning her phone.

"Which site?"

"Reddit. Laura Lindsay has been reveled—revealed spelled wrong—to be in Tuscon—Tucson spelled wrong—I'm just going to skip the spellings from here on out and assume you know that people who post on reddit aren't savvy enough to know that their browser has built-in spellcheck."

"Sounds good."

"Anyway. Laura Lindsay blah blah blah. Found in Tucson with true crime writer Matthew Temple who appears to be sheltering her from the media firestorm surrounding her discovery. Have I been discovered yet?"

"Not yet."

"Veteran podcasters and celebrated armchair detectives Pete and Repeataka Thing One and Thing Twohave released what some say might be their final podcast now that the decades-long mystery of Laura Lindsay's disappearance has been solved."

"Veteran? Celebrated?"

"This may be the end of the Loving Laura Lindsay podcast."

"Oh no! Turn the ship around! These motherfuckers are going to have to find something else to do!"

"It appears police were not involved in a coverupas many New Englanders believedand that the disappearance of Laura Lindsay, far from being related to foul play, was the work of mastermind sociopath Laura herself. Am I a mastermind sociopath?"

"Probably."

Laura breathes in and looks at me from the passenger seat like she's had a revelation.

"Am I on par with Hannibal Lecter?" she says.

"Probably not."

Her face drops.

"Fuck. I wanted to be on par with Hannibal Lecter. What does somebody have to do these days to be on par with Hannibal Lecter??!!"

"Read me more."

"Well reddit hasn't connected me to the swimmers."

"That's good."

"But I listened to part of this latest Pete and Repeat podcast."

"And?"

"It's not good. They speculate on the rash of drunk driving incidents while I was at SIT."

"They've speculated on that before."

"Well now they speculate on it worse."

"What do they say?"

"That basically I did them all. That every hit and run in the southern Vermont area while I was at SIT was my fault. And they do bring up the swimmers, and it's not good."

"Why? What?"

"Well. They're speculating as usual. But they're talking about this 'party' that me and Lisa had with the swim team and insinuating all this sexual stuff—"

"Which is exactly what happened."

"I guess. I wouldn't call it a party. But they say Lisa knows what happened and they're encouraging the Brattleboro police and the FBI to subpoena her ass and make her tell whatever."

"I thought subpoenas only related to court."

"Right."

"Like trials."

"Right. Me too. Maybe we're wrong."

"Will Lisa talk?"

"Phf. Never in a million. You know when she was little—"

"I know all about Lisa Morabito."

"You investigated her, too?"

"I investigated your second grade teacher."

"Is that a joke?"

"No."

"You investigated Mrs. Hatcher?"

"That's the difference between me and an armchair detective. Armchair detectives don't get a gun in their face."

"Mrs. Hatcher put a gun in your face?"

"No, but other people did. An armchair detective is busy misspelling Tucson on reddit while I'm—"

"Fucking Laura Lindsay?"

I take my eyes off the road.

"Exactly."

"Where are we going?" Laura says.

"Canada," I say.

"We're in Canada."

"When you pick a town, we'll stop."

"And what? You me and Ian are going to live happily ever after?"

"Do you need money? To start over?"

"No I have money. I've been planning to start over for years. I mean personally..interpersonally..emotionally..something men don't seem to understand, even educated ones like you. I mean what are we gonna do about our little love triangle? Are you with me or what?"

" 'Am I with you?' "

"Yeah. You're fuckin' my pussy pretendin' I'm 14 and that's fine and all but I got a kid and last I checked you do too. We're not 21 anymore. You're not a fledgling crime writer. I'm not a homicidal maniac. You've got a reputation. How far are you thinking ahead? To the point where you're helping me leave the country and some pisshead at the FBI figures out I killed those boys in the swimming pool by cumming in their faces?"

"It's while cumming in their faces."

"Boy, you are a writer."

"I'm sorry. I get what you mean. Reputation, yeah. Reputation. Book sales. Career. Income. Custody. It's a problem, I agree—it's a major problem."

"It's a major problem for you," Laura Lindsay says. "It's a major major problem for me. For you it's career, income, custody. For me it's arrest, trial, sentencing."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry?"

"Because this is all my fault."

"How is it your fault?"

"Because. If I had never written that book.."

"Then I would have retroactively become not a serial killer?"

"An unwilling serial killer," I say.

And she says, "I know, I know! An unwilling serial killer. But a crazy girl who did some crazy fucking things! Your book did not make that happen. What I did is what I did. I did it before you wrote your book. Therefore—ergo ipso facto—your book cannot be the cause of what I did."

"Ergo ipso facto: I don't think that's correct—"

"WOULD YOU NOT CRITIQUE MY LATIN??!!"

I slow the car.

"I'm sorry, Laura. I'm just nervous. I'm nervous about my daughter!!"

"I understand. We're gonna get you back to her. Once you drop me and Ian off at a nice out-of-the-way town, you can go back to her and there won't be any proof that you helped us. We'll be disappeared again. You keep quiet. We keep quiet. Lisa Fucking Morabito keeps quiet and everyone is fine."

"Ok."

"Now drive a normal speed. We don't want to get pulled over."

I return to the speed limit.

"And for the record," Laura says, "my Latin is correct. Ergo means therefore. Ipso facto means by the fact itself. So what I am saying is therefore, by the fact itself, since your book came after my crimes and not before, your book cannot be the cause of my crimes, since that is how cause and effect works. The cause must come before the effect—"

"Ok, ok. Your Latin is correct. I apologize. Your logic is rock fucking solid."

"Are you mad?"

"No, I was wrong. Why would I be mad?"

"Because you were wrong."

"No, come on."

"Because you were wrong and I pointed it out."

"Laura, what am I, a caveman, here? I was wrong, you corrected me. It's ok. I'm not some kind of meathead who's gonna get mad 'cause a woman corrected me."

"That really is the issue, isn't it?"

"What?"

"When women correct men."

"Yes, I suppose it is."

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to leave Laura Lindsay.

My wife watched the news, played the occasional game of Scrabble.

But Laura Lindsay ergo ipso facto'd my ass to death.

You know I need that kind of stimulation.

Only, Laura Lindsay and I had a slight problem along the lines of there being a 25% chance that she was going to jail..on account of me. I was thinking that far ahead whether Laura knew it or not.

This was not going to end happily.

It was one of those end-of-the-world-type situations.

You know the type Prince sings about when he says: Life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last.

This was that type of situation.

Like a Titanic-type situation.

Where it's going to end badly.

And you get to decide how you're going to spend your last few moments.

That was me and Laura Lindsay now.

And you knew she knew it.

In that 140-IQ head of hers.

She knew it as well as I.

She talked to Ian as though they were going to live together in the mountains forever but she knew that shit wasn't going to happen.

And—you know—smart parents tend to have smart children so Ian probably knew it, too.

But we all had a pact of non-reality.

And it was working just fine for the moment.

In the night, Laura drove and I sat next to her.

Ian was laid out sleeping in the back.

"What's your daughter's name again?"

Lights flew past us on the highway.

"Casey."

"How old?"

"Five."

"Does she play a sport?"

I look over at Laura Lindsay.

"If you call shooting police officers in the back of the head on Grand Theft Auto..a sport..then yes, she plays a sport and she's extremely dedicated."

"You let a five year old play GTA?"

"We let her do whatever she wants."

"Are you attracted to her?"

"No. But I wonder if someday I will be. Why?"

" 'Cause I'm attracted to Ian."

"Do you ever do anything with him?"

"No. I swore when my dad crossed that line with me that I would never do that with any of my children. But I wasn't the only one he raped, you know."

"No. I didn't know."

"He raped my sisters, too. Maybe my brother—I'm not sure. He won't talk about it."

"He won't give you a straight 'no'?"

"No he won't."

"Don't you think that means it happened?"

"Yes I do think that. But I just don't know. It hurts me more to think that there's an age past which my own brother won't even talk to me..some point of maturity past which he no longer needs to confide in his big sister."

"Does he know you're alive?"

"We maintain channels."

"Does your dad know you're alive?"

"No. And that's by design. I mean he could get custody of Ian or some crazy shit. Speaking of custody. No. Fuck him. He gets nothing. Are you gonna write this book?"

"It's out. It's written. My publisher put it on Amazon."

"But are you gonna finish it? Are you gonna write it right?"

"I'm not even sure what that would mean at this point."

"I think you should," she says. "I think you should put in all the grit and everything I told you in confidence. You're a writer, man—you've got no responsibility to me. Who am I to you? But if you hold back on your book, you're gonna hate yourself for the rest of your life."

"But if I fuck up your life, I'm gonna hate myself, too."

"I think we both know we're past that point."

We're silent for a while.

Then she says, "Ergo ipso facto motherfucker. What's done is done."

"I don't think that phrase applies there."

"Hey. Don't criticize my Latin. Anyway, what do you know, you went to community college."

"Least I didn't get kicked out."

"And you teach at community college."

"There's nothing wrong with community college. Some great minds went to community college."

"Who?"

"I'll have to get back to you on that one."

"Yours?" she smirks.

"No. Are you thinking about being separated from your son?"

Laura gives me a look like that's exactly what she was thinking about.

Then she says, "No, but I am thinking of another Latin phrase I read."

"What is it?"

"I can't get it out of my mind. I'm obsessing, actually."

"Well share it and see if you can release it."

"I'm not sure you'll understand it..since you went to community college."

"Try me."

"Ok, it's alea iacta est."

"And what does that mean, The Inimitable Laura Lindsay?"

"It means..the die is cast."

23

I made us get new phones at a Super Walmart outside Edmonton.

As we're browsing the packages, Ian says, "I didn't know they had Walmart in Canada. This is just like America."

And Laura says: "Ian. The whole world is just like America. You know they have McDonald's in Japan."

"Right."

"Well. Extrapolate from that."

Laura turns to me.

"We better sleep in the woods tonight."

"Why?"

She whispers.

"Because the FBI will be checking motel records.."

She stops whispering.

"..and besides, I wouldn't mind sleeping outside a few nights before my freedom gets taken away from me."

"No one's going to take your freedom away from you."

"The die is cast," she says.

"Just because Emperor Tiberius said the die is cast like 2,000 years ago doesn't mean anyone's going to take away your freedom."

"It was said by Julius Caesar and I'd appreciate it if we could just go camping."

So we camped.

But going camping in Laura's mind isn't like going camping in your mind or my mind.

I would have just bought a tent and some sleeping bags at the Super Walmart.

Laura had to find a camping store.

We bought top-notch gear—Laura paid for everything.

Then we found a mountain.

Parked at the bottom in some snow—there was no parking lot or anything.

And we started walking.

Well, Laura called it walking.

I called it fucking mountain climbing.

By this time we're way north of Edmonton. Almost to Fort McMurray.

Laura forges ahead, blaze orange cap on her head to warn hunters.

Ian forges close behind.

I stumble and trip and clunk along in a pair of boots Laura insisted I buy. Soon we lose cell service. It's just me, Laura, and her kid and a bunch of military rations. Some magnesium-based fire starter that Laura insisted was the best, and just mountains and mountains and snow.

There was no path. To me that's part of what makes this less hiking and more mountain climbing.

"You doin' ok back there?"

Laura stopped for a minute to say this.

"Doin' fine," I mumble.

"What was that?!" she shouts.

"I'm doing fine!!"

"Ok, good. Don't want to lose my prize crime writer."

Then she keeps going up the hill.

And it hits me.

She's going to kill my ass.

She's brought me up here to the middle of goddamn fucking nowhere..to kill me. I know her story: way more of it than's in the book, and she's going to kill me because I've heard her confession and I know where she is because I brought her here. Now that I've helped her escape Tucson, she's going to kill the one person—other than her son—who has any idea where the fuck she is. The reason we're up on this mountain with no trail, no cell service, and no parking lot, is that no one will ever fucking find my body up here.

Laura's probably done this before, in the mountains of Tucson.

Left nosy boyfriends in the north mountains for cougars to eat. Mountain lions and moose and shit.

She's gonna fuck me, then kill me—just like a praying mantis.

"Do you believe in bigfoot?" she asks.

Great, now she's gonna blame it on bigfoot.

"No," I say.

"Well," she says. "You probably should."

"Why?"

"Because it's real."

"Just 'cause you have four IQ points on me doesn't mean I'm gonna start believing in bigfoot."

"Ok," she says. "But watch your attitude up here because he's a long-range telepath."

"I'm not worried about motherfucking bigfoot."

"That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. You have to maintain respect for the forest," she says.

"What forest??!! It's just a bunch of goddamn snow!!"

Laura stops.

"Do we need a rest break?"

"I'm not in fucking kindergarten!"

"Say a prayer like this: I respect the forest and all that is within it."

"There's no motherfucking forest!!"

"I respect the mountain and all that it contains. Say it. Say it or bigfoot will motherfucking eat you."

"I respect the mountain and all that it contains."

"Now say it like you believe it. Keep that prayer in your heart. The spirits and ancients can hear what's in your heart. Especially on the mountain. You want to keep them on your side."

"Ok. I respect the mountain and all that is within it."

"Good. Keep that attitude. We don't want to have an accident. Why do you think so many hunters die in the woods?"

"I wasn't aware there was a problem with hunters dying in the woods."

"It's because the ancients don't like hunters."

"Hunters die in the woods?"

"A disproportionate amount, yes."

"Laura, just, keep to the facts. Please."

"Google it! Fucking web search that shit."

"I will when we get back," I say.

Laura stops and looks down at me.

"We are going back, aren't we? All of us??"

Laura smiles.

"I like you," she says. "Why would I kill you?"

"You liked those boys."

"No. I was just using them for orgasm. There's nothing like a drowning man's lips and tongue on your pussy. He has a certain frenzy about him that I can never manage to get a living man to have."

"That's murder without malice," I say. "That's a psychopath."

"Does it make you feel better to call me that word?"

"I'm just prepping for the end of my book!"

"Well prep while you walk, alright, True Crime?"

Then we walk about ten miles up this mountain.

Alright, it was probably two.

I don't know.

But it felt like fucking forever.

Laura eventually stops when we're on the peak of this moderate-sized mountain.

"We'll camp here."

"There's nowhere else to hike," I say. "Except down the other side!"

"How are we doing with our respect for the mountain?"

"We're wavering."

"Well don't waver, my friend, because I'm serious: they can hear your thoughts."

Then Laura pulled out a tiny shovel and started clearing snow.

Within minutes she had the tent set up.

"What about a fire?" I say.

"Unless you want to hike down there and haul up a bunch of wood..? There's no fire. But these Army rations heat themselves. You pull the strip..then a chemical reaction heats the whole thing up in about two seconds. It's really cool."

She was right. As the three of us sat in a triangle after the sun went down, by the light of one folding yellow flashlight Laura had chosen, we opened our Army rations and they heated up like magic. I had beans and rice, and it even had pieces of pork in it. Laura had mac and cheese with spinach, and Ian had a steak! There were no labels on the packages—you just got what you got, and I wondered if these were the real ones they used in the Army.

"How long can we stay up here?"

"Three days," Laura said, with a mouth full of food.

She chews.

She swallows.

"But I doubt we'll stay up here that long."

"What are we doing up here?"

"Getting some air. Ian, look, Mom's gonna have to go to jail."

"I know," he says, picking apart his steak with his fingers.

That's all he said; that was their whole conversation about it.

"So," Laura says, "I thought we'd come up here, spend some time outside, then go on down the mountain, split up, you can go back to Ohio to see Casey and deal with your marriage situation—"

"Divorce situation."

"Whatever. Divorce, marriage, same thing. And then after that the FBI can fuck me up the ass because of your book and then I'll spend the rest of my life in some tiny room and you can write me letters."

"That's not going to happen."

"The die is cast."

"Would you stop with that?"

"Promise you'll write."

She looks at me pleadingly.

"I will write you regularly."

"At least once a week."

"I'll write you at least once a week."

"You promised. I'm holding you to that. And visit."

"I will visit as often as I can."

"At least twice a year," she says. "I'm realistic. I know you'll have a girlfriend and your daughter and the next Laura Lindsay to track down and you'll be in Ohio and I'll be in fucking Sing Sing."

"Yeah right. You'll be in a luxury prison for white women somewhere outside of Ft. Lauderdale."

Laura laughs.

"I'm serious. Cable TV. Internet. Trips to the beach and shit."

"Maybe I'll just get community service."

Ian raises an eyebrow and Laura and I look at each other and then we all start cracking up, on the top of this mountain, where no one can hear us but bigfoot.

Somewhere in the night, Laura wraps her hand around my dick and holds a knife to my neck. I had seen the knife earlier: it was small and steel and silver and had wicked angles and notches and it looked like the kind of knife you'd cut open Navy SEALs with.

"Have you ever wondered what it's like to be fucked then killed?"

"You're kidding, right?"

"Of course. But what if I wasn't."

She holds my shoulder down with the knife to my neck and lowers her vagina over my cock where she proceeds to ride me and poke my neck with the tip of her knife.

She's moaning.

"What if Ian's awake?"

"I'm awake," he says.

"I'm gonna fuck you. Then kill you. Then kill him," she says.

"Tell me you're kidding."

"Of course I'm kidding."

She fucks me some more.

"But what if I wasn't?"

"This is a real fun game you've got going on here—"

"Shut up. I'm gonna make myself cum. Then you can use my pussy and hold the knife against me. Did you ever think of what it would be like to cut a girl's breasts off, like one of those real serial killers?"

"You are a real serial killer and no, I never thought it would be fun to cut a girl's breasts off. I never understood that..removing the vagina, cutting out a woman's uterus..I just never got that."

She holds the knife a little bit into my neck and fucks me like she's one of those piston cunts from an H. R. Giger painting.

Again, if you don't know what that is, then you're not smart enough to read my book—go read The Giving Tree or something.

"Don't cum. Don't cum before me," she says.

She pokes the knife into my skin.

"You cut me!"

"Just don't fucking cum!"

My cock gets harder and I realize I would love to be killed by Laura Lindsay. Even right now. Even if she's not joking and she fucks me then kills me, then kills her son, I love being inside her and in this way I'm not the typical murder victim. But the part of me that believes she is joking allows me to enjoy the (hopeful?) fantasy that I might be raped and killed by a girl I've had a crush on for 15 years.

I mean let's be honest, part of what turns me on is that she is a serial killer.

Even though she doesn't think of herself that way.

Or especially because she doesn't think of herself that way.

Her murders were natural, part of sex, manic, uncontrollable.

Nothing excited me more.

And as I felt her cunt slip up and down my cock, I knew I was going to cum first, and I knew she would be angry, and I knew that for her, fantasy could turn into fact at any time, and I wondered if when she felt my dick go soft, she might really drag that knife across my throat.

24

"Are you going to kill me and Ian?"

Laura put her arm around me and we looked over at the mountains rolling on and on forever.

"Let's not make plans in advance," she said.

Then she kissed me on the lips. She pulled back and I was looking at her like she was crazy.

"I'm not going to kill you. I don't know where you got that idea. You're getting paranoid and it's unattractive."

"Can I hold the knife?" I ask.

She reaches in her pocket and brings out the knife she had up against my dick last night. She slaps it into my hand.

"You feel better motherfucker?"

"Is that from Pulp Fiction?"

"Very good!" she says.

Then she brings out an identical knife she had stashed in her other pocket.

"I think you have the wrong idea about me," she says. "All that stuff that happened in the past..that was an accident. That was just college kids..fucking around..sneaking in the swimming pool at night. That's not me. I've spent a lifetime running from that Laura. You know?"

"It's just that most people don't have a this Laura and a that Laura."

"Yes they do. Theirs is just more..gradual."

"I'm gonna have to hike down this mountain now."

"No! Spend my last days with me!"

"Laura. How did we end up here? I mean you were just a girl on the internet. And I thought you were dead. That's what we were expecting to find..some bones and a backpack and a bottle of gin."

"The real me is a lot more..dangerous."

"Yes..you are to me and I don't mean in a serial killer way."

"Neither do I."

"You are dangerous because I like you now and I'm your downfall. I fucked your life."

"Didn't you kind of mean to?"

"No!"

"Let's talk about something that matters," Laura says.

I look at her sideways.

"That's right," she says. "Let's talk about something that matters. Do you think Ian will view you as a threat to his real dad?"

"You mean your dad?"

"Yes. Do you think he'll view you as an unwanted replacement for his real father—our father?"

I look at Laura.

"He could become angry at you," she says.

"Has he indicated that he might?" I say.

"No," she says, inhaling. "But it seems likely."

"Excuse me but what is your point?"

"We are on the top of a mountain. Why do I have to have a point?" Laura says. "What is your hurry. Where do you have to go."

"Ian doesn't seem to give a fuck about anything," I say.

"How far would you have gone to chase me? How long would you have written that book. And why, why were you writing it?"

"Because I'm a true crime author."

"But this particular book."

"The crime seemed unsolvable."

"You didn't know there was a crime."

"The mystery seemed unsolvable. Every time you had a theory, the sock in the tailpipe fucked it all up."

"What's 'the sock in the tailpipe'?"

"There was a sock in the tailpipe of your car."

"Really?"

"Yes. Didn't you put it there?"

"No."

"That's what I'm talking about. The sock in the tailpipe. It throws off every theory you can come up with about the case and the only way it makes sense is if you put it there."

"Which I'm telling you I did not."

"Right. So you disappeared on purpose with Lisa Morabito's help. Why was there a sock in your tailpipe?"

"I don't know. That is odd."

"You sound like Alice from Wonderland."

Laura laughs.

"Well," she says, "you know what M. Scott Peck would say."

"No. What would M. Scott Peck say?"

"That there's never any one reason for something happening. That there's never just one thing going on. Like ordering food. Why did you order the steak? Well it's not that simple. There's more than one reason. Why did I suffocate some kid with his mouth locked around my pussy, licking to his death?"

"Are you asking me?"

"Yes."

"There's more than one reason?"

"Right. There's more than one reason. And with that sock in the tailpipe. We always assume or when it's really more of an and sort of world."

"What does that have to do with this case?"

"You and your armchair detectives—no offense but I'm lumping you together in this aspect, but—you and your armchair detectives pose questions like: Was she abducted, raped, and murdered or did she disappear of her own free will? Or not and. Why can't it be that someone was trying to abduct, rape, and murder me and I disappeared of my own free will? That solves the sock in the tailpipe problem. It's not always just one thing going on."

"Do you realize how infinitesimal the chances are that someone tried to abduct you the same night you intentionally disappeared?"

"You're missing the other half of probability," Laura says.

"What is the other half of probability," I say.

"Have you ever heard of the birthday problem?" she says.

"No, I haven't."

"How do I explain this—"

"To someone as stupid as me?"

"No, baby."

She takes my arm.

"To someone who's read less probability than me."

"Why do you read probability?"

"Because it's interesting."

And she stands there, clear brown eyes, reflecting back the mountaintops at me.

"Tell me the other half of probability. In terms a true crime writer would understand."

"Ok," she says. "Well you know how we always say how unlikely things are? Like that's so rare, there's only a one in a million chance of that happening?"

"Right."

"Well, that makes unusual things sound unlikely, when we consider them in a vacuum. But there are billions, trillions, zillions of things that, today, have a one in a million chance of happening so really the chances are that a lot of highly unusual things will be happening today. That's the other half of probability. On one side, it's unlikely that any one unusual thing will happen. But on the other side, it's incredibly likely that lots of unusual things will be happening all the time. See?"

"You didn't put a sock in your tailpipe?"

"Why would I put a sock in my tailpipe?"

"To cause yourself to pass out and crash your car on purpose."

"That's a theory."

"Everything's a fucking theory here."

"Well I never knew anything about a sock."

"Your dad says he told you to put a sock in your tailpipe."

"He never told me that."

"He didn't?"

"No! Why would he tell me that?"

"Because your car wasn't running well?"

"Why would a sock in the tailpipe help?"

"Some mechanics say—"

"You interviewed mechanics?"

"We interviewed everybody."

"—to find out why someone would put a sock in a tailpipe?"

"Well—"

"This writing biz sounds like a great gig. How do I get into it? You just wander around asking mechanics the reasons for putting a sock in the tailpipe of a car? And you get paid for that?"

"We were trying to find you."

"No you weren't."

"What were we trying to do then?"

"You were trying to get laid. In some colossal, subtle way, you were all just trying to get laid. By the mythical Laura Lindsay. A 21-year-old piece of ass that every armchair detective and every true crime writer and every television watcher in the world wanted to stick their little dick in. That's all you were trying to do. So how far would you have gone? Would you look for me for 20 years? Thirty? What if I was 90—would you still want me? Would you fuck my pile of bones..with the backpack..and the gin bottle? If I was half-rotting would you necro me and all my maggots? You don't have to answer that."

"Yes. Yes I will answer that. I'd drink the rest of your gin—"

"I would have drunk it all."

"I'd drink some of my own gin, then, and I would fuck your rotting, maggoty pussy and then I'd cut off your head and take it with me and fuck your teeth with no gums cheeks or tongue and I'd cum in the back of your throat even though you don't have a throat anymore and I'd use your skeleton hand to give me hand jobs and I'd soak your bleached finger bones with semen so you didn't have to be so dry anymore."

"You'd do that for me?"

"Don't say that out loud."

"Why wouldn't I say it out loud?"

"Because Ian is standing behind us listening."

Laura turns around.

"It's ok," Ian says. "I like that you love each other."

You're probably wondering: where is the action? The whole first half of the book was speculation on what happened to some unremarkable college girl, drunk driver, asshole. Now they're on top of a mountain saying "I love you." Well, it's a story about a man in search of love—or a man in search of pussy, if you believe Laura Lindsay's version. I'm sorry. This isn't Terminator 2.

So, children of the first world, defeated by franchises like Transformers and Saw and motherfucking Hostel, you will be very disappointed to hear that what happened next—the action, if you will—was that Laura and Ian and I stood atop that motherfucking mountain, freezing our asses off (well I was freezing my ass off—those two were fucking Vermonters)..anyway we stood up there looking out over the ranges of Edmonton and thinking how big the world is, and bright, and beautiful.

Yeah, it sounds corny, motherfucker, but try to get into it or I'll blow your head off.

So we're on top of this mountain loving nature and loving life and having that amazing thing happen to us that also happens when you look up at the stars: we're feeling small. And while guns and bombs and so-called military "power" makes one feel big, trust me, the real profundity is to be felt in its opposite: feeling very, very small. Because atop a mountain—which are living, breathing, conscious things too—you have a sense of your place on the Earth, which is that of an ant, something so unimportant that it gets stepped on and dies accidentally all the time..by beings who are never in its whole life aware of its existence.

That's where we belong.

Maybe I belong divorced, my daughter forever hating me for not giving her a stable home and tons of money to go to whatever college she chooses.

Maybe Ian belongs in a rock band, famous, dead at 27.

Maybe Laura Lindsay belongs in a jail cell—ok, she does.

But for a moment we can be three ants, having climbed to the top of the mountain where daughters and families and jobs and art and the FBI do not exist. All that's up here is a little bit of air and a whole lot of space and a bird, circling, responding to our calls.

She sees us up here.

She wonders what we're doing.

We see her up here.

We wonder what she's doing.

But she can fly.

It's her business to be wherever she wants.

She'll never get arrested, write a poem, have a birth certificate. She was born with—literally—the wings to fly and we were born into a culture where we need a car to get around. We can't sleep in the wild like every other animal on the planet. Doesn't that ever make you wonder? How are we so separate from our Earth that we can't even live outside with our own skin?

We talked about that, and Laura Lindsay had some theories that frankly are too wild to put here or I'd lose my credibility with you. It must have been those extra four IQ points, but that woman had ways of seeing the world that I never would have imagined if I had spent my life without her—had spent my life alone.

25

That was the action. That was all the action there ever was.

Taking down the tent.

Climbing down the mountain.

Finding a Starbucks so Laura could have her last coffee before she was picked up by the FBI's Canadian counterpart.

The three of us sat by the window overlooking the parking lot of the Super Walmart.

Laura kept flicking her knife.

"Don't worry. I'm only homicidal when I'm having sex."

"I'm glad we're not having sex."

"Or when I'm driving."

"When's the last time you killed somebody?"

"I'm not exactly sure."

"How can you not be sure?!"

"Well. It's sometimes hard to tell if someone's completely dead."

"Fuck me. I don't think this relationship's going to work out."

"What relationship?"

I sip my latte.

Laura doesn't even look at me.

She's staring out the window when she says:

"Why did you call me a cunt in your book?"

"In WHITE GIRL MISSING? Did you buy it off Amazon?"

"No I mean this book. The one you're writing now."

"Well. I'm sorry. It was just a convention—"

"Calling me a cunt is not a convention."

"I know..I shouldn't call women cunts—"

"I never said women! I said me! Don't call me a cunt. I don't give a shit what you call other women."

I sip my latte some more. It seems like a pretty fruitful conversation. I wonder if she knows why men call women cunts. I wonder if I even know.

"Laura. When I was younger..there was this girl named Cory Caswell. Well it doesn't matter what her name was. But Cory and I used to like to play in the train yard. She was a cute girl. I had a crush on her. She would pull her pants down and show me everything. One day a train cut her in half—"

"Shhht. You know that has nothing to do with me, right?"

"I just thought—"

"I don't care about your little girlfriend. She's not me. I'm not her. You should have gotten over that shit a long time ago."

She sips her drink.

Then she looks at me, pained.

"I'm sorry she got cut in half."

"That was hard for you to say, wasn't it?"

"Quite."

"Are you really sorry?"

"I don't know."

She sips her drink and looks out the window.

"I want you to drive Ian back to Tucson."

"I will."

"I'm not asking you to be his dad but maybe you could give him five-hundred bucks or something. It'd be kind of hard for me to get to my money at this point."

"I will."

She looks at me.

"Thanks. You've been my only true friend in a while."

"Who ruined your life."

"Well. That's what true friends do, isn't it?"

I laugh.

"And good luck with your bitch wife. No offense but she sounds like a real fucking bitch. I think you should divorce that bitch and get yourself a real sports car—a stripper, probably."

"I know a stripper."

"Have you fucked her?"

"No."

"Fuck her."

Ian nods.

Like he knows anything about strippers.

"Should I go," she asks me.

"No. Stay. Stay a few more minutes."

"I'm just thinking of all the conversations we'll never get to have," she says.

"Let's have one now," I say.

"Well, there's the favorite movie conversation—that's dumb. There's the favorite color conversation—that's for second graders. Why don't you decide?"

"How about: why did you pick rugby?"

"Because..there's no body gear. There's no armor. People get concussions playing rugby. Football is for fags—"

"Laura, it's 2016, we don't use the word fags anymore—"

"It's for fags. You have to wear a helmet to tackle someone? Grow a pair. You know why lesbians play rugby?"

"I have no idea."

" 'Cause lesbians are badasses. American football is for grown men who really wanted to be ballet dancers. And that would have been a better use of their time, 'cause we need more good ballet in this country."

"So you chose rugby because you might get a concussion?"

"Might? I was hoping to get one. I wanted to fuck myself up for life. At least I'd do it doing something that mattered. Not sitting in an office somewhere playing with Excel spreadsheets. Now that's faggot work."

I had to agree.

"Did you ever hurt anyone playing rugby?"

"Lots of times."

"Anyone bad?"

"Hit this girl with the ball of my hand—right here, where the wrist comes in—hit that bitch so hard she went to the hospital and almost never came out. Now she can't talk and she lives with her mom. All she can do is like stare at the daisies out in back of the house."

"How do you know that?"

"I went to visit her!"

"Her mom let you??"

"She was glad for the company!! She liked to be near the girl that fucked up her girl. We had a special bond over that shit and shit. She drools, too. She's a real mess. But that's rugby. Her mom can always say she got fucked up playing rugby and people'll be like, 'Oooooh,' which is better than if they ask your daughter what she does and you're like, 'She picks her nose in a cubicle playing with Excel spreadsheets.' It's embarrassing."

"Do you feel bad about fucking her up?"

"It's part of the game. Could have been me. At least she has a mom that cares about her. If I was stuck in a wheelchair, my dad would be putting me to bed each night fucking my paraplegic ass. Can you imagine that? Not being able to move—maybe not being able to feel your vag—and your dad fucking you up to the years you were 39 and beyond? That's fucked up. You know he'd be doing it, too."

She slurps her drink and slams it down.

"At least Karen gets some pleasure out of those daisies!"

"Can I put my SIM card back in?" asks Ian.

"In a minute. Ian. Listen to me. What are you going to do?"

"Get a job?"

"No! Well, get a part-time job. Find somebody to live with. Don't try to take it all on at once. You're a chill kid but this is prob'ly gonna stress you out in ways you're not gonna realize for a while. You know, deep down. You like Tucson?"

"Yeah."

"Well find a couch. Just find the couch of one of your friends and take it easy. Do you know someone with a PlayStation 4?"

"Yeah."

"Move in with them. You want to have games at a time like this. Just play games, smoke, chill, don't watch the news. Don't—" She grabs him. "—Don't listen to what anybody has to say. You know me. You don't need anyone telling you who I am, ok?"

"Ok."

"Matthew's gonna drive you back. Are you ok with that?"

"Sure."

"You trust him?"

Ian looks at me and nods.

"Good," Laura says. "I'm getting another coffee."

While she's gone I ask Ian what he knows about his mother's youth.

"Is this going in your book?" he says.

"Yes. Yes. It's all going in the motherfucking book. Do you know what she did? Did she ever tell you?"

"Just that she was a wild child."

"Is that the term she used? Wild child?"

"Yeah, she said she had her fun."

"I guess she did. Do you ever have your fun?"

"Not like her, if that's what you're asking."

"I guess that is what I'm asking. You know—if anyone ever interviews you—you can always say you don't know."

"My mom told me that."

"Ok, good. I just want things to go well for you."

"Hot coffee," Laura says. "What a luxury."

"I'm sure they have hot coffee in jail, Mom."

"But it's not a raspberry chocolate mochachino."

"Is that even a real drink?"

"No but I forgot the name. It's hot, and it's chocolatey, and it has raspberry syrup in it—which makes me think of blood—"

"Like a girl's period blood?"

"No, blood like when you cut someone—and it's hot and delicious and—"

"You already said hot."

"It's still hot and it's still delicious and it's—honestly—it's a work of art."

"I think you're manic," I say.

"I think I am too!" she laughs.

"Maybe you should come with me and Ian."

"I don't think so," she says. "The die—"

"Don't say it again. Don't say it. We can alter course for Los Angeles. That's a good city to disappear in."

"You can't run from fate forever," Laura Lindsay said.

And I hated her for it.

She drank her mocha like a child at a birthday party—not someone enjoying their last few minutes of freedom.

"Well, Matthew, I'm sad it's been the last time I'll have your cock in me. You fuck pretty well for a writer. Still, I wish you had bipolar disorder 'cause I only ever really enjoy fucking people with bipolar disorder—"

"I do have bipolar disorder," I say. "It's part of what drew me to your case."

"Huh," she says. "Must have missed it in my research."

"It's very unnerving to know that my subject is researching me."

"Then go back to writing books about dipshits."

"I think I'm done with true crime. Your case sort of took the cake."

"Maybe you should write a book about you wanting to fuck a 21-year-old me..or was it the 14-year-old me that you wanted to fuck, like my father? Write a book about you being a pervert."

"I'm considering it."

"Write a book about how you're no different than the serial killer you thought abducted me—"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. Anyway I never thought you were abducted. I always knew you were in Tucson drinking espresso."

"How did you know that?"

"I just had a hunch."

"Maybe become a fortune teller then."

"Laura, I love you. I know it's not cool to tell you that in Starbucks in front of your son, but I love you, and it's not just some obsessive puppy love. It's not just because I'm writing a book about you. I love you for who you are and you just happen to be the subject of my book—that part was just luck, you see? I mean I love fucking you, I love just looking at you, I loved climbing that mountain with you and I love the silly conversations we have—"

"You think these are silly?"

"Yes! I think they're silly as hell, and I love that!"

"I thought we were working through some really deep shit here."

"I love your sense of humor."

"Thanks, but I mean, what are you gonna do? Sleep with me in my jail cell? Maybe the next time you go sleuthing you can do it a little quieter."

"I'm sorry."

"Look, do me a favor. Write me a good book. Make me a badass—like Juliette Lewis in every movie she's ever been in. Is that giving you an idea..?"

"I'll write you a good book," I say. "I'll tell the truth."

Laura looks at me slyly.

"I know you will," she says.

The three of us go to the car.

Me and Ian get in.

Laura stands there, folds her arms, and turns from side to side. I wish I could say we left a hero standing in that parking lot, but we didn't—we left a small child who can't find her mother.

As we pull away from her in front of the Edmonton Super Walmart, Laura unfolds her arms and reaches in a front pocket for the disposable phone. She dials a number with her thumb. We're still close enough that I hear her say:

"This is Laura Lindsay, killer of six unfortunate men in swimming pools, three state troopers, and a handful of other useless bastards."

Within eight minutes, they had picked her up.

Ian and I were long gone.

Driving south on the highway, toward the States.

Seeing, in my mind, mounted agents swarming the Walmart parking lot, closing in on my friend, the unwitting serial killer Laura Lindsay.

26

After that, Laura Lindsay was on the news.

She was on every channel.

I knew it would be good for my book. That may sound crass but when you spend 15 years working on something, you kind of need the money to last another 15 years.

This story was going to do it.

It was like Amanda Knox..times a hundred.

Because with Laura Lindsay, she had committed those crimes. She freely admitted it! And goddamn it, but Americans love a sex crime. Or six. Drowning college men while making them eat your pussy was more than the news could even say. They had to build euphemisms on euphemisms to even report the case. The internet was the only place to get all the dirt. I admit I even glanced at reddit.

Photos were leaked.

I don't know if Morabito leaked them because she was sick of all the secrecy or if some other college twat who was at one of those swimming pool parties leaked them for the money..

..but there were pictures.

Laura, naked, kneeling over some lucky freshman bastard with his cock buried deep inside her.

Well, I guess you could say he was lucky in that moment.

He's not lucky now—'cause he's dead.

I had to laugh.

I don't know if I was laughing at the absurdity of it or if I was laughing out of some psychic release wherein I realized I had fucked Laura Lindsay *and lived..*but I was laughing out loud.

"What's so funny?" my wife asked.

She and Casey were behind me in the dining room.

"Ahhh..I don't know. I just think it's funny the way the networks report things."

"Why? Do you feel like you have the inside track on Laura Lindsay now?"

I turn around.

Sarah has a drumstick in her hand and Casey is spooning mashed potatoes into her mouth like it's some kind of race.

"I made chicken!" my wife smiles, like something off The Truman Show.

"I'll be in there in a minute."

"You said that fifteen minutes ago!"

She's super cheery like an ax murderer that's about to go ballistic.

"I'll be..just give me.." I trail off.

In front of me is my own meal I got from Wendy's.

It consists of:

Two triple burgers.

Two fries.

Two chicken fingers.

Three Cokes.

A wad of napkins.

I grab a fry, reach for a chicken finger, dip the two in tandem first in barbecue sauce, then in ketchup, then in ranch dressing all without ever taking my eyes off the screens in front of me.

Laura Lindsay, killer of at least 10 men

"It's way more than 10," I say with my mouth full.

in recent days has been apprehended after a 15-year manhunt

"It wasn't a 15-year manhunt!" I scream at the TV.

FBI agents have raided her Tucson home where they found hair samples matching the DNA profile of several Arizona men believed to be killed while hiking by wild animals

"Get your sentence structure straight!!" I yell. "You motherfucking grammatical child."

"Matthew," my wife says. "Casey."

"Yeah, ok."

"No it's not ok. We're having dinner. You're part of a family. It erodes the image of family if you're in there while we're in here—"

"Ok but you can't say, '..believed to be killed while hiking by wild animals..' It's ambiguous. Were they hiking next to wild animals while they were being killed by some other means? You see what I'm saying?"

"Well you have the luxury of revision while he's on live television. I'm sure it's difficult to make things completely unambiguous and grammatically perfect while you're speaking on live TV."

"But Sarah, I mean geez, that was a terrible sentence construction."

"Will you come in here and eat?"

"I'll be there in a minute."

"No you won't."

"Holy shit what is your fucking problem?"

"You won't be in here so don't say you will."

"I'm doing something here—"

"What?! Research?? It's not research when the book is done. It's obsession."

"The book isn't actually done."

"It isn't?"

I look around at her.

"I have to re-do the ending!"

"You mean in light of your tryst with Laura Lindsay?"

"Tryst? Sounds like some word from the 1800s."

"I guess don't take me seriously then 'cause I used the wrong word."

I look back at the TV, reddit, Twitter. I'm streaming, refreshing, darting from here to there.

The academically inclined sophomore was believed to be dead, killed by an opportunistic serial killer

"You already said killed, motherfucker!!"

"Matthew!"

"This guy is a linguistic idiot!"

"Casey is in the room."

I hear my wife stand up.

"Ok, I'll try to say motherfucker less. Casey, you've heard that at school, right?"

I imagine Casey nodding but my eyes are glued to the screen.

Female serial killers are rare. In fact, there hasn't been a female serial killer of this magnitude in the United States in 50 years

"That's not true. That's not true!"

I shake my head.

"You don't even know your history."

But she is a serial killer of sorts..as much as a 21-year-old white girl can be a serial killer

"See?"

I turn around but Sarah is gone.

Casey is still sitting at the table with her mashed potatoes.

"See, Casey? That's a cousin to missing white woman syndrome. We saw it with Amanda Knox. We see it with Laura Lindsay. Some people just can't believe that a while girl can be a serial killer. They're the most coveted, protected, controlled class in our society. I'd hate to be one. It's like Laura says.."

I turn back to the TV.

"..everyone wants your pussy. But while this makes it inevitable that you're the victim, it also makes it impossible for you to be the perpetrator. How often do we execute white girls?"

"Not often," Casey says, and I turn and look at her, shocked.

I turn off the TV.

Close my laptop.

I go to Casey and pick her up from her chair.

I take her to the couch and sit her next to me and we read—get this—The Giving Tree. Book makes me cry every time but Casey loves it. I don't think you can understand how really sad that book is until you're grown.

When I'm done putting her to bed, I find Sarah in the kitchen with an open bottle of wine.

"What's going on here?"

"I'm taking a break."

"Mind if I take a break with you?"

"Anything to calm you down because you are manic."

I drink.

She drinks.

We look at each other.

It's like some kind of cavalry standoff in World War I.

"I'm almost done with this, I promise."

Sarah looks at me like I'm a snake.

"I'll rewrite the ending, then I'm done."

"You've been saying that for 15 years."

"But new information has come to light!"

"You brought it to light. You're making this happen. This isn't even Laura's life anymore. It's your life, which you're projecting on her..and worse, you're controlling her. You put her in jail. You did that. A mother was living peacefully with her child..not hurting a *soul..*and you fucked her life."

"I don't think it's exactly accurate to say that she wasn't hurting a soul."

"Now her kid doesn't have a parent. What if that was me, and I did something wrong..would you leave Casey without a parent?"

"Maybe wine isn't such a good idea."

I grab the bottle.

Sarah grabs it back.

"I'll drink till I'm good and done," she says.

"Right," I say. "I getcha."

"Did you use protection with that girl?"

"Why do you care?"

"Because if you didn't, I don't ever want to have sex with you again."

She drinks.

"But if you did, you better take me upstairs and fuck me like you fucked her because I'm feeling an intense need right now to be fucked like I'm a 21-year-old girl."

"How about a 14-year-old girl?"

I decide to risk it and it pays off.

My wife says:

"Even better."

So I take that angry simplistic bitch upstairs and I fuck her like I'm the only one who matters—which of course gets her off right away. I rub her panties in her face. I fuck her ass. I grab her hand and make her give me an almost hand job then I force her down on her face and I fuck her like it's her first time, just taking and taking and taking everything I can from her pussy, and her mouth is open and her fingers are gripping the sheets and I can't tell you how hard it made me, knowing my wife wanted to be fucked like Laura Lindsay. I mean, the thought of serial killers gets everyone off.

After I was done I just left her there with blood and cum all over the insides of her thighs and I thought about how good it used to be in the beginning and how much of a waste it had been in the middle and I was glad we were getting some more good here at what was bound to be the end.

Downstairs, I gave up on cold cheeseburgers and ate the news.

I didn't mean to kill them, Laura was saying. You know how when you're a little girl, you rub your legs together and it's exciting even though you don't know how to cum? Well I always had that excitement between my legs..even in my college days..even now..and you know when a guy eats you out and you're just like ohhhhhhhhhhh*..? And it gets unbearable and you rub your legs together not unlike a cricket..isn't that how they make their sounds? To tell the time and temperature? I think that's how they do. Anyway I have that..this insatiable need to rub my legs together when a guy is eating me out and sometimes it doesn't work out well for the guy. But I like being eaten out and I hope guys will continue to do it, despite the risk*—

Don't worry, Laura, they will. You'll be eaten out in prison by every guard you choose. Female prisoners, cafeteria workers, maintenance men..probably your fucking psychiatrist. Everyone loves a white woman.

Also, my son lives in Tucson and you girls should check him out

Ok, Laura, let's try to stay on topic

In fact, I put out a challenge for a hundred girls to suck his dick in the next week

Rookie mistake. Never interview Laura Lindsay on live TV.

Do you feel bad about your crimes?

Laura just laughs.

Are you going to answer the question?

Laura laughs again.

People want to know

Well. Your question sounds like it's from..Mister Rogers' Neighborhood..so..ask me a different question and I'll answer that one

What does that mean..it sounds like it's from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?

It means it's simplistic as hell and you're wasting my motherfucking time

It's been said that you have a very high IQ. Is that true?

No. Helen Keller's was much higher. Do you read much Helen Keller?

I can't say that I have

Do you want to know what she has to say on the concept of security?

I don't think we have time

If you don't have time for Helen Keller then you're missing out on life, believe me

We do have one more question for you

Let me guess. You want to know the size of my dick

No. There's so much information about you on the web. Are there certain articles or podcasts you would recommend to our audience as standouts, ones they should definitely check out?

About me?

About your crimes..and your life

Laura looks straight into the camera.

The only book worth reading, she says, is the one by Matthew Temple

It cuts to a Tide commercial.

I stand up.

I scream, "THANK YOU, YOU INSANE BITCH!!"

Then I say to myself, "You just made me a millionaire."

27

Then interviewers were on my doorstep.

"What was it like to fuck Laura Lindsay?"

"Who are you with, again?"

"I'm with CNN."

"Does CNN ask questions like, 'What was it like to fuck Laura Lindsay?' "

"We do now, sir. So what was it like to fuck her sweet-twat 21-year-old steaming-muffin pussy?"

"She's 39."

I wipe my eyes.

I'm still in my bathrobe.

"Did you find it difficult to betray the object of your obsession over these 15 long years."

"Do you think I betrayed her?"

"Well. Didn't you."

"She turned herself in."

"Well, in a literal sense—"

"There is no other sense," I say. "Everything is in a literal sense."

"But without you she never would have been caught."

"That doesn't mean I betrayed her."

"Well, with every respect, sir..what does it mean?"

"It means I did my job. I write true crime books. I've written seven of them. Sometimes the person goes to jail in the end."

"But isn't that your doing?"

"No. It's Laura Lindsay and the US Justice Department's doing. She broke the law. She goes to jail. That's how it works here except for rich people and politicians. Now would you please get off my fucking doorstep. I'm feeding my daughter breakfast."

"How has this been on your marriage?"

"How has what been?"

"Your affair with Laura Lindsay."

Of course I should have played it coy but I said fuck all that.

"People have affairs all the time."

"So you admit you fucked the sweet-teen sugar-coated candy-at-the-center-of-the-Tootsie-Roll pussy of the infamous serial killer Laura Lindsay?"

I look around.

"Are you reading this off a script or something?"

"No, sir, just asking the tough questions."

"Stop saying sir and if you mention a Tootsie Roll again I'll kick you in the nuts."

"Is that a threat?"

"Yes, it is, and I'm calling 911 on myself right now. Do you have any substantive questions or can I go back to feeding my kid."

"Well, your personal relationship with Laura Lindsay is of interest to the public."

"I said substantive."

"You don't think that having fucked a missing white girl—the very white girl whose death you were investigating—isn't substantive?"

"I was investigating a disappearance, not a death. You almost pushed yourself down to armchair detective status with that one."

"Armchair detective, sir?"

"Just get the fuck off my porch."

"But aren't you going to tell us what it was like to fuck the spike-hot, juicy-wet, tight-as-a-rat's-ass pussy of the most notorious female serial killer in modern history—?"

I'm closing the door in his face as he says this.

"Daddy, who was that?"

"Just some people trying to make a living."

"What's a Tootsie Roll?"

"It's this old kind of candy. You've probably never heard of it."

"Why was he asking you about Tootsie Rolls?"

"I guess he has a sweet tooth or something."

"What's a sweet tooth?"

I smile at my daughter.

"You are full of questions."

"I want to know."

"A sweet tooth..is when you like to eat sugar..and sugary things..like cheesecake and Jolly Ranchers and shit like that."

"You won't even let me put sugar on my grapefruit."

"Sugar on grapefruit is for pussies."

"But Amy puts sugar on her grapefruit."

"It's better without. Trust me. It's a more mature taste."

Sarah comes downstairs. Bathrobe as well.

"Did I hear you say pussy to our daughter?"

"Yeah, I was explaining—never mind."

"So now that you fucked Laura Lindsay, there are no rules—is that it?"

"I said pussy, you said fuck. Now we're even."

Casey happily eats her Special K like she heard none of that.

My wife comes 'round to me, hissing:

"It's bad enough that she has to hear you talking to CNN at our house but you have to tell her that people who eat grapefruit with sugar on it are pussies? I eat my grapefruit with sugar on it—am I a pussy?"

"In that regard, yes."

"So what are you for fucking a teenage girl—"

"She's not a teenage girl! She's 39!! She's older than me for goddamn!!!"

"But you fucked her like she was a teenage girlthat's what matters."

"How do you know this?"

"She said it on the news! You basically told me yourself!!"

"She said that on the news?"

"Yes!!"

"I'll have to have a talk with her about that."

"You're going to talk with her??!!"

"I'll have to, won't I?"

"Why??"

"To tell her that saying I fucked her like a 14 year old isn't helping her case."

"I'll be 14 in.." Casey holds up her fingers and counts them out for us. "..years."

"That's right, honey," my wife says.

Then she glares at me.

"You're a good counter," I tell my daughter. "And I'm sorry," I say to my wife, "about all the Laura Lindsay talk around the house lately—"

"Lately!! Ha!! Casey knew who Laura Lindsay was before she was born. You were on the side of my womb, telling her about your book and this oh-so-fuckable white girl who went missing in the mountains of New Hampshire—"

"That's not exactly true."

"But the spirit of it is true."

"But that doesn't make it actually true."

"It might as well have been true!!"

"Sarah, it's not true. Do you actually think that happened?"

"I remember it that way sometimes."

"Well stop! Because it didn't happen!!!"

"You've been making love to that girl in your mind for so long, your memories aren't exactly solid state, either. Do you think of her as 39? Or do you think of her as 21. Or do you think of her as 14."

Casey counts out her fingers, again, silently, to the time she'll be 14.

"You don't know, do you?" my wife tells me. "You don't really know."

I stand up and rub Sarah's arms.

"How is any of this really affecting you—us?"

"Uh..CNN is at the doorstep, that's how."

"They'll be gone in a few days. Remember The Dude. Nothing is fucked here, man, nothing is fucked."

"Yeah but in that scene everything is fucked so I think your reference is working against you."

"I think you're working against me. And at a time when it's totally unnecessary. The book is over. It's over. My final revisions are online. The last chapters are there. Are they difficult—for you, for our family, for me?—yes. But we're in a better position financially than we ever have been—"

"Ha!" my wife says. "Listen to you. Is that all she was to you—a boost to our bank account?"

"You're defending her now?" I say.

"You're in a catch-22," my wife says. "She's either nothing to you—just a book subject, just a paycheck—or it meant something to you when you fucked her at 39, 21, 14, or whatever the age!"

"I'm only in a catch-22 because you're putting me in a catch-22. We could just as easily be eating Special K with our daughter talking about something else entirely."

"You can move on that easily?"

"Yes. I'm going to go talk to Laura tomorrow and straighten some things out—"

"So you haven't moved on."

"Laura Lindsay is kind of like a business partner—don't you see that?"

"That's like saying a rendering plant and a cow are business partners. Don't you see that?" Sarah says, and pours herself a bowl of Special K. "If you wanna have Special K," she says with her mouth full of it, "sit the fuck down with me and Casey. We're having Special K."

"That's right," my daughter says, smiling.

"Are you really going to see that bitch in prison tomorrow?" my wife says.

And Casey copies her, inflection and all. She squints her eyes at me and holds her spoon as a weapon.

"Are you really going to see that bitch in prison tomorrow?"

"Don't copy Mommy. Daddy and I have some important things to talk about and we're using grown-up language not appropriate for children."

"Yes I'm really going to see her."

"That's not going to look good in a custody hearing."

"How long have we known each other, Sarah? Can't we do this cooperatively?"

"We didn't do Laura Lindsay cooperatively."

"What exactly would that have meant?"

"You don't tell me you're going to Vermont. You ask me..we work it out together."

"The story is in Vermont. I had to go to Vermont."

"It's just your general attitude," she says.

"I can't course correct based on that kind of vagueness."

"And I can't draw you a fucking road map."

She hits the table.

A tiny bit of milk spills out of her bowl of Special K.

We both look at it.

She knows I want to clean it up.

But it's hers, not mine, to clean, and if I touch it we'll have World War III.

Sarah looks at me with supreme satisfaction that I will not touch that drop of milk—that she owns it, owns that little mess, and I won't dare to impose my order on it.

She smiles. Wide.

"You liked fucking that little girl as if she was 14."

"You liked it too," I say.

"If you see that bitch in the jail cell, Casey and I will be gone when you get home."

"To where?"

"The Homewood Suites."

"The Homewood Suites? That's so cheesy. And they're kind of expensive."

"We can afford it now. You said. Laura Lindsay can afford it."

"It'll be months before we have that money."

"You were so proud of that endorsement. When she said your book on TV? I wish you had been half as proud of anything our daughter had done in her life."

"That's really not fair."

"What's the title of your book again?"

"WHITE GIRL MISSING."

"Ha!" my wife says. "It's disgusting."

"It's supposed to be ironic."

"I know," she says. "You think it's ironic. But it's not ironic. It's exactly, literally what you think. You think you're making some kind of anti-male, anti-sexist, progressive statement..but you're not. You're reinforcing exactly what you think you're pageanting against." She keeps laughing. "It's not ironic. It's a confession. Of. Exactly. What. You. Think."

She eats her Special K.

Casey wanders off into the living room to play GTA.

"If you see that bitch in the jail cell, Casey and I will be at the Homewood Suites."

"I got you the first time. I don't know if you're telling me again to convince yourself, to bargain with me, or if you just enjoy the sound of threats coming out of your mouth."

Sarah looks at me, truly hurt, on the verge of tears.

"But I'm not going to bargain with you. I'm going to the jail cell because I have business to attend to and nothing you say is going to stop me from going, even the Homewood Suites. You wanna destroy something good—that's been good for a long time—when it isn't absolutely necessary—fine, go ahead. What goes on in your head is your business. Talk about it with your therapist 'cause I am through having this argument with you."

"At least I didn't cheat on you," she says.

"You know what the worst part about that is?" I say. "It's not that you're lying to *me..*it's that you're lying to yourself."

Sarah says humph.

"Sarah," I say. "We share a bank account."

"You read the bank account?"

"Sarah. You leave receipts on the table. Maybe you don't know you do it but you come home, you set your purse down, you put down your keys, and underneath them are receipts for where you've been..what you've been doing the night before. You don't have to tell me about it but don't go out of your way to tell me you've been faithful. Please. Just don't say anything at all."

And Sarah starts crying. And she won't look at me. And that's the rest of our day.

28

I tried to get them to let me meet her at her cell but because she was technically classified as a violent offender, we met through the glass.

Telephone, all that bullshit.

Guards waiting behind her.

I mean she's just a little girl! What's she gonna do to you?

You're scared of Laura Lindsay? She's as much of a criminal as my grandmother. Honestly they lock anybody up for anything these days. I mean yeah she killed a few people but maximum security?! Fuck. She should be in a psych hospital somewhere. Maybe.

"Hey baby," she says, all throaty, sitting down.

"Hey LL."

"It's LL now?"

"Just something I called you in my studies. In my research. In my mind."

"Is that what you said when you were jacking off to my missing persons poster in your office?"

"I don't remember what I said. I didn't know you back then."

"You remember what my pussy feels like?"

"How are you doing in there?"

"What, in the Ritz-Carlton? You could stay here your whole life, they have everything..I'm kidding. I'm joking. I'm kidding, I'm joking."

"Seriously, though. What's it like?"

"You wanna write a book on that, too?"

"I'm actually concerned about you."

"But what are you gonna do about it?" She sighs. "What do you want to know? The showers have stinkbugs in them two inches long. I used to avoid them now I just squish them between my toes. I'm not allowed to shave my pussy—only clippers—and only under armed supervision—so I'm never going to get to feel what it's like to have naked pussy lips again. How's your book selling? Or can I say..our book."

"I'm sorry you can't shave your pussy lips."

"I asked you a question. Did you like the shoutout I gave you on CNN?"

"Yeah, Laura. That was nice."

"What about the one on Fox News?"

"I don't watch Fox News."

"Not even for me you don't watch Fox News?"

"I didn't know you were on."

"You did 15 years of research on me, you knew I had a sock in the tailpipe of my Honda when I didn't even know that and yet you somehow missed an interview of me on Fox News?"

"I'm sorry I just don't watch that channel."

"Well I gave you a shoutout anyway."

"Thanks."

"If I had known you were such a lefty I never woulda fucked you."

"Good thing I kept it a secret."

"Fuck, Matthew..here's the thing.."

She leans in toward the glass.

"..I've been here a month. A month. You know what I can't stand? It's not that I hate it here. It's that I'm getting used to it. It's that it's not that bad. After a month."

She leans back.

"They say your mind expands or shrinks to the size of the world that contains it. Someone famous said that."

"I've heard that, yeah. But your mind isn't going to shrink. It's big. It's big like the ocean. I've seen it. I've interacted with it. I know."

"It already has. It's already shrunk to the size of a walnut. Next month it'll be the size of a peanut. Then a cashew. Then a pea. When you visit me in four months it'll be a grain of sand."

"Do you get counseling in here?"

"From the equivalent of Bert and Ernie but yes, I get counseling."

"What does that mean, Bert and Ernie?"

"It means my psychiatrist is Bert and my therapist is Ernie. What do you think it means?"

I look her over. She's already skinnier, hair greasy, black stuff under her fingernails.

"They don't give me a nail file," she says. "How's your kid?"

"Ahh..she's probably going to turn out like you."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"She's hypersexual. She had a boy stick his finger up her vagina the other day."

"Did she tell you about it?"

"Yes. With no reservation."

"It make your cock hard?"

"Actually no it didn't."

"Enjoy it, just don't fuck her—that's what I say. I mean you've got to enjoy watching her turn from girl to woman—every father does. Just don't cross the line and actually..fuck..her—"

"I'm not gonna fuck my daughter, ok?"

"That's what everyone says until they actually do it."

"Well I have no current plans to."

"Just wait till the moment arises, though. Always keep a third party present. No tent camping, that's for sure. Stay accountable, you'll clear that hurdle no prob."

"Kinda worried about you, Laur."

"And yet you're in no position to do anything about it so how does that make you feel?"

"Is that the kind of question your therapist asks you?"

"Yeah, he's real basic. University student or some shit."

"Do you tell him how you feel?"

"Nah, I just fuck with him for half an hour till he leaves."

"Your sessions are only half an hour?"

"The sessions are for an hour but he can only make it 30 minutes before he's had enough of me."

I laugh.

"What do you do?"

"I fuck with his head, what do you think? I have to keep myself entertained somehow."

"Like how do you fuck with him?"

"Wouldn't you like to know? Is this seriously for another book?"

"No, no, there's no more books. I just want to know."

"I just say sexual things is all."

"Like what?"

"Like I describe him giving a pig fellatio..in terms that Faulkner would consider graphic—"

I laugh.

"He can't handle it. He's a cultural lightweight."

My eyebrow raises.

"You know, like he can't handle transgressive shit. He takes everything too seriously. He thinks everything is real. Like dude if you never actually gave a pig fellatio then you've got nothing to worry about."

"It's performed fellatio or gave head, not the other way around."

"Look at you: giving grammar classes in a prison! Hey!! You!! This is the kind of stimulation I need. Can you give this guy a day pass or something?"

The guards don't answer; they don't even bother looking her direction.

"Do we have more time?" she asks them.

One of the guards nods her head.

"I want you to bring me some magazines."

"What kind?"

"Ones with swimmers in them."

"Are you fucking kidding me?"

"Look, don't judge me. Just help me. They can't be too explicit 'cause if they think I'm jilling off to them they'll take them away. So what I'm thinking is..if you could get me some Michael Phelps promotionals. They just have to show his face, his neck, his jaw. I don't think anyone will suspect—"

"Laura. What is your thing with swimmers?"

"Didn't you fuckin' write your book already? Kinda late to be researching my psyche, isn't it?"

"You're obsessed. You still jerk off to swimmers?"

"Jill off, mister, but it's ok—I know you don't understand the terminology."

"I understand the terminology."

"Just get me the magazines."

"Why?"

"Because I want to fucking cum."

"Why are you obsessed with swimmers?"

"Oh, you mean because my older sister was a swimmer and she got electrocuted one Christmas in the hot tub?"

"Both your sisters are alive."

"I know. I'm just trying to make up something you would understand. The real truth is darker and more terrifying—oh shit, I was trying to quote Hannibal Lecter but I fucked it up."

"Tell me the truth and I'll bring you the magazines."

"See! This is just like Silence of the Lambs!! Quid pro quo, motherfucker!!!"

"I think we're done," I say.

The guard comes over.

"No no no no no no no no no no no," Laura says. "You owe me."

"We alright here?" the guard says.

I look at her and nod.

She goes back and stands against the wall.

"You know a person's secret is their soul. Sacred. Secret. Anyway if you don't know where I leaned to hate swimmers then you're a terrible researcher."

"You hate them, but you want to get off to them?"

"Life is complex like that, isn't it."

"Who was the original swimmer?"

"That's a good question. That's the right question. And you know what they say.."

"What do they say?"

"Asking the right question is 90% of finding the right answer."

"It's ok, I'll bring you the magazines."

"You will?! Don't you want to know the answer?"

"I already do."

"Ha ha ha," Laura says. "You're a smart motherfucker."

"Just like Brad."

"That's right, the metric system," she says, and we both stare at each other. "So who is he?" she says.

And I say, "He's your dad."

Laura closes her eyes. "Thank you, Clarice..thank you."

"Would you fucking stop with that shit??!! You're in a federal prison!! We don't have time for games."

"But we don't reckon time the same way, do we?" Laura says.

"If you quote another movie I'm standing up and walking away."

"No you're not," she says. "I know something about you."

"Save it."

"Something obvious—something anyone would know. Your wife, your daughter."

"Thrill me with your acumen," I say, matter of fact.

"You want me," Laura says. "Otherwise you wouldn't have spent 15 years tracking me down. And someone who wants you that bad isn't going to give up a minute of the time they can spend with you."

And she was right: I'd be there till the guards kicked me out.

I'd prob'ly stand outside the prison like a puppy and hope against hope that Laura Lindsay came walking out the front door..thirty years early.

I wanted to be in her prison bed with her, fucking the jail time out of her, holding her hair, grabbing it, pulling it above her head.

I wanted to fuck the crazy right out of that bitch.

Fuck her so hard she got everything in her mind completely right.

Fuck her until she forgot her father ever had—till it was only my dick she imagined, and felt, between her legs, forever.

That fucking bitch had saved my life.

Saved me from death by boredom via my wife Sarah.

Saved me from being just a dad.

That fucking cunt gave me something to do for 15 years of my life and now her precious pussy was locked away where nobody who deserved it could get at it, where no one worthy could have her. I had fucked Laura Lindsay and I had fucked her again—for good, this time. By the time she got out of here, her pussy wouldn't be good for a thing.

"I'm sorry," I say to her.

"Because you'll never get to fuck me again," she says. "That's what you're sorry for."

"Yes, I guess that's it," I say, not wanting to argue.

"You and every guy I ever met. They always want to fuck you one last time. What do you think?—Some kind of magic's going to happen? You're going to get the girl's pussy and she's going to magically transform you with her powers? You believe in the transformative power of pussy? Do I believe in the transformative power of cock? It's a good question. I might think of it tonight, in my cell with no window..a window in my mind..transformative cock..transforming power of a fuck-a-duck..heh..you came all the way here to ramble on about how you want to fuck me one last time. Well, I think you have, Mister True Crime Writer, I think you have fucked me for the very last time. Do you want a look?"

Then she pushed down the pants of her uniform and showed me everything and the guards were all over her, dragging her away screaming and on the drive home all I thought about was her madness.

29

Here's one of the letters Laura sent me from prison:

Dear Mister Matthew Temple,

The pencil stolen from Fort Knox didn't say, "My daughter is a West Point graduate." Pardon the correction but I've been re-reading WHITE GIRL MISSING in my spare time and you've got a few things wrong. Why would they have West Point memorabilia at the Fort Knox gift shop? Nice for your story that I stole a pencil which referred to my status as a potential West Point graduate and that that is what got me kicked it out. How does the truth taste to you? Cheap and metallic, like sucking on a greasy coin? Like Hannibal Lecter, all I have is my memory, and it's of movies mostly, those lines that suffice in conversation better than anything you thought up if you cared to think. My sisters and I used to talk in movies all the time. We had Back to the Future memorized. Mem-o-rized. Like every fucking line. I'm sure we watched that movie 40 times.

Um. Update. I've become famous.

Guys send me their jock straps. Girls send me their panties. The guards hold back the ones with scat on them. I think it's people's way of connecting with their violent side..whichas I'm sure you knowis also their sexual side. Weren't we talking about how people always want to sleep with the mentally ill (well..crazies)? Or were you just writing about it? Anyway of course it's true: people like to sleep with crazy people, redheads, anything they can get their hands on. But the ultimate fantasy is to sleep with a serial killer. Did you know that pumas in the wildthey're very territorialthey live alone as adults and each has a territory. If a male puma goes into a female puma's territory, he doesn't know whether he's gonna get fucked or killed. That's how territorial a puma isthey literally would just as soon kill you as fuck you. There are some snakes that have this same problemthe California kingsnake, you might want to check it out. And of course people.

Anyway re: being famous, I guess I have you to thank for that.

So thanks, you fucking weirdonow people mail me their underwear.

More corrections from your book:

I'm not a fucking cunt.

I'm not a bitch.

"A cunt is a cunt is a cunt is a cunt" is a triple tautology. Actually it's not even a tautology. I think it is the vilest sentence I have ever read.

Your suggestions that, as a child, Lisa Morabito killed her best friend with a pipe bomb made me laugh. Just because your father did some work for the mob does not mean that a seven year old knows how to make a fucking pipe bomb. I'm sorry but you are a fucking idiot. Lisa was afraid to jump off the diving boardthe low dive. She was afraid to pick her fucking scabs. She did not like to get her hands dirty, as you say. Also: what a cliché. Embarrassing for a writer of your supposed caliber.

Speaking of caliber, every freshman at West Point learns to shoot a .50 caliber machine gun. The Browning M2 is like a pocket knife to those people. Every year someone dies during training. You're cleaning up shells and some dotard steps in front of the gun to pick up a shell and some other dotard fires the weapon right at that moment and it blows the asshole's head off. Fucking assholish shit like that happens every year at West Point and every military training facility in the world. It's only publicized locally, of course. But my point is: you fetishizing me as one of Tarantino's Chicks Who Love Guns is youradmittedly subtleway of saying this cunt is sexy because she can shoot a machine gun that none of you will ever touch in your life. I never certified as "Expert"I qualified as "Sharpshooter" but I didn't have my contacts that day so I guess that's the same as "Expert" in both of our minds. And if you want to be accurate, you don't qualify in those terms on that weapon"Expert" and "Sharpshooter" are qualifications for rifles and pistols. I qualified as "Sharpshooter" without my contacts on an M16, which is a fucking machine gun that you hold in your arms not an M2 which sits on the fucking ground or, yes, is mounted to the top of a hummer or inside a fucking helicopter or shit.

Fun fact about the M16: it's designed to injure, not to kill. See, you wait for one guy to come out, then you shoot himanywhere but the head. Then some other fucknut comes out to save his buddy. Then you shoot him. Every army in the world has a leave no man behind policy because no army in the world could survive without one so motherfuckers keep coming and coming and trying to save their buddies and you shoot them all. I didn't even have to graduate West Point to know that.

What else. Thanks for the magazines. Me and Phelps have been getting some quiet time by the light from the hallway. Oooh. There's something about that jaw. I can hardly get to my pussy for all the hair on it and I can barely cum from the fucking Celexa, but I get off for him. And for you. Don't worry. I think about you sometimes. I imagine myself as you and wonder what it would be like to be a guy who wanted to fuck a 14 year old. Complex, eh? I even imagine I have a dick and you're a 14-year-old girl with a tight pussy and I try to think what it would be like to stick it in a girl like you guys do.

It's hard to imagine pussy from a guy's point of view. But I sincerely try.

I almost snapped a woman's head off the other day, but you'll have to send more magazines if you want to hear that story. Quid pro quo, you know? Don't worry, she was a cuntso you don't have to feel bad about her almost dying.

What else can I say about your book? You have an interesting use of a and the..using the incorrect one that sounds better? I like it. It's less technical and more personable. Good choice.

My mental health is improving. I'm on a slew of drugs and your letters may very well get me transferred to a psychiatric institutionwhich I guarantee you'll regret. I'll be on a mixed-gender floor, I'll get cock all the time in the laundry room and you'll have to think of another guy's semen dripping from my hole which will be shaved even in a maximum-security institution.

I long to fuck you when you're 80.

I long not to clean my own toiletwhen I'm out I'm getting a maid.

I hope to find your daughter someday and get her to let me consensually lick her twat just to fuck with you. Make that little bitch cum and have you know I'm thinking of her when she's sixor seven?years old.

Then I want to take her swimming with me, push my suit to the side, and have her lick me underwater. Hold that little bitch's head down until she licks me good enough for air. If she doesn't lick good enough, then she doesn't come up for air. But I'm not mad at you or anything.

I just think it would be fun.

You never really knew me till just now, did you?

See I don't actually give a fuck.

You can't actually lock me up. I'm just as free now as I was before, except I'm in this tiny little room.

But I'm not in this little room.

I'm in a field, and I'm the wind, and there's a flower.

Have you ever gone deeply inside your mind?

Is it a big place?

I bet yours is a big place.

Mine goes back to about three, playing Raiders of the Lost Ark in the back yard with my sister. I might have been five. We would make the temple of doom by scooping our hands in the dirt. Build tunnels. Sculpt the big boulder. Our Indiana Jones was just our two fingers running away from the ball as it came down to crush him.

And mine goes back to the library at our elementary school, and the library where I worked in high schoolmy first joband the library at the community college where I took math classes in the tenth grade because the school didn't have anything to offer me.

But I didn't go to the classes.

I only went on test days.

The rest of the time I'd go to the library and read.

I felt lonelylike I wasn't getting what I need.

There were books on subliminal advertising techniques and drama books with classic plays and real math booksmuch better than what I was supposed to be studying upstairsbooks on probability and pi and hard problems..the kind of problems that twist anyone's mind, no matter how smart they are.

A lot of my mind is libraries.

And a lot of my mind is food.

I eat 20 meals a day. Pizza mostly. I sit at my laptop in the Domino's pizza builder and put together combinations. Chicken bacon ranch is my favorite. Or garlic and fetaI mean sausage and feta! With big chunks of sausage and big chunks of feta. We had this pizzeria in Brattleboro that made the best steak grinders. Fuck.

I can make myself not-hungry by eating a fake meal.

Your mind has the same experience and produces the same chemicals as if you'd eaten an actual meal and it makes your stomach not-hungry, so you don't have to eat as much.

There's a chicken pasta with jalapeños that I like to think about often.

But, yeah, if you open your eyes, it's kinda bleak.

So please keep writing the governor.

I can meditate for eight hours in a row now.

I guess you're not coming back.

I assume that means you got it together with your wife.

She probably said No more Laura Lindsay, right?

It's ok. I knew you visiting every month would never happen.

I deserve to be separated from everyone because I have a problem.

You shouldn't have to deal with it, either.

I have thought about killing myself but I can't because of Ian.

That's a lie.

When I'm suicidal I don't give a fuck about anything.

Including my fucking kid.

Including me.

That's the thing about suicideit's an irrational state. But you don't know that at the time. At the time you think people who love you hate you..like I literally think Ian hates me for being in prison and he would prefer it if I killed myself.

That's the dangerous thing about it.

I start thinking what an embarrassment I must be to all of Ian's friendsyou know? How can he grow up with his mother being Laura Lindsay? Live his whole life not just with his mother being a serial killer but being a weird, sick, twisted, sexual freak of a serial killer. I mean it's ok for a man to be a rapist. We all understand Ted Bundy, right? Who wouldn't want to fuck a bunch of college girls?coupla 12 year olds? But when a girl has this uncontrollable urge to rub her legs together while she's fucking a guy underwater..and his face gets all mixed up in it? No one's got any sympathy for a white girl who likes to masturbate with a guy's face until he drowns.

Sincerely yours,

Laura

30

Let me tell you what happened on the way home from counseling one day.

Don't worry, it all gets back to Laura Lindsay.

And then it all gets back to me.

First I set my phone on the office manager's desk and when I leave, I leave with the wrong phone. When I try to make a call, I realize my mistake, go back, and swap phones with the office manager.

My therapist comes out and asks what I came back for.

I tell her and we all laugh.

Then, on the way out of the office the second time, I call my therapist, "Stephanie."

My therapist's name is Kathryn.

I'm like, "See you later, Stephanie!"

And she's like, "I'm not Stephanie."

Then I say, "My bad, beautiful."

I called her beautiful.

She says, "Why don't you come in my office and let's talk for a few more minutes."

This degrades into her giving me a written test and while I'm taking it I'm looking at the blue headings above the questions printed in all capitals and I realize the edges are buzzing like I'm on acid (which I was not).

As she's looking over my answers I'm wondering why the room is so sharp and electric and nothing Stephanie is saying is making any sense. I have felt this before and I have enough meta brain still active to know that I'm delusional—that I'm not making sense.

My therapist thumps the paper with the blue ink and says, "According to this, you're manic. I want you to go to the hospital next door."

So I go to the hospital and I meet a surgeon on the elevator on my way to get checked out by a psych evaluator. He's balding and thin and dressed in a suit and we're just talking shit and stuff and I come to think that I don't really want to see a psych evaluator. I never told this surgeon why I was there so I just get off at the wrong floor and take the stairs and the next thing I know I'm in a fancy restaurant with all these homeless men on checks drinking high-class liquor. They realize instantly that I'm crazy because they are too. They raise a glass to me but I'm drinking water.

I leave because some bitch waitress wants me to order food and I'm not hungry.

Then I'm hanging out with a bunch of high school kids I collect on the way from the restaurant to my car (because I'm super friendly because I'm having a manic episode—right?) and these kids diagnose me too! They offer to take my bag for me and meet up with me later since I'm having trouble carrying it but I can't remember my phone number or the pin to my phone so I can't give them my info or have them give me theirs.

And I look at these kids. These teenagers.

And they're all young and have good lives and are going to go to top-tier colleges and shit. You can tell by their hair and their teeth that they have money. I mean I can tell by the smell of their shampoo.

Now here comes that same surgeon in the parking lot and he says, "Hey, weren't you supposed to go the hospital?"

"Did I say that?"

"You said your counselor wanted you for a psych eval."

"I said that?"

"It's the first thing you told me."

We ride the elevator back up.

My wife has left me by this time by the way.

She's living with Casey in San Francisco.

There's a girl with us in the elevator.

There's also a shelf in the elevator wall.

The shelf contains a flower.

The girl is watering the flower.

I accidentally knock the wall which spills plant water on this pretty girl's white dress.

She cries.

Her mascara runs.

I say I'm sorry but she waves her hand at me—sorry won't cut it.

I offer to buy her anything off her Amazon wish list.

"Ok, your whole wish list. Just gives me your email address and I'll buy you everything off your Amazon wish list."

She says, "No thanks I'm just really upset."

I tell her I'm really sorry.

Then—this is weird but remember I'm hallucinating—the girl gets on the floor and blows a piece of bubble gum into a bubble with her pussy. Like she sticks the gum into her pussy—you get it.

The doctor says, "My kind of people."

He unzips his pants and shows us his vagina and explains he's from a small town where this would never fly but here, he feels accepted.

I ask him what city we're in.

He says Toronto.

I say, "Your pussy looks just like a monkey mouth, but turned sideways!"

And I notice that he and the bubble gum girl have the exact same pussy.

And she's still posing there, with her legs spread, bright pink bubble coming out of her hole.

And I say, "Can you blow two bubbles?"

And she does—she splits the motherfucker in half—holy shit!

And I say, "You're a talented motherfucker. Why are you here, watering plants? You should be in Vegas!"

And the doctor says, "I'm surprised, most manias are agitative but yours seems to be completely euphoric."

I say, "That's unusual for me, too."

He's like, "But you're just smiling and joking and having a grand ol' time and all the while completely delusional. You have no idea what the fuck is going on, do you?"

And I'm like, "Laugh it up, motherfucker."

And he checks me into the hospital and I tell him I lost my job and he says what did you do and I say I used to be a writer and he says I never knew they made much money anyway.

The psychiatrists ask me what medicine I take.

I say 40 milligrams of Latuda but I missed a dose on Wednesday.

You remember I said I had bipolar disorder, right?

Change gears:

The transition of public opinion over what I had done to Laura Lindsay.

Legal battles from the family.

Saying my book had led to her conviction.

That she didn't get a fair trial.

Couldn't get a fair trial due to the popularity of my book.

And eventually they got their way.

Laura Lindsay was declared a mistrial.

Now she's held in a secure psychiatric institution—for probably far longer than she would have been in jail (jail has a specific term..in a psych hospital the doctors determine when you're ready to leave and they weren't going to determine that about Laura for a long time).

The un-publication of my book by my publisher due to controversy. That happened.

The universal boycott of all my books because I'm the man who killed Laura Lindsay—sent her away for life, whatever—what's the difference? Poor little murdering white girl, everybody's got to take her side.

Cut to the actual, final divorce of Sarah and I—'cause if I can't make money then what's the point of being married to me.

This according to Sarah.

Who has an inheritance by the way—so what's she got to worry about?

Cut to:

Everybody who knows me stops being my friend.

My publisher drops me for any future contracts.

No other publisher will take me.

Cut to:

I have to leave town because my house is firebombed by teenagers.

Laura Lindsay becomes a national hero—people hated to see a white girl treated so poorly by the justice system.

Her Kickstarter goes multiplatinum. From Vermont State Hospital, she makes a hundred million dollars.

She donates it all to a Hong Kong startup that develops learning computers for children.

They teach kids how to program in Drupal.

She funds their Kickstarter with her Kickstarter. Fucking madness.

Then she starts another Kickstarter.

This one makes two hundred million dollars.

I'm not kidding.

The bitch is rich.

Meanwhile, I move to the suburbs.

Kids dox me and my house gets firebombed again.

I have to leave town.

I'm a scumbag in every bar, I can't even work the newspaper.

My royalties are confiscated by the FBI.

I try getting a server job at the Uno's downtown—they won't even hire me. They're all Laura Lindsay fans—because of my book!

"Scumbag" the hostess calls me, and spits in my face.

That's how I ended up in Toronto.

I figured no one here would know me.

That was wrong.

And this isn't a story about mental illness—it's a story about a murdering cunt—but my bipolar gets worse. So does Laura's. She spends more and more time in isolation for the safety of the other patients. No more pizzas ordered in for that girl.

Oh, also, new development:

Now mine isn't just bipolar—it's schizophrenia and bipolar.

Hence the story above, with me calling my therapist, "Beautiful."

And hence many like it, which happen again and again and again.

Now cut sideways, to an analytical moment:

I was forced to leave town based on something I did.

Maybe something bad.

But something I couldn't control.

And even though I disappear.

Leave everything I know.

I still can't escape it.

Sound like anyone we know?

Cut to:

Kids doxed me again and someone cut off a zebra head from the Toronto zoo, broke into my house and left it on my couch, Godfather-style..but sitting up, like it was watching TV.

I came home the television was on.

Investigation Discovery channel.

Laura Lindsay documentaries on repeat.

I looked at the zebra blood dripping off my couch.

Turned around.

Left the door wide open.

Phoned my therapist. She didn't answer. Went to that bitch's office.

Begged her to let me into the hospital.

Said, "Kids put a zebra head on my couch. Do you know what that does to my subconscious? I mean that's a fuckin' zebra. How many of those are left in the world? Like..25? Fifty?"

Cunt said I was subsyndromal.

Not bad enough to need care.

I figure if you're begging to get into a mental hospital then something's wrong enough with you that you should be there.

I made sure I got my right phone on the way out the door.

Cut to:

Sometimes I close my eyes.

I think of Laura Lindsay posted up in the psych hotel with her two-hundred million dollars.

Getting fucked in the laundry room by some mental health professional whose cock is not mine.

I can't go back to the house with the zebra head.

I check myself into the Homewood Suites.

And I'm sitting there, cross-legged on the bed, no shirt, my toothbrush sticking out my mouth, me not brushing anything, slobber running down my chin and dripping onto the crotch of my Target pajama pants.

And I think how this whole thing got started.

Fledgling crime writer.

Early twenties.

See a story on TV.

Girl goes missing in the White Mountains.

New Hampshire, New England, Vermont.

America's winter wonderland.

Where the privileged people live. Special people. People protected by money.

And I saw that wanted poster.

Or I guess it was just a missing poster at the time.

And I saw that face.

Rosy cheeked.

Ponytail.

Brown eyes.

The total American white girl.

And she had disappeared.

Probably taken by a serial killer.

Rapist.

Psychopathic murderer.

And I didn't just want to know her story.

I didn't just want to find her.

I wanted her.

I wanted that sweet little white girl pussy.

And I thought.

Somehow.

That if I wrote a book about her.

I would get it.

WHITE GIRL MISSING