No Place for an Angel

No Place for an Angel by Elizabeth Spencer Read Free Book Online

Book: No Place for an Angel by Elizabeth Spencer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Spencer
here?” Irene asked. She was just as aware as he was that they were down to the bottom of the barrel. They had spent far more than they had foreseen; they could not even get back to New York.
    â€œThere are three alternatives,” said Charles. “Drive north, stay here, or take a boat away.”
    â€œEvery one of them costs money,” said Irene.
    â€œPerhaps I’ll get a job here, then.”
    She gave him a dark glance. Was he joking? “Why not?” he asked.
    Irene finished her coffee and stood up. “Anything you want,” she said. “Anything you want to do.”
    She walked back to the motel cabin. She wore a pink cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up, striped pink-and-white cotton shorts, and dark glasses. She looked exactly right and knew it. She let herself in and sat on the edge of the bed.
    She acknowledged it now; the cold had got inside. I know this world that is now, she thought, know exactly what I want out of it and how to use it, and I can’t afford to live in it. Wasn’t it meant to be a good joke, so neatly worked out? You couldn’t believe that it hadn’t been done on purpose.

    Barry had some idea about going back to Savannah when he left the Keys, but what was drawing him there, he knew, was the fact that he thought he had seen someone who looked like Catherine, just when he went out of the art shop into the street. He had followed and satisfied himself that it was not Catherine, but still, like a scent, the resemblance drew him. He evaluated this, saw it as an empty fancy, and at Miami bought a ticket to Pensacola instead. From there he could decide whether to go home to the Gulf coast or head up toward North Carolina where he had an army friend he could call on for money. In Pensacola, he did exactly what Charles had predicted to Irene that he would do; he found a girl in the bus station and put up with her for a time. She even got him a job that kept him alive and fed. He would not have denied that it had been desire, pure and simple, that made him leave the Waddells; he had had a terrible attack of it since the child’s death; he guessed that the Waddells had felt the same, but then they had each other. He explained all this to the girl and she said that it sounded to her as if any excuse was a good one. He disliked this reply and knew he would soon be leaving. . . .
    â€œBarry had his mind on women,” Charles said, when he joined Irene in the cabin. She was still sitting on the edge of the bed.
    â€œCharles,” she said, “we cannot live without money. It’s a habit.”
    â€œI never suggested trying.” There were two double beds in the lavish, shadowy unit where the air conditioner purred as gently as a kitten.
    â€œYou had only to throw a little weight around,” Irene said. “With Mercer and Paul both in Europe, of course they picked that time to knife you. They did it because they wanted your spot.”
    â€œThe sons of bitches.” Charles pulled out his shirttail and scratched.
    â€œWhy didn’t you give them a fight?” she demanded.
    â€œBut if I sort them out, there’re only more behind them. The world is full of bastards. Phalanxes of bastards . . .”
    â€œAll in grey flannel suits,” she said. “That’s the oldest argument on earth.”
    â€œYou’ve saved a lot of breath, all the way down the Eastern seaboard,” he observed. “This must be Land’s End.”
    She didn’t answer. It occurred to her that if a child could commit suicide anyone could, and that a suicidal tendency could exist in anyone. Irene herself loved nothing so much as life and hung back from the names of things, especially the emotions, as if to say I love, I hate, involved one in a commitment; it was like giving a pledge or a charm away and could be produced at the worst possible moment, exhibiting one’s own signature, perhaps in blood, demanding

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