Three Days to Never

Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tim Powers
bedroom, where he kept the velvet bag that contained his tallit shawl and the little leather tefillin boxes. Every day he shaved the top of his head so that a toupee could be his head covering, and the one he wore to pray was in the bedroom too. He never kept his yarmulke-toupee in the bathroom.
    Rabbi Hiyya bar Ashi had written that a man whose mind is conflicted should not pray; Lepidopt hoped God would forgive him for that too.

Three
    T he truck cab smelled like book paper and tobacco.
    â€œWhen we do go,” Daphne said, cheerfully enough, “we can go to Grammar’s house again too, and pull up the bricks. A- zoo -sa,” she added derisively, seeing the Azusa exit through the windshield. And Claremont and Montclair were coming up.
    She used to think Azusa was an interesting name for a city, but recently she had heard that it meant “A-to-Z USA,” and now she classed it with other ridiculous words, like brouhaha and patty melt.
    She also disapproved of a city called Claremont being right next to one named Montclair. She thought there should be a third one, Mairn-Clot.
    Traffic was heavy on the eastbound 10, and an hour after they had left Pasadena their six-year-old Ford pickup truck was still west of the 15, with San Bernardino and their house still twenty miles ahead. The afternoon sunlight glittered fiercely on the chrome all around them; brake lightsglowed like coals. Daphne knew the traffic justified her father’s decision not to go look at the Chinese Theater today, and she had stopped sulking about it.
    â€œWe’d have to split it with Bennett and Moira,” her father said absently, his right foot gunning the accelerator while his left foot let the clutch out every few seconds in little surges. The gearshift lever was on the steering column, and it didn’t seem likely that he’d be reaching up to shift out of first gear anytime soon. “If there’s really gold under the bricks,” he added.
    Daphne nodded. “That’s right. If you don’t want to do what Grammar wanted you to do with it.”
    â€œAs in, she told me about it, and didn’t tell them. Why is everybody going east out of L.A. on a Sunday afternoon?”
    Daphne nodded. “She knew they’ve got plenty of money already, and that’s why she told you. Her—last wishes.” Last wishes was a good phrase.
    â€œI’ll think about it. It might not be gold. Though—wow, look at that,” he said, his finger tapping the windshield. An old Lockheed Neptune bomber was flying north over the freeway ahead of them, its piston engines roaring. Its shadow flickered over a patch of cars a mile ahead.
    â€œThere must be fires in the mountains,” Daphne said.
    â€œIt’s the season for it. We’ll probably—” He paused, and glanced at her. “You’re worrying about me,” he said. “And it’s not to do with money. I—can’t quite get the reason, just a sort of image of me, and worry like some kind of steady background music.” He peered at her again. “What about?”
    Daphne shrugged and looked away, embarrassed that he had caught her thoughts. “Just—everybody leaves you. Your dad ran off and then your mom died in a car crash, and Mom died two years ago, and now Grammar.” She looked at him, but he was watching the traffic again. “I’m not going to leave you.”
    â€œThanks, Daph. I won’t—” He stopped. “ Now you’re shocked. What did you see?”
    â€œYou think your mother killed herself!”
    â€œOh.” He exhaled, and she sensed that he was finallynear tears, so she looked out the side window at a railway bridge over a shallow arroyo. “Well, yes,” he said, with evident control, “I—now you mention it—I think she did. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have—I guess she just couldn’t handle it, foreclosure on the house, got

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