“I’ve got it!” Mike banged on the desk, and did what I could only imagine was a happy dance.
“Don’t do that! You’re gonna give me a heart attack!” I laid down dad’s journal and went over to the desk. Mike had constructed a rudimentary lighted table by placing broken window panes from the raid over a lamp and cardboard box. His skin glowed, but his eyes were dancing with his news. “You’ve got what?”
“This is a puzzle. This is one quarter of a map, right?” He pointed to the ripped sides. “It’s a map to the map! If you’ll look at the cities that have been circled, the words aren’t fully circled, just part of them. But! If you write them out-” He handed me his notebook.
“It’s a name.”
“Yes! My guess is this person has the rest of the map, or maybe part of it.” He leveled his eyes, “Do you recognize this name?”
“He was my dad’s driver. I don’t even know if he survived the attacks. See if you can figure out where he lives now, and we’ll pay him a visit.” I wanted to read more of dad’s journal, to piece some of this together, to see where his head was at when this all went down, but I hid it instead in the faux wall.
The small, aged woman that answered the door seemed fragile, even more so after I mentioned her husband’s name. “He’s gone, honey, I’m sorry. He was in the car waiting for your mom and dad when the bombs hit, never came home.”
The same unexpected nausea like I’d just seen a mass grave came over me, “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Glenn.”
Her eyes took on a faraway look as she glanced past us, “Anger won’t bring him back, neither will worry.” She focused back on us, “What can I do for you?”
“Did Mr. Glenn ever talk about a map? Or a piece of a map?”
Her cloudy grey eyes registered something, “One moment.”
Mike nudged me in the side when she was gone, “You think she knows anything else? Maybe he talked with her?”
Before I could answer, she came back, “Here you go. I wasn’t sure what to do with that thing, I just left it in his dresser drawer.”
I inspected the map, it wasn’t singed like mine on the edges, but it was certainly part of a quadrant. “This is the upper left. Dad had the upper right.” Mike only nodded. “Mrs. Glenn, did he ever talk about strange things at the Global Embassy?”
“Talk to me? Oh no. He never spoke of the things that went on there, and I never asked.”
I could almost feel Mike wilt beside me. “Okay, thank you so much, Mrs. Glenn. I’m so sorry again for your loss.” She allowed a half smile but bid us goodbye and shut the door.
Mike made me go to McDonald’s for lunch. I hadn’t been since they rebuilt it. I mostly hid away after the Great American Genocide. I felt responsible for everyone’s pain. In their eyes, my father caused this, and I am my father’s daughter. I stopped looking into people’s eyes since the first national news spot where his name was ripped apart. These thoughts bolstered my desire to read more of my father’s journal, to piece all this together. As I pushed in my straw to puncture the lid of my sweet tea, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do than clear my father’s name.