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  • "My husband is going to kill me," she said. It was strange, the way she said it as a matter of fact, more resigned than concerned. She was Indian or Pakistani or from somewhere in the subcontinent. I had seen her only once or twice before, from a distance. They lived across the street.

    I nodded toward their house. "You mean, the Egyptian?"

    She laughed. "Egyptian? Not remotely. He was born in Florida. The out-of-Africa story was just another one of his lies." She told me he was a violent man, that she was afraid, and how she was going to the police.

    "Is there anything you know about him? I mean, something I could use? You have lived here for a while. Perhaps you knew his first wife?"

    I said no, that I didn't know his first wife. I had only heard stories. The other neighbors said there were loud arguments, and that she left suddenly and was not seen again. He remarried a few years later.

    "I'm afraid I can't help," I said.

    After that the house went dark. I saw the Egyptian only once more, dragging a trash can to the curb on a Sunday night.

    A few weeks later I was up early making breakfast with the morning news in the background. "Police need your help finding a missing woman." I looked at the TV, and there she was.

    Detectives came to the house, and I told them about the conversation. They asked me about dates, and visitors, and if I had seen this car or that car. I told them what I remembered, but it wasn't much.

    It was a Wednesday in September when her car was discovered in a hotel parking lot. Other guests at the hotel complained about the smell and the flies that seemed to be hovering around the trunk.
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