No limo this time. He rented a red Taurus at the St. Louis airport, wore dark shades under a cowboy hat to avoid recognition. Eyes front, quick paces, he got by without incident. For Jack, to be alone was no small thing. To take on the living world without an ally, without Gordon, without Judith, was like walking to the mound without his glove. En route back to Gandee, he had not the slightest notion as to what he was going to do. He became so smothered by an accumulation of doubts, he considered turning back. Swing around, back to the airport, back into Judith's arms. But he had called his folks to tell them he was coming, briefly explaining why. "Ruby?" His father could not have been more astonished. "What the devil business is this of yours?"
He didn't explain, just reported the time of his arrival. That way, there would be no arguments.
If all you saw in Gandee was its renovated Town Hall, you'd think it was a vibrant community of well-turned-out public-spirited citizens living in harmony. The building itself was over a hundred years old, but there were no apparent signs of decay. As Jack entered, he was amazed, remembering its old tackiness. Dreary glass-bowl lighting from cracked ceilings had been replaced by inset panels. Dominating the bright lobby was a larger-than-life portrait of Mayor Sam Manning himself. On clean white walls, there were historical photographs mounted on mahogany frames of old Gandee. The largest of these was of the Statue of