Maybe loud shoes took attention off the rest of her. Relieved her of the weight of mens’ eyes. It seemed to Angelo that men and women stared at Cricket as if her kind of pretty might wear-off on them. Her particular sweetness might get absorbed and somehow make them more attractive. Most just leered. Like Johnny and his associates who called her a ‘tall drink o’ water for the desert,’ and whispered things in her ear while she refilled their coffees. Angelo suggested she bash them in the head with the coffee pot. But she just had to smile and take it. She probably saw the attention as a way out of town.
Maybe the car she got into that night gave her a ride to LA. He held fast to that thought. But she left without saying anything and it had been over two weeks.
On Easter morning, like most Sundays after church, he went rabbit hunting with his younger brother and his friends. They had gotten a late start and the desert sun was already high and hot over the mesa south of town. Angelo’s brother would say it was the smell and the flies they noticed first. But Angelo saw a single red shoe and recognized it at once. Through the waves of nausea and welling tears, he saw her broken body.
Between her disappearance and the horrifying discovery was a period of suspended reality Angelo would hold in his heart until his death. He didn’t want to know what actually happened, so he imagined what hadn’t in great detail. Cricket went to Los Angeles. Cricket was just too busy to get in touch.