Before Casolaro left for Martinsburg, Olga, his housekeeper, tried helping him with his things. A briefcase, which she watched him shove full of papers. She tried lifting it but it was too heavy, hurting her shoulder and elbow.
What do you have in there, she asked.
Everything, he responded. All of my papers.
He said he was off to meet the last piece of the puzzle, a source that would help pull everything together. He looked tired but hopeful, she recounted, almost like a little boy on Christmas morning, awake to open gifts before sunrise. He was often like that, she said, but in the last days, he was frazzled, tired, a bleeding man still hopeful, stumbling along even though he’s been wounded.
She feared for his life. More phone calls. We will cut him up, feed him to the sharks. Another: drop dead. Another: silence, just music in the background. Stop calling, she shouted into the phone. More calls followed, waking her in the middle of the night. No voices, no music, just silence.
The phone rang and rang into the night. She sat huddled in her bed, refusing to pick up, afraid to move. He had mentioned the word “Octopus” to her before, but didn’t elaborate. Madness, she thought.