N.M. Brewka

I looked up from the keyboard. "Where've you been?"

Robin threw her coat onto the bed. Her purse followed. When she didn't answer me, I went back to the racing stats. "Pick any winners?" she finally asked.

"Loblolly in the third at Belmont. It paid $14.40." I shook my head a little. "I should've put a grand on it." No point in telling her I'd put the grand on a filly in the seventh at Golden Gate instead.

Behind me, something rustled. A photo materialized under my nose. "Steve, who's that?"

"That's you, sweetie." I swiveled around. Her eyes were like a cat's, narrowed to glowing slits. "On the steps of the courthouse, remember?"

"Of course I remember," she snapped. "It was my divorce." She brought the photo closer to my face. "What I'm asking is, who's that?"

I looked at the photo of Marcia. "I don't know," I said.

Robin cocked her head. She squinted down at the picture. "Really."

A moment passed. My screensaver flashed on. I watched the neon ponies in their futile gallop to escape the corral of the monitor on bright stick legs as pink as Marcia's silk blouse. "The developer screwed up."

Robin said, "What do you mean?"

I tapped Marcia's image. "You can see straight through her. See?"

Robin lifted the picture closer to her eyes. "So, what you're saying is, the lab is haunted."

I blinked.

"And she's a ghost," Robin said. "Right?" She nodded to herself. "Of course. That's it. When they were developing the film, somehow this ghost got in the way."

Glad she was making a joke of it, I swiveled back to the screen. "If you say so."

"Or maybe," Robin said behind my back, "the ghost was on the step. That would make more sense, wouldn't it?"

"Right." I went to Favorites and clicked on Churchill Downs.

Robin's fingers bit into my neck like giant pliers. "Who is she, Steve? Tell me."

"Quit it!" I rubbed my neck. "I don't know who she is, or why she's in the picture. I swear it."

Her breath was warm on my cheek as she whispered, "You took my picture first, then took Marcia's."

I almost fell off the chair. "Marcia? Marcia who?"

"Thanks to your cheap, old camera, Steve, I know about her and she knows about me." Robin smiled at me like she was saying cheese. "Double exposure."

I waited until the door slammed before calling up Golden Gate. In a sickening photo finish, my filly had lost by a nose.


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