He entered the apartment of Louise Barnett. It was wet and cold inside, but wonderful too. It smelled of sweat and cigarettes. He investigated. Of interest was this, written softly in pencil on the wall next to that side of her large bed where her body, over time, had left a deep impression: “I will kill Salman Rushdie. He should not have been allowed to exist at all. I’ll kill him not for the sake of religion, nor because he offends. His death is not an answer to God or man. Rather, he dies because he is man’s answer to God. But man will not hear it! I will not let them!” These were obviously the words of some lunatic. The signature at the bottom was unintelligible, as though someone had wiped it with a greasy thumb. It was written on thick wall paper. He took out his knife and removed it.
Will she notice? Will I sell it to the tabloids? Perhaps she will kill him tonight, and I'll become rich! The damning confession of a lunatic millionaire. Maybe I’ll take it to the police instead. They would say I saved the poor fool’s life. She will be forgotten, and I will breathe again!
Had he known all along about the tiny penciled note? Had he come there that night to rob her, or to see first hand the apartment of a suicide victim? He stepped out into the rain. Her windows had been left open, but it seemed as though that night the dampness had chosen to retreat solely into her room, and wondered that the rain had enough moisture to fall all the way to the street below. He took his socks off. “I’ll run. And if I step on glass it will be my punishment for wishing her ill.” He thought about the jagged edge of glass sticking out invisibly from the rain puddles in the dark, about his blood and the muddy water. He imagined the yellowish stain her body left on the bed sheet despite repeated washings, and the smell of her.