The Fat Lady The cropping determines everything. Every newspaper person knows that. CUTLINE: Golden Gate Park. Dawn. A shower of silver-green trees against a black, backlit sky. So solid that sky, so stable, in spite of its carefree life by day. You can trust it with anything, and so does the couple, leaning like two trees behind the shelter of the building. Oh, yes, there are structures in this open place. They are not the first lovers here. Earlier they dreamed themselves one within the walls of that small sanctuary. They breathed earth and each other. They laughed. But now, outside, he's changed, trying to go back to his other life, although she knows he wants only to be with her. "We shouldn't have." His voice diffuses into the air, the words difficult to differentiate. Remorse drips like rain. "Don't talk like that. You know you love me." "Listen to me. You must listen." He puts out his hand, his sleeve draping darkness. "Why can't you hear me? I told you. I made a mistake." The words tinkle like bells. Something's wrong. Someone's making him lie. "Don't try to fool me, not after what we just did." "I'm sorry. I really am." He's afraid to look up, even in the dark. She notices the soft, pale spot of his head. She loves him in spite of it. Bald doesn't matter when two people love each other. "You wanted it as much as I did. Can't you feel it, even now?" He moves away, and she knows how difficult it must be for him, reaches out so that he knows it's okay. "I never meant to hurt you," he says. "I didn't know what was happening until it was too late." His features fade. What is wrong? Why does everything desert her, dim at her touch, lose its appeal the moment she begins to love it? No, push those thoughts away. Just look at this man. Even in the darkness, his eyes are coals of desire. "You knew everything," she says. "You wanted everything. We did everything." "I can't live with it. I've requested a transfer, confessed to someone I trust." "Don't be silly, darling." "I'm never going to see you again." "Of course you are. Right here tomorrow night." "No." She hates that word. "No." This time he stretches it out. Nooo. He lifts his hand, then a flash of silver blinds her. Silver so bright she cannot hide from it, slashing the night with its vicious blade. Her lover topples at her feet. For one disoriented moment, she wonders what happened to him, then she looks down at the hideous slash on his throat, the thin red line, his twisted shadow, and remembers. Oh, no. Not this, not to this wonderful man, their wonderful love. She'd better do something about the razor. CUTLINE: The body of San Francisco Priest David McCaffrey was discovered today in Golden Gate Park. Crop out everything but the body. The cropping is everything. Father, forgive me. Geri Saturday I'd been standing outside the San Francisco Airport exactly twenty-two minutes when I realized Leta Blackburn wasn't coming to pick me up, after all. Crikey. The wormy feeling reminded me of something way back. Lots of somethings. Some places make you feel loved. Some places make you feel lost. Some places make you feel nothing at all. As my mama might say, if we were on speaking terms right now-- So what did you expect? French fries on the side? My fellow passengers, long since claimed, had drifted away in a tide of bodies that crashed in and rolled out in some predetermined rhythm. I looked at the clock. Twenty-three minutes. What next? I could phone Leta, but phones in noisy places pose some problems for me. I could take a cab over there. I'd paid my share of the rent, hadn't I? Yes, a cab was the best idea. I spotted one and headed toward it, dragging my roller-queen suitcase behind me. Leta probably had a good explanation for stanHill, Bonnie Hearn is the author of 'Cutline', published 2006 under ISBN 9780778323471 and ISBN 0778323471.