Sample K12 from Gerald Green, The Heartless Light. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961. Pp. 166-170. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,019 words 203 (10.1%) quotes 2 symbolsK12

Used by permission of Gerald Green.0010-1800

Gerald Green, The Heartless Light. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961. Pp. 166-170.

Header auto-generated for TEI version

She was a child too much a part of her environment , too eager to grow and learn and experience . Once , they were at Easthampton for the summer ( again , Fritzie said , a good place , even though they were being robbed ) . One soft evening -- that marvelous sea-blessed time when the sun's departing warmth lingers and a smell of spume and wrack haunts everything -- Amy had picked herself off the floor and begun to walk . Fritzie was on the couch reading ; ; Laura was sitting in an easy chair about eight feet away . The infant , in white terry-cloth bathrobe , her face intense and purposeful , had essayed a few wobbly steps toward her father . `` Y'all wanna walk -- walk '' , he said . Then , gently , he shoved her behind toward Laura . Amy walked -- making it halfway across the cottage floor . She lost not a second , picking herself up and continuing her pilgrimage to Laura . Then Laura took her gently and shoved her off again , toward Fritzie : Amy did not laugh -- this was work , concentration , achievement . In a few minutes she was making the ten-foot hike unaided ; ; soon she was parading around the house , flaunting her new skill .

Some liar's logic , a wisp of optimism as fragile as the scent of tropical blossoms that came through the window ( a euphoria perhaps engendered by the pill Fritzie had given her ) , consoled her for a moment . Amy had to be safe , had to come back to them -- if only to reap that share of life's experiences that were her due , if only to give her parents another chance to do better by her . Through the swathings of terror , she jabbed deceit's sharp point -- Amy would be reborn , a new child , with new parents , living under new circumstances . The comfort was short-lived , yet she found herself returning to the assurance whenever her imagination forced images on her too awful to contemplate without the prop of illusion . Gazing at her husband's drugged body , his chest rising and falling in mindless rhythms , she saw the grandeur of his fictional world , that lush garden from which he plucked flowers and herbs . She envied him . She admired him .

In the darkness , she saw him stirring . He seemed to be muttering , his voice surprisingly clear . `` Y'all should have let me take that money out '' , Andrus said . `` 'nother minute I'd have been fine . H'all should have let me do it '' .

Laura touched his hand . `` Yes , I know , Fritzie . I should have '' .

Tuesday The heat intensified on Tuesday . Southern California gasped and blinked under an autumn hot spell , drier , more enervating , more laden with man's contrived impurities than the worst days of the summer past . It could continue this way , hitting 106 and more in the Valley , Joe McFeeley knew , into October . He and Irvin Moll were sipping coffee at the breakfast bar . Both had been up since 7:00 -- Irv on the early-morning watch , McFeeley unable to sleep during his four-hour relief . The night before , they had telephoned the Andrus maid , Selena Masters , and she had arrived early , bursting her vigorous presence into the silent house with an assurance that amused McFeeley and confounded Moll . The latter , thanking her for the coffee , had winked and muttered , `` Sure 'nuff , honey '' . Selena was the wrong woman for these crudities . With a hard eye , she informed Moll : `` Don't sure 'nuff me , officer . I'm honey only to my husband , understand '' ? ? Sergeant Moll understood . The maid was very black and very energetic , trim in a yellow pique uniform . Her speech was barren of southernisms ; ; she was one of Eliot Sparling's neutralized minorities , adopting the rolling R's and constricted vowels of Los Angeles . Not seeing her dark intelligent face , one would have gauged the voice as that of a Westwood Village matron , ten years out of Iowa . After she had served the detectives coffee and toast ( they politely declined eggs , uncomfortable about their tenancy ) , she settled down with a morning newspaper and began reading the stock market quotations . While she was thus engaged , McFeeley questioned her about her whereabouts the previous day , any recollections she had of people hanging around , of overcurious delivery boys or repairmen , of strange cars cruising the neighborhood . She answered him precisely , missing not a beat in her scrutiny of the financial reports . Selena Masters , Joe realized , was her own woman . She was the only kind of Negro Laura Andrus would want around : independent , unservile , probably charging double what ordinary maids did for housework -- and doubly efficient .

When the parents emerged from the bedroom a few minutes later , the maid greeted them quietly . `` I'm awful sorry about what's happened '' , Selena said . `` Maybe today'll be a good-news day '' . She charged off to the bedrooms .

Moll took his coffee into the nursery . During the night , a phone company technician had deadened the bells and installed red blinkers on the phones . Someone would have to remain in the office continually . McFeeley greeted the parents , then studied his notebook . He wanted to take the mother to headquarters at once and start her on the mug file .

`` Sleep well '' ? ? He asked .

Andrus did not answer him . His face was bloated with drugging , redder than normal . The woman had the glassy look of an invalid , as if she had not slept at all . `` Oh -- we managed '' , she said . `` I'm a little groggy . Did anything happen during the night '' ? ?

`` Few crank calls '' , McFeeley said . `` A couple of tips we're running down -- nothing promising . We can expect more of the same . Too bad your number is in the directory '' .

`` Didn't occur to me my child would be kidnaped when I had it listed '' , Andrus muttered . He settled on the sofa with his coffee , warming his hands on the cup , although the room was heavy with heat .

The three had little to say to each other . The previous night's horror -- the absolute failure , overcast with the intrusions of the press , had left them all with a wan sense of uselessness , of play-acting . Sipping their coffee , discussing the weather , the day's shopping , Fritzie's commitments at the network ( all of which he would cancel ) , they avoided the radio , the morning TV news show , even the front page of the Santa Luisa Register , resting on the kitchen bar . Kidnaper spurns ransom ; ; Amy still missing . Once , Andrus walked by it , hastily scanned the bold black headline and the five-column lead of the article ( by Duane Bosch , staff correspondent -- age not given ) , and muttered : `` We a buncha national celebrities '' .

McFeeley told the parents he would escort them to police headquarters in a half hour . Before that , he wanted to talk to the neighbors . He did not want to bring the Andruses to the station house too early -- Rheinholdt had summoned a press conference , and he didn't want them subjected to the reporters again . He could think of nothing else to tell them : no assurances , no hopeful hints at great discoveries that day . When the detective left , Andrus phoned his secretary to cancel his work and to advise the network to get a substitute director for his current project . Mrs. Andrus was talking to the maid , arranging for her to come in every day , instead of the four days she now worked .

Outside , only a handful of reporters remained . The bulk of the press corps was covering Rheinholdt's conference . In contrast to the caravan of the previous night , there were only four cars parked across the street . Two men he did not recognize were sipping coffee and munching sweet rolls . He did not see Sparling , or DeGroot , or Ringel , or any of the feverish crew that had so harassed him twelve hours ago . However , the litter remained , augmented by several dozen lunchroom suppers . The street cleaner had not yet been around .

One of the reporters called to him : `` Anything new , Lieutenant '' ? ? And he ignored him , skirting the parked cars and walking up the path to the Skopas house . When McFeeley was halfway to the door , the proprietor emerged -- a mountainous , dark man , his head thick with resiny black hair , his eyes like two of the black olives he imported in boatloads . McFeeley identified himself . The master of the house , his nourished face unrevealing , consented to postpone his departure a few minutes to talk to the detective .

Inside , as soon as Mr. Skopas had disclosed -- in a hoarse whisper -- the detective's errand , his family gathered in a huddle , forming a mass of dark flesh on and around a brocaded sofa which stood at one side of a baroque fireplace . Flanked by marble urns and alabaster lamps , they seemed to be posing for a tribal portrait .

It was amazing how they had herded together for protection : an enormous matriarch in a quilted silk wrapper , rising from the breakfast table ; ; a gross boy in his teens , shuffling in from the kitchen with a sandwich in his hands ; ; a girl in her twenties , fat and sullen , descending the marble staircase ; ; then all four gathering on the sofa to face the inquisitor .

They answered him in monosyllables , nods , occasionally muttering in Greek to one another , awaiting the word from Papa , who restlessly cracked his knuckles , anxious to stuff himself into his white Cadillac and burst off to the freeway . No , they hadn't seen anyone around ; ; no , they didn't know the Andrus family ; ; yes , they had read about the case ; ; yes , they had let some reporters use their phone , but they would no longer . They offered no opinions , volunteered nothing , betrayed no emotions . Studying them , McFeeley could not help make comparison with the Andrus couple . The Skopas people seemed to him of that breed of human beings whose insularity frees them from tragedy . He imagined they were the kind whose tax returns were never examined ( if they were , they were never penalized ) , whose children had no unhappy romances , whose names never knew scandal . The equation was simple : wealth brought them happiness , and their united front to the world was their warning that they meant to keep everything they had , let no one in on the secrets . By comparison , Fritzie and Laura Andrus were quivering fledglings . They possessed no outer fortifications , no hard shells of confidence ; ; they had enough difficulty getting from day to day , let alone having an awful crime thrust upon them . Skopas expressed no curiosity over the case , offered no expression of sympathy , made no move to escort McFeely to the door . All four remained impacted on the sofa until he had left .

He had spoken to Mrs. . Emerson the previous day . There remained a family named Kahler , owners of a two-story Tudor-style house on the south side of the Andrus home . Their names had not come up in any discussions with Laura , and he had no idea what they would be like . McFeeley noted the immaculate lawn and gardens : each blade of grass cropped , bright and firm ; ; each shrub glazed with good health .

The door was answered by a slender man in his sixties -- straight-backed , somewhat clerical in manner , wearing rimless glasses . When Joe identified himself , he nodded , unsmiling , and ushered him into a sedate living room . Mrs. Kahler joined them . She had a dried-out quality -- a gray , lean woman , not unattractive . Both were dressed rather formally . The man wore a vest and a tie , the woman had on a dark green dress and three strands of pearls .

`` Funny thing '' , Mr. Kahler said , when they were seated , `` when I heard you ringing , I figured it was that guy down the block , Hausman '' . McFeeley looked puzzled . Kahler continued : `` I fixed his dog the other day and I guess he's sore , so I expected him to come barging in '' . Mr. Kahler went on to explain how Hausman's fox terrier had been `` making '' in his flower beds . The dog refused to be scared off , so Kahler had purchased some small firecrackers . He would lay in wait in the garage , and when the terrier came scratching around , he'd let fly with a cherry bomb . `` Scared the hell out of him '' , Kahler grinned . `` I hit him in the ass once '' . Both grinned at the detective . `` Finally , all I needed was to throw a little piece of red wood that looked like a firecracker and that dumb dog would run ki-yi-ing for his life '' .