`` Not since last night .
I didn't think there was any reason to '' .
`` Maybe there isn't .
Speak to him again anyway .
Try talking to some of the fellows he works with , friends , anyone .
Try to find out how happy he is with his wife , whether he plays around with women .
You might try looking into his wife too .
She might have been talking to some of her friends about her husband if they've been having any trouble '' .
`` You think Black's the one we're looking for '' ? ?
`` Yeah .
I think he might be '' , Conrad said grimly .
`` Then again he might not '' .
`` What a stinking world '' , Rourke said .
`` Black is Gilborn's best friend '' .
`` I know '' .
`` Will you be coming back soon '' ? ?
`` I think so .
I'm on my way to see the Jacobs woman '' .
`` Gilborn's secretary ? ?
What for ? ?
You don't think Gilborn is the -- '' ? ?
`` I don't think anything .
I just don't want to go off half-cocked before picking up Black , that's all '' .
Conrad interrupted .
`` Gilborn says he was in his office all day with her yesterday .
I'd like to make sure .
Also , it's just possible she might know something about Mrs. Gilborn '' .
`` Right .
I'll see you later '' .
`` Aren't you ever going to go home '' ? ?
`` It sure as hell doesn't look like it , does it ? ?
I'm telling you , if these corpses ever knew the trouble they put us to , they'd think twice before letting themselves get knocked off '' .
`` Remember to tell that to the next corpse you meet '' .
Conrad hung up and sat on the small telephone-booth bench , massaging his right leg .
He looked at his watch .
It was ten minutes before eleven .
He wondered how long it would be before they had a signed confession from Lionel Black .
Thirty years' experience let him know , even at this early stage , that Black was his man .
But he still wanted to know why .
It was a cold , windy day , the day after Kitti's death , but Stanley Gilborn paid no attention to the blustery October wind .
After leaving Conrad , Gilborn had no destination .
He simply walked , not noticing where he was , not caring .
He stopped automatically at the street corners , waiting for the traffic lights to change , unheeding of other people , his coat open and flapping .
As he walked , he tried to think .
Of Kitti .
Of himself .
Mainly of what Conrad had tried to make him believe .
There was nothing coherent about his thinking .
It was a succession of picture-images passing through his mind : the same ones , different ones , in no apparent sequence , in no logical succession .
The enormity of what Conrad had told him made it impossible for Gilborn to accept , with any degree of realism , the actuality of it .
Conrad's words had intellectual meaning for him only .
Emotionally , they penetrated him not at all .
Whoever he was and your wife were intimate .
Gilborn remembered Conrad's exact words .
They made sense and yet they didn't .
He knew Conrad had told him the truth .
It was so .
Yet it wasn't so .
It wasn't so because it couldn't be so .
When Kitti was alive -- and he remembered the pressure of her hand resting lightly on his arm -- she had been the center of his life .
She was the sun , he the closest planet orbiting around her , the rest of the world existing and visible yet removed .
For fifty-five years he had lived , progressing towards a no-goal , eating , working , breathing without plan , without reason .
Kitti had come along to justify everything .
She was his goal , she was his reason .
He had lived all his life waiting for her .
Not once , in the time that he had known her , had he ever considered the possibility , not once , not for one one-thousandth of a second , of her infidelity .
He could not consider it now .
Not really .
And so he walked , aimless again .
The walk ended , inevitably , right in front of his hotel building .
The doorman began to nod his head automatically , then remembered who Gilborn was , what had happened to him the night before .
He looked at Gilborn with undisguised curiosity .
Gilborn passed by him without seeing him .
He crossed the lobby and rode up in the elevator lost in his own thoughts .
In the apartment itself , all was still .
The police were no longer there .
There was no evidence that anything was different than it had been .
Except that Kitti wasn't there .
Without taking off his coat , he sat in the blue chair which still faced the closed bedroom door .
At last , sitting there , in the familiar surroundings , the truth began to sink in .
Who ? ?
He felt no anger towards Kitti , no sense that she had betrayed him .
Who ? ?
She was all he had , everything he had , everything he wanted .
Someone had taken her away from him .
Who ? ?
Where there is a left-hand entry in the ledger , there is a right-hand one , he remembered from his school days .
Where there is a victim , there is a killer .
Who ? ?
Whoever he was and your wife were intimate .
He rose from the chair , took off his coat .
Quickly , he went into the bedroom .
The bed still showed signs of where Kitti had lain .
Gilborn stood there for a long time .
He looked at the bed unblinkingly .
The bed was empty now .
Kitti would lie in it no more .
He would lie in it no more .
Gilborn wondered whether Kitti had lain in that same bed with Who ? ?
For thirty minutes , Stanley Gilborn stood there .
At the end of the half-hour , racking his brains , thinking over and over again of Kitti , her friends , her past , he left the bedroom .
Who ? ?
He could think of no answer .
Gilborn put on his coat again .
Before leaving , he took one last , lingering look at the apartment .
He knew he would never see it again .
In the street , walking as quickly as he could , Stanley Gilborn was a lone figure .
On Blanche Jacobs , Kitti Gilborn's death had a quite different effect .
For Blanche , Kitti's death was a source of guilty , but nonetheless soaring , happy hope .
In Blanche's defense , it must be said she was unaware of the newborn hope .
If anyone had asked her , she would have described herself only as nervous and worried .
The figures on the worksheet paper in front of her were jumping and waving around so badly it was all she could do to make them out clearly enough to copy them with the typewriter .
She wondered whether Stanley would call .
She wanted to be with him , to give him the comfort and companionship she knew he needed .
She had skipped her lunch hour in the fear that he might call while she was out .
He hadn't .
And now she was feeling sick , both from concern about Stanley and hunger .
Why hadn't he called ? ?
Men , she reflected , even men like Stanley , are unpredictable .
She tried to think of his unpredictable actions in the eleven years she had known him and discovered they weren't so many after all .
Stanley really was quite predictable .
That was one of the things she liked about Stanley .
He wasn't like so many other men .
The dentist last night , for instance .
Dinner and the movies had been fine .
He had taken her upstairs to say good night .
She had invited him in for coffee .
It was in the kitchen , as she was watching the kettle , waiting for the water to boil , that he had grabbed for her .
Without warning , without giving her a chance to prepare for it .
From behind , he had put his arms on her shoulders , turned her around , and pressed her to him , so close she couldn't breathe .
Later , she apologized for the long scratch across his face , tried to explain she couldn't help herself , that the panic arose in her unwanted .
But he hadn't understood .
When he left , she knew she would never see him again .
Stanley wasn't like that .
She could always predict what Stanley was going to do , ever since she first met him .
Except for that one morning .
The morning he walked in to announce to her , blushing , that he was married .
She thought she was going to die .
She had assumed before then that one day he would ask her to marry him .
Blanche couldn't remember when she had first arrived at this conclusion .
She thought it was sometime during the second week she worked for Stanley .
It was nothing that he said or did , but it seemed so natural to her that she should be working for him , looking forward to his eventual proposal .
She was thirty-one years old then .
Her mother was already considerably concerned over her daughter's future .
But Blanche had been able to maintain a serene and assured composure in the face of her widowed mother's continued carping , had been able to resist her urgings to date anyone who offered the slightest possibility of matrimony .
For Blanche , it was only a matter of time before Stanley would propose .
It was to be expected that Stanley would be shy , slow in taking such a momentous step .
Stanley went along in life , she knew , convinced that he deserved the love and faith of no woman .
As a result , he never looked for it .
But one day , she expected , he would somehow discover , without her having to tell him , that there was such a woman in the world ; ;
a woman who was willing to give him love , faith , and anything else a woman could give a husband .
Indeed , there was a woman who , unasked , had already given him love .
Unquestionably , Blanche loved Stanley .
And then , unexpectedly , Stanley made his announcement .
On that first day , Blanche literally thought she was going to die , or , at the very least , go out of her mind .
It might have been easier for her if Kitti Walker hadn't been everything that Blanche was not .
Kitti was thirty years younger than Stanley , taller than Stanley , prettier than Stanley had any right to hope for , much less expect .
Kitti could have married a score of men .
There was no reason for her to marry someone like Stanley Gilborn , there was no need for her to marry Stanley .
Kitti had come into the office , on somebody's recommendation , because she needed help in preparing her income tax return .
Stanley had filled out the return and because , when he was finished , it was close to the lunch hour , he had politely asked Kitti to join him , never expecting her to accept .
Blanche knew all this because the door to Stanley's office was open and , without straining too hard , she could hear everything that was said .
Stanley had gone out , saying he would be back in an hour .
He hadn't come back for over two .
After that day , Blanche still didn't know exactly what had happened .
There were mornings when Stanley came in late , afternoons when he left early , days when he didn't come in at all .
Blanche knew something must be causing Stanley's new , strange behavior but she never once connected it with Kitti Walker .
It was too unprecedented .
Then , six weeks after the day Kitti first came into the office , Stanley announced he and Kitti were married .
Somehow , Blanche managed to cover the stunned surprise and offer her congratulations .
That night the two of them left for a week's honeymoon in Acapulco .
While they were away Blanche came into the office every morning , running things as she had always run them for Stanley , going through the week in a dazed stupor , getting things done automatically , out of habit .
For exactly one week , she was able to continue in this manner .
On the morning of Stanley's return , however , her strength left her .
Two hours of watching his serenely happy face , listening to his soft humming as he bent over his penciled figures , and Blanche had to leave .
She stayed away for ten days .
Those ten days were like no others that Blanche had known .
Mostly , she stayed in bed .
She didn't tell anyone , even her mother , what was wrong .
She refused to have a doctor , insisting there was nothing a doctor could do for her .