The music played again.
Guests had recovered from their catatonia. The air was filled with their chatter. The perfume of food and wine mixed with the scent of sea breeze over hot sand.
I leaned against the railing, at the end of the deck, where Julie, Ann, William, and I had taken ourselves for a bit of privacy.
I was saying goodbye.
Julie hugged me.
"I was right in the ambulance, you know. You did risk everything to help me, after all. And coming back here, when you could have just run away, proves it."
"You think you're very clever. But I came back to straighten something out between us—not for Charlie. You remember that."
I grasped William's hand.
"Good-bye, my friend."
He was close to tears.
"Let me know where to call you," he said.
"If I can."
Ann stood behind William. I stuck a hand toward her.
"Thanks for everything."
She shook it briefly, and let go.
"I can't say I won't be glad to get back to normal, Clarence, but I do wish you luck."
William raised his eyebrows.
"Clarence?" he said.
"Where will you go?" Julie asked.
"I can't get home just yet, but I'll find a place where I can keep trying."
She knew what I meant.
I pecked her on the cheek, and turned toward the stairs at the end of the deck.
There stood my old friend, Officer Barnes.
He held a gun.