Julie’s best friend Fay disappears soon after their arrival on vacation in Morocco. While awaiting – impatiently – action from the authorities, a bewildered Julie snoops enough to guess Fay’s destination and impetuously rushes after her. Julie’s channeling of her inner Kinsey Millhone deserts her, however, after she gets lost and has to ditch their disabled rental car on a remote desert track. But it’s not until Julie locates Fay – in prison on the Algerian border – that her problems really snowball: Fay’s meddling into Moroccan political secrets means that, unless she can arrange Fay’s escape, both women are about to disappear permanently.
First 250 Words:
A whirlwind with frizzy braids broadsided me. Her momentum carried her past me, sliding along on the slippery tile floor. She landed with an arm tangled in my suitcase strap, purple jumper askew, plump legs in striped tights waving. I toppled next to her. My palm slapped onto the tile and planted there for balance.
A little boy braked to a screeching stop by the girl’s side. The children had been playing tag around the immense pillars that dotted the baggage claim area. As I reached to help her up, the girl’s eyes and mouth opened to matching Os. She looked wildly around before bursting into tears. The boy watched impassively for a second, then his lower lip trembled and he, too, began to wail. Their cries added to the waves of sound. After the quiet hum of the pressurized airplane, the bedlam was crushing.
Without a glance at me, a veiled woman captured each runaway by an arm and, speaking sharply, hustled them away to a distant corner.
My backpack had upended when I fell, spilling my spare lipstick and a bulky jacket belonging to my friend Fay. She had left it with me when she vanished into the crowd, trying to find out when the rest of our luggage would arrive. I imagined my expression looked much like the one on the little girl who had tripped over me – scared to be suddenly alone, searching for a familiar face. Where in the world had Fay gone?