Anna Pigeon 05 Endangered Species by Nevada Barr

By Nevada Barr

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The smell of sea air and stale tobacco radiated from his clothing and the cab began to feel as homey as a country living room. "No sense eating dust," he explained. He tamped fresh tobacco in the bowl. " Anna asked in idle curiosity . " AI finished the tamping and went through the lengthy ritual of lighting his pipe before he answered. An addiction to pipe tobacco gave the user an unearned air of deep and considered wisdom . When the pipe was drawing properly, he said: "Mitch isn't a bad sort. He's a dozer operator with maintenance.

All was threatened by time and mildew. The Park Service scrambled for funds to battle the decay and drafted plans to bring back the grandeur, but for now it sat empty and vulnerable, roofline sagging, foundation crumbling. Several of these magnificent hulks dotted the island. Anna had wandered through most of them, a pleasant break in the monotony . Nostalgia, memories of lives never lived but only imagined, dwelt in the silent dust-filled halls, the moldering books left on the shelves, the broken furniture stashed in enormous cellars; in a moth-eaten fur abandoned in an upstairs nursery.

Over the short trip to the office she passed four armadillos rooting alongside the road. The weird little beasts delighted her . Since coming to the island she'd spent a good chunk of time stalking them. The animals were nearsighted and not terribly bright. Rick, who hailed from the Natchez'Frace Parkway in southern Mississippi and claimed to be an armadillo expert, told her if she could sneak up and touch one, catch it by surprise, it would spring straight up in the air a couple of feet. Anna didn't know if he was pulling her leg or not.

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