Anonymous Rex

Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia

Book: Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eric Garcia
air to finally catch one’s attention, and after I perilously cross two lanes of traffic to enter the taxi, I’m surprised to find that though I have a different cabbie, he miraculously carries the same smell as my old one. Perhaps they, too, constitute a separate species.
    We head for City Hall.

P ublic records are a pain in the ass. I’d much rather skirt the boundaries of the law and sneak a peek at some private files than wait in interminable lines in order to talk to a snotty clerk (do they teach these attitudes in receptionist classes?) who may or may not decide to give me the information I need, depending on whether or not he’s eaten lunch yet and what phase the moon is in. Give me a locked door and a credit card over the Freedom of Information Act any day. I enjoy my little chicanery; if I wasn’t a detective, I’d probably be a fossil-maker, spending day after day in one of the many laboratories scattered deep beneath the Museum of Natural History, coming up with new ways to fake our “extinction” sixty-five million years ago. My maternal great-great-great-uncle was the creator of the first fossilized Iguanodon shoulder blade, placed carefully in a shallow layer of mud in the wilds of Patagonia, and I couldn’t be prouder to have him as a part of my lineage. Deception is fun; human deception is a spectator sport.
    So maybe later on today I can get in some real snoop-work, but for the moment, I’m stuck sitting in a hard-backed chair originally constructed for the Inquisition, squinting in the darkness of the Records Room at City Hall, and I couldn’t be grumpier about it.
    Approximately three years ago, Jaycee Holden, according to thedocuments I am able to procure after five hours of waiting, waiting, and more waiting, pulled a move Houdini would have been proud of. Her name, previously scattered about on credit reports, lease agreements, power bills, court files, Council rosters, and even a few newspaper articles, ceased to appear on any and all documents mere days after she stepped onto that eastbound platform at Grand Central. No funeral was held for the missing Coleophysis, as there was no body, and no actual proof that she was even dead. There was no family to speak of, no one to yell and scream at the authorities to get off their duffs and do something—both parents were deceased, no siblings. Jaycee Holden was an attractive, vivacious young woman who could nevertheless most easily be defined by her association with the Council and her impending marriage to Donovan; such a lifestyle does not readily provide clues to one’s disappearance. According to a one-column newspaper article I found in the back of the
Times
, a small but dedicated effort had been made by Donovan and some friends to search for her as a missing person—flyers, milk cartons, etc.—but it was called off after the private investigators they hired came back with a large bill and nothing to show for it.
    People vanish. It happens. But no one vanishes this completely. I’ve tracked missing dinos and humans all my working life, and the one common thread I’ve found is that no matter how thoroughly their previous existence has been eradicated, the paper trail that has followed them all their lives still clings like barnacles to their personas. Junk mail, for example, will continue to arrive at their residences, imploring them to take advantage of This Amazing Credit Card Offer. Unrelenting TV telethon volunteers will call their last known phone numbers, begging for money to help the children, it’s all for the children. And so on. In today’s world, where computers can store your personal statistics until long after the last of your great-great-great-grandchildren have taken up residence in the neighborhood retirement home, no one can just dissolve away anymore. No one.
    Jaycee Holden dissolved away. Like Judith said, sugar into water. Her name has been stricken from mailing lists, removed from solicitors’ files. If I had any

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