When a child goes missing, there is nothing more frightening, tragic, or terror-inducing for the distraught parent. Most never give up hoping. That’s how it was for my new client, Savannah Dacey—even though her “child” was a grown man in his twenties.
Savannah is one of the most atmospheric cities in America, on the Atlantic coast in Georgia—full of beautiful old buildings, hanging moss, eccentric natives, and weeping willows. Its summertime humidity can knock you off your feet, and it’s been the subject of a series of books, including one that wound up a Clint Eastwood movie. A river with the same name, Savannah, runs nearby. Additionally, Savannah is the name of a woman who does stand-up news at the White House for NBC television, Savannah Guthrie. Like her, most women named Savannah are attractive and as tropical-looking as their names—or at least they seem more that way than if they’d been christened Sadie or Gertrude.
But Savannah Dacey didn’t fit the name in any way. She’d sounded like a sad sack when she made the phone appointment, and whiny to boot, and she looked like a sad sack, too. She was close to fifty, and looked ten years older. Her fingers were thick as bratwursts, fingernails polished the vivid crimson women stopped wearing in 1972. Her hair had been “done” and dyed an improbable red by someone in a low-rent beauty shop. Her eyeglasses, also of a long-gone era, were bright green, shaped like cat’s eyes, with ungainly rhinestones twinkling in each corner. Her forehead and upper lip were shiny with perspiration, and half-moon sweat stains appeared at the underarms of her short-sleeved white blouse. Her wrinkled, inexpensive peasant skirt made her appear as if she’d walked in the heat and humidity from her West Park home all the way to my office on the west bank of the Flats.
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