Cornering Keith sounded like an easy plan when we were talking over iced tea and french fries. Finding the man, however, proved to be more complicated. We just had no idea where he would be at the moment.
We finally decided to try finding Muriel again, this time, at her house. The small one-story home had peeling white paint and a chain-link fence keeping the weeds on the outside from invading the crabgrass on the inside.
I tried to keep in mind that this was a step up from living on the streets, but I couldn't help wincing when beer bottle glass crunched under my shoes. We walked up the broken sidewalk and knocked on the weathered door.
We glanced at each other and knocked again. Surely with four people living here, someone was home.
This time we heard some muffled bumps and bangs as someone made their way through the house, either drunk or half-asleep. The door cracked open and a dark eye peered out.
I smiled. “Hi, Jada. Remember me?”
The door opened wider to show the young woman in an oversized night shirt and loose-leg pajama pants. “Yeah. Whaddaya want?”
“Is Muriel home?”
Jada yawned and scrunched her face as she peered at me. “Ain't you found her yet?”
I shrugged. “We found her. It’s just, we need to talk to her again. Do you know where she’s at now?”
Jada rolled her shoulders, working out kinks in her muscles. “Um, well... she ain't at work. It's her day off.” She scratched at the side of her nose. “She sometimes hangs out with Keith's group downtown. Circle Centre Mall. You know where that is?”
I shot a look at Joseph. “Yeah, we know where it is.” I turned to leave. “Thanks, Jada. You've been a big hel...” The door closed on my words.
Mercy cocked her head to the side. “We should have considered looking for Keith where he holds his events.”
I shrugged. “I'm entitled to a duh moment once a year.”
Mercy laughed. “So, off to the mall?”
Joseph snorted. “More like back to the mall. I haven't been to that center of mass consumerism so much since I was a teenager.”
I nodded wry agreement as we all piled back into the car.