There’s only so many ways this dramatic question can be concluded.

The last option may be the most workable.


Brick arrived at Cybil’s diner at an early hour. 10pm. Early for him, anyway. Claire was not there, only a sleepy looking man in a hoodie.

He approached Brick’s table, no doubt to take his order, but Brick was suddenly unenthused about the meal.

“I take it you’re Brick?” he said.

Brick nodded. “How’d you know?”

S: The coat. She told me to look for a depressed looking guy in a shabby longcoat. That’s you dude.

Without saying anything further, the boy in the hoodie handed brick a sealed envelope. It was small, and had “Mr. Brick” written on the outside of it in orange marker.

S: Dunno what the thing is with you two. It ain’t my business, either, I’m just saying. I never seen that girl talk to nobody unless you count that quiet robot who makes jewelry. The fact that she’s got something to give some random old man. It’s just unexpected at all.

Yeah, said Brick, perhaps agreeing, perhaps not.

Realizing he was getting no explanation, Seth simply walked away.

Brick held the envelope for a moment, almost wanting not to open it despite his normal instincts of gathering as much information as quickly as possible. When Seth had left his sight, the rest of the diner was empty. He opened it.


I realized I don’t even know what your first name is. I’m guessing Brick is your last name or a nickname. Anyways.

I just wanted to say thank you. It seems like there are people who enter your life briefly, to help you process things, to help you get to the next place. You’re one of those people I think. When I first moved here I was a bit lost. I still am, but I have a better sense of direction now.

I was about ready to give up the baby like I agreed. I almost did it. I started to feel like I was being really selfish by keeping the baby just because it’s something I wanted or because of my maternal instincts or whatever. But then I realized there was more to it than that. It’s the rich couple. Something about them makes me feel like they aren’t going to be good parents. The idea of handing over a baby to them, that came from my body, is disturbing. I just can’t do it.

I realize that in breaking my contract I’ll be a fugitive. So, you probably won’t see me again. Obviously I can’t go back to my job or my apartment. I haven’t decided where to go. Even if I knew, I probably couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t tell anyone.

Anyway, thanks for the conversation. I never know how to end letters. thanks for everything.


Brick read the letter very slowly at first, then scanned it again several times, then just held the open piece of paper in his hands for some time before gently folding it up and putting it in his coat pocket.

The food was bland. It had always been, but that fact was a bitter one now.

It was two days before Brick figured out where she would be. She was in a small suburb not far from Haut, eating lunch by herself in a small nature park. Well, not quite by herself. A newborn slept in her arms.


The would-be parents arrived at the door to Claire’s apartment accompanied by two armed policemen. It should have been the policemen only, but the young couple was quite insistent, and due to their considerable wealth and connections, persuaded the precinct head to allow them to come.

When there was no answer, one policeman nodded to the other, and then kicked the flimsy door in, weapons drawn.

Brick was drinking coffee here in full view of the front door, on the couch, watching TV.

“Did you really need all this display of deadly force,” said Brick between coffee sips. “Against a tiny pregnant girl.”

“Hands up,” said the younger, fiery officer. Brick did so, casually, with just enough slowness to seem defiant. “Who are you?” He said.

Brick ignored the question and turned to the older officer. “He must be new.”

The old man sighed. “What on earth do you have to do with this nonsense, Brick.”

“You know him?” said the younger man. They both ignored him.

Brick: I’m just here to ask a favor, old friend. Cases like this go cold from time to time, don’t they? It would be… just perfect, if this case were to go cold. If you had no idea where to find the girl. If any leads you have turned up unfruitful.

Young buck: Is he serious? Who is this guy?

Older guy: Just an oddball retiree. Look, I owe you one, but I have a job to do. I can’t let you interfere with an investigation.

Brick: Who’s interfering? I’m just saying that, if a certain waitress were never found, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. The fertility company is insured, and that rich couple would find themselves another mule.

Older guy: That’s not the point.

Brick: It’s MY point. And you’re gonna listen for once, damn you.