He watches the screen. There are words on it. With his eyes watching the screen no one passing the cubicle can tell he's not reading the words, not writing them.
The movable walls are an odd height; sitting, you can't see over them; standing, you can see anybody else standing, but that's all, just the disembodied head. What do you say to someone across a room, yawning, stretching, too far to hear?
What do you say to anyone at all?
The ceiling looks the same from everywhere you are. It's the only thing there is if, sitting, you want to look at anything else but your cubicle. Panels, celotex, held in place by a metal waffle framing. Fluorescent rectangles of sourceless light. He could be observing this from any populated place on the earth.
Three times he has called the boarding house and he has been told three different scenarios. Mac doesn't live there. Mac does live there, but can't use the phone until he pays rent. Mac is sick in his room and needs to pay rent so he can go be sick somewhere else.
When Martin visits the premises, he is allowed to see inside the locked room after remitting a check for the needed balance. The room is on the top floor, narrow, with a sharp angle to the ceiling, partitioned from a larger space or maybe an attic storage.
"You can just take his stuff to him. I got to let that room out."
"Where can I find him?"
A long dull stare. "He drove off down that street out there. I have not yet received official change of address notification." Ha.
Martin finds himself driving. Looking.
Certain proximities bother him. Mac finding the body, the whole timing. Paradoxically, Martin is beginning to feel guilty himself, as if through inattention to Mac he has missed some key admission that could have averted all this.
All what? Not an admission to having done something horrific. Mac was not capable of that.
He simply wasn't.
But some clue. One that had slid right past him.
At nightfall he is still driving. The same circuits, over and over. This is how he imagines Mac driving. He watches this side, the companion lanes. Waits for Mac to pull alongside.