No reply. Robotically Diane guided her boat around mine. As we passed there was scarcely an arm's length between us.
"What about Kurtz?" I whispered.
"Monkeys," she said in an odd, fluttery voice. "I tried to put a stop to it, God knows I tried...."
"Is Uvula with him? Is she all right?"
"Don't be a knucklehead." Then she shivered, and her eyes came to life. "Get out while you can."
I overheard murmuring from the bow; something about my cheesy taste in leisure wear. As the boat drifted away, riding the current, I realized someone was missing.
"Where's Jennifer?" I shouted.
Every head snapped around as if I'd fired a pistol. Jennifer Kraft was the associate editor who organized the shoots. She was the fixer, the negotiator, the babysitter, the shrink—the one who kept everything and everybody from unraveling.
"Where is she?" I yelled again, but my plea drowned in a roar of wind and spray. Reflexively I covered my eyes and spun away.
When I looked back, the ghost vessel and her dazed passengers had floated out of sight. Of course I should have turned my skiff around and followed them out. It's what any sane helmsman would have done, faced with an oncoming storm and the specter of bikini-clad baboons. That I was no longer rational should be brutally obvious. My will had been hijacked by a man I'd never met, and a photograph I'd never seen. Recklessly, I threw the throttle forward and gunned the Whaler upstream, churning marl in its wake.