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The white agent, whose name was revealed to be Tyler, drove, with SAIC Macklin in the passenger seat, Solomon sitting alone in back. They followed the sheriff ’s official car, a tan-on-white hardtop station wagon with the county star emblazoned on the door.
They rode along a soft country road past miles of sugarcane fields. With the windows down for ventilation, Macklin had to shout his questions back at Solomon over the gusty hot air and road dust and cigarette smoke, but Solomon had no answers for him. He didn’t know what awaited them at the address, whether it was a potential suspect, a witness to the crime, or something else altogether. The straw hat man wouldn’t say any more, having been silently shamed into submission by his fellow churchgoers.
The sheriff’s car slowed to a stop, asking directions from a boy of thirteen or fourteen, walking shirtless and barefoot, whacking at road grass with a thin switch of cut sugarcane. The boy pointed up the road with the stalk, telling them where to go. Solomon noticed Tyler’s eyes watching him in the rearview mirror the way an agent dead-eyes a suspect or a complainant.