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Chapter 3: Ice cold in Wisconsin

If Lambeau Field was what the palace of dreams looked like, then Mother Goose should be sued for exaggeration. It was ugly and gray, with a tattered banner hanging from the fourth floor saying “Super Bowl Champions”. Around the side was a fading painted sign, “Vince Lombardi for Pope”. It smelled of ancient glory, faded arrogance, and extra tasty vintage cheese.

“Chuck, my boy,” I said, “this is where madmen rule and evil goes unpunished.” What else could I say — it was printed on their mission statement outside the front door.

I pulled my jacket tighter around me, stepped into the dim yellowish light of the reception area, and faced the receptionist.

Her tag said her name was Candy, but she looked more like a sour Gummi Bear to me. She wore the badge of a cheerleader, though her days of dazzling drunken men and hormonally confused boys were clearly behind her. She caught me staring at her scars, and she smiled a weary, crooked, gap-toothed grin. “Don’t worry, pal, everybody looks,” she said. “L.A. Coliseum, 1988. I got out the hard way, but we left a lot of good girls behind that day.”

She fell silent for a moment as we shared a thought of the Majkowski Massacre. Some things never really leave you — your first kiss, your first pay check, 20 to nil in the season opener. It had been gritty and worse. No wonder she could grin: after that, the reception area of the Packers would have looked like the Hilton with room service.

“So, what can I do for you?” she asked.

“I hear you had a body out there recently,” I said, pointing casually towards the field. Now she had snapped out of her dreams, watching me like a pit bull waiting for a school bus to unload. “Mind if I have a look at the location? I have a friend who’s very interested in what happened there.”

“That’s something we don’t much like to talk about around these parts,” she said, leaning ever so slightly to her left. “You know, there’s a reason for that.”

I must be getting old. I didn’t even see the security goons she’d buzzed before they had me flying out the door and into the piles of trash heaped up in the car park. The door lock had snapped into place well before the ringing left my ears; and by the look of the faces watching me behind the glass, I wasn’t going to get back in that way even with a court order and Steinberg as my agent.

I picked myself up gingerly, grateful for the soft and unresisting feel of the piles of unwanted Packer special teamers I’d landed on. It was only then that I noticed the nun standing in the shadows around the corner.