Linda Linman lives in #2, and she is never seen without her skin treatment thickly slathered, curlers in her hair, slouched over and shuffling in her slippers. Never without her designer gloves, through which long bony fingers can be seen, she smokes like a chimney and receives a constant supply of beauty products shipped to her. Communication is through the occasional rasp only, or fluent South African Sign Language.

Mrs. Soule had done her best to learn SASL but mainly communicates through notes. She also is well aware of the inside of #2, papered almost entirely with photographs of Landa from an earlier time. Smiles abound, coiffed blonde locks over ivory-white skin, and the latest fashions of yesteryear proliferate. There are snaps from Paris, from Milan, from New York and Los Angeles.

One might wonder how the hunched figure of Ms. Linman, barely four foot eight with her slouch, could possibly descend from the same frame that, to judge by the old snaps, stood six feet and change. The answer is, of course, unusual.

Only two people know of Van Djyk, the primatologist in Pretoria, who captured a female bonobo in 1948. One of them is Mrs. Soule, and the other is Linda herself. She has given Mrs. Soule Van Djyk’s old Luger and asked her to use it, when the wig with curlers no longer fit, when she no longer responds to language, when every bit of her ascension has been wiped away. Mrs. Soule, for her part, sees the strain on Linda’s body and is of the opinion that she will not live to see such an eventuality.

But the Luger remains locked in an inner drawer in the manager’s office all the same.

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