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He hooked one arm over the top and braced his foot against the molding of the half-paneled wall, struggling to keep from banging the hollow metal with his knees. Lying on his back, stretched across the two cabinets, he used both hands to push one of the acoustical tile squares upward and to the side. There was room for him. Barely. He put the bag of tools in fi rst. He could hear Vaughan at the top of the stairs, working the latch of the inner door. “You think somebody’s down here, boy? I think you’re crazy. I think you’ve been eating loco weed again. That what you’ve been doing?” Michael slithered into the space between the ceiling tiles and the heavy wooden joists that held the fl oor above. He’d worked for a record store the summer after his freshman year at Pratt, Black & White 245 and he’d had to go into the ceiling to hang displays. Like this one, it had been fi lthy with dust and insulation, crowded with ductwork. He’d learned to negotiate the metal framework that held the tiles, a framework like the one
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