Davis Hawke spent Christmas Day 2003 at his parents' home in Medfield, Massachusetts. He and Patricia drove up from Rhode Island in his Crown Victoria with their two wolves in the backseat. (Hawke had brought Patricia along on an invitation from his mother.) He was antsy from the moment he pulled into the Greenbaums' long driveway.
Hawke had intermittently been in touch with his father since dropping out of college. But he had only recently mended ways with his mother. They had tacitly agreed not to talk about his neo-Nazi period. But she made it clear she didn't approve of his spamming either. The thought of spending several hours in her home filled him with dread.
To break the ice, Hawke presented his mother with a gag gift soon after he arrived. It was one of the Truster portable lie detectors he had been spamming for a couple months. He explained that the handheld unit worked by measuring the stress levels in a person's voice. Israel's Mossad security service, he told her, used a similar device to interrogate suspected terrorists. Peggy Greenbaum didn't even take the Truster out of its box. But he could tell she was pleased to learn he wasn't just selling penis-enlargement pills.
After lunch, they all took the dogs (his parents had a Husky mix) for a stroll through the woods to a nearby pond. It was unusually mild for December, with temperatures in the fifties. As they scuffed across the remnants of snow on the ground, Hawke's mother posed a question.