Aside from a boat-sized Cadillac moored in the driveway, the white stucco house in northeast Washington, D.C., betrays few signs of its occupants. No lights shine, inside or out. Metal bars guard first-story windows with heavy curtains drawn beneath. Grating protects a locked front door. All is quiet, the narrow street deserted on this chilly winter evening, and even the doorbell cannot be heard from the porch outside. It is impossible to tell if anyone is home.
Only after minutes pass does someone answer the door, a lanky older man with tousled gray hair. “She’s in there,” he offers gruffly, pointing back and over his shoulder. “Shirley!”