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Chapter 18: Scene 65: A place to sleep.


       "What you want kid?" A man steps through the doorway onto the front porch like he knew I was here, or he was waiting for me to come.

       "I'm looking for Pat. A friend of mine. He said if I came to town maybe I could stay here with him."

       "Yeah?" He stares me up and down and then he peers both ways along the street. "We had a Pat staying here a while back. Gone now." He clamps his thin lips together and looks past me down the street.

       Great. What now? Leave? With no place to stay I have to ask if I can stay tonight anyway.

       "Where'd you know Pat?"

       Might as well go for broke. "At Fire Oak. We were in Taylor Cottage together."

       "You got a name?"


       "Me, I'm Victor. You can stay in the basement for now. Be out by ten in the mornings and stay away all day. And no noise! You make noise and you're out of here. Got it?" I nod.

       He points across the porch to the side yard. "Go in through the door around that side of the house. The door to upstairs is locked. Don't never come up here. Even if some fool's dumb enough to ask you, you don't never come. Hear?"

       "I hear. How much? The rent I mean."

       "No charge. You deliver some packages for me, I let you stay. Just don't bring back no other guys with you. No Cops neither. If they're after you, lead 'em some place else."

       "No problem." I step back down a step.

       "Leave your sacks downstairs, long as they don't have nothing in them you wouldn't mind some guy ripping off ." He snorts, only it sounds more like a whinny. "Then you take off. Don't show up here 'til after dark." He starts back in through the door, but then he turns around. "You going back downtown now?"

       "I guess."

       "I run this printing business upstairs, see, and like I said, I got deliveries need to be made. I'll give you a couple of bucks if you deliver this to the address on the outside." He reaches inside the door and brings out a big tan envelope and pulls a couple of bucks out of his pocket. "It goes six blocks back towards downtown and three blocks south. Got the address on the outside."

       I go back up the porch steps and reach out to take the envelope. "I hear you."

       "Right. You stick around you can make a few bucks every day."

       I look down at the envelope. It's been used over and over. The return address says Acme Printing Company P.O. Box 72219. I tilt it up. The back's taped shut.

       Victor gives me an evil stare. "Don't you never open up anything from here."

       "Right. I mean never."

ThinkLink: What do your senses tell you about this scene?

       "You mind your p's and q's. What's in there's none of your business. No money or nothing else to bother yourself over. I don't give nothing important to no new kid. No cause for you to get nosy."

       "OK. Sure. All right to leave my stuff downstairs now?"

       "Go on then, and be quick. My printing customer, he don't like to wait."

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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