previous scene
next scene

Chapter 18: Scene 66: What did I get myself into?


ThinkLink: Have you ever made a decision, then started to wonder if you had made the right choice?

       Victor shuts the door, leaving me standing there wondering what I got myself into now. I walk around the corner of the house and pull the door open. Steps up one side lead to a closed door. On the other side, dark slabs of greasy-looking wood disappear into the dark below.

       As I start down, a voice comes up. "Ten already?"

       At the bottom of the steps I stop and look around. Light from a cellar window comes in at the far end, but I can't see a body with the voice. "I guess so. Where are you?"

       "Over here by the furnace. Don't do no good. They never turn it on unless it's freezing outside, not even then always. Cold-blooded bastard s."

       A guy maybe a couple of years older than me sits up on an old army cot pushed back under big round octopus pipes .

       "I'm John. Who're you?"

       "Guys call me Stilts. You new here?"

       "Yeah. I'm looking for Pat. You know him?"

       Stilts sits up and scratches at a scraggly beard. He's so skinny I hate to look straight at him. He pulls an old army jacket off the floor and drapes it over his toothpick arms. He looks a little better.

       He looks me over, too. "We had a guy called Pat here a couple of nights a few weeks ago. He left some things. I rolled them up and stuck them under that couch. Where'd ya know Pat from?"


       "Yeah, I know 'around.' I been there, too." He laughs. "Where you from?"

       "I live I lived on a ranch , over east from here, up near the Columbia River ."

       "A cowboy, huh? We ain't had one a those yet. Well, stick around. You can pick up a few bucks carrying stuff for the guys upstairs. Don't never let them know you're around, though. Any noise or rough stuff, they kick us all out."

       "I know. The guy Victor told me." I move over to a broken-down couch and dig out Pat's stuff a pair of jeans and a shirt rolled into a blanket that smells like the cement floor. The blanket feels damp. I shiver.

       "Not el-e-gant down here." Stilts stands up and begins to roll up his blanket. "No cooking. Only place to wash up is that laundry tub at the other end. The toilet's down there, too. It runs-over half the time. Slosh some water around. The floor drain takes care of most of it."

       My stomach lurches . I smell the reek of old pee all the way over here.

       Stilts goes on. "This ain't half bad. I been in worse. Like on an open loading dock or under bridges where Cops hassle you. Last week some wino beat me up for change." He rubs his shoulder. "Still sore. So I was plenty glad to find this place, broke toilet and all."

       I nod. Can't argue with that. "The guys upstairs give you any grief ?"

       "They're pretty loose. As long as we don't get in their way. There's four, maybe five guys staying up there most of the time. If one of them comes down here with something to deliver, jump right up or you'll miss a turn."

       "Yeah. Victor said."

       Cement dust has settled over Pat's blanket. I shake it out and shove my sacks under it and stick the whole bundle back of the couch. Just for tonight, I tell myself. As soon as I make some money, I'm out of here.

    Contact Us
 Updated on 5/13/04

previous chapter      

back to top
next chapter
Chapter Scene Passage
18 66 342

sumarize and predict

Search for words in the whole book: