Rock Con Roll (Chapter 4, page 1 of 7)

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Chapter 4

I got a room in a local motel, because I didn't have anywhere else to go, and I'd rather chew broken glass than stay at Bea's place. Frankly, I just didn't trust her not to rob me in the middle of the night.

Interestingly, the motel I chose was the same one we'd used as a safe place, years ago. Bea and her fellow grifters had an arrangement with the owner to set one room aside, for emergencies. The motel was perfect because it was right in the middle of the neighborhood, walking distance from most of our homes and businesses. In Los Angeles, that was significant. Every one of us carried keys to the motel safe room back then. So it seemed like the perfect place for me to stay.

I woke up late and decided to visit another of my favorite places, the library. It brought back memories from long ago. The library was my second home, a place I could go to when I didn't want to go home or couldn't. I had my own little corner, way in the back, where I liked to read. The great thing about my corner was that it had a loose panel near the floor, which opened up to a small space under an adjoining stack. The space was dusty and dark, but safe. And when I brought in an inflatable mattress, a flashlight, and some blankets, I had a secret home away from home that was even secure against the library guards. So secure, in fact, that all of my items were still there, seven years later.

After visiting the library, I played tourist and did some things I'd never done in Los Angeles. Museums and coffee shops and just walking down streets-I found it all nicely relaxing. Not pressed for time, I had all day to fill before I'd see Bea again.

She was in a much better mood that second evening. I brought takeout Thai food, and we ate at the dining room table like some sort of normal family. But it wasn't until we were done with dinner and she unwrapped a Nuts to You bar that we really started to talk.

She exhaled slowly after the first bite. Chocolate truly was her drug of choice. Then she looked up at me and shook her head. "I was pretty pissed off when you ran away."

Good, we were talking. This was what I'd hoped to accomplish yesterday. "I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it. I had to get away. I was scared, and I couldn't do cons anymore-the tension was making me a wreck. Don't forget I saw Jay get killed. That changed everything."

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