Back in the Game

The hosptial released me with a second-hand coat over my shoulders and $5 bus fare.

Wouldn’t you know I’m not walking down the road in the rain 20 minutes before the brown sedan pulls up, and it’s Paulie behind the wheel.

I could have asked him how. I could have asked him why. But I’d learned better. I asked him to take me to a hotel downtown and to lend me $20.

“I can’t do that!” he shouted over the noise of the radio.

“Then I can’t pay for my room,” I told him.

“Eh,” he spit, then went silent and seemed to think.

Rolling to a stop in front of the Inston Hotel, he said “Be packed and ready to go at 10.”

“Ready to go? I’m gonna live here, at least a week or two.”

“And you can’t afford even one night, so how ya gonna do that?”

“I don’t know Paulie. Maybe there’ll be a way.”

“I can get you the one night. I’m gonna call in a bomb threat, so be ready like I said. At 10.” He drove off. Maybe I’d never see him again. It would be ok.

An obese elderly woman in a kimono stood behind the hotel desk.

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