December 29th, 2002

Five Dollar Trick


Back then I still believed you could get a second chance. I wrote Mike that I’d made a big mistake. I shouldn’t have left. What I did was terribly wrong. But now we ought to think of the baby. Our little Tommy.

Mike wrote back. "All right," he said, "I'll meet you at the Mayflower Hotel, in San Diego. We'll talk."

So there I was. The room was nice. White curtains, a view of the street in front of the hotel. Lots of traffic coming and going. Horns honking. People crowding the sidewalk, most of them soldiers and sailors. Khaki, and shiny brown shoes. And those funny white sailor caps, you can see them a mile away.

I turn on the Philco. The dial lights up in a warm orange and I twist the knob until I hear Glenn Miller. "In the mood." But I'm not in the mood right now, I want to jump out the window. What's going to happen? What will he say? I can't stand it. I take a long, deep breath and let it out slowly. I sit down. Smoke a cigarette. Punch it out. Get up, open the suitcase.

Damn! Everything's wrinkled. All right. Calm down. Put the skirts on hangers and put them in the bathroom and take a hot shower. Maybe the steam will smooth them out. Or maybe the hotel has an iron I can use.

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