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December 9, 2012
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FOUR

"She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day" Rolling Stones

I woke up with Sasha barking excitedly. I had gone to my parents' house after closing the bar. The day before had been harrowing and my dad would want details of why his friend thought I was bad luck. Besides it was the holiday season, delicious baked goods were to be had from my mother's kitchen.

It was about noon when I rolled out of bed. In the kitchen my dad was reading a book and my mom was nowhere to be seen. “Tim called. He didn't really need to call. Your name is in the Tribune again.” My dad said all this without looking up. “Tim said he'd call this afternoon. Despite your stellar first day, you still have a job there.” I slid in across from my dad. He put his book down. “Your mother is at the store buying a fifty pound roast or something else that'll keep her busy cooking for a while.”

My mom and I relieved stress by making food. Lots of food, complex foods. “So I should high-tail it out of here before she gets home?”

“Depends. Would you rather hear her lecture over the phone or in person?”

On the phone I could ignore her and hang up. However, she would call and call and leave message after message. The lecture could go on for weeks. In person I could get it over with, but I also couldn't escape. If she was grocery shopping for stress cooking she'd have caramel filled chocolate to nibble on. That seals it. I'd wait and steal her candy.

I made myself some brunch and waited. My dad moved himself to the basement when we heard my mom pull into the driveway. He took Sasha with him.

The lecture was familiar. “You used to be so motivated!” “You could have had any job!” Then I'd roll my eyes. “But you took that BSB job! And now look at you! Working in a bar, dating a werewolf!” Then she muttered something about her high hopes for her youngest.

I just nodded and apologized. I didn't try to cause my parents grief, but I was happy at the bar. And if I didn't encounter anymore dead bodies I'd probably enjoy working for Mr. Harris. My parents had helped pay for my education and it was a sore spot for my mom to see me waste it. I felt bad, but not bad enough that I was ready to return to a BSB type job or any other social work job. Not yet. Not when a year hadn't even passed since the incident with Raven.

My mom ran out of steam after half an hour. She handed me half her candy bar. “Will you be staying for dinner?”

I shook my head. “I have to go to the bar tonight.”

My mom sighed. “I'll have some pasta ready in an hour for you to take home.”

~*~*~

The bar was busier than usual for a week night. Ever since Bridget put in a few TVs more people showed up on game days to drink. With the Bulls playing and beating the Celtics into the ground the bar was also rowdier than usual. Bridget's fake accent was heavier than usual, almost to the point she was speaking gibberish.

During a commercial break the noise died down a little while smokers went out to light up and others went to the bathroom. A mousy looking man at the end of the bar waved me down. He looked familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. His brown hair looked unwashed and his face was haggard. I'd watched him down four beers in the last forty-five minutes.

“Are you Samantha Dunmore?”

People knew me. I'd been in a highly publicized vampire trial and yesterday's little escapade didn't help anyone in forgetting me anytime soon. How unfortunate.

“Can I help you with something?”

“My name is Joshua Goldberg.”

Oh dear. “Look, I'm sorry about your...brother?” That's why he looked familiar. The image of Eric with the bloody blanket floated in front of my eyes.

He waved his hand. “You didn't do it.” He slid a ten across the bar. “A tip.” I didn't want his money. I wanted him out of the bar. I didn't want to be reminded of that poor, dead man. “And this,” a little tarnished, silver coin appeared in his fingers. He placed it on top of the money.

It was about the size of a half dollar with an image of a woman's profile on it. I turned it over. I recognized the Trinity knot. “I think you should have it.”

“I don't understand.”

Joshua didn't say anything. He just stood up and left. The commercial was over and Bulls fans were crowding around the bar to watch and cheer. I looked over at Bridget. She was too busy for me to be asking about the coin. I pocketed the coin and slipped the ten into the tip jar.
Short this week.
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