I was driving down Whittier Blvd last month in Whittier and passed the Vagabond Inn. It’s nothing to write home about. Just a motel on a Blvd that used to be more important than it is. A street that was once a destination for cruising that’s now just any other street anywhere.
But I shudder when I pass the Vagabond these days.
It was the site of an ill-fated decision. One that I have come to regret even though I know that given the chance to do things differently I’d have to make the same choice twice.
That’s how choices are sometimes.
VAGABOND, part 1:
Vagabond, my sister.
She was in a second floor non smoking room smoking non stop.
There was a cloud of it when I opened the door.
Like stop drop and roll here comes fire thick.
She lunged forward to hug me and I felt myself take a step back
involuntarily voluntary sister slaughter.
She said they are all against me.
Who was they?
Did I say it? Did I think it? Did she capture it in my eyes some thought in my head that I wouldn’t be able to deny?
I thought of paranormal shows where it’s always the one locked up who can see the ghosts and the aliens. She looked up at the ceiling, pointed at the window with her near empty 40oz.
She said they make up stories about me. You do too.
You are just like them.
I tried to look passed the smoke to her. To her wide pulsing grey eyes. To the vein strain in her neck. There was an energy there in that wisp skinny girl. I could just sense she could flatten me. Knock me out if I said…anything really.
Did you come to try and rescue me? She mocked.
I don’t know how long I stood there. When it was I sat down in the office chair by the bed.
When it was I said we need to get you out of here. We. As if there was a we. And then I said I’d be back later and left.