“I’m outta here.”
“Come in, I’ll be right out”
I stepped into the motel room. A bed covered with clothes and gym bags took up a lot of space. There was also was a closet, a couple of chairs, a small table holding a lamp and phone, and a beat up dresser drawer mirror combo with at TV on top of it . A sitcom was on without the sound. A wastepaper basket held the evidence of a visit to McDonalds. I could hear the traffic on West Cap and water running in the bathroom.
The water stopped and she came out shutting the door behind her.
“Hey, What’s up? Sit down,” she said, motioning to the chairs.
She pulled a towel off of her hair and shook her head. Light reddish hair fell to her shoulders. She glanced at the mirror and ran her hands through her hair.
” Man”, she sighed, turning away from the mirror, “sometimes I wonder.”
Her green eyes forecast anger ahead. Eyes of a young woman living over the line. Much more of that kind of living and the eyes would belong to a woman who grew old too fast.
“I’m getting all my stuff together” she said, picking up pieces of clothing on the bed and putting them into the bags.
” Tomorrow I’m getting out of this dump. I’ve had it. I’ve been at this motel for a month. I got the monthly rate, but they won’t fix the shower, never get my messages right and hassle me about visitors all the time. It sucks. I should have stayed at the last place, at least it had a kitchen, but it cost more and I thought I could save money this way. Well screw that, bad plan. Plus the heat is on again and I can’t work. They’ve got undercover cops everywhere, guys and chicks, so I’ve got to wait for calls.” She motioned towards a phone pager on the bed.
“I was doing pretty good for awhile, sending money to my mom for my daughter and I was doing it on my own. No drugs, no man, nobody to pay off. I mean you got to give a little to the setup guys but no pimp. But man, it’s just getting too rough. You know at first it was cool. There were the other girls, sisters I guess you could call us, but then one by one they went down. Busted, strung out, took off, all that. So It’s just me now and I’m running out of places to go. I could cool it in Sac for a couple of weeks but It’s getting hot over there too. Plus they don’t have the places to live like out here. But you know, to be honest, I want out. Problem is money. I gotta get a good chunk to get away. I might get lucky tonight, one of my calls has some good money, but it’s always iffy.”
Anger was fading from her eyes even though it was still in her voice. She sat down and put her feet up on the bed. She looked much younger, more like a confused teenage girl looking for answers in uncharted waters.
“You know you hear it all the time. Don’t get started screwing up, you can’t get out. That might be true. I just hope I’m strong enough to split. I mean I hate the work but it’s easy. When it’s right the money is fast and good. But look at me, I don’t have anything extra, I’m day to day. So what am I gonna do next? Work in some bar or restaurant and make a little money and get hustled for nothing? I don’t know. Sorry, but it’s tripping me out. I could always go down to my moms to live and help take care of my kid, but I don’t know if I can handle my mom. She and I are on and off, we fight. You know what I mean?
Fine time to try and figure this all out right? When it’s too late almost. But like I said, I’ve got a couple of good appointments tonight and maybe by tomorrow I’ll be gone. Anyhow I’ll be outta this motel by 11 a.m. Maybe not off West Cap but outta here. I got your number I’ll call you OK?”
“Do that. I’d like to know what happens to you”.
The pager went off and she reached for it looking back at me, “OK honey, here goes, I’ll call, I promise.”
I got up to leave, “good luck, I hope your night goes well.” .
“Me too honey, be careful out there. I’ll call.”
As I walked back down West Cap towards my motel traffic was moving at a good clip. A couple of police cars cruised by. People were zipping in and out of the convenience on the corner. Two women were standing by the pay phones out front. As I looked at them one took a step towards me. She smiled and nodded. “Hi, nice night.”
Undercover cop or someone trying to make a living? Hard to tell and I didn’t need to know. I kept going…
Next time meet another West Cap motel resident. A new arrival with a dicey future.