If you’re just joining us, this is The Complete History of The Con:
Now we continue…
After a moment, I grabbed my old-fashioned leather suitcase and joined Laverne at the truck stop counter. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Where did he pick up an old-fashioned leather suitcase? Has he had it the whole time but didn’t mention it?”
“I don’t like eggs,” I told Laverne.
“OK”, she said without looking at me. She was already eating: eggs, hashbrowns, maybe it was an omelete, I don’t know. I’m no good with breakfast food.
When the waitress approached me, I didn’t need to look at the menu: “I’ll take a pancake,” I said. “One. And a coffee. Black.” She poured the coffee into a mug with the words “WEL ME T TH OUSE O REOTYPE A D HO ERS” on it. Many of the letters had been scraped or scrubbed off over the years.
She brought my pancake a few minutes later and I asked for some cream for my coffee.
“Didn’t you say black?” she asked.
I smiled my politest smile and nodded, “Uh huh.” (It was good to be back in California.)
Just then I thought I saw a Nazi in authentic period dress out of the corner of my eye. I whirled on the stool to look upon the empty parking lot. It must have been my imagination… or must it have been?
“Let’s go,” said Laverne. “Let’s get some rest.” She laid some money on the counter and, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, headed for the door. I quickly finished my pancake in the way that disgraced ninjas kill themselves with frisbees, and bounded after her.
Across the highway was a two-story motor lodge, pale and cracking with blue paint. The sign said “U-SLEEP-IT”. When I caught up with Laverne in the lobby, she was arguing with the desk clerk.
“—see this guy! No way.”
“I’m sorry,” the clerk said. “It’s the only room we have available. But check out time is noon, so if you’d like to wait until then…”
“Forget it,” said Laverne, defeated. “We’ll take it.”
“Swell,” said the clerk. “You’re room 113. Just go out this door, turn left and go all the way down.” He handed her the key, dangling from some sort of plastic action figure keychain (closer inspection later revealed: Chewbacca).
“There’s only one bed,” I noticed aloud when we entered the room.
Laverne let out a heavy, smoky sigh. “I know. You’ll have to sleep on the floor.”
“But that’s no good for the sexual tension I’m trying to build in this story,” I said. “After all, it’s a king size.”
Laverne thought for a moment as she switched on the cooling unit under the window. It growled to life and Laverne sighed again. “OK, fine.”
“Thanks,” I said. “I mean, it’s nothing personal. It’s just the narrative is much more—”
She pressed a smoky finger to my lips. “Shut up. I’m going to take a shower.”
I shut up. Laverne took a shower. After a few minutes, she emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel. The steam from the shower drifted and dissipated around her body.
“Now you take a shower,” she said. “You smell.” It was then that I began to suspect she was falling in love with me.
“OK, I’ll take a shower,” I said suspectingly. Then I took a shower (suspiciously).
By the time I came out, Laverne was already in bed. She had drawn tight the drab brown curtains, but the desert sunlight still blazed through like the worms they put in jack cheese to turn it into swiss. I buttoned the butt-flap on my one-sy pajamas and slipped into bed next to her.
“Sweet dreams,” she mumbled.
“Do you think that’s dramatic enough for an act break?” I asked.
She was silent for a moment. Then: “I think I’m falling in love with you.”
Coming up: More stuff!