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hs07150.jpgbuy prints of select* halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (*prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 7

Bob made it around the corner, to the side of the lodge before he vomited. He puked two, maybe three times, but continued retching – dry heaves – until his stomach ached and his throat was raw. He leaned against one of the shellacked logs that served as pillars, creating a covered promenade around the perimeter of the building, which was part Bavarian chalet, part gold rush saloon, part neon gaudiness in its design. “Ouch!” His spine came down heavy against something hard. “Fucking burl!” He turned and kicked the log with his steel-toed boots. He could feel the force of the kick send his biggest toenail through his sock. He stumbled a few feet away, still feeling queasy. He sat down on one of the stumpy log seats – more burls – that were arranged around a picnic table.

Then he started to cry. He didn’t notice Dave had returned and was standing in front of him.

“Mr. Richman, I’m really sorry. I mean, it wasn’t Rebecca’s fault at all. It was all me. Really. I’ll pay for her lawyer and everything. I’ll be the Fun Bun all summer if I have to. Just don’t be upset, don’t.” Dave sat beside Bob, bags of ice at his feet.

Bob lifted his head from his hands. His eyes were puffy, his face splotchy and red.

“Really, Mr. Richman, I mean it. I’ll pay. It was just a stupid prank.”

Bob looked at Dave. “I’m afraid it’s not, Dave. What your father has done is not a stupid prank by any means.”

“No. The cat.”

“The cat?”

“The mummified cat. At the Capital Hotel. The one at the bar that they found in the basement.”

Bob’s memory jiggled back into place. “Yes. The cat, the one you two stole….”

“A stupid prank, like I said. Just please, don’t be mad at Rebecca,” Dave pleaded.

Bob smiled for the first time that night. Skinny David Thompson, chivalrous and upstanding in his big clunky boots and long black coat three sizes too big. Bob ruffled Dave’s obviously dyed black hair with affection as he got up to go. “I’m sure we can work something out.”

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke