Stuck in a “Shining Closet”

From The Last Bordello: In Madam Fannie’s voice, she and her “girls,”and Meta – who was misled to the bordello – must wait out a storm in the crawl space under the stairs.

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I shifted my knees, trying to get comfortable. “Girls, if this is the worst that’s ever happened to you, I’d say you’ve lived a fine and easy life.” I knew better, of course.

“Etta’s leaving is much worse,” Sadie said, her hands shaking.

“Horsefeathers.” Lillie tucked her head between her knees and mumbled, “Worse is saying good-bye to your betrothed.”

“Carver will be back,” Sadie retorted. “Etta won’t.”

True. I couldn’t see Etta returning, which made it worse for Sadie. She and Etta had been as close as silk on a corncob.

I made note to speak privately to Sadie and the others. Under no circumstances were any of my fallen angels allowed to mention the names of the Wild Bunch or Etta’s connection with the gang.

Meta had Faded into the wall, her owl stare flickering in the lantern’s light. No doubt, she didn’t expect to spend her first night in San Antonio stuck in a bordello’s crawl space.