Norm Ackland 2016 ERIN MOYNAHAN
Chapter 30 After the prom committee meeting, Erin was collecting her things when Jenny approached. “Can I give you a ride to Midnight Elvis’s?” she said. “That’d be great; thank you.” They drove down a busy neon-lit strip lined with restaurants. Watching the evening scenery glide by, Erin turned to Jenny. “I’m really glad Doug and Shannon invited me to dinner,” she said. “I’m starting to think that Doug’s a nice guy and not the dick I always made him out to be.” “Maybe you’re right.” Jenny pulled into the parking lot while Erin checked her phone. “That was from my dad,” she said. “I texted him earlier. He says you’re welcome to come to our house on prom night. So no excuses. Don’t make me come lookin’.” Jenny laughed. “Okay, okay! I’m looking forward to it. Have a good time with your friends.” “Thanks, Jenny,” Erin said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” As Erin walked into the restaurant it felt like she was being transported back in time. This was what a diner must have been like in the 1950s, from the black-and-white tiled floor to the two rows of small rectangular arborite tables which ran down the middle of the restaurant. Each table came equipped with a metal napkin dispenser, glass salt and pepper shakers with metal twist tops, and an Elvis-themed menu. Framed autographed photos of Elvis, Marilyn, Bogart and other notables from that era adorned the walls. Along the far wall was a row of larger tables. Each table was capable of comfortably seating four adults, with the lone exception being the one closest to the main entrance, which had room for six. Doug, Shannon, and Benji, along with Doug’s football teammates Jack and Mike, were sitting together at that table when Erin entered. “Hi, everyone,” Erin said, surprised to see Benji with this particular crowd. “Hey Erin,” Benji said. “It’s good to see you.” “You too. How’d you get here?” “Doug and Shannon asked me if I wanted to come, so I got a lift with them.” He shrugged at Erin; he seemed about as surprised as she was by this turn of events. Erin smiled at Doug with a look of approval, and Doug returned her smile. “Why don’t you sit down here, Erin,” Doug said. “We saved you a seat.” “Thanks, Doug,” Erin said, “but we need one more. I took the liberty of inviting my boyfriend. He should be here shortly. I hope nobody minds.” “Of course not,” Shannon said. “What’s his name?” “Jim.” Erin looked around and saw chairs here and there, but what caught her eye was a table with two tough-looking bikers sitting at it. They were big — big biceps, big boots, big beards. Were they as mean as they looked? Erin felt the thrill of a challenge. “I see a chair over there, excuse me,” she said. Shannon balked. “You mean over there, where those bikers are sitting?” “Yeah.” “There’s a chair right there by the bar,” Shannon said. “And a bunch more over there! There’s no need to bother those . . . uh, gentlemen.” “Don’t worry,” Erin said. “I’ll be right back.” She strode confidently toward the bikers, who looked somewhat surprised when Erin approached them. “Hi guys,” she said casually. “How are you doing today?” “Just fine, miss,” replied one of the bikers. “Yourself?” “Very well, thank you.” Erin decided to pursue a conversation — why? She didn’t know why. For fun. “I detect a Southern accent,” she said. “Possibly . . . Tennessee?” “That’s very good,” the biker said. “How did you know?” Erin laughed. “I cheated a little bit. On the way in I noticed two bikes with Tennessee plates. I hope you’re not offended.” Now the biker laughed, a gruff but warm laugh. “Missy, where I come from, paying attention like that can save your life. So believe me: no offence taken.” “My name’s Erin. Welcome to Canada.” Erin extended her hand. “My name’s Tom. This is my brother Dan. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” “Likewise,” Erin said. “Tom, I have a small favor to ask. Can you spare that chair? My boyfriend’s coming any time now and he doesn’t have a place to sit.” “You go right ahead.” “Thanks,” Erin said. “Enjoy the rest of your stay in Canada, safe ride home!” Both men nodded. “Take care,” Tom said. Erin hefted the chair across the floor and thumped it down beside her own. As she sat down she noticed that all her friends were staring at her. “What?” “Huh,” Doug said. “I wouldn’t have had the nerve to go over there.” “I don’t judge books by their covers,” Erin said. “It’s true, she doesn’t,” Benji said. Just then, they all heard a rumbling sound as Jim’s Camaro pulled in to the restaurant’s parking lot. Jim entered the restaurant and Erin introduced him to her friends. She told Jim about her encounter with the bikers. Jim nodded a “thank you” to them, which they returned in kind. Someone caught Erin’s eye as she looked around the restaurant. “Doug,” she said, “who’s the guy behind the bar dressed like Elvis?” “That’s Midnight Elvis, of course,” Doug said. “He owns the place.” Erin laughed. “Nice! So there’s actually a real live Midnight Elvis at Midnight Elvis’s?” Doug nodded. “What’s his real name?” “Nobody knows,” Doug said. “My dad’s known him for years and even he doesn’t know his real name. My dad’s involved with a lot of charities and fundraisers in the city, and Midnight Elvis donates his restaurant all the time for free. He also performs at a lot of the functions. You see,” he said, “he doesn’t just dress up like Elvis. He’s a true ETA.” “What’s that mean?” Erin said, exchanging mystified looks with Benji. Who knew that Doug Evans was secretly such a huge geek? “It stands for Elvis Tribute Artist,” Doug said. “He does a bang-on impersonation,” Shannon pointed out. “Cool,” Erin said. “And rumor has it he’s an alumnus of our school,” Doug said. “Really?” Erin said. “Well, see the black and yellow in his costume?” Doug asked. Benji chimed in. “Just because his outfit matches our school colors doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a Fraser alumnus.” “Good point,” Doug said, “but there’s one other thing that you don’t know. When I became the starting QB three years ago, he told my dad . . .” Doug paused and looked right at Erin with a big smile on his face, then continued. “Erin, you’re really gonna love this next part. He told my dad that any time I wanted to reserve this table, which is the largest in the restaurant, all I had to do is phone and give them an hour’s notice and the table would be reserved for me and my entourage.” “Seriously, ‘entourage’?” Erin said with a look of mock disgust. “No wonder you’re such an arrogant asshole.” They all laughed. Just then, a group of players from Eastern High, a rival football team, entered the restaurant. They quickly noticed Doug and his friends. There were twelve players in all, accompanied by two girls. Even Erin, who didn’t follow these things at all, knew that Eastern and Fraser had played for the city championship last November. That hotly contested game had resulted in the bitterest rivalry between two Ottawa-area high school football teams in decades. Of course, Doug hadn’t helped matters any — he had an innate ability to offend just about anybody, and that night in November, with his usual arrogance and bombast, he’d managed to mortally piss off Eastern’s whole team. Now, as all the members of the Eastern team filed through the diner’s narrow entryway, a little not-so-friendly trash-talking ensued. At the forefront of the verbal barrage was the Eastern quarterback, Dylan Cranshaw, who had a special kind of hatred for Doug. Doug had orchestrated a ninety-yard last-minute drive to clinch the championship on Eastern’s home field. Doug’s taunting that night was not forgotten by the Eastern players or fans, and especially not by this guy. Erin noticed that Doug was holding back. She knew the old Doug, the Doug of a week ago, would have amped up the trash talk without hesitation. But now? He was keeping his cool. Erin was impressed; she knew it took great restraint for him to do so, and she wondered if part of it had to do with her influence. Ironically, Doug’s efforts to ignore the Eastern guys only made them try harder. Erin could feel the situation escalating. She looked over at the bikers. She’d only talked to them for a minute, but perhaps in some instances that’s all the time it takes to make a new friend. She made eye contact with Tom; something in his gaze said they weren’t going anywhere, that they would demonstrate their newly forged loyalty to Erin if it came down to it. She gave him a quick smile. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Midnight Elvis hang up the phone and begin ushering his staff and the other patrons, with the exception of Tom and Dan, out through the alternate exits. For a brief moment everyone’s attention was directed toward the bikers. “Hey Dylan, check it out,” Erin heard one of the Eastern guys say. “Real live hillbillies.” “Yeah right,” Dylan said. “What kind of a stupid place is this. You have an Elvis reject behind the bar, hillbillies, and they even let Pakis in.” Dylan looked directly at Shannon and Benji. Erin noticed the scowl on Doug’s face and knew he was near his breaking point. He responded to Dylan in a measured tone. “My girlfriend is Guyanese Indian, and my friend’s parents originate from the southern part of India. Just for your information, Pakistan is a completely different country, you stupid fuck.” Doug’s retort left his rival completely dumbfounded. A few of Dylan’s friends even chuckled a little at his intelligent response. As Dylan struggled to find an effective reply, Doug seemed to take the initiative and looked Dylan right in the eye. “Why don’t you and I settle this between ourselves,” he said. “I’ll be happy to step out to the parking lot with you. Leave my friends out of it; your quarrel’s with me. What do you say?” Erin had to admit that she was impressed with how composed he was under such dire circumstances. All these years she’d thought of him as a cement-head, but maybe he had more of his father in him than she’d given him credit for. Dylan’s body language told her that he would never fight Doug one on one. She could almost smell the fear emanating from his body. Strangely, she felt no fear emanating from her body. Her senses seemed to be in a heightened state, and she had an acute awareness of where everybody and everything was in the room. “You don’t tell me what to do, asshole,” Dylan said. “I knew you wouldn’t take me up on my offer,” Doug said. “That’s one reason why you and your team will always be second-best.” Damn it, Doug! Erin thought. You had him in the palm of your hand and you let him go. Why’d you have to insult the whole team? The Eastern guys began moving closer, shoving chairs in a threatening way. These guys were not backing off. Erin decided to stand up; having her back to the Eastern students left her in a vulnerable position. As she tried to rise, one of the bigger players put his hands on her shoulders, forcing her back down. Fucking asshole. Don’t you dare try to pin me down in my seat. Who do you think you are? Oh God. This is really going to happen, isn’t it?  There was no stopping this thing. The train cars were clicking together, and they were going to go smashing down the track. It felt like the time she had food poisoning and up it all came, all night long. She slipped forward off her seat and found herself below the table. For a fraction of a second she monitored her position. In one motion she spun around and hopped back up onto the chair. She grabbed the guy’s coat with both hands for leverage and viciously head-butted him, breaking his nose. The big doofus from Eastern went down. Just like that. No confrontation. He dropped like a stone into a pool. How had she done that? How had he not been able to respond? She took a quick look at everything around her. Nothing was moving. Oh wait, they were moving, just very slowly. Oh God it was happening. She had started a brawl. She was in it now. Her body was moving and she couldn’t stop it. She glanced down at her feet. Combat position. Her abdomen: relaxed and breathing deeply from the belly. She looked up and another Eastern goon was looming over her. She’d just knocked out his best friend. Right. He was reaching out to grab her. But I did take out his friend. Don’t I deserve it? What exactly was he trying to do? Grab her, keep her out of the fight. No way. Crack, she heard. She watched his left cheek compress like a soufflé as her right fist withdrew. He had to be two hundred and fifty pounds. Big scary fucking linebacker or whatever. Linebacker soufflé. She watched the light go out of the big man’s eyes, and he went down heavy and hard. In her peripheral vision now she sensed the rest of the room catching up with her. Doug was facing off against the Eastern quarterback. Sounds about right.  Benji. Where’s Benji?! Have to look out for Benji. Brawls are not his cup of tea.  She spotted him cowering safely below the table. Phew. She stepped away from the corner where she was confined between tables. She could feel it happening, the fight, her life. That nauseous early feeling, that toxic mix of fear and anxiety, was all gone. Now it felt delicious. Her body was moving, doing what she’d trained it to do. She felt her power coursing through her like the sunshine through the stem and leaves of a plant. It was like some kind of terrible aerobics class, her body showing off everything it knew, cutting a wide swath of destruction through Midnight Elvis’s as it went. It was a good thing there weren’t two of her. Destructor-cise. Satanic Aerobics. If she was a guy it probably would’ve been easier to just let go and enjoy it, get into the feeling of being the best fighter in the room. But because she was female she had to waste a percentage of her neurons being self-conscious, realizing what she must look like to the guys in the room, and that they probably found it “hot.” It didn’t matter that she was systematically rewiring the gonads of every male-bodied, Eastern football jacket–wearing asshole in the room. Even domination was hot, after all. But at the end of the day, she had to get over it — she had work to do, and it involved kicking ass. It was, however, okay if Jim thought she was “hot.” Meanwhile, Benji was huddled under a table with Shannon. Before the fight had started, Doug told him to stay under there and protect Shannon; Benji had been happy to oblige. Now, he squatted, with Shannon behind him, one hand on each of his shoulders. She peered out from behind him to watch the action. Benji grabbed a chair and set it in front of him as a buffer in case any of the Eastern students got past Doug. He also grabbed a yellow plastic mustard bottle and a red plastic ketchup bottle from the table. He could only imagine how ridiculous he looked, aiming the bottles at any would-be attackers. The only damage he could do was stain their football jackets, but it was better than nothing. Benji winced as he saw Dan, one of Erin’s new biker friends, being attacked by two of the Eastern players. Dan was knocked backward into the vintage Wurlitzer jukebox. A 45 dropped down onto the turntable and began to play. Benji couldn’t quite recognize the tune until he heard the chorus: it was Elvis’s “All Shook Up. He assessed the situation. I’m watching a barroom brawl with “All Shook Up” playing in the background. I’m using condiment bottles as weapons, and I’ve got a beautiful girl hanging onto me for dear life. This is way more exciting than any video game I’ve ever played. Benji’s attention snapped back to Erin. At first, he’d been worried about her; shouldn’t she be under the table with him and Shannon? But now he stared transfixed as she put on a clinic that would make any eighth-degree black belt proud. After she head-butted the first guy and decked the second, she backed up into open space. Not because she was afraid, Benji realized, but as a tactic to draw some of the adversaries toward her so her friends would have better odds. She was plowing through six — or was it seven? — guys at one time, showing moves he didn’t even know existed. And maybe he was just imagining it, but there was something weird about her eyes — they looked green, all of a sudden. Nearby, some girl from Eastern was screaming incessantly. She’d moved into the fray to get a closer look at Erin — probably, Benji surmised, to see Erin get what she deserved for hitting her friends. Now she was probably wondering how things could have gone so terribly wrong. How could anyone move so fast? How could anyone so petite hit and kick with such force? Benji wondered the same things. From his vantage point he could see that the girl was mesmerized, just as he was, by Erin’s fluid motion. It was terrifyingly beautiful to watch. The girl didn’t realize that she’d been screaming nonstop for almost a full minute. Then suddenly, to her apparent surprise, she was face-to-face with this beautiful demon, the object of her terrified awe. Her screaming ended abruptly when Erin approached. “Go sit in the corner and shut up. NOW!” Erin commanded her. “Don’t you move until I tell you to.” The girl moved, zombie-like, and sat down. Huddled on the floor in the corner she brought her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. She brought her head forward and closed her eyes tightly. She would not move without permission. Erin moved on. The fight was in her. The fight had possessed her and would stay inside her until it was done. There was a person inside her that she hadn’t met before, and this person was extremely calm, and awesome — like some kind of really kickass older sister. Some Elvis song was playing on the jukebox. “ . . . I’m all shook up . . . Mm-mm-hmm, uh-hoo, yay, yayyy-ay . . .” Elvis was all in love. Ooba-dooba-dooba-dooba, ooba-dooba-dooba- dooba went the bass line, over and over again. Since when did her whole life have a soundtrack? Crack! She unleashed a fist. She watched her attacker drop. Dim awareness of attackers behind her on the left; she spun around into a kick. Her balance shifted to the ball of her left foot, while all the torque from the rotation focused itself on the man’s brachial artery. She watched his eyeballs swell as his heart paused to redirect the blood flow to the injury. She watched him turn even more stupid for a moment. His breathing arrested, and he crumpled to the floor like a raincoat. She felt her breathing proceeding calmly, in and out through the nose. A thousand different things at once. Oxygen enters the body. I see Doug’s arms being held back by the Eastern quarterback while another guy prepares to punch him again in the stomach. Three steps away. I have a dozen different options. We’re going. Fuck, this feels good. While Cranshaw had his arms pinned in a bear hug Doug had already endured two hard body punches. Erin was determined that there wouldn’t be a third. She covered the distance between her and Doug’s assailants in three long strides. The guy punching Doug presented a side profile to Erin; they were so focused on exacting revenge on Doug for last year’s loss that they didn’t notice her until it was too late. With her third stride she landed on the ball of her left foot, pivoted at a forty-five-degree angle, then raised her right knee chest-high with her right arm in a guard position. With her right foot moving in a downward motion she connected, with the outside of her right foot, just above the outside of his right knee. His eyes went wide as he gasped in pain. His leg buckled as his upper body leaned backwards. She had let up a little so as not to cripple him for life, but that didn’t mean she was finished with him just yet. She quickly followed the downward kick with a spinning downward punch to his nose with her left fist. Mercifully, for his sake, he was out like a light. In the meantime Shannon had bolted out from behind Benji. She jumped on Cranshaw’s back, screaming and cursing at him like a woman possessed, enabling Doug to free himself from his grasp. “I’ve got this,” Doug said to Erin as he and Cranshaw faced each other, glaring. “Go see if anyone else needs help.” “Just remember, don’t kill him,” Erin said. “I’ll keep that in mind.” As Erin looked around she realized that the battle was beginning to wind down. She noticed her new friend Tom over by the bar. He was in a vicious battle with the football player who helped start the fight by calling him a hillbilly. Erin’s friends were now out of danger and she went over to assist him. For the first time since the fight began, the good guys outnumber the bad guys, she thought. Tom and his opponent were brawling by the bar and it appeared that Tom had the upper hand, but his opponent clearly had some fighting experience. Tom ducked to avoid a punch just as Erin was closing in behind him. The haymaker missed Tom and connected just below her right eye. It sent her on her backside with a thud. For a moment she was seeing double, or was it triple? Mental note: never let your guard down in a fight. Amazingly, only moments after receiving the vicious blow she found herself regaining her faculties. The dizziness subsided as she went through her mental checklist like a mechanic performing a diagnostic on a car. Alright then. She sprang to her feet. Lesson learned. Time to exact some revenge. In the seconds since she’d hit the deck Tom gained the upper hand courtesy of a few well-placed head shots. Erin ran around to the other side of the bar near the cash register. She helped him pull their adversary up onto the bar despite his resistance, and her eyes locked onto Tom’s as they shared a maniacal grin. Tom ran a stout finger along the bar, which ran almost the entire length of the diner and had a super-smooth finish like the surface of a bowling ball. “Craftsmanship at its finest,” he said to Erin. “Ready to find out how smooth it really is?” She nodded. “Ready, Tom?” “Ready, darlin’.” Midnight Elvis and his friend were watching the whole battle from behind the bar. Erin had seen him call 911 a couple of minutes before. Erin turned to Midnight Elvis. “Midnight, you and your friend better step back, because we’re coming through.” With that, Erin and Tom each took an arm and ran as fast as they could, pulling the helpless football player along with them. By halfway down the bar they’d built up plenty of speed, so they just let him go. Sure enough, he slid right down to the end of the bar, fell off the end and crashed to the ground. Erin imagined the sound of a bowling ball when it hit the pocket and knocked all ten pins down for a strike. Erin looked at Midnight Elvis. “That bar’s of the highest quality. My compliments to the craftsmen who built and installed it.” Midnight Elvis managed to respond with a meek “Thank you.” By then she’d already joined Tom and Dan back on the customer side of the bar. Dan looked a little beat up, but he was holding up okay. They could hear the police and ambulance sirens already approaching, even though the skirmish had only lasted several minutes. Tom took out a wad of money from his pocket. He counted off twenty $100 bills. He gently took Erin by the wrist so her hand was palm up. He folded the bills and placed them in her hand. “Dan and I have to leave right now,” he said. “You give that to the owner for any damages.” Erin suspected that their trip to Canada wasn’t just for sightseeing. She replied with a knowing look. “I understand.” Tom smiled. “I’ve never seen anyone fight like that, little ninja. Ya take care of youself, ya hear?” Erin hugged them both as they said their goodbyes. As the bikers exited the restaurant, Benji walked up to Erin. “What the frig was that?” he said. “What do you mean?” “Yeah right. When I was sitting there cowering below the table praying for my life — which by the way would have been a rational choice for you, too, except. Oh, wait a minute — you’re like a mega awesome kung fu killer now.” Crap. She herself had no logical way of explaining what was going on with her. It sucked to have to try to verbalize anything. She knew the world wasn’t ready for the truth, but she hated lying to Benji. “You know,” she said awkwardly. “My dad’s been making me take karate since I was eight. I am a black belt.” “Right. I know, but, seriously? How many football players did you just take out back there, again? I could swear I saw you pull out someone’s heart and eat it.” She pulled Benji aside and lowered her voice. “Um, listen, I’m a little confused myself, okay? Honestly, I don’t know anything more than you do.” Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Jim sitting by himself. He was grimacing noticeably while favoring his rib cage. “Listen Benji,” she said, “Jim seems to be in some sort of distress over there and I’m gonna go over to see if I can help. My dad’s on his way and the cops are already here. I’ll talk to you later, okay?” Outside, Steven was talking to an officer. “I’m Steven Moynahan. My daughter Erin texted me from inside the restaurant.” The officer asked for a description of his daughter, which Steven gave him right down to the clothes she had on that day. “Wait,” said the officer. “That’s your daughter?” “Yes . . . why do you ask?” “She’s being described as a disruptive force.” “What do you mean?” “She was instrumental in knocking the shit out of half the Eastern football team!” explained the officer. Steven tried to hide his shock. “Is she being charged?” “Too early to say. Apparently one of her friends is a senator’s son,” the officer said. “He’s over there — you can go talk to him if you want.” “Thanks for your help,” said Steven. Steven recognized the senator and knew he was Doug’s father. As Steven approached, Senator Evans looked up at him. His face registered vague recognition. Steven offered his hand. “Hello. I’m Steven Moynahan — Erin’s father.” “You work at the British Embassy, don’t you?” Evans said. “That’s correct. I know you’re Senator Evans. Doug’s your son, isn’t he?” “That’s right.” “When can we see our children?” “The police should be finished with their inquiries soon,” Evans said. “I was allowed to speak to Doug for a moment. Of course he told me that the other guys started it.” “Do you believe him?” “I do,” Evans said. “He also told me that Erin is quite skilled in the martial arts. He was amazed by her strength and courage.” Steven nodded. “She’s just like her mother.” Just then they heard Doug’s voice. “Dad!” Steven and the senator walked briskly over to find out how he was doing. “Hi Doug,” Senator Evans said. “This is your friend Erin’s dad.” “Hi, Mr. Moynahan,” Doug said. “Erin’s inside with Jim. The police said you can go in now.” Steven nodded his thanks. Before he could move, Doug spoke up. “Your daughter is amazing, Sir. I’ve never seen anyone fight like that. Did you train her?” Steven hesitated. “She’s very dedicated. You’ll have to excuse me, I’m going to go see how she’s doing.” Steven offered his hand to Doug and his dad. “Nice to meet both of you.” “Likewise,” said the senator. “And I don’t imagine there’s anything to worry about with the police, but please give me a call if you and Erin have any trouble.” Steven entered the restaurant to find Erin tending to Jim. She had a noticeable bruise under her right eye, but looked otherwise unscathed. Jim had obviously taken a few punches, and from the way he was hunching forward Steven could tell he had taken a blow to the ribs. He was clearly trying to hide the pain in front of Erin, but Steven could see he was having difficulty breathing. Erin sat close to him with a look of great concern on her face. At that moment, she reminded Steven so vividly of Tessa that he caught his breath. Erin put her hand on the tender spot of Jim’s rib cage and held it there for a moment. Suddenly, Jim seemed able to breathe more easily. He smiled and put his arm around Erin, and she rested her head on his shoulder. His breathing slowed to normal and he straightened up in his chair. Steven marveled. What had Erin done? As Erin sat with Jim, her dad came toward their table, clearing his throat so they would notice his approach. They both looked up and smiled, glad to see him. “Are you two okay?” he said, and they nodded yes. Just then, the girl she’d confined to the corner stood up, sobbing, and looked at Erin. “Can I go now?” she said. “I have to go to the bathroom.” Erin had completely forgotten about her. “Of course you can,” she replied softly. “You’re not going to hurt me, are you?” “No,” Erin said in a sympathetic tone. “I won’t hurt you. I promise.” Erin started to move toward the girl, then stopped, seeing a frightened look on her face — the girl was terrified of her! While that knowledge made Erin feel uncomfortable, she also felt a sense of relief to find that she still had a conscience. She never wanted to feel good about bullying anyone. Her dad approached the girl and gently helped her up. “Come along,” he said to her. “I’ll escort you over to the washroom area.” “Okay,” the girl said meekly. When her dad got back from the washrooms, Midnight Elvis approached him. “Are you her father?” he said, nodding toward Erin. “Yes. I’ll help pay for any damages,” he said diplomatically. “Don’t worry about it,” said Midnight Elvis. “She already gave me two thousand dollars. That’s a lot of cash for a student to carry around,” he said. “Besides, it was good to see those idiots from Eastern get their asses kicked. I’ll see that they pay for the rest of it.” At the mention of the money her dad turned to her, but she pre- empted his interrogation. “It’s a long story, Dad. Let me tell you on the way out.”
Usually when authors offer a sample of their book, they show you the first several chapters. I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to showcase a chapter (30) which takes place halfway through the book. This set piece takes place in a restaurant frequented by one of Erin’s friends. It reveals her evolving state, mentally as well as physically, and gives us insight into the essence of the character. I hope you enjoy it.