Chapter 8. Exodus

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What bothered me about the incessant snowfall was the rarity of it. I had been living in the Northwest for as long as I had roamed this earth diaper-free and I never saw a snowfall quite like this, one that didn't last a week at most and go on to produce a couple of cushy snow days for me to cuddle up and watch syndicated Beverly Hillbillies.

It was as if someone had flipped a switch, like an ever-present reminder the world had changed. Well, I didn't need any more reminders the world had changed; my neighbors were missing, and I was parked outside Sam Caruso's house. Speaking of:

"You're late," Sam pointed out as he threw his little gym bag in the back seat. 

"Yeah, three minutes," I snapped back, "get your own car, drive to your own mysteries." 

"As if I could afford a car, my family's got bills to pay," he scoffed, strapping his belt on, "and I'm not talking about normal bills, I'm talking about Bill that fixed our roof, Bill that got my mom to buy all that kale, and Bill, our accountant - who's frankly quite scary." 

"Do you think it's weird to say frankly when your name is Frank?" I wondered, starting the car at last. 

"Do you think it's weird to pay bills when your name is Bill?" 

I shrugged, I didn't know a Frank or a Bill. 

The short drive from my house to Sam's bungalow off Multnomah Village had not done much a job heating up the car, I regretted not bringing mittens or any appropriate clothing for that matter. Like last time I wore my dad's parka and sneakers, the only reasonable addition being some on-trend wool socks. 

"Is it weird to watch The Brady Bunch when your name is Marcia?" Sam asked.

"It is weird, but not because of my name," I told him just as we hit the highway, "I didn't get the Brady boys' motivation, they were always just in the backyard, fixing their bikes."

"That's probably why they all had perms," Sam assumed, "so their hair wouldn't get in their way when they were fixing their bikes." 

"I think we're better at sitcom conspiracies than solving disappearances." 

"Well, we haven't gotten that far yet." 

That was true, this was our first time testing our sleuthing chops for real, the results of which would be revealed an hour's drive from now. 

While I had received good word Sam was intrigued by the Derrick disappearance, I was having trouble believing he was intrigued enough to join me in this. I mean, who would do that? We didn't know each other, this was our second Friday night hanging out, and I didn't recall the previous one going so spectacularly. 

For a little bit, I shed my humbleness to ask myself if it could have been my company that was so alluring, and just as quickly that theory was dismissed.

"So, where'd you tell your parents you were going?" Sam asked, leaning into the back seat to grab a Snickers bar from his bag. 

"I told 'em I was off to Tavi's house for a party."

"You tell your parents you're going to a party, just like that?" He said, as if it was the least bit outrageous, "I wish my parents were that liberal." 

"The key is to have a younger sibling, parents use them for scale, you know, I informed, "what did you tell your folks?" 

"I just put on a Bonanza marathon, and my mom didn't notice I left." 

Alright, maybe I did pride myself a little on his choice to be here, or, he could have just as easily come with me and not make small talk. Did this mean we were friends? I had to dig deeper into this. 

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