Chapter Eight

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By the time we arrived in Vancouver, it was a little after 11:00 p.m. The rain was coming down pretty hard and Dave's windshield wipers were doing the very least to disperse the water. Neither one of us had ever been to Vancouver before, so we pulled into a gas station in East Vancouver before we became too lost. Dave parked, but kept the engine running. I exited the vehicle and tiptoed through a large puddle that surrounded the car. The rain was relentless, but did nothing to wash away the sleaze that inhabited the phone booth. It actually enhanced the smell of urine and dirty concrete. Regardless of my discomfort, I had no choice but to press on.  

Once in the phone booth, I wiped my soaked forehead, inserted a quarter, and dialed the number Darrell had given me. The phone rang a few times and I waited patiently. After the fifth ring, a pit welled up in my stomach as I started to worry. By the tenth ring, I hung up the phone and tried not to panic. I looked back at Dave, who was still sitting in the car. Dave was staying with one of his friends and still needed to figure out how to get there.  

I took the quarter out of the coin release tray and inserted it back into the phone. I carefully dialed the number again and took a deep breath. It started to ring again. This time, on the second ring, a low-pitched gravelly voice answered. 

"Hello?" the voice said.  

"Hello, is this Mr. Channing?" I asked meekly.  

"Yes, who is this?" 

"Hi, Mr. Channing, my name is Trevor Morrison, I'm friends with your son, Darrell. He told me to call you when I was in town," I paused as if I had just cast out a lure and was waiting for a bite. 

"Darrell is not here." 

"Oh, okay, um, did he mention anything to you about me coming to stay with you?"  

"I received a call from Darrell the other day, and he mentioned something about you and him staying with us for a while. But Darrell has not arrived yet." 

"Okay, well, I'm in Vancouver right now using a payphone at a gas station and was kind of counting on him being there," I cast out another line. 

"I'm so sorry about that, Trevor, why don't you come on over, you can stay here until Darrell arrives. I'll call him in the morning." 

I quickly jotted down the address and jumped back into the car.  

"Did you get an address?" Dave asked. 

"Yeah, he lives at 1755 West 41st Street. Do you know where that is?" I asked. 

"No I don't," Dave said. 

"Okay, well, I can take a cab from here Dave," I said, trying to be as considerate as possible. 

"That's okay, I took you this far, I may as well take you the rest of the way." 

"Are you sure?" 

"Yeah, no problem." 

"Okay, thanks. Let's see, we're on East 16th Avenue. I think if we just keep driving down this street, it will eventually turn into West 16th Avenue. Then we can continue to drive in the direction that the blocks increase in number."  

We finally arrived at Mr. Channing's modest house in an upper scale neighborhood. When we pulled up, he was waiting for me at the edge of the garage in his housecoat. The garage door was open to reveal two Mercedes Benzes along with some other typical garage clutter.  

I gave Mr. Channing a wave and unloaded my stuff from Dave's car. 

"Alright, man, this is it," I said to Dave as we shook hands. "Thanks so much, brother, I really appreciate it." 

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