Aw, Cheryl! I shouted.
Enough of that! You get out here!
I would, but not yet. I stepped out of the stall and rose onto my toes, getting the soaked sheet as close to the windows as possible. I could see black ink on the paper. Make out the same handwriting that had scribbled my name on the outside of that envelope.
I mean it, Ricky.
Cheryl pushed and strained at the door, and the wheels of my cleaning cart squeaked as they rolled. I blew on the paper to dry it. The cursive was small, but neat, legible.
The wooden door swung open. I heard its steel handle clang against the stone wall.
I paid no more attention to Cheryl because now I could read the two lines of the note:
You made a promise in Cedar Rapids in 2002.
Time to honor it.
Without thinking, purely automatic, I walked back into that filthy toilet stall and flushed the note away.
But not the ticket.
Excerpted from Big Machine by Victor LaValle Copyright © 2009 by Victor LaValle. Excerpted by permission of Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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