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Trip on This: Chapter Eight (Part One)

The morning comes too quickly for Trip’s taste.  She spent a good hour after returning from the Tenderloin watching infomercials to clear her mind.  She hates returning to her stamping grounds because it makes her feel as if she’s only one step away from where she’s trying so hard to leave.  This morning, her head is thumping with the dull regularity of a hangover—which is something she never has.  The again, she hardly ever drinks as much as she did the night before.  She lies in bed pondering her plan for the day.  She needs to talk to Blanche outside her natural habitat, but has a hunch that Blanche will not be as eager to talk to her.  Trip knows that Mowgli is right when he says Blanche will talk to him before talking to her, but Trip needs to be the one to talk to Ms. White.  She wants to do it as soon as possible, but reluctantly admits that it would be better to have Mowgli present when she does so.  It grates her ass to have to rely on someone else, but discretion is the better part of valor and all that.

O’Reilly needs to be talked to as well.  He definitely is in on the bigger picture, however reluctantly.  Trip knows that her ultimate goal is to get to Andretti, but she wants her ducks in a row before she tackles the big man herself.  She wants to make sure that there’s no way the man will slip through her fingers once she tracks him down.  She hauls herself out of bed and takes a shower.  She drinks some juice as she ponders what to do in the morning.  She doesn’t want to barge in on O’Reilly at his place of work, but she wants to make sure she nabs him.  Does that mean following him again?  She sighs at the thought of such tedium.  Today, she is aiming for blending in with her environment and pulls on a pair of jeans, a beige sweatshirt, and sneakers.  She flattens her hair so it hangs around her face in forlorn tufts.  She dabs on makeup to make her face look sallow and unattractive.  It’s not enough.  She goes into Vandalia’s room, and sure enough, there are wigs.  Trip thought she had seen them when she was in Vandalia’s room yesterday. She picks a blond wig cut in the pageboy style and pulls it firmly over her hair.  She nods in satisfaction at her image—nobody would look twice at her.  She slumps over slightly and shuffles her feet as she walks.  After stopping at an ATM to withdraw some cash, she is on her way.

But to where?  Does she really want to stalk O’Reilly again?  She wishes she could talk to Evelyn, but quickly dismisses that thought.  She doesn’t live in the past, and there’s no use regretting what she hadn’t done.  That’s a selfish luxury that she doesn’t have time to indulge in.  She parks her car across from O’Reilly’s office and waits.  As she thinks of what has happened, she grows angrier.  It’s bad enough that this Andretti killed Angel for his boss, whoever that may be, most likely because the girl was having an affair with him, but to kill Evelyn to stop her from divulging what she knew steps firmly across the line.  Trip has a hunch that Blanche will be added to that list if she doesn’t spill her guts.  Blanche probably thinks she’s safer not telling what she knows, but she’s wrong.  It’s up to Trip and Mowgli to convince Blanche to talk to them before O’Reilly and Andretti decide it’s easier to permanently shut Blanche up than it is to continually intimidate her into being quiet.

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