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Vapors and Black Ink

I drove the Grapevine highway straight back toward the Bay Area, making as few pit stops as humanly possible traveling in the company of a six-yearold boy and a baby girl.

We hoped to lie low while I obtained an apartment and a job. My mother agreed to let Darolyn and me squeeze into her place, which already was housing enough relatives to remind me of D Soloman’s Alley. My old best friend, Rose Mary, offered to take Steven in for a while—an act of bravery considering she had no experience whatsoever with small children. Nor did Steven make it easy for her, considering that he somehow managed to crawl out of a tiny upstairs window and onto her roof, necessitating a Fire Department rescue.

Returning to my mother’s ...

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