Grisafi retrieved the Caddy from the casino's garage. He drove a half dozen blocks along Jefferson and pulled into the parking lot of the Thunderbird, an old city motel that had held on.
The night clerk was a haggard stick figure with a graveyard tan and kind eyes. He apologized for the massive dumpster set against the wall outside the lobby. "Renovations, moving on up."
"I can see that," said Grisafi, not entirely with it. Bedtime was a must.
"You want the right kind of bee, you've got to put out the right kind of honey. Am I right or am I right?" the man said, handing Grisafi a room key.
Grisafi gave it a quick glance. Room 58. He handed it back to the man.
"May I have a different room?"
"What's wrong with that one?" the man said, reaching into his kaftan for a toothpick that he began to chew. "It's an upgrade. A suite on the river. You're getting a sweet deal."
Grisafi offered him a wincing smile. "I know and I appreciate it. But I can't do eights. Once you're in them, you can't get out."
The man looked hard at Grisafi and chuckled. "I had a great uncle who thought just like that. When his wife was pregnant with their eighth kid, he told her she still had work to do because eight kids was no good. He even changed his name. Hamileton. Had to be nine letters. So now we have whole branch of the family named Hamileton, not Hamilton." The man presented Grisafi with another key. "Easier to change a room than a name, don't you think?"
11 November 2014