Amelia pulled her fingers through her hair, which was damp from the shower down the hall. The building did not lock it, and judging from the bike racks mounted to the wall, she figured it for cyclists to get clean.
Amelia had no bike. She'd had a car but sold it three months for $300. It was once her mother's car. Her mother lived in Saskatchewan. She might have been trying to phone Amelia, but the phone was off. So was the electricity as of yesterday.
The cafe was walking distance from the punk house, the one by Fremont Bridge. Amelia had stayed at the one on Glisan for a while, but left after that night the guy with dreds started cutting himself in the chest with a big knife. The new house was cool, there were a few more girls. Amelia had liked that chick Monika, until she hooked up and told Amelia she needed the bed for her "business," whatever that meant. The living room had a hole burnt in the floor; it wasn't solid. Amelia found a sleeping loft in a walk-in closet. It felt a little like a coffin, the ceiling a foot above Amelia's face, and there was a bare electrical wire sticking out of the wall that Amelia covered with a shoebox. But it was private.
This morning she had a five-dollar bill, and forty cents. She did not want to break the five. She noticed the customers here bussed their plates and cups, sometimes dumping half their toast and jam. Man. And the toast smelled good.
Katie wiped the counter and watched the girl the short pink hair. There was no possibility she wasn't hungry, she was spindly as a fawn. And, Katie thought, would probably spook as easy.
"Hey, kid," Katie said, and nodded the girl over.
Amelia looked but did not move. What, was she going to tell her to leave? It was a free fucking country.
"Come here," the woman said.
Katie smiled. "I have a favor to ask."
Amelia watched the woman take a pastry out of the case, put it on a plate.
"The baker brought us some new things today," the woman said, reaching for a ceramic mug. "We're trying to find out if people like them, so try it, with some coffee."
Amelia approached the counter. She held mug. It was heavy.