I didn’t mind finding myself in a homeless shelter eating pancakes.

My FBI training kicked in when I realized that no one there knew who I was or what I was doing there.  I could move freely amongst the men in the shelter and no one would suspect me of being anything other than a young woman alone on vacation or business.

And besides, I was hungry.

I settled into a seat at a busy table. The man next to me seemed rather young.

“So, how is it you ended up needing this shelter?  If you don’t mind my asking.”

“Logging dried up.  This is my home.  Don’t wanna go nowhere else.”

“Why did logging dry up?  Don’t tell me it had to do with some protected species or something?” I played coy.

“Fish.  Salmon.  Go ask a fisherman how that worked out for him.”  He was clearly NOT in a chatty mood.

“Pff.  As if it was our fault.” Another man chimed in. “You destroyed the breeding grounds by over logging!”

“Right,” said another, “Overfishing had NOTHING to do with it I suppose?”

“There will be none of that here, boys!” Came a surprisingly sweet but firm voice of Mrs. Little, the shelter matriarch.

She looked at me.  “One of the main rules here.  No fighting, especially over jobs.  We are all in the same boat here.  Sorry, bad analogy.” She blushed at her slight.

Then she spoke to a little boy sitting across from me. “Billy, it is not polite to stare.” Then to me, “I hope my son doesn’t bother you.  He can’t talk, but he can get underfoot sometimes.”

“It’s no problem Mrs. Little.  He isn’t hurting anything.  Besides, I think I have something he wants.”  I smiled at Billy and slid a syrup dispenser over to him.

He smiled and blushed.

Next – Missed a Call.