August 22

“Sure do,” he says. “Lookin’ to do some crafts?”
“Something like that,” I say, grinning. “When you get a moment.” He nods and walks towards the back of the cafe, as I sit down across from Lisa. My back’s to the door, inverting my usual position.
“You’re right on time,” Lisa says. “I hope I wasn’t too presumptuous in ordering for you.”
“No, no,” I say. “I really need this now. Didn’t sleep too well last night.”
“I hope it wasn’t on my account.”
“It was, actually,” I say, “but that’s the past. I think I’ve come to a decision.”
“Oh?” Lisa says, leaning forward. “Do tell.”
“I’ll burn the notebook,” I say. “I brought it, and I’ve asked Lou for a can to do it in. We can do this in the alley out back if you’d like.”
“That’d be just fine,” she says, starting to stand.
“Not so fast,” I say. “This doesn’t come without a price. You need to do something for me.”
“Oh?” she asks. “And why should I? Getting us out of the time loop should benefit us both. We can’t afford to be playing games with this, Fran.”
“It’s funny you mention games,” I say. “This all goes back to games. You’re a con artist, a scammer. You prey on people who can’t fight back, who don’t have the knowledge you do.”

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