Opium, Anyone?

Ten minutes later, Sadie pulled me in front of a shabby, metal warehouse. The sign painted above the door read “Ben’s Den.”

“What is this place?”

“I’ll only be a moment, Meta. Will you wait for me out here? I’ll be right back.”

Before I had time to respond, Sadie entered through the shoddy door, allowing me a quick peek before she closed it behind her. The musky smoke Filtering out didn’t come from cigars or cigarettes.

An opium den? I had read about them, but never knew any existed in San Antonio.

Two minutes had passed. Sadie exited the building, her pace had slowed, her glazed eyes and serene.

“Are you okay, Sadie?”

“Perfect. You should go in with me sometime. The owner is a nice young man. Although,” she said, giggling, “Ben has crooked teeth. Makes me cross-eyed if I stare at them too long. Oh, and his face pocks. Big enough for fairies to bed in.” She threw her hands toward the sky. “A beautiful day. Oh, and please don’t tell Miss Fannie. Some things I must keep to myself.”

I wondered what else Sadie kept to herself. Intuition told me she stored secrets the way Mama and I stored canned vegetables.

Excerpt from The Last Bordello


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