I tucked my Opel behind an aging Chevy on a tree-lined street just south of Colorado Boulevard and walked up to the corner in front of the motel in East Pasadena.

The motel's roofline suggested a Swiss chalet. It was too far east on Colorado to be on the Rose Parade route: it was just a sleazy motel with an alpine theme.

Waves of traffic swept by the corner. There was no sign of Mike. I walked a few steps back down the side street, and looked up at the row of frosted bathroom windows. No one looked back at me except a little Mexican kid who must've been standing on the back of a toilet to see out a window so high.

I stood there and counted cars. "He'll be out by the time 33 more cars pass," I promised myself. "Before 99 more cars pass," I said after 33 cars had passed.


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