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3. Ringleader

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It started as a summer job – something to keep me out of trouble. Not that I ever got into trouble, but adults are weird. After Mom and Dad died, my uncle took me in. Whether he knew what he was getting into, who knows. But he took me, gave me a job – not that I’m complaining. A job’s a job. You’d be surprised what you could learn by way of simple observation.

My uncle ran a neighborhood bar. And he knew all the cops. Hence why I could hang around as much as I wanted – I had a legitimate job and everything. Look at that.

This merely passes the time, between the soft clink of glasses and the usual idle chatter. It’s something to do – we all do something.

Me? I’m an artist. Well – let me explain.

My name is Harley Morrow, but it isn’t really. My uncle just likes the way it sounds. I might be good for business, or so he tells me. Sixteen’s a fine age to work in a bar, he tells me. He calls me Harley because it sounds more interesting. I guess he’s right. In terms of art, I do it all. I can play guitar a little, I can draw a bit, take pictures if I try, paint, sing – you name it. My uncle considered me his harlequin – his little clown to keep the crowds coming. I wouldn’t call myself pretty, but that might be teenage insecurity talking. You never can tell these days.

So I get away with being bizarre because it’s good for business. Don’t get me wrong, my uncle does love me but he was raised by artists and eccentrics; he’s the sweetest guy I know. He’s the only family I’ve got – and he wants what’s best for me. My real name is Hadley – hence why I didn’t mind my uncle’s nickname too much. It kind of grows on you through time.

I was a creature of habit. Bizarre habit, but habit nonetheless.

The bar was my home, literally. There was so much history there; times I’d never forget, people that I’d always remember. Lives interwoven into my own.

My very own world of whimsy – the ongoing social circus.

But there’s always a change to the routine, and that’s what life’s like. You sit around and wait for the ambition to strike. And sometimes, ambition’s hidden behind an uncaring facade of rebellion.

That’s why the world needs artists and freaks.

We live for change.

Welcome to the Drowning Raven. Seems I’m yours tonight. –

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