Chapter 16. Tap Tap

veronica.jpgPhoto by Heather D'Augustine

Tap tap tap, tap another hundred yards. Ten point oh-one million county residents--and even more human bodies--meant a very long stretch of linoleum. And somewhere off to the left or right, his permits cooled like hatchlings in the shade, just an inch long, the length of a signature. James could feel the gimme of them, their tiny lizard feet. He'd got the original door-address wrong. He'd left off a zero.

Sobriety, he thought, was beautiful. He could have these thoughts and not become crazed tossing zeroes into ether. The dial had been turned back to twelve at twelve, and the magic of the hour was simple consciousness, or... his. But he was aware of the mental traps of sobriety. Thinking that every bit of magic came from the subraction...of the love of his life. Maybe that was why there were so many beautiful breakup songs, or singles. Remove the essential, the thing you needed, and you arrived at beauty. That was sobriety.

He needed to net $4000 a week minimum. Otherwise, he'd be living beyond. And there were laws now. It wasn't simple embarrassment but criminal offense.

He was a criminal, of course. He'd been a criminal before everyone was.

CEQA the door said, lizard--he'd almost walked, or tapped his way, past it. He'd arrived.

More by Jenny Burman:
Recently on Native Intelligence
New at LA Observed