“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”
— The Sun Also Rises

Jake takes a drink from his flask and a drag from his freshly lit cigarette. He has shaggy black hair and a black jacket on.

It’s 7 pm on a Tuesday night, and he’s sitting in his old blue Dodge, near the corner of 2nd and Alameda.

He’s waiting for Dee to text him. He met her a few weeks back after a show in Echo Park.

They hit it off, exchanged numbers, and kept in touch.

When she finally does text him, he takes one last swig, and then proceeds to tuck the bottle into his vest pocket.

He throws out the cigarette, rolls up the window, and makes sure that he has everything before getting out of his car and heading toward the bar.

It’s a cool night, a layer of fog creeping into the city, slowly – assuredly. There are a few people out, but not enough to make a crowd. Nick texts him just as he arrives at the bar next to the neon mermaid, her crooked smile looking down into the void, and sends along the address to a show that’s happening around midnight on the 2nd floor of a loft in the Fashion District.

Inside, the pace of the room is unhurried, but the din has enough buzz to almost make the sound of jazz coming from the band inaudible. Dee, sitting at the bar near the back, near the band, is focused intently on the episode of Dragnet on the TV in the corner of the bar.

Jake sneaks up behind her and whispers in her ear, “mind if I buy you a drink?”

She turns around, without missing a beat, and looks right into his eyes, “only if that drink has Whiskey and nothing else.”

“My kind of girl,” Jake replies.

She laughs and then gets up from the stool.
“How are you darling?,” with the last word rolling off of her tongue in faux transatlantic accent. She hugs him, and Jake hugs her back.

He suggests that they make their way toward a table.

“I actually have another idea,” she says.
“Sure, and that is?”
“Why don’t we jump in that cool car of yours and head toward my place, then we can walk somewhere more central. Yes?”

Dee lives at The Elroy, not far from they are now. On their way over, they drive to the school near the 4th street bridge.

“I’ll be back in second,” she says, as she steps out of the car.

As Jake waits, sunglasses on, even though it’s almost dark, he reaches into his vest pocket, and pulls out the flask.

As he’s about to take a drink, however, he pauses, and looks out toward the city. He feels like he’s been dreaming for months, or maybe years, almost as if there were a large dark cloud in his field of vision. But right now, right at this moment, all of the points in the cloud have started moving away from each other. The last of the light is making its way through the structures in the center of the city and something moves him. He doesn’t know what exactly, but something. Something big and calm.

As Dee walks back over to the car, her fresh red lipstick visible, bright against the background of the old train station, he takes a drink from his flask.

She walks over to the back door, opens it, and throws her stuff in.

As she gets in, he asks, “Ready?”

“Yeah, let’s go,” she says.