Vince and Mary stand in the living of the abandoned, unfinished house. Vince is dazed and confused, dead on his feet.
“We need to get you into bed,” Mary tells him, and no argument is forthcoming from Vince. She takes him up the stairs into the master bedroom- somehow there is furniture here after all- and she puts him into the big canopy bed. Vince experiences neither shame or arousal as Mary strips off his clothes- only a distant, fuzzy gratitude and a longing for sleep.
“I’ll be back,” she whispers, and then she kisses him on the forehead and turns out the light.
Down in the kitchen, Mary fires up the portable gasoline generator she’s brought in, and she has the water boiling in five minutes flat. She uses two teabags, a little sugar, and a few special ingredients all her own.
Mary’s voice calls Vince back out of a deep sleep. She sits on the bedside and she gives him the tea. “Careful, it’s hot.” Vince sits up, leaning back on a big pillow, and he takes the first experimental sip. It’s good.
Before Vince has even finished the tea, he starts to feel himself floating upward, like the ghost of a dead husband he played once in a television movie. He sees the stars through the open roof and they seem to be falling on him, but no- Vince is rising, flying and he’s not afraid now- it’s amazing actually:
He flies out of the house and looks down on the entire abandoned subdivision, the roads and cul-de-sacs from above like runes carved onto the desert by a people now as ancient and inscrutable as any in the Social Studies classes Vince missed anyway because he was making out in the janitor’s closet. Vince flies higher now, far above the desert and west, back towards the ruined city. Through the permanent layer of pollution and soot Vince can somehow see it all: the studio lots, the hills where he once lived, the streets and clubs of Hollywood where he had been a Boy-King- there are almost tears in his eyes now but there’s no time because he keeps flying west, over the luxury fortresses of his former agents and lawyers.
The coast is coming up fast now, Malibu off to the north-west and directly below, the Palisades and Santa Monica, lit by the last red ray of the huge sun as it sinks into the western ocean. Vince circles lower now- he’s not really in control of his flight, but he has no fear either- wherever he’s being taken, he’s pretty sure it will be OK and if it’s not, well… Vince is willing to take his chances at this point.
He makes slow circles over the Santa Monica pier, skirting the blackened hulk of the Ferris wheel, and then lower, below the roofline of the luxury hotels he flies south towards Pico, over the Beachfront Walk where the deathracers speed by, day and night, and then Vince is over Shutters and floodlights beam into the sky around him because, unbelievably, there is a party going on at One Pico.
Somehow Vince knows to fly lower now, and he descends with perfect control until his feet are only eight inches off the path- behind him a three-wheeled death race bike rams its two-foot-long spiked blades through the inadequate armor plating of a hapless opponent and metal screams and blood flies through the air but Vince takes no notice at all – because he is looking the other way, into the big floor-to-ceiling glass windows of the restaurant, and not six feet away, staring out at the waves and holding a glass of red wine, is his former agent and friend, the Warlord Ari Gold.
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