Entourage:2039 Chapter five

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The Stranger.

Nothing was open. Vincent Chase, hungry, tramped north through the devastation that had once been Vine Street. There were no lights in the buildings, no cars, no streetlights. Not another soul stirred. Maybe it was Sundance week?

He turned right on Franklin, heading east. There had to be something open down here. From the 101 above him, he heard what sounded like heavy trucks rolling past like thunder. And high above that, where the dull red illuminating the Valley leeched into a starless black sky, the sound of helicopters.

But on the ground, nothing. Vincent Chase felt alone. It actually stopped him in his tracks. He hadn’t left his apartment in twenty years, but until this moment, standing at Argyle and Franklin, staring at the bombed-out shell of a bad Thai restaurant, he had never known what it meant to feel alone. In his olds life, when he wanted a body to fuck, or a friend to fly off to Vegas or the Caribbean on the G3, he barely even had to ask. Even all those years in the condo, he’d never really wanted for anything. Was this how regular people felt? Jesus Christ.

After a lost minute staring down at the burnt corpse of what might have been a possum, Vince snapped back to himself. He remembered this feeling now. He had felt it once, a long long time ago. And he knew now to get rid of it.

Drugs. He would buy some drugs. Full of renewed purpose, he continued east on Franklin.

A few minutes later, Vince found the place. Or at least, it looked like the place to him. Half-burnt, knocked down, and propped against the building, what was left of the sign just read, “PIG.” There were no lights, and the windows were long-ago smashed, but still, it felt like the right place. He walked towards the black hole where the door had been- and suddenly came up short. He wished he had Turtle backing him up. Or Dom and some of the boys from the old neighborhood. Hell, he would have even settled for E.

“Don’t puss out now,” he told himself under his breath, trying to turn himself into Aquaman, or his “Smoke Jumpers” firefighter, or really just about anyone less pants-pissingly scared, anyone whose heart was pounding less frighteningly hard than the heart of Vincent Chase standing here on what used to be Franklin Avenue.

“You guys open?” he managed to croak out. Something moved inside the coffee shop, and there was a loud, harsh clank of metal of metal. Vincent jumped, and before he knew it he was three blocks away, running for his life, the blood pounding in his ears. And now- fuck. There was someone in the street up ahead.

A black silhouette, surrounded by steam or smoke hissing up from some unknowable underground catastrophe. It was like one of his old movies, except now Vince was the camera, or maybe the background talent, and he was the one looking on in awe at the troubled yet dashing streetwise anti-hero.

The guy was coming right at him. A spotlight shone down from somewhere and- it couldn’t be, but it was…

Vincent Chase, old, fat, afraid, lost here in 2039, was staring straight into his own past- it was impossible, but still: The stranger coming down this desolate, ruined street was exactly, completely, unmistakably,, the boyish, beautiful, world-bestriding star of  “Queens Boulevard,” Vinnie Chase.

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