In the trunk of the girl Mary’s car was: two large bricks of marijuana, an ornately embroidered leather satchel full of dried peyote, six jugs of some kind of clear homemade liquor, and a metal roadie case full of pills: Speed, downers, sleep aids, all the big brand-name anti-depressants, and a few for male sexual dysfunction. Also, there was a disassembled and deactivated cyborg replica of the actor Vincent Chase, aged approximately 26.
The girl Mary, in the driver’s seat of the big red convertible, says: “We should be somewhere near Barstow when the drugs start to take hold.” The real Vince just stares at her, his face a complete blank.
Mary takes a deep breath: it’s going to be a long trip. “Nevermind.” She floors it. The huge V8 roars to life with 390 horses, and the GTO leaves a trail of burnt rubber out of the underground carpark. Vince doesn’t even have time to shit himself and anyway, it’s been done. The wall comes up fast but then they’re through, into the tunnel, so fast that now that the blue lights into the ceiling blur into each other, and now there’s no sense of time, or danger, or anything- it’s like a video game.
But the light is coming up fast now, and then they’re out into the daylight, Vince cowering back from it like a newborn, and they’re ejected onto the broken concrete of what used to be Soto Street, and the sky is full of things that look like huge bats, except they’re metal, and they’re launching rockets at targets on the ground, or maybe just at nothing. But the first explosion is too close, and Vince’s lungs fill with black smoke and Mary yells something at him but he can’t hear it because his hearing is gone and then there’s a woman in the road in a black robe firing a machine gun in the air, and Mary jerks the wheel to the right – hard – and Vince passes out cold.
When he comes around they’re speeding north through the concrete bed of the L.A. River, spraying the half an inch of water out behind them. Over their heads, the sky is on fire, but down here it’s quiet, relatively speaking. Mary drives on, with the lights off, one hand on the wheel as she lights herself a cigarette. And the sun sinks in west, dying the ravaged city a deeper shade of red.