The television is still on when I wake up. I feel lonely, slightly suicidal, and I’m still wearing my shoes. Staring at a commercial about lawn care I remember falling asleep to a show on how to be famous. The guy was standing on a yacht and had several beautiful women in bikinis surrounding him. I think there were three blondes and two brunettes. I shave and realize that my loneliness is not because I miss Jolie, but rather wanting to see Lucy. I turn off the television in the bedroom and walk into the living room and turn on the television. A special news report says the Python is headed to Pittsburgh. People are being interviewed as if they are expecting the Pope. Two men with beards are waving “Terrible” towels.
I start my morning ‘detox’ of multi-grain toast, peanut butter, and Acai Berry capsules. The suicidal thoughts leave temporarily and then I hear something about Frank Sinatra on the television and flash backs from the night before come racing back. I check the blazer I wore to see if I bought any cigarettes. There are none and I’m not sure if I’m happy about this or not. I shut off the television. I am breaking into a cold sweat as I recollect my prior night. My anxiety peaks when I open my computer and see that last night I Googled times to buy alcohol. I think about my pin-striped blazer. I rush to my closet. No cigarettes. I come back to laptop and check my email: two rejections, a possible acceptance for a short story titled MONEY SHOT and a job inquiry for a new escort service in Las Vegas. They want me to come out to the desert for a meeting.
Allow me to tear down the fourth wall here and explain my job. Three years ago I started a company titled 8Ball Writing, eventually shortened to 8Ball. The expectation was that individuals and companies would rather approach a company versus one individual. My first job was writing flyers, or “porn cards” for a Las Vegas escort agency named Legs, Inc. It paid well and afforded me time to work on my first novel titled “The Downtown Diaries”, with hopes of dropping the freelance work and pursuing my job as a novelist. After the release of “TDD” I soon realized that novels are whores that take and take and give very little. My first month of royalties paid my cable bill, the second month a graphic T-shirt with an ironic mustache, and then finally a pack of cigarettes. I would smoke down the pack knowing that my novel had afforded me the pleasure. Of course now I don’t even have this. What I have is a freelance business that is dependent on the escort companies in Las Vegas. Not what most people call prime job security. I have it down to a science: HOT YOUNG GORGEOUS FULL SERVICE AT-YOUR-DOOR heading with a colorful background, and a portfolio of naked women (I keep a library similar to Microsoft Word clip art). Sometimes web pages and T-shirts, but mostly flyers with big tits as the centerpiece. These companies like to stay in touch with their public. The guys standing on each corner handing out these flyers? There’s a good chance I created them. You’re Welcome. Next time you are handed one of these flyers, look for the 8-ball in the bottom right corner.
I try not to think about last night, instead focusing on my new novel. I write a full chapter then go to the gym and run for two miles the whole time thinking why would the main character in my book go back to the same strip club two nights in a row? When I get back to my laptop I delete the chapter and notice that the air conditioner is once again not working and the heat is rising in my apartment. Out of the left corner of my eye I think I see a cockroach, but once I turn nothing. The suicidal thoughts return.
I’m walking on William Street to Jagger’s apartment, stepping on cockroaches on the side walk that died the night before, when my iPhone alerts me of my motto of the day: LET IT PASS. When I arrive at Jagger’s on Fulton Street I notice the beads of sweat on my arms and the little bugs that are sticking to them. I go up to the third floor; his door is unlocked so I walk in. Jagger has a concerned look on his face and is holding up his Android phone. The text is from Izzy and it reads: THE NIGHT IS ETERNAL. I shake my head and Jagger asks what we are going to do about this. “Vampire intervention?” I ask and then Jagger points to his new lamps, but it’s hard to concentrate on anything because of the heat. Jagger senses my discomfort and tells me that his air conditioner also just broke. “It’s cool though, sweating is the body’s art!” Jagger leaves into his bedroom so I put on the television. It’s when I click on the DVR button I notice that Jagger records every episode of Law and Order; all of the reruns, SVU, Criminal Intent, and even the cancelled Los Angeles series. An overwhelming sense of concern and also embarrassment comes over me. As Jagger approaches I quickly turn off the television, words are not spoken, but we both know what just happened. On our way out the door I receive a text from Izzy. I hold up my iPhone for Jagger to see: I’VE LIVED 5000 YEARS and EXPECT TO LIVE 5000 MORE.
We walk down Fulton, through South Street Seaport to Front Street, ending up at the Cowgirl Sea Horse. I ask Jagger if he wants to go to Vegas, pointing out the free flight and expenses and he doesn’t answer, looking away as if I said something awful. When he looks back he tells me I was wrong to check his DVR queue and I agree because I don’t know what to say. We sit at the bar and order frozen Margaritas from a bartender wearing a sailor cap and a sign behind him reads WE LIVE WHERE YOU VACATION.
My iPhone vibrates and I’m hesitant to look, expecting more vampire messages, instead it is a text from Lucy asking if I want to go with her to an anniversary party for one of her friends. I read it out loud, and Jagger gargles, “Sounds terrible” and then “I can’t think of anything worse!” Lucy sends another message that says we should meet at Applebees. Jagger chokes on his Margarita, “Okay, that’s worse!” I continue reading: …the one in Times Square. Jagger asks the bartender if he has a gun so he can shoot me in the head immediately. Up to this point my day has consisted of Vampires, Law and Order reruns, and now Applebees is on the horizon. I grab one of Jagger’s cigarettes and head outside. When I come back Jagger has a strange grin on his face and says “I’m in” and that’s when I recognize this face, it’s the Vegas grin.