VIII - Strength



"Obsessions are like fire and water.

They make good servants but bad masters."


Home Improvement

February 11th:

Sunset was jumping, now as always. Home to the homeless, the boulevard fluttered newspapers in the wind. The strange and the beautiful roamed the midnight alleys, attracted to the weirdness. Jesse James, for example, fit right in.

His eyes darted up and down the road, waiting for the action to wander past. Suddenly a pink corvette zipped by, the blond inside waving to him. He tossed his head acknowledging her, then spotted the girls heading toward him. Too late to run now! He cleared his throat.

"Hey, ladies, you're looking good tonight. Buy you a drink?"

Tara put her arm around the little red-head next to her. "This is my new girlfriend, Star. Say, hello, Star."

She timidly whispered as she spoke to Jesse, who didn't like what he was seeing. He figured Ghost must be nearby if she was in this area. Tara wasn't ever too far from him, and trouble followed them both. The third girl stared at Jesse, making him uncomfortable. He hoped she would leave or something, but she just stood there. Too much history between them.

Tara turned to her, sensing hostility, and grabbed Jesse's arm. She led him away from the girls, whispering in his ear,

"You got to help me ditch the other chick. I don't know her, but she can't go with me and Star. Ghost is waiting for us and he doesn't want her there. Can you keep her here."

"No way! I know her and . . ."

"What's her name?"

"Well," he lied, "I don't know her that good. I just . . .uh, . . . I got some business, you know. You understand."

"Shit, I'd do it for you! Well, what am I going to tell her?"

Tara couldn't have told the truth, it wasn't in her nature, so she made it up as she went along. She motioned to the girl.

"Can you do me a favor? I've got to go connect real quick, so we can party later. This guy is kinda paranoid so I'll have to alone, with Star, it's her guy . . ."

Tara walked back over to Star, putting her arm around the girl's shoulders again.

"Meet Ghost for me at The Rainbow and tell him she and I will be right back."

Tara took leave, taking Star with her down the boulevard.

Jesse watched the two walk away, acutely aware of the one they left behind. He ordered another beer, not quite sure what to say. She wasn't just his ex-girlfriend, was she?

His eyes wandered away from hers.

The girl watched them stroll away, waiting until they were out of earshot. She rolled her eyes with a sneer, "Tara must think I'm an idiot!"

"So . . ."

"You, too, huh?"

Looking around for a clock, Jesse mumbled, "I've got to go!"

"Yeah, run away! You're getting good at that!"

"What the fuck do you want?"

"You know April had a kid, don't you?"

"You know, they figured out what causes that now . . ."

May sat next to Jesse at the bar, leaning her back into it so she could watch the world go by. If you sat here long enough, you could see everyone eventually. She ordered herself a drink.

"Don't you need to be going somewhere? The Rainbow, I think . . ."

"Fuck you!"

"Well, fuck you, too!"

"No, I'm just pissed!" May slammed her shot. "Tara just told me to meet Ghost at the Rainbow. A few minutes earlier, she was going to meet him herself, with her new girlfriend, Star. I must be an idiot . . . is there a 'duh' written on my forehead?"

His silence only agitated her more, "What is the deal with you people out here? Is everyone here crazy, or what?"

He finished his beer, standing up to leave.

"I see you have enough money for beer, but not enough for your kid, huh?"

When she was finally alone, May thought about the people in her life. And how the people in her life really sucked! Everywhere she turned, another bullshit story, another lame excuse for friendship.

She watched Jesse walk away quickly, knowing damn well he didn't have anywhere else to go.

But at least I can still get under his skin! "Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto."

His long dark hair, framed a beautiful bronze face. It was clear she still had feelings for him. She hated him at the moment. May was well aware that the opposite of love wasn't hate, but apathy. It was mind over matter.

If you don't mind, it don't matter.

She could see that someday she wouldn't care at all about him, but that wasn't going to be today. For now she was content to feel.

Then she thought of April.

And Chance.

That's when she decided to score. A few minutes later, she was too high to care. It was the only time she was ever happy anymore. And the thought of that made her sad.

Moments later, she was more worried about where the next rush was going to come from than any other issue. Eventually, she was at the Rainbow, standing outside waiting for someone. Anyone.

If she ran fast enough, maybe she could outrun her memories. No one has problems here. This was the city of dreams, enough to go around for everyone. So, why were dreams so close to nightmares?

It is the nature of the beast.