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  • It’ll be good to get out of the city, you said. I swear these politics are killing me.
    I told you it wasn’t that bad and glanced over. Leaned back, facing forward, cigarette streaming from your fingers at 80 miles per hour as your thin hand finds the radio’s volume and sends David Bowie along to chase the smoke down the dry highway.
    You said all is fair in love and war and I didn’t know what you meant but I believed you and I was glad you were there with me. You were right. I did feel suffocated in the city some nights, the clubs and collective consciousness beating down my door, some radio wave always chasing me around. Like I had swallowed a pill and it took away the pain but made me see things, or twitch. I guess that’s life, though, just giving us a new page. Never a clean slate, but another surface to keep writing on. Keep going. That’s how the city was, just like the rest of the world. A collective, divided but connected, every partier and jazz musician and middle-class wanker, whether we like it or not. Just cells in a loud, beautiful body.
    It was your idea to take a drive. I had nothing going on that day, Saturday, and you’d just quit your job. You called me and showed up ten minutes later in your dusty yellow convertible, top down, back seat full of Gummi Worms and orange juice and Marlboro Red. You’d had a few drinks so you scooted over and I got behind the wheel and we took off into the desert.
    Just us in that car, talking sometimes, about the city and each other. I watched you through my sunglasses, your crooked James Dean smile and your long nose yellow in the sunlit lenses, laughing as you shook your head and turned to take another long drag on your cigarette.
    Sand and brush streamed past us for miles and miles, never ending, never having anywhere better to be, and that’s what I loved. The purr and clatter of your old Plymouth Satellite, the sweet orange juice- that’s how you tasted, like the sun and speed and Saturdays spent just being.
    What’s that, you said, and reached with your cigarette hand to point ahead of us. I looked but didn’t see anything, asked what you saw.
    Just… a thing. There. In front of us. You don’t see it? You looked concerned but just barely, and there was nothing ahead of us. Nothing but burning pavement.
    I cupped the back of your head with one hand and ran my fingers through your windy hair, didn’t say anything, just kept driving while you sighed a sweet, scared, smoky sigh.
    We’re getting closer to it, you said.
    Sometimes in the city on certain nights the moon looks closer. You’d fall out of the back door of La Cigale or Fantasm and lay on your back and look up and just stare, counting craters in the bluish half-light. I think it wants to be closer, to feel what the people down here feel, to wonder at the strobe lights, shopping malls and speakeasies. I think the moon wants to be a part of things, too. We all do.
    You reached back and grabbed my hand and I could feel the nervousness in your fingertips. I remember thinking how far we could go on that gas tank, maybe we could get away forever when-
    when we hit it-
    and I don’t know what it was-
    but it hurt-
    hurt like hell-
    and your cigarette went flying, the orange juice went flying, so did David Bowie, and my sunglasses, and me-
    and there was blood-
    a pounding-
    a roaring-
    just beating, pressing, annihilating everything-
    and the heat-
    and your face-
    so still-
    eyes still open-

    I think you died on impact.
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