The summer was red. Red like the polluted sun. Red like the interior of Hop Louie bar in Chinatown. Red like the bikini a Tinder date wore to Malibu. Red like an overstimulated clitoris. Los Angeles is a woman you cannot bring to orgasm. You have given up trying to get her off because it has gotten too sensitive.
I come to in an Uber. The last few hours are completely black and I do not know who I am in the car with. We are in a part of LA that looks like every other part of LA at 2am: wide deserted streets and infinite grey. I see a teddy bear hanging from a telephone wire by a noose. I briefly considered hanging myself the other day but I have a sore throat.
I am talking. Deep in a monologue about politics. I am saying how Trump has exposed American presidential elections for being the reality show they have always been. I didn’t know I had opinions about politics. Am I even speaking out loud? I catch my reflection in the mirror. A madman returns my gaze. The colorless cheeks, white lips and wild eyes fill me with horror. I cannot look away. I obsess over my reflection.
We get out of the car and walk towards a party. People are streaming in. It is on the roof of an apartment building. Snapshots of consciousness come to me like a series of Polaroids. First I am in a bathroom doing blow with strangers. I am back on the roof. I see someone who looks like my friend Harlan and approach, relieved to have found a friendly face. I clasp his shoulder and a total stranger looks back at me, surprised. I apologize. I am just hallucinating. I have not slept in two days.
I am in an Uber. The sun is starting to rise. The clouds are purple but there are streaks of red that appear to ripple while I gaze out of the dirty car window. Black silhouettes of palm trees sway in the distance. I look down at my phone. The background is a World War II pinup of Veronica Lake. She is wearing an army beret, white shirt, black tie and some sort of leather strap over her shoulder. She stands in front of an Army star. She is saluting the camera. I want to fuck her.
I am back in my apartment. I text my neighbor. She is a beauty whose looks are just now starting to fade. There are already deep wrinkles on her face from too much partying. When she walks into my room I am cutting up lines on a Frank Lloyd Wright book I have never gotten around to reading. I am in my underwear. I invite her into bed. She comes in, but will not take off her clothes.
She lives with her boyfriend upstairs. We chat and I do a line. “Should I make a move on you? Is that something I should do?” I ask. She does a line. “At your own peril.” Her boyfriend is a drug addict who is a lot taller than me. He’s a really nice guy. He is not somebody I want to fight. I’ve never gotten into a fight before.
My neighbor and I are cuddling now. We are sweaty and oily. She is embarrassed by the uncleanliness but I can’t smell anything at all. My nose is almost completely clogged. I feel snot leaking out of it. I brush it away with my hand and look at it. The snot is bloody. After an hour or two I ask her to leave. She stands up. We hug. There is an awkward pause, so I lean in to kiss her. She turns her head away. I shrug and pull back. She shrugs and kisses me.
I am in bed. Birds annoyingly chirp outside. I text every woman I know in LA. I send out probably 40 texts asking if anyone is awake. It is still really early and I don’t get any responses so I call in Uber. An older man is behind the wheel. He catches one look at me in the rear view mirror and knows not to talk to me.
I am in a Korean massage parlor. The old lady recognizes me. “You’ve been here before, yes?” I nod. I pay and she leads me into the back. Eventually someone comes in. She gives me an obligatory back massage for a moment. I turn over. My boner creates a tent of the thin white towel. We negotiate and decide on a $40 tip. She leaves the room to get hot oil. I hear my phone vibrating, somebody is texting me. Korean spa music plays quietly.
Thank god I brought my sunglasses. Outside the parlor the sun blazes. It is already 85 degrees. Tommy’s is a block away and open 24/7. There is no line at this hour. I order a chili cheese burger and fries. I pour ketchup all over my fries. I get in bed and think of my ex.
It is an afternoon at the track. I don’t know when I last slept. I forget how many beers I drank but they stopped serving me a while ago. I check Tinder to see if I have any action. I matched with this girl I worked on a movie with once. She is overweight, has short curly red hair and no plans tonight.
She doesn’t have work tomorrow. I don’t plan on going into work tomorrow. I’ve been out of blow since the track and I hope to get sufficiently drunk tonight so I can sleep. After two beers we start taking tequila shots. Her hair is electric under the lights. We look at each other with the animalistic glare of two people on the verge of fucking. We make out savagely on the bar stools. The bartender watches ESPN quietly and I touch her pussy underneath the skirt below the bar. It is shaved, which I don’t like.
She is on all fours and I am fucking her on the bed. I’m quite hammered and pleasantly surprised that I can get a boner, but coming is a different story. I take my dick out momentarily and spit in my hand. I rub the wetness all over my cock and stick it in her ass. She tenses up from the shock but doesn’t protest. My dick slides in and out gracefully. Her skin shakes every time my waist touches her. I grab her thick, fleshy behind and hold on for dear life. I think about my ex. That doesn’t help. I think instead of Veronica Lake. Yes. I close my eyes and fuck Veronica. I am about to come so I pull out and flip her over. I start jerking off and feel the orgasm gather at the base of my dick. I straddle her and shimmy up the bed on my knees. I get there just in time. Veronica Lake opens her mouth and I cum all over her face while she looks at me, blinking rapidly. Gobs of white semen cover her red lipstick. Her cheeks are flushed. She is glowing. All of a sudden the color drains from her face. There is a brief pause, then she turns her head to the left and vomits on the pillow. Sour tequila and stomach acid stick to her bed sheets. I burst out laughing and she pushes me off of her angrily. I fall off the bed. She wipes her face off but I can’t stop laughing. She starts screaming at me. I am a disgusting piece of shit. Never laugh at a girl after you’ve fucked her. Get out of her apartment now. Never call her again. I am a scumbag.
I am only in my underwear and she throws me out. I didn’t even get to wipe my dick off. Her high pitched and slurred voice fill up the empty block. It is late. She slams the door and suddenly everything goes quiet.