Music from downstairs wakes me at eleven. I hurriedly throw on a robe, walk downstairs, but it’s only the maid washing the windows in the den, listening to Culture Club. I say gracias and look outside the window the maid is cleaning and notice that the maid’s two young children are swimming in the shallow end of the small pool. I get dressed and wait around the house for Danny to come back. I walk outside, stare at the space where his car was parked, and then I look around for signs of the gardener, who has, for some reason, not shown up in three weeks.
I meet Liz for lunch in Beverly Hills and after we order water I spot William, wearing a beige linen sport jacket, white pleated pants and expensive brown sunglasses, standing at the bar. He makes his way over to our table. I excuse myself and walk to the rest rooms. William follows me and I stand outside the door and ask him what he’s doing here and he says that he always comes to this place for lunch and I tell him it’s too much of a coincidence and he says, admits, that maybe he talked to Liz, that maybe she had mentioned something to him about lunch with me today at the Bistro Gardens. I tell William that I don’t want to see him, that this separation was, inadvertently or not, his idea, that he met Linda. William answers my accusations by telling me that he simply wants to talk and he takes my hand and squeezes it and I pull away and walk back to the table and sit down. William follows and squats by my chair and after he asks me three times to come by his house to talk and I don’t say anything he leaves and Liz mumbles apologies and I suddenly, inexplicably, become so hungry that I order two appetizers, a large salad and a bitter-orange tart and eat them quickly, ravenous.
After lunch I walk aimlessly along Rodeo Drive and into Gucci, where I almost buy Danny a wallet, and then I’m walking out of Gucci and leaning against one of the gold columns outside the store in white heat and a helicopter swoops down low out of the sky and back up again and a Mercedes blares its horn at another Mercedes and I remember that I have to do the eleven o’clock edition on Thursdays and I’m shielding my eyes from the sun and I walk into the wrong parking lot and after walking another block find the right one.
I leave the station after the newscast at five ends, telling Jerry that I’ll be back for the eleven o’clock edition by ten-thirty and Cliff can do the promos and I get into my car and drive out of the parking lot of the station and find myself driving to the airport, to LAX. I park and walk over to the American Airlines terminal and go to a coffee shop, making sure I get a seat by the window, and I order coffee and watch planes take off, occasionally glancing at a copy of the L.A. Weekly I brought with me from the car, and then I do some of the cocaine Simon gave me this afternoon and get diarrhea and then I roam the airport and hope someone will follow me and I walk from one end of the terminal to the other, looking over my shoulder expectantly, and I leave the American Airlines terminal and walk out to the parking lot and approach my car, the windows tinted black, two stubs leaning against the windshield where the wipers used to be, and I get the feeling that there’s someone waiting, crouched in the backseat, and I move toward the car, peer in, and though it’s hard to tell, I’m pretty sure there’s no one in there and I get in and drive out of the airport and as I move past motels that line Century Boulevard leading to LAX I’m tempted, briefly, to check into one of them, just to get the effect, to give off the illusion of being someplace else, and the Go-Go’s are singing “Head Over Heels” on the radio and from LAX I drive to West Hollywood and find myself at a revival theater on Beverly Boulevard that’s playing an old Robert Altman movie and I park the Jaguar in a towaway zone, pay for a ticket and walk into a small, empty theater, the entire room bathed in red light, and I sit alone up front, flip through the L.A. Weekly and it’s quiet in the theater except for an Eagles album that’s playing somewhere and someone lights a joint and the sweet, strong smell of marijuana distracts me from the L.A. Weekly, which drops to the floor anyway after I see an advertisement for Danny’s Okie Dog, a hot dog stand on Santa Monica Boulevard, and the lights dim and someone in back yawns and the Eagles fade, a tattered black curtain rises and after the movie ends I walk back outside and get in the car and when the car stalls in front of a g*y bar on Santa Monica I decide not to go to the station for the eleven o’clock newscast and I keep turning the key and when the engine starts up again I drive away from the bar and past two young guys yelling at each other in a doorway.
Canter’s. I walk into the large, fluorescent-lit delicatessen to get something to eat and buy a pack of cigarettes so that I ill have something to do with my hands since I left the L.A. Weekly on the floor of the revival theater. I get a booth near the window and study the Benson & Hedges box, then stare out the window and watch streetlights change colors from red to green to yellow to red and nothing passes through the intersection and the lights keep changing and I order a sandwich and a diet Coke and nothing passes, no cars, no people, nothing passes through the intersection for twenty minutes. The sandwich arrives and I stare at it disinterestedly.