The bejeweled shoreline of Malibu at midnight had turned rancid by dawn. A viscid glut of yesterday’s smog was smashed on Sloane’s horizon like a bruise on a hooker’s thigh. His eyes burned the way his dick had once in Cuernavaca, and the sun was still yawning, stretching from downtown to the beach. He hadn’t slept and the two Mexicans were still going at it.

“Hi Hon!” cooed some local talent, squirreling past on shiny new roller blades. Once he’d’ve nodded back, maybe even done a thing on her, but not today. His thoughts were askew, fractured, scattered across his mental landscape like joss sticks at a Krishna convention. Funny how things come round.

The old Mexican love song that Pedro used to torment them with back in the day ran round his brain as he tossed his warmup on a hook inside the door and stared at his face in the mirror. Dermabrasion-of-the-stars had been unable to level the deep pits of a bad case of teenage angst gone bad. He didn’t like the way his eyes looked any more and he was going grey.

Sloane crept through the cool dark house to Sondra, careless, asleep, one long smooth provocative leg exposed to his glance. Some old song about change and chances taken.

Sondra murmured an invitation back to bed. Sloane sat heavily, palming that curved and elegant calf. He felt her fine smooth ass, marveling in the difference between women and men. He reached for his stash on the nightstand; the shit Pedro had slipped him when he first hit town.

Sondra watched through sleepy eyes as Sloane laid out two fine lines of comfort. She curled her body around him. Sloane shuddered, metabolizing Pedro's gift as Sondra’s hands found him finally.

“Oh yes, Sloane,” she murmured. “The cabana boys kept me up all night. Your friend and the fat one. God!”

Sloane passed along Pedro’s snowy salutation.

“Yes,” said Sondra hungrily. “You’re my baby, Baby.”


Scribe a crescent from Titicaca to Illampu. Call it a coincidence, but in those mountain forests, ten thousand feet up the east slope of the East Cordillera where the cola cola roam, Gordon Sloane had set the blender of life on liquify and let it roll.


Fellini Profanianiotes, a person resembling no one so much as a surreal Western Avenue sleaze merchant, but one who functioned as Sloane’s agent, put it simply:

“Sloane,” he said, his fat rough tongue wagging in a fetid wreath of foul cigar smoke, “you like to spend money almost as much as you dig stroking class gash hot and salty off the beach. Trust me. Shoot this picture.”

More than once Sloane had wished he’d shot Fellini. Or maybe himself. But it’d do him no good to run through all the twists and turns of fate that led him here and now. Still, as he coaxed the Turbo Carrera to life, Sloane couldn’t help recalling the color of the sky above Illampu the morning Pedro tried to kill el gordo. It was to this noxious hue squatting over L.A. as Sondra’s clear wide-set eyes were to Fellini’s. Only a fool would give up one for the other.

Sloane gunned the Porsche up the California Incline and onto the 10 where it joined the other expensive rides strung out along the freeway like the bejeweled scales of a slow-to-wake anaconda. The rays of morning sunlight through his windshield ripped into his eyes like shards of shattered crystal.

Jeezus, Sloane thought:

Pedro and the barbilindo, together again, after all this time. In the house next door.