A house. Blue sky. Fields. That road that looks like a fucked-up face.
Every time Mike wakes up, he hopes it's the time he's forgotten Scott. Once, waking up under the Burnside Bridge in the rain, he thought he was free of him, but a car drove by and Mike's head slipped off his bag and he knew he still remembered.
For once it was his own hand down his pants. This guy just wanted to watch, in his high-rise hotel room near the airport. The TV was on and little Scotty Favor was being interviewed by Margie Boule. Little Scotty Favor, who fell in love and apologized for it.
Scott was charming. Mike squeezed himself and his head fell backwards, because maybe if he'd had the money he could have paid for it, could have bought Scott just once, could have
Clouds scudding across a prairie blue sky. Weary brown farmhouse leaning in a field.
When he wakes up, Scott's gone. Mike counts his money and gets on a bus.
The Chinese restaurant they all used to eat in is a coffee shop now. He leans against a lamp post and shakes. There's a cigarette in his bag, but he doesn't know where his bag is. He feels himself slipping.
Every time he leaves, he hopes it's the time he doesn't come back.
He wakes up on his back, one hand in the gutter. Above him, the sky is blue and white and goes on forever. The Chinese restaurant is still a coffee shop, and it's almost better this way, because now he can't go inside, can't order hot soup, can't sit there and remember Scott sitting across from him. He sits up against the light post, finds a cigarette in his coat and lights it. He checks to see if he remembers Scott.
Dick always called her "your mother." No matter what lies he told, it was always "your mother." This time Dick had said, "She sent a postcard from Vegas. Says she's dealing cards at Binion's."
It was hot there. Mike stumbled around the streets, bumping into tourists and trees and the round hispanic women that pass out flyers advertising sex shows and naked girls.
It was worse in the casinos, where everything rang and flashed and looked exactly the same. He got lost in the Aladdin and security escorted him out when he started lurching in circles and laughing hysterically.
He wakes up in a parking garage and hitches a ride downtown. It's dark in Binion's and the woman who works the booth under the sign that says REDEMPTION tells him that Dorothy Biondi quit three weeks ago to get married.
He says, "Oh," and feels his face fall against the plexiglass window of the cash cage. He wants Scott, because Scott always took care of him, and every time this happens he wants Scott, and every time he wakes up he hopes he doesn't remember him, and he's never got what he wants, not even once. He slides down the wall and hits the floor.
It's raining. He sits on the corner of 12th and Stark and tries to figure things out. He's got five bucks and three cigarettes. He's got the page from the phone book with Scott Favor's number on it.
He sometimes thinks about going down to LA, somewhere where it doesn't rain as much, but he knows he'll never leave Portland because every time a long black car drives by there's a chance it's Scott. "Got his phone number in the yellow pages," Mike says to himself.
A car turns the corner and someone throws a beer bottle at his head. He ducks or he doesn't, and the wet sidewalk tastes like blood, the rain warm and metallic.
He's on that road again. The one that looks like a fucked-up face. He squints at it through his fingers. He says, "Ideally, I wouldn't be here." The road says, "Have a nice day." They've had this conversation before.