Someone once told me everyone is friendlier in warmer climates, and they might have been right. At the terminal Carl pshawed my idea of taking a cab into LA, and told me I was riding with him into town. He drove a white convertible VW bug and lovingly strapped the Strat into the back seat.
With the top down it was impossible to talk so I just soaked up the sun, palm trees, a lot of stuff I’d seen on MTV. I couldn’t believe Remo lived in this town and I found it weird that Los Angeles really did look the way it did in movies. Maybe Carl was taking me a particularly scenic route, but I didn’t know. When we got to Carl’s place he invited me in. His apartment was nowhere near as anally neat as I’d feared it would be. Still, besides a few scattered magazines and unfolded laundry it lacked the clutter of a bachelor pad, as if here on the Left Coast everything had less substance and would evaporate when left unattended. He hung his uniform duds in the closet, and pulled me onto the bed.
If this all seems sudden, that’s because it was. I didn’t really give myself time to think about fucking it up and for once, let it happen. He didn’t want to chit chat once I got my shirt off, things went really fast after that. Or maybe I lost track of time. It wasn’t until after we were done that I realized Remo might be wondering where I was. I told Carl I had to get going and he didn’t seem surprised or dismayed by my hurry to leave.
A little ways down the street I found a phone on the outside wall of a bar. The sun was setting somewhere on the other side of the building, and I pumped change into the phone and waited. Remo picked it up on the third ring and heard the hum of something in the background like a vaccuum cleaner.
“Hey, Reem, it’s me.”
“Hey ‘me,’ how was your flight?”
“A little delayed, but I’m here now.”
“Didn’t I give you the address? Just catch a cab and I’ll pay him when you get here.”
“What if they won’t take me?”
“What, do you look homeless or something? Call me if there’s problem.” The machine sound got louder.
“Right.” When I hung up, I noticed a sticker for a cab company half-peeled from the phone and dialed them next. All around the bar, separating the parking lot from the walkway, were round concrete posts. I sat on one and watched the sky turn purple, and for a few minutes, I was satisfied.