He touched down in LA, splashed water on his face in the airport bathroom, and stood in line at the Budget car rental place. The man before him spat right onto the carpet. He got the key and wandered out into the lot and thought about how, one day, when everyone had been killed or whatever, these cars would still be here, empty, accruing dust, their tires oozing into the concrete. He found the SUV and began his slow trek across town. Flat pale buildings languished in dusty light. Faded signs passed like voice-over panels in a comic book, a commercial echolalia repeating things like U BREAK I FIX and SEXY YOGA BUTT. He texted her: Be there soon. Twenty minutes later, as he crawled down a six-lane highway straight into the howling sun, she still hadn’t responded. Finally, when he was ten minutes away, at a stop light he texted her again: Ten minutes. Five minutes later she texted back: ok.

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