Technically speaking, Max had no right to be there. Without the proper clearance, anyone on security could ask him for the tag and then he'd be out of there. What would happen then? Max decided it was best left unconsidered. So he walked swiftly across the lab, through the double doors, and down two floors to LL2. Then it was a short walk through the hallway, one more right, and there it was.

At which point things became significantly more complicated. The sample had to be located, removed carefully and placed into an airtight container, which itself then had to be concealed so that Max could walk out the front doors, essentially, without giving any indication to the guards that he did in fact have a very small, very expensive, piece of what might arguably be called life inside his coat.

Which is exactly what he did.

He pulled out of the parking complex, turned on the radio, and by the time he reached the highway he was deep in the second chorus of Easy Lover. When he was young, Max managed two small rock clubs in Manhattan. There was always a revolving door of bands who would come, bring anywhere between a hundred people and no one, and settle for a small slice of money from the door. They weren't in it for the money -- not that money. They were in it for the money they imagined waiting for them, if only they were good enough in the right way at the right time, and looked the right way slightly ahead of the time, to earn it. It depressed him. This work was better. He felt a lot of things in the course of doing it, but never sadness. And in the locked glove compartment of his car, Max knew waited something that would make sure he wouldn't have to work for a few months, maybe more. It depended on if he tried to push it with the client. How far the client would go. What they each were capable of, which in turn hinged on their own personal relationships with the future.

For Max, the future was mostly imagination. That's why those kids in the bands got to him. They were prisons of their own imagination, and everyday the world went on with its very real members doing very real things, and the sun very really directing the movement of the very real earth, and yet no where on it or in the vastness around it lay the future. He switched to falestto voice and said, "You're the one that wants to hold her / hold her and control her / you'd better forget it." Then he turned his head toward the window in time to see the SUV slam into the side of his car, the left side of his body, and then the airbag went off and that was that.


Cliff's Dream

I am in a large meadow. I can't see the end of it; in all directions is mostly flat land, bright green greens of grass. I walk and walk this way for what feels like several minutes and suddenly I reach a sharp drop. I realize the meadow is a large green plateau, and below me is rock. I see Shaina down there, on the edge of a cliff. I know somehow that she is scared. I say, "Shaina, hold on!" But when she looks up I realize it's not Shaina, it's someone who looks like her but it's not her. And she looks at me and says, "Don't you have somewhere you're supposed to be?" Then I realize she's not wearing any pants, no underwear, and on her pussy is a tattoo like a weird tribal symbol. Suddenly we are lying in bed next to each other, and the room is dark and there is no roof just the sky full of stars like in New Mexico when we went camping, and now this woman who is not quite Shaina is on top of me and she says, "Tell me about your childhood." I get the sense we are trying to recover from something painful that happened. I tell her, "It doesn't matter" and she says, "You always say that" and starts fucking me. It feels good but then before I am about to come she closes her eyes and when they open they're gone and instead she had two little mouths and they say "You always say that" and I scream.

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