Four Years

"i don't know", i said to TRUE. "I think your plan puts us in danger of further diluting ourselves."

"oh i'm deluded already," she said, her voice suddenly turning serious.

"absolutely...very much so."

"no, not deluded--DILLUTED. you know, like played out. i think it's already a little fucked up to have TWO sites. plus, you have blue pill out there, somewhere... and now, instead of making the dot com a literary site--like we said we were--we're just setting sail with all those stories HERE, on blogspot and switching up the new URL to be a business site? what the hell? a business site? what business?"



"you asked, 'what business?' well, that's the business. BRANDTRUEBOY."

"it's just a name."

"no--it's also a brand. a brand is more than its name...like the coca-cola logo. it's more than the sum of its parts...kinda like the three of us, don't you think?"

"'us'? I don't now what 'us' is anymore."

"that's OK, " TRUE said. she smiled a sweet, tired smile and leaned her head against the window.

"you don't have to know."

"oh yeah?" i said, laughing and patting my pockets for a cigarette.

"for a while there you said you'd never smoke again," she pointed out.

"hey listen," i said. "it's been a long night."

she tossed me a camel.

"i'm only ever tired when i know i'm not going to get to rest for a while. it's like magic. if i know i can sleep whenever i want, then suddenly i'm not tired anymore."

"OK," I said. As usual, TRUE had the window wide open. i cupped my hand around the end of the cigarette and lit it.

"well, that's the key to surviving a long night. especially when you're lost and alone and so tired that you ache."

"what's the key?" i said, wishing i had a camera to take a picture of her by the window, with her cigarette and her eyes and the stack of spy novels in the corner behind her...

the white strands of smoke and the way she kept blinking...

"you have to imagine that sleep is right around the corner--that the next thing you know you'll be waking up."

"hmmm," i said, as though i understood.

"one thing you gotta keep in mind...," she said, before trailing off as she became distracted by flicking through the songs on my iPod. for the first time i noticed the tell-tale white wire hanging from the spot in her hair where her ear must have been buried.

no wonder she kept mishearing me.

"anyway. keep your head up, girlie-girl," she said, finally, a little too loud.

"Someday soon all of this will be picturesque ruins."



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