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The air was crisp.

The rain from the previous night had cleared all the smog out of the Los Angeles basin, leaving behind a cool, clear morning.

Dark reached into his left jean pocket and withdrew the white and gold box of cigarettes. Marlboro Lights.

Rion Dark never smoked anything but Marlboro Lights anymore.

He reached into the pack and pulled out a smoke. Two more and then the lucky. Dark started to ponder what his wish would be when he smoked the last, lucky one in the pack. He lit the cigarette and breathed in deep.

Ah. The first hit was always the best.

Looking up, he noticed the tallest building in view.

It was a wide, gray building with the slogan “EQUITY” engraved across the top.


The words on the building slowly began sliding across the face of the structure, gradually becoming a snake of letters, the “E” the head and the “Y” the tail.

The equity snake of LA’s Koreatown turned to face him.

“Hello, Rion,” said the Snake of Equity.

“Hello, Snake of Equity,” Dark replied. “What the fuck are you looking at?” That thing in his belly, the one that rumbled when he was really enjoying his

job, awoke from its slumber.

“You are evil, Dark. You are evil out of choice, as well. It is in your nature, yet you could easily overcome it. There is that strength in you.”

“I know, you fuck,” Dark spoke quietly, yet forcefully. It was the tone used when things were going to get a little ugly. Lets pause for a commercial break ladies and germs, because this fucking snake of equity, oh my God this is good acid.

The acid, the acid was creating the snake.

He hadn’t even realized it until then. The tab he’d taken earlier hadn’t really kicked in yet. Rion Dark wasn’t much for drugs, really. Except for cigarettes and acid. Well, he usually smoked a few bowls during his trips, and he did like to put a drink back every once in a while, but that was about the extent of it.

Dark had never decided which one he enjoyed more. Cigarettes were the constant ally, yet acid was the occasional oh so sweet, thank you darling once-a-month treat. On the first of every month, and here it was, December first thank you very much. Sometimes he had to delay his trip until the 2nd or 3rd, if there was some deadly serious business going on, which was actually quite often, but generally he was able to set up a solid day every 1st to just trip out and let his mind wander. His physical form usually followed.

He was quite a mobile tripper, probably from all the experience. He never drove on the stuff, unless he was truly out of the woods, but he liked to walk the streets, or ride around in taxicabs. Dark was a quiet, thoughtful, tripper. No one took much notice of him.

Equity. He’d have to look it up in the dictionary for an exact definition, but he knew it was a business term for assets. Meaning money. Somebody with a lot of equity was probably a pretty loaded bastard. A building with the word stamped across it had to have truckloads of cash lying around, he reasoned.

Dark would remember this building of equity, thank you very much.

Dark sat up from the stoop he’d been resting on and flicked his cigarette into the gutter. Enough fresh air, time to get back to the party, or what was left of it. The broads had mostly trickled away as the night went on, and it was down to the serious heads.

Fine by Rion Dark. He had enough women muddying up his world.

Suddenly he was thinking about the job he’d been working on yesterday. Old Nelly in the belly had really been a buzzin’ then. The guy had only been 5’3, bald, the prototypical little neurotic bookkeeper.

Dark loved watching courage and determination melt into desperation and fear, and all the myriad emotions in between. They had put little Edgar Bryant through hell last night, and really, they had only gotten started. The thought made him feel quite warm and fuzzy inside, and Dark didn’t know if that pleased or worried him.

At this point, he couldn’t care less. The intercom system at Mikey’s front door was smiling at him, the slats where sound came out bent into a shit-eating grin.

Rion hit the intercom’s left eye (button, dammit!) and was promptly buzzed up to the dim apartment, where bowls and play-station awaited.

stoked: that doc searls permalinked the busblog, thanks doc

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