From the view of winter, nighttime becomes the daytime of summer. At the year’s bookends, going outside demands the invitation of the sun, working its magic on the flagpoles and windowsills, extracting the deathly cold of night. The winter hangs static and tightly enshrouds the city from the sun with a pale gauze of soft sky. But it’s summer now, so everything’s deflating in the muggy New York eve. It means everyone is out late, harboring the afterglow of the sun’s vitality. Families prolonging their desultory walks, shadows lingering even longer at the gloaming, and everyone feeling daytime’s oppression unrobed before midnight’s fever. 

Well-off neighborhoods are abuzz in the transition from half-light to fluorescent night. The moon well-lit in the darkness, especially with the weekend in full swing. The alleys and storefronts are lit-up by street lights, so bright you could make believe that the sun never really goes down anymore. And with today being a Saturday, mooning pedestrians are fully removed from the weekday’s puritanical work ethic, propriety looser and direction vaguer than ever. For these 48 hours, industry is given this fleeting chance to atone for its working-class sins, to rectify the hours of paper work and absurd payoffs, to forge salvation in this niche of an escape: a rebirth so that the next five days of typing-smiling-buying-selling-planning-waiting-greeting-wheedling-relegating-tabulating-reviewing-punishing-smiling can be balanced by this terminal freedom.

This weekend it’s all about the new fusion eatery on the neighborhood’s main drag, a taste that pairs The South of the Border with The Far East. A fresh fusion that unites the cultural spectrum, bringing together a divided world, all in our own backyard, East Meats West! The hype is enough that it’s bound to end up in Time Out before the weekend is up. Outside, the crowded benches are hemmed by upright patriarchs and a consortium of strollers with the pre-teen in the queued family holding the buzzer like it’s some kind of perk, some kind of reward for waiting in line to eat. And then more families show up. They show up dutifully with the reviews on their phones, someone in the family reciting from Yelp in their hands, their face lit from the phone like an upside down halo while they make a stand for waiting and the rest acquiesce.

     But down the street, WAYYYYYY down the avenue, where the boutiques and Michelin stared bistros, turn into trendy thrift-stores and college eats, and beyond that to the familiar bodegas and underpriced Chinese restaurants, a place where the g-word is spoken in either a whisper or an exclamation, there’s a little white café whose store front looks out onto this same avenue at the far end of the hubbub, a bellwether for the limitations of this expanding growth, either a sacrificial lamb or a cash cow.

     Raison D'être is empty at the moment, sans Chris who’s stoned off his ass and staring across the street at the bar that’s faring much better than this whitewashed dump. He’s been over there a few times, although he admits he’s not big on the drinking scene. It’s a fun little place though. Very hipsterish décor, a mélange of ephemera and Americana strewn across the wall. We’re talking papier-mâché bison heads, pirate flags with Bill Murray’s face, TV’s with ribald montages of mid-century America, a framed GIF with a cat permanently lapping up milk, non sequiturs aplenty for sure. It’s dark in there too, a few lights hung up like captive stars, and 19th century gas lamps burning in their sconces ignoring the passing of the last century.

Oh shit. He did go there once. While tripping on Richard’s acid. First he was at Rob’s place where they dropped the batch that some guy upstate made at his mom’s townhouse. As soon as they took it, they lit up and started to watch Dr. Strangelove and something about learning to love the bomb. He remembers his eyes detecting some kind of flashing in the room when he began to trip, as if his perception revealed the interstitial gaps between the individual frames in the movie called Chris Handel, not removed but clear now, the flashing always there, behind the curtain of consciousness. He felt himself slowly coming up, rising as if from the dead, as if life without the drug’s lucidity was like merely sitting backseat in your own car as some stranger drove you around town. Accustomed to psychedelics, he rode the drug’s plateau, building on some fantasy from the film that he was Major T.J. “King” Kong, who stubbornly pushed on for the good of humanity (or at least America) and consequently doomed it to life in a subterranean nightmare. The difference between Chris and “King” though was the difference between illusion and delusion. One was a conscious effort to ignore a known reality, the other mistook the shadow as reality. He took the role on cheerfully, drawling all night, as they galloped on bicycles to the bar and where Chris swaggered for the sexy bartender and earned them all a round for his spot-on reenactment of straddling a hickory bar in lieu of a WMD. There was something honest, or maybe noble is a better word, to describe the Major’s character. However damning his actions were though, he was still the only fucking character in the film who died with an idea of courage, albeit apocalyptic. He was sure of alternative, less destructive imaginings of idealism, but inescapably it was all grounded in the Major’s ignorance. Too bad he killed all those people.

This place however, turning around and heading back to the café’s office, is a Better Homes and Gardens, middle-aged, elementary school teacher’s wet dream. The converted shotgun shack has exposed joists on one side, soused in off-white chemicals of course, and faux wallpaper on the other, belying the aged wisdom of experienced walls that have survived the incessant wrecking ball native to the five boroughs. The tin ceiling is white, the kitchen is white, tables, chairs, mullions, doorframe, shoes, skin, attitude: all white.

The place is tiny too. It’s difficult to call it a veritable restaurant. More like a glorified coffee shop. Chris is the cashier/server/barista but in actuality he could pretty much do the whole thing by himself at night. During the day, it’s nice and steady, keeping business afloat for now, but he really didn’t need Cooper and Stubb to pull off the evening shift, not that he minded. But shit. It’s so slow even the flies have absconded for better digs than this. His shifts seemed to go so much smoother if Stubb called out, or Cooper was busy casing other spots out-of-state for franchisees.

He can’t grouse about the pay though. He isn’t sure where the funds come from, but he feels as if he could do this for decades. Work up the ladder, maybe not, make a couple bucks more an hour. Sure it wasn’t challenging, sure it didn’t ring of his teenage dreams of greatness but it was nice. And it felt heroic in some fucked up way, not caring anymore, floating around as a Brooklyn barista, flirting with chicks, listening to his own music, smoking every night. He could do it for decades and be comfortable. All he had to do was not think about the distant future.

He wanted to keep making things: music, poetry, stories, repudiate complacency and these vague dreams of professional fulfilment, but now he lacked the impetus he had in those salad days, having weathered storms of failure since matriculating. The age had come. For some it’s 20, others 40. Now he felt his inner nature and was forced into what seemed like the ultimate ultimatum. Once and for all. to continue to press the round peg of greatness into the square hole of self, or just slide in that square peg and walk away. It seemed inevitable, that was the worst part. He even started to think that even greatness was really just another square peg. No. That was the worst part.

At the other end of the café, Cooper sat at his computer while Stubb was attempting to regale him with some story about his wife, Cooper noticeably not paying any attention but somehow feigning enough interest to permit Stubb’s to hold his in-house title of raconteur. “And I don’t even like sauerkraut, but she orders it anyway-”


“So as I’m sitting at the table, and the waitress leaves, I look at her and say, ‘Why the fuck did you order for me?’ I said it more nicely than that but anyway I said ‘Why the fuck did you order for me?’ and you know what she says? She says, ‘I don’t know, I thought, I thought it’d be cute Howie.’ Howie? Howie!? Since when has she ever thought about calling me Howie? Immediately I see through her little power play, haha. She’s trying to play off controlling me. Trying to act cute or nice or something to hide manipulating me. Just like a woman man, I tell you. So you know what I did? What any man should do. I went up to grab the waiter and told him that my wife was embarrassed but she wanted to change her tacos to beef and not beans (she was trying to eat vegetarian or something) and wanted it with extra habaneros, she didn’t think it was ladylike but thought I’d do her a favor and let the waiter know. Well, knowing my wife she didn’t say a got-damned thing and ate all three tacos when they came around, tears streaming down her face either from “those poor moo-moos” or the chili peppers. Woo! I had to keep from choking on my pepper steak from the laughing, hahahahaha.

 “You don’t say. Hey Chris, anyone in yet?”

“No sightings on the offing Captain. But the sea tis’ smooth as can be with nary a cloud in sight.”

“Well I want to start seeing some stormy weather if it means we get customers in here. You didn’t close the awning did you?”

“Nay cap’n. I left he unfurled as I would the mizzenmast in the doldrums of the Pacific.”

“Hmmmmm, good. Make some more to-go boxes would you laddie.

“I can’t fit any more in the hold sir, she’s filled to the brim like a whaler in the Sea of Japan after-”

“Look, then put em’ in the basement! Just-find something to do.”


Sulking off, Chris goes out to the kitchen leaving the two in the cramped office. “How long is junior gonna insist on this nautical nonsense.”

“Until he’s not bored.”

“Hmpph. Millennials.” He begins to amble out of the room, hands in his back pockets like he always does when he feels uncomfortable, but he turns around quickly, his bad posture hidden as he leans against the doorframe. “Are you going to start considering closing up shop here a little earlier. It’s pretty illogical to be open till ten in a neighborhood like this chief.”

“Like what?” He swivels in his Staples-bought chair to face Stubb.

“Nothing! I’m fine with staying a few extra hours. God knows I need the money.”

“Well I don’t see the problem then.” He turns sedately back to the computer, typing something not too quickly, but not exactly at a thoughtful pace either, more mechanical than anything.

“It’s 9:30. Do you want me to shut down the kitchen?”

“Wait until 10:00. Someone might still come in from the bars.”

Stubb stands still in the threshold, only for a second too long.

“Look,” Cooper spins back around, “don’t think that I don’t know what I’m doing. It doesn’t matter if we aren’t busy quite yet. I have a plan about this whole thing bud. Don’t think I didn’t graduate summa cum laude at Vassar’s business school to develop some faulty business plan. You have to learn Stubb, if you managed to take things seriously that if we start to vacillate people aren’t going to trust our little concern here. People rely on our authoritative presence. Business is about making choices for people, as much as we like to think it’s about the customer. People look to companies, or businesses, or whatever word you want to use that alleviates people’s guilt at buying things – they look to them as a form of guidance. We’re the new archdiocese. We’re the new priests in town, and the priests don’t let the consumer write the scripture. We tell it to them! Give it time. Once both of these new apartment buildings cut their pretty red ribbons people will start showing up. These folks don’t know what they want. But when they’re buying stuff they don’t have to think about it. They’re going somewhere at that point. The big scary horizon disappears for a short while and their shitty lives dissipate. As soon as we start dilly-dallying, changing our hours, nobody’s going to trust us. They’ll walk by and look in and say, wow looks like they close at eight now. Business must be bad.”

“But business is bad. Drastic times-”

“Call for sticking to your guns! I’d have thought you baby-boomers would know that more than anyone. Otherwise nobody takes hold of the wheel and we’ll start to flounder.”

“Don’t you mean founder?” Chris sticks his head in.

“Did you finish those boxes?”

“Well I would have cap’n. But it seems we’ve picked up a shipwrecked moppet in need of Zephyrus to reach the safety of our Levantine port.”

“Jesus Chris! Knock it off! What’s going on?”

“There’s a really drunk girl crying out there.”

“What?” He quickly gets up and squeezes between the two

jokesters in the hall and sees a girl with her head on the table, her two forearms covering her face shuddering with paroxysms as if a maniacal puppeteer pulled at the strings of his broken marionette. He feels a sharp frisson raise the hairs on the back of his neck, a lean feeling of responsibility overtaking him as he nears the table, some deep need of humanity that a discounted order or a free drink can’t mollify. He wants to have Chris take care of it. He’s the people person. Hell, Stubb might be able – no, he takes it back. His gut tells him what he needs to say but to do that would be the equivalent of vomiting, but he can feel the two of them staring at his apprehensive advance, something so ridiculous that their jesting would feel profane. Maybe calling it ridiculous is his latent cynicism, maybe this is different.

Especially with the ambiguity of the moment. The same ambiguity that preserves innocence. Before the buildup of incriminating evidence that we all fall victim to. When we don’t know, we can still believe in the refugee of maybe.

But walking up to her feels like writing the first line in a love letter. Encounters like this twenty years ago seemed to happen monthly, sometimes weekly. Confronting tears in mysterious situations when it was beautiful and passionate and sometimes he would find himself crying too. Now with his ergonomic perspective this didn’t sound appealing. It sounded awkward and difficult and nostalgic. Things he tries his best to distance himself from, making each heavy day get heavier.

“For God’s sake, she’s not about to jump off the Manhattan Bridge, go talk to her!”

“I don’t see you guys coming up here!”

“Seriously?” Chris walks past the two of them from the safety of the partitioned register and leans closely next to her. “Do you need some water?”

Cooper watches them cock-eyed, “Be careful Chris, I don’t want to get a lawsuit on my hands. Just get her some water.”

“She doesn’t need water you idiot. She just wants her man,” Stubb opines from the register’s ledge. No one can tell if she’s sobbing hardier at this statement. “I’ve seen this a million times. I can already tell you how this story’s gonna end. And it ain’t gonna be pretty.”

“Stubb! Either keep it to yourself or go clean the grill!” Cooper yells a little too loudly, Stubb mumbling as he starts to walk away but turns around staring childishly.

     “Do you need some help, miss?” Chris asks in a stilted voice but not out of insincerity. Cooper observes the two of them, these young people. Her pale legs, ‘80s neon bright clothing, hair dyed a seafoam green, pins in her leather jacket like a Sex Pistols groupie who shops at Urban Outfitter, all of it next to this kid who on his most rebellious days would wear ripped jeans struck him as comical. He doesn’t remember this much of a disparity in his own generation’s image, but they seemed to get along so well, much better than the gen X’ers, and definitely a hell of a lot better than his father’s Easy Rider-esque culture clash. They seemed unified but there was something inhuman in their timidity, in how reasonable they could sometimes be. Their concern for the world. “I think we should get her some water.”

     “Sure!” Cooper clumsily turns around and rushes to grab a glass, hurrying by an intrigued Stubb. People walking by look in, some laughing, some slowing down, some gasping, but none stopping.

     Seeing Chris handle the situation makes Cooper think back on his past-self, his discursive 20s. He can remember vividly driving home one day in the AM after his late-night shift, back when he would close at some pathetic fast-food joint in strip-mall purgatory. He drove to his parent’s house and on the ghostly winter roads he could see a hazy red light in the distance. This was back when he still entertained ideas of mysticism, seeing alternatives to the pessimistic commentary about the falseness of modernity and all that hypocritical bullshit that came to mind as he neared the mist. Turns out a pick-up truck had flipped upside down in the middle of the road, listing like an overburdened whaler, the engine still on, husky smoke and steam billowing out of its orifices, the black and white vapors mingling. The piebald cloud absorbed the red aura and the scene took on the unearthly glow of a dream. Snow had yet to line the crevasses of the vehicle’s underbelly, but then again, maybe the mechanical heat prevented any of it from covering the car. Without thinking, Cooper pulled over and jumped from his vehicle prepared to pull some organ-strewn mess from between the engine block and steering wheel, a familiar blob of pulpy tissue. But instead, the Ford’s innards were empty, the behemoth of a luxury truck having spewed its unrepentant cargo to parts unknown. All that was left for him to do was reach in and pull the keys from the ignition, which is what he did. But he couldn’t have helped thinking that somehow he could have replaced the body, some arbitrary spark engulfing his body in gasoline, galvanized steel, and fire; he, caught on the lee-less pavement like some regretful monk without a manifesto of a cause, flailing like an animal, not knelling in silence. He didn’t call the police, and he didn’t call an ambulance for the disappeared body. A few other cars pulled up and he handed them the icy keys and drove off. Later that week he had found out at a party that the wheelman was some drunk who flipped the car and not only walked away miraculously unscathed but ran all the way home to avoid the DWI ticket. And to think, Ol’ Coop could have perished for that man. It infuriated him now, but at the time he didn’t care.

     “I don’t think she wants your water.”

     “My water?”

     “I said the water. Are you feeling better?” The tears have subsided, replaced by lowing with the strength to teeter over the abyss, usually avoided by people like Cooper.

Chris pats her on the back and looks at Cooper, “You should probably lock the doors.”

     “That’ll look real nice.” Stubb says with a smile. “Three grown men and one teeny-bopper, all locked up in one room as tight as this.”

     “Stubb! You’re fired! I don’t want to put up with your obscenities in my kitchen!” He looked unremorseful. “Get out!”

     Stubb looked unfazed. “I’m gonna let you think real hard about that while I grab my things amigo.” Chris looks at Cooper, with a rigid inquiry set into his face but doesn’t say anything, but finally they hear her say something in a maudlin cipher.


     “Did you catch that?”

     “No, what’s that dear?” he speaks out to her. But she continues to cry, her drawn out cries abating.

     What Cooper hears is a cry in a familiar language that he lost the translation to, a codex that we all inherit to maybe one day be forgotten entirely, effaced from infantile minds before we can read and write. Reduced to involuntary releases of chemicals, larded with so many messages they contradict the rainbow of Genesis, thought and emotion near their complete severance from beginnings, signaling a true end. Perhaps the only end that matters. So now all he hears is sadness, albeit with a tinge of despair. But these are just words, and without the language of memory, are as blank as a prison cell’s wall.

     “Well you two enjoy yourselves with this hot mess. I just hope you find someone that knows how to close down that pig-headed oven of yours without another gas leak.” Shit. Why did he have to buy that antiquated oven? Nobody notices and the thing’s been more trouble than he can handle.

     “Look Stubb, can you just come in tomorrow and train the morning cook how to keep the gas from leaking, I’ll pay you time and a half.”

     “HA! Try half of what this business is worth and I still wouldn’t take it. Throwing me out with the gumption that you’re some kind of king! I’m telling you, business has changed around here. Boss’ll be open-minded as ever to his clientele’s wishes, but he’ll kick any Joe Blow out on the street without a job just for keeping his integrity.”

     “I’m sorry Stubb, but your attitude is abominable. Yesterday you asked a girl for her number and she destroyed us on Yelp. We lost half a star from the fallout! I can’t take these kind of chances with business. People will think we hire fugitives or something.”

     “So now I can’t ask for a lady’s number?! Why? Because I’m ugly and old! Why don’t you just say it! If I looked like St. Francis over there, I’d probably be balls deep right now!”

     “That’s it! Out!!”

     “Fuck all of you!!” Stubb marches towards the door bitterly but nearly jerks off his arm when attempting to open the door. “Who the fuck locked this?”


     Everyone but the abject teen looks at each other like some Mexican standoff. “Well I sure as shit didn’t.”

The air gets thick and it’s hard to breath, everyone’s speech with edges of panic around it. “Who was the last person to have seen this door open?” Cooper asks.

“Oh wow…” Chris thinks. “A girl came in around eight to grab a coffee, so I don’t think that door’s opened since then.”

“Jesus. Is that why we’ve been so slow?”

“We were already slow, remember?”

“Yeah but think about how many customers we could have lost.”

Stubb butts in, “Except you’re forgetting about Miss Lonely Teardrops over there.”

Now Cooper eyes the girl, bending down alongside Chris who’s painfully crouching closer.

“Well who has a key?”

Chris suddenly blurts out uncharacteristically, “I didn’t bring my key!”

“It’s fine!” I have two in the office. Miss, how did you get inside?”

With a discernable slur she responds, “The door stupid,” and continues to cry softly.

“Well,” he says standing up, “about that key.” And walks back to the office.

Chris looks up at Stubb while he crouches, Stubb grinning with rapture, “Well aren’t you two just cute little buttons.”

“Where the hell’s your key dude?”

“I left it at home, bud. Just because I work here doesn’t mean I have to cart around the responsibilities.”

“That’s why you work here at 65…” he mumbles to himself.

“What was that kid!?”

“Here’s the key! Step aside!”

“Well aren’t we gonna send this broad on her way?”

“Since when are you Mr. Concerned?”

“I’m having second thoughts. And besides, I want to know how she got in here before I leave.”

“Fine. But this doesn’t change anything. Step aside Chris.”

Chris stands and moves by Stubb, which makes Stubb noticeably uncomfortable, no surprise, and Cooper more firmly speaks to the girl with the air of one enervated by this entire hassle. “Miss, are you alright? Miss? Lady?” He’s struggling to find the right word to call her by. Seeing someone’s face makes this easy and distinguishes the bud’s from the man’s, the misses’ from the mam’s. “I’m sorry, but we’re closing.” Suddenly she raises her head, getting up and she tries to walk around but quickly falls to the ground, her forearms stopping her from falling face first. “Woh, woh, woh, woh, woh.” All three men reach to help, but Cooper is the first to help her up into her seat, her face pale yet still flushed crimson. Now that she’s up, holding up her head with one elbow on the Formica table Cooper notes that this girl has the largest breasts he’s ever seen on a girl this young. It feels unbearably uncomfortable for him but he’s in too deep to pass it on to Chris. “Are you feeling better?”

“I think so.”

“Do you need some water?”


“Here. Now what happened?” He can’t help but sense something pious from her. As if she’s here for them, more than they for her.

“It’s so fucking stupid.”

“It’s alright. Do you not want to talk about it?”

“No, yeah. I don’t know.”

“Well, we aren’t gonna force anything out of you, if you want we can call-”

     “What the fuck’s the point?”

     It’s the quietest it’s been all day after she says this; without the sobs, or jokes, or clatter of the keyboard, none of them remember a quieter stillness. And it seems to go beyond that day. “I’m…not sure I know what you mean.”

“Nobody really knows do they? Everybody seems so confident, but they don’t know? Not my teacher or my dad, it’s all so fucking stupid.”

     “So… what’s your question?” He sounds so uncomfortable. He sounds so stupid. This is why he didn’t want to do this. “Did something happen to make you feel like this?”

     “I got a fake to get into the bars. I’s a gonna go on a date with this fuccckking guy, and he never showed up. Maybe I was too drunk, but it hit me. People don’t care. Ever. It’s all a bunch a lying. Nobody wants to listen to YOU. And I can’t take that. Only if I get with a program. Is it true? Is it all fucking lies? Is it?”

     “I…uhhhhhh…hmphhmmmmmmm…well. Hmphhmmmmm”

     “Yes.” The voice is clear and resonant. It sounds as pure as a guitar note being plucked. It, somehow, sounds true. All three of them look at Chris.

     “It is?”

     “It is.”

     Again, a ruminative weight fills the room like some balloon too big for the room. “Alright! Before Poe here bursts on the scene, I’ve got to say that life ain’t no lie! You just gotta learn how to live a little, don’t take it so seriously toots. Look at yah! Plenty of broads would be dying to have a body like yours. You’re young and naïve. You don’t know how this whole thing goes yet. People shit on you day to day. That much is true. But what I’m telling you is you can’t care that much, it doesn’t do anything for you. Don’t worry about everyone else and their shitty opinions. Just focus on you, the rest won’t do you any good. You’re the only truth there is and you let the rest of the world know it! Fight for it God damn it! Get some hope and humor and you can carry the world in your pocket! Am I right chief?”

     Stubb’s rousing oratory ends and the fired up senior citizen looks over at Cooper after staring over every exposed inch of every pound of flesh.

     “Well, maybe not all of it but yeah I think this old dog wasn’t that far from the mark. Look here. What’s your name again?”


     “Faith, there most certainly is truth and maybe it just took our other friend here to help us find it. Maybe you were partially right. Maybe most people do use you. And this is going to happen to you everyday. But you learn how to carry on and keep that hope going. It’s all you can do to keep from drowning. Which is something I’m sorry to say to you. But not everything is in a sorry state. There are some beautiful things out there, and a lot of sad things too. But what you can find that’s beautiful, believe in that. And know it’s true. But always keep a look out for those evils too, those wandering rocks that’ll sink you right out.” He looks outside and back at Faith, “You need to look forward to the big events in your life. Buying a new car, getting married to the love of your life, going on that big trip to Hawaii. It’s those things that you hope and fight for that make this life so worth it. Especially when the day-to-day just grinds at you like there’s no tomorrow. Stay away from those petty details and focus on your big picture. That’s what today is, just another petty detail. Don’t focus on it anymore, learn to let go. And be who you think you really are.”

     He settles back into the wobbly seat and stares deeply into her eyes. “Wow. I think I get it now. Yeah, I think I needed to hear this.” She seems thunderstruck in her chair, her eyes looking downward, entranced in something.

     “Yeah?” Cooper proudly says more to himself than anyone. “You think so? That’s wonderful. You think you’ll be alright?”

     “I’ll be alright. Thank you for the insight. I’ve got a lot to do.” She stands up unsteadily and holds out her hand but Cooper comes in for the hug.

     “Well, you know where to find us if you need anything else. It’s great to help a custom- ah hell! A friend!”

     Stubb stands beaming at the door, looking at the two of them. “If you learn how to get a laugh out of it, you’ll find it ain’t so bad. Shit, when my Momma asked my Daddy where he wanted to be buried his last words ended up being, ‘Surprise me.’ Hahahahaha.” They almost all laugh quietly.

     In the awkward silence, Cooper finally broke through to speak to Stubb, “Don’t worry about earlier, but I can’t have you speaking like you did earlier anymore. Trying to run a respectable business these days is hard enough as it is. You know all of the hoops we’ve got to jump though. We’ve got no control anymore.”

“Water under the bridge partner. I think we’ll be just fine. I’ll bite my tongue when I need to but don’t think this is the last of my shenanigans. I’ll be sure to keep you on your toes.”

“As long as you abide by my rules you can make whatever jokes you want. Keep the cynicism on ice, pump the breaks when it’s questionable. Work with me, and I’ll work with you.  

“I’ll censor myself when need be. You ready girl?”

Faith nods towards the door and Cooper playfully tossed the keys to Stubb. “When one door closes, as they say-” and swing goes the door as the both of them departed, Stubb quick to pass the keys over to the gatekeeper. Faith and Stubb head up the street towards the brighter blocks and the stumbling girl, trying to hold onto her senses can faintly hear the dampened tinkle of another set of keys from the pants of her guardian angel, marching with the utmost of purpose.