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CHAPTER 15 is sponsored by how awesome this movie looks.


(( the sliver btwn silvers ))

Mikhail had seen Chevy approximate similar bullshit a few times—duping a bouncer into his unrequited, but nevertheless, welcomed entrance—but never felt quickwitted enough to pull the trick himself. The svelte insides of Something were wholly worthy. With a low ceiling and an assortment of hushed booths, the place was only half-full and looking quite comfortable. A third of the line waiting outside could have gained entrance and no one would dare call the place packed. The lights were quiet compared to the insanity in the main terminal, and certainly those in Anything. A breeze followed Mikhail into the club. The push of air behind him had picked up the scent of a woman along its path—lilacs, Mikhail thought—but he couldn’t pinpoint where it came from. The success of Mikhail’s unmeditated effort to get inside of Something made him feel like the heavenly scent’s source would make herself known. Or at 210

least, that’s what he fantasized. Walking on the very air he smelt, Mikhail was liking his chances and maybe, just maybe, starting to smell himself a little bit too much. He wanted to further push the email, as far as it possibly could go. Or at least until it bounced back with a fatal recipient failure. Logic’s next step required the search and discovery of Chevy and Jayson’s whereabouts. A small set of tables next to the big bar in the back was the only area of Something that was properly lit. It looked a lot more pedestrian than the rest of the club—an adjective that Mikhail wanted to avoid for the time being. Committed to optimism, he rounded the 211

Mikhail’s first route through Something

more intimate-looking tables to his left. However, Chevy and Jayson weren’t popping bottles at any of the edge tables. He then looped back towards the entrance down a wider path littered with waitresses and looming partiers without seats. Still without any evidence of his friends, Mikhail hesitated at the entrance of a VIP section. It wasn’t velvet-roped off, but the dark wood columns that framed its doorless doorway purposefully made the approach particularly intimidating. There was also a small step up. Chevy had been known to score a great table occasionally—either through sweet talking a hostess or 212

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celebrating a good week on the market with a wad of $30 bills—but the minute Mikhail stepped into the VIP area, he knew that tonight wasn’t one of those occasions. In the corner booth, Pastor Shakur was deep in conversation with important men in important looking suits. The table next to him was filled with girls having less important conversations and always glancing towards the men that sat just adjacent, waiting for their beck and call. He’d only seen Tupac in YouTube videos—grainy images from the man’s rapping days—and just recently, with the city’s election approaching, on the political posters that were beginning to wall Los Angeles’ buses. Mikhail wasn’t worried that his lie would be detected, but the alignment of chaos—that he had absent-mindedly dropped the TSABDDfounder’s name and it worked because the man was actually there, out of the #720’s hundreds of bars—was just a little too weird. Besides, he had never met the man or his associates. He walked straight towards the dancefloor at the opposite end of the VIP’s too-cool booths, and then past the few girls who were cooly nodding to TopBanana’s “Waiting For My Time To Come” at the edge of the dancefloor. Then, the main bar. Once he passed the bar, back towards the pedestrian tables in the corner, Chevy shot up a middle finger and threw a piece of ice at Mikhail. 213

with his chart-topping single:



“waiting for my time to come”

“Why did the man bring toilet paper to the Twilight Zone?” Mikhail asked, unaware of an ice breaker that wasn’t another bad joke from his childhood. Chevy and Jayson were squeezed around a small table with three lovelies—five sets of shoulders were scrunched around a cornucopia of booze and accompanying mixers. Just as Chevy had said, Mikhail 214

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was the final male to balance the equation, there just wasn’t any room for him at the table. “I don’t know,” one of the girls said. “I don’t know,” echoed another. “Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.” He had long forgotten where the joke came from, but at 27 years old and having told it hundreds of times, it was as much his as anything else in his life. He wondered what the Twilight Zone actually looked like. “Well, well, well,” Chevy said. “Look at what the cat dragged back, grinding cataracts against an axe of facts.” “Fighting off attacks of Ex-Lax when your rhymes are that wack,” Mikhail said. “How the fuck are all of yous?” “Sit, motherfucker, sit,” Jayson said. “Where?” Tucked in the corner, Jayson shifted shamelessly and motioned for the girl sharing his bench to cuddle closer until Mikhail’s station at the table was upgraded from “looming” to “hanging on.” The back cushions of the benches were thicker than the sitting space, but even half a cheek of available real-estate was better than standing free MP3 AVAILABLE NOW AT:

Please Use Rear Exit tatts chevy redhead mikhail jayson sourpuss

up like a sore thumb. He leaned to the opposite side of the table and grabbed a flume of brown booze, smelling its contents. “It’s Blue Label,” Chevy said, square in the middle of two ladies, his arms around both. “We’re running game tonight. Fuck waiting for anyone. Bartenders nervous, afraid to serve us bad service.” And while Chevy had managed to secure a table in this relatively exclusive-seeming establishment—at least two steps in the proper direction—it was still one of the worst spots in the whole place. That a bottle of Blue only bought these seats seemed funnier than Chevy’s rhyme. Regardless, Mikhail found a clean cup and some ice before pouring a few 216

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fingers and assessing the new social situation. He had obviously cut off conversation between two of the girls and one of them was visibly pissed about it. Sandwiched in the middle, he felt a little squished—even with a gap in the pair of overstuffed benches to share his interruption. Chevy was frivolously using way more space than everyone else, his elbows lazily propped on his-and-her seat backs. “You good?” Jayson asked, quietly, turning towards Mikhail. Mikhail smiled and asked the names of the girls at the table, names he immediately forgot. “I’m blah blah blah,” said the girl with tattoos. “I’m blah blah blah blah,” said the curly redhead. “I’m blah blah,” said the girl with bows in her hair and a sourpuss on her face. “It’s a pleasure,” Mikhail said. “Sorry to bombard you like that with a corny joke.” “I love jokes,” said the curly redhead, snuggling into Chevy’s armpit. “You ever hear the knock-knock joke about oranges and bananas?” Mikhail didn’t know how to respond to her question without bringing up CGI. And between personal safety 217

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and personal relationships, there was no way he could even acknowledge the curly redhead’s question. He searched for anything else to say, but other than his triumph over the bouncers, he was left with little that had any purpose for him. And even that seemed trite in such a high class establishment. His happiness in getting drunk with new girls lulled him onto the back of heels. Even as the shawty in the corner—the one with the swirling calligraphic “S” lurching up her neck over a frilly sleeveless tank-top—was certainly smiling at him. “Remember those trannies outside that Westside Square a few months ago?” Jayson asked. Chevy shot a disappointed look in Jayson’s direction that mirrored the same headshake he received while acting a fool around CGI. “What? It’s legitimate conversation, just hear me out here, Chevy, it’s not like I’d ever think about it. I ain’t Eddie Murphy, in all too many ways, but seriously, they kept asking for the keys to your place. Why couldn’t I have the place out there? The cost of living ain’t that much higher in the Square than it is in the Triangle. Is it because you’re tall?” “You droop your shoulders in the scariest of territory. You know, man, it’s survival of the fittest, nature has her barbarity. Unless you a celebrity.” “It took you 15 minutes to sit up straight tonight,” said the curly redhead. “And you’re still kind of slouching.” 218

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This time, it wasn’t just Mikhail who ignored her. “You gotta wear your money like it’s triple its worth. You wear yours like a man with a portfolio full of bad investments and multiple alimonies. It’s a step up from your factory rat coworkers, but yeah,” Chevy said, readying his premeditated punchline that’d surely switch the topic, probably pausing for effect in his head, “how’s that wifey without a name treating you if you’re thinking of prostitute porkers?” “I have enough money for a hooker,” Jayson mumbled. “How are you gonna try and rhyme ‘co-worker’ with ‘porkers’?” The tattooed girl poured five shots and then topped off Mikhail’s drink with the last of the Johnnie Walker. He was just getting down to the watery remnants— his favorite part—but he couldn’t be mad. She had tenderly pink lips that kissed her rosy face. The schematics however, were a challenge; she was tucked in the corner wrapped inside Chevy’s left arm. And the chatty redhead was on his other side, a second obstacle between Mikhail and that seductively curling ink of an “S.” Mikhail’s horniness was starting to get the best of him—or maybe it was loneliness—who could tell the difference? 219

Please Use Rear Exit

Glasses were raised. The girl with the S-shaped tattoo looked longingly into Mikhail’s eyes, as if they already knew each other on a deeper level, or any level at all. Chevy whispered a joke into the chatty redhead’s neck that elicited quite the squeal. Jayson had to stand up just to touch everyone’s Blue-filled cup, while the sour-faced girl took her shot without cheering anyone. The reactions of everyone at the table made the table’s pairings apparent. The one girl was obviously the only outlier outside the friendly confines of happiness and thus looked achingly miserable, bitter in aura and visibly unsatisfied in the process. Something from her day was ruining her night at Something. Mikhail acted fast, lubricated by the piling of shots, taking Jayson’s hand from beneath the table—and across her lap— and putting it on the sour-puss’s leg. The action was hardly covert, but it was already past the point in the night where stealth in such matters really mattered. Quietly enough, both Jayson and the girl smiled. Conversation moved on and a general feeling of much-deserved mischief suddenly hovered around the table. Maybe Mikhail was the only one who noticed it, but it instilled in him a sense of accomplishment, of a good deed done right. It also let him focus in on the girl with the S tattooed up her neck. He really wished that he had remembered her name. 220

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“If the Silver BTWN doesn’t get added from The Hills to the #111, I’m fucked,” Chevy said. The only time he could be guaranteed to keep himself from rhyming was when he spoke about work. “I was told it would, on some hush-hush good information, but it’s still gotta pass by brass. There’s so much new money up in The Hills, all sorts of rappers and artists and shit, there has to be something for the bankers and politicians who make their living on the money line. They need a direct route that gets them straight downtown without being reminded of all the intruders.”

#16a the hills blue btwn



silver btwn


Please Use Rear Exit

“Silver is a good color for them,” Mikhail said, “for all those old white dudes.” “Because they have gray hair, right?” asked the redhead, somewhere between stupidity and an attempt at humor. “It’s a good color for them. It has a distinguished air of strength and prominence. Besides, I’ve got half my savings set aside for the possible addition of this BTWN and all the money to be made off it, from fuckin’ seat cushions to formica floors, LED screens, speaker systems, arm rest molds, you fuckers should get in on it if you have any liquid cash laying around.” Mikhail and Jayson hardly had solid credit, never mind whatever it meant to have jars of fluid cash flow “on hand.” Besides, Jayson couldn’t hear a word of anything around him, his focus appeared to be predisposed. “We’ll be inside the VIP when that day comes,” Chevy continued. “Fuck-a-corner-table.” Back down to ice in his cup while everyone else fiddled plastic shots of air, Mikhail wondered how he could go get a drink without having to buy one for the entire table. The best laid plan would bring the tattooed girl with him, but from this distance—nothing but the continual batting of her eyes to flame the fire—she was hardly close enough for a whisper. Half-way through his night’s funds, and without 222

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the stroke of midnight to put in his wallet, getting up first from the table was a risky proposition. Mikhail tried to will the tattooed girl into standing up, motioning with his mind something about a drink, while simultaneously hoping that her two friends weren’t as quick to ride the free train as his. And then tattoo girl eased herself off the bench, stretched a bit, and studiously made eye-contact with Mikhail. He got really excited about powers he perceived to be in his favor and probably made a move too quickly. “Can I help you out?” kind of just dribbled from his lips, embarrassingly. “You working missionary missions to the ladies room these days, man?” Jayson asked, a new-found self-confidence punctuating his cadence. But he still couldn’t shake the “man” from his vocabulary. “Nah, just a drink, that’s all,” Mikhail said, trying to hide the wince from his face. Had he just played it cool for 30 seconds, everything would’ve been alright. Instead, he was now the center of attention—a fail in its simplest sense. 223

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“I need help in that case,” Chevy said. “Trade you one Patron-soda for the right to save face.” “Might as well make it three,” said the redhead, winking at the girl who used to wear the sourpuss. “Y’all are getting tequila-sodas and you’ll never know the difference,” Mikhail said. “Shit, you probably won’t even remember what I just said by the time we get back.” “You already know what I want, man,” Jayson said, with a little more pep. At that, Mikhail stood up and locked his arm with the tattoo girl’s, looking smugly in the direction of Chevy and Jayson. If he was going to spend $60, he might as well get the girl and a laugh too. Even as his wallet was suddenly blinking as violent as the red light on his cell phone was earlier in the night, he had no other way to play the hand he had dealt himself. Jayson’s smile—which had turned 100% dumb by that point—made everything worth it. He was leaning over the table, his arm’s stretched underneath it to the point of pure comedy. While Mikhail had his elbow locked around a woman, Jayson quite obviously had his finger in a wet vagina. And his cheese grill was a mile wide, as was hers. 224

STAY TUNED to for more smiles & adventures 225

Ch. 15 : The Sliver BTWN Silvers  

Inside of Something, Mikhail searches aimlessly for his friends as the booze starts to take hold.