Day One

1:34 am – Thirty minutes outside of PDX. A little girl stares at her from between the curtains that divide first class from coach. T.S. lowers her phone and looks at the girl. she smiles. The girl, perhaps four, is startled and runs back to her seat. T.S. goes back to her phone. 9 selfies are taken.

2:14 am – Arrived at PDX. T.S. stands, along with three other parties seated in three separate rows in first class. They gather carry-on items. T.S walks to the curtain and peers through. The little girl is asleep. Her parents, gathering their myriad of bags, toys and devices, have yet to wake her up. The mother carries an infant. T.S. exits the plane.

2:28 am – T.S. walks through the airport swarmed by casually dressed but serious looking handlers. Her assistant J. and two bodyguards complete the circle of human beings that surround her like wasps, crawling over a fragile paper nest. T.S. stares at her phone as they make their way to the exit. A blind queen.

2:45 am – T.S. climbs into the backseat of a black SUV. J. sits in the passenger seat, in front of her, laptop already open. T.S. stares at her phone. A second black SUV follows behind them. No music plays on the stereo.

3:20 am – SUV arrives at The Nines hotel in downtown Portland. T.S. is ushered immediately to the elevator.

3:26 am – T.S. enters hotel suite. Three suitcases are stacked in the open closet. Dresses and outfits hang on the rod. Her makeup and toiletries have been carefully arranged in the bathroom. The walls are a papered in a tasteful, muted gray and all of the artwork has been removed. Two acoustic guitars sit in stands along the wall in the living room, under the flat screen TV. T.S. opens her purse and removes a protein bar, opens it and takes one bite.

3:54 am – T.S. climbs into bed, having gone through her nightly routine. Showered, teeth brushed, face cleansed with multiple applications of chemicals, plastic retainer in her mouth, white silk pajamas. She is asleep within minutes.

7:30 am – Cell phone alarm chimes and T.S. opens her eyes and sits up. The covers are almost exactly as they were when she laid down. She climbs out of bed and slides her feet into slippers. She picks her phone up from where it was charging on the nightstand and logs into her secondary profile. There are thousands of messages in at least seven different social media accounts. Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the message board on her website and email. She logs back into her primary account and looks at the messages curated for her by J. There are a total of thirty-two messages she needs to read. T.S. browses messages as she brushes her teeth, archiving each one with a swipe of her thumb.

7:33 am – T.S. selects one of the selfies from the plane and posts it to Instagram, which cross-posts to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. In it she wears a hoodie and appears to be half asleep, leaning against the plastic window. It is both cute and humanizing. The caption reads “In Portland! See you in 13 hours! XXOO”

7:37 am – The selfie has accumulated tens of thousands of likes, favorites, reblogs and replies on each of her social media accounts. People tell her she’s amazing. People tell her she’s a worthless cunt and should kill herself. People tell her they are crying because she is so beautiful. People tell her everything.

8:01 am – T.S. answers a knock on her hotel door. a Mexican woman stands with a silver tray, covered by a hard plastic dome. T.S. smiles and steps out of the way, letting the woman enter. The woman sets the tray on a table and takes away the dome. Breakfast. T.S. tell her “Your work is very appreciated. Thank you,” as she puts a fifty-dollar bill in her hand, touching her arm with her other hand, forcing the woman to make eye contact with her. The moment is uncomfortable, but effective. T.S. smiles and laughs at something the Mexican Woman said as she leaves. T.S. sits down to eat her breakfast. Scrambled egg whites, a half piece of dry multigrain toast, cut diagonally, a thin slice of cantaloupe and a teacup of apple juice. She picks at the food with her fork, eating tiny bites like a bird.

8:17 am – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall. In the living room of the suite, a wall clock ticks softly. T.S. picks up her phone and calls J.

8:23 am – T.S. opens the door and a white man in his late sixties enters, carrying a toolbox. T.S.laughs and touches his arm as she thanks him for coming so quickly. He removes the clock and makes his way to the door. She puts a fifty-dollar bill in his hand and says “Your work is very appreciated. Thank you.” The man nods and leaves.

8:26 am – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall. Her hands rest in her lap. Her only movement is in her eyes, which occasionally dart from side to side. Her phone buzzes every thirty seconds or so. She ignores it.

9:45 am – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall. The alarm on her phone chimes. She picks it up and logs into the primary user profile. Fifteen missed calls. Nine voice-mails. Forty-five emails. She calls her producer. “I have two new songs I’ve been working on. I would like to play them for you. Yes. I’ll email them in twenty minutes.”

9:49 am – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed, staring at her phone. New messages pop-up as she finishes responding to and archiving the old ones.

9:51 am – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed, playing guitar. An iPad sits on its leather stand on the end table. T.S. sings a song, most of the lyrics have been loosely penned, and the parts that she hasn’t worked out yet she hums. It is a sad song about a lovesick, heartbroken girl.

9:58 am – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed. She plays and sings a second song, this one far more up beat than the previous. When the song is over, she presses the icon on her iPad that stops recording. She saves the file to the cloud and emails the link to her producer. She does not listen to the recording.

10:01 am – T.S. calls J. and tells her that she will be going shopping at an artisan dress shop in the Pearl District. She gives the address and what time she’ll be there. 10:45.

what does inbred hillbilly simpleton taste like? floor candy.

10:17 am – T.S. is dressed and walking to the elevator. She wears red high-wasted shorts, a black and white striped sailor shirt with a Peter Pan collar, black canvas shoes with red laces and she carries a parasol. As she walks down the hall, her people exit hotel rooms and join her. By the time they reach the elevator, she’s picked up five souls, including J.

10:19 am – T.S. enters the lobby. People stare at her as she makes her way to front door. A twelve-year-old girl smiles at her and waves. T.S. smiles back and approaches the girl, laughing about nothing in particular, but it makes the girl relax. They exchange words. T.S. asks J. to take a photo of the two of them with the girl’s phone. She tells the girl to work hard and not let anyone tell her what she has to be. It is one of the defining moments of that Twelve-year-old girl’s life.

floor candy m.c. see you next tuesday

10:24 am – T.S. sits in the back of the black SUV. P. removes and reapplies her make-up. Thick lash, subtle face. Red lip. T.S. stares at her phone. J. stares at her tablet.

10:30 am – T.S. steps out of the SUV into an inferno of flashbulbs and screaming. She smiles coyly and walks into the dress shop. The photographers do not follow her into the store. They have an arrangement. This is their time to take photos of T.S. J. called them all and told them where she would be and when. For the most part, they leave her alone. For the most part.

10:45 am – T.S. exits the dress shop, carrying packages. More photos. Now eager fans with cameras in their phones also want photos. T.S. signs autographs. T.S. is photographed signing autographs. T.S. speaks with every single person waiting outside of the dress shop. She smiles. She is funny and kind and self-deprecating. She makes eye contact. She touches arms. She touches hearts. They take from her. She takes from them. All are complicit.

11:10 am – T.S. sits in the back of the SUV looking at her phone. J. pulls up the hem of her skirt. A plastic IV tube runs down the inside of her thigh, taped to her skin with white medical tape. The end of the tube is capped with a plastic nozzle. J. twists the nozzle and catches the warm fluid the runs out in a paper cup held between her legs. She closes the nozzle and hands the cup to T.S. who drinks it without looking up from her phone.

11:15 am – T.S. sits in the back of the SUV, looking at her phone. She brushes her teeth. J. stares at her tablet. J. holds out the paper cup and T.S. spits her toothpaste into it. The spit is bright pink. T.S. rinses her mouth with bottled water. She swallows the water. She stares at her phone.

who would miss you do it for them

11:26 am – T.S. sits in a coffee shop, drinking tea with an actor/filmmaker friend who happens to be in town filming a movie. J.F. They are photographed together, multiple times.

L.G. tastes like twizzlers soaked in rum

11:35 am – TMZ, Perezhilton, Oh No They Didn’t, Just Jared, Radar and countless other gossip sites have posted the photos of T.S. drinking coffee with J.F. They speculate as to whether the two are dating. J.F. is rumored to be gay.

12:16 pm – T.S. sits at a table in her road manager’s hotel room. She talks on the phone. Speaker phone. Her face and hands are very animated as she discusses her current interests. Her new album, the tour, her privacy, feminism, her heroes and her friendships with other pop singers. It’s a pre-recorded radio interview that will air the following morning, the day of the Seattle show. She has two more to do. They will be virtually identical.

S.G. tastes like an astro pop covered in poisonous semen

1:33 pm –  T.S. lays face down on a padded table in her hotel room. She is naked. A large white woman with broad shoulders and masculine hands massages her back and shoulders. The backs of her legs. Her neck ands calp. T.S. flips over, places a folded towel over her eyes and the woman massages her thighs and arms and hands and stomach. The large woman leaves and redhead with facial piercings and tattoos enters. T.S. smiles and greats her.They are familiar. The redhead begins the task of waxing her.

2:25 pm – T.S. showers, her hair in a plastic shower-cap. She brushes her teeth at the same time.

2:58 pm – The cell phone rings. T.S. answers and tells J. to send J.F. up to her room.

3:07 pm – J.F. enters. He reeks of marijuana. T.S.kisses him on the mouth once and pulls him to the bedroom by his belt. She wears a bright blue sundress and a black and white headband and no shoes. She sits on the edge of the bed and parts her legs. J.F. unbuckles his jeans and T.S. guides him to his knees on the floor. Understanding what was expected of him, J.F. goes down on T.S. She pulls her dress up to her waist and parts her legs further. When J.F. slides a finger into her, she hisses through clenched teeth “No fingers” and he retreats. He tries again, running the tips of his fingers along the smooth skin between her vulva and anus. T.S. looks down at him and says again “No fingers” and he nods and goes back to licking her.

3:16 pm – T.S. lays on the edge of the bed, her legs parted, J.F. at work between her thighs, and she has a silent but intense orgasm. The only sound she makes is a low moan through tight lips. J.F. looks at her, a dumb expression on his face, and she sits up. J.F. stands and she pulls his jeans down to his knees and his erect penis is inches from her face. She strokes it with one hand, looking up at him, maintaining eye contact. J.F. closes his eyes and leans his head back, uncomfortable with way she looks at him. Seconds before he climaxes, T.S. takes him into her mouth.

3:18 pm – J.F. sits on the edge of the bed, his hair is sweaty and hanging in his face. He looks confused and unsure of himself. T.S. leans over and picks up a plastic water cup from the nightstand. She spits his semen into it.

J.F. tastes like pennies and salt.

3:25 pm – T.S. and J.F. are dressed and composed. She is smiling and laughing. He is laughing too, because she is laughing, but still isn’t sure what’s happening. She guides him to the door. She puts a fifty-dollar bill in his hand and tells him that his friendship is appreciated and that they would talk soon. He looks at the fifty dollars as she closes the door.

3:28 pm – T.S. stands in the bathroom brushing her teeth. She stares at her phone. When she’s finished with her teeth, she opens a plastic box of baby wipes and drags one between her legs.

Go ten miles out of Portland in any direction and you will find a dark place full of lost souls both alive and dead
How many people disappear here? 
How many are never found?

3:45 pm – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall. Her eyes dance around as music runs through her head.

4:28 pm – T.S. sits on the edge of the bed. She plays guitar. Her iPad records. The song is vaguely about J.F.

5:45 pm – T.S. walks down the hall. Her entourage joins her as she approaches the elevator.

5:50 pm – T.S. signs autographs and poses for photographs with fans outside of the hotel. She wears a loose fitting gray men’s shirt and dark blue pixie pants and blue Keds with white polka dots. There are no paparazzi. Strangers on the street take photos of her with their phones. 

emancipate yourself from mental slavery

6:08pm – T.S. sits in the back of the SUV. She stares at her phone. J. sits in the seat in front of her. T.S. texts J. J. laughs and turns around. T.S. asks “Who’s from Portland? Anyone?” J. seems to think for a moment, then searches on her tablet. After a few seconds she responds. “Sleater Kinney. Woody Guthrie. The Decemberists. Dandy Warhols. Eliot Smith. Courtney Love.” T.S. stares at her phone and nods. “Mason Williams” J. says, reading the list, looking for names she recognizes. T.S. laughs, almost angrily. “I’m not going to play Classical fucking Gas live.”

6:16 pm – T.S. sits in the back of the SUV. She stares at her phone. “I’m going to do Doll Parts.” J. begins searching on her tablet. “Do you need the chords?” T.S. does not look up from her phone. “No. It’s an A, a C, and a G, over and over again.”

6:30 pm – T.S. enters her dressing room at the venue,The Moda Center. On a long table sits a large bowl full of ice and Waiakea bottled water, a tray of frozen melon cubes, a bowl of unwrapped red Starburst candies, a tray of Turkish delight, five hot pink plastic containers of Bubble Tape, and a single, frosty glass bottle of Pepsi cola. T.S. peruses the candy and settles on a piece of Turkish delight. She pops it in her mouth, licking the powdered sugar from her fingers.

6:36 pm – T.S. enters the bathroom. Her hair is pinned back with hair clips. A stack of white towels sits on a shelf next to the shower. She picks up the top towel and unfolds it, then places it on the floor in front of the toilet. T.S. kneels in front of the toilet and closes her eyes. After a moment she vomits into the toilet. It is mostly black, streaked with red, and chunky with undigested bits of food. The tiny nibbles she allows herself so she can feel normal. The protein bar, minuscule bites of eggs and toast and melon. Tea and apple-juice, all mixed with black bile and red blood. T.S. sighs and stands. She kicks the towel into the corner and flushes the toilet with the toe of her shoe.

6:32 pm – T.S. washes her hands in the bathroom sink for the third time. Sitting on a shelf under the mirror is a stack of four new Super Sonic disposable electric toothbrushes and a box of Crest 3D White toothpaste.

T-Pain: That was the most beautiful thing in the world. Do you know why she was shaving her head? Because it was so important to other people. She is like, “Listen. Don’t touch my hair anymore. Stop touching my hair.” She still had hair and all that (when I worked with her). People were like, “We’ve got to make your hair before you go outside. You can’t leave.” She went … “Now I don’t have hair. What you going to do?”

6:35 pm – T.S. rests the head of the toothbrush against each tooth, systematically, methodically. She stares into her own eyes in the mirror. She does not blink for the two minutes that she brushes her teeth. She spits toothpaste into the sink and rinses her mouth with bottled water. The white froth in the sink is streaked with red. She swallows the water.

6:58 pm – There’s a knock on the dressing room door. T.S. unlocks it. Fifteen people enter, including J. and P. and the bodyguards and her tour manager, R. and dancers and a sound engineer. They eat the candy and drink the water. They busily go about their pre-show business. They all need to ask or tell T.S. something.

7:20 pm – T.S. sits on a stool in front of the lit vanity. She wears a cropped black tank top and a white flared skirt. P. applies makeup and straightens her hair. J. sits on a chair next to them, looking at her tablet. People mill about. R. speaks in his English accent over the cacophony of mumbling. “What are you doing for your cover?” he asks. T.S.speaks without looking up from her phone. “Doll Parts by Hole.” R. scoffs.“Absolutely not!” P. stops applying eyeliner and steps back. T.S. looks at R. “It’s what I want to do. It’s local. It’s a good song. People will love it.” P. stands. “Honey, the last thing on earth you need right now is to open a dialog with Courtney Love. You do not want your name in that disaster’s mouth.” T.S. goes back to looking at her phone. R. looks at her for a moment then continues. “Besides, you don’t want to include her in your influences. It doesn’t look good. You have young fans whose parents don’t want them looking up to a heroin addict.” T.S. is getting angry. “James Taylor is a fucking heroin addict. Ray Charles and Billie Holiday were heroin addicts. Are we holding every song accountable for its writer’s demons? Those same kids look up to fucking Robert Downy Jr. for Christ’s sake. That’s a bullshit reason. I’m doing the song.” R. shakes his head, his hands on his hips. “It’s a bad, bad idea. Fans of the song will hate you singing it and fans of you don’t know the song at all.” T.S. ignores him, scrolling through Tumblr on her phone. P. goes back to applying makeup. R. continues. “I don’t even think the people here want ownership of her. It’s not like she’s some hometown hero. It will impress exactly no one.” R. leans in so she has to look at him. “Please?” T.S. sneers at him and lets out a huff of frustrated air through her nose. “Fine.” R. nods and goes back to the table. He eats a piece of Turkish delight.

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” – Kurt Cobain

7:48 pm – T.S. walks down the long hallway. Crew and staff and randos with badges stare at her as she struts to her place under the stage. J. Follows close behind. Every set of eyes meets hers and either looks away or is greeted with an icy stare above a glistening red and white smile. The organic processor of her brain registers and remembers every face, every expression. She knows who is around her at all times and what their demeanor is. She shakes her hands at her sides and someone holds a bottle of water to her lips. She drinks, swishes and swallows. She is not nervous. She is not scared. She is eager to be on stage and eager to be off stage. In her mouth she can taste the chemical mint of toothpaste, and from somewhere deep in her chest, the rancid, sweet bite of putrefaction rises up the back of her throat and into her nose. She has to stop drinking water. She has to.

masturbation in front of a mirror is affirmation. it counts for something.

overheard backstage: 
I’m doing the fucking song. It’s one song, it’s acoustic, it’s in my key and I can play it by myself. I don’t care if she was a heroin addict. That’s stupid reason not to do it. People have problems R. Just because I sing their song doesn’t mean I’m suddenly manifesting into that person. I didn’t turn into a 300 pound bi-polar, schizophrenic basket case living in a giant cat-box when you talked me into covering God Only Knows, now, did I? People loved it.

Brian Wilson is one of rock and roll’s tragic geniuses. More important, he got better. Courtney Love is fucking Beetlejuice, understand? You invoke her and from somewhere deep down in her imaginary, cartoon world, her yellow, bloodshot eyes roll up when she hears her name, then all of a sudden your life is ten times more complicated and you’re putting out fires left and right. Even worse, I’M putting out fires left and right. I don’t need that headache.

Oh, I’m sorry, am I not paying you to put out fires?

Yes. You are. And him and him and those people, and those people, and all of those people and her and those dancers and your lovely assistant all count on you for their dinner. They count on you to not make terrible errors in judgement, like a Courtney fucking Love song on stage in front of a 20,000 kids and their disgruntled, chip on their shoulder Portland parents. Not to mention the fucking internet.

I can make the song work. They will love it.

You listen to me. You CAN NOT sing a song with the line ‘I fake it so real I’m beyond fake.’ Those words cannot come out of your mouth. Don’t do it.

8:30 pm – darkness under the stage. The sound of chanting and stomping and tens of thousands of voices mumbling and screaming and crying and singing. Drums start. There are roughly fifteen seconds before the elevator lifts her out of the floor. Mic packs and ear pieces have been checked and double checked. The band is already in place. They’re just waiting for her. The extended drum intro to S.o.G. gives her nearly a full minute to center up and focus. She meets eyes with the tech standing at the controls for the lift. Those eyes are kind and he smiles. He nods. She nods. It’s something they’ve done many times, at various performances, and even more at rehearsals. He types into his console and the elevator caries her up into the seemingly endless maelstrom of flashing lights, music, screaming and pyrotechnic explosions. The lights are blinding, creating a barrier between T.S. and the audience. She spends the next two hours punching holes in that barrier and attempting to make eye contact with every person looking at the stage. Every movement is calculated. Every smile, every playful laugh or flip of the hair, every hand touched is by design. A mathematical equation. Every joke is meant to be exactly the right amount of self-deprecating and humanizing.

J.M. likes to have his cum spat back into his mouth. he is disgusting. not because of that, but just in general.

9:46 pm – T.S. sits on a stool, holding her guitar. it’s intended to convey intimacy in this basketball arena, where she is perched at one end like a queen on the most ridiculous throne imaginable. A one-on-one with twenty thousand people. T.S. thinks for a moment about what she wants to say. “the person who wrote this song was instrumental in shaping who I am as a songwriter and an artist. They wrote about love and heartbreak and alienation and rebellion and not letting the will of others define you.” She hits that first sustained A chord that makes up the beginning of the song Doll Parts and lets it ring through the almost quiet arena. Instead of walking down to the C, she lights onto a series of rapid Ds. Angry Ds. Es and Gs and then back up to A again. The audience roars to life as she begins the unmistakable intro to American Girl by Tom Petty. She hits every chord with as much anger and resentment as she can muster into her perfect little porcelain hands. A pick splits between her fingers and she throws it to the crowd and pulls another from her mic stand. As the words fall out of her mouth, unprocessed and unrecognized, the right sounds on the right beats, images of mutilated, tortured bodies dance across her vision. She stares out at the crowd singing “Oh yeah. Alright. Take it easy baby, gonna make it last – make it last all night” and she imagines carving into them with surgical scalpels and guitar strings wrapped around her fists like razor wire.

Mostof them I don’t let inside.
I don’t want them to feel how cold I am.

10:16 pm – House lights are up and T.S. leans against a wall behind the stage. Dancers, roadies, band members, staff and crew mill about. T.S. picks up a bottled water from cooler and unscrews the top. Halfway through her swig, J. gently takes it from her. T.S. cuts her a look but J. doesn’t give in as she screws the top back on. “No more water. You’ll make yourself sick.” T.S. stares at her “Give me the bottle.” J. shakes her head. “I am not your enemy. You know this. You can have some milk back at the hotel.” The light returns to her eyes as T.S. recalculates. She nods and puts her hands on her knees, already feeling the water she did get down sloshing in her stomach. “I want that fucking limey twat fired,” T.S. says, looking across the room at R. “Maybe. But T. I want you to take a day and think about it. He wasn’t wrong. He could have said it better, but he was right.” T.S. lets out a frustrated moan, almost like a bark. “I would have killed that song.” “I know you would have,” J. says, patting her on the shoulder. “I need to throw up,” T.S. says, looking a little sickly. “You have meet and greets. Can you wait until after?” T.S. nods, her hands on her knees.

10:26 pm – There are about thirty people waiting in the long hallway between the stage and the dressing rooms. These are contest winners and sick kids. T.S. meets with each one, making sure to touch them on the arm in a non-threatening but personal way. She makes eye contact and is sincere. She poses for photos. She makes the sick kids laugh. She makes them forget they are sick for a moment. Two of them will die within a month and those few minutes will be the thing they remember most. It will be what they talk about for the last weeks of their lives. They will listen to her music over and over again. She has that effect on people. When everyone has been meeted and greeted, J. and two bodyguards follow T.S. back to her dressing room. She waves at the sick kids and contest winners and smiles her kind smile.

when i close my eyes at night, i see billions of galaxies scattered across the cosmos like sand. some pop and fizzle as they explode, some collapse into themselves, some spin endlessly outward like a top, making long, languid loops, barely missing collisions with other galaxies. some smash together and become new systems, born of fire and destruction. then i hear the pained moan of a self-aware energy, crying out to be seen like a babe cries for milk. in my dream I lean over and peer into this swirly glob of gas and dust and see myself, arms outstretched, begging to be noticed. to be acknowledged. to be loved. I demand sacrifice.

11:09 pm – T.S. climbs into the back of the SUV. She’s surprised when J. climbs in next to her, instead of taking her usual place in the passenger’s seat. “You can’t fire R.” she says. T.S. makes a face like she’s tasted something bitter. “Of course I can. He can’t contradict me in front of people like that. I can’t let that stand.” “No, you can’t, you’re absolutely right. And you’re going tell him so tomorrow, and you’re going to make sure he knows that he can’t ever do that again, but you can’t fire him. You need him. This tour is almost over. There’s four more shows. You aren’t changing tour managers in the middle of a tour over some dumb song choice argument.” T.S. looks at her phone in an attempt at angry, overt ignoring. It doesn’t work. J. touches her chin and turns her face up. “You’re doing a really good job and I’m proud of you,” she says. T.S. nods softly. “Are you tired?” T.S. shakes her head. “No, not really. Hungry.” J. nods. “We’ll get you fed and in bed soon, okay? Then tomorrow we leave for Seattle.”

11:15 pm – J. looks at her tablet then over at T.S.” Did you actually fuck J.F.?” T.S. shrugs, not looking up from her phone. “Why?” “Perez Hilton seems to think you did,” J. says, looking annoyed and turning around her tablet to show a pink screen full of exploitation. T.S. doesn’t look at it. “Who gives a shit what that sycophantic vampire thinks?” J. chuckles and closes the screen. “A lot of peopled do, unfortunately. Besides, I know you fucked him. I just wanted to hear you say it.” “Okay. Sort of. It was quick and pathetic and utilitarian and not exciting at all.” “Why did you do it?” J. asks. T.S. shrugs again. “Because I could. He has a story no one will believe and I’ve got a song.” J. shakes her head. “You keep pulling shit like that and those stories are going to become more and more believable.” They sit in silence for a long moment before J. follows up.”You didn’t… do… anything to him, did you?” They look at each other for a moment. “No. I didn’t.”

11:33 pm – T.S. enters her hotel room. J. follows. They both stare at their phones as they drop jackets and purses and keys on the table. J. opens up a suitcase from the closet and takes out a long, clear plastic tube and walks to the bedroom. T.S. follows, still looking at her phone. J. pulls her skirt up over her hips and sits on the edge of the bed. Taped to her inner thigh is an IV needle connected to a short plastic tube, which is clamped and attached to a nozzle. J. unhooks the nozzle and attaches the plastic tube.

11:37 pm – T.S. kneels on a towel in front of the toilet, her head leaning back. After a long moment, she falls forward and vomits into the toilet. Water and chewed up chunks of undigested candy. A small amount of blood. Mostly it’s water. She stands, kicks the towel into the corner and flushes the toilet with her toe.

11:39 pm – T.S. stands in front of the bathroom mirror brushing her teeth. Her hair is pulled back with clips and her face is covered with a clear, sticky cleanser.

11:45 pm – T.S. is wearing a robe now, her face is still shiny with the mask. J. sits on the edge of the bed, holding the clear plastic tube, her skirt pulled back down. T.S. pulls one of the pillows from the bed and sits on the floor at J.’s knees. J. hands her the tube. “Are you ready?” T.S. puts the end of the tube in her mouth and nods. J. unclamps the tube and blood makes its way down into T.S.’s mouth. She closes her eyes and lets her head fall back as she sucks on the end of the tube. J. picks up her phone and sets a timer for 2 minutes then leans back on the bed.

11:48 pm – The phone’s alarm startles T.S. out of her daze and J. plucks the tube from her mouth. A small, slobbery drop of blood hangs from the middle of her bottom lip. “Are you okay?” J. asks. “Yes,” T.S. says, nodding. J. clamps the tube and unhooks the plastic extension and stands. “I put an alarm in your calendar for 5:30 tomorrow. Get some sleep, okay?” T.S. nods, still out of it. “Do you need anything else?” T.S. looks up at her and blinks, then shakes her head. “No, thank you. See you in the morning,” she says as she climbs to her feet. J. nods and leaves. T.S. stands in the middle of the bedroom, her robe falling open. She can feel the blood surging through her body, and while it doesn’t make her any less sleepy, it is speeding her mind up. Guitar licks and chord progressions, lyrics and ideas and melodies dance through her mind. She goes into the bathroom to finish her nightly routine.

12:03 am – T.S. lays naked in the hotel bed, her phone illuminating her face. A soft buzzing sound comes from under the blanket and her hands shake as she flips through photos in her phone. Scooting down the bed a bit, the comforter tents up as she bends her knees and rolls her hips forward. Her arm works in a rhythmic motion as her thumb swipes each photo to the left and off the screen. She sucks air through her teeth, not to breathe but as a gasp of surprise as the sensation intensifies. More photos. Dead people. Murdered people. Burned people. Bodies with mortal wounds inflicted upon them. Living people with limbs cut off. Suicides and traffic accidents. Victims of violence. Victims of murder. Dead women with stab wounds in their naked bodies, dead men with no heads. These aren’t only photos collected from the internet. Many of these are photos she’s taken. With a series of spasmodic jerks, she cums and drops her phone. After laying still for a moment she takes the electric toothbrush out from under the covers and tosses it in the general direction of the trashcan. With a full belly, T.S. rolls over and goes to sleep.

Day Two

5:03 am – T.S. stares at the blinking green light on her phone. It sits on the nightstand and she can almost hear the L.E.D. light warming up and cooling off as it blinks. A red light is a general notification that could be anything. Facebook messages, direct messages on twitter, her Kim Kardashian game wondering why she hasn’t played in almost six hours. Blue means missed call, which she would immediately check. Not many people actually call her phone, but those who do usually require a time sensitive response. Green is a text message. That could be a number of people. Friends, ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-nobodies. It could also be a small number of her “people” like J. or R. or one of the bodyguards, who share a suite next door. It could be her agent or manager, though they normally would have to get through J. first. It was probably a friend, or one of her many peers who she is friendly with for professional reasons. L. or L.D. or D.L. An insatiable curiosity is a common trait in most successful, creative people, and T.S. is certainly no exception. She picks up the phone and unlocks it.

5:09 am – T.S. sits up in bed, her phone to her ear, she is almost screaming. “What the fuck is going on?! I know! Get your ass over here! Now! Okay! Yes! I’m sorry. Okay.”

5:13 am – T.S. stands in the middle of her hotel room, naked, frantically deleting photos from her phone. A knock comes and she stomps over and opens the door to let J. in. “Did you call anyone?! What did you find out?” she says without looking up from her phone. “First of all, what is on your phone that you’re so upset about?” J. asks. T.S. is still deleting photos and doesn’t respond. “Give it!” J. says and tries to take the phone from her. “No!” T.S. holds the phone to her bare chest. “Tell me everything you know.” J. sighs. “Not much. It was an iCloud hack. Supposedly at least twenty or thirty different people. Jennifer Lawrence seems to have taken the brunt of it.” she says, letting her hand fall to her side as T.S. takes it in. J. continues. “Listen, your name isn’t in the mix. You don’t even have an iPhone, and I disconnected the media on your phone from all cloud services.” T.S. cuts J. a horrified look. “I have an iPad. I use the cloud constantly. They could have any of my shit. Demos, voice memos, lyrics-” her eyes dart back and forth as she tries to think of what’s on her iPad. “Is there anything on it that will get you in trouble? Not label trouble but real trouble?” T.S. looks at J. and shakes her head. “No. I don’t think so.” J. smiles “Good. Now what’s on your phone?” T.S. looks at her phone and goes back to deleting pictures. “What are you deleting? Naked pictures? Is it naked pictures?” “Some.” “Okay. Is your face in any of them?” T.S. looks at her for half a second, nods, then goes back to deleting. “Jesus Christ, fucking sentimental bitch…” T.S. winces as she looks at a particularly graphic photo then deletes it. J. tries to take the phone from her but T.S. pushes her away, hard. J. nearly falls to the floor. T.S. glances at her then goes back to deleting photos, looking like she’s going to cry. “It’s worse than that,” she says. J. frowns. “Worse than full-face naked? Other peoples faces? Are you fucking people? Is that it?” T.S. shakes her head “No, I mean,yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. There’s… I can’t… it’s bad. It’s really bad.” J. nods and closes her eyes. She holds her hand out. “Give me the phone or I’m going to have to make some calls. Do you understand?” T.S. holds out the phone, her hand shaking. J. takes it and looks for a moment and shakes her head. “You are smarter than this. Jesus… how many?” T.S. shrugs and smiles, tears spilling down her face. “I don’t know. Thirty maybe. A lot. “J. holds down the volume and power buttons and the phone lets out a long beep.She uses the volume rocker to scroll through menus. “What are you doing?” T.S.asks. “Factory resetting your phone.” T.S. lets out a low whine “No! I’ve got photos I want to keep on there! All my music! Tons of stuff!” J. shakes her head. “Sorry. You lost that privilege.” T.S. sits down on the bed and puts her face in her hands.

I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me.
– Floor Candy

5:28 am – T.S. kneels on the floor between J.’s legs, sucking on the plastic tube. Her eyes roll under her closed lids. J. watches the timer on her phone as it counts down to zero. When it chirps, she reaches down and flips the clamp that closes the tube. T.S. blinks and lets the dribbling piece of plastic fall from her mouth. Bright red drops spatter onto her pale neck and breasts. After a moment of collecting herself, she looks up at J. who is re-taping the tube to her thigh. “Feel better?” T.S. nods. “A bit.” J. picks up her tablet. “Go shower and get ready for the day. I’ll see if I can find out more. I’ll make some calls. It’s going to be fine.” T.S. tries to smile and gets to her feet.

5:59 am – T.S. stands in the shower, a manual toothbrush shoved in her mouth, her head leaned against the wall. The water beats against her back. She leans her head back and lets the water hit her face, then starts brushing her teeth more. She turns and spits blood onto the white floor. She brushes her teeth. She spits blood. Brush. Spit.

6:13 am – T.S. steps out of the bathroom, a towel around her middle and one wrapped around her hair. J. talks on her phone and holds up a finger as if to say ‘one minute’ and nods as she listens. After a couple of false starts, she says “I know, and I’m taking it from her. No. I am. I am. I said I am. She will. No. She won’t. It’s fine. That’s not necessary. I will. Bye.” J. hangs up the phone.

A.F.P. = cinnamon salt water taffy.

7:10 am – T.S. sits in the back of the SUV staring through the window at the rain, her face locked in an expression somewhere between bored and annoyed. She outwardly ignores J. who is on the phone again.

9:33 am – T.S. stares through the scratched plastic of the jet window at an undulating sea of white mist. J. sits down next to her. T.S. lets out a puff of air through her nose. That dismissive noise was as close as she could get to acknowledging J’s presence. “Do you even realize how lucky you are?” J. asks, leaning in for discretion. T.S. begins to turn then catches herself. She goes back to ignoring J. “Do you know why you’re so lucky?” J. asks. T.S. remains silent. “Because we fucking look out for you!” J. says, poking T.S. in the arm with her finger. T.S. whips around and cuts her a look. “Don’t poke me!” she hisses. “The only reason you aren’t hanging out in the wind with JLaw right now is because I know you well enough to take precautions. We TOLD you to keep your phone clean, but I knew you wouldn’t, and that’s why you aren’t the top story on CNN right now, she is. And I am absolutely certain that whatever they found in her phone is nothing compared to the shit in yours. She’s just embarrassed. You would be ruined.” After a long, pregnant pause, J. continues. “You wanted an iPhone and I said no. I gave you a phone that I could manage, and that’s why you’re flying to Seattle to play a show for a bunch of happy, oblivious fans right now instead of curled up on the floor crying because some fedora wearing dickhead on 4chan decided to share your most private, personal moments with the world.” They sit silently for a long moment, T.S. staring at her hands, then she looks up and nods.

H.D. – vanilla milkshake.

9:54 am – J. reads her tablet. T.S. stares at the window. She speaks without looking away from the window. “So who got hacked? Was it really like, forty people?” J. sighs. “Yeah. It was a lot. The list keeps growing.” “Anyone I should call?” J. types for a moment and opens up a list, then hands the tablet to T.S. who starts reading. “Jesus…” she reads off a few names of well known people she’s friends with. J. shrugs. “Call S.G. maybe?” T.S. grimaces “No.” “Then otherwise I think you should just ignore it.””When can I have my phone back?” T.S. asks, not bothering to hide her attitude. “Probably never,” J. says, not looking up from her tablet.

C.U. – the drippy part of a chocolate covered cherry that is not the chocolate or the cherry.

11:26 am – T.S. walks through the terminal, faster than normal. J. and her body guards have to hustle to keep up with her. T.S. wears white Tom Ford cat-eye sunglasses and a long, dark grey hooded shawl over cream colored linen capris and black and white polka-dot button up blouse and black Keds. Abruptly, T.S. turns and enters an airport gift shop. People stare, but very few approach her. When they do, she nods politely and smiles, but does not engage. When they meet her eyes, they leave her alone.

11:38 am – T.S. stands at the counter with a pile of items. At least ten different magazines, a Kindle, five or six hardback books, a Nintendo 3DS with a stack of games, an iPod Touch, Beats by Dre headphones, a mug with a picture of Jimi Hendrix on it, two Oral B electric toothbrushes, a stack of shirts and sweaters, an army of knickknacks, toys and souvenirs. J. stands next to her. “You have half of this stuff already.” “Not on me. I need something for the ride to the hotel,” T.S. says without looking at her assistant. J. picks up one of the sweaters. “Really? An airport sweater?” T.S. looks at her and gives her best talk show smile and holds up her fists in sarcastic excitement. “Go Seahawks!”

11:58 am – T.S. struts through the airport, grinning. Her sunglasses are off and she smiles at people who gawk at her. She stops to talk to a mother carrying an infant boy. She is kind. She is empathetic and funny. She touches arms and makes eye contact. She poses for photos. She signs autographs. She asks people about their lives. It takes her nearly forty minutes to walk from the terminal to the exit. Behind her, J. carries five plastic bags full of books, electronics, clothes and toys.

J. would do well to remember that, according to legend, Stevie Nicks used to make her assistant blow cocaine up her ass with a straw.

12:28 pm – The partition between the driver and the back seat slides down. T.S. pokes her face through the opening. “Excuse me, does this car have Wifi?” “Yes ma’am. There should be a card in the leather folder with the information printed on it.” T.S. disappears for a moment then pops back up into the window. “Got it, thank you.””No problem ma’am,” the driver says as he merges onto I-5. After a moment,a delicate, pale hand emerges from the darkness holding a fifty dollar bill. Her nails are short and have silver stickers with little black cartoon skulls on them.

12:45 pm – J. chuckles as she looks at her tablet. T.S. looks up from her magazine and almost says something but stops herself. After another moment J. snorts back more laughter. “You should probably see this.” T.S. rolls her eyes. “I would have already if I had my fucking phone. What is it?” “J.B. was talking about you on Instagram. He deleted it but there’s screen-caps.” J. turns her tablet to show T.S. the grinning, smug face of a familiar young man standing next to a cardboard cutout of T.S. with a caption that reads ‘been there done that.’ T.S. snatches the tablet and reads the post on a gossip site. The tablet shakes in her hands as she mutters “You little cunt” over and over to herself.

J.G. is kind and a good listener. he likes to have his face pissed on. if you meet him and he smells vaguely of urine, it’s because it lingers in his beard for days.

12:49 pm – “Where is he?!” Her voice is raised. T.S. is working hard not to scream at J. “How the hell do I know? He lives in Florida, doesn’t he? L.A.? I don’t know!” “He lives in fucking Atlanta but where is he right now? Find out!” T.S. falls back into her seat. After a minute of exaggerated huffing and puffing while J. frantically navigates her tablet and phone, T.S. rips her magazine in half. “That’s really productive,” J. says. “Shut up. I might actually be productive if I had my goddamned phone instead of sitting here with my thumb up my ass,” T.S. spits. J. dials her phone. “Hi, yeah. We’re on the ground. We’re on the freeway into Seattle. Look, I need you to track down J—–. Yes. B—–, not T———. Yes she saw it. Yes, she’s fucking angry! Of course she is. Oh. I see. No. She’s going to-” J. glances at T.S. who gives frustrated ‘what the fuck?’ shrug. “She’s going to find out eventually. I’m going to tell her. Yes. I don’t care. Yes. I will do my best. Thank you. I know. Thank you. Bye.” J. hangs up and sighs. T.S. takes J.’s hands into her own and forces her to make eye contact. She says, very calmly “Tell me where he is.” J. doesn’t break eye contact. Refuses to. “He’s in Vancouver.” “That’s good. That’s really good,” T.S. says, a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth.

F. – the watery juice at the bottom of a slupree after you’ve sucked out the good parts.

12:55 pm – The partition slides down and T.S. pokes her face through. “How long would it take us to get to Vancouver from here?” The driver looks at her, confused, then thinks on it for a moment. “It’s hard to say. Depending on the border, two and half, three hours maybe, but I’m on a schedule. I can’t go-” T.S. hands three one-hundred dollar bills through the window. “Sure you can.” The driver takes the money and stuffs it into his shirt pocket. “Alright, well, do you have your passport?” T.S. smiles. “I do. Do you?” “I have a Nexus pass ma’am.” “Good! Let’s go to Canada!” The driver nods and looks at her in the rear-view mirror. “What’s your name?” T.S. asks him. “Leroy,” he says. She reaches through the window and puts her hand on his shoulder in a friendly gesture of reassurance. “Hello Leroy, I’m T—–. Let’s keep this detour between us friends, okay?” “Yes ma’am.” T.S. disappears back through the window. The partition slides back up as Leroy merges into the carpool lane.

adam yauch was the last pure soul in the music industry. salvation died with him.

everyone loves dolphins. dolphins are also the only animal i can think of that have a reputation for raping people.

T.A. – pixie sticks

1:04 pm – “We do not have time for this! What are you even going to do? There’s nothing you can do that won’t make things worse.” J. says, sitting next to T.S. instead of across from her. T.S. shakes her head. “I’m going to talk to him. Let him know he can’t do that sort of thing.” “HOW though? He’s not going to listen to you. He doesn’t listen to anyone.” T.S. smiles. “Yes he will.” She stares through the tinted window at freeway traffic. “I need you to call his people and let them know I’m coming and to find a way into his hotel discretely.” J. dials her phone. While it’s ringing, she says “He’s going to think you’re there to sleep with him.” T.S. nods. “I know.”

A.G. – room temperature turkey potpie.

knowledge is good, but doesn’t go very far on its own. intuition is important, especially when it comes to reading other people. confidence can take you a good distance, but can be easily seen through by anyone with half a brain. ultimately knowledge, intuition and confidence combined are what bring it home. this is true in most things, but especially true when eating pussy.

1:20 pm – T.S. sits in the back of the limo playing her 3DS. The tinny, repetitive music and cartoon engine noises of Mario Kart fill the black leather compartment. J. is gone.

1:36 pm – T.S. plays her game. The car door opens and J. climbs in carrying two bags from CVS. “Here,” she says, digging a glittery blue box out of the first bag and handing it to T.S. It’s Crest 3D White toothpaste. T.S. tears the box open and pulls out the tube. One of the electric toothbrushes she bought at the airport gift shop sits on the seat next to her. She loads the brush up and begins enthusiastically brushing her teeth, her eyes closed. T.S. lets out a deep, muffled moan. “Thank you,” she says around the buzzing plastic in her mouth.

they say that human beings taste like pig. long pig they call it. it makes sense given the insane amount of garbage people eat. raccoons eat a lot of garbage as well. i wonder if we taste like them too. i wouldn’t know. I’ve never tasted raccoon.

1:40 pm – J. holds out one of the highball glasses from the limo bar. T.S. spits toothpaste into it and then takes swig from a plastic bottle of water. “Don’t swallow it.” J. says, firm but not unkind. T.S. spits the water into the glass, takes another swig, then spits again. J. pushes the button that slides the tinted window down and dumps the water into the wind. T.S. sucks on her teeth as though she’s not sure if they’re clean enough yet.

1:50 pm – “Seriously though, did you fuck J—- F—– in Portland?” J. asks, looking over her tablet. T.S. smiles at her. “I’m just really curious,” J. says. “You’re the one who sent him up to my room,” T.S. says, pausing her game. “I know, but that doesn’t mean anything. You have guy friends you don’t fuck.” T.S. narrows her eyes. “Why? Do you like him?” J. laughs. “No! I mean, he seems like a nice guy, but no! Not my type. He just doesn’t seem like your type either.” T.S. thinks about it for a moment, deliberately taking her time, letting the tension build. Finally she says “I let him eat me out. I jerked him off and he came in my mouth. Then I gave him fifty dollars and sent him on his way.” J. bursts out laughing. “What?! Why?!” T.S. shrugs and smiles. “I don’t know. I just really felt like using someone. Someone famous. Someone with something to lose.” J. looks out the window at passing cars for a moment before speaking. “So, he got a hand-job and fifty bucks, and that’s him getting used? Sounds like a good deal to me.” T.S. laughs and resumes her game. “I got what I needed.” J. nods and goes back to her tablet. “Fair enough,” she says.

i wonder sometimes what it is that K.P. does that’s so amazing. sexually i mean. i know what she does professionally that’s amazing and that’s work with producers and writers who package her mediocre music right. but i can’t imagine it was her sparkling intellect that kept R.B. interested enough to marry her. he seems like a guy who would require a certain level of sexual intensity to keep his attention. those tits are a good start, but where does it end? does it?

2:13 pm – J. hikes her skirt up and un-tapes the plastic IV tube from her thigh. Laid out on the leather seat to her left is a collection of medical bric-a-brac. Plastic covered packages of needles and tubing, gauze, bandaging tape, alcohol wipes and a bottle of hydrogen-peroxide. She holds a wad of gauze, wet with the peroxide, against the place where the needle protrudes from her skin. With a grimace, she slips the catheter out of her femoral artery. The gauze soaks red and J. holds it in place as she deposits the used catheter into a plastic bag. “I need to switch to my arm. My thighs are getting raw,” J. says as she peals the plastic off of a clean needle and catheter. T.S. doesn’t look up from her game. “Okay. Whatever you need.”

M.L. – Flintstones vitamins.

2:45 pm – “I need to get some food. I have low blood sugar,” J. says, looking at her test kit. The little black box with it’s white tail of a test strip poking out of the bottom, red with a drop of blood, shakes in her hand. T.S. looks up at her. “Didn’t you buy a bunch of food at the drug store?” J. shakes her head. “No, just your toothpaste and supplies. I need to drive through somewhere or stop at a gas station.”T.S. looks somewhat bothered and somewhat concerned. She pushes the button the slides the partition down so she can talk to Leroy. “Can you pull over at the next gas station or fast food place?” “There’s a sign for an Arby’s and a Jack in the Box on the next exit.” “That’s perfect, thank you.” T.S. slides the partition back up. J. is on her knees in front of the bar, digging through the fridge. “There’s no Coke or juice or anything in here,” she says, pulling out bottles of beer and a bowl full of limes and lemons.

2:55 pm – The partition slides down and Leroy hands a bag of food through and a drink. T.S. takes it and gives it to J. who immediately unwraps the straw with shaking hands and pokes it through the lid of the drink. She drinks in long, desperate pulls, her eyes closed, sweat breaking out on her forehead. T.S. looks through the window into the front cab. “Did you get yourself something Leroy?” He turns to look at her and smiles “Yes ma’am. I got a chicken sandwich and a vanilla milkshake.” T.S. smiles at him and touches his shoulder. “Thank you. Let’s get back on the road.” “Yes ma’am.”

S. – red lifesavers.

3:03 pm – J. lays sprawled out on the long seat of the limo, her hand covering her eyes. T.S. stares at her. “Are you okay?” J. nods. “You don’t look okay,” T.S. says, her hands folded in her lap. “I feel like hell.” J. says. A pile of paper fast food wrappers sit on the floor next to her, along with her drink. “I forget that you have to eat sometimes,” T.S. says with a laugh. J. nods. “I forget too. That’s especially not good when you’re diabetic.” T.S. nods. “And the blood.” J. laughs. “Yeah, that doesn’t help.” “Are you going to be alright?” J. sits up and straightens her skirt and blouse out. Her hair is stuck to her face in sweaty clumps. “Yeah. I’m okay.”

3:15 pm – J. sighs and takes out her phone. She’s fixed her hair and makeup and looks presentable again. Her hands still shake just a little as she pulls up a contact and dials. “Hey, did you talk to J—–‘s people? Yes. Oh! Good! I will. Do we need to do anything special? Okay, good. Thank you. Yes. I promise. We will. Certainly. Without a doubt. I will not let her be late. I promise, okay? Have I ever let you down before? When it was important I mean? That’s what I thought,” J. laughs a fake laugh.” Okay, great. Oh, have you heard anything new about the hacking incident? Oh. Oh wow. Okay, yeah, forward that to my email. Thank you so much. Love. Bye!” J. hangs up and looks at T.S. “Well?” T.S. asks. “We know where he’s staying. We can go from the parking lot elevator right up to his floor. You’ve got like, fifteen minutes before we have to turn around and go back. So this had better be worth it.” T.S. smiles “It’s all I need. And it will be.”

3:20 pm – J. scrolls through an email. “Wow. The list keeps getting longer.” T.S. hops up and sits down next to her. “Yeah? Who else?” J. shakes her head. “Fucking everyone. Aubry Plaza, Krysten Ritter, Kaley Cuoco, Hillary Duff-” T.S. interrupts. “Aww! No!” J. keeps reading. “Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton, Ariana, Maisie Williams, McKayla Maroney-” “Wait, who’s Maisie Williams?” “She’s on Games of Thrones,” J. says, pulling up the search results and showing T.S. a photo. “What? Isn’t she a kid?” J. nods. “Yeah, I think she’s sixteen or seventeen.” T.S. shakes her head and goes back to her seat by the window. “This is so fucked up. It’s really disturbing.” J. reads more of the email. “Yeah. It’s pretty gross. It’s rapey.” After a long moment, J. looks up from her tablet. “I have the Jennifer Lawrence pictures if you want to see. There’s a bunch.” T.S. shakes her head and looks out the window. “No. I don’t want to see. It’s awful, and I’m going to have to talk to Jen at some point and I don’t need that in my head.” J. scrolls through pictures on her tablet. T.S. stares through the window for another moment before going back to sit next to J. “Okay, yeah, show me.” They look at Jennifer Lawrence’s private photos together. “She’s so weird,” T.S. says. J. shakes her head. “You are so fucking lucky not to be in her place, because this is normal. YOU are fucking weird.” T.S. thinks for a moment then nods in agreement. “Do you have the Aubrey Plaza pictures?”

3:45 pm – T.S. stares through the window at the lines of cars on either side of them. They are slowly but surely making their way through border. She glances over and sees J. holding her phone. She knows it’s her phone because it has her cover on it. White with little red checkerboard design fading up from the bottom. “What are you doing?” T.S. asks. “I’m setting your phone up. You can have it back when we’re back in the states and on the way to the venue.” T.S. grins and claps her hands like a child. “Yay!” J. gives her a stern look. “Did we learn out lesson about taking pictures?” T.S. rolls her eyes. “Yes.” J. keeps her stern look. “Don’t roll your eyes. This is serious. Did you learn your lesson?” T.S. looks at her, serious. “Yes I did. I’m not taking any pictures I wouldn’t want public. Okay?” J. nods. “Okay. Good. That goes for when you’re back home too. Understand?” T.S. nods. J. continues setting up her phone.

4:11 pm – T.S. stares at her phone. “Did you delete some of my contacts?” J. doesn’t look up from her tablet. “Yes.” “Why?” T.S. asks without hiding her anger. “Why do you think?” T.S. looks at her phone for another moment. “H—- is gone. And N—-. And L—” J. looks at her. “Yes. You know why.” T.S. scrunches her face up in an angry scowl. It would almost be cute if she weren’t so genuinely furious. “This is fucking bullshit. You work for me!” J. goes back to her tablet. “Do we really need to have this conversation again.” “Maybe, yeah.” J. sighs. “I don’t work for you. We work for the same people. My job is to take care of you, and one of my duties is keeping you out of trouble. I’d say that most of my duties are keeping you out of trouble.” T.S. shakes her head and looks out the window.

4:13 pm – T.S. bangs on the partition with her fist. It slides down. “Yes ma’am?” Leroy says from the cab. “Why the fuck are we going so slow?” T.S. barks from the darkness. Leroy looks at the window through the mirror and doesn’t see her. “Because we’re in Canada now ma’am.They got different speed limits from us. 90 kilometers per hour is only about 55 miles per hour.” “Well can you go faster please? I have to be back in Seattle by seven.” “I could, yes, but I kind of got the feeling we were being sneaky and didn’t want to get pulled over, so I’ve been flying low. Would you like for me to drive faster?” There’s a long, pregnant pause. “No. You’re right. Thank you.” The partition slides back up. Leroy clicks the cruise control back on. After thirty seconds, the partition slides down again and her porcelain hand pokes through holding a fifty-dollar bill. Leroy looks at it for a moment,then stuffs the bill in his shirt pocket.

A.M. – too bitter chocolate

4:21 pm – The limo is pulled over and the trunk is raised. J. digs through bags. Leroy stands next to her, smoking a cigarette. “Do you want one?” Leroy asks J., holding out his pack of Kools. J. shakes her head. “No, I quit. Thank you.” She pulls one of the hooded sweaters T.S. bought at the airport out and drapes it over her arm along with a skirt, the long hooded grey shawl and a pair of white and pink pajama bottoms. She looks at Leroy. “Give me a hit off that.” He looks at her, arms full, and holds the cigarette in front of her face. She leans in and takes it between her lips and inhales. Her eyes close and she lets out a low moan. “Thank you,” she says, leaning forward, a halo of smoke drifting into the sky. He plucks the cigarette from between her lips. The white filter is now smeared with pink. “No problem, ma’am. Are we ready to go?” “Yes’um,” J. says as she opens the door and climbs in. Leroy drops the cigarette and steps on it before getting back into the car.

A. – butterfinger

4:23 pm – T.S. folds her capris and lays them across the leather seat. She is naked down to her bra and panties and Keds. “What do you think? Skirt or PJ bottoms?” T.S. holds them both up. The skirt is a long, flowing blue wrap made from light cotton. “To what end?” “I just want to look normal.” J. thinks about it for a moment. “Normal for you or normal for a normal person?” “Normal person,” T.S. says. “The PJ bottoms and the hoodie.” T.S. nods and slips into the pajama bottoms. When she pulls the sweater over her head, she looks down at the Seattle Seahawks logo and smiles. “I told you I’d need it for the ride.” J. cuts her a look that says she isn’t impressed. “Do you have a scrunchie or a hair-tie?” J. opens her purse. “Maybe. Let me look,” she says, digging through her bag. She comes up with a rubber band. T.S. looks at it suspiciously. “How long are you going to have to wear it? Ten minutes? Fifteen? We can’t stay longer than that.” J. says, holding it out. T.S. takes it and pulls her hair back into a pony tail. “I want you to start carrying hair-ties.” “Okay, sure. In case what, this comes up again?” T.S. nods. “Yes.”

i met neil young the other night. he looked at me like i was a five-foot-ten praying mantis in heels that just sat down next to him. i don’t think he’s going to be my stepping stone to eddie vedder.

4:45 pm – The limo pulls into the parking garage of the Wedgewood hotel. Leroy parks the car next to the elevator and T.S. steps out, wearing her sunglasses, the hood of her sweater pulled down low. She opens her purse, takes something out and drops it into the pocket of her hoodie, tosses her purse into the back of the car and walks to the elevator. J. tries to catch up to her, closing the car door behind her. A tall black man stands at the elevator. He smiles conspiratorially at them. “You got here in a hurry.” She smiles at him. He steps aside as the elevator door opens. “He’s waiting for you.” “Can you call up and tell them to clear the room? I want to be alone with him.” He takes out his phone and gives her an uncomfortable look. “I’ll tell them that you asked for that.” “Thank you,” T.S. says as the gold doors slide shut.

4:46 pm – “I still don’t understand what you think you’re going to accomplish. He’s not going to take you seriously.” T.S. looks at her phone. “I’m just going to tell him how I feel,” she says. “You’re not going to… do anything with him… are you?” T.S. looks at her. “Like… sexual?” J. asks. She starts to laugh as a horrified expression crawls across T.S.’s face. “I should fucking fire you.”

ironically, i don’t really believe in love. not in the love we’re told we should be obsessed with. i believe it’s largely a construct of marketing. i don’t say that in a nihilistic, teenage angst sort of way. and i’m not even philosophizing, but just speaking to my own experience. i’ve had tons of relationships, and with many of those people, i truly did believe i was in love. but the more i think about it, the more i come to realize that love is just attachment and fear of being hurt.

i think about a puppy. a cute, little, helpless puppy. i feel a natural, even maternal, love for that puppy. then i think about someone hitting that puppy with their fists, making it cry out, and i feel inspired to hurt or even kill that person. i can’t recall a human being that i would ever feel compelled to protect in that way. i can’t think of a person that’s ever inspired that intensity of feeling toward.

sex makes a difference, but it’s more of a sense of ownership than anything like the love i feel for that imaginary puppy. it’s an animalistic need to snarl at competition and keep my property on my side of the field. marking my belongings with my scent.

another thing to consider about love, at least when it comes to my own needs, is that i tend to think of people in terms of how much they can hurt me. if i’ve opened myself up, made myself vulnerable to someone, then they have the capacity to hurt me in ways that a stranger cannot. that makes it easier for me to get rid of them. they become dangerous to me. so i’m in a perpetual state of letting myself love people and then pushing them away because i’ve given them the weapons to hurt me.

i sing about “true love” and i can’t even take myself seriously. even i know that’s bullshit. it’s fan service, i’ll gladly admit that. a large segment of my audience grew up watching disney princesses and believe there’s “one true love” out there for them. it’s something to focus on i guess. i don’t begrudge them that fantasy. i had it myself for many years. probably a few too many. hell, in some ways, i practically AM a disney princess. at least publicly.

what i’ve come to learn though is that love is another itch to scratch. sometimes you leave bloody, open wounds where you’ve picked and rubbed too much, but in the end, it’s really nothing at all. it’s in your head.

but it gives you something to write about.

4:48 pm – T.S. and J. walk down the short hallway to the door to the penthouse suite. Seven or eight people pass them in the hall. T.S. keeps her head down, her sunglasses on and her hood low. When they reach the door to the suite, J. turns and looks at the group of people who linger in the hall near the elevator. She waves them off. “Keep moving, Jesus!” They reluctantly pile into the elevator. T.S. knocks on the door.T.S. looks at herself in the reflection of one of the framed prints on the hallway wall. The glass shakes with the heavy thud of music coming from the suite. Rave music from some shitty DJ, probably a friend of his. The burnt stink of weed and cigarettes spills out from under the door. After another twenty seconds or so, the sound of the locks disengaging finally comes.

4:49 pm – the door opens and there he is. Shirtless, of course. A gaudy gold crucifix on a gold chain lays against his hairless chest. One hand against the wall, blocking her from entering, the other stuffed in the waistband of his sagging pants. Eyebrows scrunched together, a cigarette burns between his lips like some idiot kid who once saw a poster of James Dean “I was wondering when you’d turn up,” he says, the cigarette bouncing in his mouth. It’s clear he’s drunk. At the very least drunk. “Are you going to invite me in?” T.S. asks. He looks at her for a beat, his eyes narrow, then steps aside. When J. tries to follow he puts his hand up against her chest, blocking her entry. “No suits, sorry.” J. looks both furious and utterly bewildered. “Bullshit, I’m coming in.” J.B. looks at T.S. “If my people can’t be here, then your people can’t be here. You want it just us, then it’s gonna be just us.” T.S. looks at J. and shrugs, giving a crooked ‘oh well’ smile. J.’s mouth hangs open as J.B. shuts the door in her face, leaving her in the hallway alone.

i don’t like the term “slept with” as in “i slept with him” or “they’re sleeping together.” sleep is sacred to me. i don’t need it diluted by something as boring as fucking.

4:50 pm – “So you came,” J.B. says, sipping at an over-sized styrofoam cup. “I knew you would, if i put the call out.” He smiles at her, taking a drag on his cigarette. T.S.stands there, her fists buried in the pocket of her hoodie. “Yep. I came. You’re a real puppet master.” J.B. grins and steps toward her. “Call me Master again. I like that.” “Put your cigarette out,” T.S.says, pulling her hood down and taking her sunglasses off. The sunglasses go into her hoodie pocket. J.B. drops his cigarette on the floor and steps on it. He takes another sip of his drink. “Are you drinking cough-syrup?” T.S. asks. J.B. takes another drink and nods. “Yep. It’s my purple drank.” T.S. looks at him, disgusted. “Jesus Christ, J—–, put it down. Be a fucking adult.” He laughs and sets the drink on the table, which is cluttered with garbage. “I told you,” J.B. puts his hand on T.S.’s cheek, “to call me Master.” T.S. looks at him for a long moment before bringing her own hand up to his cheek.

4:51 pm – J.B. grins a stoned grin as T.S.touches his lips with her fingers. Even in her Keds, she’s taller than he is.They both laugh as she guides him against the wall, her fingers poking into his mouth. He looks confused by what’s happening, but goes along with it, sucking on her fingers. She pulls her fingers out and covers his mouth and nose with her palm. His eyes begin to register concern just as she pulls her other handout of her hoodie pocket and hits him in the shoulder. Startled pain shoots up his arm and she presses her body against his, holding him in place. He tries to scream, but can’t breathe. She turns his head with her hand and he sees what she’s done to his arm. The blade of a box-cutter is buried in his bicep, poked through the eye of the tiger tattooed on his arm. Blood trickles from the wound, running down his arm in thin rivulets. She grins at him, her teeth big and white like bathroom tiles. “Shhhhhhh… do I have your attention?” He nods, terrified. She smiles again. “Good.”

4:52 pm – “What you have right now is a superficial flesh wound. It will heal up no problem. Might need a stitch or three. That hideous tattoo may need some love. But if you make a single fucking noise, I will drag this down your arm and it will become a mortal wound. Do you hear me?” He nods “Okay, good.” She takes her hand away from his mouth.”You’re fucking crazy!” he hisses at her. She raises an eyebrow and pushes the blade deeper. He starts to scream but she covers his mouth again. “You listen to me, you little shit. You may have poisoned my friend against me. I’ll let that go. That’s her choice. But if you ever,” she twists the blade. More blood spills down his arm and over her hand. “If you EVER talk about me online again, I will kill you. Do you hear me? I will literally murder you.” She turns his head to face her. “Look at me. Do you believe me?” He nods emphatically, eyes wide. “You don’t talk about me. You don’t think about me. At an award show you don’t so much as glance in my direction. If you even taste my name in your mouth, I will cut your fucking idiot throat open.” She pulls the blade out of his arm. The wound weeps blood. He immediately covers it with his hand. She steps back and looks at his blood on her hand. She licks it. “Huh. Jolly Ranchers. Go figure.”J.B. stares at her, trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do. “This is going to come out. You’re fucking crazy. This is crazy. You’re ruined. You’re done,” he starts to laugh. “Everyone is going to know about this. You are a fucking crazy bitch!” She shoves him back against the wall and brings the knife up to his face, and screams “NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU!” She presses the blade against his cheek. It leaves a bloody smear.” I am America’s Sweetheart. You are disgusting maggot crawling through your own filth. You have NO credibility. Tell whoever you want! No one will believe you!” She steps back, laughing, and slides the blade back into the handle of the box-cutter and drops it into her pocket. She leaves him standing there, stunned, holding his bloody arm.

J.B. – jolly ranchers and cough syrup.

4:55 pm – T.S. enters the hallway. J. quickly hangs up her phone and scrambles to keep up as she power walks to the elevator, grinning.”What the fuck did you do?!” T.S. pulls her hood up and puts her sunglasses back on. She pushes the button for the elevator and looks at J. and smiles “Nothing. Just told him how I feel.” J. looks at her, eyes narrow. “I’m pretty sure I heard screaming in there.” T.S. shrugs.”Did you hurt him?” T.S. holds up her finger and thumb an inch apart.”Just a little.” There’s blood on her hand. J. stares at it until T.S. shoves it back in her pocket. “Did you kill him?” T.S. looks up and squints, as though she’s thinking hard. “No. I did not. Not yet. But I reserve the right to.” J. shakes her head. “No. You can not kill J—– B—–.” T.S. twists her mouth up into a cute, cartoonish, contemplative expression. “Never say never!”

4:56 pm – T.S. and J. ride in the elevator. J. talks on her phone. “We’re on our way down. We have to haul ass back to Seattle. We have to be there by seven. I know. Just do your best. Thank you so much. We’re almost there.” T.S. stares at her phone.

4:57 pm – The elevator door opens onto the garage. The limo idles with the backdoor open. T.S. and J. jump in and slam the door. The limo pulls out of the garage and onto the street.

5:16 pm – The limo flies through traffic, passing cars on the highway. In the back, T.S. lays back on the long seat, her thumb in her mouth, chewing on the nail. Her foot taps maniacally on the floor. “Are you okay?” J. asks, looking up from her tablet.”Yes. I’m just keyed up. I’m agitated and excited and fucking horny and ugh…” she trails off before pulling off the hoodie and PJ pants. She reclines on across the leather seat, wearing only her bra, thong and Keds, rubbing her thighs together. J. stares at her, eyebrows scrunched together.”You’re not going to start masturbating are you?” T.S. laughs, an awkward blurt. “No.” She rolls over so that her head hangs upside off of the seat, looking at J. “I need some milk,” she says, smiling. J.looks exacerbated. “No… I can’t right now. You already had some this morning and I don’t have the IV in and I already had low blood sugar today. I really can’t right now.” T.S. slides off the seat and crawls to J.’s knees and looks up at her, giving her best puppy-dog eyes. “Please. I won’t take much! I just need a little. We can do it right from your arm or your thigh. I won’t spill any!” J. sighs. “Fine. But only 30 seconds, okay?” T.S. claps and starts rolling up J.’s sleeve.

5:17 pm – The partition slides down and T.S. pokes her head through. Leroy looks at her in the mirror. If he notices that she’s in her bra, it doesn’t show on his face. “Yes ma’am?” She smiles and touches his shoulder. “I just wanted you to know that you’re doing a fucking amazing job. I’m out of cash but when we get to Seattle, I’m going to see that you’re taken care of, okay?” Leroy smiles. “That’s not necessary ma’am.” “I know it’s not, but I take care of people who take care of me, understand?” “Yes ma’am.” There’s pause as T.S. stares through the windshield. It’s raining. “Can I ask you something Leroy?” T.S. says, still staring through the window. “Yes ma’am.” She looks at him. “What’s your favorite song? Ever? The most beautiful song you know?” Leroy seems to think about it for a moment. “I’m quite fond of the song called Taxi from a singer named Harry Chapin. Do you know that one?” T.S. shakes her head. “I don’t think so.” He smiles. “Maybe give it a listen. I think you might like it.” T.S. smiles.

5:18 pm – J. sits with her sleeve rolled up and a rubber strap wrapped around her arm. She holds a silver hobby knife with a pointed end. T.S. types in her phone. “What are you doing?” J. asks. “I’m buying a song,” T.S. says before putting her phone on the seat next to J. and plugging earbuds into her ears. “Ready?” J. asks. T.S. nods, staring at the bulging vein in J.’s arm and the place where the blade pushes against her skin. In a quick motion, J. cuts the vein and blood bubbles up. T.S. covers the wound with her mouth, catching the blood before it spills. J. looks at her phone and presses the timer. A 30 second clock starts rolling. T.S. pulls at J.’s arm, eager, shaking the woman. J. closes her eyes and seems to drift. They are both silent, except for the gentle sucking sounds coming from T.S.’s throat.

5:23 pm – T.S. sits back on the seat, still in her underwear, an electric toothbrush buzzing in her mouth. J. reads her tablet. A speaker crackles on and Leroy’s voice comes through. “Ma’am, we’re almost to the border. If there’s anything that needs to be, um… made presentable, now would be the time to do it.” J. looks at T.S. and they both laugh. “I should probably put my clothes back on.” T.S. says around her toothbrush. J. nods.

Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5dwksSbD34

R. – trail mix. the kind with notenough m&ms

5:25 pm – The tinted window of the limo slides down halfway. T.S. throws the box-cutter into the ditch on the side of the highway.

5:26 pm – “What the hell was that?” J. asks. T.S. shrugs, pushing the button to slide the window back up. “You frustrate the hell out of me. Did you bring that on the plane with you?” T.S. looks at her phone. “It was in my checked bag. I’m not completely stupid.” J. looks confused. “When did you get it out of your checked bag? I’ve been with you all day.” “When you were in the drug store.” J. lets out a sigh. “Seriously though, what did you do to him?” T.S. looks up at J., her eyes cold and distant. “I need you to stop asking me. He’s fine. There was a problem and I dealt with it. Give me some fucking space.” They stare at each other for a moment, then both look at their phones. “You need to get dressed.” J. says without looking up.

5:55 pm – The partition slides down and T.S.pokes her face through. “How are we doing for time, Leroy?” He taps the in-dash GPS and a computerized woman’s voice tells them that they are one hour and twenty-six minutes from their destination. “I’ll get you there by seven.” Leroy says. T.S. smiles at him in the mirror. “I know you will. You’re amazing.”

6:20 pm – T.S. stares through the window at passing trees. She’s has on the headphones she bought at the airport. She’s wearing the capris and blouse she wore on the plane. J. talks on the phone in a hushed voice.

6:46 pm – T.S. stares at her phone. J. types on her laptop. The speaker crackles on. “Ma’am, we’re about five minutes out from Centurylink.” J. presses the button on the console. “That’s great, thank you.” She looks at T.S. and makes a nervous face. “Are you ready?” T.S. nods and waves her hand. “I don’t even care.”

6:58 pm – The limo drives through the underground garage and up to the loading bay where a crowd of people wearing lanyards and black CREW shirts mill about. The limo parks and R. steps up to open the back door. Leroy climbs out of the driver’s seat and gives him a look. R. stops and waits, his hands on his hips like a frustrated elementary school teacher. Leroy opens the back door. J. steps out, her bag slung over her shoulder. R. leans in and half whispers, half barks in her ear. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” J. leans back, to look him in the face. “Excuse me?” “You don’t talk to her like that.” T.S. says, stepping out of the limo. R. shakes his head, as though he can’t believe what he’s hearing. He looks from Leroy to J. to T.S. “Where the fuck have you been?!”

7:00 pm – T.S. walks down the hall as though she knows exactly where she’s going. J. follows, smiling, behind her. R. walks beside her. “You have been MISSING for seven fucking hours! You can’t do that!” “Sure I can.” T.S. says, taking out her phone and pretending to look at it. “No you fucking can’t.” T.S. ignores him and turns down a corridor. “I told you where we were.” J. says. “Yeah, and it was bullshite and you know it.” J. shrugs.

7:03 pm – T.S. walks down another hallway. They’ve collected a group of people. Crew and publicists and suits and wardrobe. R. tries desperately to stay at the front of the group, next to T.S. “Is this where-” T.S. begins to ask an older guy with a clipboard standing next to a row of doors. He smiles at her and points at the last door. “This one is you.” T.S. smiles at him and touches his shoulder. “Thank you.” He scuttles ahead and unlocks the door, holding it open. J. enters and T.S. follows. When R. tries to come in as well, T.S. puts her hand up. “I need to shower. I’ll be fifteen minutes. Go change your tampon and your attitude and rethink how you want to talk to me.” R. stands there gawking as T.S. closes the door in his face.

K.K. – warm caramel cappuccino

one of the interesting things about being powerful (and i am undeniably powerful. i’m not modest about that) is that i can “collect” people.

i suppose anyone can, but i have advantages that others don’t.

when i started, i just wanted to write songs. i wanted to meet dolly parton and garth brooks. i didn’t even need them to like me. i just wanted to be able to say that they’d heard one of my songs and didn’t hate it. i’ve met dolly parton a number of times (wonderful, with unexpected dark and profane sense of humor) and garth brooks (surprisingly empty, devoid of any spark, like a wooden doll with painted on eyes in a ten gallon hat) and many of the people i hoped to meet as a teenager. the more idols i met, the less enthusiastic i became about coming across the next one. some exceed expectation (dwight yoakam was delightfully peculiar in the best way) but most are abysmally boring. desperate, sad people hungry for affection. most with a distorted idea of how to get that affection, believing that the sycophantic hangers-on that surround them love them for who they are rather than where they are. spotlights have a way of blinding you, so that any touch feels like intimacy, regardless of who is pulling at your sleeve and why.

i feel like i’ve managed to sidestep that problem, perhaps because i started behind the scenes. i could watch how these people succeeded (and, more often, failed) to retain their sense of self. i looked at poor leann rimes, who is a splintered, taped together vanity-mirror of a person. i couldn’t have written a more terrifying cautionary tale. i learned early on who not to be. i’m still learning, but i feel like i had a solid head start.

it helps that i’m smart. smarter than a lot of my peers in this industry. i’ve made my mistakes, certainly. many of them public mistakes. but at the same time, i also learned how to manipulate the system. make friends with the right people. pay the right people. my private business stays private, unless i choose to share it. that’s something i’m criticized for, over-sharing. what people don’t understand is that by over-sharing, i’m actually under-sharing. i share a lot, but only specific things at specific times.

if you give the wolf raw meat, feed it every day, make it trust you, make it need you, then it becomes your dog. then it becomes your protector. it loves you.

by collecting people, either with my music, with my pussy, with my money, with my blade, i can define them and understand them. i can control them and move comfortably among them. i can keep them at arms length or i can keep them in my bed. i can feed off of them, if need be. or i can destroy them.

7:17 pm – T.S. leans against the shower wall, half in a squat, her head bent down, her hand working furiously between her legs, her jaw clenched and teeth bared. Mascara runs down her face in grey streaks. She hits the wall with the meat of her free hand as she nears orgasm. The tile cracks.

7:29 pm – T.S. walks out of the bathroom, wrapped in a fluffy white robe, running an electric toothbrush in and out of her mouth. J. sits at a table, working on her laptop. She looks up at T.S. and smiles. “Feel better?” T.S. lets out a relieved sigh. “Infinitely better.” “Good. You want me to let them in?” T.S. nods, then spits toothpaste into the sink. “No swallowing until after the show, okay?” J. says. T.S. nods and takes a swig of bottled water and spits it out.

7:45 pm – The usual people are packed into the room. Crew, wardrobe, suits, publicists, lackeys. R. stews in the corner.J. taps away at her laptop, oblivious to the crowd. T.S. sits on a stool while P. applies makeup. The song Blood and Tears by Danzig fills the room, drowning out the chatter. “Honey, what is this we’re listening to?” P. says as he leans in and fills in her eyebrows. “It’s a mix Floor Candy sent me. It’s different. I like it.” P. nods. “This boy sounds like he wants to be Jim Morrison.” T.S. listens for a moment. “I think he and Jim Morrison both wanted to be Elvis.” P. thinks about it and nods in agreement. “Do you mind me askin’ if you and M—-close?” T.S. shakes her head. “No, not particularly. We’re friendly but she’s a very different place than I am.” P. nods. “That’s good. You stay away from that Molly, you hear? You don’t need that drama in your life.” T.S. laughs. “Okay daddy.” Blood and Tears fades into Debaser by The Pixies.

10:46 pm – T.S. walks down the hall, J. close behind. She looks tired, but upbeat. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail and she wears light, linen pants, red Chuck Taylor shoes and a white fitted t-shirt with the RAMONES presidential seal in red across the front. Casual, but still stylish. J. looks exhausted, her hair hanging around her face in stringy, sweaty clumps. She speaks softly into a her phone, nodding in agreement with whatever is being said. They turn a corner and a publicist greets them and takes them into a room full of contest winners, Make-A-Wish kids and charity auction winners.

10:52 pm – T.S. is making her way through the group, spending a little time with each person, making eye contact, smiling, listening, laughing. When she meets an eight year old girl wearing a plastic prosthetic mask that covers the left half of her face, T.S. leans down and asks what her name is. “Caitlyn” the girl says, her voice muffled through the plastic. “Well Caitlyn, I am very glad to have met you. Do you know why?” The girl shakes her head. “Because for someone like me, who makes music, I need to find beauty to inspire me. It’s the most important thing in the world for an artist – and Caitlyn, you are so beautiful.” The girl smiles and T.S. hugs her.

11:10 pm – T.S. sits in the back of an SUV. She stares through the window at the lights of passing cars. J. sits next to her, the glow of her tablet illuminating her face. “It’s been a really long day.” T.S. says. J. sighs and nods. “Yep. I’m anxious to get to sleep.” T.S. nods. After a long pause, T.S. looks at J. “I’ve been really stupid. Really, really stupid.” J. looks at her, an eyebrow raised. “Oh yeah?” T.S. nods. “Yes. With my phone. I honestly can’t believe that whole thing passed me by. It’s a miracle -” she stops herself. “No. It wasn’t actually. You did that. That was all you.” J. shrugs. “It’s my job.” “Well, I’m going to talk to someone about getting you a promotion. A real promotion I mean.” J. stares at her, holding her breath. “Do you think they’ll go for it?” “If I tell them to they will. Is that what you want?” J. nods, the tablet shaking in her hands. T.S. smiles and goes back to looking through the window. “When the tour’s over I’ll fly to L.A. and talk to them.” “Thank you,” J. whispers.

12:16 am – J. and T.S. stand in the doorway to T.S.’s hotel room. “Are you sure you don’t need anything else?” T.S. smiles and shakes her head. “No. You go sleep. Day off tomorrow, okay?” J. lets out a sigh of relief and nods, then heads toward her own room. T.S. watches her go for a minute then closes the door.

12:37 am – T.S. sits on the edge of her bed wearing white silk PJs. She picks up the phone and presses 0 for the front desk. “Hi, I’m in room 1903. Yes, that’s me.” T.S. waits for a minute and listens. “That’s very sweet, yes. Thank you. I was wondering if there was a piano anywhere in this hotel. Oh yeah? Oh. I see. Can someone open it for me? Certainly. I won’t need it for long. I’ll be down in ten minutes. Thank you.”

12:49 am – A night clerk unlocks the door to a lounge. He steps in and turns on the lights. It’s an old-fashioned looking bar with lots of wood and brass. The chairs are all upside down on the tables. He holds the door and T.S. enters. “It’s in the corner. Take your time.” T.S. nods and smiles. She puts a fifty-dollar bill in his hand. He looks at it and grins, closing the door behind her.

1:10 am – T.S. sits at the piano, her iPad propped up in front of her. Sheet music for the song Taxi by Harry Chapin is displayed on the screen. She plays the song and sings. Her phone sits on top of the piano, recording.

1:36 am – T.S. sits in her hotel room. She calls J. “Hey, I’m sorry to wake you. I’m going to email you a song. Can you burn it onto a CD and have it sent to Leroy? The limo driver. Yeah. No, tomorrow’s fine. I just… I just wanted to… I don’t know. I wanted to make sure you knew it was coming and what to do with it. See you tomorrow. Go back to sleep. Night.” She hangs up and stares at her phone.

2:20 am – T.S. stands in front of the window, staring out at the Seattle skyline. The only sound comes from the electric toothbrush buzzing in her mouth.

Day Three

5:15 am – T.S. is on her back, naked, her eyes closed, her body perfectly still. L.D. lays across the bed, also naked, her head resting on T.S.’ stomach. Both women are on top of the blankets. L.D. walks her fingers along the pale, white skin and down to the crease between her legs. T.S. doesn’t move as L.D. slips two fingers inside her. L.D. turns her head and looks at T.S. “It really is amazing.” “What?” T.S. asks, staring at the ceiling. “You’re exactly the same temperature inside as out. Cold,” L.D. says, letting her fingers slide out, then back in. The delicate skin around the opening catches and pulls. T.S. remains still. “Don’t you get wet?” L.D. asks, looking down again. “I get wet,” T.S. whispers, as though the act of speaking was too much work. “This doesn’t feel good?” “It doesn’t feel like anything,” T.S. says, finally moving, reaching down and brushing her fingertips against L.D.’s bleached hair. “You don’t feel anything at all?” L.D. asks, looking back up and kissing T.S.’ fingers. T.S. looks at her. “I feel hungry.” L.D. smiles and pulls her hand up and slips her fingers in her mouth. “Absolutely nothing.”

5:22 am – T.S. walks down the hall of her Manhattan apartment. The hardwood floors are cold, but she doesn’t mind. Banging and clanking echo through the mostly empty Penthouse. She walks past an aquarium full of baseballs, running her fingertips along its glass front.

5:23 am – L.D. is in the kitchen, opening and closing cabinet doors and drawers. “How the fuck do you find anything in this place? There’s no system! I feel like I’m going to have a fucking breakdown. You don’t even have a cutlery tray!” she holds up a hand full of forks and spoons. “It’s all just loose in here.” T.S. stands at the edge of the kitchen, resting her hands on the granite surface of the island. “There’s a Keurig coffee maker over there,” she says, pointing at the machine on the counter. “And milk and a block of chocolate in the fridge “Thank Christ,” L.D. says, walking over and pressing buttons. After a moment it begins hissing and spitting. “Do you want some?” T.S. shakes her head. “No, but I want you to have some. I like the smell.”

5:38 am – L.D. blows on her mug of marocchino. T.S. sits at a huge table. Both women are still naked. “Drink it,” T.S. says,looking up at L.D. “It’s hot,” L.D. says, sipping milk foam from the top. Little flakes of chocolate stick to the corners of her lips. She pulls these into her mouth with her tongue. When she sets the mug down on the table and scoots out one of the chairs, T.S. holds up her hand “Do you mind, um, putting on some underwear?” L.D. looks at T.S. for a second, her head cocked. “Why?” “These are expensive chairs,” L.D. looks at T.S. “You aren’t wearing underwear,” T.S. sighs. “I’m not as…moist… as you are.” L.D. shakes her head, eyebrows raised. “Okay I guess. I’m sorry,” she says, turning to go back to the bedroom.”Wait,” T.S. says, then takes one of the cloth napkins from the holder and spreads it across the seat of the chair. “Here, problem solved.” L.D. sighs and sits down on the napkin covered chair. After a long, quiet moment, L.D. picks up the mug and takes a sip. She smiles.”This is fucking amazing. You should try it,” she holds it out to T.S.who takes the mug and looks at it. “Okay, just a little,” she says,before taking a tiny sip. She puts the mug down on a saucer on the table.

S.G. – no longer an astro pop covered in poisonous semen. just a regular astro pop now. <3

i may or may not have contributed to removing certain elements from her life with what might or might not have been a box-cutter.

5:40 am – L.D. sucks the rest of the milk foam from the top of the drink. “Are you sure you don’t want more?” she asks, holding the cup out to T.S. “No, thank you, but please, enjoy.” L.D. sets the cup down on the table, then immediately picks it up again and places it on the saucer. She looks at T.S. and smiles. L.D says “Hey, I’ve got my OCD shit too. I’ve got my shit and you’ve got your shit. I totally get it.” T.S. smiles.”Thanks,” she says. There’s a long pause while they both sit there, staring at the table. “Do you have any more coke?” L.D. asks. T.S. nods. L.D. grins.

5:56 am – T.S. stands in her massive shower, electric toothbrush poking out of her mouth, and stares at the wall. The water steams around her from the overhead jets. After a moment, she spits toothpaste into the drain.

6:12 am – T.S. stands in front of the bathroom mirror, a towel wrapped around her middle, her hair wet and hanging in stringy clumps. L.D. is in the shower, singing Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads softly to herself. T.S. leans forward and looks at her eyes in the mirror. She pulls the bottom lid of her right eye down and examines the pupil. They’re a brilliant blue. L.D. shuts off the water mid-same-as-it-ever-was. She opens the door and looks at T.S., who is still staring at her own eyes. “Why doesn’t your mirror fog up?” L.D. asks. T.S. responds without looking at her.”There’s a heater behind it.” L.D. nods approvingly. “What are you looking at?” T.S. turns and steps toward L.D., still holding her eyelid down. “Do my eyes look like they’re clouding over? Are they milky?” L.D. leans in and looks for a moment. “What? Like cataracts?” T.S. nods. L.D. shakes her head. “No. They look normal.”T.S. lets go of her eyelids and blinks.

6:31 am – T.S. and L.D. stand in front of a closet in one of the apartments many bedrooms. Inside is an assortment of strange clothes. They take turns examining and discarding items. Most are long sleeved, ankle length dresses. They’re giggling maniacally.

6:48 am – T.S. and L.D. sit on the floor of yet another bedroom. They both wear the long dresses. T.S. has her hair pulled back into atight bun, which makes her look like a FLDS sister-wife. T.S. cuts lines of coke on an album cover. Anticipation by Carly Simon. The record spins on the turntable, the title track blasting so loud the two women have to practically scream at each other to be heard. L.D. leans forward with a metal tube in her hand and snorts a line. Blood is smeared across T.S.’ mouth and L.D.’s wrist. “I fucking love Carly Simon so much!” T.S. yells over the music. L.D. nods emphatically. “Have you ever met her?” T.S.nods. “I sang with her! She’s a fucking coke head!” L.D. shakes her head.”That’s fucking terrible!” She snorts another line, comes back up laughing hysterically, white powder dusting the bottom half of her face.”Is there speed in this?” T.S. shrugs. “Probably!” L.D.stops laughing suddenly and looks at T.S., eyes wide. “Holy shit, have you ever met Kris Kristofferson?” T.S. nods, grinning, her teeth shiny with blood. “Yes!” “Was he amazing?” T.S. nods again. “He was the most amazing person I’ve ever met in my entire life.” She picks up a scalpel from the floor and holds out her hand. “Give me your wrist!” L.D. smiles and holds out her hand. T.S. takes it and cuts her arm open. Blood drips into the scattered powder between them and T.S. covers the wound with her mouth. L.D. moans softly and lays down, T.S. sucking at her wrist.

7:39 am – T.S. chases L.D. through the house. They both have Nerf guns. L.D. is out of breath and collapses against a wall in the hallway. She breathes in deep, sweaty gulps. T.S. stands over her with her Nerf gun pointed at L.D.’s head. They both wear absurdly thick, messy makeup which makes them look like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane in their long dresses. L.D. talks through her panting “I can’t run anymore.” “Then you lose,” T.S. says, stepping back. L.D. closes one eye. T.S. fires her gun. An orange dart bounces off of L.D.’s head.

7:40 am – T.S. sits on the floor next to L.D., who is still out of breath. L.D. rolls her head against the wall and looks at T.S. “I really am starting to get hungry.” “You just had coffee.” L.D. looks puzzled. “Coffee isn’t food. I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday afternoon. I am literally starving. To death. I will be dead and it will be your fault because the only food you have in your house is coffee and candy.” T.S. sighs.”Go get my phone from the bedroom. There’s a place across the street. They’ll make you whatever you want.” L.D. gets to her feet and walks down the hall, almost tripping over her dress.

7:46 am – L.D. hands T.S. her phone. T.S. swipes the screen up and dials a number. “Hello, who am I speaking to please? Hello Mia. Do you have a boss or a manager I can talk to? Yes. Thank you. Yes it is. Oh, good.Yes. Thank you. Talk to my friend, okay?” T.S. hands L.D. the phone and says “Don’t get anything that smells. No bacon or anything with syrup.” L.D. nods and takes the phone. “Hi. Yes please. Can I have uh… eggs? Scrambled eggs?” She looks at T.S. who nods. “And toast.Whole grain. With peanut-butter.” T.S. shakes her head. “Wait, no peanut butter. Just regular butter. And uh… do you have some kind of melon? Cantaloupe? Something like that?” L.D. looks at T.S. who gives a thumbs up. “Excellent. Thank you so much. See you soon.”

8:04 am – T.S. stands in front of one of the slanted roof windows that looks out over Manhattan. The sun is rising. When her phone rings, she answers it immediately. “Yes, thank you Amir. Bring it up. I’ll leave money for you and money for them in front of my door. Thank you.” She hangs up and slips the phone into the hip pocket of her dress.

L.D. – cantaloupe and cocaine

8:06 am – T.S. opens her front door and places a square, red envelope on the floor at her doorstep. Scrawled across the front in black Sharpie is the name AMIR. She closes the door.

8:07 am – T.S. and L.D. sit on the floor next to the front door. They hold hands and smile conspicuously. “Do you think he’s come yet?” L.D. asks. T.S. shakes her head. “No. He’ll knock.” L.D. puts her ear to the door for a moment, then pulls away. She rubs her nose against the back of her hand and blood begins to trickle down her upper lip. “How much money did you leave?” “Two fifties. One for him and one for whoever made the food.” L.D.’s eyes widen. “You’re paying a hundred dollars for my eggs and cantaloupe?” T.S. shakes her head. “And toast. But no. I’m paying a hundred dollars so that the next time someone stays at my house and wants food delivered at 8 in the morning — and I mean good food — I know they’ll jump to do it.” L.D. opens her mouth to speak, but then screams when a soft knock comes on the door. They both scramble away on their butts.

8:08 am – T.S. stands by the door and listens. L.D. steps a few feet back, staring, eyes wide, as though a murderer may be on the other side. “I’ll get your food. Go in the bathroom and fix your nose,” T.S. says, pointing down the hall. “What’s wrong with my-” L.D. touches her lip and pulls her fingers away bloody. “Oh. Shit.” She looks up, suddenly pale. “I better slow down.” She starts snapping her fingers. “Do you have something… an oxy or a klonopin or a fucking… I don’t know…” she looks at her bloody fingers again. “I’ll find you something. Just go clean up. You’re bleeding on your dress and my floor.” L.D. looks down as another fat drop splashes against her dress. “Sorry.” She goes to the bathroom and T.S. opens the door.

8:15 am – T.S. and L.D. sit at her dining room table. L.D.’s right nostril is plugged with bloodied wads of toilet paper. T.S. watches with interest as she shovels eggs into her mouth. “I am so fucking hungry. These eggs are amazing!” “I’m glad,” T.S. says, picking up a spoon from the table and looking at her reflection in it. L.D. picks up a wedge of cantaloupe and pops it into her mouth. “May I have some of that?” T.S. asks. L.D. nods and pushes her plate over. T.S. picks up a fork and stabs a piece of cantaloupe and takes a small bite of it. She chews slowly, with her eyes closed. “Does it taste good to you?” L.D. asks. T.S. nods. “Will it make you sick?” T.S. opens her eyes and nods.

8:20 am – L.D. pushes the empty plate away and dabs her mouth with a cloth napkin. T.S. has wiped most of the lipstick from her face with her own napkin. There’s enough left to leave pink stain that somehow makes her look even more crazy. “I still can’t believe you paid a hundred bucks for that,” L.D. says. T.S. smirks and waves her hand. “That’s nothing.” “It’s not nothing!” T.S. leans in, as though she were sharing a secret. “Do you know how much I paid for this place?” L.D. shakes her head, taking a drink of from her glass of ice water. “I bought this place for twenty million dollars from Peter Jackson. It’s two lofts smooshed together into one.” There’s a moment of silence while L.D. seems to search for the right words. T.S. nods, ignoring her, and speaks again. “I’m so fucking rich, it’s insane. I’ll never be able to spend all the money I have. I don’t know what TV money is like, but this place is fucking Lord of the Rings money.” L.D. just looks at her for another moment then looks away, muttering to herself. “It’s not TV, it’s HBO.”

8:21 am – “Have you ever seen Heavenly Creatures?” L.D. asks, changing the subject. T.S. blinks. “No. What is that?” “It’s one of Peter Jackson’s earlier movies. It’s about two teenage girls who plot to murder one of their mothers. It’s got Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey.” “Is it good?” L.D. nods. “It’s fucking amazing. Do you want to watch it right now?” T.S. nods. “Okay!” L.D. stands up. “Did you say you had Oxy?” T.S. stands “Yeah, I’m sure I’ve got something.”

8:27 am – L.D. crushes two little blue tablets against the granite island in the kitchen with a spoon. T.S. walks in holding her iPad. “They have Heavenly Creatures on Netflix.” She sees L.D. with the metal tube and frowns. “Don’t fucking snort it! You’re already bleeding everywhere. Just put it in your mouth like a goddamned human being.” L.D. drops the tube to the counter. “I already crushed it.” T.S. puts her iPad on the island and her hands on her hips, looking like a frustrated kindergarten teacher. “Then eat the powder. If your nose is bleeding then stop snorting shit!” “FINE!” L.D. says, angry. They look at each other for a moment then L.D. leans forward and licks the powder off the island. T.S. sighs and turns to leave. “Jesus fucking Christ…”

9:20 am – T.S. and L.D. sit next to each other on a leather sofa in front of a massive TV. Heavenly Creatures plays, Melanie Lynskey’s grim narration booming through the loft. “Do you have any microwave popcorn?” T.S. shakes her head.

10:36 am – L.D. is asleep on the couch, her head leaned back at an awkward angle and snoring. The TV is off. T.S. kneels on the floor next to her. She pushes the hem of L.D.’s long prairie dress up, exposing the pale flesh of her leg. T.S. holds her scalpel and feels around with her fingers for L.D.’s pulse. She finds it behind her knee and pokes the spot with the tip of the scalpel. Blood begins to seep from the opening and T.S. latches on with her mouth. L.D. stops snoring for a second and rolls onto her side. T.S. rolls with her, pulling her leg up for a better angle. L.D. resumes her snoring.

10:52 am – T.S. sits at a white full sized piano in a large, almost empty room. The sun reflects off of the East River and through the slanted, floor to ceiling industrial loft windows, filling the room with an orange and pink light. She plays Strawberry Fields Forever and sings softly to herself.

11:10 am – T.S. paces in her bedroom, talking on her phone. She’s changed out of the prairie dress and cleaned the makeup off of her face. She now wears a pair of Ponte Sweatpants, a t-shirt with a unicorn on it and pink ankle socks. “A week is a really long time. How many days to shoot? Yeah. No, it’s okay. I’ve got other business in L.A. anyway. People to see. No, I don’t want to do that. I know. I don’t want to. It’s as simple as that. No, I’m not mad about that. I love Billy Eichner, I just think I’m kind of out of Conan’s league, don’t you? Just because I’m in L.A. doesn’t mean I have to go on every fucking show that films out there. Why are you arguing with me about this? Anything worth being on shoots in New York, and you won’t let me go on the fucking Daily Show, so I don’t even know why we’re having this conversation.”

11:23 am – T.S. sits on a leather chair in a soundproof room. Black foam lines the walls. She listens to a pair of professional monitoring headphones, plugged into her phone. Her eyes are closed and her head nods with the beat. The light is dimmed. L.D. stumbles to the open door, still wearing her prairie dress and clownish makeup. She peers in and knocks on the door. T.S. raises her hand in a half wave but doesn’t open her eyes. “Is that the new album?” L.D. asks. T.S. takes one ear of her headphones off. “Yes.” “Can I hear?” L.D. asks. T.S. nods and picks her phone up from the arm of the chair and touches the Bluetooth icon. The sound of a new song fills the room. L.D. steps in and leans against the back of the chair, resting her face along the leather top. “It sounds really good.”

11:54 am – Back in the bedroom, T.S. and L.D. lay across the bed, looking at an iPad. L.D. has cleaned the makeup from her face and is wrapped in a blanket. “We should do The Addams Family next!” L.D. says. T.S. nods as they shop for clothes. “I can be Wednesday and you can by Pugsly,” T.S. says, grinning. L.D.’s face falls. “Why do I have to be Pugsly? I want to be Wednesday. You can be Morticia.” T.S. shrugs. “Fine. I can be Morticia.” She looks at L.D. sideways. “Because you have short hair.” L.D. frowns. “I don’t want to be Pugsly.” “You’re too sensitive. It was just a joke.” L.D. sits up. “I’m not too sensitive! I just don’t know why you’d say I should be Pugsly. That’s mean.” “I’m just fucking with you! Jesus!” L.D. sighs and then smiles. “Okay okay. I’m sorry, I’m just… it’s been a weird week. You know that.” “I know, I’m sorry, okay? You can be Wednesday.” T.S. pulls up a Pinterest board on the iPad. A pin with a black, long-sleeved dress with a white Peter Pan collar. “Amazon Prime has same day delivery in New York now.” L.D. says. “Fuck Amazon Prime. I can call my girl and have whatever we want brought here in forty-five minutes.”

12:26 pm – T.S. and L.D. sit on the floor in the bedroom with the turntable. She Bop by Cyndi Lauper plays on the sound system. L.D. dabs coke up with her finger from the She’s So Unusual album cover sitting on the floor between them and rubs it on her gums. T.S. smiles. “Do you want more blood?” L.D. asks. T.S. shakes her head. “No, I’m full.” L.S. frowns. “Really? I want you too,” she says before dipping down and sucking up a line with the metal tube. “No, it’s not a good idea. I’m full and you’ve lost enough blood already.” “Huh,” L.D. says, sitting back, her robe falling open on one side, unceremoniously exposing a breast. “What would happen if I drank your blood?” she asks, chewing on her bottom lip. “You would get very sick,” T.S. says.

12:48 pm – T.S. stands at the turntable and takes She’s So Unusual off and slips the album into its paper sleeve and cover. “Holy shit do you have Purple Rain?” L.D. asks. T.S. nods and bends over, scanning through her vinyl. She pulls out the white and purple album, slips the record out and drops it onto the player.

1:03 pm – T.S. and L.D. dance and sing with wild abandon to Darling Nikki, holding hands and spinning in a circle. T.S.’s phone lights up on the floor and she stops, and picks it up. “Our stuff is here!”

1:16 pm – T.S. and L.D. are in another bathroom. Both are naked. L.D. sits backwards on the closed toilet lid. T.S. stands behind her, working black gel into her hair. She wears rubber gloves. L.D. rolls her head back and around to give T.S. access to various sections. “Okay, turn around,” T.S. says, pulling off her gloves and dropping them into a trashcan next to the sink. She opens a cabinet and takes out a white facecloth, then gets a corner of it wet under the tap. “Do you want me to do your eyebrows?” L.D. twists her mouth into a contemplative frown. “What do you think?” T.S. leans and examines L.D.’s face. “I don’t think so. I think you’d regret it.” She uses the wet corner of the towel to clean errant smears of dye from L.D.’s face, ears and neck.

1:19 pm – L.D. still sits on the toilet, her legs crossed, a shower-cap on her head. T.S. reads the instructions from the Loreal Paris dye kit. “Okay, twenty-five minutes.” L.D. uncrosses her legs and begins to stand. T.S. puts her hand on L.D.’s shoulder. “No no no, you have to stay here. You’re a mess. You can sit on the toilet or in the bathtub.” L.D. sighs. “Okay. Can you get my phone for me?” T.S. smiles “Sure. You want an iPad?” “Yes please.”

1:26 pm – L.D. sits on the toilet holding an iPad. She watches a Maria Bamford stand up special on Netflix. With her free hand, she reaches down and scratches her leg, behind the knee. Her fingers come back up bloody. She looks at them for a long moment, then reaches down and and finds that her leg is bleeding. She pauses the video and picks up her phone and texts T.S.

1:28 pm – T.S. enters the bathroom, holding her phone.”Yeah?” L.D. holds up her wet fingers. “I’m bleeding. My leg is bleeding.” “Did you want a band-aid or something?” L.D. looks at her fingers again and then at T.S. “Did you drink my blood while I was asleep?” T.S. stares at her a long moment, seemingly considering how to approach this. “Yes, I did.” L.D. looks down at her fingers again, unrolls a few pieces of toilet paper and wipes blood from her leg. “That’s kind of fucked up, don’t you think?” “Why?” L.D. looks up at her like she’s crazy. “What do you mean why? Because I… I was asleep! It was, like, non-consensual. You violated my body.” T.S. sighs and shakes her head. “But you like it.” L.D. stands up. “Yeah, I do like it. I like it when WE do it,” she waves her hand back and forth between them. “Not when you just take it from me when I’m sleeping. That’s fucked up!” L.D. storms past T.S. and into the hallway. “Where are you going? Your hair is still wet! And you’re bleeding! Please don’t stain my home!” “Fuck your fucking Lord of the Rings house!” L.D. yells as she stomps down the hall.

1:29 pm – T.S. follows L.D. down the hall to the bedroom they woke up in. L.D. is putting on her underwear. “I don’t understand what you’re so upset about! It’s not like I raped you or something!” L.D. throws her hands up in air. “It’s actually kind of a lot like that!” T.S. frowns and folds her arms across her chest as L.D. pulls a shapeless dress up over her hips and slides her arms under the straps. “You’re the one who molested your sister,” T.S. says with a ‘gotcha’ tone. L.D.’s jaw drops and she flinches, as though she were slapped. “You are so fucking mean to me!”

1:32 pm – L.D. sits on the bed crying into her hands. “I didn’t molest my sister! You fucking KNOW that! We talked about it! How DARE you throw that in my face?!” T.S. sighs again and shakes her head, then kneels down in front of L.D. “Look at me,” T.S. says, tapping L.D. on the knee. L.D. shakes her head. T.S. pulls L.D.’s hands away from her face. “Look at me,” she says again, putting her hands on L.D.’s cheeks. Tears mix with black hair-dye and smear across her face and T.S.’s fingers. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. It was uncalled for and I know it’s not true, okay?” L.D. pulls away from her, but T.S. climbs up onto the bed next to her and stays in her line of sight. “No, it’s not okay,” L.D. says. T.S. ignores her. “And I’m very sorry I fed on you when you were asleep. I thought we had an understanding. Listen, we both have a lot of chemicals in our system right now and we’re both going through some shit and a little fucking crazy. Let’s just…” she wipes tears off of L.D.’s cheeks with her thumb. “Let’s try and reset, okay? Just listen to me. You’re my friend, and I love you, and I respect you, and you’re beautiful and you’re an amazing filmmaker and storyteller and the honesty and truth in your writing is absolutely staggering, understand? I would kill for even a fraction of your artistic bravery.” L.D.’s eyes search T.S.’s face, which is completely earnest. She bites her lower lip and nods. “Okay.” T.S. smiles and kisses her on the forehead. “I don’t want to be Pugsly.” T.S. laughs. “You don’t have to Pugsly. You can be anyone you want to be.” L.D. takes a deep, shaking breath and lets it out. “And you could have woken me up. I would have let you. I would have enjoyed it.” T.S. nods. “I understand. I’m very sorry. It was a misunderstanding.” “It’s okay,” L.D. says as she leans in for a hug. T.S. pulls away. “Oh oh no. You’ll get black dye in my hair,” she says as she stands. “I’m sorry,” L.D. says, looking at the floor.

2:18 pm – T.S. and L.D. stand in front of a floor to ceiling mirror in yet another bedroom. At least eight shopping bags and four garment boxes lay discarded in a pile on the bed behind them. They’re both wearing new clothes. T.S.’s curls have been blown out and brushed straight and spill around the pointed black shoulders of her ankle length Zac Posen dress. L.D. wears a vintage long sleeve black dress with a white Peter-Pan collar. Six intricately detailed silver buttons run up the front. Her hair is black, parted down the middle and pulled off into short but serviceable pigtails. She wears knee-high white socks and saddle shoes. They both wear thick, black eye-makeup. T.S. has on her trademark red lipstick. She puts her hands on L.D.’s shoulders. In her Christian Louboutin boots, she’s nearly a foot taller. “You’re much more of a Wednesday than I am.” L.D. looks at T.S. in the reflection.”You’re much more of a Morticia.” They both smile and turn to face each other. They pick up black lace parasols from the floor and put them over their shoulders in unison.

2:39 pm – T.S. and L.D. strut down Greenwich Street, parasols in hands clad in lacy black gloves, toward Kaffe 1668. Photographers snap shots of them. They both grin and stifle laughter.

4:07 PM – T.S. and L.D. sit across from each other at a marble table in the middle of Kaffe 1668. Both look at their phones. A digital projector displays the film The Dark Crystal on the wall behind them. Through the window, photographers snap photos.

i wish that when i went to los angeles it was the l.a. in mulholand drive and the l.a. that l.d.r. sings about.

instead it’s just traffic and sad palm trees and check cashing places and people selling bootleg t-shirts and maybe you might see pauly shore in a starbucks yelling at someone he believes is beneath him.

4:15 PM – T.S. sets her phone down and folds her hands on the table. L.D. glances at her, sends one last text and does the same. “How’s your tea?” L.D. smiles. “Lovely. Would you like some?” T.S. shakes her head and smiles. “I’d like a latte and some chocolate biscotti. Can you order some for me please?” L.D. squints, unsure if T.S. is serious or not. When T.S. doesn’t change her expression, L.D. smiles and gets up. “Sure thing, no problem.”

4:21 PM – “How long are you going to be in L.A. for?” L.D. asks, tearing a piece of croissant off and smearing it with butter. “Six days. Filming for three, visiting and taking care of business for the other three.” L.D. rolls her eyes and sticks her tongue out as though she was gagging. “I only go out there when I absolutely have to. I try to keep it down to one week per quarter.” “I don’t mind it so much. I know a lot of people out west. I just don’t like being in the city.” “Who does? That city anyway. It’s like a city someone bought at a swap-meet.”

4:23 PM – A waitress sets a latte and a plate with a piece of chocolate biscotti in front of L.D. L.D. smiles and thanks her, then pushes the cup and plate across the table to T.S. T.S. picks up the biscotti and dips it in the coffee and lets it soak for a few seconds before biting the end off. She chews slowly and methodically then swallows.

sometimes i’m just happy to have made it to the other side alive. the other side of what, i don’t know.

4:36 PM – T.S. and L.D. stand and straighten their dresses. The photographers outside become more animated, taking hundreds of photos as the two women leave the coffee shop. They shout questions and requests to look at the camera. “How was your coffee T—–?” T.S. smiles and nods as the crowd parts to let them onto the sidewalk. “It was fine, thank you,” T.S. says, lifting her parasol. “L—, is T—– going to be on your show?” L.D. smiles and shrugs. “You never know!” T.S. looks at L.D. and smiles. “L—, why did you molest your sister?” one photographer says. L.D. stops walking for just a moment, her shoulders tense, but then tries to pretend she didn’t hear. T.S. whips around. “Who said that?” The photographers look at each other, then at a young guy with a straw pork-pie hat and ironic mustache. “Was that you?” A large black man with two cameras hanging around his neck steps away from the kid in the hat. “Yeah. It’s a fair question,” the young guy in the hat says. “Who do you work for?” The hat guy folds his arms across his chest. “I’m an independent contractor. I work for whoever pays me.” T.S. narrows her eyes, then holds up her phone and snaps his photo. “Hey!” the kid says as T.S. turns around and walks away, taking L.D.’s hand. “You fucking idiot,” the black guy says to the kid.

6:58 PM – L.D. sits in an over-sized leather chair, looking at an iPad, one leg tossed over the arm. T.S. lays on her bed, writing in a notebook. She chews the back of her pen. L.D. looks up from her iPad and stares at T.S. for a moment. “Can I try and make you cum?” she asks. T.S. looks up at L.D. “You won’t be able to.” L.D. looks disappointed and goes back to her iPad. “That’s a shame,” she says. T.S. still looks at her. “You can go down on me if you’d like, but I won’t be able to cum. It’s not personal to you. I’ve just only ever been able to do it when I’m alone.”

7:19 PM – T.S. sucks breath through gritted teeth, staring at the steel rafters in the ceiling. Her fingers are curled, tight, in L.D.’s hair, holding her head in place. “Do you like that?” L.D. asks from between her legs in a muffled voice. “Yes,” T.S. hisses. “Don’t talk.”

7:25 PM – “Stop,” T.S. says, letting go of L.D.’s hair. L.D. looks up from between T.S.’ thighs. She’s panting. “Yeah? Are you sure?” T.S. nods and motions for L.D. to come lay next to her. L.D. sucks on her fingers as she climbs up the bed and lays down as the little spoon. “You got really wet,” L.D. says. “Yeah. It was nice, thank you. It felt really good,” T.S. says. “But you couldn’t cum from it?” L.D. asks, looking back over her shoulder. T.S. shakes her head. “Can’t do it. Not for lack of trying.” “That sucks so much for you.” T.S. shrugs.

7:33 PM – “Do you think they’ll say yes?” L.D. asks, her lips against the back of T.S.’ fingers. T.S. closes her eyes and doesn’t speak for a moment. “I honestly don’t know.” L.D. rolls over and looks at T.S., trying to read her face. “They might though, right? It could happen?” T.S. smiles. “It could.” L.D. grins. “We would have so much fun. It would really be amazing, right?” T.S. kisses her and whispers into her mouth “So much fun.”

8:50 PM – L.D. stands on the sidewalk holding her purse and three big shopping bags of stuff. T.S. stands next to her, looking up the street. Headlights make her eyes glow momentarily. “What time is your flight tomorrow?” L.D. asks, buttoning up her windbreaker. “I have to be at JFK at 6:30.” “Yikes.” L.D. says, looking at her phone. “Instagram some In-N-Out Burger for me, okay?” T.S. laughs and nods. A cab pulls up to the curb.

9:21 pm – T.S. sits on her bed, her laptop open in front of her, and plays guitar and sings.

9:59 PM – T.S. cleans the music room, slipping albums into their envelopes and cardboard sleeves and back on the shelves. She rubs the residual coke off of the Carly Simon album and the floor with disinfectant wipes.

10:10 PM – T.S. hangs the clothes they wore that day on hangers and lays them over the back of a chair. She sticks a post-it note that says “dry clean” on the top prairie dress.

10:17 PM – T.S. puts the dishes from the day in the dishwasher and starts it.

10:23 PM – T.S. kneels in front of the toilet in her master bathroom, a white towel under her knees. Her hair is pulled back in a scrunchy. She closes her eyes and throws up into the bowl. Dark brown coffee and crumbs of wet biscotti stand out against the white porcelain. Bright orange bits of cantaloupe float among the dark chocolate and coffee. And blood. T.S. flushes the toilet and stands.

10:29 PM – T.S. stands in the shower, her hair tucked into a plastic shower cap, a toothbrush poking out of her mouth. She washes herself and brushes her teeth.

10:53 PM – T.S. sits at a desk in her bedroom, her laptop open in front of her. She looks at her phone, browsing through photos. She pauses on one and texts it to someone.

11:14 PM – T.S. Skypes with J. through her laptop. “What’s the status on L—?” J. asks. T.S. sighs and leans back in her chair. “I don’t think it’s a good fit.” “No? Why not? Management is ready to go on her. They’re all very excited.” T.S. shakes her head. “Don’t get me wrong, she’s brave and she’s interesting and confident and they’re right, there is a certain ruthlessness about her, but I just don’t see her working out. She’s a bit of a mess and she’s extremely needy. If she’s as clingy with everyone else as she is with me…” J. nods. “The thing with her sister came out of left field,” J. adds. T.S. nods. “Who knows what other weird shit is buried in her past?” They sit silently for a moment before J. sighs and speaks. “Well, we’ve all got weird shit in our past, but I trust your judgement. I’ll let management know it’s a pass on her.” T.S. nods and reaches to turn of the computer. J. interrupts her. “Hey wait, who is this guy you texted me a picture of?” “Oh yes. I need you to find out who that is. He’s a photographer. A pap. He was here, near the condo today.” “Why? What do you want from him?” “Nothing. He’s a piece of shit. I want something bad to happen to him.” J. nods. “Understood. Anything else?” T.S. shakes her head. “Goodnight,” J. says. T.S. kisses the tip of her index finger and touches the camera. J. rolls her eyes and the screen goes dark.