No reason to get yourself all in a lather, kid. I’m just a working stiff. I take my suits to the cleaners like anyone else. Just looking for someone to run around town with, someone to give me sidelong glances in smoky lighting. A few drinks, some laughs. That’s all.

Let me paint you a picture. We’ll drive around and watch the neon lights go by for an hour, maybe two. Then we’ll hit this little speakeasy I know called Joe’s. Ever heard of it? Course not. Classy dames like you don’t bother with dives like that. Joe’s opens at eleven so we’ll get there at one. Let the drunks have a chance to get their licks in. I’ll take my martinis with olives, chewing them with a sideways motion of the jaw. You’ll have G & T’s and sit across from me, staring, blowing cigarette smoke at me through your teeth. We’ll talk and watch the drunks stumble past us into the streets.

Afterward I’ll walk you to your door, like a gentleman. You’ll offer me your hand, half-smiling. I’ll move to kiss you on your pert little mouth, but you’ll slap me and run inside. I’ll listen to the deadbolt lock behind you and then beat it home to stare up at the ceiling above my bed. A few hours later I’ll decide to call you out of the blue. Sure, it’s the middle of the night, I’ll think. But we had a pretty good time and anyway dames love that kind of thing. Spontaneity. So I’ll dial your number sitting on the floor of my bedroom, wanting to just say hello casually, but the shortness of your answering service message will fluster me and just before hanging up I’ll blurt out something about my dead toenail. I’ll hang up and spend the next thirty minutes convincing myself that it wasn’t all that bad, that I’m just being paranoid. But then I’ll decide to call you back to explain that I was only joking about the dead toenail. Then I’ll stare at my bedroom floor for an hour before leaving another message trying to make a joke about how many messages I’ve left and how late it is but that I definitely don’t have a dead toenail.

A few weeks later I’ll run in to you at Walmart. You’ll be walking with a tall stranger and carrying a basket with nothing in it. I’ll carry a fifty pack of toilet paper, shifting it from arm to arm. You’ll introduce me to your fella and say that you meant to call me back but that your phone has been acting really weird lately. I’ll say that I totally understand and you’ll say we should definitely hang out some time. Then I’ll scram out of there and go home to drink Bailey’s and watch Season 2 of Battlestar Gallactica.

Because, really, there’ll be nothing more to say, not about us or about the troubles of this life, not about the haunted nightmare city stretched out around us like so much unaccounted for graveyard.

So how ’bout it, angel? Whaddya say?