I haven't written in a long time to give you time to digest my Gothic story. And because I've been busy with my new girlfriend: Cormac McCarthy. His books take some time getting through, and I don't recommend reading them unless you want to get a headache. I also don't recommend getting a girlfriend unless you want to get a headache.
I was right. It was a long and unhappy trip. By the time we got to Hollywood Tobias completely changed my story into some sort of cheap horror flick with a lot more blood than necessary, I vowed never to consume another energy drink in my life, and Anna did the most mind-boggling thing ever: she actually used an obscenity! Fuck! I can use those kinds of words. Lester can. Tobias certainly can and does. But Anna? I've never heard her say anything like that in her life, though to be fair that minivan did come very close to cutting us off of our only way forward while she was driving. And it's not as if the stress level in the car wasn't already thick as cream.
As we passed through states, as the sun became more prominent in the western skies, we shelled layers. We were too cheap to pay for any motels, and so we rotated driving through the two nights, forgoing beds and showers. We stopped only to micturate and to purchase the necessities for our diets: corn nuts, granola bars, and beef jerky.
Los Angeles greeted us like an in-law: any excitement of seeing them or the city quickly evaporated into boredom as the traffic jam stalled us for hours, spending way to long on any one subject or skyscraper, praying our exit was soon.
"Anna," I said. "Don't you think this is just so horrible?" She turned around to look at me, but said nothing. She was not smiling. "If you could describe how you're feeling right now with one word wh-"
"Long car trips are stressful," she said.
"At least we got the screenplay finished," Tobias added. None of us said anything. I didn't ask Lester or Anna, but I'm pretty sure they weren't pleased with it either.
Finally we got off 101 and onto Vine and I had an epiphany. "Tobias," I said. "We're not going to waste money on parking. We'll drop you off at your connections' and drive around. See if we can spot any celebrities. Call Lester when you're done and we'll pick you up."
"Alright. Just drop me off there. His office building is just across the street from Trader Joe's."
We all exited the car. Anna handed Tobias the new manuscript we printed out at a library the morning prior and Tobias took it as if he were accepting the One Ring from Elrond at the council. He stood, staring at us, squinting in the sunlight as it haloed his shaggy, blond hair. He looked excited, as if he really was in his element. He looked as if he belonged to Hollywood. I thought it was appropriate to make a speech. I shook his hand firmly and said, "Tobias, your fate was in our hands until today. Now we pass off responsibility to you. Use everything you've got, grab a hold of your fate. Go on. Win this thing. Go on, and good luck." I thought it was a pretty inspiring speech and Tobias must have thought so as well because he saluted me, and without words, darted into the office building.
"Anna," I said. "Switch spots with me in the back. I'll drive."
When the doors were closed, I drove South on Vine, turned right on Sunset Boulevard, and then right on Cahuenga Boulevard back north. "Where are we going?" Lester asked.
I waited a few seconds before laying it on them. "Home."
"Home?" Lester asked. What do you mean?"
"Ray, you can't!" Anna looked like she was about to cry.
"We did what we came here to do. We set Tobias free. We gave him a story."
"I won't let you, Ray!" Anna said. "We can't leave him here without anything, with no place to stay, with no way back. I won't let you do this!"
"How are you gonna stop me?"