It was the twenty-third of June, with a cloudy sky outside. Jack Porter was sitting at a desk inside his hotel room. A half empty bottle of alcohol sat on the desk beside him. He looked depressed, and rather drunk.
He was holding a book in his hands, the first half of it bent back behind it, so that it didn’t block the light from page thirty-four.
In an instant he stood up and threw the book at away at the floor, letting out an angry murmur. Agitation clear on his face. He ran his fingers through his hair and took two long breaths.
Then he turned and walked out the door.
“Here we are,” Art was saying to his empty car, as he came to a stop outside a hotel-complex. “And now,” as he took out his cell phone and started dialing.
“Hello, may I talk to-” there was a loud rap on the passenger window.
He reached over and opened the door, and Jack slid in.
“I tell yea Jack, you should be a magician.” Art said as Jack pulled on the inside of the car door, closing and locking it.
“You forgot your seatbelt” Jack said, as he put his own on.
“What? Oh, right.” Art buckled himself in.
“So, how are you doing?” asked Art, as Jack unlocked his door again.
Jack was silent for a moment as he started fidgeting around in his seat, trying to be comfortable. Then he stopped.
“I tried to read-” he stopped suddenly for a moment “... it, again.” he was looking at his feet, but he glanced over at Art for a moment as he finished.
Art looked down. But only for a moment. “Did-.” he started, but then “How far did you get?”
Jack glanced at him again for a moment, “page 34” he said quietly.
There was silence for several minutes as Art started the car moving.
“Jack,” he said, placing his hand on Jack’s shoulder “I’m sorry.”
Jack knew he would say this, but it always made him feel better.
A while later, Art slowed the car to a gradual stop and maneuvered it to stop beside a police vehicle.
There was a small house surrounded by yellow tape covered in the repeating words "CRIME SCENE, DO NO DISTURB". Jack averted his eyes from the tape as though it was painful to look at.
He was looking at a broken Styrofoam cup on the road.
“Where are we?” Jack asked, still looking at the cup.
Several minutes later, the car came to a stop outside a small residential home, in a neighborhood that Jack didn’t seem to think looked very nice. The house was surrounded by yellow “crime scene” tape, and an officer was standing to one side with a clip board held in his off hand.
They approached the officer, Art showed his credentials and signed the clipboard. The officer looked at Jack.
“It’s okay, he’s with me.” Art affirmed
“Without credentials he can’t be allowed in.” said the officer.
Art looked annoyed. Jack told him to go ahead, and that he would be fine staying outside.