Lin Page 28
Just outside the window is a corrugated alley with pipes running down the walls at maze-like angles. Just a few feet to the bottom. He hops down from the sill, but in the process his left foot gets caught on something and he tumbles awkwardly, the phone escaping his grasp. With enough presence of mind to throw his elbows out, he lands with a woof -- the sound of the air getting crushed out of his body. His right elbow tingles, as if a tiny needle is getting jabbed into his skin there. He looks down to see the remains of his cell phone crushed underneath, the cracked display dead and gray, the plastic sides split open. He stares at what he has done, then gives a short, harsh laugh. Good. Good.

He staggers out of the alley, casting constant looks behind him at the bathroom window. No one has noted his

departure. The night air is raw and heavy, a sure harbinger of a coming storm. Down on the ground, trailing behind him, radiating in the half-dark, are flat rectangular objects, like windows nailed to the earth. He blinks rapidly, focusing. Notepad paper. Loose leaf. His own notes, falling away from him. Mixed in are diamond-bright shards of erratic sizes and shapes. The crushed VCDs. He no longer cares and rounds the corner to find himself in front of the club again. This time there is no sign of an usher, the doors shut. Without musical accompaniment, the spotlights continue to dodge and scatter, and it all seems faintly ridiculous.

He staggers up to his scooter and frowns at it for a few seconds before it finally registers -- someone has stolen his helmet. Simplest thing to do really, it is only secured to the