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From the deck I can see the orange Public Storage building at the bottom of the hill. It's surrounded with razor wire and a steel post perimeter wall. Video cameras. Windowless. Staffed 24 hours a day. Controlled entry. It's where we store our extra down comforter and the Power Mac I can't sell.

That warehouse across the river is refrigerated. Its walls are 3 feet thick and inside it's full of frozen swordfish and tuna. The guys that work inside wear their padded moonsuits when they take a smoke outside. Again, no windows.

Then the brick one, over there by the overpass? That is full of nothing but drafting tables. It's three floors of drafting tables. I tried to buy one once, but the guy there keeps the prices super high, because he can't bear to part with them. He also collects slide rules.

A lady that I worked with in North Carolina, she used to be married to a Green Beret. Anyway, they're divorced, because he had to be institutionalized, because he went psychotic. But he gave this lady that I worked with a gun, for protection, and she didn't want it any more and she asked me if I wanted it. So I said yes, and when she brought it to the office in a rabbitskin holster, this crappy little .380 auto, the motherfucker was loaded and chambered with the safety off.

I though about the cheapass Chinese steel that the firing pin spring was probably made of. How it had been waiting to go for five years. I shucked out the round up the pipe to unload the piece and dry fired it into the floor, sending a ghost round through the concrete, through the drop ceiling, and through the frontal eminence of the skull of the asshole CEO where I worked. A ghost round that did not trepan the stupid son-of-a-bitch who wound up bankrupting the place after burning one hundred and twenty million dollars of venture capital in big bales out in the parking lot dumpster.

When I moved to California, I packed the pistol into an ammo can with white lithium grease and buried it in the backyard.

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