Billy Kennedy felt something racing in him, a mix of anticipation and unease. He was on the couch in his parents living room. The television was on and the air was cold through the walls of the old house. A bright December day lay shining beyond the windows, the end of the year close by, the famous ball in Times Square about ten hours from dropping.
Beren stared at the copper caps of Agna’s mead hall. Over the years, they’d been lovingly oiled and polished to ward off the jade patina that had still managed to start its incursion. It was a beautiful building, hewn from great, red trees and adorned with dozens of intricate carvings. Above the door hung a man-sized dragon skull from a previous winter’s hunt. This they had coated in black lacquer to protect it from the elements.
Golden Age Acres is faux-colonial. Mock oranges flank the columns that flank the covered entrance that is now the employee-smoking lounge. I slam the door of my rented Metro, step over a gutter flowing more with sprinkler water than the L.A. rain, and wait for Jared who slaps through the parking lot in the Tevas I bought him for Christmas.
I recognize Charlie, my favorite nurse. His brown skin strains against his white uniform. He drags on a Marlboro and I inhale his smoke.
He winks at me. “Yo, mama, you’re stylin’ today.”