Monday, April 29

North American Journeys, 3

Dezi drove her to his apartment on Northside Drive. He drove a tan Celica, and the whole ride he talked on a cellular phone in the deep voice of a midnight deejay. He mostly talked about some ball game, but sometimes he would just say, "Yeah," in a way that seemed shorthand for things he didn't want her to hear.

The staid stores of Virginia Avenue gave way to grillwork-caged liquor stores with names like Max's or The Place, and more to the point, Liquor Here. Some businesses gave no indication as to what they might be selling, their signposts were signless, their neon neonless.

The only spots of color were the billboards and the prostitutes. The billboards all advertised Kools or Newports, and against the green backdrops, beautiful black people wore toy-colored clothes. They were shown sledding, or skiing, or some other activity involving snow, all of them somehow managing to hold on to their cigarettes.

--ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

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