The bright headlights of the car swept over the dining room window. I hid under the dining room table, gun in hand. I never thought Jimmy would drive through his own house just to get even. That was my mistake.

The window folded in with a giant crack, the curtains riding the hood like a brocaded ghost, purple arms flailing over the grill, and the wood gave way under the wheels. If Jimmy’s window wasn’t so big he might have just crashed the car, but he was prepared for that. He gunned it. The car leapt over the azaleas. A rich garden smell burst in with the glass and the debris. I jumped out from under the table just in time to see it torn to shreds, and hit the kitchen door.

Jimmy was in the car screaming, screaming. He didn’t release the pedal and the car accelerated, mowing down the craftsman chairs, the wife’s good china, a cabinet; it pounded the backdoor to splinters and zoomed on and out the house, out the porch and destroyed the porch and he pushed it on and on until it died. I heard it die. I heard the engine die just as it rolled over the beautiful view, Los Angeles in panorama, as seen from high in the foothills. Jimmy’s headlights burned out and the fin-tailed back of the car disappeared into the night, into the black, falling, falling to the distant stars of the metropolis.

I ran after him until I reached the edge of the cliff. I pressed my gun against my chest. My hammering heart raced to catch up with the rushing air below, that suspended doom, and skipped a beat when I heard the car crunch on the rocks below. “Was it worth it, Jimmy?” I said to the distant city.

A man could get accustomed to that view, I thought. Rich living wasn’t worth squat if you couldn’t lord it over the little people, and, from here, a man could look down on the slum he’d pulled himself up from, smoke a cigar, and let the wind take the scent down to the valley. Used to it? For a guy like Jimmy, I don’t know. Accustomed, yeah. Make it a habit, looking down. But crazy’s still crazy, and a wildman like Jimmy was always one suspicion short of letting the old beast out of his cage.

I listened to the pieces of Jimmy’s car wheeze out their poison fluids. Soon a white smoke would rise to the clouds, in time for the sunrise to paint it an oily orange. I needed to call it in. I needed a cigarette, too. I needed a shot of bourbon and a new hat and a ticket out of this town. I decided to start with the cigarette, and turned back to the punctured house to find one.

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