I’m watching this girl from the opposite side of the bar as she leans over the counter when the bartenders are all looking away, and scoops herself some ice for her drink even though the nightclub is sort of exclusive and definitely not cheap, and she’d probably get all the ice she wanted for free, and with a smile. There’s this song playing real loud even though I’m not really paying attention to the lyrics, and therefore I can’t really make up my mind whether Paris is burning or dreaming, or both, and there would be some irony in it tonight, see, at least if I cared enough to notice it myself.

But I don’t, not really, because I’m still looking at the girl and she’s wearing a low-cut black dress that leaves most of her back exposed, and when she turns away from the bar and returns to the dance floor, you can see this huge streamlined tattoo with the silhouette or a rising sun spanning her shoulder blades all the way down to the small of her back, half-hidden by her hair—She then fades away into the crowd and I’m drawn back to the glass in my hand, half-pretending the champagne hasn’t started tasting a little too sour.
It’s past four a.m. now, I think—but I’m still not sufficiently buzzed so as to think of going home.

Day breaks later on and we’re sitting on stools having cheese and ham on bread at this greasy little joint underneath the offices of some big metropolitan newspaper downtown, just a few blocks from the club. There are newspaper clippings in frames over the tiled walls. I’m looking at them but my mind’s blank so I don’t really make out a word they’re saying.

Someone offers me gum as we hop a taxi but I say No, thanks, I just want to go home and take a leak and a shower. Somewhere, I’m quite sure, Paris must be either dreaming or burning, but that conclusion would sort of depend on your frame of reference, not mine.