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Sunday, 13 September 2009 02:00

The Right Profile

Before I leave CC checks his stitches in the bathroom mirror and goes on about how he's going to quit hustling and move to California to take up acting. He's just come from the ER.
He goes, "Forget the scars. What's this face say to you?"
I go, "Radio."

We're in his motel room and outside rain is louder than cars. CC has been here for the past month living under a phony name. Today he's Montgomery Clift. If the front desk asks, I'm supposed to be some supporting actor, but I forget which.    

"Thought you could use these," I say, then show the get-well gifts I brought – string lights for his picture window and a black and white poster of an old Life magazine. The image is mostly sky with these terrific clouds you want to stuff in your mouth. They float over a Texaco plunked in the desert. Nevada comes to mind. There's a guy on the side of the road. He doesn't have a suitcase or even a gas can. He's just standing there. "To spruce the place up," I add.
"Perfect," CC says, pouring his Vicodin prescription into a contact lens case. They fall like baby teeth. "My place in the sun." He does a count then screws each plastic eye shut while humming The Clash's "The Right Profile" repeating on his iPod dock.
After, he takes my hand and runs my fingers over his new stitches.  

Like this we stay.     

"I didn't mean what I said earlier," I say. "About your radio face."
"Be my co-star," he asks, shaking the contact lens case.   

Part of me wants to take him up on his offer. See if one those cars outside his motel room will stop to give us both a lift. But I don't. When CC asks me again – to run off to the Hollywood hills – I put up my money and leave, still not sure what role I'm supposed to play.
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