We buy sodas at the 35-cent vendng machine.
Our reviled co-worked Mike goes tromping by, towards his filthy cubicle. I mutter to Tony that Mike's footsteps shake the building, and he snickers.
I install IIS on the laptops and continue touching up my web form. We walk to CostCo for lunch, talking about the gaming industry. I get a pizza and a hotdog. Tony comments that it's interesting that one can enjoy a drink and a slice at a bargain warehouse more than a fancy meal at a posh restaurant, all depending on the company. I am flattered.
Tony purchases Easy CD Creator 5 from one of the massive bargain stacks. We walk back, talking about the roots of corporate business culture. Back in the office, I continue work on the web form.
I call Cassie and agree to meet her at 8pm.
Tony and I drive to Fry's. We look at monitors and motherboards, and I buy a cheap mp3-capable CD-player. It's a crappy model. I hook it up to a tape adaptor, and listen to Castlevania 4 in the parking lot, then drive off. Before I can get to Cassi's, the new batteries I placed in the player have run out.
I knock on her door. The sun is down. No answer. I walk around the neighborhood, looking it over a little more thoroughly. When I walk back to the door, it is open and Cassi is cleaning her room up.
We hug and kiss and decide to go for a walk down on the beach.
I ask her all about her car accident. We talk about her job, doing genetic research. We walk out onto the pier and see the fishermen. We continue up the beach.
I hear the fine news that she can program in C and used Perl and UNIX at work. We walk up the bike and rollerblading path, alongside the beach. She tells me about the storefronts, and how active the place is during the beachgoing weather. We pass by an open-air gym, a raised platform filled with workout machinery. She tells me that we are walking by Muscle Beach right now. I recognize the name of the place where the whole bodybuilding craze took off in America.
We stop at an alleyway with a glass mosaic built into the walls. I run my hands along it.
A gang of older men wanders by and they examing the mirrored glass at my side. Cassi walks up and throws an arm around me, and gives me a quick kiss.
"You're a lucky man" says one of the guys, as they walk back down the beach.
"I know it.", I say, gravely.
I find a tennis ball and offer it to some jogging women so they can throw it to their dogs. They don't understand the offer.
I come across a playground and climb all over the equipment. I slide down the slide and splay Cassi across the metal tubing of an archway. She anchors her legs around me in a tantalizing grip. I pass a payphone and realize I should call Zog and tell him about this place; so loaded with action and excitement!
We pass a large parking lot and some RC cars. Cassi talks about how against littering she is on "her beach".
We pass couples in the sand and on the swingsets, of all nationalities. Some are tourists speaking different languages. We end up at a large boardwalk with an amusement park built into it, lit up and sparkling over the water.
Cassi announces her disdain for the place. I don't find it particularly interesting either. We hang out by the railing and make plans to walk back.
We head back down the beach, but soon turn left, up a roadway to a main street. We walk down the street talking of many things. I talk about my job, and about how I'm having an adventure in LA, and how beneficial the change of scenery has been for me. I mention my two jobs, and how I reserve some contempt for IT professionals. Cassi talks about her dog and how she can't wait to have him in the area.
We discuss the benefits of taking time alone, to be by onesself and think things through. I talk about my game idea, and ask her what she thinks of it. She finds it interesting.
We see faces stenciled onto the lamp posts every dozen yards. I remark at all the history and expression crammed into this small spot. I mention my plans to go camping this summer, perhaps to the Grand Canyon.
We arrive at the entrance to the canals. We see ducks. They quack and block the way. Some of them get very defensive!
We kiss on the bridge. I admire the lighting on the houses. We pass a crowd of teenagers, two couples who give us a knowing look. We say hello to an affectionate young kitty-cat.
Back at the tiny apartment, Cassi cuddles up with me on her futon. The conversation winds down.
She yawns hugely. "I'm really tired, and I'm sorry about that," she says.
"That's totally okay. We both need sleep."
"Tell you what," she says. "I'm going to fall asleep, I'm sure of it. But even when I do, you can touch me all over, anywhere you want, anytime you want."
"Heh, thanks," I say, smiling. Though the idea seems like it should appeal to me, it doesn't really.
I hold her until she falls asleep in my arms, snoring lightly. It takes less than a minute. I extricate myself and take a shower, then toss a sleeping bag on the floor and curl up.
The floor is hard. In a totally needless demonstration that I have a one track mind, I dream that Cassi and I are having sex.