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Chapter 1
Does it look pretty? Does it sound pretty? Does it make you look pretty? If those things are priorities, you’re probably a ditelettante whom no one should take seriously. Sure, it’s good to surround yourself with beautiful things, but I think beauty is a lie. That’s not to say I don’t like it, but beauty is an escape. When I look out the window, lemme tell you, staring at the amber and purple glow rising up from the City of Angels, I don’t see no beauty, massa. This place is shit, a gilded turd. You need Beauty’s escape pretty often. But live for it and something will rip out your fucking soul. Anything that looks good here has been rebuilt within the last five years. I’ve been here five years, and most of the pretty shit, I can tell you, has been renovated in that time. My occupation here is older than that most recent gilding. And I’ve been here comparatively long. There are droves of people who come to live and are gone – moved back to ________ or dead within a year. I’ve met many. I’m still alive, does that make me strong in some way? Probably just lucky.

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