“Yes?” Teddy says like it’s a question, rising from the levitating sofa to go investigate the sound, which in all likelihood indicates that his escort from Crystal’s has arrived.
“Your guest has arrived, Mr. Doe,” the room confirms.
“Yes, of course,” Teddy says. “Wonderful. Please send her in—no, wait a moment.” Teddy rushes to the bathroom to inspect his appearance. The lights come on automatically as he enters. Looking in the mirror, he pats his newly trimmed hair and straightens his tuxedo, and pretends his freshly shaven face doesn’t look as caved in as it does and that his eyes aren’t dark and tired. He rushes back to the floating sofa and sits with a leg crossed to appear casual.
“Go ahead and send her in, please,” Teddy tells the room, expecting to momentarily greet his guest. Nothing happens. “Let her in, please. Thank you,” Teddy says authoritatively. Still, nothing happens. He stands up and rushes over to the door that leads into the suite from the entryway.
“Yes, hello,” Teddy says, projecting his voice through the door and then running his hands frantically along what appear to be its edges, looking for a way to open it, as he had before, but for some reason it doesn’t open. “Just a second.” The chime rings again.
“Your guest has arrived, Mr. Doe,” the room says calmly.
“Yes, I know,” Teddy says. “You already said that. This is ridiculous.” He continues searching for a way to open the door. He can’t seem to find the small panel that opened it earlier. “I’m sorry,” he says, almost shouting through the door. “It’s not—I mean, I can’t seem to get the door to, uh—” Teddy begins showing his struggle. The chime rings again.
“Your guest has arrived, Mr. Doe,” the room says calmly.
“Then open the fucking door!” Teddy yells, panicked, a thin layer of sweat on his checks and brow. The door glides open with sudden ease, revealing the most beautiful woman Teddy has ever seen. Still flustered from his struggle with the door, he looks back at her, dumbfounded by her remarkable beauty.
“This is the Penthouse Suite, isn’t it?” the woman says coolly. “Floor two hundred and twenty-two?”
“Yes—I, uh,” Teddy struggles to speak.
“Are you Mr. Doe?” the woman replies. Her perfect lips sparkle as they part to speak. “I’m Penelope—from Crystal’s.”
“Yes, of course,” Teddy says, trying to compose himself. “Penelope from Crystal’s. Yes, indeed, I’m, uh, Mr. Doe. Please, you can just call me John.”
“Of course, John,” Penelope replies. “May I come in?”
“Yes, of course,” Teddy says, standing aside to let her in. His eyes follow Penelope’s slender, shapely form as she enters the suite. “Excuse me, I just—” He is still so struck by her beauty that he can barely speak. “I mean, the woman I spoke with on the phone said you’d be beautiful, but I didn’t—I mean, I—”
“Phone?” Penelope replies, confused.
“Sorry,” Teddy says. “Of course. I mean, the woman who I connected at Crystal’s. She said you’d be beautiful, but I didn’t think—”
“I’m sorry, John,” Penelope says. “I don’t understand. I was told you didn’t specify any preferences. Am I not satisfactorily attractive?”
“No, no. I mean, yes, of course you are,” Teddy says quickly, nervously. “You’re stunning—obviously. I just mean that, well—I can safely say that you are the single most attractive person I have ever seen in my life. How can such beauty be possible?” he asks rhetorically. Penelope blushes.
“Thank you,” she says shyly, stepping further into the suite, releasing a mild gasp, presumably at its grandeur. “This is so ritzy.”
“Glitzy, actually,” Teddy says, as though he’s made a small joke. Penelope gives him a small smile in return, her eyes radiant, almost aquamarine. “May I take your coat?”
“Thank you,” Penelope replies. “Sliding an arm from the sleeve of her black coat, which reflects the room’s light as though made from shimmering sequins, but as Teddy takes the garment he realizes that the material itself has an almost metallic shine, as though previously the skin of some reptile that didn’t exist in Teddy’s former universe, one that for some evolutionary purpose had developed a certain reflectiveness as a means of survival. It’s like nothing Teddy’s ever felt.
As Penelope’s shoulders and her slender arms emerge from the coat, her skin too seems to shine. It is slightly bronzed and looks as soft as sweet cream. Her black dress is revealing but elegant. It exposes the tops of her breasts and hugs her curves down to her thin legs. Her high-heel shoes, Teddy quickly realizes, do not have heels at all. Instead, the rear portion of each shoe is held up by what appears to be monomagnetic levitation. As a result, Penelope’s feet curve gracefully upward, putting her weight forward onto her toes, her heels raised above the suite’s marble floor as if by magic.
Magic heels and all, Penelope is about Teddy’s height. She looks almost eye-to-eye with him from beneath the half-curtain of her silken hair, against which certain angles of light cause to become the color of rich brown soil and which she tucks behind her ear, exposing both of her eyes more completely. Teddy notices that her eyes are slightly different colors. Her right eye is bluer than her left, which is greener. They both seem to glow, like tropical seawater reflecting the sun.
“Were you just going to hold my coat all night?” Penelope asks with a coy smile.
“Huh?” Teddy says, suddenly remembering the sparkling garment in his hand. “No, of course not. I’ll just put this in the, uh, closet here.”
He scans the room, finding what appears to be a door near the entrance to the suite. As he approaches it, coat in hand, the door glides open and the dark space within illuminates automatically. It is more coatroom than closet, though Teddy doesn’t see any hangers. He looks around the empty space a moment and then looks back at Penelope, who seems to be growing impatient. Teddy looks back into the closet and, not sure what else to do, he lifts the coat into it. As he does, Teddy feels something lift the coat from his grasp, drawing it into the closet as if by an invisible force.
“Okay,” Teddy says quietly to himself, wondering how the properties of monomagnetism might have enabled such a feat.
“I’m sorry?” Penelope asks from where Teddy left her standing. “Did you say something?”
“No,” Teddy replies. “I was just—it’s nothing. Shall we sit?” Teddy gestures to the sofa levitating in the recessed seating area in the middle of the suite. “Do you like champagne?”
“Champagne?” Penelope replies, confused, as they walk to the sofa.
“I’m sorry,” Teddy says. “I mean, uh, sparkling wine. Would you like to try it?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Penelope says. “I’ve had sparkling wine before. I just didn’t understand what you meant. I forgot that they used to make wine there.”
“You mean France?” Teddy says. “All of the best wine comes from France—well, it used to anyway.” Penelope laughs somewhat reservedly in response.
“What are you, a historian or something?” she says. Teddy laughs falsely in return.
“Yes, I suppose I am,” he says. “Would you like a glass?”
“Sure,” Penelope replies. “Why not? Did you want to get started then?” She reaches a hand behind her back as if to undo her dress.
“Uh—” Teddy says, reaching an arm out to stop her from undressing. “No, well—not just yet. I’m very—”
“Sure, that’s fine,” Penelope says. “I mean, it’s your credit, so whatever you want is fine with me. You do want sex, though, don’t you?” she asks. Teddy blushes.
“Of course,” he says after a second. “I, ahem—well, let’s just have some champagne first, and we can—oh, and we’ll be having dinner. They told you that, didn’t they?”
“Yes,” Penelope says. “I was told we’d be eating—but you never know. I am hungry. It’s pretty late to have not eaten dinner.” She pauses. “I’m sorry,” she says. “It’s just that most men usually want it right away. I mean, I do go out with some of our clients, of course, but this all just feels very formal or something. I guess you just don’t seem like most of our clients.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Teddy says, lifting the perspiring bottle from the ice bucket, inspecting where he thinks the cork should be, trying to figure out how to open it. He presses a thumb against the top of the bottle and pushes with all his effort. Nothing happens. “Um…” Teddy says, gesturing the bottle at Penelope, hoping she knows how to operate whatever futuristic device keeps it sealed.
“Here,” she says, taking the bottle from him with an almost distrustful smile. “Are you for real?” she asks, sliding her index finger across the top of the bottle with an obviously instinctual motion. The bottle pops open.
Teddy takes the bottle from her, fills the flutes, and they cheers.
“To new beginnings?” he says like it’s a question.
Penelope smiles, tucking her hair behind her ear again.
“Sure,” she says callously. They cheers.
“I noticed your eyes are different colors,” Teddy says after a moment. “Your left eye is greener.”
“Yes,” Penelope says shyly. “I was insecure about it when I was younger—but I’ve learned that most men find it attractive or intriguing or something.”
“It’s really not that noticeable,” Teddy says. “But it certainly has a charming effect.”
“Well, thank you,” she replies. Several awkward seconds pass.
“I must say, I’ve never been up here, to the Penthouse Suite,” Penelope interrupts the silence and stands to further investigate the commodious accommodation. “It’s enormous.”
“Yes, I suppose it’s much bigger than I needed,” Teddy admits.
“Oh, and this view is to die for,” Penelope says, approaching the large window-wall overlooking the city, its lights and life forms twisting into the distant night. She is striking and beautiful against the moonlit window. Her black dress complements her slender but shapely figure. Teddy enjoys ferociously the bare skin of her arms and shoulders and neck.
He approaches her, noting to himself that she is a great deal younger than he is. She does, however, emanate both womanly and girlish light. She looks down as he draws near, smiling with a sort of vivacious but innocent sexuality, seemingly charmed by Teddy’s innocence and his sincerity.
Slowly, her face looks up to his. As Teddy begins to bring his lips to hers, pulling her face gently to his and closing his eyes, she closes hers and—a chime comes from the door leading into the hotel suite.
“Your dinner has arrived, Mr. Doe,” the room informs them.
Teddy and Penelope turn their faces to the door, opening their eyes, having not yet kissed—and the moment passes. For a very brief instant Teddy is cripplingly distraught, though the instant is so brief that he is almost entirely unaware of the sensation’s presence and the significance of the experience eludes him.
“Dinner’s here,” Teddy says plainly, quietly, and somewhat disappointed, turning his face back to Penelope’s.
“Oh good,” she replies obliviously. “I could eat a whole beef clone.”
“A what?” Teddy asks.
“A beef clone,” she says. “I just mean I’m hungry. You from one of the other zones or something?”
“Uh,” Teddy says. “No, I don’t think so.” He gathers himself. “Yes, dinner.” He turns his attention to the door, parting from his embrace with Penelope. “Come in, please,” he shouts at the door, moving across the recessed salon. “I mean, open the door, please, room.” The door slides open. Teddy looks back at Penelope with feigned confidence, like he’s always known how to open voice-activated doors.
“Good evening, Mr. Doe,” a short, light-brown-skinned man says entering the suite. He pushes a levitating cart draped with a white tablecloth, topped with several silver domes of various sizes, which presumably conceal their dinner. The cart floats eerily. The man looks up at Teddy, smiling politely beneath his brown fluffy mustache. The glowing digital letters embossed in the breast of his uniform read Manuel.
“Yes, of course,” Teddy says. “A good evening to you, as well. Manuel, is it?”
“Manny is fine,” he replies. “Where would you like to dine this evening, Mr. Doe?”
“Oh, wherever,” Teddy replies, turning to look for an appropriate spot, casting a brief glance across the room at Penelope and her impossible beauty. “Where do people usually eat?” Teddy asks Manny.
“May I recommend dining in front of the window, Mr. Doe?” Manny replies politely, gesturing to the floor-to-ceiling pane of unbreakable glass at the edge of the vast room, the endless darkness beyond illuminated by the city lights and the moon’s ethereal glow. “The Penthouse Suite has one of the best views in the zone.”
“Yes, of course,” Teddy replies. “Wonderful.”
Despite his diminutive stature, Manny moves confidently and purposefully across the Penthouse Suite. He pushes the levitating cart to the window, nodding kindly to Penelope as he passes her. He pulls the levitating dining table from against the wall adjacent the window, dragging it alongside the window. He removes a white, neatly folded tablecloth from the cart and unfurls it across the table.
“So what kind of name is John Doe anyways,” Penelope asks over the meal.
“Oh,” Teddy says, blushing. “It’s not—I mean, that’s just what it says on my genome record. Nobody calls me that.”
“I see,” Penelope says. “So what do people call you?”
“You can call me Teddy if you like,” he says.
“Oh, like Teddy Roosevelt?” Penelope asks. “Or like the Great Teddy Monroe?”
“Um, well, yes,” Teddy says, surprised, Penelope having caught him off guard with the casual reference to him as a historical figure. “I suppose so.”
“Suppose so,” Penelope says back to him. “There you go again, talking like a history book. Theodore Roosevelt—I can call you that if you want.”
“Call me what?” Teddy asks. “Theodore Roosevelt? Thanks, but I don’t think that would, um, turn me on, if that’s what you mean.”
“Oh,” she says. A brief silence ensues, strewn with their chewing and the sound of metal utensils politely scratching plates. “You know, it’s not usually like this,” Penelope remarks, relief in her tone. “I’m not really used to this—I mean, in a good way. The suite, and dinner, and the France wine and everything; it’s all just so, you know—”
“Glitzy?” Teddy interjects. Penelope smiles, lowering her eyes guiltily and then raising them with a sexual gaze. Her beauty is staggering. Teddy gulps once, trying to conceal his nervousness.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Penelope says genuinely, presumably sensing his anxiety. “I didn’t mean to ruin the moment. I was just trying to—I don’t know. The food is amazing and everything. I’m sorry, it’s just that I don’t really have too many involved conversations with my clients.”
Their meal continues, as does their mildly awkward conversing, which Teddy struggles through, the anxiety of sitting across from such an unusually attractive woman weighing heavily upon him. They exchange various niceties, with anticlimactic peaks and valleys of shared perception.
Part of Teddy wishes he had just gotten the sex over with and eaten dinner by himself. He continues to feel uncomfortable, as the sense of being lost in an impossible future creeps back into him.
Teddy stares up at the ceiling, as it changes colors in slow breaths, from white to pink to a soft reddish purple and then from violet to baby blue. The most beautiful woman he has ever seen in his life sits up naked on top of him, humping away—yet Teddy struggles to keep focus.
“Theodore Roosevelt,” Penelope moans softly. “Oh, yes. President Theodore Roosevelt. Mmm—” As she bounces up and down on him, Teddy’s back arches slightly and then falls back onto the levitating bed in a sort of awkward syncopation. After a few especially rough bounces, Teddy’ shoulder beeps once—then once more.
“What’s that?” Penelope asks, holding her hair back to look down at him, without letting her bounding miss a beat.
“Nothing,” Teddy says in between heavy breaths. “I don’t know. Keep going.”
The very sight of a woman used to arouse Teddy, but now, between the strange beeping coming from his shoulder and the terror of this impossible future, sex seems a psychosomatic struggle for him.
Penelope remains persistent, however, and so Teddy eventually ejaculates. She collapses onto him, out of breath and dripping with sweat.
“You’re the most passionate fuck I’ve ever had,” she lies, sliding herself to the edge of the bed.
“I barely moved,” Teddy replies mundanely but flabbergasted with himself for having not enjoyed the experience more.
“I know,” Penelope says, more honestly, rolling her torso off the bed, keeping her legs beneath the cream-colored sheet—made of a silk-like material unfamiliar to Teddy. “It’s okay,” she says, leaning down over the edge of the bed, presumably rifling through the clothing she slung to the floor earlier. For a brief moment, Teddy is unable to discern where the bed sheet ends and her skin begins.
Penelope twists her torso back onto the bed, revealing a smokeless easy stick hanging between her fingers. Teddy recalls the blue hologram advertisement selling smokeless cigarettes at the M Trans station earlier.
“But I had a good time all the same,” Penelope says, sitting up and putting the easy stick to her mouth. She pinches the end of it sharply to activate the chemical compounds, which she rubs from her fingers off the side of the levitating bed. She takes a long drag and slowly falls back, leaning into Teddy familiarly but not quite intimately.
“Well,” she says, exhaling a soft blue cloud of smoke. “I could stay awhile longer if you want—so you have someone to enjoy this amazing suite with. But if not, I should probably think about leaving soon. It’s getting late and I can’t lose track of time.”
“Eternity provides a very interesting perspective of time,” Teddy says plainly, turning his head to look at Sylvie lying beside him.
Wait, who? Teddy suddenly thinks. No, it isn’t her. An illusion? A delusion? Some strange déjà vu? I remember saying the same thing to her, to Sylvie, once after making love. She is gone now, and so is all that time. How long ago it seems that was.
Teddy wonders if maybe he’s dreaming, and then recalls yelling at Sylvie for disrupting him while he was tinkering in the laboratory he had built in their basement. It was Saturday and she was bringing him iced tea. He was upset that she distracted him during a particularly delicate aspect of whatever he was working on. Teddy doesn’t remember exactly, though he somehow senses now a remnant of the deep frustration he felt at the time, which he remembers taking out on Sylvie.
How cruel to her I was. Teddy recalls.
“Sylvie?” Teddy says softly, before he remembers he’s in bed with a prostitute at the most expensive hotel in town and before he can react to his hallucination otherwise, having seen Sylvie’s face instead of Penelope’s.
“Sylvie?” Penelope repeats back to him, leaning up on her elbow, confused, blue smoke rising slowly into the bedroom air above them. “Who’s Sylvie?”
“Never mind,” Teddy says, trying to disregard the question by carefully removing the easy stick from her delicate hand. He takes a slow pull and leans back, closing his eyes. It feels like a cigarette used to feel, but without the burn in his throat and lungs.
As Teddy exhales the blue smoke, he opens his eyes—and sees what appears to be an oddly shaped and gangly spider scurry across the ceiling and then disappear with the light as the room’s soft glow changes colors again, casting new shadows. He shoots a few quick glances around the room, looking for the spider.
“Everything okay?” Penelope asks in reaction to Teddy’s somewhat erratic behavior.
“Yes, fine,” Teddy says slowly, wondering if the sider he’d seen was real.
“I guess I should get going then,” Penelope says, perhaps disconcerted by Teddy’s frequent confusion. “Thank you.” She crawls from the bed to begin gathering her effects.
“Thank you?” Teddy asks, forgetting the spider and sitting up farther in the levitating bed, looking for somewhere to put out the easy stick. “For what?”
“I don’t know,” she says. “For being human, I guess. It’s not usually this, I don’t know, comfortable. So thanks.” Teddy wonders if Penelope maybe tells that to all her clients, perhaps in an effort to make them feel less creepy or desperate—or alone.
“No problem,” Teddy replies, trying to stab out the easy stick on the levitating bedside table, but it won’t go out. “It was, um, it was my pleasure,” he says. “And a pleasure getting to know you, Penelope. You’re very sweet and remarkably beautiful.” Teddy still struggles with the easy stick, which is much more durable than it looks.
“Here,” Penelope says, as she finishes inserting herself back into her shimmering black dress. She reaches across the bed, stretching her thin form over it to pinch closed the tip of the easy stick, which Teddy had thought a burning ember.
“Wait, don’t!” he says before realizing his confusion.
“It’s fine,” Penelope says, standing back up and straightening her dress. “I’ll be going then. Thank you again.”
“Hold on a second,” Teddy says, wrapping himself in the cream-colored sheet. “I’ll walk you out.”
The journey from the bedroom to the front door of the suite ensues in silence, save for the almost undetectable sound of Teddy’s hand on the waist of Penelope’s dress and that of their footsteps on the soft carpet and then on the marble floor. Teddy holds his silken claddings to his bones, like some unfashionable dignitary of ancient Rome who’s forgotten how to wear his toga. Teddy thinks about history and all the time that has passed and where it all could have gone.
Maybe the time hasn’t gone anywhere at all, he thinks. Maybe time is the universe’s only stationary constant and all matter is forever moving through it, like water through a hose. What if you could cut a hole in the hose of time and jump right back in wherever you want, and then let the same current of matter as before take you, but now perhaps in a new direction? What if you could go back and be who you were all those years ago?
What if you could find Sylvie again and fix everything? But how? You’d have to freeze time and then go back to find her. Would she still be there, waiting there for you, stuck in those stationary moments frozen in time? Sylvie may be gone from this time and space, but she may still be when and where she once was. What if I could find her?
“Well, I guess this is goodbye for now, Mr. President,” Penelope says cutely as they approach the sliding panel of the front door. She drops her levitating high heels to the entryway floor. They fall monomagnetically into place and she steps into them.
“Huh?” Teddy says, confused, partly by the presidential reference and partly by the magic shoes. He looks from her feet to her impeccable face and unintentionally furrows his brow, quietly remembering where he is and what’s going on.
“Mr. President,” she says again. “I mean like Theodore Roosevelt. I’m sorry, I was trying to be funny. Never mind.”
“Oh,” Teddy laughs lightly, still so perplexed by Penelope’s otherworldly beauty.
“You know you can request me next time, if you want,” she says. “I wouldn’t mind seeing you again.”
“Really?” Teddy replies. “Well, I appreciate you saying that. You were amazing. I wasn’t kidding when I said you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. You must know how gorgeous you are. It’s hard to believe you’d actually want to see me again. But anyway, I may be, uh—I mean, I’ve been thinking about leaving town.”
“Leaving town?” Penelope asks. “Oh, I get it. Now you’re being funny. Like you’d go out past the freeway junctions for a while, or go to one of the other zones or something.” She chuckles cutely, then leans forward and grabs the back of Teddy’s neck to pull her face up to his. She kisses him hard on the mouth. “You’re one of the good ones, Teddy,” she tells him. “Let me know if you decide to stick around.”
Teddy blinks—and Penelope’s face becomes Gertrude’s for a short second and then it switches back with another blink. Teddy thinks about Gertrude and is saddened to think he’ll never see her again. He’ll never see anyone again after tonight. And then the door slides open and Penelope slips out into the foyer and takes the elevator down two hundred and twenty-two floors—and then she leaves the Glitz hotel.
Teddy stares ponderously at the door once it closes, the bed sheets of the future hanging from his bones. He goes back into the bedroom and, as he begins picking his tuxedo up off the floor, an easy stick falls from one of its pockets.
This must be the one the hologram advertisement gave me at the train station earlier, Teddy thinks, rolling the easy stick slowly between his fingers. Not sure how it got into my tuxedo. Such strange things, these new cigarettes. Perhaps I’ll smoke it on the roof under the giant chandelier I keep hearing so much about. Perhaps it will be my last cigarette. Two-hundred-plus floors is a long way to fall—wait.
“Room,” Teddy says aloud. “What time is it?”
“Three seventeen,” the room replies.
“Perfect,” Teddy says to himself. “The rooftop lounge is closed, yes?”
“Yes, it is,” the room replies.
Then, in his bed sheet toga, Teddy takes the easy stick up to the rooftop lounge in order to smoke it beneath the gleam of the giant chandelier.
“Take me to the rooftop lounge,” Teddy tells the elevator.
“It is after hours,” the elevator replies. “What is the passcode?”
“Twinkle, twinkle, little star,” Teddy says with confidence.
“Passcode accepted,” the elevator replies, and then begins the short ascent to the rooftop lounge of the Glitz hotel.
Teddy exits the elevator and walks to the edge of the lounge. The chandelier above him is indeed enormous and its light is truly magnificent, though somehow its incredible brightness is pleasant and not at all overwhelming. Teddy imagines this is what the light of the sun would feel like if somehow you were able to perceive it from inside a cumulonimbus cloud.
The view of the city is surreal. It seems to stretch on forever, dissipating into the great distance, where Teddy’s perspective extends beyond the dark-green haze of the early morning. It is almost as though Teddy can see the distant curvature of the earth and the faintest glimmer of sunlight as the planet slowly turns toward the fiery orb. He sees with greater certainty a large bay and the lighted outlines of arched bridges, dozens of them, running both parallel and perpendicular to the coast, the two largest bridges seeming to support all the others.
When he reaches the edge of the rooftop lounge, Teddy leans against the short, transparent railing surrounding it. He inspects it a moment and then takes a big step over the railing, struggling slightly to clear his makeshift toga. Teddy wonders how they’ve managed to keep the air up here so much more breathable than at street level. Perhaps it’s simply the altitude, he thinks.
He holds onto the railing behind him before taking the few short steps to the edge of the roof. It’s not nearly as windy as Teddy would expect it to be at this height. He looks down over the ledge of the impossibly tall building and takes a deep breath. He wonders how long the fall will take. The thought of having that much time to consider your existence before exploding on the pavement more than two hundred floors below is both awe-inspiring and insane.
Teddy thinks about Sylvie, and the atomic bomb, and his accidental role in killing millions, and the technologies he invented that now define the future he’s found himself in. A reckless voice in his head tells him to jump—but a memory of Sylvie’s face, smiling before a seascape horizon, encourages him to pursue, to find out what happened, and to make right whatever he can. He also thinks of Gertrude.
The light of the giant chandelier on the roof of the Glitz hotel emancipates the night of its darkness, which looms still and forever beyond the magnificent glow. Teddy gathers his thoughts from across the sky. It is a darkness I have overcome, he thinks, pinching the end of the easy stick to ignite its chemical fire.
Teddy takes a slow, romantic drag. And somewhere in between his inhaling and exhaling, he determines to pursue what he set out to all that time ago. Blue smoke rises slowly into the night. He looks out over the seemingly endless city before finishing the easy stick and returning to his suite. He sleeps well and doesn’t dream, aside from a few simple thoughts repeating in his head: Remanence, magnets, induction.