So I still watch those old FOX-11 Gangland Specials on my VCR. Yes, I taped them. No, it’s not a big deal. I only watch them late at night.
This city is ill. It looms, in my window, in neon, dripping its pink and purple, spilling its guts. I know what it wants. I drop the blinds. I try to settle. But that light—it shifts.
If it’s one of those nights, I’ll pop in the tape. And that’s when I’ll see them—my friends. In old photos of us, all together, in that California sun, turning mellow and gold.
I sit and watch like I’m staring at a photograph of flames. I flicker. I feel shadows, towering, on the walls like ghosts. Nobody looks like anybody in a mugshot. I rewind. I would never. I know what happens without end. The sun stays trapped in the glass. L.A. is still out there. And somewhere I am alive.
Steve Chang is from the San Gabriel Valley, California. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Epiphany, Guernica, J Journal, North American Review, The Southampton Review, Wigleaf, and elsewhere. He tweets @steveXisXok.