“If it brings me to my knees… it’s a bad religion.” Frank Ocean, Bad Religion

Gods lived here, he was sure of it.

Miles knew he should be focused on the three women sitting in front of him and the cameraman beside him, but he couldn’t keep his eyes from wandering. They were only on the first floor of this apartment—no doubt the floor meant just for interlopers like him—but still, it was more perfect than any place Miles had ever been.

Everything felt charged. The ebony hardwood floors weren’t just that—Miles knew they had to be imported from some remote and exotic African woods, plied from a remarkably rare and ancient tree. The hydrangeas in the centerpiece couldn’t possibly be bought from a sidewalk bodega—they were probably imported freshly from mainland China, flown first class by an internationally celebrated florist. The entire apartment reeked of importance and Miles was sure that just the sofa the ladies were sitting on was worth an entire year of his own rent.

Even the view felt like a portal to another world, another place and time. All Miles could see from here were the leafless branches of a tree framing a lovely brick building, which ended soon enough to offer a glimpse of the park beyond. Then Miles thought, if this is just the first floor, what kind of views did the windows upstairs offer? Could the apartment stretch all the way up to the roof, like glamorous and unattainable building blocks stacked on top of one another? Miles eyed the staircase in the corner, soft white and curling wood—he was sure that if he could walk up that staircase, he’d keep climbing and climbing and never have to come back down.

“Darling, you simply must try a sip of this.”

The voice snapped Miles out of his daydream, turning his attention back to the center of the living room.

“It is Bixby’s finest work, by far.”

Dodona thrust her glass of Bloody Mary forward with uncoordinated force, which made sense, since this was her second helping and it was hardly noon. An olive unmoored itself from atop the leafy stalk of a celery stick, landing squarely in the lap of her crisp white dress.

“Fuck!” Dodona shrieked, causing Miles to insert the Standards and Practices bleep over the curse word—he always experienced reality like it was scripted, whether he was aware of it or not. “This is vintage Zuhair Murad!”

“There’s no such thing as vintage Zuhair, Dodona. When a designer has launched his first collection merely a decade ago, it’s all considered contemporary. Isn’t that common knowledge?”

LaCroix took a sip of her Campari soda. The bitter liquid clung to her maroon-stained lips as they stretched into the self-satisfied smile she got every time she thought she was being smart. Of course, LaCroix didn’t even pretend to offer help to Dodona, while Syosset had registered this mishap as a five-alarm fire.

“Oh my god, Dodona, you’re such a dumb klutz!” Syosset practically shrieked, leaping to her feet. She charged at Dodona armed with a glass of white wine and probably the conviction that Dodona’s Bloody Mary could never stain her own crimson-colored Herve Leger dress. “Here, scoot over, I’ll help you get it out before it sets.”

“Don’t be silly,” Dodona answered, moving as far away from Syosset as the sofa would allow. “This is another job suited for our tireless hero, Bixby!”

Dodona punctuated the name like a command, calling forth the butler known only to all—including the internet, inexplicably—as Bixby.

Miles had noticed that Bixby’s “quarters” were on this floor when he faked having to use the restroom earlier to explore. It turns out Bixby occupied a single room, Spartan in its austerity, where Miles imagined a closet stocked only with the identical charcoal suits Bixby wore as a uniform. Bixby had always struck Miles as a cartoon character and seeing his bedroom only confirmed that impression. But then, Miles had grown quite accustomed to cartoon characters, working on this show.

“Yes, madam. I’ll be quite able to lift the stain, but I’m afraid I’ll need you to remove the garment first.”

“Bixby, you scoundrel! If you wanted to see me in my underwear, surely there are more clever ways?”

By the time Dodona finished speaking, she had already tabled her drink and worked her zipper halfway down her back. Then, before Bixby even had the chance to sigh a breath of disapproval, Dodona held out the five thousand dollar dress while standing in her La Perla lingerie, replete with garters.

Miles turned to the cameraman beside him, but he had been working on this show five times as long as Miles, so he already knew to pan from Dodona’s bare body to the other ladies, to catch their reactions.

LaCroix had a look of carefully crafted distaste on her face, no doubt imagining the gif or meme this look would generate in six months time. LaCroix was impossibly thin and glamorous, and she wanted you to know it—especially because her sharp features weren’t exactly what one would call flattering. Today her long black hair was ironed into smooth waves and her olive skin was tinted with shimmering bronzer. As always, the mole beside her thin lips was exaggerated with makeup, along with the rest of her tightly drawn face.

Next to LaCroix, Syosset was incapable of hiding a look of seething jealousy while staring open-mouthed at Dodona—Syosset’s plumped face read like a toddler who hadn’t gotten her scoop of ice cream first. That is, as much as her face could express through the tangle of new work she had too-recently had done.

Syosset actually had an incredible figure as well, but Dodona maintained one of those metabolisms that gave her a perfect body, even at fifty-three and after two kids. Of course, Dodona also had a plastic surgeon on speed dial and was wearing enough body makeup to service a drag queen, but even without all that, Dodona’s old-Hollywood starlet features would qualify her as a knockout.

Before Bixby could safely retreat from this particular circus scene, he stopped just short of the hallway—because he could sense it. Miles could, too. He had noticed the effect before, but he could never quite put his finger on it. Was it that the temperature seemed to drop an imperceptible inch when she entered the room? Or was it just the way everyone else froze for a split-second at the sight of her? Her arrival always seemed to send an invisible crackle through a space, like the air polarizing before a lighting strike.

The first time Miles met her, he understood. He was never one to get starstruck—he considered himself too important to do so, delusionally believing there were two types of people: those who got starstruck and those who did the striking. But of course, seeing celebrities always gave him a little thrill all the same—there was something exciting about how they moved through the world separately, lifted by the intangible wings of fame.

But it was all different with Catherine Ballantine. Miles had found himself rendered quite literally speechless in the first few minutes he spent with her. Which actually ended up being fine, since Catherine had more than enough to say providing instructions on how to be properly lit in her private testimonials. Besides, Miles could somehow tell that Catherine liked him all the more for his awestruck silence—and Miles wanted Catherine to like him. Desperately.

“Bixby, would you be so kind as to escort Dodona to the guest closet while you tend to her stain?” Catherine’s voice snapped like a whip, but was always sewn in a tone that was both soft and lovely. When she spoke, people listened.

“Oh, you’ll never tell my secret, will you Bixby?” Dodona whispered loudly as she followed Bixby into the hallway, winking over her shoulder at Catherine. “I save the best stains for the turn of the fashion season, when I know Catherine clears out her master closet and moves the oldies-but-goodies down here.”

Miles wasn’t exactly sure what moxie was, but he was pretty sure Dodona had it in spades—and he figured that was why Catherine had chosen Dodona as a best friend all those decades ago. Dodona possessed the kind of blithering, oblivious charm that rendered her both muse and maniac her entire life. Miles felt fortunate to be part of the team capturing Dodona at this current phase: the echo of a once-great symphony, a trophy wife put back on the shelf and forced to reinvent, or rot. But then, Miles had always been more than a little obsessed with Grey Gardens.

Miles’s focus, along with the cameraman’s, was pulled back to the staircase as Catherine The Great descended, her Louboutin heels soundlessly passing over the lacquered floors. Miles always looked forward to seeing Catherine’s outfits and today’s did not disappoint. While the other ladies were dressed as if they were walking a red carpet for this ordinary lunch meeting, Catherine wore a grey tweed mod dress underneath a wide-collared snakeskin coat. He shoulder-length blonde hair was pinned up and the diamonds from her teardrop earrings caught the afternoon light, which also gleamed off the surface of the delicate golden necklace she always wore.

“Sorry to keep you ladies waiting. I take it you’ve all been properly appointed, though?” Catherine noted the drinks predictably clutched by Syosset and LaCroix as she made her way to the bar cart. Miles found it incredible that Catherine always made her own drinks, just like she cooked all of her own meals. Miles thought there was nothing classier or more glamorous than being wealthy enough to have everything done for you, but doing everything for yourself anyway.

Catherine sat, legs crossed, in an upholstered chair at the head of the living room. She took a sip of her martini before placing it down on the marble end table, casting her ice-blue eyes over the two women eagerly awaiting her next words.

“Harriet is getting the table set for us upstairs, I hope you all enjoy beef bourguignon. I can never stand to make salads when it’s this cold outside.”

“So what are we going to do about Blaire?” Syosset then blurted, bobbing her head between LaCroix and Catherine so that her bottle-blonde curls went flying. Syosset had that hungry look in her eyes and Miles couldn’t help but sigh—Syosset never settled for a chess move when a blunt tackle would do. Though at least this meant that Miles wouldn’t have to put on his producer hat to force the subject—these women were seasoned pros. They knew the game well, even if they played at very different levels.

“Let’s wait for Dodona to return before we get started,” Catherine answered. “After all, it was her pickle brand launch party that Blaire ruined.”

With that, Catherine gave an almost imperceptible nod to the second cameraman on the other side of the room, who immediately shifted to film from an angle that captured the sunlight framing Catherine’s left side.

And then, as if on cue, Dodona re-emerged from the depths of the first floor wearing a white pussybow blouse with high-waisted pinstriped pants, her long chestnut hair now tied into a bun.

“So, who is ready to take a bitch down?” Dodona asked, posing in the doorway.

Miles was alreadying editing that part out in his head—their showrunner believed that such power politics were better shown and not told. The franchise had built its success on a sturdy fourth wall, so such direct proclamations of malign intent were usually off limits—though Miles was thinking more and more that might be a mistake.

Nonetheless, watching the scene that followed unfold, Miles had a hunch that it might just become the cornerstone of perhaps the best season of Nemesisters: Manhattan Matriarchs yet.

At least, for the sake of his sanity, he hoped so.

* * *

Long before Miles became a producer on the show that made New York’s ladies who lunch wildly famous, he was a superfan of the show. Of course, as a serious filmmaker he never dreamed—or rather, deigned—he’d work on a project like this. But deigned he had, and ever since it had forced him to try to dissect the show’s mass appeal. He and all of his other smart, professional friends were obsessed with the show and its many spinoffs, which spanned other elite American cities like Malibu and Westport and Charleston. After much thought, Miles had come to think of the shows as trash TV for smart people, a winning combination of aspiration and desperation. There was the double thrill of peeking behind the veil at how the other half lived while simultaneously judging oneself superior to their insipid antics. To Miles and his other twenty-eight-year-old friends, this show was both a fairy tale and a cautionary tale.

Wait, Miles then thought—twenty-nine-year-old friends. After all, today was his birthday.

Which would explain the Rihanna currently blaring over the speakers in his apartment and why he had locked himself in the bathroom for the past fifteen minutes. He usually loved his birthday, but something about this one felt ominous—like the numbers had begun to leer instead of celebrate.

Miles studied his face in the mirror, indulging in a well-worn movie cliché, imagining himself the aging ingénue in The First Wives Club or something comparable. He had always buzzed his frizzy and curly brown hair short to keep it under control, but his hairline had already receded into two sharp peaks—thankfully the full beard he kept perpetually trimmed to a five o’clock shadow balanced his features. There were flecks of grey in his jawline and around his sideburns, but Miles actually didn’t mind—he had never been afraid of looking older.

Miles had always heard that people internally saw themselves at a fixed age, an age that had either passed and one fought desperately to maintain, or an age that one still strived towards. Miles was a striver indeed and was generally terrible at being a twenty-something, so the world-weary look reflected his inner age of thirty eight, where he imagined himself as a successful and celebrated career and family man.

Miles had never considered himself attractive, thanks to a bout of childhood obesity that had taken him until his teenage years to shed, but thankfully other people occasionally seemed to. He had evenly shaped brown eyes and a prominent Italian nose that was mercifully rounded at the tip. He figured that, even at twenty-nine, he was still a solid seven out of ten—with his clothes on, at least.

There was a knock at the door that Miles wanted to ignore, until he heard Emma’s voice on the other side.

“Miles, it’s me.”

Feeling a flush of relief, Miles opened the door to let Emma in, along with a blast of music and ambient noise. She closed the door and locked it behind her, then pushed past Miles towards the toilet.

“Logan was asking about you,” Emma said as she pulled up her dress and pulled down her underwear.

“Think I can just tell everyone I had a massive attack of diarrhea so they’d all leave?”

“Probably, but I don’t think that would make anyone actually leave.”

As a tinkle hit the porcelain, Miles thought that Emma was probably right—he didn’t actually know most of the people at his own party. Every year for his birthday, Miles usually threw a dinner with his close circle of friends, who were the only friends he cared to keep. However, this year when Miles threatened to do nothing, he was talked into a party by his best gay friend Jameson—who subsequently invited most of the guests.

“You’re right. I wonder if half the people here even know who I am. Has Jameson gotten here yet?”

“Not yet,” Emma answered. “Hey, how many times do you think you’ve watched me pee?”

“I wouldn’t exactly call it watching,” Miles said, still averting his eyes. “But since grammar school? Too many times to count.”

“Let’s call it a grand, even,” Emma said as she flushed and stood. “Which is why I hope you’ll listen to me, your oldest and dearest friend, when I tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, have a drink, and get back out there.”

Emma turned to wash her hands and check her makeup in the mirror, which was minimally applied. Emma had the easy height and features of a runway model, so she subsequently (and rightfully) didn’t put too much effort into looking good.

Emma’s positioning in front of the sink forced Miles to pivot around the tiny bathroom. However small it was, he knew they were lucky to have a second bathroom between the three of them in this apartment—but Miles also knew that was something only a person who had lived in Manhattan their entire life was likely to think.

Miles sighed.

“You’re supposed to let me be at least a little indulgent on my own birthday.”

“Why do you think I waited ten minutes before coming to get you?” Emma asked, taking Miles’s hand as she opened the door.

Being led out through his bedroom and back out into the living room, Miles felt a little better. Having Emma function as his human shield always worked for him—she was so effortless at parties, floating through people and conversations like she was above it all. Which, most of the time, she was.

Miles, on the other hand, always felt uncomfortable in groups larger than four or five. He thrived one-on-one, or in a small mix, but anytime numbers ballooned larger than that he felt awkward competing for space and attention. Like most people, he also really hated small talk, but was far too polite not to engage in it.

Instead, Miles’s only refuge at parties like this was the people watching. He used to think everyone noticed the little details going on around them, but it took him until adulthood to realize that wasn’t the case. So he considered the detail-catching his own private form of entertainment—his hidden super power, to spot the things no one else really cared enough to.

Like how the two guys in the corner wearing threadbare vintage leather jackets (that were likely both too thin for the weather and more expensive than new ones), stopped talking in order to check out Emma as she walked into the kitchen. Or how the girl on the couch, a journalist friend he saw maybe twice a year, didn’t swallow anything when lifting the plastic red cup to her lips. Or how the aspiring model guy Miles had met twice and jerked off to regularly kept fidgeting with his shirt to purposefully show off his chiseled v-muscles. Or how the strawberry blond guy in the kitchen was by far the cutest person at the party, and perhaps the world, but no one seemed to notice.

The strawberry blond held out a stemless wine glass of Chardonnay to Miles and smiled. “I was starting to worry you had fallen in. Here, this will help.”

Miles took the glass from Logan, his boyfriend of three years, and felt his heart melt a little. Logan always had that effect on him and Miles, to this day, had a hard time believing Logan was actually real. He was kind and steady and normal and fun, plus impossibly good in bed—the kind of boyfriend everyone dreamed of and hardly anyone actually got, especially in the gay world. Miles knew how lucky he was to find Logan and was subsequently terrified of losing him, but mostly Miles just tried to remember to be thankful for Logan and not question his good fortune too much.

So Miles kissed Logan and accepted the glass of Chardonnay. The deep, almost-amber liquid touched his lips, wrapping Miles’s stomach and brain in a warm film of butter and oak as it went down. He internalized it like fluid armor, which it turned out he would need as the front door opened…

And Jameson finally made his entrance.

“All eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a circus.”

Jameson sang, rather unexpectedly, from a wireless microphone strapped around his cheek. Miles only had a few seconds to process the sound of the size fourteen heels stomping across the floor and the Britney Spears filling the apartment before he found himself pulled into the living room by Jameson. There, Jameson cleared the gathered crowd around a makeshift stage and sat Miles down in a folding chair. Blindsided, Miles could only think to take a hearty gulp of the wine still clutched in his hand.

Miles then spotted Malachi, one of the other gays in their friend group, setting down a pair of portable bluetooth speakers before Jameson’s wig (lovingly nicknamed Gale Nutmeg) obscured his vision. In his normal boy form, Jameson was a six-foot-two vision, with symmetrical features that translated seamlessly into his drag persona (lovingly nicknamed Cuntinental T) with only a few dabs of makeup. Jameson also happened to be wearing black leggings and a pink glitter top tied off at the waist, which showed off his flat stomach and Soul Cycled legs.

“There’s only two types of people in the world, the ones that entertain, and the ones that observe.”

Jameson lip-synced as he spun around, pretending to give Miles a lap dance. His long and sandy artificial hair flung about wildly as if powered by the wind of some invisible fan, snatched securely by lace-fronting, glue and confidence.

“Well baby I’m a put a show kind of girl, don’t like the backseat, gotta be first.”

Miles knew this was one of Jameson’s favorite songs, and perhaps his favorite lyric of all time. Miles also knew that some might think it a tad overkill to show up to a friend’s birthday party and steal the spotlight like this, but Miles told himself he didn’t mind—he wasn’t exactly a put a show kind of girl, but he did like keeping them around.

Which is why Miles laughed and smiled as Jameson twirled and dipped through his drag routine, sucking up the applause and attention like a makeup sponge.

In turn, Miles gulped down the remainder of his wine and let it bolster him. Maybe he was wrong—maybe twenty-nine wouldn’t be so bad. After all, he had friends like Emma and Jameson. He had a boyfriend like Logan. He was healthy and he had a place to live and a job. And New York still had yet to eat him alive. Maybe he should really allow that to be enough?

So in this perfume and wine soaked moment, Miles allowed himself to feel satisfied.

* * *

Miles felt deeply dissatisfied.

Well, perhaps not physically—once the party had ended, he and Logan left the apartment a mess and retired to their bedroom, where they stripped naked before the alcoholic fuel in their veins inevitably burned out. Tonight they had covered their entire sexual menu as a birthday special and twenty minutes later Miles had finished inside Logan—but only after making sure Logan came first. It was one of Miles’s personal rules: if he was going to get to top, he’d always make sure the bottom finished first. He thought of it as an apt and ironic application of the residual Italian Catholic guilt he was raised with.

Logan and Miles had both then immediately fallen asleep, and as usual Logan slept as soundly as a baby, while Miles only slept about an hour before waking up into a fit of restlessness and irrational anxiety. Miles knew the only way to wind back down was to wake himself up fully, which was why he was currently sitting out in the living room, ignoring the scent of stale alcohol and looking out of the window beside the couch. He had it cracked so that the cold winter air sliced into the room, along with the ambient sounds of the city.

Ever since he was a kid, staring out at the city always soothed Miles. Growing up, his parents had an apartment on Grand Street that had a view of the east river, the FDR Drive and the Williamsburg Bridge. Miles marveled at how, at any given hour, he could see planes and trains, automobiles and boats—and be reminded that life in the city went on even when he wasn’t looking. He missed that view (he missed a lot of things about that time in his life, a bright Manhattan star convinced of his own importance and immortality)—he remembered the bridge lights twinkling and rippling across the surface of the water, the steady stream of headlights, the desolate industrial wasteland just across the river.

The view they had in this apartment now didn’t compare, but Miles was thankful they had a view at all. Third Avenue stretched uptown underneath him, a sea of alternating red and green, orange and white. Even at four in the morning, there was activity, kinetic energy—and Miles adored the idea that he could go out and get anything he wanted or needed. There was just endless… potential.

It was what Miles knew his life—no, scratch that— what his career, was missing. Potential. Miles’s eyes then moved, as they often did at this hour, to the DVD case of his short movie. People called it his “first” (and often his only) movie, but that wasn’t true—he had been directing movies both long and short since he was a toddler. This was just the first one that landed professionally, in his first few years after college. SuperSectional was a gritty, low-budget look at a street-level super hero whose villains were representations of intersectional oppression. The short had been the culmination of his creative aspirations and youthful energy, pulled together with too little money and sheer force of will.

The short had won a special prize at two notable film festivals, gotten limited distribution for the coastal cities in art-house theaters and, most importantly, secured Miles a small deal with a studio to direct his first full-length feature. At twenty-six, Miles was able to quit his assistant job and play in the big leagues, stepping into the wunderkind shoes he had always believed belonged to him.

Then came the disappointments.

The lack of an expected awards season bump allowed Miles’s heat to cool, further chilled by lagging digital sales and a slew of disproportionate and disturbingly hateful internet reviews. Miles then found himself passed over for one directing gig after the next in favor of bigger fish, while his original project for the studio (the adaptation of a little known science fiction novel detailing an alien utopian society that deeply reflected our own) descended into development hell. Miles felt like he could only watch helplessly as days ticked by and his bank account rapidly drained—the harder he tried to cling to his remaining shreds of potential and residual success, the more it seemed to slip through his grasp.

Finally, this past year the studio pulled the plug on him and his original project entirely, and despite an agent-arranged trip to LA to take meetings and pitch new projects, nothing resurfaced. Miles, of course, knew what he had to do next—start from scratch with another homemade short. But the fight had been thoroughly taken out of him and the idea of self-financing another shoestring budget, iPhone-shot short made him physically ill. Not to mention what would happen if his next venture actually did succeed—the unrelenting assault of criticism and opinions from strangers and the never-ending days spent alone, obsessing about the whims of executives and audiences who couldn’t care less about his hopes or his happiness.

Nothing about Miles’s self-constructed hero narrative had come to pass in his actual life and Miles was paralyzed—the only silver lining of the last three years had been meeting Logan, back when he was still feeling high and mighty from the first flushes of success.

Miles stood and crossed the living room to pick up one of the few DVD copies of SuperSectional. This used to give him an endless thrill, holding this thing he had willed into existence, but now it only depressed him. It had become a symbol of his hubris and his naiveté and every time he held the DVD, it opened up a channel in his mind that flooded with the most heinous comments written about him:

“I came for super heroes and got a faggot sob story. WTF. Pass.”

“What is all that fucking gender neutral bullshit? Freaks.”

“Wants so badly to be deep, but is just SJW masturbation.”

“Okay white boy, calm down, this isn’t your story to tell.”

“Who is this Miles fuckboy? Someone should just kill him and put him out of his misery.”

Of course, there had been good reviews too, and Miles had heard from many strangers who felt touched or represented by his efforts. But somehow those positive affirmations were totally drowned in the sea of anonymous rage and, as was human nature, all Miles remembered were the most heinous responses. To his surprise, the criticisms from minority, feminist and LGBTQ activists had cut deeper than the outright bigotry. If this is what his supposed allies had to say about him, how could he ever hope to face the enemy?

Though this wasn’t the crux of this issue, if Miles was being honest with himself. It wasn’t really about the process or the rejection or the hate—those were all symptoms of a deeper problem: Miles just didn’t know what he wanted to say anymore.

Deep down, he wasn’t sure he had anything left to say.

So instead of moving forward, Miles stalled his way into twenty-nine, jobless and soon to be moneyless. This was the situation Miles found himself in when he got the call from a producer friend, that they needed someone last-minute to work on Nemesisters. At first Miles balked, but then he thought: he really did love the show, and he could certainly use a change. And a break. And the money.

Now, one month in, Miles had discovered that he was a very good reality TV producer, both due to his directorial instincts and his penchant for charming and befriending older women (probably more for the latter than the former). Already, Miles had earned the trust of the showrunner and was getting to film his own scenes as a field producer—so what had felt temporary at first was now feeling more like a potentially permanent career shift.

Miles hated the idea of being a failed Hollywood cliché, a quitter, a once-promising talent banished to reality TV purgatory—but he found that hated the reality of the entertainment industry more. The endless politics and posturing, the lies and niceties, the deluge of useless notes. The process was very broken and it had made him into two things he refused to be: bitter and defeated.

With some time to look back and reflect, Miles realized that perhaps when he was striving for more, he could never find a way to be content with what he had. There was always an emptiness, a vacancy, when he believed there was some glamorous and more successful career life yet to come. It seemed easier—no, healthier—to walk away, to leave the delusions behind. And Miles was happier now, on Nemesisters. At least his sense of self-worth came from the right places—Logan, his friends, and actual satisfaction with a day’s work done, instead of the cruel and unpredictable whims of his “dreams.”

But then there was always the nagging voice he couldn’t quite silence—what if he was just being weak? Would he ever forgive himself if he wasn’t the exception to the rule, if he wasn’t exceptional?

Or did happiness truly just lie in giving up the ghost?

Whatever the truth was, as Miles put down the DVD and moved to close the window, his sleep-deprived mind knew this much: today, on the anniversary of his birth, perhaps it was time to make a new and overriding resolution (it was still January, after all). Looking out one last time over Third Avenue before reattempting sleep, Miles made himself a promise:

He would revisit his directorial aspirations and relive it all once he found something to say…

Or rather, if he found something to say.

Next Chapter: interlude one