The mercury said it would be 114 in the desert the day I left Hollywood. I couldn't wait any longer. How much more time can I waste? Every second is a drop of water on the surface of Venus. No trace it ever existed. I am getting drier by the minute. The longest drought looms ahead of me, threatening. No storm, no river, not a shimmer of emotion. Not even a dusty memory. All my plans and schemes and dreams will be as empty as this house, standing its useless vigil in the desert, a few bones stuck together without any soul. I cannot breathe, and think of the end of my life. I try not to think about it, and breathe deeper. But . . . how many more breaths?