Behind her smoky Goth eyes and platinum blonde hair, Vonda was a small town brunette who used to play baseball and bake red velvet cakes. At seventeen, she conjured up a new life, turning Halloween into a daily activity.
When the traffic began to flow again, allowing vehicles to increase their speed, Vonda was thinking about the Standard Hotel with its white façade illuminated by eerie blue lights, and its quirky, eye-catching upside-down banner that seemed like the work of a prankster or a legally blind hotel employee. With its live performance art, electric blue astro-turf sundeck, and nightly DJ in the lobby, the place thrilled and energized her.
The Sunset Boulevard exit was just one mile away. Vonda veered into the right lane and prepared to head east, toward the half-mile portion of the Sunset Strip that was crowded with weekend cruisers, young partiers, and industry peeps dripping in fur, ego and bling, desperately trying to become part of the cutting edge. The men didn’t wear worn overalls. The women didn’t don homely housedresses. The neighbors didn’t stare at you with disdain as if you were some foreigner who didn’t speak the language.
Vonda closed her eyes and could practically smell the hotel’s heavily perfumed air that seemed imported from some magical place where it was manufactured with a combination of oxygen and opiate. She inhaled, and pretended.
Just as Vonda opened her eyes, she thought her car had been struck by a missile from the sky, and the world was coming to a deafening, fiery end. Then came the screeching of metal, and then the blasting or horns like the brass section of an amateur orchestra trying in vain to play the same note. Like a flash frame in a movie, she caught a fleeting glimpse of her smiling parents before the screen abruptly cut to black.
In the end she was wrong. Many people knew that Emily Vonda Barrett had been there. LS