Satiah has retired to the City Gates Hotel bar, and perhaps Alice will show up as promised.
But not me. I sit on the edge of the bed. My quest seems to be stuck in a circle. The search is an illusion. And perhaps too is the City.
As Satiah has said, happiness cannot be found, bought or secured. The walls of a City will contain everyone but rarely keep anyone out. And what of the wall of pill bottles in front of me, blue to make me small or pink to make me large? How can chemistry help? The pills only make you "not sad". As if numbness could make a life. I put my hands in my head and rub my eyes. It's not that I want to feel ecstasy every waking moment, a sense of contentment punctuated with joy in simple things would suffice. Childlike wonder that is perhaps not available to those of us approaching 51.
Yet Who am I to seek happiness in the midst of a world gone mad in any case?
The phone rings. It's Satiah. "Alice was here, and is now gone. But still time for a nightcap."
I set the phone back in its grimy cradle. Lay back on the bed. For a while there are tears.
Then just sleep. Morning will be different.