Three years later as fog drifted down Twin Peaks and over the city of San Francisco like a quiet storm, Abel Erikson pulled his fingers through his hair and hesitated to catch his reflection in the living room window of his Pemberton steps house. He was shorter. He was almost sure his posture had shrunk changing like his jet-black hair turned a dirty peppered grey. His brow was bushier, greyer. There were more wrinkles and crow’s feet sharper around his milky blue eyes especially if he smiled. Thus, he preferred not to smile, often wearing an almost permanent clown-face frown. The back of his hands was speckled with age spots he found unsightly and attempted to hide when stroking the boy for that kind of recreation. He had become a vain, prudish man, an alpha-gay who was older and slightly insecure of his own prowess no matter how wiser or privileged he thought he was. Yet he was a dominate force to be reckoned with, conceited and most worthy of careful observation the way he waltzed into a room.
He shifted his weight to his left foot and cupped one hand under his chin as a vale of fog swept over the tiptop of Castro Theater marquee and, thinking about the boy, a mischievous smile came over his face. He suspected the boy was not far from the theater in a bar that overlooked age of consent. He would be perched like a queen in the middle of the meat rack, long legs crossed, holding a cocktail with one flimsy limp wrist, the other an unlit cigarette, smiling provocatively at a Germanic type of white blond hair, pale blue eyes and chiseled features. He hated the boy’s amorous habit from here to Rome wishing there were truly a god to reprimand the boy for the wages of sin.
He swung around staring at his portrait, unsmiling and stone-faced, hung above the fireplace looking wistfully back at him. Behind the sofa the wet bar was well-stocked underneath the way Rosa, the housekeeper, had arranged it. On top an ice bucket filled with fresh cubes of ice and two decanters, one full of gin, the other brandy beckoned him to the bar like a magnet. Effortlessly he started forward, swallowing a dry lump out of his throat; then reluctantly took another step. No one around, he could do it, he sneered, his mouth twitching violently. He could fool all of them, even himself.
Behind the bar he strained vermouth carefully over crushed ice into a glass pitcher, added gin and stirred mechanically. Once upon a time, he could drink until he was literally blue in the face. There were no hangovers then, no problems. Now, he went to therapy and made special appearances at AA meetings upon his therapist's suggestion. He hated the meetings, having to sit there in that melancholy room, half listening to their stories, thinking he was not as far gone as those people. Drinking out of control and waking up in a gutter was not something he had in common with any of them. He stopped stirring looking dubiously up at the ceiling admitting he was powerless over alcohol-that his life had become unmanageable. The second step he whispered, then paused at mid-sentence when he heard her feet sliding up the hall coming toward the door.
The door opened and passing through a gasping old woman limped into the room with hair snow-white and erect like an electric bush; she was very thin wearing a beige gown clinging unnaturally making her look naked. After gazing up at the chandelier for a long moment she moved toward the light switch and the room fell pitch-black.