The Remainders

By Matthew Arnold Stern All Rights Reserved ©


Chapter Thirty-Three: Reseda

I had been sitting in my Lexus behind the abandoned theater for about an hour, and I started to get angry.

I had never been to this part of LA before, and I decided I would never go here again. Traffic crawled everywhere. Cars were parked on the side of the street, and you never knew when they would pull out. Everything looked old. The squat and small stuccoed ranch houses on ridiculously large lots with dead and unkept grass. The tired strip malls with payday loans, vape shops, and medical marijuana dispensaries. It certainly wasn’t a safe place. There were a bunch of police cars in front of some dollar store I passed by. There were parts of Lake Forest that weren’t safe, but nothing could be as awful as this part of LA. I couldn’t believe Dylan would intentionally go to someplace like this. I started to think this was some practical joke. Or maybe he was setting me up to get robbed or killed.

That was what I thought as an old blue Hyundai hatchback pulled into the parking lot. My heart pounded as my mind flooded with all sorts of racial stereotypes I was ashamed to have. But there was only one person in the car, and she was a young woman. She didn’t seem to notice me as she parked several spaces away.

As soon as she stopped the car, she slumped over the steering wheel.

My instinct as a doctor said I should check on her. My instinct as a nervous white guy said I should drive back to Orange County as fast as I could.

My instinct as a doctor hadn’t completely vanished.

I got out of my car and walked slowly to the Hyundai. As I got closer, I could tell the young woman was distraught. I could hear her sobs from outside the car.

I tapped on the window. Startled, she bolted upright. She fumbled for the ignition key, turned it until her dashboard lit up. She rolled down the power window.

“Miss? Are you all right?”

She turned her red and tear-streaked face towards me.

“It was all my fault! If only I hadn’t...” She heaved out some hard sobs. “Now, I’ll never see him again!”

My whole body shuddered.

“Miss, do you know a Dylan Glass?”

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