My Shoutout indicated that I needed to get to the library first, but the building with the restaurant Lunch Box is on the way, so I might as well check out the parking and see if I can find my pick up. If a parking lot is involved, it's usually safe to assume that the person meeting you is camping. It's known that camping is safe in parking lots as long as you are in a vehicle and you leave after a couple days. Every building has diligent security but they rarely want to involve the police. If the campers make themselves look invisible to people who live, work, and shop there, security doesn't really have a reason to confront them. Or maybe the campers just bribe them. I knew a runner who was staying with a dealer who used to pay for their secure pick up place by giving the security workers "sample product" every three days. But I haven't seen them in months. They are probably working in a different part of the city now.
The building I'm heading to is a 25 story glass box called Yum Tower and it's filled exclusively with restaurants. I haven't seen all of them but I've seen coffee and study cafes, bakeries, tabletop bbq, there's a place that sells military rations, a ton of Deep Sea Diet restaurants, and those gourmet nightmares that have a dress code and you have to use a special elevator on the west side of the building to get to them. But one of the most popular restaurants is a cafeteria called Lunch Box which fills the first 4 floors. They serve modern bento lunches all day in exclusive boxes that you can take home with you for a small fee. A lot of the neighborhood companies have lunch catered from there because they can satisfy the diverse dietary preferences of their staff. And since it gets catered to a lot of production companies here, it ends up on reality series that people watch all over the world, making it also a hot spot for tourists who want to get a taste of the life they watch on TV at home.
Yum Tower Parking, Central Branch Library, Skywalker Bridge over the Felwright building, and something about Mercury retrograding? Where does Mercury go backwards? Or does it just look like it's going backwards? Where do things go backwards? Mirrors? Mercury Mirrors. That sounds familiar. Is that a thing? Maybe a store that sells old fashioned mirrors? Most people want digital mirrors but maybe they sell old ones at the Flea Market? I run through all the stalls and shops in the Flea Market that I've seen. I haven't gone into all of them. Well, I can figure that out this afternoon, once I get everything else worked out. Mix needs me to go to the Flea Market anyway.
The parking goes down 8 levels. I glide down each level on my skates. The slope is gradual and I forget how many floors I have descended. There aren't any cars here yet. There is a bold yellow 6 painted on a post. 2 more levels to go. It's not that early. I'm surprised it's still pretty empty. The next floor is packed with vehicles. Is this were all the workers park? I'm surprised there is enough room for them and they are allowed to park here. It must only be some of the workers.
I must have entered the next level because the vehicles have thinned out. A yellow 8 glares at me around a bend. I turn down a row of parking spaces and see a giant yellow van. Giant Yellow. This must be it. I speed over and stop against its side, giving whoever might be inside a loud enough thud to know I'm here. I look in the drivers seat. It's dark but there is definitely some stuff in there. I wait a few moments before knocking on the window. They probably think I'm security.
"Pick up!" I say, but it comes out as a thick rasp. I clear my throat and try again. I guess I haven't really used my voice today.
"I'm up! I'm up!" comes a voice from inside the van. Nice. A person craws up to the front seat and plops down in the seat. They turn on the van and roll down the window.
"Good Morning," I say, reaching around to my backpack. I pull out the handheld computer that keeps track of my order confirmations. It's coated in a pink nail polish and a glitter that I bought at the Flea Market that claimed it could help obscure surveillance footage. Mix thought it was trash because it only worked half the time but it looks pretty cute so whatever. I hand it to the person in the van and get my first good look at them. They have a round face that is flushed and orange curly hair that is half up in a decorative clip shaped like a dragon with blinking red eyes. They stick a small grey box out of the van door at me with a silver ribbon holding it together. They look at the bottom of the box and pull off a long orange hair. "Just enter your CASH code here to confirm that I got it. Thanks," I say, taking the box and placing it in the front of my backpack. "Where am I going?" I ask.
They hold the machine awkwardly at a distance, typing in their account number on the clear buttons.
"Yeah ah... It's off Wilshire, I'll get the address, one second." They stick the machine out the window at me and lean over to the passenger side of the van. I put it in my bag and try to get a look in the van. There is one high window along the back but it just looks dark. I wonder what they've got back there.
"Here, I'll write it down for you. I've got a card here..." They have a clipboard filled with illegible handwriting that they are writing on. "She's going to be at the little courtyard outside of the building on her lunch break looking for you," they say, handing me an index card with an address on it. It isn't close but I have some time. It's still early after all.
"Alright. Thanks dude!" We catch each other's eyes. It feels strange and I whirl away and head back the way I came. Maybe there is an elevator I can take up and out of here...