Jared observed the Palace from across the road. Reflected tape ringed the burnt out building. Police carried out the milk machines and put them in their vans. A vacant child circled around in the road next to the vans, on a bicycle with training wheels. Fat women in robes and slippers nattered away.
"How could there be one of these in our neighborhood?" "Property values are sure to plummet." "Can you imagine?" "I thought this was a good place to raise my kids." "Well, you never know. They hide them so well." "I should have known, with all those kids coming and going at all times of the night." "Such a shame. What is that generation getting up to? Don't they have any ambition? Don't they want to make anything of themselves?" "Do they want to be losers all their life?"
Jared's nose itched, and he scratched at it absentmindedly. His arm tremored. He leaned against a telephone pole, distressed. He closed his eyes and thought of the tubing going up his nose and leaning his head back and letting the warm liquid fill his nasal cavities, then the rush of images and sounds and he fading away of the world. The milk caressed him, a welcoming, thankful mistress, laughing, putting her fingers through his, spinning him around, filling him with joy.
He opened his eyes, craving the high and felt empty. He scratched his chest beneath his t-shirt. His skin was beginning to prickle all over. He turned and walked away down the road, remember a rumor about another milk house located several blocks away.