The Canyon gets its name from the towering skyscrapers of the finance district. As the heart of Titan, you will find offices, government centers, and courthouses towering above the flats. Most of the street level space in "the valley" is given over to upscale cafes pubs and restaurants and as such, it's one of Titan's safest and most patrolled districts.
As soon as he exited Lords Station, Tom was swept downstreet by the flow of humanity on the concrete banks of the tarmac river that was 2nd Avenue. Though the sun was not visible, the sky was quickly lightening for morning, and he wondered if he would even see the sun above the towering glass and steel rising straight up around him.
Suddenly, he realized that he was now a living and breathing part of something that would endure long after he was gone. He was part of the lifeblood of this city. Tom's mind was briefly torn from his personal predicament as he stared in wonder at the might and glory of the triumphant human spirit that created such a beautiful and enduring monument, and briefly thanked the Lord for the view.
"Wowee..." Tom breathed. "Don't think I could write this on a postcard."
"Hey Mack. See the sights, or you got someplace special to go?"
The young cab driver looked barely out of high school and his ride looked similarly aged.
"You can take the L," he said, "but if you want to understand what you're seeing, you'll need a friend who grew up here. What do you say? Ten cents will get you all the way to the Canyon."
She seemed to relax as her feet led her from the boulevard into the Canyon. She knew it was silly thing to feel so relaxed when so surrounded, but she needed it. As she melted into the hustle of the business-folk, she even found herself wondering if she really had so much reason to be worked up. It was almost easy to slip back into that care-free veneer she'd once worked so hard to cultivate.
She decided on coffee first, having left her's abandoned in the loft in her rush to escape. A cuppa joe and some more fresh air would do her good. She took a corner patio table at the nearest cafe, her back to the wall of the storefront, and lit a nail. She inhaled gratefully, and smiled.
The barista took her order quickly, and it was not long before she was happily enjoying a steaming mug of hot, black coffee.
People were whispering, pointing to this paper or that, looking at her. She glaced up and down the length of the street, avoiding the stares and studying the windows of the buildings across the street. She wondered if she would be lucky enough to come across a P.I.'s office without much more walking, but she didn't think it likely. Even if there was one here, he wouldn't be the kind she wanted to employ. She needed a fella down on his luck, willing to do what she paid him for and nothing more.
She hadn't explored the Canyon much, but she was confident she could find its less-polished face with a little searching. She stubbed out her camel, left a little folding money to cover the coffee and a tip, and returned to the busy sidewalk. At the next intersection, she turned away from the main thoroughfare, and did so again at every crossroads she came to. Alright, Titan. Let me find the right bloke for this. We'll be jake if ya just let me find him.
She kept a close eye on her suroundings.
"Nice day, isn't it, mam? That rain really cleaned things up last night from all the dust storms we've been getting."
"If it's not a problem, can I treat you to a cup of coffee at the cafe?"
The gentleman looked honest enough. His black suit and white dress shirt were accented with a powder blue tie that matched his eyes. He tipped his hat at the first glance of you and sunk into that puppy dog look you've come to expect from boys old enough to notice your assets.
"I..." She paused, looking at the man. She smiled to keep darker musings from reflecting in her face. "I suppose that would be alright. I've been walking a bit."
She let him light the cigarette she pulled out of the case from her purse. She didn't particularly need a nail, but she wanted him comfortable with the idea of her reaching for her handbag. The back of her palm brushed reassuringly over her piece as she put the cigarettes away. Thusly comforted, she let him lead the way.
"Two joes, please."
He peeled off a dollar from a sterling money clip and the barista counted out his change in return.
"My name's Rich. I was waiting on a client who was supposed to meet me here over an hour ago, but I couldn't help but notice you, Miss...?"
She thought about lying, but it seemed pointless when put against her recent brush with publicity. "Mrs... And it's Royce. Juliette Royce." She exhaled slowly, focusing on the cigarette, forcing her nerves to stay calm, and keeping her head empty. "You were waiting on a client, you said? let me guess, you're a lawyer?" The coyness playing through her voice very nearly sickened her. It was nearly every day that she wondered if it would just be easier to stop pretending.
"Oh dear heavens, no Mrs. Royce. I work for Metro GM. It's a production studio out in Hollywood. I was supposed to meet with one of our actresses at the station, and I thought you might have been her."
With a swift click click, Rich slides a glossy 8"x10" out of his briefcase and sets it on the table. The woman staring back at Julliette could have been her twin if it weren't for the raven hair and overdone eye makeup. A looped signature below the photo read Jessica Rose.
"We were supposed to start shooting here in a few days, and if I don't find her in time, my butt is going to be in a sling."
"I've already tried the operator, but no one is answering at Ms. Rose's hotel."
"Hey, Boss? I dunno if coffee is the best thing for ya right now. Ain't ya a lil' over the edge for the stuff? Gonna send ya into a fury"
Words were ignored as Jack met the door with the front of his face, hard. Patrick didn't have the energy to put up with the constant "yes-man" act that Jack could win an Oscar for. Fingers ran through a red mop-top as he scanned the scene. Bunch of upscale, over priced people, sipping coffee with pinky fingers staged upwards to the sky. He dug around in his pockets, from the other night the greaseballs from the Casino took everything but a five spot from him. Leather soled steps made a beeline for the counter, pushing some of the other, more respectable patrons from their spots.
"So, which one of you mooks can whip me up something to keep me awake, or do I have to report this particular environment to the someone that would give a damn about shuttin' this joint down? Come on, butch, I like my coffee like I like my women, strong, black, and fast!"
The barista's rolled eyes told Patrick that he wasn't going to be taken seriously in this part of town, and secretly in the back of his mind he agreed with them. With just a Lincoln in his wallet, the uptown was going to be even a harder place compared to the underground. Jack pushed through the scene that Patrick decided to erupt into, grasping his shoulder.
"Boss, listen. Ya can't do these kinda things up here in the canyon, ya know? Ya blow ya wig like that, and the next thing ya know every guy flashin' a buzzer will be all over ya. Ya need to find some proper employment so ya can rake in the capital. I dunno, Bodyguard work or somethin'"
Patrick looked at Jack for a moment with those intense eyes he was unfortunately born with, the sort of eyes that could start a fight at a hundred paces. His hand was swift as it met the back of Jack's head.
"Bodyguardin'? Who in this town would need a bodyguard? Seriously, Jack. You gotta be the stupidest goon this side of the tracks. Bodyguardin'...I mean, I'd be the best, ya know. I mean, who would dare go bang heads against such an upstart gentleman like myself, eh? And where's my god damned coffee!"
"My my, I certainly see how ya could've mistaken me for her." Her fingers trailed the jawline of the photo, noting just how uncanny the similarity actually was. "Seems odd, a woman standing up the man gettin' her into the pictures."
She relaxed a bit, having company. She'd always found it more difficult to be paranoid when she wasn't alone; which isn't to say that she wasn't alert, just not as hung up about it. Of course, that didn't stop her from wondering after the woman's hotel. "What happenes if you don't find her, if you don't mind my askin'."
"It's no secret. Hollywood is just like any other job. You don't show up for work, you get replaced."
"I see people with cold feet all the time out here, which is why I like working local. Out West, the girls are climbing on top of one another just to make it onto the silver screen. Makes my job a lot easier when I don't have to chase them down."
"This was supposed to be Ms. Rose's first talkie, so I can see how that intimidates some gals. Just look at Louise Brooks. Don't think she's come out of her room in three years now."
"Anyway, she don't show up, then I'll have to find someone to take her place until we're done shooting. Simple as that."