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Under the eaves

If I was gonna run a Buffy game, which I’m not, it would be something like this. It would be set in Los Angeles, in 1976. Warren Zevon would have just released his eponymous album. Vampires would snort cocaine alongside adult film stars, and they’d both pay the price in their own ways.

Daddy, don’t you ask her when she’s coming in
And when she’s home don’t ask her where she’s been

The Slayer would be an LA child, lanky and beautiful and terribly young for such a burden; she’d wear scarves and maybe dream of a time when she thought she could be a singer. Her smile would be sad and wise and generous, and her eyes would be the color of the ocean at sunset, when you can forget all about how polluted it is.

Dry your eyes my little friend
Let me take you by the hand
Freddie get ready Rock steady
When Johnny strikes up the band

She’d have friends: musicians, grifters, dreamers, thieves. Down on Venice Beach, there’d be a Watcher who’d given up the straight life and taken to reading the future in the tattoos of the street performers. He’d read an old ratty Tarot deck for a living. Not all her friends would like one another, but the desperate need to stay together to survive.

He took in the four a.m. show at the Clark
Excitable boy, they all said
And he bit the usherette’s leg in the dark
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he’s just an excitable boy

She’d have enemies: high gloss vampires and angry radical werewolves. There’s a demon down on the Sunset Strip who specializes in messing over drunk tourists; they wake up the next day never realizing anything happened, but when they get home they find an envelope of pictures addressed to their wives. And they say, in whispers, that there’s a sect of Hollywood stars who drink blood to keep their youth.

I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was staring in my empty coffee cup
I was thinking that the gypsy wasn’t lyin’
All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles
I’m gonna drink ‘em up

And there’s a bar, where the Slayer and her pals come together after something’s happened. (Rarely, they have the chance to come together before; but times are troubled and the chances to act rather than react are seldom.) Nobody lives in one place for very long, and none of the places they live are very large: so they meet at the bar, and they drink whatever the bartender is pushing that night, and they celebrate survival until the sun comes up over the hills. Not to celebrate would be to give in to despair, and despair — in LA — is the beginning of the end.

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