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June 13th, 2007

Live From LA

"Listen."

"What?"

"Listen: I'm about to get on a flight. I'll be back on Thursday."

"Don't you ever say hello anymore?"

The caller is my sister, standing in LA airport, about to catch a flight back to Sydney. Eighteen hours. She'll be here tomorrow, but in the States, that's two days away. I'm living in the future: the days happen to me before her. It's about the only thing that does, here in Australia.

"Shut up," she says. "I haven't slept since Monday night. I thought I could get to sleep on the flights, but you know what? First flight, screaming fucking kids. Second flight, screaming fucking kids. Do you know what I'm looking at now?"

"Geriatrics?"

"High school students. A whole class of them. A whole class of girls."

"You won't be able to flirt with any of them," I say. "At least for the first four hours."

"This isn't funny, Ben."

I laugh.

"You're such a dick. Did I tell you I'm suing my old job?"

She actually said the name of her company there, but I figure I'll keep that out, just to be safe. I say, "How American of you."

"They owe me money. Thirteen thousand, in fact."

"Still, how many people did you sue in Australia?"

"Thirteen--"

"How many?"

Silence.

I wait.

Quietly, she says, "None."

"See. You're in the States for a year and you're suing people. You're so American now. I bet you have an accent."

"Fuck you," she says. "Look, I have to go now. I'll see you when I get back, okay?"

"Sure. Have a nice flight."