L.A. SLEEPERS Excerpt: Cab or UBER?

L.A. SLEEPERS Excerpts: Cab or Uber?
by Dakota Donovan

Sunset Blvd Overhead Street Sign with Dusk Sky

In my novel L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery, I love to take cabs— because I hate driving in L.A. traffic, especially in my old Toyota, where I risk heatstroke thanks to the vehicle’s broken A/C.   I wrote L.A. SLEEPERS in 2014, before UBER gained widespread popularity—as I understand it, the service entered the L.A. market in 2013— and prior to the book’s  2016 release, I wondered if I should revise my ride from West Hollywood to Los Feliz from a taxi to an UBER. I opted to keep the passage in a taxi, since my decision to call for a ride is spontaneous—I flag down a cab after I run out of the Target Store at LaBrea and Santa Monica Blvd., following an incident involving a man hired to tail me. In my next novel, L.A. DREAMERS, I will most likely have the UBER app on my smartphone!

Here’s the cab-centric opening passage (abridged) from Chapter 11 of L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery:

Five minutes later, I’m in a cab headed for home—after convincing the driver to stop at an ATM so I can get cash for the fare, another expense added to an already expensive day.

I love riding in cabs—I love it anytime somebody else drives, giving me a chance to sit back and take in the sights. The driver is taking the slow route across Sunset—and Santa Monica Boulevard would be faster and cheaper, but I decide to enjoy the ride. It’s a luxury I can’t afford, but as long as I’m here, I may as well float on the current of nighttime L.A.

As we drive east, I turn and view the last strands of sunset through the back window. The cab is quiet—no radio, no chatter from the driver—just the buzz of the engine and the whistle of air through the windows. Outside, everything takes on a violet hue, as if all of life’s bruisings and batterings have risen to the surface and will soon dissolve into the night. This is when I like L.A. best—and even feel I might love it—when the sun is about to set.

At sundown, I always feel a mixture of nostalgia, romance, regret, and hope—a sublime cocktail that I down with pleasure. Whatever I’ve gone through during the day—and on this day, it has been a lot—the bittersweet dusk makes it all worthwhile.

It’s after eight and the sunlight is bowing out for the day—there are just a few more minutes to witness the glowing glory of it all. I float on the scene, the moving canvas appearing on the window, feeling good, feeling great, feeling all is right, very right, with the world.

My mellow groove dissolves in an instant. I feel a strong vibration and my first thought is . . . earthquake!

I clutch the seat in front of me and say to the drivera middle-aged guy with a red toothpick protruding from his mouth—”Did you feel that?”

The driver shrugs and moves his toothpick from the right side to the left side of his mouth.

Another few seconds go by before I understand that it isn’t an earthquake—it’s black hoodie’s cell phone vibrating in my back pocket. Yes, the buzzing insistency of the world always comes calling when you’re enjoying a transcendent moment. So much for the sunset.

I flip open the phone and see the text message: “Where in the hell are you?”

End of Excerpt

Find L.A. SLEEPERS: A Hollywood Ghostwriter Mystery at Amazon.com

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