In the streets of Los Angeles, underneath the dead embers of the sky, life goes on. In the bottoms they fry onions, cook noodles, drink cheap beer, screw. They die young, lungs black as tar, skin blotched and spotted with neoplasia, not necessarily unhappy. Music blares from every window, and from the tenebrous pits of bars. They smoke like chimneys; why not? Life is cheap, meaningless and cheap as discarded plastic, but not unpleasant.
Advertisers promise riches, youth and beauty, rejuvenation under a new sun. So much empty noise. They can imagine no other life — why would they want to? Everything is here. They fight with knives and fists and chains, men and women brawling out into the streets, guns long ago sold and melted down and shipped off-world. They burn out on drugs and conspiracy theories polished to a high gloss.