After a self-imposed exile, artist, Val Shepard, returns to New York City with the intention of picking up the life he left behind. With nowhere to go, he arrives on the doorstep of his ex-landlord and father figure, Jimmy Alfano. Jimmy is none too happy to see Val unannounced, and he lets Val know this. Annoyed with Val, but concerned over his wellbeing, Jimmy reluctantly offers him the Janitor’s closet across the hall from the studio Val abandoned when he left New York.
Cruising the Bars and Streets, Val soon learns that life on the Lower East Side has moved on without him. Looking to reconnect with the scene he visits the house of Madam Elsa Burgundy. She greets Val enthusiastically and introduces Val to Amiee. As Val and Amiee get better acquainted, they are interrupted by an argument in the hall outside their room where a man abuses a young girl. Val intercedes, and the man tells Val to move on and mind his own business. Unable to perform after his long trip, Amiee consoles him and allows him to stay for a while. She prepares a shot of heroin and asks Val if he’d like to try. He declines but asks her if he could watch while she shoots up. Before going on the nod, Amiee warns Val not to “stand on the sideline before it gets too comfortable.”
Val leaves Elsa’s house and returns to the bars of the Lower East Side, but nothing has changed, life has moved on without him.
In the Prologue, we are introduced to the Protagonist Val Shepard and his search to reclaim his essences. An Internal Exile in returning home to the scene of the crime he has begun the healing process and to make reparations. Human’s tend to ignore their fuck-ups, put them under cover in the back recesses of their consciousness. Only to be accessed during nightmares or times emotional duress. Val, while living in the Janitor’s closet across the hall from his former studio, is reminded of his past every time he leaves his home to go out into the world.
Val’s examination for his essences is a search for the meaning of all life. Yet as elusive as the true meaning for our existence, Val systematically misses the opportunity to find a purpose to which he could dedicate his being. When given a chance to partake, Val would rather watch than participate.
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