With one heaving breath, Wiz’s eyes opened to a very familiar place.
It’s Wiz’s bedroom, in Highland Park, and it’s covered in some of his most prized belongings. There’s a collection of scooters leaned against one wall, and then one that was devoted to framed pictures – most with himself, Ether, and Tag, either from their dirty days in the bowls of Encino and Highland Park, or from the happier times as Jet Set Radio.
“Fuck me, it was just a prank. Jesus Christ, thank God…”
Wiz let out a squirrelly laugh.
“You motherfuckers have some kind of imagination to pull off whatever that was, baby. I’ll admit it too – I thought I was a goner. Shit…”
His voice echoed unnaturally – and the following silence made him cold to the touch. Of course, Wiz casually tried to play it off by talking to himself.
“This was one of those lessons, you dumb pelican. See what can happen if you fuck around too much? This. This happens – but good. It’s time for me to get my shit together anyways.”
Wiz shakes his head, in disbelief that he’s actually listening to himself for once, and goes to set his feet off of the bed and onto the floor beside him – except, there isn’t one..
Wiz is sucked through an invisible hole and regurgitated into a space-like suspended animation. Strangely, he can still see the bedroom that he woke up in, but it’s now at a fair distance in front of him. With every wiggle he made to break himself free of whatever this nightmare was, the further he was pushed away from the bedroom.
Even through his sheer panic, Wiz recognized this and decided to close his eyes and be as still as possible.
In doing this, he could feel himself floating toward the room.
That was, until Wiz’s eyes opened abruptly to the creak of a door opening – his bedroom door, in fact.
It was Tag, with a six pack of beer under his arm and a sack of weed dangling between his teeth – his favorite.
It was Ether, with an entire platter of southwest nachos – his favorite.
This was a hang – and Wiz cherished these more than anything else. He realized very quickly that he was expected to be there for this, and the confusion of both Tag’s and Ether’s faces exemplified that when they realized he was nowhere to be found.
“Yo! Hey! I’m right here. Look… over here!”
Wiz tries to signal them with a wave, but it’s no use. They can’t see him anymore – no matter what he does.
They start to turn around towards the door, and tears begin to immediately fall from Wiz’s face.
“Guys, please don’t leave. Please, just… just wait…just…”
Again, they hear nothing – and Wiz, once again, starts to slowly float away from the room.
As Tag and Ether shut the door behind them, a neon light appears on the back of it.
It says, Paradox Hotel.
Wiz starts to open his mouth, but a sudden force of gravity sends him downward.
An echoing snap is followed by the fluorescence of the sign fading away.