This is why a bus full of blithe folks steered by a happily abstracted driver wound up making its first Californian stop in Crescent City, where nobody was waiting for it, and Juno lived to be something resembling grateful to a whiffy old man. (If she’d been given to anything resembling contemplation, she might’ve noticed how the low-level Magic that had protected her and made things turn out alright for her as a child appeared to be kind of springing back up again whenever Jock was briefly in charge.)

Although it took all day it had to be the only way to arrive in LA. Juno couldn’t imagine the shore of Loch Morar to be more breathtaking than that of Mendocino. Not a cloud was in the sky when Jock had his nose pressed to the window on the Golden Gate Bridge. At Half Moon Bay a picnic was waiting and at Big Sur the driver had a nap among rosemary and silk-tassel on the cliff. Juno had long abandoned herself to Jock. ‘This takes me back…’ said the old Scotsman to him as they stood in the fragrant haze and gazed out over the pines to the McWay Rocks glittering entrancingly in the south. He didn’t seem sure what it was taking him back to, and didn’t seem to mind. There was an upside to giving people amnesia for a day.

When the greyhound finally rolled into the Skid Row depot in the last glow of dusk, Jock was on a natural high that owed nothing to the Magic Juno’d done and everything to its results. Unfortunately it was down to this high that Juno ploughed through the confused crowd spilling from the coach without giving Jock a chance to set folks on their way, flew to the bathroom and hurled herself from behind a shut cubicle door straight to an alley by the Troubadour, inside which she knew David was pining.


In the Troub’s lobby Juno got the biggest shock of her life. It was here that she ran into Jock.