On a sudden whim, I decide to drive to Portland to visit some friends. When I arrive unannounced, my friends act happy to see me, but they all have to go to work, and I soon find myself alone and directionless in an unfamiliar city. With half a day to kill, I start walking through the downtown area, idly gazing through shop windows and staring up at the city skyline like a tourist from the sticks.

I pass dozens of trendy thrift stores, gelato shops, and intimidating book stores, but donít go into any of them. I keep going straight down the main street, pausing often but never turning. After a few hours, my legs are tired and I have given all my cash to transients with quick tongues and convincing stories. Iím about to turn back when I see an alleyway that looks strange somehow. A little too wide, or too clean, or something. When I get close enough, I stop in front of it and stare.