'Okay,' Ken says, looking around the circle. 'Does anyone have anything else they want to share?'
'Hell yeah,' Suzy says, and pulls a copy of Nihilistic Tendencies out of her bag.
Jesse finds himself grinning stupidly as, one by one, all the others start pulling out copies of the book too.
Ken takes a pen out of his jacket pocket hands it to Jesse. 'I think I would call this a success story,' he says, and Jesse blushes as he signs his name.
'When's the next one coming out?' Suzy says. 'I can't wait to find out what happens.'
'Me too,' Jesse says. 'I haven't nailed down all the scenes yet.' He smiles. 'But I'm working on it with my new co-writer. We're trying out a lot of ideas.'
'So what went down in here?' Mike says, showing his clean-up crew into Saul's office.
'You definitely don't want me to answer that,' Saul says.
Mike looks round. There are no dead bodies, no blood, no bullet holes that he can see. 'You sure you need the full works? These guys don't come cheap, Saul.'
Saul waves that off. 'Just make sure they do a really good job on my chair. I want that thing sterile.'
Mike frowns, but Saul passes over a fat envelope full of cash, which Mike considers to be a perfectly adequate answer to any and all questions.
He shrugs, pockets it and gets on with the job.
Gale spends a lot of time questioning his competence after he gets fired, until the day he spots Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, the young man who unfathomably usurped Gale's position, in a grocery store. Pinkman glances at him and frowns slightly, as if he can't quite place where he's seen Gale before, but then Walter comes around the other side of the aisle, and Pinkman forgets about Gale. Pinkman smiles at Walter and it looks like he forgets about everything. And Walter returns the exact same smile.
Gale quickly shrinks back, but there's no chance they're going to see him. They're clearly not seeing anything but each other.
And just like that, everything suddenly falls into place.
Confidence in his abilities restored, Gale starts applying for teaching positions. And when Mr Fring calls a few days later and says his chemists have 'left to pursue other avenues of employment' — a euphemism for 'been shot in the face' if ever Gale's heard one — he politely declines the offer to come back. On balance, he'd rather have a job with a slightly longer life expectancy.
'I'm sorry,' Marie says, 'but you're going to have to run that by me one more time. Walt earned this money doing what?'
Skyler takes a deep breath and counts to ten, then starts again. 'Writing erotica. About a vampire biker gang. With Jesse Pinkman. Saul Goodman publishes it, and people buy it through the internet.'
'By which you mean—'
'Porn, Marie. Yes.'
'With Jesse Pinkman.'
'And you're okay with this?'
Skyler sighs. She has money, a job doing the accounts for Pink and Blue Publishing, and an uncontested divorce. She really doesn't see the problem here.
'Yes. Marie, can we focus on the important part? The part where he earns a lot of money doing this? Money you can use to pay off Hank's medical bills?'
Marie gives herself a little shake. 'Yes, of course. Sorry. Skyler, you're right, it's wonderful, thank you. And thank Walt for me. It's just…' she blinks hard. 'You're sure this is the truth?'
'I've read the books,' Skyler says. She hesitates, then gives a tiny shrug. 'They're not bad.'
'Okay, I'm sorry, can we just go back over the part where Walt writes gay vampire porn with Jesse Pinkman?'
Skyler rolls her eyes and starts counting to twenty.
Dawn takes the new nurse to room 217. 'This is Hector,' she tells the girl. 'See his bell? That's our special system for communication. It's one ring for yes, two for no, three means he wants to use the alphabet board, and four means he wants you to read to him.'
The girl picks up the book from Hector's nightstand. 'Ooh,' she says. 'We did this for my book club. It's good. I love the vampires. But I think Axe should run away with the funny lawyer.'
'Everybody does,' Dawn says.
Hector gives his bell a resounding ring.
Badger's thumbs fly over the controller as he unleashes a kick-ass combo of moves all over Skinny Pete's ass. Pow!
'So,' Skinny says, 'Jesse's book, huh?'
'Yeah, dude. Sweet.'
'You read it?'
Badger flips his hair out of his eyes. 'Nah, bro, reading's not really my thing, you know? All those words. I totally looked at the picture on the cover, though.'
'What about you? You read it?'
Skinny shakes his head. 'Thought I'd just wait for the film. Films are always better than the books.'
'Righteous,' Badger says. They fist bump, then get back to the game.
Jesse wakes up slightly groggy and disoriented, not sure for a second where he is. Then the last few months all come back to him, in an immersive rush of images and sensations. It has both the bliss and familiarity of a thousand fantasies, and he thinks briefly of Terence: and then he woke up, and it was all a dream.
But Mr White shifts in the bed beside him, and throws an arm casually over Jesse's body, and something hard and very definitely not dream-like grinds into the muscle of Jesse's thigh.
Jesse rolls over.
'Mmph,' Mr White murmurs sleepily, his eyes closed.
'Wake up,'Jesse says, sliding his hand down between their bodies. 'Mr White, wake up, it's time to go to work.' He grins. 'We've got a hell of a lot of sex scenes to get through.'
Perched on a high stool in a bar in Alaska, John Smith, once known as Terence, hits the forward button on his Kindle until there are no more pages to display, then switches it off and finishes his drink.
'Well, shit,' he says slowly. 'I guess that was a better ending.'