Three days later, the whirlwind romance continues, and they fly to San Diego for the ocean breeze. They finally crawl out of bed and start to do couples things. See the sites, enjoying the nightlife and they start to share more than just their bodies, more than just sex. Little by little, they reveal more and more about themselves. Shel wonders how a photographer has so much money to throw around. He compares himself to the poet, Rimbaud; “He gave up poetry and ended up running guns in Abyssina,” he tells her. When this causes Shel to frown just a little, he reveals that he doesn’t like guns. Doesn’t like what they do to people. Finally he comes clean with her, and gives her a gold amethyst necklace and tells her the story of the goddess Amethyst and the god, Bacchus. Then he gives her a chance to walk away when she realizes that the legend isn’t the only story behind the gift. He isn’t a rich photographer, but a high level pot smuggler. He had a chain of dummy companies to hide all the money in and he had a credo: No guns, no gangsters. It’s only money.
So, Dan Abatangelo is revealed as a knight in tarnished armor. In many ways the perfect protagonist of a modern noir story. He may be an outlaw, but not ‘really’ a criminal. Shel loves him, making unspoken commitments to each other, except Shel stipulates, “I see guns, I’m gone.”
Two years later, the federal government, contrary to Abatangelo's self-image, bust them and Abatangelo’s crew bringing in a big shipment. Abatangelo takes the fall, so Shel will get a lighter sentence and he gets ten years. Dan is still in love with Shel, and Shel tries to hold on for Dan to get out, but not knowing if he’ll even want her when he does get out. And because they won’t be able to see each other even when he does because of parole stipulations, she ends up with a damaged man. Frank is a loser crankhead who Shel falls for over a sob story of how his doper girlfriend killed Frank's son. Frank is on a mental and chemical slow boat to hell, and he’s taking Shel down with him. The people Frank owes for his habit aren’t the gentleman pot smugglers who eschew guns. These are hyped up redneck violent criminals, the kind of people Dan avoided and couldn’t identify with. And they have plenty of guns and speed freaks to fire them.