He works in a tiny office upstairs. Downstairs, girls with noses too big for the modeling business get their photos done anyway. A greasy man works there. Sometimes he and his friend put out a battered "Actresses Wanted" ply-wood placard, but in reality they’re girl-trolling sessions. Our hero (if you can call him that) gets out of his battered car. He ascends the stairs, fish tacos in a bag under his arm. He walks into his windowless office.
His waiting room is two chairs in the hall. His assistant, an 18-year-old Latino "straight out of school" (although she didn’t finish school) "mans the phones." Our hero walks into his office and puts a tape into his tape player. Head phones on, he listens. We hear breathing, Eventually we realize what he is listening to – it’s people having sex. He tries to match his own breath to that of the people on the tape.
We inter-cut what he’s remembering – being hunkered down in his car, watching as two people come out of a Sunset Strip motel – the "French Cottages" perhaps. He continues to stare at the motel. In his office, he listens to the empty room’s silence. Eventually, in flashback, he goes inside. We see him turn to a recording device above a seascape (sometimes he doesn’t even bother hiding the mics).
"It’s Nicky. They were in the room and left. There’s a smell of smoke, sex and salt. The pillows have been punched, nothing good happened here. I saw everything that happened here. Right Nick?" In his office, listening, he nods. We realize – he is Nick. In flashback, he retrieves his mic, picks up the pillows from the bed, darts out and throws the pillows in his trunk.
In a restaurant, he plays the tape for a tense woman. He stares spellbound while she listens through the earphones. "What are you hearing? What are you hearing?" He shows her photos he took of the room, almost beautiful in their abstractness. The seascape, the lamp, the TV that is chained to the wall. He explains, "These are the objects that witnessed the crime. Imagine if all the beds and all the carpets in the world could confess? What if every teenager knew what her dad had done? Every husband, every husband..." She breaks down, pays and leaves. He looks at her half-eaten food, picks it up and smells it. "I’m smelling her food."
We see him driving in his car. He is listening to a tape. "She took the pictures but left her food." We realize he has taped him giving her the news, and for him, only in replaying does life exist.