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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(“dead man lying by the side of the road with the daylight in his eyes...don’t let it bring you down ”)…Neil Young…1967

Chapter Twelve

Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles…2009

I am bored, this man bores me. Everything about him just bores me to tears. He’s taking the fun out of this. Well, almost. I needn’t waste any more time here, he’s not going anywhere. He’ll shave, shower, eat and sleep until 7 or 8 this evening. It’s his pattern, his boring, boring pattern. I suppose I could wait around and listen to him quiz Dr. Looney with his usual flare, rife with a boring amount of sexual innuendo and vulgar banter, the gutter snipe. Is he really attracted to that egghead? I think that he is. Ah well, no accounting for taste I suppose. He’s worse than a schoolboy crushing on his cute homeroom teacher, pathetic! I could stay put and hear it all from where I am perched. He has no idea who, what, or where I am, he has no inkling that he is being watched. Ah but isn’t that the way with everyone? Nobody wants to think they are that exposed, but they are. Someone is always watching, always.

I think maybe it would be more interesting to watch him from the other end of his call. Dr. Looney and I have yet to meet, formally that is. Perhaps this would be an opportune time? Now that would be a keen distraction, wouldn’t you agree? Women in general possess a heightened sense of awareness; it’s instinctive. She’d feel my presence even if she could not see me. Her sensitivity served my purpose, a woman’s fear is always more intense. Men have a keen fight or flight instinct. Women are deer in the headlights. Yes, I should visit Judy.

I really had no plans to do so, it would be so impulsive. Not like me, not like me at all. Still, I am strangely intrigued? Typically smart, driven females repulse me. They are overly assertive, out to prove themselves either equal to or superior to the males of the species. Pity, because in doing so the very essence of their femininity is sacrificed, and for what, to take on the worst characteristics of men? And intentionally change what was designed by the creator to be soft and beautiful into something hard and ugly. It’s a sad and unnatural transformation.

Christian Scripture reminds those that pay attention to such things that one cannot serve two masters. It’s true. Mankind has been missing that point ever since the garden in Eden. And the All Mighty has been punishing them throughout the ages ever since. They still don’t get it, fools. I suppose I could lend a hand in this instance, couldn’t I? Ah, but there’d be no sport in it. As females go Judy Looney is far from the worst of the lot. But Whitey is such a rube, and she is becoming a bit of a distraction. I need him to focus right about now and haven’t the patience for any detours. Judy’s served our purpose, we don’t need her anymore. It’s an opportunity to lend a hand to the man upstairs.

SHO-M-U-LYKE-M, Los Angeles…2009

It doesn’t rain very often in LA and when it does the populace goes positively bonkers. You’d think they had never seen water fall from the sky. Drivers can’t drive, buses are later than usual, traffic lights stop working, and everyone is dressed for a monsoon, ridiculous! That tended to make life miserable for Lu and Jai. As card carrying germ-a-phobes every time the door opened and a fresh batch of customers rushed in and shook off the cold their little pointed heads would nearly explode. Today was one of those days.

“OH, OH, please stop that,” Lu shouted, running over to assist his newest arrivals! He threw a fresh bath towel onto the floor at their feet and quickly handed another to each of the patrons.
“May I,” he added, taking their coats while they toweled off. He pointed at their shoes and then at the racks next to the door. They picked up on his message without a word spoken and stooped to remove their shoes placing them with the others.
“Thank you for your indulgence, we’re Asian after all,” Lu said smiling meekly.
“Not a problem Lu, it’s not our first time here,” replied the taller of the two.
“Of course, I should have recognized you,” said Lu, slightly embarrassed.
YES you should have,” scolded Lu’s better half, as Jai joined him at the door.
“Thank you Mr. Mankowitz, forgive the mess, it’s the precipitation you see,” Jai explained.
“Yeah, well you think we can we get a seat and a nosh now fellas, or are we going stand here and gab through my dinner break?”
“Of course, of course, Armando, table seven,” Jai replied, summoning the nearest waiter to seat the two patrons. The small round employee arrived in nanoseconds and quickly ushered the pair to the empty table near the deli case. Mr. Mankowitz winked at Lu and Jai as he was seated and the owners waived and made their way back to the kitchen.
“Well, that went well,” Jai said sarcastically.
“Can we just leave it alone,” Lu begged, his tone tired and low?
“Oh Lu Lu, don’t be like that, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just saying that I’m glad that went as smoothly as it did, all things considered.”
“I see, well, do you think we should pick up their tab,” Lu asked?
“No, these guys are shitty tippers, all the girls say so. Besides, they don’t earn a freebie by making puddles on our Italian marble, I mean really!”
“You’re to cute sweetness, now I remember why I keep you around,” said Lu, hugging his partner as they got back down to business. Just then Armando peeked in the kitchen door.
“Should I comp these guys a couple of cocktails?”
“NO,” Jai and Lu replied together, giggling at the absurdity of the question!
“I’m taking a break,” Jai said, bussing Lu and heading for the door.
“You mean you’re taking a nap,” Lu replied.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I mean, I’ve earned it,” Jai whined as he exited the kitchen.

Jai walked quickly through the dining room and past the bar to take the private lift up to the apartment upstairs. He accepted the glass of Chardonnay from William the bartender as he past by and entered the small elevator. Smiling at nobody in particular he sipped on his wine as the doors closed. His cell phone rang as if on cue. Jai fancied Mozart’s fleur de le it was his signature ringtone for the week, which he religiously changed every Sunday before bedtime. He waited a moment to answer, enjoying each note before the bridge.
“Cello,” he said coyly, pretending not to know who was on the other end.
“Don’t toy with me you beast! As much as I enjoy the heavy breathing I prefer it face to face lover,” Jai continued, scolding the mystery caller. The elevator stopped and the doors opened just as the expression on his face changed. The blood had suddenly drained from his face and he was even paler than normal, which was saying a lot because Jai Lai was famously nocturnal. Whatever had been said had brought on a serious mood change. Jai exited hurriedly, jogging across the all white carpet in his stocking feet and sat uncomfortably on a pristine white sofa. He sat down gingerly as if he were sitting on rice paper. His reflection in the large bay window stared back at him accusingly.

The city began the day to night transformation as the sun set quickly. Dusk became evening and the silence in the empty apartment seemed eerily familiar. Jai made no sound. He was clearly agitated. He listened for a long time, speechless, never uttering a response. He sat as if made of stone and stared down his own reflection, never blinking, not once, it was unnatural.
“You’re lying,” Jai said finally, tears dropping from his eyes. His voice began to quaver and was reduced to a harsh whisper. Sniffling audibly he continued.
“Why are you doing this? I don’t believe you, I won’t,” he whimpered, licking at his lips, tasting the salt from his tears. The voice on the phone was gone, the line disconnected. Still Jai held the device to his ear as if whoever was speaking would start again at any moment. Several minutes passed, long enough for the tears to dry, leaving snail trails down both cheeks.

The sun set had gone unnoticed and the large apartment had become dark and silent. Jai set the cell down on the end table beside him without flipping the phone closed. He stared at if for a moment then pushed the number one on the keypad. It was Lu’s cell phone number on speed dial. Rising from the sofa Jai walked over to the window slowly, while Lu’s phone rang faintly in the background.
“Hello? Peaches, is that you,” squawked Lu’s voice over the speakerphone? No reply.
“Come on Jai, don’t play games it’s really busy down here!” Still, no reply?
“Oh for the love of Pete, I’m coming right up,” Lu said annoyed. He removed his apron and walked out of the kitchen toward the lift, his cell phone still pressed to his ear. Lu was pissed, he hated when Jai got moody like this, as if he didn’t have enough to deal with on a busy, rainy day! The elevator doors closed and Lu started the slow climb to their 21st floor apartment. Still no sounds on his phone save the eerie static of silence.
Jai, Jai,” he called, not exactly shouting but darn close!
The doors opened as he arrived home and Lu exited in a huff. He passed through the foyer and then quickly crossed the living room to the sofa. He called out to Jai and heard himself over the speakerphone on Jai’s open cell resting on the end table table.
“Honestly,” he sighed. He ended the call by closing both cell phones. He scanned the dark room, which was dimly lit by the glare from the city lights streaming through the large bay window. He couldn’t see well and squinted as his eyes adjusted to the dark. He didn’t hear anything either except for his own movements. The refrigerator motor switched on suddenly and startled him. Lu recoiled abruptly and fell back onto the sofa, seating himself unintentionally. He clutched at his chest for a second composing himself and took a deep cleansing breath. He closed his eyes as he exhaled and then opened them slowly.
“This is so silly,” he muttered tiredly, scooting forward on the sofa to stand up.
“I don’t have the time or patience for your nonsense tonight Jai Lai. I’m going back to work. You know where to find me when you’re through brooding,” he shouted as he stood.
Lu walked back to the elevator without looking for his partner any further. What was the point? Jai was just setting him up for yet another bickering session. Lu hated those tiffs. Truth be told so did Jai, as he admitted time and time again. “I can’t help myself, it’s the way I was raised,” he would say as soon as the storm passed and it was time to make up. Lu tried to understand, he really did, because at the end of the day he genuinely loved his partner with all of his heart. But it’s true what they say about expecting leopards to change their spots, it’s not fair to expect the impossible. But behavior isn’t rigid, it’s fluid, and while people are what they are, changes are possible if they come from within. However, they can’t be coaxed or demanded.
Unconditional love is a rare and precious gift but always comes at a cost, and always to the one who gives. Lu had realized all of that some time ago yet was still learning to take the high road. He wanted to give the man he loved the freedom to be himself. I admired that, sort of, but I’ll never understand it. I’m too selfish to grasp the concept of unconditional love.

The elevator doors had started to close when the shot rang out, made louder by the complete absence of noise in the seemingly deserted apartment…BAM! Lu stuck out his hand to keep the doors from closing. The brushed aluminum panels hesitated and then reversed direction, allowing him the opportunity to squeeze past. He walked rather than ran toward the ringing sound of the explosion. Strangely, he felt calm even though his mind was racing through a litany of possible scenarios. He entered the hall and made his way to his bedroom. He could smell the cordite as it wafted toward him. The odor was caustic and made his nostrils flare. His skin became cold and he could feel the goose bumps forming on his bare arms. At the end of the long hallway, Lu entered the room that he and Jai had shared for so many years. It was where they loved, where they fought, and where they were a couple, in and out of like with one another but forever in love. He stopped at the foot of the bed and stared down at the lifeless form of his life partner.

Jai lay motionless, his open eyes staring up at the ceiling, a gaping hole where the muzzle blast had torn off most of his hairpiece (a little secret he had guarded closely in life). The weapon, still in his right hand, lay partially tucked beneath him at the small of his back. His legs were crossed the way they were when he worked the crossword on Sunday mornings. He didn’t look as dead as he was, well except for the blood maybe. Lu fought the urge to be angry at Jai’s selfish action. Then, he fought off the urge to cry. He settled on being comfortably numb and lay down beside his companion. On his side he studied Jai’s lifeless eyes and reached over to close them. He tried this several times but they would not stay closed. He wondered why? It always worked in the movies? He traced his index finger over the length of Jai’s form, beginning at his forehead and ending at the wrist of his right hand.

Lu touched the gun in his hand, it was still warm. A tear rolled down his face as he pulled the weapon from Jai’s hand. He held it and raised it high above the two of them, admiring the dullness of it. It was black and square like, with hard angles and it was lighter than he had imagined. It almost didn’t seem lethal at all, almost like a toy? He grasped it firmly and pointed it at the ceiling fan, counting the blades as they swung past the barrel. He gently laid it back down on Jai’s chest and wept softly. That was how I found them hours later when Marco called me from the restaurant. He was afraid to call the cops, and I could understand why. Romeo and Juliet were dead and for what? My job just became more than I bargained for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

(“when it comes to being lucky she’s cursed, when it comes to loving me she’s worse”)…Cat Stevens…1967

Chapter Eleven

Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles…2009

Staring out the corner window in my second floor flat above the bar at this flea bag hotel I recapped my morning as I watched some of the work-a-day skirts make their way up 5th Street on their lunch beak. You know, the worst part of living in the city is you can rarely escape the noise. Short of a living in a tomb you just had to learn to live with it! I wish I could say that was the only hardship a city-dweller dealt with, but that would be wishful thinking. There were the rats, the roaches, the stench permeating from any alley courtesy the great unwashed, and a hundred other pick-em inconveniences. But you know what; despite of all that, one thing managed to make it all worthwhile. Don’t bother guessing, I’ll just tell you, OPPORTUNITY. I know what your thinking, WTF right? It’s not rocket science; the city’s alive 24/7, no matter what time of day all year round. Now, granted, LA isn’t NYC by any stretch of the imagination, but if you want a cheeseburger, chili fries and a chocolate shake at 3am, not a problem, check out Pink’s. You want to catch a first run movie or off-off Broadway play at 7am on Sunday morning, just crack open your laptop and surf the web, you’ll find one, guaranteed. You say that you need a kidney transplant from an AB negative donor? Okay, that might be a stretch. But short of a kidney or heart transplant, you had an opportunity to do just about anything in this town. So, why the philosophical waxing you ask? I don’t know, I think I’m just getting old. Or it could be that I’m close enough to sixty to smell the tiger balm, or that I’m still paying spousal support to my trans-sexual ex who’s screwing around with the only woman I’ve thought twice about who wasn’t free lancing or table dancing. Whaaaaa, I’m actually nauseating myself! Okay back to the case.
I had taken the facts Judy Looney had shared to The Pantry on 9th and Figueroa and camped out at the counter to mull it over. If it had been closer to noon than 9am I would be doing this at Casey’s with a Guinness and a Jameson chaser. But it wasn’t and I’d been coming here three to four times a week since I started with the LAPD back in the 1970s. Actually my father had been a regular as well, ever since they moved into the corner slot in 1950. Before that I think my grandpa frequented the original diner which had been up the street from the current location. That old man was a pancake junkie, God love him. You could always find him there on any Sunday morning. Comfort food was his religion and The Pantry was his cathedral.
Okay, enough with the history lessons. Something Judy said was bothering me. It wasn’t any of the physical characteristics that she speculated on, let’s face it they could have fit at least a hundred profiles on the job in LA. There are what, nine or ten thousand sworn officers to choose from after all. Nope, it was the brown mustard comment that was rattling around my melon. Brown mustard, really, who eats brown mustard these days? You’d have to be a mustard consÅ“ur to willingly spread that stuff on your baloney sandwich. I hate that stuff and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on that. So why was this bothering me? I had already connected the easy dots; clearly this cop had spent a fair amount of time at Jai and Lou’s popular deli. That was a no brainer. There should have been an obvious trail here. Sure Jai was acting strangely and what was he doing meeting clandestinely with a uniformed officer in this town anyway? It couldn’t be sexual, that much I was more than sure of. I’d know the two little homos for better than twenty years and their relationship was rock solid, no doubt whatsoever! Whatever his reasons were I was fairly certain that I would have to ferret it out of the unknown cop, whoever it was. Confronting Jai while Lou was so deeply depressed would be unfair, at least for right now. Jai and I were heading toward a “come to Jesus meeting” but it could wait a while. It was time to update my KKK notes, what I knew, what I thought I knew, and what I wanted to know.

What do I know?
1. Sally November was still dead
2. Jai Lai, the little flamer knows way more than he is letting on
3. Somebody in the LAPD was closer to this than they probably should be
4. I’ll need details from Sally’s autopsy sooner than later
5. I’m going to owe Judy Looney big time

What do I think I know?

1. SN and Jai Lai had been in touch from day one of her arrival
2. SN’s death was no surprise for Jai
3. SN may have been more than an alias (still working on that angle)
4. SN had been murdered elsewhere and brought back to her apartment
5. SN was in the wrong place at the wrong time, she wasn’t meant to die

What do I want to know?

1. What was the exact time of death
2. What was the actual cause of death
3. What was in the toxicology report
4. What was Jai’s relationship to Mei Li Teng
5. What was Oscar Celaya keeping under his hat (that hump is always in the know)

All this thinking was starting to give me a headache. A police cruiser screamed by under the window suddenly and screeched around the corner onto Grand It was enough of a distraction to jolt me out of my brainstorming trance. Unfortunately it also startled the crap out of me and now there was a river of Guinness rushing across the small writing table at which I was sitting.
“Son of a bitch,” I shouted, jumping out of my chair!
Fortunately for me the only damage was to the steno-pad that I had covered with snappy little doodles over the last hour or so. Sure, sometimes those doodles proved useful, rife with clues mixed in with the art. But seeing as I had the talent of a five year-old with ADD, all the Guinness did was save me a couple of hours trying to read my own handwriting. Yeah, I’m pretty old school, and you could politely say that I was electronically challenged. So, there wasn’t any chance I’d wrecked a laptop or a what-cha-ma-call-it, an iTouch.
Look, when my brain gets full I empty it, meaning I break out a new stenographer’s notebook and fill it, every page, front and back. I had boxes of them, labeled, dated, and cataloged. I kept them stacked neatly against the wall across from my bed. A couple of them were pulling double duty as the base for my coffee table. Lay a thick piece of glass or sheet of plywood (depending on your budget) across four tightly packed banker’s boxes and viola, coffee table. Made the small room pretty cozy but since my divorce from both Rhonda and the LAPD, this small room had to multi-task. Rhonda took my present (our savings, our home, ect…) and the LAPD took my future (my pension, my self respect, etc…). I’m over it though, there’s nothing to be gained in bitterness. All that noise brings is an early grave. In hindsight Rhonda earned every penny putting with the mistress that my job had become. I wasn’t there for her when she was searching for herself. The cash helped with that journey even if where it took her was confusing as hell, but I won’t waste any words on that nightmare. As for the LAPD, fuck em!
Yanking the quilt off of my unmade bed I mopped up the puddle of Guinness, pitiful waste of a good pint. I guess now is as good a time as any to get the laundry done. I could make a couple of calls while I waited at the Laundromat. The first call should be to Judy to see if she had any pull with the Coroner’s Office. I’m sure she’ll be glad to hear from me again so soon. I needed to see that tox report, preferably before Oscar’s team did. The next call would be to Jai Lai, it was time. That was going to be a little tricky as I’d have to think of a good reason to call him out of the blue. Jai and I weren’t near as close as Lu and I were. I’ll think of something though, I’d hung around enough lawyers in my life to be able to fabricate something useful. It’s time to start answering the questions I’d been collecting. Sally would be buried in a few days and I wanted to send her spirit to wherever it is that spirits go with her killer’s name scribbled on the box they lay her to rest in. I wanted her family have closure. I wanted Lu to sleep again, to have peace of mind.

Monday, September 13, 2010

(“she put de lime in de coconut, called de doctor, woke him up”)…Nilsson…1973

Chapter Ten

Ahmanson Bio Research Center, USC, Los Angeles…2009

Judy Looney pulled off her specs and tossed them wearily onto the desk in front of her. Glancing quickly at her wristwatch she groaned audibly. It was 2am and she couldn’t believe that she had been working non-stop since lunch, again! It was the third time this week and she was beginning to feel every one of her forty something years. Thank God for Maxwell House and Folgers she thought; the lab’s java choices. Choices based entirely on cost versus taste of course. Lab rats are predominately poorer than the average rodent, a sad fact of life. But who cares, after the eighth or ninth cup nobody really tastes anything anyway. Hot, black and strong are the only criteria for double and triple shifts.
Sure, the teaching gig paid the rent, but that only accounted for 6 of the 18 hours she put in most days. It was her passion for research that kept her in the lab until the wee hours. Students would come and go but finding a cure for the big “C” was what she was all about. Being a Fellow at this school was a big deal. A bigger deal was being a part of the Regenerative Medicine / Stem Cell Research team at USC; now that was a huge honor! It was what put the spring in her step and the shit eating grin Edward’s face, her traditionalist Scots/Irish old man (father). He was a tough as nails retired longshoreman who emigrated from Glasgow to the United States during the cold war, 1962 to be exact. He brought his new bride straight from the Chapel to the Port of Los Angeles where he put in thirty five years loading and unloading containers from around the world. The young couple called San Pedro their home and settled in a small five room cottage within spitting distance of Ports of Call. It was a little dicey fitting into their Cabrillo St. neighborhood with its thick Yugoslavian population. In May of 1968 his wife Trudy bore him a daughter, the apple of his eye, and his pride and joy. They named her Judith Theresa Looney, after his great Aunt who had raised him. His own parents had been killed during the London blitz in 1943. Tragic really, and tragedy had followed him to the new world as well. Trudy would later die in child birth, two years after Judith’s arrival. While that child, also a wee girl whom they called Cassie (short for Cassandra) would pass at the tender age of eight after a short and fierce battle with cancer.
That was the defining moment in Judy’s life. It changed her forever. It drove her to medicine. It was also responsible for her Looney Tunes nickname the one we all love to tease her about. I should explain that. You see, prior to Cassie’s death Judy could have been best described as a wallflower, shy and reserved to the point of appearing autistic. For whatever reasons, reasons only she could know, the old Judy was buried with her sister on that day as well. The pre-teen that emerged became a hellion of legendary proportions. The shy little girl whom Edward sometimes worried about became a fearless woman child that filled him with pride one minute and something between terror and anger the next. Fast forward a few decades and here she sat, thirty miles from where she grew up, still Daddy’s little girl, when she allowed it, and working non-stop on the cure that would fulfill a promise she made to a ten year-old one cold and stormy night in 1978.
Judy punched off her desktop, watched as it powered down then swiveled around 180 degrees to make her getaway for home. Standing slowly she yawned and did a big girl stretch, her arms reaching high for the ceiling as her lungs filled with air. In mid-exhale the phone rang loudly, startling her into a freakish leap, like a garden gnome on crack.
“SHIT,” she shrieked, spinning around quickly to lunge for the offending piece of office equipment! She picked up the handset and screamed into the receiver.
Slamming the handset back into the cradle she sat back down to catch her breath and waited for the phone to ring again. She knew it was me; nobody else would be calling at this hour expecting to get an answer. She also knew that I wouldn’t sleep until she told me what I needed to know. She watched the phone with an unblinking stare and drummed her fingers on the desk impatiently. I didn’t disappoint her, and she picked up a millisecond after the first ring.
“What Whitey, WHAT?”
“Take it easy doll, don’t get your panties in a bunch,” I replied defensively.
“Hey, leave my underwear out of this DICK, and why are you bugging me at this hour anyway?”
“I just want to go home, feed my cats and crash for a couple of hours before the freaking alarm screams at me to get up and do this all over again!”
“Hey, hey, just because you coaxed that family secret outta me in a weak moment doesn’t mean you can throw it back at me whenever you please. Besides, you promised never to call me that Judy. A promise is a promise!”
That felt a little pathetic and I could tell by the silence on the other end of the line that Judy picked up on my self loathing. I heard her stifle a giggle and waited for a sarcastic come-back line. I didn’t have to wait long.
Awww, sorry bout that Nancy, maybe we can chat about that when you’re done with your period,” she said with a grin that I could feel through the phone line.
“Funny Judy, you’re a real riot! Look, just tell me what you know about those threads I left you this morning and we can both call it a day,” I snapped.
“Alright Whitey, this is getting boring anyway. So, about the threads, well, you were right. They’re off a LAPD uniform. Whoever was wearing it was a male with O positive blood. He is likely over forty and is graying slightly. I can’t tell you height, weight, or shoe size, but I can tell you that he smokes and that he likes his sandwiches with brown mustard. How’s that for a freebie? This is a freebie, right Whitey?”
“Ah, natch on the freebie doll, I’ll have to owe you for now, you know how it is.”
“Yeah, I know, gumshoes don’t make dick, no pun intended.”
“Okay, I deserved that. But I have to know, how did you glean all of that from three tiny threads?”
“It’s not rocket science Whitey. The threads must have been off a shirt sleeve, near the cuff I’m guessing. Since its December the LAPD is dressing out in their winter gear, right? I figured near the cuff because the hands are next to almost every action we take. Like for instance, eating, smoking, drinking, washing up after you take a leak, or mixing it up on the job with a feisty perp. Am I right?”
“Sounds plausible, I guess that makes sense?”
“Trust me, it makes perfect sense.”
“Still, humor me,” I pleaded.
“Sheesh Whitey, you’re a piece of work,” replied Judy! I could hear her reacquiring a comfortable position in her chair. She yawned deeply and then began her dissertation.
“Alright gumshoe, by the numbers then. ONE, three blue cotton fibers, no great stretch, easily traced to the manufacturer, who by the way has an exclusive contract with the city for the fabric; which I identified by lot through the dye in the material. TWO, blood type recognition, also a no brainer. The fella may have got a paper cut issuing a citation or maybe cut himself shaving, I don’t know, but the samples tested as O positive and had traces of testosterone in the sweat also found on the fibers. THREE, the gray hair was a lucky find as one of the fibers had a small follicle on it, likely from his arm. That was another indicator that we are dealing with a male subject here, well that and the testosterone. FOUR, the age is an educated guess based on the follicle. FIVE, traces of nicotine were on the follicle as well as the threads. And finally SIX, the fella must have gone to the same charm school as you did because this little piggy likes his deli with spicy brown mustard. Just like you, right Whitey? There, is that enough detail for you?”
I offered up my praise with a long and low whistle over the telephone line and I could hear her snicker tiredly on the other end.
“Very impressive, you’re just too cool for school Miss Looney, why aren’t we sleeping together anyway?”
“You’re a class act Roode, unfortunately you’re also an asshole. Besides, I’d rather do the deed with your ex, you know that.”
“That’s right; you two are still thick as thieves aren’t you. Thanks for rubbing it in.”
“My pleasure, on both counts,” she replied softly.
“On that note I’m hanging up and going to bed,” I said, half hoping she felt like talking more. I always had a soft spot for Looney Tunes even if she was a rival of sorts.
“Okay, I’m doing the same. G’nite Whitey, hope that helps you earn a buck or two.”
“Yeah, well, we’ll see. G‘nite…”

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I was going to write a piece about the significance of this day in our history. Images burned into our memories forever as if imprinted at birth. In a way it was a birth of sorts. Actually, for most of us it was a re-birth to be specific, because in those tragic moments 250 million patriots were born. But as I sit on this bench in Del Mar, looking out to sea and thinking of what to say, the urge to pontificate wanes. Silent reflection seems more appropriate, remembering 2977 (according to Wikipedia) heroes who died bravely. Some by fate, and some by choice. So…

Thanks a Lot

What you suffered, what you gave cannot be measured
The sacrifice you made never repaid
But here’s a pledge from me cause that is all who I can be

Thanks a lot, hey thanks a lot

I swear by all that’s holy that I’ll send you and yours my love
Every nine eleven from now on
Cause if Heaven’s a real place I know you’re standing in His grace

Thanks a lot, hey thanks a lot

The sun has gone and sank into the ocean
Still the waves continue crashing on the shore
The sound they make is soothing, rich, and oh so deeply pure
And echoes loud and long between my ears

Thanks a lot, hey thanks a lot

If I listen close enough the roars turn into voices
Of a people sending messages to angels
The sentiment is clear as they shout loud for all to hear

Thanks a lot, hey thanks a lot

I wonder sometimes what you all are thinking
When you look back down upon this spinning ball
I hope that what you see is pleasing to you
Right or wrong we’re trying hard to set things straight
And through the voices in the waves I hope that you are hearing

Thanks a lot, hey thanks a lot…

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