For Tuyet, Katrina, KaSandra, and Luc
Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles…Thursday, Feb 19, 2009…9am
No doubt about it, I was being watched, my spider sense confirmed it. They had to be cops! The oinkers must have been tailing me from the get go, beginning at USC the other day, and then ratted me out to the boss-man, which meant that Lt. Celaya knew Judy Looney had been talking to me. It also meant that I should expect a personal invitation downtown for a 'come to Jesus' meeting with that fat headed beast and his flying monkeys, marvelous! You know, getting grilled is the pits, I know, I used to do it for a living. It’s not just a matter of being questioned; tactically there’s quite a difference. Typically, when someone is only being questioned it’s to rule them out as a suspect. A grilling however involves a ride on the 'big blue choo choo' courtesy the LAPD as they railroad you toward a confession. And make no mistake; they’ll get it, one way or the other, they’ll get it!
So, to recap, questioning, easy quick and painless, grilling, well, let’s just say that a good grilling will leave a mark or two! As a general rule I prefer to avoid either! However, given my naturally nosey nature and general 'don’t give a flip' attitude that didn’t seem likely seeing as I'm in Oscar’s crosshairs again! You know, for a smart guy I seem to be lacking common sense more often than not these days? Let’s face it; I enjoy winding that palooka up way too much. It’s a wicked little pleasure, I know, but I hope to outgrow it someday. Hell, I’m getting too old to be a full time smart ass anyway. Besides, the price of chuckles keeps getting higher and higher the older I get. Seriously, I should be more careful where he’s concerned because I’m pretty sure that under the right circumstances or given the slightest provocation the flatfoot would put one right between my eyes! And who could blame him? My lack of respect for him is legendary in this town. I’ll be the first to admit that our little feud is totally sour grapes over his involvement in my early “retirement!"
I quickly crossed the room to the small writing table resting cozily under the corner window of my shabby one room apartment, and debated whether or not to call Judy Looney again so soon. I don’t know why it was such an internal issue? It should've been a short debate at best; I mean professionally it was a no brainer. She was a source of critical information, right? I needed that brain of hers; she was a key element in solving this case. I decided face to face would be best. A grin spread across my face and made me feel a little high-schoolish. I’m not a child, really, I’m not, but I’ll admit that I can see where I might seem like one at times given my arrested adolescence, much more on that later! Look, there’s chemistry between us, I’m aware of that. Okay, it’s totally laced with sarcasm, but like my old mother used to say, “the girl who treats you worst, loves you most.”
Sure, Judy Looney was attractive in her own way, physically I mean. And it wasn’t just her features (nice cans), that attracted me either. Actually, brace yourself; it was her intelligence, and the comfortable smile that came with every shared moment. I could be myself around her, without compulsion to put on airs. I dunno, lately I just wanted to be around her more often. I’ve even caught myself looking for reasons to drop by the campus. I’ll be honest, her being easy on the eyes might have had a little more to do with it then I let on, but hey, I’m a man aren’t I? Listen, her head might be packed solid with gray matter, but the rest of her is firm where it should be, soft where I like it and she smells good. What can I say, that’s what’s important to me these days, go figure? Ah well it was moot anyway, she was Ronnie’s girl now, and they were madly in love, or so they kept telling me, whatever! I should quit pining over nothing. Sometimes I wish I could kick my own ass!
Something caught my eye suddenly, just outside the window? I studied the group of people crossing the street and counted noses. Nothing out of the ordinary, whatever I saw had merged with the crowd and disappeared. It was getting late and if I was going to catch Judy at home before Ronnie rolled in from the office I needed to get a move on. I grabbed my keys off the desk and turned to leave, and then abruptly whipped around to look out the window once more. Something was making the hair on the back of my neck stand up, like I had just shuffled across a shag carpet in my socks. I stared out the window for a few seconds not exactly sure what I was looking for?
“Ah, bag it,” I muttered and left the room.
Hollenbeck Station, Los Angeles…Friday, Feb 20, 2009...6:30pm
“Until I say you’re done, that’s when!” Lt. Oscar Celaya shouted into the handset as he slammed it back onto its cradle. The five o’clock shadow poking through his weathered face had grown thicker by a couple of hours, and the hot headed lieutenant was tired and pissy. It was Friday night and way passed supper time. Hell, these days bed time wasn’t far off either for a man his age whose work day started at 5am, five sometimes six days a week. Oscar had put a couple of gold shields onto both of our tails, meaning Judy Looney and yours truly. One of those shields was a newbie transfer from Parker Center. Apparently we were too boring to warrant a seasoned pair of flatfoots. Oscar's surveillance detail was probably what was giving me goose bumps back at my apartment the other day? I didn’t see them when I left, but I knew they were around, I could smell their bacon as soon as I hit the pavement. Odds are the jack-holes were around the corner at Clifton’s swilling coffee and stuffing their fat oinker faces!
Lt. Celaya leaned back in his chair and rubbed his tired eyes. He decided it was time to call it a day. Fishing out his car keys from his center desk drawer, he got up and put on his worn and torn sport coat, the one with the patched elbows. It was his town and country look. He watched the busy precinct going about their business through the glass that surrounded his office. Slipping his arm into the coat sleeve he shook his head slowly and rolled his eyes. The night shift was never dull, there was crazy shit happening from dusk to dawn, it’s when the animals roam the city. He rapped on the window signaling for a skinny sergeant to meet him at the door. The startled officer took a quick sip of her coffee and rushed around to see what he wanted.
“Yeah LT, what’s up,” asked Sergeant Ann Kowalski?
“Annie, do me a favor will ya? If my phone rings again, and it will, tell the chuckleheads on the other end of the line that they can go home,” Oscar said yawning.
“Sure LT, any reason we can’t just have dispatch call them now?”
“Yeah, two reasons, BE – CAUSE!”
Sergeant Kowalski knew that tone and decided to zip it before she wound up Corporal Kowalski. Oscar waived at the room as he headed toward the exit and home to his teeny bopper wife who would re-heat dinner and yammer on and on until he fell into blissful slumber. Actually, if I know Oscar Celaya he’ll hit Tito’s Tacos on the way home and choke down half a dozen beef taquitos with cheese and extra guacamole. Hmmm, actually that sounds pretty good right about now. Maybe I’ll grab a bag–o–tacos my own self and treat Dr. Judy to a little snack and chat? I tipped my hat at the precinct building as I drove by on the number 30 bus, then leaned back and closed my eyes for the rest of the twenty minute ride. I would have slept too except for this nagging moment of anxiety that I couldn’t explain?