Saturday, September 25, 2004

COURTESY CONFIDENTIAL, Chapter VI


Yes, kiddo, I’ve stalled long enough in my little tale of Gimlets, Starbucks and Scandal. I suppose before going any further I should explain a little something about me. Namely my talent for finding stiffs. I still remember the first one like it was yesterday’s breakfast. It started one dark and rainy afternoon. Not the kind of dark and rainy that happens in the rest of the country, but the uniformly black clouded sky and deep torrential rain that comes with El Nino every so often after months of dry weather, drowning the L.A. Basin and taking a few people with it for good measure. In a town where the homeless population never harbors the fear of freezing to death, but setting up camp in the usually dry areas of the L.A. river during the rainy season can mean a watery death sentence. Of course when the newsies report on the casualties of Storm Watch you only hear about the random teenager that tried to boogie board in the river, getting dead in the process. The invisible remain invisible and what’s one fewer than yesterday if you didn’t notice them to begin with?

My first mistake was that I was doing the unthinkable. I was walking. No one does that here, which makes it all the more easy to miss something if you’re moving quickly in a car. I happen to like walking in the rain if I don’t have to be anywhere with my lipstick straight anytime soon. It’s good for the skin and even better for a hangover, which I happened to have in spades. I was walking in the rain, soaked through to the skin hoping against hope that the knitting needles impaled through my eyes into the back of my head would leave me, when I tripped over something I thought was a tree root. The tree roots around here are constantly winning in the war between Nature and Cal Trans sidewalk maintenance, so exposed roots and broken sidewalks are something of a normal part of the urban terrain. I recovered my balance while letting a particularly foul expletive escape my lips, looked toward the source of what tripped me, when I saw it. A leg. A human leg. A rather non-descript leg as legs go but for the fact there was nothing attached to it. The knitting needles moved themselves a bit deeper into my eyes at that point causing what was left of last night’s binge to abruptly leave me and take up temporary residence on the sidewalk. I figured the rain would get rid of it soon enough. From my bent over position I looked up and around me, and low and behold, under the ficus hedge adjacent to the sidewalk, I saw what appeared to be the owner of the leg protruding from under the hedge. At that point I thought it best to thank modern technology for the mobile phone and promptly called the police.

After that day, it seemed that I attracted dead bodies, specifically those not dead of natural causes, much like a bug light attracts a moth. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the fact that I happen to like looking around at my surroundings. Maybe it’s that I happen to like watching people, rather than pretending that they aren’t around unless they can do something for me. Whatever the reasoning, this little talent I’ve developed seems to rather annoy the men in blue of this fair city, and I’ve frequently been called in for questioning. I guess if I knew someone who kept inexplicably happening upon murder victims I would periodically wonder about their innocence. They’re just doing their job and I’m not bitter. I’d just as soon not happen upon the stiffs if I had any choice in the matter, but the cards don't play that way.

Which brings us to the stiff in Starbucks. From what I got from the news and the cops, it turned out the guy, as I suspected, was a musician. His stage name was Heathcliff and he played a regular gig at the Anti Club. When he wasn’t playing music, he was trying to pay for his rent by working as a janitor at the Jiffy Lube two blocks over from Starbucks. How he got dead was that someone hit him over the back of the head with a lug wrench found on the premises. How he got from Jiffy Lube to the bathroom floor at Starbucks without anyone noticing was anyone’s guess. I was pretty sure somebody noticed. If anyone did, though, the cops weren’t saying. They’re like that.

I hadn’t seen the sissy since that day. I figured I’d run into him eventually walking his dog with no poop baggie through the neighborhood. I didn’t. I never saw the sissy in my neighborhood again after that because it turned out the sissy wasn’t a local and the dog wasn’t his dog. Proof one more time that a man with bedroom eyes is nothing but trouble.

to be continued…..

2 Comments:

Blogger R said...

Didn't his mamma know that naming him Heathcliff pretty well guaranteed he'd end up badly?! Love it. Keep it up. Is there going to be a hot cop in this story somewhere? My hormones are begging for one. ha ha

25 September, 2004 20:24  
Blogger Laura said...

I was wondering what happened to that sissy! Sounds like he made like a tree and left. I mean he made like a banana and splat. Hmmm, my metaphors are completely failing me today. Sorry, dollface.

28 September, 2004 12:47  

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