Monday, September 23, 2013

CHAPTER 22 / THE FINAL CHAPTER OF PART ONE in " They Call It The City of Angels" by Joshua A. TRILIEGI

They Call it The City of Angels

A New Serial Novel by Joshua A. TRILIEGI

Exclusively for Readers of BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE and
our Three sites in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.
All National & International Copy Rights Reserved to the Author.
Final Chapter of PART ONE in This Experimental Fictional Novel.
A Chapter a Day, Written & Posted immediately, for the past weeks.
Soon Available in AUDIO Narrated by the Author at Our Website.

Chapter Twenty Two: Ashes

By the Fall, Mickey and his extended family had adjusted
to Charles' return relatively well. Except for his grandma,
who had been waking at odd hours, sometimes leaving the
house, wandering about the streets of Venice aimlessly.
On Halloween, she had taken a walk along the beach, on
her own and somehow fallen into the water. Now she was
in the hospital with hypothermia, in and out of awareness.
Moon spent most days at her bedside, Mickey spent most
of his evenings there and everyone else dropped in when
their schedules allowed. Calley and her new girlfriend were
taking care of the bookstore. Maggie, who had always had
a tempestuous relationship with her mother & had mixed
feelings about her parents relationship and the early death
of her own father, went awol. Moon could never understand
this part of Maggie, nor could she adjust to Charles new
presence in their lives. She had always been torn between
Mickey's adoration of the man and Maggie' s stories of the
man's neglect of his responsibilities as a father. Moon was
stuck between two viewpoints and couldn't find any middle.
Grandma's most recent incident had brought all of these
issues to the forefront and Moon finally confronted Mickey.
"Your grandmother's in the hospital and your own parents,
can't find enough decency to come to her side. What the
f@#$ is wrong with them ? Jesus christ Mickey, do some-
thing." He just looked at her, "Do something? Like what ?
Everyone in this family has a different relationship with a
history all it's own. What can I do about it? You and I are
doing all we can. You can't change, history or people or
what they've been through or how they do or don't relate.
Look, I love the way you can stand up for what's right,
but my parents come from a whole other world. I can't
even pretend to understand what they went through.
Either can you. So if you've had enough, if you don't want
to be here or put up with it, I understand. But Charles is
my dad, he put me on the planet. I have to respect that."
Moon just stared back at him for all of a minute. "Were
not talking about respect here, were talking about an old
woman who is on her way out. Your parents need to get it
together enough to overcome all their bulls*&% and stand
by her side." Now he was upset. "Stand by her side ? Who
do you think helped that bookstore to survive ? Do you
know how many times my Mom and Dad bailed that place
out through the years? When Maggie couldn't make a
payment, Charles gave her the money. It was always a
big secret, because Gram wouldn't take any support from
him, so he did it on the sly. They've been there for her
all along. I don't know why things are the way they are,
I just know that it's our turn to take care of her and that's
what were doing. Stop trying to change everyone else,
these people won't change, so forget about. To be honest,
I don't think the old gal even cares about them being here.
So lets just deal with it ourselves." Moon wasn't satisfied
with that response, she walked back into the room with
grandma and sat next to her side. Mickey followed her.
The last place in the world the old girl wanted to die was
in a hospital. A week later, they took her home and she
gladly let go of her body while sleeping in her own bed.
It was the same bed she had created the child who had
created Mickey who had met Moon and so on and so
forth. "We are gathered here today to pay tribute to
a woman who singlehandedly championed the great
writers, poets and artists of her time... " Everyone
was present at the ceremony. Moon had insisted on it.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Fred got a call from the
detectives downtown, apparently, the video camera had
captured more than a few seconds of the exchange between
Sam's youngest son and Fred, the night of the fire. If Fred
didn't come clean about what really happened, they were
going to charge him and the boy together. They knew
Fred had no part in the burning of the palm tree, but
how else could they get him to cooperate? He had
opened the gate and let the boy escape. He had lied to
everyone including the feds. The insurance company had
it's own investigating team and if they got word or were
given the videotape, any number of things could happen.
Fred came clean and explained what had happened. He
said that if worst came to worst, he did not want to press
charges against the boy, it was his dead partners kid,
how could he ? The detective explained that the situation
had become much more dire than Fred realized. The boys
downtown, the Mayor and the federal team were going to
pin more than this palm tree burning on the boy. They
needed to wrap the case up and were willing to provide
evidence that would put him at more than several of the
burnings. "You'll lose your license. You'll lose the store.
It's not just about your property here Fred. This is about
solving a much larger issue. Are you willing to lose it all
over something you didn't even do ? You are going to have
to testify in a court of law about everything that happened
that night." Fred shook his head in disbelief, "The boy
made a mistake" The detective countered, "He sure did.
Thats a fact. But you made a bigger mistake. You tried
to cover it up. That makes you an accessory. We need you
to come with us downtown." Fred closed up the store and
locked the back gate. The detective took out his handcuffs,
placed them on the man's wrists, put him the back seat.
The boy, who was actually in his early twenties, was
already in lock up. He had denied the entire event, even
while watching the footage. "That's not me." He had said.
The scar on his leg begged to differ. Before Fred even got
downtown, a call was made to the reporter at The Weekly,
the headline read: "Palm Tree Burnings, Case Closed ?"
Hardly. The Weekly had a tendency to dig a little deeper,
they felt that something wasn't right about the official story.
It would be just an opener to an ongoing series of articles.
Fred was out on bail the same day, his golfing pals had
pitched in, the boy, on the other hand, was sweating it out.

In early Spring, Wanda got tested and came up positive.
Jordan was gonna be a Poppa. He had been back on the
bus line now for several months. Certified at last. Things
had mellowed out in their lives and with a regular paycheck,
he had no reason to dip into his new found savings account.
They did all the things that couples do when expecting,
except for marriage. They made a list of names, they had
a few customary parties and they notified their parents.
Well, Wanda notified her parents, Jordan wasn't so sure
he wanted to open that door just yet. So, he told the dudes
down at the park and over at Transit and Old Man Withers.
They had rented the place and had jokingly told the old man
that if he ever wanted to sell, they were interested. Now it
wasn't a joke. Jordan thought that whatever happens to
animals when that ol' stork comes to town was not a myth.
He was feeling the roots pretty strong now and the idea of
having his own place was tugging hard at him. Wanda was
all for it. She was not a young woman and saw this is a
sorta pleasant surprise. Everything was falling into place.
Jordan was back on his regular route when the verdict in
a high profile case was announced on the radio. A man
had been beaten severely by authorities, someone had
actually caught it on camera and it had been played over
and over and over on news channels and outlets through-
out the world. It was brutal. The man had been pulled over,
resisted arrest and was beaten with clubs by a group of
men mercilessly. It had been talked about for the past
six months and when the verdict was announced that the
men had been innocent of any charges. The people of
Los Angeles, everyday citizens became confused. Every
person, no matter what color, what age, had seen the
footage. It had been the focus of conversations since
the footage had been released and repeatedly shown
everywhere. Jordan heard the news on his break and
instinctively knew that something was going to happen.
He had five more rounds to make before his shift was
over. Already people were talking about it on his bus.
By the time he made his second to last round, the sun
was going down and their were now several reports of
protesters who were doing more than carrying signs.
A kiosk at a police station downtown had been turned
over, several bricks had been thrown through windows.
As the local news channels reported each incident, the
people of Los Angeles watched and eventually, joined in.
Quickly, the reports of violence became a sort of map,
people watched it spread, stores were sent ablaze and
the decision had exploded into a full on riot. Jordan's
bus was empty, he had one more round to make before
heading back to Transit. When he got word that people
were attacking and burning liquor stores, pawn shops
and 99 cents stores, he immediately thought of the
bass guitar that his uncle had given him. It still sat
in the window of the pawn shop. He made a left hand
turn, veering from his routes schedule on Martin Luther
King Boulevard and onto Crenshaw. Three blocks away,
he could see a pick up truck ramming into the front
door of the pawn shop. On the first try, it broke open
the metal gated door, on the second try, it broke off
the corner of the stucco beam, by the third try, the entire
corner of the building had fallen away, leaving a gaping
hole large enough for a group of people to enter and exit.
That's exactly what they did. Jordan pulled the bus to
the curb directly across the street. He ran up to the shop,
climbed in and over the pile of metal, stucco and broken
wood. He jumped up and over the glass barrier, grabbed
his uncles red bass guitar, strapped it on his back, climbed
back over the bullet proof glass window and out onto the
street. While Jordan ran back across the street to his bus,
a news camera transmitting live footage pointed its lens
directly at him. He was back in the spot light once again.
He climbed back onto the bus and headed straight for
the transit authority. The fact that he had a pawn ticket
for the item in question sitting directly in his wallet didn't
mean much to his superiors. To Jordan, the red bass guitar
was a precious item that would one day belong to his son.
It was an heirloom. He and Wanda watched the city burn
to the ground. People elsewhere couldn't understand why
anyone would do such a thing. Jordan and Wanda didn't.
They knew exactly why. Some time later, they bought the
house from Old Man Withers for a fraction of the price it
would have gone for the year before. This was their 'hood,
this was their city, this was their country. They were here
to stay. Jordan plugged in his bass and played a lick he
had learned while working with a rock band back when
he was a kid. Some dudes who were deep into the MC5.
Doot - Doot - Doo - Doot - Doot - Do - Do - Doot - Doot -
Do - Doot - Dooooo , and the lyrics went, 'Smoke on the
water, Fire in the Sky, Smoke on the Water', Doot - Doot
- Doo - Doot - Doot - Do - Do - Doot - Doot - Do - Doot -
Dooooo .

Stan was given a high profile case that had been moved
to his district. The lawyers had chosen their jury carefully,
cautiously, selectively, judiciously. Stan knew very well
that this was a case that everyone was watching. He had
seen the footage as had everyone else in the world. Dora
and he had discussed the case almost everyday of the trial.
It was hard not to. the man had been beaten by clubs more
times than stan would actually pound his gavel during the
case. the pounding of the gavel and the pounding of the
man had become an image in Stan's mind. He had been
through so much in the past year that sometimes he
thought of doing something else altogether. But these
were ideas that quickly came and went. He had made it
to the big time. Presiding over a case like this was every
law students dream. Stan knew very well that when the
dream becomes a reality, all the real work begins. He was
presiding over a trial that the entire world was watching.
Every question, every answer, every objection, every ruling
would be scrutinized by law professors and students for
years to come. Not just here in the United States, but
around the world. This had become a human rights issue.
He knew exactly where Dora's heart was, on this particular
issue, but, as a judge, he felt the need to separate his own
personal opinions. He was the king of departmentalizing,
always had been, even as a kid. He would never judge his
dad for being distant, nor his mom for being authoritarian.
Stan had a keen sense of equal balance. But when the jury
announced their verdict, Stan was flabbergasted. He looked
over at the jury and his eyebrow lifted several inches.
He did a sort of comic double take, but there was nothing
funny about it. He looked over at the man who had been
beaten. Visible scars both physical and otherwise were
obvious. The men had been found not guilty of overstepping
their authority. Their lawyers had argued that the man had
struggled. The man had threatened. The man was dangerous.
They argued that what you saw on camera was not the entire
story. They had explained carefully, quietly, diligently and
they had won their case. It was over. The men were given
back their jobs and that was the end of the story. Or so
they thought. When Stan and Dora had dinner that night,
they watched the reaction with everyone else, on television.
Well, not everyone, those on the streets: the angry, the poor,
the forgotten, the struggling, the downtrodden were in it.
Dora felt terrible for Stan. She hated to see the city divided
into sections and colors and categories that would put it
back for decades. They stayed up all night. Cliff was
surprisingly quiet, peaceful, rested. He had already seen
and drawn it the same week that Stan had been appointed
the trial. By now, Cliff was way ahead of the game.

Louis had kept busy in the past few months. The recent
strike down in the Harbor hadn't affected business much.
But it sure was affecting everyone else. The Longshore
Locals had gone on strike for its dock workers. It had
been years since they had a pay raise. More ships lined
the Harbor than had been seen since the beginning of
World War II. Full of product: Electronics, toys, house-
hold goods, automobiles, leather goods, just about every
thing you could think of that was imported came through
the port. Ever since the Air Traffic Controllers union had
been busted up, the powers that be had been attempting to
dismantle every union in it's path. What was once a proud
American tradition was now being trashed by a group of
powerful entities, including some in government. Why
would anyone ever try to break up a union that ensured
people a safe place to fly a plane? Safe for the worker,
the controller, the pilots and ultimately the passengers ?
It took everyone by surprise and was really only the
beginning. The longshore union was strong. Several ports
along the West Coast decided to back up the harbor workers.
It looked like the entire public as well as distributors were
going to learn a serious lesson this Christmas. No new cars,
electronics or toys. It was as if Santa Claus wouldn't be
coming to town. Maybe it was time for Celia and the girls
to appreciate the elves that did the hard work. Louis had
bigger problems, his cataracts had gotten so bad, he could
hardly see. He had begun to walk to and from work because
he was afraid to say anything. Of course there were operations
for this sort of thing, but he had concerns, had never been
in a hospital a single day of his life. Besides the day his wife
had the stroke. He was of the generation that sweated it out.
When Junior noticed that his father was having trouble, he
looked into it and found a place that would do the operation,
which was a relatively new process. He paid for it himself.
When Louis Senior asked how he could afford it, Junior said
he had an old friend who would help out. The truth was, he
had a new friend. She was a divorced lady he had met at
a meeting recently, he was now in the program. All the
stress of his new job had given him concerns about falling
into some bad habits that he needed to avoid. She lived
in the Palisades. They didn't seem to have a whole lot in
common, but as they began to discuss things, they slowly
realized that his fifteen years in prison & her fifteen years
in marriage, were somehow corollary. When her girlfriends
asked what he was like, they didn't mean his personality.
Louis senior had the operation just days before the union
settled its differences and that was just as well. The cafe
extended its hours, due to the now twenty-four hour a day
work load to get the long armada of ships onto shore and
products into the homes of citizens, not just in Los Angeles,
but from here to the Mid West. Millions of dollars had been
lost on a daily basis. Officer Chuck had learned a serious
lesson about overstepping his boundaries, but was at least
back in a patrol car. When the verdict came across the air-
waves, he and his buddies had all cheered in celebration.
But within a matters of hours their district was being overrun
by angry protesters, several stores had been vandalized and
the department was once again put on alert by the people
who paid for that coffee he drank everyday. When Chuck
drove up into Ma Fritters that night, Louis senior had put
his order together. "Tell Celia, I 'll be working late tonight.
How did the operation go, everything All right ?" Louis
Senior stared into Chucks eyes and yes, "Yes my son, Yes.
I can see clearly now."




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Joshua Aaron TRILIEGI 1282 W. Sunset Bd Los Angeles
California USA 90026 Phone Direct : 213 975 0067