Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NEW FICTION


"THEY CALL IT THE CITY OF ANGELS"

CHAPTERS ONE THROUGH TO TWENTY - TWO

A New Serial Fiction Novel by Joshua A. TRILIEGI
 
Originally created Exclusively for Readers of BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE Magazine 
and our Three sites in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City All National and 
International Copy Rights Reserved to the Author. Translations Buttons on the blogsite. 





"THEY CALL IT THE CITY OF ANGELS"
Editor and Publisher of BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE Magazine
Announces a New Experimental Serial Novel about Los Angeles. 
Mr Triliegi wrote a chapter a day for several few weeks and posted
the results immediately in various languages at the three blog spots 
that regularly showcase Art, Music & Cultural Community events.

" I thought it would be a good writing exercise to simply write about 
what I see and hear everyday on the streets of the city. To simply 
create a chapter a day based on the people and things going on 
in Los Angeles. Since we all come from so many backgrounds, 
styles, cultures and languages, I decided to structure the multi 
character novel to represent all of Los Angeles. I simply write a 
chapter a day by allowing the characters to unfold & the story to 
reveal itself based directly on the things I see and hear."

" Its pure fiction based on generalities. For instance, Chapter Three, 
which was inspired by a girl I saw on the bus earlier in the day, she 
had a sketch book with some nice artworks and I thought about her." 
Or Chapter One, based on a conversation I had with a guy who was 
entering back into society from a long stretch in the penitentiary. 
I thought about what other people in his life may have been thinking."

" Its a challenge to simply introduce a character and follow the creative 
line as it flows into something structured and complete. I usually know 
the beginning and the end of each Chapter, and simply let the middle 
fill itself out. I like the daily discipline as well as the audience being in 
on the process. In this particular case, I don't really take notes. I just 
start with an idea and let it flow. This is not a normal novel by any 
means, but it is a new and interesting challenge for both the writer and 
the readers. We are publishing it in three cities and a wide variety of 
languages, English, Italian, French, Chinese, Armenian, Chinese, Hebrew, 
Japanese & Korean so far. Its been a lot of fun I hope the people of Los 
Angeles and the world will follow it out as it reveals itself. As the writer, 
in this particular case, I am just as curious as the reader as to what will 
happen and how things will go. The cool thing about this project is how 
quickly the characters began to take on a life of their own. "

" Its an interesting way to work. I am putting together several other writing 
projects and decided that this would be a good warmer upper. We get 
anywhere from a 50 to 400+ views a day on our website for our Articles, 
Reviews and especially our Audio Interviews, so this particular literature 
project should be good exercise and at the same time, allow people to 
see how a novel is actually created day by day."




"They Call It The City of Angels"
A New Serial Novel by Joshua A. TRILIEGI 
Listen to INTERVIEWS & The Narrated Audio on the Website 

CHAPTER 1   : LOUIS       Written & Published Aug 25TH 2013

CHAPTER 2   : MICKEY     Written & Published Aug 26TH 2013

CHAPTER 3   : JOSIE        Written & Published Aug 27TH 2013

CHAPTER 4   : JORDAN    Written & Published Aug 28TH 2013 

CHAPTER 5   : CLIFF        Written & Published Aug 29TH 2013

CHAPTER 6   : CHUCK      Written & Published Aug 30TH 2013

CHAPTER 7   : CHARLES   Written & Published Sept  2ND 2013

CHAPTER 8   : RYAN         Written & Published Sept  3RD 2013

CHAPTER 9   : WANDA      Written & Published Sept 4TH 2013

CHAPTER 10 : STAN          Written & Published Sept  5TH 2013

CHAPTER 11 : JUNIOR      Written & Published Sept  6TH 2013

CHAPTER 12 : MOON        Written & Published Sept  9TH 2013

CHAPTER 13 : FRED         Written & Published Sept  10TH 2013

CHAPTER 14 : TURTLE     Written & Published Sept  11TH 2013

CHAPTER 15 : DORA         Written & Published Sept  12TH 2013

CHAPTER 16 : HOME         Written & Published Sept  13TH 2013

CHAPTER 17 : STONES      Written & Published Sept  16TH 2013

CHAPTER 18 : HOLE          Written & Published Sept  17TH 2013

CHAPTER 19 : ROOT          Written & Published Sept  18TH 2013

CHAPTER 20 : HEART        Written & Published Sept  19TH 2013

CHAPTER 21 : JOB            Written & Published Sept  20TH 2013

CHAPTER 22 : ASHES         Written & Published Sept  23RD 2013





Chapter One: Louis  


 Los Angeles is a funny place to live, but those laughing 
were usually from out of town. Louis was a busboy down 
at Old Ma Fritters Cafe & Saloon, the longest running 
truck stop in the Harbor.  He had been a busboy for almost 
twenty six years, before that, he washed dishes, before that, 
he attended the parking lot. Directing the truck drivers 
where to park, making sure the working mom's could get 
in and out without missing a beat, knowing the difference 
between regulars who ate at the counter and the new comers 
who were most likely in town to visit the Queen Mary or take 
a cruise to Catalina Island for the day. All in all, Louis was a 
quiet, hard working man with a simple view on life. He was 
happy to have a job, never missed a day of work, except the 
day his son was sentenced to seventeen years in the penitentiary 
for manslaughter. That was over fifteen years ago and today 
was the day that Louis Junior would come home, this made 
him nervous.



 Since that time, his wife had a stroke, his daughter had 
married a local cop and he had three beautiful grandkids. 
So much had changed since louis junior had gone away. 
In 1976, it was a old world, now it was nineteen-ninety-one. 
The Dodgers entire team had been replaced, there were new 
presidents, everything was different. But still, he showed up 
to work on time and already the word had gotten out that 
Louis Junior was back in town and heading this way. He 
had reservations. He knew that Junior was a good kid, 
got caught up with the wrong friends early on, had been 
picked on and turned tough gut mostly for his own survival. 
The accident had been complicated, it had involved a rival 
member of another group of kids as well as one of Junior's 
ex- girlfriends and to top it off the first cop on the scene 
was Louis' s new son-in-law, Chuck, who happened to be 
white. They all lived in a big victorian style house just 
above the port, which had a guest house where Louis 
senior lived and in the big house, his daughter, Celia, 
Chuck and the three girls, Cindy, Donna and Francine. 
It was a good life, most of the time. Louis wondered 
exactly what he would say, where junior would sleep 
and how all of this would play out. He figured junior 
could stay on the couch in the guest house and later 
he could break the news that after all was said and 
done: Chuck had met Celia after that day in court and 
one thing led to another, as things like this often do & 
well, here we are, a family. 




 He couldn't know exactly what Junior would think, say 
or do, but he knew it wouldn't be a smooth transition. 
Junior had been saved in the joint and had found god. 
He belonged to an outreach program that was ready to 
offer him a chance to work and go back to school, but 
housing was not provided. So, Louis said, " Yes son, of 
course you can stay with us while you get back on your 
feet. " And so the day started, as these days often do 
down in the port. Up at 5 AM, to work by five thirty, 
he'd have an early lunch and since everyone knew junior 
was coming home, had the choice to go home early, but 
had already decide to stay the duration. Work was his 
way of dealing with the troubles of life. It steadied his 
resolve, gave him roots, kept him calm, kept him centered, 
even if deep down inside, he knew that this was not an 
ordinary day and that things could go bad.




 No one was more aware of the impending problems than 
Chuck, who worked at the front desk office directly across 
from the loading docks at the longshore pick up and delivery. 
He hadn't seen Junior since that day in court and before 
that the terrible rainy night on the street with bodies mangled, 
wind swept asphalt, palm trees bending to the ground and a 
fierce full moon reflecting anguish, pain and death, in his eyes. 
He couldn't sleep all that morning. For a cop, he was, not a 
total square, his own brother had been a pot dealer back in 
the nineteen sixties and since then, he himself had imbibed 
more than a few glasses of whiskey a night. He was hip to 
jazz music, loved the various cultures in Los Angeles and 
more than anything, adored his wife and three girls. His 
family was his everything. He was thinking about junior 
as he pulled into the cafe to get breakfast to go, and three 
cups of joe for the boys at the office, who secretly hated 
the coffee served in the back room. Ma Fritters Coffee was 
made with a pinch of cinnamon and was generally strong 
compared to the instant regulation joe that the knuckle 
heads made. Know one said anything as Chuck pulled into 
the cafe, but everyone knew what was on their minds as 
Louis and Chuck exchanged words in the parking lot. 
The waitresses and line cooks stopped what they were 
doing and saying for just a second or two and sure enough 
a hush drifted through the place. Those who didn't know 
the score figured it out pretty quick. The cop and the bus-
boy, who was actually a fully grown man with grandkids, 
chatted quietly about the day. Neither had figured out 
what was the best way to deal with it, nor did they fully 
understand how junior would take it: both understood it 
wouldn't be easy. Life in the L.A. Harbor never was. 

   











































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Two: Mickey


"Look left, then right, then left again."  What the hell is so 
difficult about that ? Mickey muttered out loud to some 
mindless quack as he skidded around the car and cranked 
his wrist an eighth of an inch, which meant he was now 
riding from a basic twenty-five miles per hour to the 
preferred forty-five along the coast of Malibu and on 
into Venice beach where he kept a shop that tended 
strictly to Harleys. Mickey was a third generation  biker, 
his Dad had known some pretty serious guys back in the 
day. His grandfather had driven a Harley from Washington 
State clear down to Southern California back in the nineteen 
forties before going off to war, with the rest of his generation. 
Back when Mickey was a kid, bikers were hated and or feared 
by the general populist. Now, everybody and their grandma 
wants to claim some piece of this heritage. His old man fixed 
bikes for some of the well known biker gangs throughout 
California, but he never actually signed up, if you know 
what I mean. What they call a civilian.




 When his old man left town for a month, which turned into 
a decade, Mickey finally took a crow bar to the lock on the 
old man's wood shed, found his tools and started a business 
of his own. It wasn't one of those places with a big neon sign 
or anything like that, he just fixed bikes for guys in the 
neighborhood and eventually had a couple dozen regulars 
and that was it. He had been offered partnerships before 
by local shops, investors, squares with enough money to set 
him up well, but simply didn't want the hassle. " As soon as 
you take their money, they own you."  That was his usual 
reply, but lately he'd gotten tired of the bullshit. Guys not 
paying what they owed, insurance companies not releasing 
the funds on time, just cause they knew he was an unofficial 
Harley repairman, as opposed to the guys with the big signs 
out front. Part of him rejected the whole idea of middle 
America embracing the Harley phenomenon. The other part 
of him knew it was good for business and just might bring 
the company back into a thriving system, where bikers could 
get some respect again. So, when a local rich kid offered him 
10,000 dollars to expand the shop, he took it. Reluctantly, 
accepted a chance to buy some new tools, get bonded, insured, 
even had the business officially certified with a doing business 
as 'Mickey's Motorcycles' license. 





 Some people said Mickey's old man had gone to Mexico, 
others figured he got caught up in some kind of deal gone 
awry. There was talk that he was overseas, Amsterdam 
maybe. No one knew for sure. He had stopped thinking 
about it a few years back. Mickey made the house payments, 
took care of his grandmother and tolerated his Mothers 
new boyfriends as best he could. So much had changed 
since they were kids, growing up in Venice beach. Back 
then it was mostly poor folks, now the place was turning 
into something else: well known actors, architects, airline 
pilots. It was a good thing his old man bought the place 
otherwise Mickey and his girlfriend, Moon, would have 
been out of that neighborhood years ago. They lived a 
block and a half away from Dennis Hopper's house & 
when Hopper bought a Harley, Mickey was the guy he 
brought it to. Who didn't want to hang out with Dennis 
Hopper? Mickey had creds on the street and in the hills,
which was kind of rare. He had clients up and down the 
coast and didn't mind much making house calls, even if 
it took a couple days. He'd crash out on the couch or 
garage or guest house until the job was done. Most guys 
liked his company and liked to hear him wax poetic about 
the early days of Rock and Roll, his mom had been the 
manager of several bands up in the bay area and he knew 
just about everyone from Jerry Garcia's to The Moby 
Grape's. People would say that Mickey was made from a 
kind of American counter culture royalty. But, he shunned 
all that talk.One of those quiet throw backs, except when 
it came to Moon, his only truly admittedly obsessive 
relationship. Whatever she wanted, she got. Moon was 
his first and only love. Once they had broken up for a 
day and a half during high school graduation. A Friday 
night and all of Saturday,by Sunday morning, they were 
back together and never looked back.




As he pulled into the driveway, he glanced over to find his 
mother's new boyfriend's red convertible, the passenger 
side windshield was riddled with what looked like bullet 
holes, upon closer inspection, he realized the holes were 
made with stiletto heels kicked from the inside out. "Here 
we go." he thought, as he turned off the bike and figured, 
o.k. this generator is fixed. He knew there was something 
brewing, so he quietly strolled past the front house and 
headed straight for Pop's shed. Always a safe refuge.
But there in the back yard was the boyfriend wearing 
nothing more than a pair of Ray-Bans and in a see through 
nighty, his Mom attending the barbecue.  " For christ sake 
Mag, what if Calley walks back here ?"  who momentarily 
turns in his direction,  " Oh Mick, grow up will ya ? "  She 
had been telling him that since the time he was ten years 
old :  "Your not a kid anymore mick, your ten years old 
now, grow up."  He did. Got back on the bike, which he 
hadn't planned on returning to his client till tomorrow, 
ripped up Pacific Coast Highway and on into Zuma 
Beach, collected his fee and instead of getting a ride 
from Jay, simply hopped on the Bus and called it a day. 
That's when he noticed a beach comber who sure looked 
a lot like his dad. "That's impossible. Must be going nuts. 
I gotta get out of here."  He did.      













































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Three: Josie




 Josie was an artist. They had noticed that right away. 
By the time she was three, she could sing a tune. By 
the time she was nine, she could mimic any dance 
movement. By the time she was twelve she could draw 
realistic pictures that were up to scratch with any adult.
Today is Josie's birthday. Her room is covered in teen 
beat posters. Packs of Bubble-Yum chewing gum on 
the dresser. Photographs of her girlfriend's at school, 
at the beach, at the park, award ribbons from art, 
dance and singing contests, a letter of recommendation 
from an art teacher at the local university, a pair of 
tennis shoes in the corner and of course her dozens of 
sketchbooks filled with classic portraits of friends, 
people she observed, objects, places.



Her parents had immigrated in the early nineteen sixties, 
they gave her an American name, things were going to be 
hard enough for her as it was, they figured, she was born 
here, she's the first American in our family, lets go with 
the flow. Her Dad worked at a local factory, her Mom was 
a homemaker of the old world style, she sewed, cooked,
gardened and kept the books. Josie was wide open when 
it came to discussing friends, school, dreams and the future, 
but when it came to her boyfriends, she never ever told a soul. 
Not her parents, not her girlfriends, no one. So when she 
started dating Louis, who was a few years older, no one 
had anything to worry about, because no one knew. He had 
that protective quality that some guys have, she felt safe 
around him. He was knocked out by her talents, even had 
her design tattoos for him and his friends. It was a taboo 
sort of love, the kind that couldn't last longer than a summer 
and it didn't. Louis eventually started dating girls his age 
and Josie rebounded with a kid from her own school and 
neighborhood. But deep down inside, she still had a love 
for Louis and even though he didn't know it, he too was 
still in love with her. 




By the time winter came along, they found themselves in 
the awkward situation of having to see one another, some-
times in the company of each others new playmates. At 
first this seemed easy, smile, wave, a simple hello or how 
ya doing ? But after these moments, Louis found himself 
troubled, confused, sometimes even angry. He didn't know 
who he was angry with, Josie, the new boyfriend or himself, 
he just knew that something wasn't exactly settled and it 
really confused him to the point where sometimes he couldn't 
sleep. So, he started to call her up just to say hi, then Josie's 
new boyfriend got word of this and reacted accordingly. 
One thing led to another and now the boys were talking 
about a showdown. The kind that spreads quickly, the 
word got out, after a dance at school, they were going 
to meet and settled this thing. Josie freaked when she 
found out, felt guilty, felt responsible and had no one to 
tell because this was a part of her life she had always 
kept to herself. So the pressure mounted until the night 
of the dance. At first Josie said she wasn't going, then 
she changed her mind and told Ryan, her new boyfriend, 
that she was going with friends and they could talk after 
the dance, hoping this would diffuse the pressure and by 
then she could help avoid an actual fight. Though, the 
way things went only worsened the situation. Instead of 
avoiding a fist fight the entire event became a drag race 
through the boulevards of Los Angeles and by the end of 
the night a car flipped in mid air, up an over the railroad 
tracks.




Josie's Dad knocked on her bedroom door, no one answered. 
He called her girlfriend's parents, no one knew what happened. 
Eventually they got a call from officer Chuck of the county 
police department explaining that there had a been a terrible 
accident and could they please come down to the Harbor 
hospital to help sort something out. They were unsure about 
the identity of a person and needed verification. When Josie's 
parents arrived, Chuck was standing in the hallway, clipboard 
in hand, this was the most difficult part of his job. He could 
handle the tough guys, the smart aleck public, the other cops 
on the squad, but he couldn't hold his water when it came to 
telling parents that we think your child is dead. Josies' s parents 
were led into a well lit room, two bodies were laying on aluminum 
stretchers with sheets covering each. The bodies had been washed 
of all blood, but there was nothing that could be done about all 
the torn and mangled flesh. Josie was under one of the sheets, 
Ryan was under the other. It was the first time their parents 
would ever meet. Eventually they would meet again in court 
and again at the arraignments and again upon Louis's release 
from prison. Today is Josie's birthday and if she hadn't died 
back in nineteen seventy-six, she would have been thirty years 
old. Her dad closed the bedroom door, which he kept exactly 
as it had been the day she died, wiped his eyes and promised 
himself that someone was gonna pay for this pain. By then, 
he'd lost his wife and by now he began to lose is mind. 







































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Four: Jordan






 Jordan is a bus driver, it didn't define him, he's also a 
bass man, a basketball coach,  a bit of a poet too. He is 
the youngest bus driver in all of Los Angeles County. 
Came out here to get away from a seriously tragic 
family history. Born in Detroit, the week of the famous 
riots, his dad was a serious player and took the fall for 
being a member of an elite crew of dudes who actually 
helped to start it. His Mom was in and out of town so 
much, he hardly knew her. Came out here alone on a 
one time musical scholarship. Recently, he ended up 
hocking his bass, a red fender given to him by his uncle, 
still had the pawn ticket in his wallet, been meaning to 
get over there to extend the loan voucher another ninety 
days so he could get it back after paying up in full.  
Wanted to buy his girl a pair of earrings and figured 
he could always get the bass back, but with his car 
payment, rent and all the rest, he just let it drift. 




 He was two weeks away from getting off probation from 
the transit authority. Six weeks of training and almost a 
year driving and finally he would be able to exhale. His 
first route started near LAX Airport, up La Brea, over 
to Crenshaw, past Leimert Park & around Rodeo, down 
Martin Luther King to The Sports Arena and back around 
again. He liked it. reminded him of his parents, his heritage, 
his people. But now, they had him driving from Venice 
Boulevard onto the 405 freeway, up through Santa Monica 
onto Pacific Coast Highway, past Pepperdine University 
and all the way up to Malibu Pier and back again. Most 
people would have loved that route, but Jordan always 
said the drivers were snobs, the kids crossed the street 
without looking, carrying surfboards, lawn chairs, tourists 
from all corners of the world, asking directions to places 
he never heard of, in languages he never knew. He was 
hoping to get his old route back, but as the odd man at 
transit authority, the chances were mighty slim. Most 
of the drivers, managers, supervisors and radio dispatch 
persons were steeped in the Jesus thing: Baptist, Christian, 
Catholic, Protestant, you name it. Jordan was a third 
generation Muslim. His Daddy, his Granddad, his Uncles, 
some of his Aunts and him.



He had already made his four rotations by seven o'clock that 
evening, grabbed a cup of coffee and was looking forward 
to seeing his lady for a late dinner at her place. Just past 
the Malibu Pier, an area where he was always extra careful, 
he slowed down a bit and coasted around the curve through 
to the next straight away stretch, the sun was setting a 
golden, peach - like glow, palm trees silhouetted in an all 
black design that looked like a postcard. It wasn't Crenshaw, 
but it could of been  worse. Some routes were very tough on 
a driver, others were easy street. Looking down the highway, 
he noticed a small dark circle along the horizon line, couldn't 
figure out what it was. A trash-bag? A backpack ? As he got 
closer, the object came into view, it was a turtle, a rather 
large sized turtle crawling from left to right, he swerved to 
the right avoiding the turtle, as he did so, a camper van 
parked on the right pulled out in front of him, and as it did, 
that is when he noticed the beachcomber standing directly 
in his path, hit the brakes, skidding several yards and 
slamming into the beachcombers several bags and 
eventually knocking him to the asphalt, he turned to 
ask the lone passenger if he had seen what just happened, 
but not a soul was on the bus. " Could have sworn that cat 
was still on."



The first thing you are supposed to do is call it in. 
But Jordan, just on reflex jumped off the bus to see 
what happened. He looked down and splayed across 
the highway were several small packages wrapped in 
brown paper and masking tape. He looked closer at 
the corner of one of the small bundles and noticed it 
was full of currency, unmistakably dollar bills. All day 
long he had to watch people putting bills into the slot 
on his bus, the corners always bending, creating a problem. 
If anyone knew what the corner of a dollar bill looked like, 
it was Jordan. The beachcomber, was out like a light, but 
when Jordan put his ear to the man's chest, he could hear 
him breathing. He could also smell his breath, whiskey 
and onions. Why a man does what he does is always a 
mystery, mostly to the man himself, so when he reached 
to pick up one of the bundles and put it in his inside left 
pocket, it seemed pretty natural. He got back on the bus 
and called it in. By now the sun was down. The highway 
was closed. Ambulance, cops, transit authority, the whole 
shebang. When radio reporters, traffic helicopters and 
the local television stations came out, he figured that he 
was not only going to be late for dinner. There was a 
good chance he was going to be fired, even if it wasn't 
his fault, even if the guy was drunk. To top it off, the 
turtle was no where to be seen, that was his whole 
defense.Wanda heard about it on the radio before he 
even got home.




















































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Five: Cliff 


Cliff was psychic, not for a living or anything like that. 
Just had a knack for reading people, had a way with 
animals and a sort of connection with the elements that 
was, let us say, out of the ordinary. Like a lot of so-called 
handicapped persons, he had some hidden gifts that made 
up for the fact that he couldn't speak very well, had trouble 
with motor skills, would never be able to hold down a job, 
keep a home or cook his own meals. He was disabled as 
people like to say, remedial or worse even, retarded. Cliff's 
father, Stan, was a judge, he always winced when his 
colleagues used that term. His mother, Dora was a retired 
lawyer who ran her own legal advisement company and 
would actually correct people whenever they denigrated 
her son with those types of labels. "Cliff is challenged, but 
he's no dummy." or  "He may need some help, but he's got 
a great heart." or "He has his problems, but he's never said 
a bad thing about you."  She was nobodies fool. And by god 
she wasn't about to let people get away with any mean 
spirited conversation about her only child.



He attended a sort of day care type of school. One in which 
there were daily outings in between lessons, classes, working 
with sound, colors, sometimes simplified mathematics and 
social sciences, to a degree. In the classroom, his teachers 
were all certified practitioners, but on daily social outings, 
volunteers were often on staff. Retired widows, stay at 
home wives, middled aged women who were unmarried, 
this kind of thing. They often took a group of kids to the 
park, out to lunch or even to a museum every now and then. 
One day, one of Dora's clients recognized Cliff walking with 
his schoolmates and a volunteer up past the L.A County 
Museum of Art. She specifically remembered Cliff because 
her own daughter had some issues which led her to seek 
legal advice and Cliff happened to be in the office with 
mom. Some time later, the client mentioned in passing, 
that she ran into Cliff at the museum and couldn't help 
but notice that the kids were wearing shirts and jackets 
of a wide variety with disparaging comments of all sorts. 
Cliff's T-shirt, said in bold black letters : YOU STINK ! 
Another kid wore a hat that said, ' LOSER ' , another with 
a jacket that stated, ' I never Loved You '. The client 
chuckled, asking Dora where she bought it. Cliff's mom 
didn't buy it. In fact she had no idea why her son was 
wearing it. Well, after some looking into, it turned out 
that the ' volunteer ' had recently broke up with her boy 
friend who happened to be a security guard at the museum, 
so she made the kids wear these hats, coats and t-shirts  
unbeknownst to any of the kid's parents or the kids themselves. 
Further investigation revealed that it had become a common 
practice among the volunteers to do such a thing. The kids 
were being used as props. When Dora found out about it in 
full, she brought it up to Stan and they decided to do what 
any good legal family would do. They decided to sue. 





Stan was a judge in high profile cases. Through the years, 
he had watched his more liberal contemporaries end up 
in disparaging posts such as traffic court in Compton or 
settling housing issues Downtown, the Judge Judy type 
of detail. He had played his cards right, literally. He was 
a kind man, patient, quiet, respected by his bailiffs and 
well liked buy most of the people he worked with, not 
necessarily by those he had sent to prison, but most 
everyone else.Dora became a lawyer and later a legal 
advisor partly because they were working in the same 
circles and partly to sort out the issues they were having 
with Cliff early on. They loved Cliff immensely. More than 
the usual parent might love a child and definitely more 
than if he was, quote-unquote-normal. They had a nice 
size home in the Valley and Stan drove North to work 
just a few miles away. He tried not to bring his work 
home, but when your wife is a legal advisor, a top notch 
lawyer really, it was almost impossible, cases concerning 
children or abuse of authority or murder were always 
a sticky issue, they both tended to lean pretty hard on 
the accused. He was older by a few years, but Dora was 
mature for her age, so it worked out pretty well. They all 
vacationed together twice a year and during the holidays 
often took a cabin in the snowy topped local mountains. 
Considering the situation with Cliff, they handled it well.



Around the time that Cliff became four, five and six , 
they noticed he had a way of sensing what was going on , 
not only in their inner lives, but also in the lives of 
people they worked with. If Stan had a high profile 
case concerning an auto accident, Cliff might create 
a drawing with unexplainable details. When Dora's 
mother was close to death, he had drawn a picture of 
her final resting place two months before they had 
chosen it. He was somehow reading the inner lives of 
his parents and at first it freaked Stan out. Some days, 
before a big trial, Stan might peruse around cliffs room, 
looking for an image that might help him with the case. 
Dora put a stop to it, but hey, who could blame him? 
There son was psychic and they knew it. Wether Cliff 
knew it or not didn't matter. Once, when Cliff was twelve, 
they woke up one early morning to find Cliff nestling with 
a Deer. He had no food to give it. He was just holding the 
deer, when they opened the door, it ran away. Another 
time, a hummingbird flew into Cliffs room, sat on his 
finger, just sat there . There were all kinds of encounters 
such as these. Dora thought maybe she should mention 
it to a friend of a client who had written a book on 
shamanism in the modern day, but Stan said no. He 
didn't want his son ending up on some television show 
or story on NPR. It was their secret. When Cliff got 
home that day, he took out a sketchbook and drew a 
stunning and startling portrait of a man that Stan 
would never forget, someone he hadn't thought about 
for fifteen years. 
  










































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Six: Chuck  


 Chuck wanted to make detective, so did half the guys 
in his division. He had been working on it actively for 
three and a half years now. Had a friend downtown 
who advised him on what to do, how to lay the groundwork. 
He started by making friends on the street. If he found 
a tough guy, say, smoking pot while driving. He'd pull 
him over, get his information, talk to him a bit, instead 
of citing him, he'd tell him that smoking while driving 
made no sense. He'd chat him up a bit, make a friend. 
Later, after hours, he'd look up the kids record, run a 
check on his family, find out where, when and how he 
hustled and made it a point to meet him again. He did 
this for the past three years and had connections all over 
Los Angeles, not just in his area. He spent one day a week 
doing research, talking to other guys who had made 
detective, even hanging around the division. Everyone 
on the force knew he was angling, if it didn't interrupt 
his local quotas, his desk duty and any other assignments, 
no problem.


 When word got out that his brother-in-law was getting 
out of the joint after a fifteen year stint for manslaughter, 
people started  talking. Chuck realized that this was actually 
his chance to make detective. These days everything on the 
street was controlled by a unit of men incarcerated for decades 
and sometimes for life. They gave the orders. Chuck knew 
that after fifteen years, his brother-in-law, Junior had 
learned a few things, things that could help Chuck move in 
on what they call, the ' Big Dogs '. No detective would bother 
with some small time peddlers, they all wanted a big catch, 
something that would get some ink, something that would 
help them up the ladder a few rungs. Recently, there had 
been a new crime spreading through the city of Los Angeles. 
Somebody or a group of people were torching palm trees in 
designated areas. At first, they thought it was a kid or 
pyromaniac. As it spread throughout Southern California, 
other theories popped up. The burnt palm trees were a signal 
that certain local business had not contributed to a certain 
individual or it was, 'a warning' sign, 'a don't shop here' sign 
or a ' your on the list ' sign. Chuck was in agreement that it 
was not random, he noticed when, where and how it was 
playing out. Since making the goal to become a detective, 
he had transformed the den into an office. His wife and the 
girls knew Daddy was serious about his work, so they watched 
television in the living room and shared the master bedroom 
with bunk beds. While Chuck and his wife Celia had what 
they commonly call a guest bed room. Celia had an entire 
room to herself for dressing and basic women's stuff with 
a vanity set Chuck bought when they first got married. 


In his office, which he always kept locked, Chuck had a 
map. He followed murders: There had been over twenty-
two in the past ninety days. Drug busts: there had been 
three big ones in the past forty-five days and dozens of 
small one's. Lately, he'd been following the palm tree 
burnings. Even started reading up on other incidents 
through history, from cross burnings to lynchings. Looking 
for something that might give him one up on what was 
going down. The Mayor of Los Angeles, in an official 
statement, directed to law enforcement had said that, 
" The Palm Tree Burnings " were a scar on the city, were 
bad for business, bad for tourism and had to be stopped. 
He wanted a new kind of cooperation between departments 
wherever the incidents had occurred. Incentives were 
given to both cops on the street, detectives on the beat 
and even the local feds, since several of the incidents had 
happened on federal property. One happened on a reservation 
near Joshua Tree National Forest and another happened 
directly in front of the Federal building downtown. Some 
people said it was a scam, just another distraction from the 
real crimes that were happening in L.A. : drug smuggling, 
child prostitution, underground pornography. The so - 
called sanctioned crimes that made money. Chuck didn't 
care what it was about, he had been told to get something 
important on it and he'd be given a serious opportunity to 
make detective. If he could crack the case, it was a total 
guarantee.



 Several weeks earlier, Chuck went downtown to ask a 
couple friends, one was a lieutenant detective, if they 
would give him permission to tap the phones in his home. 
His brother-in-law was getting out of the joint and maybe 
they could find out a few things. The word would most likely 
come back officially as a no. On his way home, he cranked 
up John Coltrane's a Love Supreme, while flying down the 
110 freeway, he realized that no one could stop him from 
recording any conversations in his own home. He could drive 
out to the local Circuit Station, buy some basic over the 
counter devices and wire the place up.  Chuck came from 
the generation that actually was offered shop classes in 
junior high school. He had taken both wood shop and 
electric classes, so, setting up the whole thing was not 
a big deal. He wired the entire guest house in three hours 
and did it all for less than what it would have cost to tune 
up the station wagon. He couldn't tell Louis Sr. or Celia , 
they wouldn't understand. It was his job. He knew that if 
they ever wanted to take another vacation together, he'd 
have to make detective. Three days later, Junior got out 
of prison and Chuck drove down to Ma Fritters to get 
breakfast and check in with his father-in-law Louis Senior.
They talked about how to deal with Junior's Coming Home 
party. 'Are you heading back to the office ?' asked the 
waitress, ' Yep.'  Afterward, while driving back, he thought, 
' Not for long babe. '

















They Call It The City of Angels

Chapter Seven: Charles  


When the bus hit Charles' bags, his cart had lodged underneath 
the front tire and saved his life. Although it tossed him several 
yards, no bones were broken, no internal bleeding, just a few 
road rashes and most likely, a concussion. When he finally 
came to, there he was, sleeping in an actual bed with clean 
cotton sheets and two pillows, the first time in several years.
He hadn't been in a hospital since Mickey was born. His 
first thought was, "I gotta get out of here." , then he realized 
that none of his possessions were anywhere to be seen. Where 
were his clothes , his personal belongings, his savings ? Most 
likely, he was going to have to answer some questions to the 
man. Another thing he hadn't done in years. If they had gone 
through his things, they would have found his dog tags and 
maybe even contacted his family. Another thing he hadn't 
done in the past few years. Damn, what had he done in the 
past few years? Drifted.



This was nothing compared to the many times he had to lay 
down his Harley because of some god awful drivers not checking 
their blind side, pulling out of the driveway without looking or 
simply not paying attention to others on the road. He had to 
lay his bike down at least a half a dozen times because of 
other peoples stupidity. Being a biker in Southern California 
was no easy task in the nineteen seventies. After losing a 
handful of friends to total idiots, someone's wife started a 
campaign to help Bikers who had been wronged on the roads 
and highways. She ended up creating some kind of legislation 
and took it all the way to the high courts. Charles admired her 
tenacity, but that was not his style, he couldn't stand any of 
that legal stuff. He was a simple man, enjoyed nature, food 
and a simple bottle of wine. Those were the three things he 
had been able to partake in for the past few years, come to 
think of it, that was all he had done lately. He lived in the 
wilds of the coastline, drank a good bottle or two of dago 
red a day and ate well, for a beachcomber. No one ever 
suspected that he carried thousands of dollar bills. When 
he opted out of all the side dealings that went on in his 
world, his partners were glad to pay him out and let him 
go. Charles had been getting too old for the game and 
although he had respect, it was a young man's game now. 
He retired.



When Mickey picked up the phone and the voice on the 
other end of the line simply stated, "This is the Venice 
Beach Police department."  He figured, it was either 
something to do with his Mother's new boyfriend, the 
serial numbers on a recent bike sale or some kids breaking 
into the shop. When they said Mickey's father was in the 
hospital & they needed to reach someone in the family, 
his ears began to ring, his heart beat doubled and he 
broke into a sweat. They explained what had happened 
and asked if he could come down to the station before 
visiting the hospital. They had some of his possessions 
and also had a few questions to ask. Mickey said he'd be 
right there. He himself had more than a few questions to 
ask. Hadn't seen the old man in almost a decade. Had 
thought he was dead. Now he's about to have a family 
reunion in the very same hospital where he was born. 
There was no way he was going to call his mother, sister 
or Moon. It was something he had to do alone. When he 
got to the station, two detectives sat at a table with his 
Dad's four remaining bundles of cash in front of them. 



Through the years, Mickey himself had been in and out 
of this particular police station. Sometimes to bail out 
friends, other times to sleep one off, after a fight, but 
this was the first time he had been summoned to ask 
questions about anyone else and actually showed up. 
He had never gotten involved in anyone else's business 
nor did he want others involved in his: the biker code 
of conduct. A long list of unwritten ways of living life.
This was a pedestrian Q & A.  "When was the last time 
you saw your Father?" , "What do you know about his 
business partners ?" ,  "Why is your Dad carrying over 
thirty thousand dollars in cash ?"  Mickey didn't know 
anything and wouldn't have said, even if he did. He was 
simply glad to know that Charles was still alive and if 
they didn't mind, he wanted to talk to him in person. 
The detectives expressed their concern regarding the 
release of Charles from the hospital with all this currency. 
They thought it best to contact a family member. Mickey 
knew better, but he played along, thanked them and said 
he'd meet them at the hospital in thirty minutes time.
That gave him just enough time to call Moon, he had 
tried to handle this on his own, but decided he needed 
to talk to her. Called her at the bookstore from the phone 
booth in the hallway and without explanation, "My Dad's 
alive. I'm going to see him. I don't know what to expect. 
He's in the hospital. I'll call you later. As soon as I know 
what's what."  Moon was in the middle of selling five old 
paper back books to a couple on vacation from Europe. 
There wasn't much she could say, "Wait a minute. What ?"
Mickey realized this was a mistake, "I'll call you back."
Moon was a stickler for details and in this case, he had 
none to offer. When he got to the hospital room, Charles 
had just finished telling a story and the two detectives 
were laughing out loud. That's the way it always was. 
Charles had a way with people, especially men of the 
blue collar variety.  "Hey Mick, How the hell are you ?" 
Mickey just shook his head, as a long, slow, single teardrop 
fell onto his jean jacket vest's upper pocket and sat there 
before hitting the linoleum tile and splashing into a 
miniature Jackson Pollack like splatter that he stared 
at for a few seconds.  "I'm fine Dad, just fine. How the 
hell are you?"
















































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Eight: Ryan


 Ryan was a good kid. Aced his grades in school, held down 
two jobs, was an excellent athlete, always the courteous type. 
A throw back who held doors open for old ladies, was always 
respectful to women, looked after his little brother, everyone 
liked Ryan. He had known Josie since the third grade, they 
had last names that started with the same letter, so, all 
through grade school they sat next to each other. Back in 
the seventies, public schools used an alphabetical system 
for seating and year after year, they found themselves next 
to one another. Ryan's mother came from the same country 
as did Josie's parents, so whenever she complained about her 
parents, he knew exactly what she was talking about. The so-
called generation gap loomed large between them and their 
parents. Between the sexual revolution of the nineteen sixties 
& the hang loose style of the nineteen seventies, many 
immigrants had no idea that their new American children 
would leap forward so quickly into the modern age. Ryan 
always told Josie to have more patients with her parents, 
"They're coming from all whole different world."  Instead, 
she began to keep her inner world more and more private. 



When Josie & Junior split up, within days, she attached 
herself to Ryan. He had always been there as a friend, 
someone she could talk to, now she began to depend on him. 
Quickly, they became an item. If Ryan went surfing, then 
Josie sat on the shore, either studying, reading or just 
reflecting on life. When Ryan was working on his car, 
Josie would hang out in the garage, playing records and 
sometimes quizzing him on an upcoming test at school. 
They were both, what some kids called 'squares', they didn't 
attend ditching parties or smoke, but they did go to concerts 
and dances and it was safe to say that most of their friends 
would never have guessed that they had a serious love life. 
Josie was a very passionate person. Ryan was always very 
responsible, they talked about taking their time and Josie 
always felt at ease.  He had been saving his money for a 
new wet-suit for the winter surfing season and decided 
instead to by her a ring, it was getting serious. When 
a group of students asked Ryan to run for class president, 
he declined. It was safe to say, he was, in more ways then 
one, the unofficial president of his class. Josie was glad he 
turned it down. She was very much attached and although 
mature, still didn't entirely understand her feelings. She 
was possessive of Ryan, having someone of your own to 
a girl such as Josie was everything, in her mind, he belonged 
to her and they belonged together. They were one of those 
couples that just about everyone figured would be together 
after graduation. 



When Ryan found out that Louis Junior had been calling 
Josie, he freaked. Although he was a surfer, he had plenty 
of friends from the other side of town, where Junior lived.
One of his pals had written in his yearbook, 'To a cool punk,
for a surfer.'  The divide between surfers and low riders was 
wide back then. Not for everyone though, certainly not for 
Ryan, who knew about all kinds of classic cars, sports, music.
He was a bit of a crossover, culturally speaking. On several 
occasions he had helped guys with their car projects: chopped 
tops, pin-striping, dual carbs and manifold installations. His 
old man had been big on custom cars back in the day, even 
won some awards and made a few bucks reselling fix ups.
Ryan's life did not involve the kind of built-in drama that 
Juniors did. Juniors Uncles and Aunts were always coming 
into town with one problem or another and his Mother tended 
to let them stay longer than his father would have liked. This 
created an uneasiness at home and always gave Junior an 
excuse to get into trouble elsewhere. His old man was a dish 
washer at the local cafe back then. Junior hated to see his 
dad relegated to this position. As a young man Louis Senior 
had studied to be an engineer and later ran an entire ware-
house with a dozen guys working under him. This was before 
Junior was born, but it still put a thorn in his side at times. 
To know that his old man had been passed by, just to be an 
American and have a family here, seemed like a sacrifice.
Sometimes, Junior thought they would be better off going 
back to where his grandparents were from and several times 
he himself had done just that. Spent time on the farm, he 
loved it. This was the side of Junior that Josie fell in love 
with and it was also the thing that made Ryan jealous.  
He himself had come from a good family, had been given 
things,was considered upper middle class, never knew hunger.
He had no real drama to speak of, before Josie, he had never 
even felt much of anything. Josie made him feel things, 
he was suddenly vulnerable, jealous, passionate and even 
angry. When Junior began to contact Josie again, Ryan 
began to swim in a new sea of emotions that he figured 
had everything to do with growing up, "This is what life is 
about." He could hear his Dad say, in some imaginary scene.



That night was not at all unlike a film that occasionally 
played on late night television. Ryan saw himself as the 
James Dean character, if he backed down to Junior's  
challenge, he'd be disgraced. Maybe Josie didn't know it, 
but she was the Natalie Wood character and Louis Junior 
was well aware of his role in all of this. He had always 
been the 'bad boy'. Had found it easier to get attention 
by screwing up rather than doing good. Nobody seemed 
to notice whenever he did something well, but if he ever 
made a mistake, it was hell to pay. A family dynamic 
that had been played out for generations and he was no 
exception. If the boys had only gotten into a fist fight, 
everything might have been better. Instead they settled 
things with machinery, in this case, with their cars. Some 
of the guys Junior hung out with used knives, bats and 
even pistols. He was old school, didn't believe much in 
weaponry. Plus, he was a good fighter, he didn't have 
to settle things like that. The whole thing happened 
spontaneously. Ryan had promised Josie that he would 
avoid any altercations . But when Junior pulled up at 
the stop light, only Ryan could hear what he said and 
thats when it happened. The boys began to rip down the 
boulevard, side by side, running red lights and stop signs 
in a reckless  abandon that teenagers are known to do. 
By the time they got to the old bridge underpass, which 
crossed the oldest rail road tracks in South Bay, just past 
the skating rink, two kids in skates were crossing the street 
into the trailer parks across the way. To avoid the kids, 
Ryan swerved to the left, hit the curb at the curve and 
flipped his car into mid air, it tumbled several times 
before the final landing, which crushed the entire cab 
taking both their lives.  Junior looked into his rear view 
mirror and saw what he thought hell might look like. 
The bridge was like a giant gateway, the fire, flames 
and smoke were all he could see. When he looked again, 
he saw the two kids on skates and remembered the first 
time he had ever seen Josie. He drove off and wasn't found 
until the next day. By then, he too had been consumed by 
a sort of fire. Sifting through the ashes in his mind was 
the single memory of the only girl in the world who had 
ever looked him directly in the eyes and simply said, 
"I Love You."  




















They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Nine: Wanda



Wanda was educated. She never suffered fools and had no 
time for any man who was looking to fill her nights with 
excitement only to leave her at breakfast alone, she told 
Jordan the first day they met. That was fine by him, he had 
learned to cook breakfast for himself early on in life. Could 
make a great omelette, a mean cup of coffee and had even 
learned to make french toast as good as anyone this side of 
the Mississippi. He knew she was talking about much more 
than food and he wanted more than a girlfriend too. Jordan 
was a self confessed , 'Momma's boy without a mama' , so it 
worked out fine. He had few friends in Los Angeles and no 
relatives to speak of. The guys in the quartet had disbanded 
a summer ago, when their main man went on tour with a 
big band that had gone off to europe. He hadn't touched his 
bass for a while and even stopped coaching b-ball at the park.
It was time to settle down and all the ingredients were there.
When they first started dating, it was always an all day thing.
A trip somewhere early: the beach, the museum, a ball game,
a movie, a poetry reading, a walk in the hills, then dinner.
He often cooked at her place. Three course meals with special 
sauces, exotic salads and always some freaky dessert. One of 
the dudes in his band had also been a chef at a creole restaurant 
& after gigs, all the cats would descend upon his pad with their 
girlfriends, dates and such. Jordan picked up pointers quickly.
He was a sponge for good habits, a fast learner and wanted to 
better himself. They moved in together and never looked back.



She looked at the clock and knew something was up. Jordan 
was never late, he was one of those bus drivers who prided 
himself on being poignant. After a while, his regulars began 
to appreciate that fact. They could always depend on Jordan 
to keep his time spots. One out of a dozen or so stops is 
considered a time spot, it lets you know that your either 
ahead or behind the schedule that thousands of people 
depended on to get to work, to school, to the doctor, to 
church or to some event that was going to start or finish, 
wether his riders got there on time or not. He tried his 
best to get them there. If you were going to do something 
in this world, wether it was cook a meal, play a tune, shoot 
hoops or drive a bus, Jordan thought you ought to do it well. 
And he did.  Wanda turned on the television to kill a little 
time and there on the eight o'clock news was the lead story, 
all about the shutting down of Pacific Coast Highway because 
of an accident between a bus, a turtle and a pedestrian. 
She knew that was Jordan's route, chances were one in four 
that he was the driver. News shows were always talking 
about traffic in Los Angeles, then they'd actually cut over 
to the man in the helicopter high above the city. Wanda 
always thought that was a put on, as if they really needed 
some dude in a helicopter actually talking on television. 
She minored in journalism and knew very well that any 
on camera announcer could handle the job, but L.A. was 
full of stuff like that. Half of it didn't make any sense at 
all, a quarter of it was for show, and the rest was for 
entertainments sake. It didn't leave much to the imagination. 
That was partly why she dug Jordan so much, he was real, 
fun to be with and was dependable. She didn't care if he 
was muslim, baptist or hindu, for her, it was more about 
the man rather than any one group, belief system or way 
of living life.
    


He finally walked in the door after the Ten O'Clock news 
hour, he was a mess, had been questioned for several hours 
and had a strange look in his eye. Wanda had never seen 
that look before. They never had any secrets between them, 
but it sure felt like they had one now. "You heard about it?"  
He pointed to the television. "Dude standing right on the side 
of the highway, nothing I could do. Some giant turtle crossing 
the road ? Cops asking questions, highway patrol, local sheriffs, 
radio reporters, some cats from the L.A. Times and all the 
heavies from Transit Authority. They docked me for two weeks.
Two weeks while they investigate. Turns out the dude on the 
road was connected to some old gangster stuff. One of my 
boys in transit told me, off the record. probably gonna fire 
me. I don't know what I'm gonna do."  " You'll be fine. Come 
here." She grabbed him and he pulled away, that was a first. 
In the past, at times like this, she was Mama and he was the 
little boy from Detroit with no one to look after him. Wanda 
figured he was just shook up a bit. She never dared to think 
that he was sitting on ten thousand dollars in hard cold cash 
and it was making him sweat. If Jordan told her, she wouldn't 
even come close to understanding. Now it was some gangsters 
money? Why would some old bum on the highway be carrying 
that kind of cash ? How could it have anything to do with mob 
stuff ?




Jordan had never been an avid reader, but he had started 
to buy old paperbacks from a bookstore located in Venice 
Beach, not far from his break stop. He'd go in there and 
the girl who worked there would suggest stuff. He had 
bought and read Alex Haley's famous 'Autobiography of 
Malcolm X', on her suggestion. "Did you know that he was 
a writer for Playboy Magazine back in the day ?", she asked.
" No I didn't." She continued, " The Playboy magazine editors 
once sent Alex Haley to interview the head of the k k k, 
at his home in the South. He went right up to the front 
door and interviewed the guy. That takes guts, don't you 
think?" Jordan answered "Yeah, that takes some doing 
don't it ?" They became friends, whenever he'd break for 
lunch, she would have already pulled a few books aside. 
Poetry by Maya Angelou, obscure art books and early 
ephemera regarding L.A.'s edgy art scene in the sixties, 
guys like Charles White. Wanda would come home and 
there on the coffee table were books she had read in college. 
She was proud to be with a man who had good taste in 
literature. Jordan had once read a book by a dude named 
Chester Himes, it was called, "Cotton Comes to Harlem" 
where some homeless guy carts around a bevy of cash 
with a bunch of gangsters on his trail. Now, here he was, 
in the middle of a weird scene out of a detective novel. 
He had become a character in a book.  His name and 
photograph in the newspapers and on the radio. Damn. 




































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Ten: Stan


Stan made decisions that effected other peoples lives.
He was well aware of his moral obligations and had 
not been the only person in his family to become a 
judge. There was a long history of legal professionals 
who had created legislation, legal precedents, cooperation 
between groups, unions, affiliates and social movements.
His first visit to the White House had included a lunch 
engagement with a second Uncle, who had made it up 
the legal ladder from lawyer, to cabinet member to 
a supreme court justice, appointed in the nineteen sixties.
Back then, most of the people in his lineage were liberal 
or at least democrats, but the tide had turned and now, 
most were republican or conservatives. Though, it was 
hard to find anything being conserved lately. Ever since 
Cliff was born, Stan had become numb to world affairs. 
Even a bit ambivalent towards party politics. He had 
settled down late in the game and having a kid was 
Dora's idea. She was considerably younger than him.   
They had lived together for several years before marrying,
heaven forbid they make the same mistakes their parents 
had. He was an extremely cautious man, not the type to 
jump into anything, even as a child, his parents noticed 
that he had a wisdom beyond his years, sometimes had 
more common sense than many of their adult friends.



When Cliff began to lag behind the other kids in class, 
they figured out rather quickly that he had disabilities. 
Dora immediately began looking for reasons why this 
could have happened. She handled cases where pesticides 
had effected children's health, chemical companies had 
been negligent in their social responsibilities, building 
codes had allowed asbestos to be exposed, local energy 
companies had polluted the water, electrical wires hung 
to close to housing tracts and even the local government 
had sprayed DDT, which had entered the blood stream 
of unsuspecting residents. And of course, fluoride scandals.
She started with their diet. Where had the restaurants they 
frequented prior to Cliff's birth purchased their meat ? 
What kind of cultivation had the vegetable growers used 
at the local grocery store? What type of soap had she used 
to wash their clothes ? Everything and everyone had become 
suspect for inspection. Although this never led to any final 
discoveries, it did become a transformative period. From 
that point on, they lived entirely different lives. Dora began 
to buy her produce directly from local farmers. She wanted 
to know exactly who grew it, how they grew it and where 
they grew it. She became extremely aware of artificial colors, 
flavors, dyes, man made fabrics, fillers, additives, and all the 
rest of it. Stan sometimes felt responsible for Cliffs health. 
He had been a smoker in his youth, was older than Dora, 
thought maybe it was his fault. Though she never did blame 
him for anything. They couldn't find anything in their family 
history and eventually concluded that this was just something 
that happens. But deep down inside, Dora never quite finished 
her inspection, it was an ongoing situation that at any time 
just might reveal itself. She began to specialize in cases where 
large companies had been responsible for damaging individuals.
Dora was becoming a sort of social hero, whereas Stan was 
posited in direct opposition to her newfound community post.
He was about to preside on a case that would make the Palm 
Trees burning throughout the city seem like a cigarette burn.



Most people thought that a jury was mostly responsible for 
the final decisions made in courtrooms. But those on the 
inside, lawyers, investigators, court appointees, even bailiffs,
cops and sheriffs all knew very well that the judge had as 
much to do with final outcomes as the case itself. What 
information was admissible, how a witness was to be 
questioned, when evidence was so-called valid and any 
number of opportunities could either be allowed or objected 
to, in one way or another, it often came down to the judges 
decision. Time was always a factor. Another element that 
often flew directly over the public's knowledge, was all of 
the inner connectedness of the legal system. For instance, 
Dora and Stan's connection. When they had just begun to 
date, there were times when she had brought cases into 
his court room. No one knew that they were involved. 
In fact, he never would have fallen in love with Dora if 
he hadn't witnessed what a brilliant lawyer she was. For 
a man like Stan, love was much more than attraction, 
beauty, sex, for him it was about a mutual respect, and 
to have that, he needed to appreciate the skills involved, 
Dora had it all. So when things got serious, Dora knew it 
was either step down or leave yourself open to a series of 
conflict of interest cases. She opened her private practice 
as a consultant and they moved in together. But they were 
the exception, all throughout the court system, relationships 
such as theirs existed, someone's sister might be married to 
a cop, who was a regular witness in another guys courtroom, 
who happened to be from the same church as the sister. 
Elsewhere, lawyers, secretaries, highway patrol, detectives 
and others had often been connected in some precarious 
situation where the fine line between justice and injustice 
was difficult to decipher. No one person was to blame, it 
was just a part of the system. Humans got to know the people 
they worked with, they got involved & they favored their own.
But in a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles, this was a 
dangerous game with lives in the balance. Your life maybe.  



Stan was responsible for putting away a good number of 
hardened criminals. So many, in fact, that it was difficult 
to even keep track. For the protection of Judges like Stan, 
the court system began to track the releases of certain 
criminals, so they could avoid retaliations which had been 
on the rise in the past few years. Some guy who may have 
lost his entire family, his home, his self respect, his youth 
and even his position and power within a larger group might 
simply come out, retaliate and go right back into the system 
for the rest of his life. So, on a monthly basis, judges were 
now given a file to read, some read it, others didn't bother. 
Although Stan seldom bothered to review his monthly file,
when he found the startling portrait of a familiar face in 
Cliff's bedroom, the next day, he read the recent releases.
Sure enough, a man he had convicted in a high profile case 
had been released and Cliff's portrait was spot on correct.
It was a manslaughter case in which the prosecuting lawyer 
had decided to try the teenage man as an adult, that was 
the first red flag. The second was proof of malicious intent 
to kill. The convicted man had told a fellow worker that he 
wished a certain guy would get into an accident. They were 
able to prove that he not only intended to, but was actually 
the cause of the accident. The third count, he fled from the 
scene. This was used as a divisive way to influence the jury 
that the defendant was not only guilty, but also a coward 
who didn't even stop or attempt to help his victims. There 
was no way in the world that the kid could have ever helped 
them out of the car prior to the explosions, it all had 
happened on impact. Had the boy been able to speak on 
his own behalf, he might have had a fighting chance, but 
the entire event had sent him into shock, he lost it, had 
nothing to say in his own defense and was easily tossed 
away for more years than he had even been on the planet. 
Which meant that he had now spent over half of his waking 
life inside the prison system. An all white jury sent the 
teenage boy far and away. Stan noticed a letter in his in-
box, opened it & realized it was an official communication 
from the officer and witness involved in the case, requesting 
to wiretap the recently released criminal under a special 
circumstances situation. Usually, this type of thing seemed 
almost routine, but for some reason Stan got a terrible 
feeling about all of it. He granted the request. What a life. 



























They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Eleven: Louis Junior  



The day you get out of the joint, they bring you into a room,
and bust out a bag of things that were in your possession 
the day you got arrested. Fifteen plus years was a long time.
He didn't even recognize the things they pulled out of the 
bag, kids stuff, some cash, the keys to his car, the key to 
his Mom's old house, a leather belt with his name inlaid, a 
pack of smokes, they didn't even make that brand anymore.
A wallet with a velcro strap along the top, inside it, a picture 
of his car, his mom and a school picture I.D. card of Josie.
He look at the wallet and tossed it back in the bag. 'F*%#'.
He walked outside and was waiting for a feeling of relief, 
some moment of freedom, but nothing happened. He looked 
at the sky and for the first time in a decade, he felt safe 
enough to cry, so he did. That was his freedom, the ability 
to show his feelings and not care who saw him. Junior had 
built up his armor, he was untouchable, nobody could get to 
him. He had been tested at every level. He'd been betrayed,
robbed, beat up, stabbed, lied to, yelled at, locked in the hole,
stripped naked, reprimanded, punished & poisoned, but he 
had passed every test that came his way. He learned about 
loyalty, strength, inner silence, concentration, focus and to 
some degree, friendship. During the first few years, people 
entered and left, that was difficult. He later realized that 
the only people worth getting to know were those who were 
doing as much time or more than you were. They'd always 
be there. You had to bond with someone dependable. Not 
that you could ever really depend on someone, but, having 
a connection in the kitchen or laundry or yard helped out.
Most of the stuff couldn't even be understood by anyone on 
the outside. He had become an animal in a human zoo. It 
took him a couple hours to get use to the fact that no one 
was watching him, no doors were shutting in front of and 
or, behind him. It didn't matter what time it was anymore. 
He had lived a life of clockwork bells, alarms, shouts and 
announcements on a p.a. system from the nineteen thirties.
It was hard to fathom that he could do whatever he pleased.



Louis Junior had not been the first or only member of his 
family to do time. Many of his Uncles and cousins had done 
a few years, here and there. But nobody had ever spent more 
than a decade. The first day in prison, he remembered a story 
that his uncle Ray had told him about spending time in prison.
"The first guy who even looks at you sideways, or calls you out,
no matter what color, no matter how big, no matter how crazy,
no matter if he's a prisoner or a guard, no matter what, you 
have to beat the living s+*t  out of the guy, no matter what."
So that's what he did. It worked, everyone left him alone, for 
a while. He eventually gave his mom permission to sell the car 
when she needed some money, as long as she promised to send 
him a few bucks every now and then. A guy needed things and 
you had to pay someone sometimes just to get by. Years 
past where he wouldn't even hear from anyone on the outside.
Not even his dad, after Juniors Mom had a stroke, things 
were hard for Louis Senior, when he recovered, they began 
to write each other regularly  and Junior would find that the 
old man had deposited a few dollars in his account. Which 
meant he could buy paper, stamps, a candy bar, this type of 
thing. Junior had been someone who really loved women. 
He had always loved his Grandmother, his Aunts, his Mom & 
of course Josie. During his stretch in the joint, it was the worst 
thing in the world to not spend time with a woman or a girl.
All those years deprived of the basic and simple touch of a 
woman's hand, the sound of her voice, the smell of her clothes.
Junior built up a world in his mind that was like a television 
show or a film or movie that he could repeat over and over: 
"The Summer of Junior and Josie". Not unlike one he saw 
in school during a social studies class, the teacher wheeled 
out a television and everyone watched a show that had 
been produced for boston public television, he never forgot 
it, it was called, "James at Sixteen", where this kid is trying 
to get through life and he's in love with this girl. One night,
they steal away and spend the night together out in the wild.
He and Josie had done that, they'd gone swimming, they'd 
gone to see The Shylites, they'd seen Fernando pitch for the 
Dodgers, they even went to a freaky punk rock concert at 
a burnt out church in Hermosa beach one night. So, in his 
mind, he just relived it all, night after night, day after day, 
month after month, year after year. It was like a regular 
show with different episodes, a mix between "Chico and the 
Man", "The Partridge Family"  and  "James at Sixteen".
That was how he survived it all. There were about a dozen 
or so episodes & he just watched them over and over again.
Of course there was that tragic last episode & unfortunately,
he was forced to watch that one just as many times as the rest.



The one thing he realized right away was the fact that he had 
no friends, knew nobody and nobody really knew him. Alone.
He had his dad, but that was not very solid. He had his sister 
and now she had three girls, but all they had heard of him 
was probably tainted. People feared ex-prisoners, mistrusted 
them, were suspicious and often blamed them for whatever 
went wrong in their lives. He had heard a thousand different 
stories through the years about guys returning home and coming 
right back due to some family member who dropped a dime 
because something had gone wrong, a valuable item had been 
misplaced or any number of things. He promised himself that 
he would never, ever go back, no way, no how, no, no, no. 
So as soon as he hit the street he headed straight over to the 
outreach where he had been receiving letters from a priest. 
It took him half the day to get over there by bus and the other 
half to get back down to the harbor where his Dad, sister and 
little nieces lived.  The priest had explained that they needed 
guys like Junior. Everything on the streets of Los Angeles was 
changing. There had been a truce between several rival gangs 
and guys like Junior had a place in the church. "All right 
Father", he had said. " We have work for you, come back and 
see me tomorrow morning, we have a lot of work to do."
The Father gave him five dollars for bus fair home, they shook 
hands and Junior walked back out into the street, a bit blinded 
by the light. He'd been living in dark grey hallways and closed 
quarters for years now, all this sunlight and open sky was new.
He wasn't ready to see his old man and hadn't seen the old 
neighborhood where they had grown up, so he made it a point 
to check it out. When he got there, the house was gone, in fact 
the entire block was gone, it had been razed by the city and 
nothing at all had been built on it, just a chain link fence.
Then he remembered hearing about how the local chemical 
factory had been polluting the fields directly behind their home 
and had to pack it in. They bought out anyone who could prove 
that they or their property had been damaged. They had never 
even owned the property and by the time his mother found out 
she had ddt in her blood, a year had passed and it was too late 
to collect. She had been visiting a sister in Texas when it all 
went down, never even heard about until after the fact. "Mom",
he said out loud. He stared at the open field & looked above him.
A red tailed hawk circled over his head several times, it landed 
on the only tree left in the entire field and screeched at him. 




The bus dropped him off in the harbor well after dark, he 
had been given the address and knew it was blocks away 
from where his Mother was buried. His old man had 
written that he would walk to her grave all the time. 
When Junior found their house, it was fully lit. A big 
house out of an old movie. He could see the table set 
for dinner through the windows and what must have been 
his niece's bicycles and toys splayed across the front yard. 
Music could be heard from the house next door and then 
he saw his sister Celia in a white cotton dress and what 
must have been her new husband, bringing food from the 
kitchen into the living room. The house glowed with a 
picturesque energy that looked like something he couldn't 
relate to. It was almost too perfect to the point where, it 
seemed fake to him. He became scared that maybe he 
would say the wrong thing. What did he have to talk 
about ? Junior realized all of this was happening too 
soon, he wasn't ready for this at all. He walked back 
down the street toward the waterfront and stared at 
the water for the next few hours. When it got past 
midnight, he strolled back up the hill, opened the front 
gate and found a yard chair under the tree in the backyard. 
He didn't really sleep anymore, so he just rested, looked 
at the stars and wondered what he would do with his life. 
After all the planning and scheming to stay alive and out 
of trouble while inside, Junior hadn't had much time to 
plan what to do when he finally got out. Well, he had his 
appointment with the Father tomorrow morning, guess 
he'd just take it one day at a time, as those dudes in the 
program say. Then, he couldn't help it, just like clockwork, 
he decided to watch an episode from "The Summer of 
Junior and Josie". The one where she can't stop laughing 
at his stupid jokes and they end up asleep in each others 
arms. When Junior awoke , it was morning, his new 
brother-in-law handed him a cup of coffee in a big white 
mug that said ' Support Your Local Police ', he looked 
kind of familiar.


























They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Twelve: Moon



Moon was once a lifeguard. Her older sister had been 
a forester and later joined the piece corp. They were a 
Venice Beach family from as far back as the late 1950's. 
Moon was what they now call old school, she baked pies, 
mixed her own essential oils, her special patchouli, sandal-
wood, mint and lemon with a touch of rosemary, was 
especially popular.  She sewed quilts, grew her own 
tomatoes, and occasionally imbibed a few herbs, but 
only for ceremonial purposes. One late Summer or was 
it early Fall ? Moon had been working the coast as a junior 
lifeguard, she was still in high school when a giant swell 
hit the Southern California beach side. It was strange to 
have such big waves so early in the season, tourists, locals, 
amateurs and professional wave riders all came out to try 
their luck. Every registered junior lifeguard was called in 
to watch the beaches. Already several kids had drowned 
along the coast. From Swami's surf spot down South, to 
the County line up North, there were reports of near 
drownings, accidents of all sorts. Moon had only been 
working officially a few weeks when the waves hit Venice 
Beach. She knew the locals were not going to sit this one 
out, swells in Venice were gigantic. Boards were being split 
in half by the pylons along the piers most notorious break. 
It was not unusual to see even the most seasoned locals 
washed up along the shore with a wound of some sort. 
Some of these boys considered it a right of passage.
One of them would soon become her most intimate 
companion.  


Mickey was not the best surfer in his crew, in fact he 
was most likely the worst. But he had guts. No one could 
judge him on style or bravery, he just needed a few more 
seasons in the water. Having been more of a so-called, 
grease monkey, rather than a beach bum, delayed his 
experience as a kid. While his dad was still around, he 
could always be found just about two or three yards from 
wherever and or whatever the old man was doing. Usually, 
fixing someone's Harley. These were not regular motor 
cycles, per se, these were incredibly complicated Rube 
Goldberg type contraptions that just happened to also 
be vehicles. Were talking about choppers with chrome 
beyond chrome, candy coated paint jobs with more coats 
of varnish than anyone could imagine. These were complete 
works of art. Upon inspection, it was hard to believe anyone 
actually rode the things. There were a good number of 
bikers who actually parked their bikes, inside the house. 
That was how important a man's bike was in his life.  If 
their wives or girl friends ever got jealous of anything, it 
was seldom another woman. Time, money, care, pride, 
attention, all seemed to be focused on the ride. When 
Mickey's old man disappeared, he started hanging out 
with the older surfers in his neighborhood, gravitated 
towards the older brother types, most of them had been 
surfing since childhood, many had even started shaping 
their own boards and some had gone professional, suffice 
it to say, he had some great teachers. But every man rides 
the waves alone, having a good teacher only got you so far, 
in the same way that having your bike tuned by another 
man only meant that if it broke down out on the highway, 
you might not know how to get it home yourself. The day 
Mickey paddled out on eight foot waves with ten foot swells, 
none of his pals could teach him the lesson only mother 
nature could provide. He dropped in on a wave that was 
so powerful, so beautifully shaped, so massive, that it gave 
him the ride of his life. People were shouting from the 
coastline, tourists took pictures and locals were in awe. 
And then, he had to pay the piper, hadn't gaged his exit 
properly, just by a few seconds too many, like cinderella, 
boom, way past midnight pal. The wave picked him up, 
about six feet mid-air, swiftly and without warning 
slammed his body into the grey sea, he might has well 
have been dropped from a roof onto concrete. That was 
just the beginning, from there, he was thrust under water, 
hit the bottom, bounced back up to the surface and back 
down again. And then, as if being spit from the mouth of 
giant, he was thrust upon the shore, like an octopus might 
shoot out the remains of a recent meal. Onlookers gasped, 
he was, as they say in the movies, dead in the water. Moon 
was the first person to reach him. She lifted his arms, 
cleared his breathing canal, pumped his chest three times, 
and for the first time in her life, began to push the life force 
from her body into another human being. Alternating the 
three point pressure pushes on his chest with the air in his 
lungs, for all of twelve minutes, she had been taught well. 
Mickey coughed up a half a gallon of salt water before 
coming back to full awareness. Looking up to see what 
appeared to be an angel of some sort. He was overcome 
with a strange mixture of fear and thankfulness. He reached 
up like a child might reach out of a crib, wrapped his arms 
around Moons waist and cried. He cried just like a new born 
baby. She joined him.



Some years later, Mickey would claim that he did the 
whole thing on purpose, just to meet her, some of his 
pals believed him, but Moon knew better. He had almost 
died on the beach that day and she was well aware of his 
appreciation. Not just for his actual life, but for all of the 
other things she was. Moon was the type of person who 
completes a man. Respected by women and admired by 
men. A lot of people fell for her. Mickey's family had never 
been able to deal with the girls he had dated in the past. But, 
to his Grandmother, Moon was a homemaker. To his Mother, 
Moon was loyal and trustworthy. To his little sister, Moon 
was supportive, caring and didn't judge her for being such 
a tomboy. She fit right into their family. The only thing she 
had to give up was being a lifeguard. Mickey became extremely 
insecure. He thought that maybe everyone who she might save 
would have the same reaction he did and begged her to quit. 
She eventually, a Summer and a half later, granted his 
immature request, on one condition, they move in together. 
She moved in with him and together, they looked after his 
grandmother. Mickey's Mom was often on tour with bands 
during those early years. So Moon and Mickey were like 
parents to his little sister. Grandma added a bit of old world 
spice to the mix. She was the original rebel. Grandma had 
opened one of the first and longest running bookstores in the 
beach area. Moon started working there part time and slowly 
began to manage the place. It was one of those historical 
literary spots where all the beat poets had read their work. 
There were two literary institutes in Venice beach, Beyond 
Baroque and their store. European writers, New York writers, 
San Francisco writers, Chicago writers, all had done readings 
there through the years. From Henry Miller to Arthur Miller, 
it was a great place to buy a book and had a long standing 
tradition with edgy, respected authors of all sorts. Moon 
became a familiar fixture. She was the go - to - Gal.  



When the phone rang, Moon answered it, she had been 
ringing up a couple from Europe who had heard about the 
bookstore from their hometown of Paris France. There had 
been a poster in the window of a bookstore up the street 
from their apartment called Shakespeare and Company. 
The two stores were like sisters. They shared an equal 
history and created an unofficial exchange program. 
Moon didn't know what to think of Mickey's quick and 
deliberate statement that his dad was alive and he would 
call her back later. She had never met the old man and 
wondered what it would do to Mickey. For years, that was 
all he talked about. His old man this, his old man that. 
She packed up the couples five vintage paperback novels 
and hoped he'd call back. All of the stories she had heard 
through the years about Mickey's infamous dad began to 
sift through her mind. She knew that everything was about 
to change. The entire life they had built up together. Moon 
got the sense that a new storm was about to hit the beach, 
she could only hope that Mickey wouldn't paddle out the 
way he tended to do when things got crazy. How many 
times could she save him ? When she got home that night 
Mickey and the old man sat at their table in their kitchen. 
Talk about Shakespeare and company. Moon got the sense 
that a king had returned and a prince was handing back his 
crown. She didn't like it one bit. " Moon, this is my father." 
His Old man looked up, smiled and said, with his trademark 
sarcasm, "The Son and the Moon ? Now all I need are the 
stars and I'm good to go." He took a shot. Moon tilted her 
head and quietly stared like a cat might look at a sparrow. 
She smiled & poured herself a shot, " Heres to you."






















They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Thirteen: Fred




Fred was not his real name, but like a lot of immigrants,
he had wanted to represent America, by becoming a real 
American and so, he started going by Fred. You know, 
like Fred McMurray, he would say to people. He knew 
three different guys from his region who had taken the 
name Sam. You know, like Uncle Sam, they would say. 
Mostly unaware that not everyone in America in the late 
sixties & early nineteen seventies related very much to 
either Fred McMurray from the television show, 'My 
Three Sons' or Uncle Sam, who had just sent thousands 
of young men to their deaths in Vietnam. But, these new 
immigrants had to believe in America, and they did.
Many bought property, businesses, and encouraged their 
first born to join the armed forces. Fred and one of his 
partners from back home had invested in a liquor store 
located in the center of Los Angeles. When they first 
purchased it, they had both been working in the local 
factories in the day, and by night, they held jobs as 
security guards. Full time all day, part time all night, 
for about a decade. Finally, they bought the store, put 
up a big neon sign, Fred & Sam's Neighborhood Market. 
Since the initial purchase the neighborhood had changed.
Los Angeles had grown into the proverbial melting pot 
that is always talked about in Sociology classes at big 
universities. In the old days, its was New York or Chicago 
that was often used as the example of a new America, 
now it was Los Angeles and Fred was happy to be a part 
of it. That was until Sam had a heart attack and Fred was 
left to not only run the store full time, which meant he often 
had to pull all nighters, but also keep the books, order the 
product and find a way to either, buy out his dead partners 
in-laws, who knew nothing about the store or business in 
general or continue to cut them checks. He was in a quandary 
and more and more the relationship between he and his wife 
became strained. Losing Josie was the beginning of a chasm 
that only deepened in time. On somedays, they worked in 
tandem.  




When Fred got word that Louis Junior was to be released 
from prison, he started thinking of ways to deal with it.
Imagined the worst things he had ever imagined, that he 
would like to run him over, shoot him, stuff like that. It 
was terrible, he knew it. The boy had been locked up for 
years and had paid his debt to society and still Fred was 
unable to forgive. Every thing he had ever been taught, 
philosophically speaking, had been thrown out the window.
He just couldn't get over it and it began to gnaw at him.
The liquor store was situated in a part of Los Angeles 
that bordered three different groups of people and within 
those three groups, there were sometimes factions between 
the groups themselves. There might be three rival territories 
for one particular group. Which meant his customers were 
sometimes clashing over issues he had no knowledge of.
For instance, The Strolling 40's might come into the store 
at say, 1:30 AM before closing, to buy a case of Cold Duck 
for a Ladies Night party that just wouldn't quit. Well, if it 
just so happened that some dudes from the 12th Street crew 
were looking to buy a pack of blunts and a tall sixer of Malt 
Liquor, 'Don't let the smooth taste fool you' , the advertising 
stated just above the register, with a half naked woman who 
had probably been paid less than a months rent to bare her 
body for the sale of this fine, cold beverage, than, there might 
be a problem. One night, just before closing, a Chevy Impala, 
full of locals, rear ended a group of kids in a VW, while one 
of them was exiting from the back seat through the drivers 
side door. The VW was thrust forward and the door slammed 
shut while the kids arm was still in its path, so he was standing 
outside the car, but his shoulder was pinned between the window 
and the door jam. No matter what they did, the door wouldn't 
open up. The kid is screaming, the dudes in the chevy don't want 
to stick around to meet the man, and all this is happening in 
Fred's parking lot.  What could he do about it ? Nothing. 





These incidents became more and more frequent and he 
became well schooled in the ways of street life in L.A. 
He had left his country to get away from things like this 
and here he was in the middle of a territory not at all unlike 
the very place he was brought up in. Killings in his region 
were rampant, there had been fields of dead bodies eventually 
discovered. Sometimes he would get home and have nothing 
to say, just plain numb from the day, didn't even want his wife 
to know about what was going on out there in the world.  
Eventually, he was forced to buy bullet proof glass, cameras 
and a permit to buy a gun. Then he had to learn how to shoot. 
On Saturday mornings, from eight to ten in the morning, he 
went to a local shooting range and slowly began to meet some 
of the local cops. When he told them where his store was 
located, they started to fill him in on a few inside tips. Fred 
learned about 'sweep days', certain days of the month when 
local cops scrutinized certain areas. He learned about quotas,
and which days would be especially, what they called on the 
streets, ' HOT '. Fred had heard his customers talking about 
these things through the years, but it was like a code he 
didn't understand, now he was in on it. Fred was wising up.




Through the years, Fred would be forced to call the police.
He knew there was a code and yet there were times when 
he absolutely had no choice but 'call the man'. He had met 
a bunch of these guys in the parking lot of his store in the 
early days and later would see them at the shooting range.
Fred and Chuck became friends outside of their official 
business and realized that they both had things in common.
Namely: Louis Junior. It was a high profile case, Chuck 
was a witness, but Fred had been in shock, he didn't really 
remember the faces of his lawyer, his judge or even Chuck. 
The only face that stuck in his mind during that entire ordeal,
was that of his dead daughter, "Daddy", he could hear her say. 
There was nothing comparable to losing a child to Fred. He 
had lost a piece of himself. That child, to him, was his Mother, 
his Grandmother, all the women in his family, it was his 
future and all of it had been taken away, over nothing at all.
Fred called Chuck at his home office the week before Louis 
Junior was released. He thanked him for the good work he 
had done and expressed that maybe they should talk some 
time soon. When Chuck got the message, he remembered 
the scene that night, thought about his own daughters and 
realized that no matter what, he still had to follow through.
Chuck got in his car, drove downtown & requested a wiretap.
He couldn't go directly to a judge, but he went to his pals at 
the division and they put forward a formal request. On the 
way back home , he exited the 110 freeway and walked into 
Fred and Sam's Neighborhood market, he was in plainclothes,
" I got your message and don't worry, were working on it. "
Fred smiled for the first time in a few months, said nothing.
He didn't charge him for the soda pop either. It was a 'HOT' day.  






































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Fourteen : Turtles


Turtles lived a long time. Ancient and modern Native 
Americans know that some turtles live over a hundred 
years. In fact, if circumstances allowed, just about any 
living being could live an extraordinary amount of time.
Jordan had been given a set of brushes that was his 
grandfathers from the early nineteen thirties. It came 
in a black leather case that housed two or three brushes, 
a glass container for some type of hair tonic, a stylized 
scissors and a container that might have held a bar of 
soap. He had never used the family heirloom and now 
that he had some time off, he unpacked it. He decided 
that this would be a safe place to put this newfound 
package of dollars bills he had recently acquired.
When he opened the container for soap, what appeared 
to be the oldest and largest daddy long legs spider ever, 
peaked from out of the soap container. It was ancient 
and had a vibe to it like no other animal of its kind. 
It's eyes had lids and lashes, it's face, expressed some 
kind of emotions: pain, regret, loss, just plain tired. 
Jordan right away knew that this was a spider that 
must have been living in the kit as far back as the 
nineteen thirties, when his own granddad was just a 
boy . He'd heard of things like this and immediately 
and quite carefully put the spider back into the soap 
case, zipped up the brush kit and as far as he was 
concerned, that spider actually was his grandfather. 



 Jordan drove up the coast to where the accident 
happened, pulled over and just sat there. He began 
to study the landscape from every imaginable angle 
and point of view, there was the derelict in the trailer 
who pulled out without looking, there was the beach 
comber, there was the turtle and of course his own 
point of view. He'd been having some strange dreams 
ever since the thing with the turtle happened. It all 
had something to do with nature and his connection 
or maybe disconnection with the elements, the basics. 
Maybe he just had too much time on his hands. Or, 
maybe it was the money. Either way, he was noticing 
things that had never meant much in the past. Jordan 
had never gone to the bookstore in Venice Beach 
when he wasn't driving a bus, but for some reason, 
he decided to head down there. They had a whole 
section on native americans and animal medicine, 
he bought a book on turtles. He had been experiencing 
a recurring dream of swimming with a group of turtles, 
but the image was from a whole other lifetime, it was 
weird, you know how dreams can be, a whole other set 
of rules. 



Apparently, animals had been popping up all over 
Los Angeles in strange and unexpected places. 
There had been a coyote sighting in the middle 
of downtown, a family of raccoons had been seen 
swimming across a pool which had been built for 
the nineteen-eighty-six olympic games, a rattle 
snake on the streets of Westwood, these were not 
your run of the mill animal sightings, something 
was going on. What was the deal with that turtle 
and where did it go ? As he was walking out of the 
store, he noticed Moon getting off the back of a 
motorcycle in the front of the store. This was 
probably her boyfriend and he didn't want to 
make a big deal out of anything, so he just 
smiled and waved, but she jumped off the bike 
and pulled him over to the edge of the street.
"Hey, I want you to meet my old man, Mickey."
Jordan was a little embarrassed but felt obliged,
" Mickey, this is one of our customers ..."  He 
extended his hand, looked into Mickey's eyes and 
said, "The names Jordan, nice to meet you." But 
he was thinking, 'Damn, that's the dude who was 
on the bus that day.' Mickey recognized the face, 
but didn't make the connection right away, "Nice 
to meet ya." Mickey drove off thinking that maybe 
they had met somewhere before. Jordan drove 
off thinking that life was pretty weird and getting 
weirder by the day. When he pulled up to the stop 
sign, he looked down at the cover of the book and 
noticed that the tile on the turtles back was the 
exact same shape as the stop sign, it had eight 
sides. Like a Pythagorus pattern he had admired.
Some of the ancient tiled patterns through the 
centuries utilized the octagon as a sacred symbol.
They hinted at the idea that we are all connected 
in one way or another, the patterns of life.
He hadn't smoked anything for over a year, not 
since the quartet disbanded, but he was beginning 
to feel kinda, out there. He looked left, than right,
then left again, put his foot on the gas pedal and 
noticed a group of fire trucks parked a block down,
they were spraying water onto a giant palm tree.   



He didn't know what to do with himself, nor did he 
make any decisions as to what he might do with 
the money. He hadn't counted the bills but he did 
peel back the brown paper, which, upon inspection 
had lots of little designs and was broken up into 
squares in perforated form, like a postage stamp.
They were hundred dollar bills, so he had to guess 
that it was a hell of a lot of money. He got nervous 
thinking about it. When the cops had showed up,
he had seen them scoop up the other packages 
along with the guys other things, a bag of clothes,
a few blankets, they gathered  everything into a 
bag marked 'evidence' which had been dated with 
a black marker. When they tossed it in the trunk 
he wondered if a guy like that would even miss it.
Since then, he had been talking to some of the 
more experienced drivers about incidents such as 
these and several had suggested that he ought to 
get a lawyer. You could never be too careful. 
Jordan figured that he could definitely afford one 
if he needed to and wouldn't it be ironic that he 
would be using the funds to protect himself from 
the very dude who he might go to court with. But 
that wasn't what the other drivers meant. They 
were suggesting that he get a lawyer in case the 
transit authority fired him. They might just use 
this as an excuse to can him, even if it wasn't his 
fault. He was already the odd man out. What 
his fellow drivers didn't know was that Jordan 
had gained a few franklins recently and didn't 
really care about his job driving a bus. He had 
become fixated on the turtle. He was tripping.

































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Fifteen: Dora 


Dora worked for a very big firm, right out of 
college. Their clients were large corporations,
food chains, car dealerships, hospitals, major 
sports teams and entertainment personalities.
She would often be one of a dozen different 
lawyers assigned to a case. They were extremely 
powerful people who had ways of influencing 
decisions that went far beyond what everyday 
people could even comprehend. If her firm had 
been defending a food chain for say food poison,
then they had the power to have articles placed 
in newspapers, opinion pieces on the radio, even 
news stories on how that particular company 
was doing good community work and improving 
its nutritional value or helping kids with polio or 
donating funds to a particular recent tragedy.
She learned a lot about how things worked 
and after five years, became so disgusted with 
the firm, that she flat out quit. Dora had watched 
hundreds of individuals cheated out of situations.
They had been poisoned, they had driven cars that 
were ill equipped, they had been plagiarized, they 
had been injured and still sent out to play the game,
they had been operated on the wrong bodily organ,
all sorts of situations where the individual was 
wronged and her firm defended the large company. 
She realized that after all she had learned in school, 
she had been working on the wrong side, for the 
wrong people. So she went back to school for three 
years and came out a new human being. She had 
learned in those first five years how the big boys 
wielded their power and was ready to take them 
on for the sake of the individual and she did. 
  


Dora took on cases that involved most of the same 
types of issues that she had worked on those first 
five years, but now, she was working for the person 
who had been wronged. When a football player 
had been injured, an employee had been crippled,
a resident had been stricken with a disease which 
had been prolonged by chemicals, she prosecuted 
the big companies. She never spoke about cases in 
public, was aware of illegal wiretaps, never met her 
clients in public places, she had learned well. Dora 
knew that there was nothing the large firms wouldn't 
do to win a case. During the first five years she had 
seen it all. Placing individuals at designated locations 
to get information on a witness, getting the low down 
on a certain assistant's personal habits and indeed 
utilizing any technical device to further the source 
of information for one side or the other, it was a 
game of one-up-man-ship with no regard for the law.
At least not until the actual day in court, prior to 
that day, anything was possible and just about every 
one could be influenced, scared, cajoled, even bought.
As soon as she found out who was being sued in a 
conversation with a new client, she would hold up her 
hand and pass the victim a blank sheet of paper, as 
if to say, 'Here, write it down for me.'  She trusted 
no one. That is why she won so many cases and 
became well known for being extremely dedicated.
Even feared. She had friends in the universities, 
forensic scientists, professionals who trusted her 
opinion on wether the fight was worth it or not.
People knew that if Dora thought it was a worthy 
cause than, it was indeed, a worthy cause.




When she got a call from a bus driver who said he 
had recently been in an accident that was entirely 
the other persons fault and feared he was actually 
being fired for his religious beliefs, she met with 
him. Sure enough, as soon as he mentioned the 
Transit Authority, Dora raised her hand and passed 
him a piece of paper with a pen. There had been a 
series of cases involving the transit authority and 
most of them had settled out of court. There was 
even a current case involving a group of people 
suing over the schedules not being met, a union 
had been created among the actual riders and they 
were seeking to keep the transit authority honest 
about the hours in which they claimed to be servicing.
Dora knew that religion had become a point of 
reference in not only the united states armed forces,
but also in many large companies, corporations 
and even in schools. She had been raised believing 
that church and state were a separate institute 
all together. Dora had once been surprised, even 
shocked to find a sculpture of Moses and the ten 
commandments attached to the side of a courthouse 
where she sometimes worked. After a few days of 
investigation, she told Jordan that if indeed he was 
fired, that she thought he may have a case. She was 
not a trial lawyer anymore, but knew one who had 
specialized in this rather successfully in the past.  
The events he had sited in his casual deposition had 
exposed a system of favoritism that was based on 
affiliations and not on seniority or performance. She 
wanted to know if some of his friends or fellow workers 
would back him up. She called a friend who had tried 
this type of thing in the past, some were race related, 
others were systematic. They needed to get witnesses 
who had been retired early for the same type of charge. 
Witnesses who had nothing to lose by testifying for a 
just cause. Dora put the word out among her circuit.



That night, after picking up Cliff , Dora and Stan 
discussed how best to handle this recent event at 
Cliff's school. They decided it was best to correct 
the school and request a change of policy before 
taking it any further. They liked the school, it was 
close to home and her office. If the school were to 
utilize trained employees with certifications during 
outings, then they would not sue. Cliff had friends 
there, they felt it was more important that they make 
changes rather than waves and indeed they did. The 
school swiftly rid the volunteers and hired three new 
employees to handle the excursions. Dora was disgusted 
that someone would do such a thing, who were these 
people that would dress her child a certain way to send 
a personal message to someone else ? Unfortunately,
one of the volunteers got a copy of the letter Dora had 
drafted with her letterhead and the address of her office.
Not only was Dora about to find out what kind of person
does such a thing, she was about to find out just how 
disgusting some people will go to attempt to make two 
wrongs a right. There was a sickness in society and 
Dora had always been someone who had worked to 
heal that disease. She had been tested thousands of 
times and had almost always achieved her goal, but 
coming up against a vindictive ex volunteer would 
soon prove to be more challenging than her previous 
accomplishments. This particular volunteer was insane. 
Dora put Cliff to bed and her and Stan shared a glass 
of sherry as they had done customarily for many years.
He told her about the recent release of this kid he had 
put away fifteen years ago, the boy had been Cliff's age 
and had been tried as an adult. He was now having some 
second thoughts about the whole case. Dora reminded him, 
' Once the decision has been made, there is no turning back, 
your a judge. Evidence is presented, a jury made a decision, 
end of story.'  He didn't want to tell her about the wiretap 
request, so he simply let it go. He was good at that. He also 
knew, deep down inside that the only places where stories 
actually ended were in movies, plays and books. This was 
real life, where the story never really ended, it just lingered.



















They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Sixteen: Home



God had a lot of different definitions to a lot of 
different people. Junior wasn't exactly sure if he 
totally understood the concept of what god was.
He had seen how people who believed in god had 
sometimes transformed themselves. He had been 
accepted by a group of firm believers and felt a 
certain amount of gratitude for being accepted.
Deep down inside, he still had some real doubts.
For the past two weeks, he had settled into his 
new home, had been given a key, so he could 
come and go as he pleased, but had no idea of 
the kind of culture shock that pervaded his 
every thought. That many years away, locked 
up, had taken away his identity as a person.
He had become a unit within a machine and 
was now searching for who he actually was.
Louis Senior had brought out boxes of old 
family photographs that junior sifted through.
He rebuilt his existence by putting together a 
sort of road map of his life before the accident.
He had taken a series of odd jobs, but none of 
them seemed to fit. The priest had introduced 
him to a social worker who gave him a bunch 
of temporary job options, a program wherein 
you could work for three days at various jobs 
to see if you had the skills. He had tried his hand 
at cleaning windows on skyscrapers downtown 
with a crew of guys, but the height prove too 
much for him. He spent a few days cleaning out 
the public bathrooms all along the harbor, grunt 
work that only reminded him of prison. He had 
gutted fish in one of the last canneries that still 
existed in the harbor, came home smelling of guts.
None of it meant anything to him, but he was thankful 
for the opportunities and had, on several occasions 
spent time in the church to show his gratitude.
The priest explained that, on some days, even he 
had questions about faith that could not always 
be answered directly. He would tell Junior that,
"It's an ongoing relationship, have patience my son."



Junior had seen a lot of different types of faiths,
while in the joint. There were all types of believers,
he was very interested in the native american dudes 
who believed in the animals, let their hair grow long 
and had ceremonies that allowed them to practice 
their own belief system, they fasted, held prayer circles 
and chanted during certain moon and sun phases. He 
had also respected and became friends with a group 
of Buddhists who shaved their heads, meditated and 
had found a way to tolerate just about any type of abuse 
that the system or other inmates could dish out. There 
were plenty of Muslim's who had strict rules on what 
to eat, when and how to bathe, what direction to pray.
Of course, he had plenty of friends who were down with 
the Jesus thing and having been raised in that faith 
himself, naturally gravitated toward it. Most of the 
people in that circle believed that Jesus was the only 
way, but somewhere in Juniors mind, he had built a
map that had more than one way to get home and he 
quietly tolerated those who felt differently about it.
He had a common sense about him that allowed for 
there to be a, 'constant maybe', to just about anything.
There were no guarantees in this world, that was clear.
One of the big boys had given him an address, that if,
in case of emergency, he could go to, for work. He had 
done enough favors, cooperated enough with heavies 
to gain their trust and respect. He had the address 
memorized. It was the kind of work that no one actually 
talks about, no applications to fill out, no supervisor 
to report to, no waiting two weeks for your first check.
You were paid in advance and you did the job quickly.
It was the last thing he wanted to do. Since finding 
out that his brother - in - law was a cop, he became 
cautious about anything he said or did at all times.
He still hadn't put it together that Chuck was the cop 
who had testified against him. Back then Chuck was 
clean shaven, with a full set of hair, no glasses. Now,
Chuck was balding grey, with a mustache and specs.
Junior had come to admire what his sister had done, 
built a family, bought a home, taken in their father 
after his mother had passed away. His little nieces 
were funny, sarcastic, nerdy, the way that kids can 
sometimes be, they said stuff that had more truth 
to it than some of the adults. He respected people 
who told the truth more than those that put up a 
front. Chuck and Celia had done something with 
their lives, they had created a family. Junior was 
almost positive that he would never do such a thing.



One day, while Chuck was at work, Celia and Junior 
were having lunch in the main house, she ran out 
front to catch the delivery driver who was just down 
the street. Junior had walked down the hall towards 
the bathroom and accidentally opened the door to 
Chucks office which was normally locked. He entered 
the room to find himself surrounded by a litany of facts 
and graphs regarding the things going on the city. 
Recent arrests, murders, rapes, drug busts and the 
recent palm tree burnings that had pervaded L.A. with 
news clippings, photographs and police reports. When 
he looked at the top of Chucks desk he read a tear 
sheet that had been faded and worn. It was a headline 
that read, 'Local Teen Tried as Adult for Manslaughter'.
He had never even seen the paper the day he was 
convicted, but there it was in plain sight. He looked 
closer and studied the photographs, one of him, the 
day of his arrest, one of the vehicle, a picture of 
both Josie and Ryan from the high school yearbook 
and a picture of a young Officer Chuck. 'MotherF*#@'.
He looked out the window which faced the guest house 
and saw a cord that ran from the guest house roof 
over to Chucks window and into a phone jack unit 
that looked freshly installed, pieces of paint had been 
scraped away, exposing wood slivers around the jack.
He closed the door and rushed to the dinner table 
before Celia came back in with a big box containing 
some dresses she had ordered for one of the girls 
upcoming birthday party. He smiled and said he 
had some work to do down at the church. It wasn't 
a total lie, he had promised the father that he would 
stop by and mow the lawn sometime in the next few 
days. But instead, he got on a bus and headed for the 
address he had been given. He was scared for the 
first time since leaving prison and it wasn't the fear 
of god.



Junior remembered a story he had been told long ago.
It was about the town where his people had come from.
Back when his grandfather had been a small child, there 
had been a sort of Robin Hood, who was an outlaw, but 
had protected his townspeople, had gotten rid of a local 
merchant who had been abusing his power. When the 
authorities came to arrest him, the people of the town 
got together and decided to do what they could to assist. 
From his window in the local jail, they would put on a 
sort of show, 'Teatro de la Calle'. By wearing certain 
costumes, affecting certain body types, they were able 
to send him messages about what was really going on. 
It didn't take him very long to learn how many days he 
had left and where and how his fate was to be sealed. 
It was an amazing effort how the citizens were able to 
communicate in this way and he felt honored. He did 
escape, but was eventually killed in cold blood. Since 
that time, the system that had been created was still 
in existence. Whenever there had been an injustice by 
the authorities, the people had gathered to help inform,
in one way or another the Robin Hood's of the region.
Word got out and this way of communicating became 
well known. It was exported and utilized throughout 
the regions where oppressed peoples had little power.
Junior began to relate to that story and decided that 
he had to tap into that same type of tradition. How 
could they have not told him? His own father ? His 
own Sister ? He felt betrayed and indeed, he had been.
He walked up to the house, checked the address again,
rang the bell, the door opened, he walked inside, the 
door closed.  'Welcome back', a voice softly said. He 
was finally home.   


  




















































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Seventeen: Stones



The Stones had been reunited. For the past few weeks, 
with Charles back at home, the house became full of 
energy. For years, it had been more like a place with 
a large memory. Now it was, once again, a real home.
Charles, Maggie, Micky, Calley, Grandma and Moon 
found themselves thrust into the public eye, due to the 
sudden return of Charles 'Big Daddy' Stone, as he had 
been known throughout the art world all those years.
He had been a part of the nineteen sixties counter culture 
revolution that included guys like Robert Crumb, who 
had famously designed the 'Keep on Truckin'  image 
which had been tattooed, reprinted & even bootlegged 
ever since it's inception. Charles had been made famous 
around the time that Andrew Wyeth' s son Jamie had 
painted a biker riding one of Charles' famous choppers.
Charles began to sell drawings and became collected 
by the top notch musicians & later by everyday hippies. 
Mickey had kept the legend alive by reprinting his fathers
famous, 'Dude on a Chopper' logo on stickers, t-shirts 
and posters. It was the family business, helping to pay 
the bills, as well as make ends meet at Grandma's 
bookstore and of course, it payed for the house they 
were all now living in. Since Charles' return, a slew of 
interest in his art had created a bit of a controversy.
When an artist either retires or dies or in this case 
disappears, the value of the work goes up, since there 
will most likely be no more new works. Charles 'Big 
Daddy' Stone's sudden arrival had coincided with an 
interest in counter culture art and graphics worldwide. 
His generation' s contribution to the art world was now 
being celebrated, accepted, lauded. A new credibility 
was being attributed by the current art critics. Due to 
his mysterious disappearance and sudden return, the 
'Dude on a Chopper' logo was slated for the cover of 
Artforum magazine, he was about to be rediscovered. 
Charles had disappeared in nineteen-eighty one. At that 
time, there was absolutely little to no interest in his work.
Since then, people began to realize that American Rock 
& Roll and the images that defined it, were valuable. His 
generation had changed the way we think about our lives.
People all over the world had been influenced by guys like 
Charles and the bands that his wife Maggie had taken on 
tour. It was a new world and for whatever reason, Charles 
was being welcomed back with full honors across the board.
Rolling Stone magazine had called recently for an interview.




Before the kids were born, Charles had been a roadie 
and later handled security for bands up in Woodstock. 
He had met Maggie while she was managing Bob Dylan. 
It was rumored that Dylan had written the famous lyrics,
' Everybody must get stoned ... ' for Maggie and Charles.
They had become an item after being married on the road, 
with Robbie Robertson as their witness in Nashville, they
had become known as ' The Stones '. When the film, "Easy 
Rider" hit theaters and Peter Fonda was seen riding one 
of Charles' trademark choppers, he became the man, with 
a new waiting list for client orders and enough financial 
security to actually have children. When Mickey was born, 
they moved  to Venice Beach, closer to Maggie' s mom. 
The center of the music business, by then, was shifting 
from New York to Los Angeles and they moved with it. 
After the disaster of Altamont, the last place they wanted 
to be was in Northern California. They had plenty of friends 
there, but by nineteen sixty-nine, the whole movement 
peaked & Maggie was touring with a new group of bands. 
By the time Calley was born, she was working with a new 
writer who just penned a tune that personified everything 
that had happened in America in the past ten years. ' Bye, 
bye Miss American pie, drove my Chevy to the levy, but the 
levy was dry and good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and 
rye singing this will be the day that I die, this will be the 
day that I die. For ten years we were on our own and moss 
grows fat on a rolling stone ...' . Music now, had a sadness. 
Vietnam, the Kennedy's, Martin & Malcolm, Hendrix, Janice, 
Kent State, had all left it's mark and artist' s like Carol King, 
Burt Bacharach & Don McLean were explaining to the world 
what we were going through. Bands from the sixties, like the 
Rolling Stones, the Who & the Beatles were all going through 
a transitional period. Phil Spector and his 'Wall of Sound' 
vibe ended, Brian Wilson & the Beach Boys took it's place. 
Maggie had managed Wilson's tours, up until he lost it.




The person most happy to see Charles was his daughter.
Calley had recently become a hair dresser & esthetician. 
She sat Charles down, trimmed his hair and beard, cut 
his nails, soaked his feet and even gave him a pedicure. 
His toe nails had grown over his toes like talons. Like 
so many homeless men who drift through life unnoticed, 
Charles had let himself go. Calley had immediately forgave 
him for disappearing. 'You bad boy, how dare you run off 
like that.', she said to him jokingly. Maggie was struck by 
how handsome he still was. A full set of hair, tan skin, he'd 
lost his beer belly and after Calley cleaned him up, Maggie 
got rid of the boyfriends and found herself admiring Charles 
in a way that she had years ago. By the first week of his 
return, they had slept in the same bed together. That 
Sunday morning the entire family ate breakfast together. 
The only doubters among the group were Moon & Grandma, 
like a couple of birds on a wire, that chortled and fidgeted 
their way through the morning, before driving off to the 
bookstore together. They had wanted to ask Charles the 
obvious questions like, "Where the F@%! have you been 
for the past ten years ?" But they didn't want to ruin the 
family reunion, so they talked about it on the way to work.
Calley was so happy to see Charles, she brought her girl 
friend to the house for Sunday breakfast and announced 
they were moving in together. Everyone knew that Calley 
had been more than disinterested in men. Mickey always 
figured it had more to do with the line of men his mother 
had brought home since Charles' disappearance. In any 
event, Charles' return gave Calley a new found strength 
and she used it to be herself immediately. She announced 
that they wanted to open their own shop and needed some 
help from the family. Charles donated five thousand dollars 
on the spot, it was the least he could do .




Mickey and Charles sat in the back yard playing catch up.
Charles' old studio had been preserved with a few minor 
updates which included a modern hydraulic rack to lift 
the bikes six feet high. Mickey had poured a slab of new 
concrete inside and out. They had an account with Snap-
On tools & endorsements from a dozen small companies 
that had created accessories of one sort or another. 
Charles explained where he had been and what had 
happened.Mickey didn't really want to know, "It doesn't 
matter." But Charles knew it did , he had abandoned 
the kid without word, without warning, just up and left 
the boy to fend for himself. Charles had been around the 
world and back again. He had a post office box in five 
different cities where his partners sent him his cut of a 
business he had long since walked away from. Charles 
had been a dealer of various substances back in the day. 
Nothing lethal, never anything heavy, he didn't believe 
much in poison. He had once taken the fall for a famous 
rock & roll star. He did a year & a half for possession of 
illegal substances while crossing the border from Canada 
into the United States. Since then, he had been supported 
and respected by that particular person. By taking the fall, 
Charles saved the entire North American Tour which netted 
over eighty-five million dollars. It was well known, among 
the underground, that he was royalty and because if this, 
received royalties. He had spent a good amount of time in 
both Amsterdam & Mexico, finally drifting closer to home 
along the coast of California for the past few years. Once, 
he told Mickey, he saw a group of kids wearing his art on 
T-shirts. When Charles inquired wear they had gotten them, 
the kids said, 'From a department store'. That's when Charles 
knew that Mickey had preserved the catalog. But, it wasn't 
that simple. Charles had no idea how hard Mickey had 
fought bootleggers and rip off artists. Constantly sending 
cease and desist letters to protect Charles' legacy. Mickey 
didn't bother to set him straight. Not now anyway. Father 
and son sat in the back yard, drinking beers & telling stories 
late into the night. The Stones had finally been reunited. 
  















They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Eighteen: Hole



Fred hadn't been home in days. He had no reason to be.
Running the store on his own now was his only purpose.
When he did go home, it was just a reminder of what 
once was, a daughter and a wife that he had survived.
Fred had set up an old army cot in the back of the store.
It was easier to just stay there, especially since he had 
begun to smoke and drink. He hadn't been golfing for 
over a month and his pals began to get concerned. He 
was a great golfer, the best in his circle of friends. They 
all owned shops along the central portion of Los Angeles. 
Serving the community by supplying liquor, furniture, 
toys, glass, sporting goods, all kinds of small businesses.
Fred's ex-partners in-laws had been pressuring him to buy 
them out. But he had no way of keeping the store together 
and buying them out at the same time. He would either 
have to sell his house or sell the store to do so. Fred and 
his wife had never been particularly close to his ex-partners 
family. Through the years and especially since her death, 
his relations with them had gotten worse. He had no idea 
how desperate they had become for money. They had a 
bunch of grown children who knew that if Fred would buy 
them out, that they could put down payments on their own 
homes. One of the young men was especially distraught 
about his own dilemma, he had recently gotten engaged 
and was expecting a child in the next few months. Every 
one in their house seemed to blame Fred for their problems.
The young man had been hearing his mother & uncles talk 
discouragingly about Fred ever since their dad had died.
The young man had been rummaging through his dead 
dad's legal documents for the past year, thinking of ways 
in which he could get Fred to buy out their partnership.
They had made a false complaint a few years back, which 
got Fred audited by the Internal Revenue Service and only 
ended up hurting their own income. His books were clean 
and in the end, he proved to be an upstanding and loyal 
business partner. When the young man came across the 
insurance policy, he noticed that they had full coverage 
for theft, disaster and for fire. Strangely enough, the policy, 
which had originally been drafted way back when, also 
included the parking lot as well as any living creature on 
it's premises. That would include a security dog, which they 
once had, back when the store first opened and the giant 
palm tree which was not like the other trees that were 
planted along the sidewalk. Those trees were owned by 
the city. Their palm tree was situated behind the store,
it had cost them a pretty penny to trim it once a year 
and in itself had raised the value of the property by about 
fifty thousand dollars. The insurance on the tree would 
give Fred enough money to buy out the partners, or so 
thought the young man, who was not entirely educated.
He heard about the famous 'Palm Tree Burnings' in the 
papers and on the news and got a bad idea in his head.





 Fred was awoken by the rattle of the chain link fence.
It was four in the morning. He took out his pistol, climbed 
the ladder in the rear supply area & unlocked the skylight.
He could see a young man pouring water all around the 
base of his palm tree which sat just feet away from the 
cinder block store and inches away from the power lines 
up above. He shouted to the figure, "Hey you, what are 
you doing there?" The young man lit a book of matches,
tossed it on the ground and the entire base of the tree 
lit up in flames. Fred was a perfect shot, he could have 
easily, taken the life of this person, but instead, he shot 
him in the leg. The bullet passed through the young mans
calf and entered the palm tree. The young man ran toward 
the fence. Fred climbed back down the ladder, opened the 
back door and ran toward the young man, "Stop right there."  
Fred ripped the hat off the young man's head & recognized 
him right away. He was the splitting image of his dead 
partner Sam. "What are you doing ? Why would you do 
this ? Why ?"  The young man had no proper answer. 
The roar of the fire was immense, it was reaching the top 
of the palm tree and was beginning to melt the power lines.
Fred opened the padlock on the back fence and instructed 
the boy to leave. He owed it to Sam, who had been a life 
long friend, to take care of the boy, even under this type 
of circumstance. " Don't go to the hospital, you'll have to 
just sweat it out. Don't tell anyone you were here either.
Don't even leave your house until you hear from me.
Understand ?"  The young man said nothing. "Understand?"  
Fred repeated, the boy was now openly crying, he shook 
his head, yes, that he understood and limped down the 
side street out into the darkness, leaving an orange orb 
of light that could be seen from miles away, it lit the sky 
like a giant torch, by now the power and phone lines were 
on fire and fred had to run across the street to call for help.





By the time the fire department showed up, all the power 
lines had been downed and half the block, including the 
street lights, had gone dark.  Fred explained what had 
happened in all it's detail, except for the last part. There 
was a police report. Several detectives were assigned 
to the case. Because it was a part of the famous, "Palm 
Tree Burnings", he also had, not only the Feds, but a local 
reporter for The Weekly, which had been following the case 
since it's original inception. She had solved a series of cases 
through the past ten years and got the sense that something 
was different about this particular burning. Fred didn't get 
to sleep that entire next day and the store had to remain 
closed for the next few days. Of course, all the news teams 
came out and it became another item for conversation.
When the insurance investigators came out, they asked 
to view the video. Fred had installed three video cameras,
one inside, at the register, one out front and one out back.
The cameras took stills every ten seconds or so. Fred could 
only hope that the power lines had been severed before he 
had opened the gate and let the boy run to safety. When 
he finally got back inside the store, he looked up, there 
on the wall, was a picture, it was a snap shot which had 
been enlarged and framed, a smiling image of both Fred 
and Sam, with cigars in their mouths, wearing sports shirts 
out on the golf course. They had both been so hopeful of 
their new enterprise. Fred looked closely at the picture, 
Sam seemed to be looking at his partner from the grave, 
saying, "Thanks."  Sam had always been lecturing Fred 
about this new generation. "You have to believe in these 
kids Fred, their the future."  Fred thought to himself, 'If 
this was the future than were in a hell of a lot of trouble.'
Little did he know, that this was the future and yes, he 
was in a hell of a lot of trouble. He closed up and for 
the first time in a month or so, he went golfing.




Fred hadn't golfed alone for years. But he was in no 
mood to talk to the other members of his unofficial 
golf club. He would have to lie to them and didn't feel 
like acting. He had done so over five times since the 
fire and hadn't the energy to do so over a game of golf.
He had repeated the story to the fire department, the 
police, the feds, the detectives and the insurance guys. 
Later,he had the choice to talk to reporters & had a 
feeling that the lady from The Weekly knew her stuff. 
Maybe it would be good for business, he figured that 
he would do as he had always done. Go with the flow.
Fred had always prided himself on only needing three 
clubs while playing golf. He used a putter, you had to 
have a putter, a Three Iron, for Bogies and the like & 
a Nine Iron. He had an awesome swing that seemed to 
utilize all of his frustrations and anger and loss into a 
single guided focus that harnessed his concentration.
He had been called a lot of names through the years.
The kind of monikers that people gave to foreigners. 
Things that had enraged his friends only solidified his 
resolve to be successful, to be good at what he did, to 
be what he considered a good American, a good father 
and in the case of Sam's youngest son, to be a good 
partner. His pals were enviable. Fred was not the 
jealous type, if a guy was better, he would simply 
study his technique. The sun was setting, Fred was 
the last guy on the course. He had the green all to 
himself. The course was peppered with palm trees 
and he had to laugh, otherwise he would have to 
cry, he laughed and laughed and laughed. If anyone 
was there with him, it was the spirit of his pal Sam.
They had been golfers from the first week they came 
to this country. It was the thing you did in America.
They had seen it in the movies and on television. All 
great business men in America played golf. Business 
deals all went down over a game of golf, everyone 
knew that. They had decided to buy the liquor store 
together at this very golf course and had made a pact 
that they would get the hell out of the warehouse 
together. He stepped up to the Eighteenth Hole, 
the sunset glowed, the sky seemed to speak to him.
Fred swung, he watched the ball as it hurled toward 
the green. It landed in the hole. The flag shook for a 
second or two and settled. He slowly and methodically 
walked toward the green. Fred was an American.






































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Nineteen: Roots




"Gimme some skin." , his Dad's friends would say as they 
walked in the door. Jordan would put out his palm flat 
and the dudes would slide their hands across his as they 
walked past and into the living room to hang with Pops.
Jordan had lost touch with all of that in the past decade 
and was now making up for it. He had ' Gone Native '. 
That is what the fella' s in the park called it. Shook off 
all that urban vibe and was searching deep for his roots. 
He'd been dipping into his new found savings in the past 
few weeks. Every time he opened the black case where 
the money was hidden, he would unwrap the brown paper 
that it was encased in and, like his dad often did, he 
would lick his thumb and count out a few bills, than he 
wrapped the money back up, in that funny paper design 
and stashed it away where it couldn't be found by Wanda.
Jordan had no idea that the bundle of cash was actually 
wrapped in a very precious substance that had not been 
on the market for decades. It was a sheet of the purest 
L.S.D. that had ever been produced, the very best.
The money had originally sat in a post office box before 
the beachcomber picked it up and had been carrying it 
for the past few years. So, although Jordan didn't exactly 
know why he was having strange new ideas about life, 
he was actually, 'Tripping - the - light - fantastic' as it 
was commonly known in the old days. Every time he even 
touched the paper it absorbed into his skin. He had never 
partaken in anything like that voluntarily before, so he 
had no reference point for what was going on. It wasn't 
like he was ingesting it fully, but this stuff was so strong 
that he was definitely 'Out There'. So much so that, when 
he went to the pawn shop to pick up his bass guitar, he 
saw a ring, bought it for Wanda and totally forgot about 
the instrument. Another time, he had gone down to the 
park to pick up that incense she liked and ended up buying 
a drum that had been made in Mali and stretched with a 
real goat skin by an ancient shaman, or so he was told.
He bought a bunch of fabric and some rugs, original 
bamboo tiki lamps and started digging up a fire pit in 
the back yard. Wanda had seen this kind of thing before,
but she was still concerned for him. He borrowed Old 
Man Withers truck the day they were cutting down an 
Oak tree, grabbed a bunch of the stumps and created 
what they called a tribal circle around his new drum-
circle-fire-pit. When she got home, he was in the back 
yard stripped down to almost nothing, playing his drum 
with a bunch of cats he had met in the park. The house 
was full of new plants, a few sculptures, he had even 
redesigned the living room with all of this original fabric 
from the motherland. Bought a bunch of weird vegetables 
that even she was unaware of, some kind of macrobiotic 
root vegetables made from lotuses. When he gave her the 
ring, she really got scared. It was a real diamond with 
little rubies set all along the top and emeralds all along 
the bottom with some kind of amber along the sides. 



She hoped he wasn't doing anything illegal, getting into 
trouble or messing up. Of course, she was also elated, 
proud, even turned on by this new identity thing he was 
going through. When she asked him where it all was 
coming from, he said that one of his uncles had passed 
away back East and had left him some money. "What 
Uncle?" she asked. "On my Daddy's side, he had a piece 
of property that they sold and I got a piece of it, just in 
time too."  It sure was on time, because the Transit 
Authority still had him waiting for an answer. Wanda 
made good money, but they depended on his income too.
During the past year, Jordan had seen a lot of weird 
things and heard a lot of strange stories related to 
bus driving in Los Angeles. There had been a stabbing 
on Alameda, a lady had broke water up on Wilshire, 
an old man had a stroke down in the Harbor. Some 
times a group of people would aggravate someone,
all along the route, a different person would bump,
push, start an argument with some unsuspecting 
person. The drivers were sometimes aware of it and 
even worse, they were sometimes a part of it. It was 
a battle ground for all kinds of people. Homeless folks 
used the night lines to have some shelter, they would 
ride all night, and who could blame them ? Religious 
groups used it to recruit stragglers of all sorts. Drug 
dealers were sometimes peddling. A Driver was some 
times briefed by the Transit Authority prior to a shift, 
if there had been any recent or on going incidents. 
The drivers were expected to do a whole lot more 
than simply drive a bus, they were expected to role 
play, ask questions of certain riders and even get 
information. Jordan wasn't interested in being a 
soldier for the man, he simply wanted to drive a 
bus, take a check and have a regular life. Half the 
dudes he grew up with were being shipped out to 
fight a war in The Gulf. Now he got a call to have 
his vision tested again. He had already done all of 
that before. The beachcomber was not even pressing 
charges, it turned out that he had been missing for 
years and the entire incident had reunited his family.
Why were they stressing me ? He wondered. He knew 
drivers that were cool, but he also knew some pretty 
mean dudes that, one way or another, for whatever 
reason, just didn't like the job and therefor didn't like 
the people and ultimately,  were not good drivers.
Maybe they were just unhappy at home or were going 
through a tough time or had recently had some illness.
Whatever it was, they would tend to take it out on 
the passengers. If a driver was a racist, he or she 
might just pass someone by, in the middle of the 
night, in the rain, on the last route. Or if they saw a 
mixed race couple or some regular passenger who 
had once complained, they might not make a stop.
Jordan was the youngest driver and so he was most 
likely the least jaded. Some of his fellow drivers had 
been doing it for thirty years, they had been either 
burnt out or had become excellent. He knew both 
types. He wanted the certification after sticking it 
out for a year, so he played along with the process.



He was told that the goat skin would eventually speak 
to him. Drums were the original way that people would
communicate with, back in the day. "Get in touch with 
yourself." , the dude had told him, play that skin." Skin. 
Skin. Gimme some skin. Give - Me - Some - Skin. He 
kept thinking about his Mom and Pop and all that sh*t 
they had gone through. All that history. He had some 
deep history, part Indian and part French, they had all 
kinda names for it, be it didn't matter to him anymore.
He stared to get in touch with his roots, not just H-I-S 
roots but the real roots, the roots of primal energy. 
Sound, light, color, taste, the sky, the wind, the earth,
fire, back to the elements in a big m*%$+*@&!ing way.
His lovemaking had become absolute. Wanda had always 
appreciated his attentiveness, his sensitivity and all of 
that. He had once shared a story with her, the first time 
they had ever stayed the night with one another. Jordan 
had been just a boy, his mother was in the kitchen making 
breakfast, she looked down at him & said matter of fact,
" Jordan, when you become a man, don't you ever pass 
out on the woman you love." He looked up at her and 
although he had no idea what she actually meant, he 
looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I won't."  It 
was one of the few pieces of advice he had ever received 
from the woman. Now that he was rediscovering this 
whole new way of being, he would look at Wanda like   
she was the first woman who had ever walked the earth.
The women at work noticed how she began to carry 
herself. "What's up with you?", they'd ask, "Oh Nothing", 
she lied. Jordan was 'up with her', sometimes late into 
the night. Now that he wasn't working, he would make 
breakfast, a salad for her lunch and when she got home, 
he already had dinner on the stove. Not always. There 
were some nights where he was off on some adventure. 
He'd gone to some sweat lodge with a bunch of guys or 
went walking clear across the city. He'd gotten in the habit 
of using a walking stick and wore a pair of old sandals.




One day, he drifted downtown, walked into a bank, got 
change for a hundred dollar bill, "Gimme-a-bunch-a-ones." 
The teller gave him the change and walked the hundred 
dollar bill over to her manager. She explained that she 
was having second thoughts about the recent exchange.
He took down the serial number and made a call. The 
bill had been put on a circulation list twelve years ago.
By now, Jordan was down on Main street handing out 
dollar bills to every person on the street. People were 
downtrodden all up and down that area: homeless, run-
a-ways, hungry, strung out, drop outs, stragglers, drug 
addicts, the forgotten. Who knows what had possessed 
him to do such a thing. Maybe the goat skin had spoke to 
him. The man at the bank called the authorities and they 
downloaded a picture of him walking out of the bank. 
It wasn't a very detailed rendition. You couldn't see his 
face. With his ancient outfit and walking stick, he looked 
like Moses parting the Red Sea, one of the disciples or 
even Jesus himself. The image was reprinted & sent out. 
It became another item for the strange and regular events 
that seemed to happen only in Los Angeles. A week later, 
the photograph was reprinted in The National Inquirer, 
right between an article on a recent UFO sighting and 
a baby that saved a dogs life in the family swimming pool. 
The headline read in bold letters, "Jesus Passes Counterfeit 
Bills to Feed Homeless". They had never actually found 
'Jesus' and Jordan never even knew what had happened. 
He got home late that night. The Moon was full. A few 
clouds had splayed across the sky. He had been reading 
the clouds and the landscape like a student might read a 
textbook, it all had a new meaning. One of the clouds was 
shaped like a giant turtle, he smiled. After all, he had 
recently found himself. Jordan had finally found his roots.































They Call It The City of Angels
Chapter Twenty: Heart


Cliff was up all night. He'd been working on the 
largest painting he had ever created. The entire 
wall had been covered with large sections that he 
would attach with stickpins. It was Sunday morning 
and Dora had several appointments at the office. 
Many of her clients were nine to fivers who