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Thursday, August 13, 2015
BUREAU of Arts and Culture Magazine SAN FRANCISCO presents The New Fiction Project 2015: They CALL IT The City of ANGELS SEASON THREE . Episode TWO . Chapters 40 / 41 / 42 / 43 / 44 By Author Joshua Triliegi . An Improvised Novel
BUREAU of Arts and Culture Magazine SAN FRANCISCO presents The New Fiction Project 2015: They CALL IT The City of ANGELS SEASON THREE . Episode TWO . Chapters 40 / 41 / 42 / 43 / 44 By Author Joshua Triliegi . An Improvised Novel
The Original Fiction Series: " THEY CALL IT THE CITY OF ANGELS," began two years ago with Season One. An interesting experiment that originally introduced five fictional families, through dozens of characters that came to life before our readers eyes, when Editor Joshua Triliegi, improvised an entire novel on a daily basis and publicly published each chapter on-line. Season Two was an entire smash hit with readers in Los Angeles, where the novel is set and quickly spread to communities around the world through google translations and word of mouth. Season Three begins in August 2015 and the same rules will apply. The entire final season will be improvised and posted publicly on a weekly basis beginning, Friday August the 7th 2015 and continuing each friday to the stories final completion of Book One. "Improvised," in this instance, means: The writer starts and finishes each section without taking any prior notes whatsoever and publishes the completed episode on all Community Sites. Season III is The Finale'.
Season Three / Episode Two / Chapter 40
AND TO SERVE
At 8 a.m. Junior made a phone call tipping the Harbor Division in on a local stash. Then, he walked into the post office downtown and mailed a copy of the metro section newspaper article describing his death to his former organization. He took the second copy of his obituary and the keys to his car, which was wrapped in a business card of the storage parking lot and dropped them into an envelope which were to be mailed to Chuck and Celia's address. He lifted his arm, displaying the newly bandaged hand and asked if the mail attendant would be so kind as to write the addresses for him, and she did so willingly. "This one needs to go out right away," he handed her the first. The second envelope he explained, "Needed to go out in a week," he added, "would you be so kind as to post date this delivery ?" Then he lifted his hand again, as if to solicit some form of sympathy, which apparently worked. He took the blanket, which was sealed in plastic and requested an extra large envelope, then he took off his crucifix and read the address on the back of the cross to the lady behind the counter, she wrote it down for him. When she asked to whom it was for, he simply answered, 'The Pope," and she wrote that down as well. Then she mentioned that a package this size was going to need a return address. Junior looked at her a moment, then spontaneously rattled off the address of the ranch back home, he gave his fathers name. As Junior thanked her and walked out, the lady, who had been working in this location for over three decades and had assumed she'd seen everything, decided immediately, that this was indeed a first. On his way to the Bus Depot, Junior glanced across the way toward Olvera Street, a place he and Louis had visited before every baseball game, way back when, before the accident, before life had dealt cards that exiled him into imprisonment and now into an uncertain future that was at best anonymous. He could never put into words how those visits had made him sad, the objects, tourist items and symbols of his roots made him yearn for the authentic experience that only his real home could provide. The smell of the earth, 'La Tierra' as the old indian described, time and time again, was truly what life was about. And now, in his memory, the Indian appeared to him in full color, "Life is about the elements," he continued, "the earth," the man grabbed a hand full of dirt and showed it to Junior, it was deep red, it was rich, it was sacred and in the hands of the Indian: it was magic. "You must know the earth, by working with the land. She is you're only friend. Everyone will leave you. People will die. Everything you know will change, but the earth, the land, 'La Tierra,' will always be there for you, understand ?" And Junior said aloud, "Yes." Then the Indian explained that once Junior had comprehended the earth that he would move onto the other elements such as the sea, the fire and the sky, and that maybe, if he studied well, that before death, that he would come to a clearer understanding of things as they really are. All of these words came directly to Junior without the Indian actually speaking, he simply stared at the boy and Junior heard the words clearly and concisely. The Indian handed him the Bear Bowl and when Junior awoke, it was night, he sat there alone, next to the fire that had now calmed to embers, he stood up and there were his animals, the snake, the owl, the coyote.
Chuck realized that being a detective had just as many levels, traps and obstacles as being an officer on the beat, the big difference being that the stakes were much higher. Upon his indoctrination, due to the arrest and case that had provided him with the graduation, he was assigned to continue in the vein in which he had succeeded most recently. The department did not always consider what an officer or detective wanted, the department assigned cases according to experience, seniority and proven ability. Chuck was a newbie and had no plans to specialize in the kind of work that had gotten him here. He arrested several key people in a child prostitution ring and although the confiscation of drugs were also involved in the case, they were considered secondary. Chuck was soon introduced to a series of files and cases surrounding child prostitution. Being the father of three young daughters made this particular specialty extremely difficult, he became sick to his stomach after training sessions. Of course, his department considered this motivation, they figured he was the best man for this type of work. Chuck knew that serious drugs were being pumped into the inner city and had been for some time, he wanted to do something about it, if one could stop the drugs from coming in, then, maybe, people were less likely to do the activities that followed their addictions: theft, molestation, prostitution, murder, you name it. Although Chuck was new to the department, he was no novice to detective work and had been 'playing' detective for over five years. He had friends all over town, sources of information inside and outside, official and unofficial, journalists and newscasters, front desk and back alley. Chuck was ready to take on the big boys and some of the older dogs in his department knew he was a comer, not because he talked loud, they knew Chuck was the man exactly because he did not talk loud. As a result of his new position as detective, there were two basic reactions from his pals in the officer core, the first was congratulatory, he had become a symbol of the ability to move up in the ranks and they saluted him proper, promising assists and back up on the second, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. The second reaction was one of a silent and obvious defiant jealousy, which followed a sluggish and non committal blasé and right away, he identified who it was that he could depend on and who he could not. If the public ever knew how divided the department itself was on politics, personal and professional, they would be astounded, but the public never knows, he thought to himself.
Part of Chuck's approach was rather old school. He had always read the national newspapers as a young man, seeking information on cases throughout the years that included scandals of all sorts, including The Watergate Series in The Washington Post. He read The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Star, The San Francisco Chronicle and for a fledgling cop on the beat, had a vocabulary and a viewpoint on fighting crime that was much broader than his contemporaries. Chuck felt that good detective work related directly to good journalism and he had the utmost respect for any reporter who could break stories. Over the past few years, he had begun to follow local papers in the smaller communities that surrounded Los Angeles and Southern California, including the papers in Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose and San Bernardino. If there were busts happening or not happening, in the surrounding areas, Chuck could almost intuitively gage, what was coming into Los Angeles. He also began to follow leads, tips and particular reporters in each community paper, even called a few every now and then. He never asked for sources, but more than once, he pushed the line in search of certain details that may have been omitted. Just before the riots, a story broke out that had connected a branch of the US government and a large operation that had been pumping the inner city with the proliferation and dissemination of a large quantities of drugs. Chuck had been following the series from the very beginning and when The Times began to dismantle and discredit the story, the reporter and the entire connection, he knew there was a cover up. He had called the reporter on several occasions prior to becoming a detective and now that he was in a position to get directly involved, Chuck wanted to talk with the reporter extensively. When he called the paper, he was told that the reporter was no longer employed. Chuck looked up the man's personal info, called him at home, left several messages, but never received a return call. He wrote down the man's address and thought about driving up north to see if he was still around, but instead, was assigned new possible cases and the address simply sat on his desk, with the series of articles, as a simple reminder that one day, he might really make a difference. Here he was, a new detective and already pining for a larger goal. It was simply in his nature to do better and sometimes that meant to do bigger. Celia noticed right away that Chuck's new position had changed him in the slightest ways. He had laid down a whole new set of rules for the girls that included: no sleep overs or slumber parties, no after school visits with friends beyond five o'clock, no weekend birthday parties after dark and he would not allow them to participate in certain group activities where contact was involved.
Celia thought that Chuck was going too far and on several occasions they argued. He looked at the girls differently now that he had seen what was out there in the world. On one recent occasion, the girls had been visiting friends in a neighboring community and when Chuck returned home, it was after dark and the girls were not home. Celia explained that the mother of their schoolmate was supposed to drive the girls home, but had not done so and they were probably on their way. Chuck had just left a training session which included graphic images and a tutorial that was instructional to him as a detective, but devastating to him as a father. He freaked out, jumped into his car and drove over to the schoolmates house, walked up into the backyard, while the girls were jumping up and down with a group of kids in a giant blow up castle, he made a scene, embarrassed the girls and dragged them all out of the party. Another one of those domestic scenes where the person who cares the most, ends up looking like the idiot. He didn't care what he looked like, he cared about the girls more than anything and even if Celia didn't understand, he was bent on protecting his family at any cost. It was a case of good cop, bad cop and unfortunately, Chuck was perceived as the bad cop. That night, Celia explained to the girls how much their father loved them, cared about them and wanted them to simply have a safe childhood. "Your father works in a world much different from the world we live in girls, just remember that he loves you." Donna, who was the eldest, complained that she could never face her friends again, "What was she going to say to them in school the next day ?" No one in the family had any idea that the girls would not actually be attending school the next day. First, they would receive an early call from Louis with the news that their Uncle Junior had died in a car accident. Celia was a mess, the girls had never seen their mother in such a state and even Chuck got scared when he saw her break. An hour after they received the call from Louis, Chuck heard a helicopter overhead, when he looked out the front window through the curtains, an entire swat team, fire trucks and a half a dozen black & whites were strewn across the street. He walked to the back window and another group of under-covers, detectives as well as an ATF team were surrounding the place. Celia demanded to know what was going on, "Chuck, talk to me here..." He simply stated that they should keep calm. When Celia looked out the back way, she saw a handful of Detectives going in and out of the garage. It had all the markings of an Internal Investigation. "Chuck, What's going on here ?" He was afraid to say what he really thought, for fear of Celia's reaction, but deep inside, he had a terrible feeling that the death of Junior, had led to whatever was now happening.
Chuck had refused to answer the door unless he could speak to a superior officer and when he requested one by name, his request was denied. Celia and the girls were then told to stay in the den, which had no windows. Chuck locked down and loaded up. He put in a call downtown, but the line was dropped halfway through dialing. He had fortified both the front and back entrance ways when they first purchased the home, so kicking in the doors was not an option. Between the noise of the helicopters overhead, the roar of the sirens, the flashing lights and the screaming bullhorn announcements, two of the girls had wet their pants and Celia was on the verge of loosing it. This event was exactly what she had always assumed would never happen to her . The type of ghetto arrest that she had witnessed throughout her entire childhood as friends and schoolmates and relatives were descended upon by a team of individuals who were trained to get what it was, who it was and where it was, wherever it was, no questions asked and no questions answered. Chuck was demanded to open the door and to come out with his hands up. He refused to do so for over an hour and had no way to communicate, except to scream through the closed windows, which if opened, he feared would be shot through with tear gas or worse, concussion bombs. This was an all too familiar scene to Chuck, like a bad dream that had inverted his experiences into a convex universe, reversing itself and turning inward towards him. Again, he asked for a superior and again, he was denied. "Listen pal," the bullhorn announced, "none of your partners can help you here," then the bull horn clicked and the sound of feedback glared to a piercing screech, "you better open that door, or were coming in after you." Suddenly the back window blew open and the house filled with smoke, Celia opened the door to the den and began screaming, the girls began to cough, their eyes burning. Chuck had no choice but to open the front door, put his hands behind his back, as he had ordered so many others to do through the years, and walk down the front steps of his home, while the entire block watched. He was put into handcuffs and placed in the back seat of an unmarked vehicle. Celia, held the girls together and was told to put her hands above her head, the girls began hitting the female officers with their dolls. Celia turned to her neighbor in desperation, asking if she would watch the girls for the day and the lady, whom she had known for over ten years, looked around and under pressure, simply shook her head no. "This is a big mistake girls, your father is a good man, he upholds the law, something's wrong here, don't you worry about a thing." Celia was put into the back of another unmarked vehicle and the girls were ushered into a van. The helicopters flew away, the fire trucks and Swat team exited and the press arrived. By the time the television trucks, reporters and news stations arrived in The Harbor, Junior was stowed away, in the storage section of a greyhound bus headed north. All he now owned was several hundred dollars and a bad hand.
Season Three / Episode Two / Chapter 41
THE NEXT BIG THING
A Sunday at the Stones residence was always a casually epic affair. Ever since the earliest days, an invitation to this house party was a ticket to an amusement park. A cross between a backstage pass to a major concert, a kitchen tour of a top notch restaurant and an exclusive reading at one of the most well respected literary institutes in the world. Mickey and Cally had never known any different, as children, they assumed that everyone spent Sundays the way their parents did, but, little by little, they soon realized that their parents were quite different from their friends parents, in comparison, their parents were actually special. Now that Charles was back in the kitchen, Maggie was in the mix with a new concert development and Moon had been actively organizing readings at the bookstore, Sundays at home were suddenly back in vogue. As a teenager, Micky spent his weekends away from home as much as possible, usually entering one of his cycles into a competition or riding up the coast with friends or spending time at the river or camping near the local lakes. He would take a bike as far as Arrowhead, Kern River or even Lake Havasu. Something about the so called great outdoors got to Mickey. Cally had spent most of her weekends with Grandma at the bookstore. She became well read, knew how to stock, alphabetize, catalogue and categorize. When she came across the books of Anais Nin, who lived in Southern California and did readings upon special anniversary publications at the store, she found herself relating to the female body in a way that she had not understood before. Cally realized early on, through literature, more than any other medium, that she liked girls more than boys. Since that discovery, she resolved it in the same way in which she accepted her parents originality, realizing that she was not just different, she was special. Anyone who spent an hour with the girl had to agree. Moon played a key, yet uncredited role in raising Cally, instilling many of the basic habits of being a woman and to this day, they were like sisters. At times, creating a bit of jealousy or trivial infighting between other family members and even some of Cally's more insecure girlfriends through the years. Now that grandma had passed away, Moon ran the bookstore, Cally and Jezz opened their own business and Sundays at the house were attended by everyone, old friends, special customers, investors, partners, previously involved and newly acquainted. By the time Sunday rolled around, Moon filled Micky in on the possibility that he now had a brother from another mother. Mick took it in stride, even eager to meet the guy, which was good, because, 'the guy,' just walked through the front door.
Maggie had invited her new musical discovery in hopes that she could sign the band before the big concert event. She Said / He Said had potential to crossover and everything had been planned accordingly. Through the years, decades really, Maggie had developed, signed and toured with some of the best in the business. When Ryan's little brother and his girlfriend arrived, they had a young producer in tow, a young asian kid, who went by the name of Alex. Maggie gave them the grand tour, which usually started in the kitchen, where her guests could grab a cocktail or a beer, then she walked them through the long corridor where hundreds of awards, gold albums, signed record covers and letters of thanks from rock and roll royalty were proudly displayed, up the stairs onto the second level where an entire music studio existed with guitars, keyboards, mixers, microphones, amps, electric, acoustic and an entire wall of colorful and inventive percussion instruments from every continent one could imagine. Next to the studio, sat her office, with contracts, release forms, tour dates, radio playlists and a single shelf that extended from one wall to the next with well over a dozen music awards of the variety that included radio, television and film. Through an adjoining doorway, into a lounge that included a wide variety of libation for those who chose to imbibe and then a stairway which led them down into the backyard where a water fountain and a series of one hundred year old trees covered the entire backyard, which included a small stage, an outdoor bar and behind that, Mickey's motorcycle workshop, which was basically a converted garage, though once inside, one would swear it was the most top notch technical facility you ever saw. Equipped with every possible tool, device and mechanism that ever related to the building of a Harley-Davidson and some he had actually invented out of necessity. While on the grand tour, Maggie realized, she did not know the names of either of the duo, "We're a little embarrassed to say," the young man explained, "we even thought of using it as a title once, but decided against it for obvious reasons," then the girl explained, "His names Jack…" and then Ryan's little brother added, "… and her names Jill." Maggie laughed, the kids were funny, they even completed each others sentences, she knew they could handle the press with that type of wit readily available. "Well," she said, "Simon and Garfunkel went by the name of, 'Tom and Jerry' before Mike Nichols and I put them on the soundtrack of The Graduate. We remixed their entire album for that film and look what happened there ?" They sat down and Alex ceremoniously handed Maggie the new single. She popped it into the player and soon realized that the duo was actually a trio. Alex had mixed down a very groovy single that was now completely radio ready.
Mickey and Moon watched as his double walked through the front door carrying a ceremonious bottle of rare irish whiskey, he strolled into the kitchen and handed it directly to Charles, who was in the process of marinating a pile of steaks next an absurd stack of garlic cloves, onions and fresh peppers. "Ahhh, perfect timing my boy," he grabbed the whiskey bottle, poured a generous amount into a bowl, adding freshly crushed black pepper and a pile of spices and mixed them all together, he then poured three shots into a trio of glasses and called Mickey over, "To family," he announced. The three man raised their glasses and drank in unison. "What do they call you ?" Charles asked. "Daniel," the young man replied. "Well, Daniel," he said, as if attempting to familiarize himself with the pronunciation, "welcome to the family." Then he added, "Mick, why don't you show Daniel the workshop." Charles hated formalities, he neither wished to experience awkward moments in life, nor did he hoist them upon others and so, he had become a man who could smooth over just about any situation imaginable. Being a rock and roll roadie had given him plenty of practice. Band members, their wives, girlfriends, fans, the press and the squares they encountered along the way, made Charles into the ultimate diplomat, he was practically a professional conflict resolution specialist. Because Maggie was just about the polar opposite in this regard, Charles was a boon to the peace of their family. Moon watched as Mickey and his newfound brother walked into the backyard. She stood up and walked toward Charles who saw her coming, "Ahhh, Moon, my dear child, what phase are we in today," he jokingly asked, "quarter, half or full? Are we waxing or waning?" She looked at the man in quiet admiration, "How the hell do you do it, Charles?" Moon asked. He played it cool, pretending to have no idea what she was referring to. She looked out the rear window as Mickey and Daniel walked into the shop. Moon couldn't help herself, she was the type of lady who could never play poker well, an open book, which is more than likely why Mickey had always felt so safe with her. Charles began to fry up the assorted peppers and could see that Moon was getting emotional. He turned up the flames, wiped his hands and led her into the living room. "Are the onions getting to you or is there something you want to talk about?" he asked, as he handed her a glass of wine. Moon knew he would never giver her a straight answer, she just shook her head and leaned on his shoulder. "For a guy who completely abandoned this family, I have to hand it to you." Charles laughed at the back handed compliment. "Coming from you, my little reflective friend, I accept that wholeheartedly." He gave her a hug and then she simply answered his previous question. Moon was feeling, "New."
Cally and Jezz were laying in the backyard and in walked Baby, who had been working at the salon, but never actually visited the house before. She looked distraught and asked if Mickey had heard from Jordan ? He hadn't been home since picking up the motorcycle a few days ago and Wanda was worried sick. Cally explained that Mickey was in the shop and that she was sure everything was ok. "I'll go get him." Jezz fixed baby a drink and walked her into the house, enquiring about how she liked the new job. "I love it honey. Thank you again." Then Mick appeared and explained that Jordan had mentioned, "Something about Lompoc...?" Baby shook her head quietly, downed her cocktail and everyone waited for something, but that something never surfaced. Then she noticed they were all waiting for some explanation, so she simply said, "His daddy's up there doing time." Mickey was the only person who knew what that actually meant beyond the actual words being stated. He put his hand on Baby's shoulder and replied, "Jordan can handle himself. You'll hear from him. Just let it ride for now." Baby looked at Mickey, who had that same solid center that Charles had and felt that he was probably correct. "Tell Wanda not to loose any sleep over it," he added, "If you don't hear from him by tomorrow, call me and I'll look into it." Mickey knew more than a few dudes that could find anyone just about anywhere. But more than anyplace in the world, he knew a whole bunch of dudes who could let him know about any visitors to any prison anywhere on the West coast. Cally and Jezz both comforted Baby and Mick reassured her he looked into it first thing in the morning. Baby now felt consoled enough to head home and tell Wanda. Before excusing herself, she looked around and simply stated in a general kind of way, but more towards Mickey than anyone, "Thank you." Jezz walked Baby through the house toward the front entryway, adding a final, "Don't you worry about nothin'." Baby had never felt so at home among people like the Stone family, she thought to herself, now gazing at the giant home. She walked through the living room, down the front steps and onto the sun soaked sidewalk. A group of people walked past smoking a joint and then Baby thought about Mac and several images drifted through her mind, by the time she got into Wanda's car and started the motor, she was more worried about Jordan than she had been in years. Mac had been in and out of trouble with the man since the day she had met him. He was forced to deal with the worlds woes in ways that had twisted his own ideals and even his basic nature. Jordan had chosen another road and Baby was seeing what that road could offer. Of course, she had every right to be worried. The fact of the matter was that Jordan was now in a whole lot of trouble.
Mickey walked back into the workshop with a cold beer for Daniel and then he said, matter of fact, "So you're a lawyer?" He pronounced the last word slowly and Daniel laughed. Then Mickey noticed what every one else had been referring to all along, there was a serious resemblance between the two men. "We need good lawyers, ya know," he said in his own defense and Mickey agreed. "Working on anything?" Mickey asked and Daniel was hesitant to mention a recent case that he had been asked to council. "Well, yeah, as a matter of fact," he said, knowingly, "there is this cop," and Mickey's eyes went flat, Daniel continued, "that was recently accused of possessing over a half a million dollars cash and enough drugs to light up half of Los Angeles." Mickey looked disappointed, "A cop, huh?" "Yep," Daniel added. Then Mickey challenged him, "So, if he goes innocent, do you think we'll have another riot on our hands?" Daniel had to chuckle. "Let just put it this way," he replied, "more than likely, he was set up." Mickey countered, "Its easy enough to prove a set up for the drugs, anyone can plant a package these day. But how the hell do you plan to disprove a half a million dollars in cash?" Daniel just smiled, "Well, thats the real challenge isn't it?" Then Mickey added, "And you think he's actually innocent ?" The room was silent for a few seconds and Daniel replied, "Until proven guilty, yes." Now it was Mickey's turn had to laugh. "How do you know he's not just a filthy bastard who couldn't make it honestly?" Daniel, looked at Mickey, a man he had never known before, a man that his mother had said was most likely his brother, a man that looked almost identical to him and suddenly felt close to him. "I'll tell you why. Because the entire police force, the federal government, the drug enforcement agency and members of the highest secretive elements in our government all claim he's guilty. When that many people agree on the chosen outcome of a fellow employee and that employee is convicted as an individual, it almost always means there's a set up." Mickey looked at Daniel, a man he had never known before, a man that his father had said was most likely his brother, a man that looked almost identical to him and suddenly felt close to him. "Interesting," Mickey replied. "Your damn right it's interesting." Daniel stated, "I'll tell you another thing, this presidential election, money laundering from covert activities and the use of local dealers is so on the verge of becoming a public scandal and the very fact that this particular detective has connections on both sides of the law, puts him in the perfect position to be a scapegoat for over a hundred very real drug rings scattered across the southland. This is a set up if there ever was one." Mickey looked at his brother and smiled, his brother smiled back at him, they raised their beers and glass met glass, "To family," "To family."
Season Three / Episode Two / Chapter 42
Fred woke up early. He opened up the Sunday Times and there on the cover was a picture of his burnt out liquor store with a bunch of statistics that described how many deaths, buildings and jobs had been lost due to The Riots. It was the last thing in the world he needed to be reminded of. He turned to page two, where another familiar image stood in plain view. At first he could not place the scene, then he looked closer and realized, it was a picture of Chuck's house in the harbor, with cop cars, a swat team and fire trucks surrounding the place. The headline read, Los Angeles Police Detective Arrested in Raid. Fred had just been to Chuck's house not long ago, he could not believe what he was reading. The article described how an anonymous phone call led to the arrest of Chuck and his wife, for the possession of over a half a million dollars and the largest amount of concentrated drugs in one location for several years. Then, Fred noticed a related article, that described the death of a recently released prison parolee that authorities had originally claimed was responsible for Fred's daughters death: Junior. Police Officials were attempting to connect Juniors death with Chuck's arrest, based on the fact that they were brother-in-laws. Fred was astonished. He had struggled for years to deal with his feelings over the loss of Josie, had even considered vigilante style acts upon Junior's release from prison. Now that he made peace with his past, had actually investigated the case on his own, the world was offering another twisted turn that caught him off guard. Chuck had recently been promoted to detective for breaking a human trafficking ring and to Fred, every thing in the article seemed highly unlikely. Chuck's promotion to detective and the entire recent trafficking case was now in question, the article hinted that maybe Chuck had actually been privy to information through direct involvement. Through the years, Chuck had been a friend to Fred and Sam, had schooled them and often been there to support their fledgling business. Fred felt compelled to do something, but what exactly, he did not know. Fred originally had wished ill will toward the man who had been convicted for his daughters death, he later found out, that man was actually the love of her life. Now, Junior, was dead. Fred got into to his car and drove east toward the grave site of Josie. The sun was rising. Fred, who had countered his original grief through the years with stoic silence, periods of anger and bouts of denial, finally broke down and accepted the fact that he had lost, he had endured and that now, he had survived.
That afternoon, Fred called his lawyer and explained his concerns regarding an old friend of his, a cop named Chuck and he referred to the article in the days paper. The lawyer, who had always been slightly surprised at Fred's naiveté', laughed in a sardonic reaction, "Fred," he said, "I know you mean well, but this is no time to get involved in that situation, your cop friend is getting fried in the press, because the public needs a good story about a bad cop getting his due. Thats the way things work. And worse than that, it looks as if the city council is now going to deny most of the shop owners from our community the permits to re open our businesses, furthermore, I have not had the time to look at your specific insurance contract, I do know that you had insurance liability, but there may be a total reversal and there is a very good chance that a decision will be made not to pay out Korean owned businesses with the argument that The Riots were not an act of god." Fred was devastated. He had already spent the money that had been promised from his own life savings to buy the yogurt machines, the water infiltration systems and if the insurance companies reneged, he was ruined. Fred sat on the phone quietly. The lawyer then abruptly stated, "Is it true that you and Ta are an item ?" Fred grunted,"Yes," he was still in a daze. Then the Lawyer continued, "I don't know if you realize this Fred, nor if you are aware of politics in America, but Ta has many friends in this town, she is loved and respected by this community in a way that is powerful. We need to bring our people together and we need to send a message of unification to the populist of Los Angeles. I know you are a private man, but Ta has a very public persona, If the two of you combined forces and called for a rally, a march, a call of peace, we could send a larger message and right a few wrongs, maybe even turn the tides in our direction." Fred didn't understand entirely, but he knew that the lawyer had always been direct and honest with him. "Fred, I want you to explain to Ta what is going on here. Have her call the local radio station, asking her clients, her customers and her friends to show up at the park in solidarity. The press and the local government has taken us for granted, we need to send a message loud and clear, that we are Americans and we deserve the rights and protections stated in the constitution, the bill of rights and the provisions of the law." Then, the lawyer turned back to Fred's original concerns, "As for your friend, it looks to me like he is going to take the fall for a much larger problem that has been plaguing this community for over a decade. The DEA is moving in on operatives that have used this territory as a dumping ground for drugs. Your friend may just have been in the right place at the wrong time," then he added, "we know what that's like."
By evening, Ta was already calling for a march in the park, she had made several live announcements on local radio and suggested for people to make signs expressing their concerns, she also made it clear that everyone needed to align themselves with their customers, no matter what color, no matter what ideology or income. "The people of Los Angeles need to know, that we as a community understand that an unjust legal decision has been made and that we stand together for peace." The march was called for the very next day in the late afternoon. Word spread quickly and thousands of shop owners, citizens, first generation immigrants, their children and their children's children took the streets of Los Angeles on a solidarity march that included speeches and free expression, signs and banners that read, "PEACE," "JUSTICE," "UNITY." The event was televised and the next day, Fred opened his newspaper to see a small article on the cover of the Times that read,"Korean Shop Owners call for Peace." The article continued onto another page in the back of the paper and explained that the march had gotten the attention of the president of the United States, who had decided to visit Los Angeles and requested to speak with the local shop owners. When Fred called his lawyer a second time, the man simply explained that although Fred and Ta had done all the right things, they had better prepare for a push-back. He explained that the process of displaying power in America is like a boxing match, one participant throws a punch, their opponent throws another and the process continues, "Fred," he explained, "you and Ta surprised me, you made something happen here, wether it happened too late or not, to me, does not matter. Just be prepared for whatever comes next. And remember, our own country was divided and conquered by larger forces long ago. Take a good look at what is happening here, we were pitted against another group of people who have a history here, all their own." Then he added, "As for the presidents visit, don't be fooled, our districts are run by local government, the president is up for reelection in six months, this visit is simply a plea for votes, it will have little bearing on wether the governor, mayor or the city council truly stand in solidarity with us." Fred, again, was silent. No matter what he did, no matter how he played the game, everything seemed stacked against him. The lawyer realized that life had schooled Fred in a single lesson that would usually take a year to teach. "Don't be discouraged." Fred abruptly and in a matter of fact fashion, changed the subject, "Speaking of home," Fred stated, "...know any good hotels in Seoul? Ta's father has just emerged from ten years off the grid and I'm heading there next week." Now it was the lawyer who turned speechless. His silence spoke volumes.
Season Three / Episode Two / Chapter 43
MAC'S GOT A SON
Jordan looked at the list and drove directly to the Hall of Records downtown. The skyline of Detroit had changed some, but he put odds that the East Side had not. He'd done as Mac had directed, changed a large bill into rolls of quarters, so that when the files micro fiche was delivered, Jordan could make copies of the case page by page. Mac had directed Jordan to take two rolls of quarters for the machines and two, 'for comfort.' When Jordan looked at the sorry ass fools that were his immediate obstacles, he began to understand what Mac was referring to. People stood behind him in line and did exactly what his dad had always taught Jordan to never do: Talk Loud and Come On Strong. Mac and his buddy's used that term when describing someone who was full of shit, so to speak. "He was talkin' loud and comin' on strong,' they would describe and usually, whoever 'he' was ,did not last much more than a few more sentences before, 'he,' was down for the count. Two people directly behind Jordan started a very loud and artificial banter about a guy whose dad was an old Black Panther and whose mom was a burnt out wanna be, who had been forced to work as a bar maid in her old age. They went onto describe how the son of these two left overs from the golden era of afro american revolutionary power was trying to start life over on his own, somewhere out west, and how, he got sucked back into his parents problems and that he was headed toward a path of self destruction. Jordan saw what these two people in line were up to and tagged them as city employees or worse, federal agents, political agitators, whoever they were, although they did their homework and had a pretty good line on his vine, because Jordan was solid, and had been aggravated by far better professionals than these, he chalked it up to Mac's power and figured, if he did not break the law, there was nothing they had on him, but a tired old line on his family story, which, ultimately, he was damn proud of having. He knew, at the core that Mac and baby were two very strong people who had done some good back when doing good meant inviting some bad, and they payed the price. When Jordan got to the front of the line, he handed the request form to the clerk, who submitted it to a second clerk, who handed to a runner, who walked it down into the basement and came up with the file about a half hour later. The conversation that was supposed to reflect, influence and bother Jordan, simply made him more resolved to get Macs errands completed and get home safely. When he put the micro-fiche into the copy machine, it appeared that he had been given the wrong case file. When he looked closely at the number, it was off by a single digit.
By the time Jordan walked the file back to the request counter, the line was now twice as long and only a single clerk was in attendance. He walked to the front of the line, trying to explain and was told to get back into line behind everyone else. "But I was given the wrong file, I requested ..." and he rattled off the case number. "Sir, you must get back into line, if you wish to report a discrepancy in your request." Jordan sussed up those waiting in line and could see it was stacked with court employees, rats and the kind of filler that is actually paid to slow down progress. He walked back up to the front of the line and people began to grumble. The clerk called for security and a sheriff's deputy appeared behind the counter asking Jordan, if he had a problem ? Jordan just looked at the dude, "Problem, I got no problems, this lady here made a discrepancy, and gave me the wrong file, I'm giving it back." He handed the officer the micro-fiche file and walked out. On the way out, Jordan saw a guy in the hallway who looked just like a young Richard Pryor. Then he thought of Cliff, which led to thinking of Dora, which led to him getting on the pay phone and calling her law office, he dropped a whole roll of quarters and left a message with the file number and an urgent plea for her assistance. As he did so, a new group of agitators began to hassle him about using the phone. This group was much more street than the previous, now it looked like Mac had some issues with people both sides of the fence. He repeated the file number and gave Dora Mac's location, "Thanks," he said and hung up the phone, soon he found himself trying to iron out a pair of wrinkles that would never truly press properly. When another security guard came out into the hall, Jordan, just walked away, leaving the squabbling couple to their own wits, whatever was left of them. He walked down the steps into the parking lot and noticed that someone had slammed the driver side door, creating an indentation. He cocked his head, got in the sedan and drove towards the East side, glancing at the 'to-do' list. It looked as if Mac had still owned a bunch of properties in the old suburban part of town, which had now been considered the urban part of town. One out of ten houses was boarded up and when Jordan got to the first address on the list, the place had been burned to the ground. The second address was two miles away, it was boarded up. The locks were all still in place. Jordan, checked the roll of keys and opened the front door, a pile of mail had grown behind the front door, which made it difficult to open. The place had been sealed for at least a couple years. The listed address had three simple bulleted directions: Check the place. Recover the mail. Make your presence known. Jordan sifted through the envelopes, collecting the business and personal correspondence and then put them into a bag.
Jordan walked back to the car, put the bag in the trunk and turned on the car radio to a volume that could be heard several blocks away. Then he walked back up into the house and sat on the porch for a half hour. When his presence became known, he locked up the front door, removed some tired old furniture from the porch and drove off to the next address on the list. He repeated this process a half a dozen times. By the time the sun went down, Jordan began to understand just what had happened to his family and his people over the past few decades. His respect for Mac began to rise. He even became just the slightest bit nostalgic and decided to drive past his uncles old place, the house he had been born in and the bar where his parents had met, worked and organized, way back when. He did not knock on any doors or surprise visit relatives, but he did enter the old bar and sure enough, it was still in operation. He ordered a soda and the dude looked at him funny, when the guy looked at his outfit from across the bar, he figured Jordan was maybe in the program and served him the soda without comment ."Ya got a phone in here?" Jordan asked, and the man pointed toward the back of the bar. He took out another roll of quarters and called home. He was in deep trouble with Wanda and Baby, but ignoring it would only make it worse. Luckily nobody answered and he simply said, "I know your not going to like this, but I'm helping my dad with a few things. Don't worry about me. I'll see you in a couple days. I love you." He did not say where he was, nor exactly when he would be home. As he walked up to the front of the bar, he heard a guy say, "Is that your ride on fire out there ?" Jordan looked out the front window and the roof of the rental Sedan was on fire. "Who the fuck you think you are?" a voice asked from behind, Jordan was still holding a roll of quarters in his right hand, "I don't want any trouble," he said and raised his hands in an unthreatening manner. For a split second the man dropped his guard and Jordan threw a wild right hook that landed squarely on the man's left ear. Then he lifted a bar stool and swung it crossways into a second man who slammed against the wall and hit the ground. The barkeep walked over to the front door and locked it. Jordan ran to the back toward the phone, eyed the fire extinguisher, grabbed it off the wall, kicked open the back door to find two more dudes waiting. Dude number one received the extinguisher upside his right temple and dude number two was sprayed in the face. Jordan ran towards the vehicle and put out the fire, which by now had melted the entire vinyl roofing off. When he jumped into the car, another dude was sitting in the backseat. "Okay, Superfly," the cat said and raised a pistol to Jordan's head, "your mission is over. Didn't Mac tell you what you're really here to do ? Give me the F-ing money."
A little over an hour later, Jordan was booked on the red eye flight back to California. The cat with the pistol had persuaded him to report the Sedan as stolen and get back home, explaining a few things to Jordan on the drive to the airport, who kept turning to the four other guys in the back seat and apologizing. They silently stared back at him. Neither opponents acknowledged his sincere regrets nor admonished them. If he had been anyone other than Mac's son, he would most likely, not be alive. One man held a handkerchief to his swollen forehead, the other a dew rag to his ringing ear and the guy who had been sprayed with the fire extinguisher, every now and then, continued to wipe the white powder away from his face. By the time they pulled up to the airport, Jordan understood a little clearer what was happening. He looked into the back seat one last time and felt bad about the four other dudes whose wounds were now pronounced. They stared back at him. The man with the pistol said, "You tell Mac, we got it covered," and they drove off into the cold Detroit night. The plane landed in the early hours and Jordan waisted no time. It was one thing to do a man a favor, it was another thing, to be hustled. By the time noon the next day rolled around, Jordan was right back where he started, sitting in the waiting room at Lompoc. This time, he was a different man. The residue of filth that he noticed upon his first visit, was now covering him. He had not had a shower or a change of clothes in over a day. His shirt was soiled from cleaning the houses, his suit jacket was wrinkled from sleeping on the flight back and his ankle cuff was torn from the barroom brawl, shoes scuffed, he was a mess. There was something else that could not be denied, but Jordan was not entirely able to define what it was. He sat there waiting to see Mac, not knowing exactly what he would say or do. He felt used, felt as if he'd been hustled. Then it came to him, as simple and as clear as a glass of water. His whole life, Jordan had felt like a step child. Felt like he was somehow not as solid, not as potent, not as pure, not as black as Mac. Now, as he sat waiting to visit the man, who had endured countless beatings, arrests and aggravations from authority both large and small, Jordan began to feel something he had never sensed before, it rose up in him, like a light from deep inside, it started very small and then it grew, larger and larger. The longer Jordan waited, the more it grew and transformed from anger and bitterness into something else. By the time that Jordan entered the visiting room, Mac, who was again sitting at the table, in the same corner, watched as his son walked in, but this time, he had a look of pride, a look of respect, a look of indebtedness. And for the first time in his entire life, Jordan actually felt like he was Mac's son.
Season Three / Episode Two / Chapter 44
LETS MAKE A DEAL
Stan had some serious choices ahead of him. He could one, continue on the same path that had gotten him where he was today, including the most recent case, which had evolved into the largest Riot documented in US history or two, he could, publish his opus, which would most likely equal his retirement as a judge, a possible teaching position at a College and the occasional op-ed or editorial article in the New York Times or he could, three, take the offer to do the television show and partner with General Electric, distracting millions of Americans from their daily lives and manipulations that come down the pipeline every second of every day, which would broaden his audience in hopes that he might publish the book at a later date. The fact that his entire life's work now seemed like a housewives guest spot on Monty Hall's "Lets Make a Deal," was absurd and yet, Stan knew that life was full of choices and decision's had to be made. If he chose curtain number one, he would simply die a slow death into nowhere. If he chose curtain number two, intellectually speaking, he would be respected the world over by the more radical and forward thinking law professors around the world. If he choose curtain number three, he would actually become Monty Hall or Bob Barker or Pat Sajack or any other television personality who would have either a brief or long standing position in the annals of television history that would include his face on billboards, commercials and radio spots in rotation. Stan was no stranger to media manipulation and the field of entertainment. He and Dora had been working in Los Angeles for decades. He knew that all three choices would affect his life, Dora's life and Cliff's. Their income, their privacy, they're futures were all in the balance and Stan had trouble clearing the air, so to speak. He had been given some time off ever since the most recent case, but inertia was not one of his favorite vantage points. Stan was a doer, an active participant and he was tired of being a judge. He would have dreams that started like a roll call from his early days on the courts. A voice would say, "Aaron, Abbot, Accardo, Adonis, Aguirre, Allen, Bastardo, Benny, Billingsly, Boumant, Buford, Callum, Cartwright, Caputinni ..."The endless voice of a bailiff echoing and naming names that were ticketed, tagged and targeted like cattle for the slaughter. Stan's job was to silently watch as two parties argued over wether a long death, a short death or no death at all would occur. He couldn't take it anymore. Then he thought of a fourth choice, maybe he could just retire all together and spent every waking day with his kid. He could do all the cooking, the cleaning, the gardening, the basic improvements that Dora and he had previously relegated to local carpenters. One thing for sure, Stan decided that he never wanted to walk through the doors of that courthouse ever again.
Dora got a call from a hotshot young lawyer, straight out of law school. He specialized in internal investigation techniques and had studied with the best. The funny thing about law and politics and injustice was that, no matter where the tree falls, it always lands flat on the ground. When a cop is being railroaded for being good at what he does, or for stepping away from protocol, or for doing the right thing at the wrong time, even the most liberal minded individuals will come to that cops aid. In America, withholding the law, as it pertains to current as well as future cases is like a stairway, it leads to the future. Today's cases are built on yesterdays cases and so on and so forth. Taking away the right to speak ones mind, even if what is being said, is hateful, aggravating or worse threatening, could then become a dangerous game where freedom of speech is muffled by a particular political party or tyrannical leader of the type that our founders separated from to begin with. Throughout history, strange bedfellows in courtrooms across America have aligned themselves for the sake of building this original and sacred stairway, which can, at any time, be abused. Examples throughout history have been at first glance, more than confusing and when studied from a distance, easily understandable. Dora tried to look at cases from a historical point of view, even when that case was happening in real time. How would it affect the future? How would it affect the past ? When Daniel showed up inquiring if Dora would be interested in providing him with a list of contacts and cases she was aware of where LAPD officers where either retired, died or been forced to retire due to misconduct, drugs or large amounts of money. Dora handed him four boxes of legal files and a list of a dozen phone numbers, half of which were willing to talk off the record, a few that were willing to discuss on the record and only one reputable police officer, that she knew of and trusted who was willing to actually show up as a witness. Daniel took the evidence and began sifting through the files, making calls and appointments on Chuck's behalf. Dora was reminded of her earliest days working with guys like Daniel, all that energy, all that focus, fresh faced, clear intentions, the perfect combination of personality, smarts and skill. She decided to closed up early. Pulling out of the parking lot, she noticed somebody had planted a row of rose bushes all along the front walkway of her office. Then, as she pulled up to the stoplight, Dora noticed a woman pushing a wheel barrel with a shovel and some tools. When she turned toward the lady, it became clear that this was the woman who had thrown the brick. The lady turned in her direction and for a split second, their eyes locked and as humans sometimes do, they simply related to one another. Not so different after all.
"Mom, is god a man?" Cliff asked Dora. She did not respond immediately. In fact, more and more these days, Dora had become increasingly cautious when communicating with Cliff about matters both large and small. Something was happening in Cliffs world that produced the type of escalating changes which scared Dora. She didn't know if this was simply a growth spirt of some sort or if real concern was needed. Either way, being a mother meant real concern was usually prescribed and so, real concern, as usual, was applied. "Why," she asked him ? Cliff explained, "Because every time someone talks about god, they say the word: he." Dora could see this was going to be one of those moments where Cliff was going to, semantically speaking, expose some discordant ideology prevalent in mankind, she was reminded of her father's brothers and his uncles, whom had been brilliant thinkers when it came to theology and sociology, Cliff was clearly a descendent. " Who exactly said the word, he," Dora asked ? She was actually buying some time and as the little guy looked over, his lip curled, just enough to communicate, that he was well aware of her delay technique. He had recently become obsessed with television speeches by government officials, ever since he and his father played golf with the governor and his cronies. Cliff watched as his father spoke words to the men at the golf course and a week later, one of the men had repeated his fathers words on television. Cliff had now became aware of the government structure of a president, a governor, a mayor and his fathers own position as a judge since the day that Stan had described it to him. Now, Cliff was playing with the concept of watching and exposing his own idea of what was true, what was authentic, what was a lie and simply, what words belong to the actual speaker and what words belong to someone else. He could surmise these observations rather clearly, though communicating the entire pattern was, not so simple. Cliff dove into it, head on. "There are a bunch of guys who want to be president, see..." and he looked over at Dora, "... one of them always talks about god and he always says the word HE. How could god be a man ? Everyone knows that children are born out of a woman, right ? Dad said that you and him created me out on the cliffs by the beach and that's why you named me Cliff. So, if god is a he and god made the world, than who is god's partner and why do they never mention her?" Dora was in trouble now. She wished she could hand the entire proposition over to a jury and let them deliberate. "Cliff," she commented, "You're definitely on to something," and then she suggested it was time for dinner. Cliff eyes narrowed.
READ THE NEW EPISODE EVERY FRIDAY IN AUGUST 2015
BEGINNING ON AUGUST 7TH / 14TH / 21ST / 28TH
INTERVIEW: BUREAU OF ARTS AND CULTURE MAGAZINE EDITOR: JOSHUA TRILIEGI
Writer Joshua Triliegi discusses his most recent Fiction Project, "They Call It The City of ANGELS," creating beliEvable characters and the challenges therein. Season One & Season Two are available on line at most of the 10 various BUREAU of Arts and Culture Websites & translatable around the world.
Discuss the process of writing your recent fiction project, " They Call It The City of Angels ."
Joshua Triliegi: I had lived through the riots of 1992, actually had a home not far from the epicenter and experienced the event first hand, I noticed how the riot was being perceived by those outside our community, people began to call me from around the world, my friends in Paris, my relatives in the mid west, childhood pals, school mates, etc... Each person had a different take on why and what was happening, I still have those recordings, this was back in the day of home message recorders with cassettes. So, after 20 years, I began to re listen to the voices and felt like something was missing in the dialogue.
" I noticed how the riot was being perceived by those outside our community ..."
Some of my friends and fellow theater contemporaries such as Anna Deveare Smith and Roger Guenvere Smith had been making bold statements in relation to the riots with their own works and I realized that there was a version of original origin inside of me. I felt the need to represent the community in detail, but with the event in the background. Because, I can tell you from first hand experience that when these events happen, people are still people, and they deal with these types of historical emergencies differently based on their own culture, their own codes, their own needs and everyday happenstances.
You originally published each chapter on a daily basis, explain how and why ?
Joshua Triliegi: I had been editing The BUREAU of Arts and Culture Magazine for a few years, we printed thousands of magazines that were widely distributed throughout Los Angeles and San Francisco and had created an on-line readership.The part of me that had dabbled in fiction through the years with screenplays and short stories had been ignored for those few years. On the one hand, it was simply a challenge to create a novel without notes, improvising on a daily basis, on the other hand, it gave the project a freedom and an urgency that had some connection with the philosophy of Jack Kerouac and his Spontaneous Prose theories. One thing it did, was forced me, as a creator, to make the decisions quickly and it also, at the time, created a daily on line readership, at least with our core readers, that to this day has strengthened our community sites and followers on line. Season One was a series of introductions to each character. Season Two, which happened the following year, was a completely different experience all together.
Describe Season Two of They Call It The City of Angels and those challenges.
Joshua Triliegi: Well first of all, the opening line of Season One is, " Los Angeles is a funny place to live, but those laughing were usually from out of town, " That opener immediately set up an insiders viewpoint that expresses a certain struggle and angst as well as an outsider — looking — in — perception that may be skewed. In introducing characters throughout season one, I was simply creating a cast of characters that I knew somehow would be important to set the tone surrounding the riots of 1992 in Los Angeles. With Season Two, and an entire year of gestation, which was extremely helpful, even if it was entirely on a subconscious level, I had a very real responsibility to be true to my characters and each persons culture. I had chosen an extremely diverse group of people, but had not actually mentioned their nationality, or color in Season One. By the time season Two rolled around, I found it impossible not to mention their differences and went several steps further to actually define those differences and describe how each character was effected by the perception of the events in their life. This is a novel that happens to take place before, during and after the riot. The characters themselves all have lives that are so complete and full and challenged, as real life actually is, that the riot as a backdrop is entirely secondary to the story. I was surprised at how much backstory there actually was. I also think my background in theater, gave me a sense of character development that really kicked my characters lives into extreme detail and gave them a fully realized life.
How do you go about creating a character ?
Joshua Triliegi: Well, there is usually a combination of very real respect and curiosity involved. Sometimes, I may have seen that person somewhere in the world and something about them attracted my attention in some way. In the case of They Call It The City of Angels, I knew the people of Los Angeles had all been hurt badly by the riots of 1992, because I am one of those people and it hurt. One minute we were relating between cultures, colors, incomes, the next we were pitted up against one another because some people in power had gotten away with a clear injustice. So with season two, I personally had to delve deeper into each persons life and present a fully realized set of circumstances that would pay off the reader, in terms of entertainment and at the same time be true to the code of each character. Once they were fully realized, the characters themselves would do things that surprised me and that is when something really interesting began to happen.
Could you tell us a bit more about the characters and give us some examples of how they would surprise you as a writer ?
Joshua Triliegi: Well, Jordan, who is an African American bus driver and happens to be a Muslim, began to find himself in extremely humorous situations where he is somehow judged by events and circumstances beyond his control. I thought that was interesting because the average person most likely perceives the people of that particular faith as very serious. Jordan has a girlfriend who is not Muslim and when he is confronted by temptation, he is equally as human as any of my readers and so, he gets himself into situations that complicate his experience and a certain amount of folly ensues. Fred, who is an asian shop owner and a Buddhist, has overcome a series of tragedies, yet has somehow retained his dignity with a stoicism that is practically heroic. At one point, in the middle of a living nightmare, he simply goes golfing, alone and gets a hole in one. Junior, who is a Mexican American young man recently released from prison really drives the story as much of his backstory connects us to Fred and his tragedies as well as legal decisions such as the one that caused the city to erupt as it does in the riot.
You talk a lot about Responsibility to Character, what do you mean and how do you conduct research ?
Joshua Triliegi: Well, if I make a decision that a character is a Muslim or Asian or Mexican or what have you, if I want the respect of my readers and of those who may actually be Muslim, Asian or Mexican, it behooves me to learn something about that character. As a middle aged man who lives in Los Angeles and has done an extensive amount of travel throughout my life, there is a certain amount of familiarity with certain people. But for instance, with Fred, I watched films on the history of the Korean War and had already respected the Korean Community here in Los Angeles for standing up for themselves the way they did. I witnessed full on attacks and gun fights between some of the toughest gangsters in LA and I think even they gained respect for this community in that regard. Fred is simply one of those shop owners, he is a very humble and unassuming man, in season two, he finds himself entering a whole new life and for me as a writer, that is very gratifying and to be totally honest, writing for Fred was the most bitter sweet experience ever. Here is a man who has lost a daughter, a wife, a business partner and he is about to lose all he has, his shop. Regarding Junior and Jordan, I grew up with these guys, I have met them again and again, on buses, in neighborhoods at school. Jordan has a resilience and a casual humor that has been passed down from generations, a survival skill that includes an ironic outlook at life. He also has that accidental Buster Keaton sort of ability to walk through traffic and come out unscathed. Junior on the other hand is a real heavy, like any number of classic characters in familiar cinema history confronted with the challenges of poverty and tragedy. He is the character that paid the biggest price and in return, we feel that experience. There is a certain amount of mystery and even a pent up sexuality and sometimes a violence that erupts due to his circumstances. In season two, within a single episode, Junior takes his father, who is a busboy at a cafe and repositions him as the Don or boss of their original ranch in Mexico.
There seems to be a lot of religion in They Call it the City of Angels, how did that occur and do you attend church or prescribe to any particular faith ?
I never intended for there to be so much religion in this book. But, if you know Los Angeles like I do, you will realize how important faith is to a good many people and particularly to the characters I chose to represent. With Jordan being Muslim, it allowed me to delve into the challenges a person might have pertaining to that particular faith. Fred's life is so full of tragedy that even a devout buddhist would have trouble accepting and letting go of the events that occur in his life. Junior found god in prison as many people do, upon his release back into the real world, he is forced to make decisions which challenge that belief system and sometimes go against his faith, at the same time, he finds himself physically closer to real life events and objects of religious historical significance than the average believer which brings us into a heightened reality and raises questions in a new way. As for my own belief system, I dabble in a series of exercises and rituals that spring from a wide variety of faiths and practices.
You discussed Jordan, Fred and Junior. Tell us about Cliff and Charles and Chuck.
Joshua Triliegi: I don't really believe in secondary characters, but in writing fiction, certain characters simply emerge more pronounced than others. As this project was a daily serial for the magazine, I did try my best to keep a balance, giving each character a fully realized set of circumstances and history. That said, some characters were related to another through family, incident or history and later, I felt compelled to know more about them and see how they would emerge.
Charles is one of those legendary rock and roll guys who was on tour with music royalty and simply disappeared. He's the missing father we all hear about and wonder what would happen if he were to suddenly return into our lives ? His son Mickey, his wife Maggie, his daughter Cally have all gone on with their lives, when Jordan, accidentally runs him over while driving his bus, Charles returns home and a new chapter in their lives begins again.
Chuck is a cop who just happened to marry Juniors sister and they have several daughters. When Junior returns from prison, he and Chuck clash simply because of their careers and history. I felt it was important to include authority in this story and once I decided to represent a police officer, I wanted him to be as fully realized and interesting as any other character, though, clearly Junior drives much of this section of the novel and Chuck is simply another person that complicates Juniors arrival. I should also explain that the arrival of Junior from years in prison is really the beginning of events that lead up to the basic thrust of the story and somehow almost everyone in the novel has a backstory that connects in some way.
Cliff is absolutely one of my all time favorites. He is a mentally challenged boy whose father happens to be the judge on the case that develops into the unjust legal decision and eventually the actual 1992 riots. I have always felt that challenged individuals deserve much more than the marginalized lifestyles that we as a contemporary society provide. Many ancient societies have relegated what we dismiss as something very special. Cliff is challenged, but also happens to be a very intuitively gifted human being whose drawings portend actual future events. Even though his parents are extremely pragmatic, they are forced to consider his gifts.
Cliff is a young upper middle class white boy who is entirely obsessed with the late great comedian Richard Pryor and at very inopportune times, Cliff will perform entire Richard Pryor comedic routines, including much of the original risqué language. Cliff is an innocent who pushes the societal mores to the edge. I have found through fiction the ability to discuss, develop and delve into ideas that no other medium provided me. And as you may know, I am a painter, film maker, photographer, sculptor, designer, who also edits a magazine reviewing art, film and culture.
As a man, do you find it challenging to write female characters ?
Joshua Triliegi: To some extent, yes. That said, I have spent a good many years with women and have had very close relationships with the female gender, both personally and professionally, so on average, I would say that I am not a total buffoon. In They Call It City of Angels, Jordan's girlfriend Wanda and his mom both appeared and bloomed as fully realized characters that I really enjoyed writing for. Cliffs mother Dora is also a very strong female character that I am very proud to have created. Season two presented a special challenge with dialogue between characters that was new territory for me. I have written screenplays in the past, sometimes with collaborators, once with my brother and more recently with my nephew and in Angels, I found it, for the first time, very easy to imagine the conversations and action in a way that was totally new to my process. I would most likely credit that to my own relationships and possibly to the several recent years of interviewing and writing for the magazine in general.
When will we see another season of They Call It The City of Angels ?
We have set a tradition of it being the Summer Fiction Project at the Magazine and since August is a relatively slow month for advertising and cultural events, we will most likely see a Season Three in the summer of 2015. As you may know, I do not take any written notes at all prior to the day that I actually write the chapter, so the characters simply develop on a subconscious level and then during the one month or two week process, I pretty much do nothing at all, but ponder their existence, day to day. This can sometimes be nerve racking as I do plot things out in my head and sometimes even make extreme mental notes, though even then some ideas simply don't make it on the page. During Season Two, I omitted a section of a chapter and later revealed another chapter into a different sequence of events, but besides that it has been a rather straight ahead chapter a day experience that simply pushed me to invent, develop and complete the work of fiction that might have otherwise never existed or possibly taken much more time. I am curious to see how my next project will develop.
What is your next project ?
Joshua Triliegi; I am working on a couple of things of historic importance. Though I can't say much about them. One is an actual event that I have been given permission to portray by the actual estate and I don't know yet if it will be an ' Inspired by ... ' type of Novel or if it will be creative Non Fiction. The other is a fiction piece I have been developing for sometime now.
" I have been writing consciously since I was fourteen, stories, journals, poetry, lyrics, screenplays, but as far as fiction goes, They Call It The City of Angels is probably my first successful project with a major readership and I am very thankful that it happened. Better late than never. "
After that I have a sort of family opus that is probably the most researched project I have ever undergone. I have been writing consciously since I was fourteen, stories, journals, poetry, lyrics, screenplays, but as far as fiction goes, They Call It The City of Angels is probably my first successful project with a major readership and I am very thankful that it happened.
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