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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 began in August 2015 and the same rules applied. The entire final season was 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 . The Final Chapter will Appear in The FALL BUREAU OF ARTS AND CULTURE MAGAZINE E - EDITION: Available for FREE DOWNLOAD at This And ALL BUREAU Sites
SEASON THREE INTRO / EPISODE ONE
CHAPTER 34 / SEASON THREE / EPISODE ONE
Each Chapter is Written By Joshua Triliegi in a 24 Hour Period without Prior Notes. All Chapters in Episode One were written between July 20th 2015 and July 28th 2015
BREAKFAST : SEASON INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 34
The year after The Riots, life in Los Angeles continued. People went to work, children were born, time kept ticking and the story never ended. For those in the heart of the story, for those who were touched by the event, for those who lost and hurt and got burned: life would never be the same. An event that was your life, your experience, your history was being told by newscasters, mainstream publications and radio disc jockeys who knew nothing about what it was really like and never would know. The day after The Riots, a child woke, poured a bowl of Kellogg's corn flakes and watched cartoons on the television. The commercials in between told the child that when the milk was poured into the bowl, that it would, 'Snap - Crackle and Pop,' the child looked around the room, looked around the house, looked around the streets and noticed that every-thing had snapped, crackled and popped. The plastic had melted, the glass had warped, the wires lay open exposing copper, lead and silver, the perfect square box was now imperfect, corners were entirely melted off, the handle that changed the channels had broken and someone had attached a small vice grip tool in its place. The smell of burnt wood, ash and oil permeated the air. Helicopters, sirens and flashing lights became the norm. The curtains frayed at the edges and all along the sides been stained by fire, air, earth and water, the most basic of elements utilized in a fashion that created destruction, instead of construction. The rug was soaked and laden with tiny bits of broken glass, ember and grease stains. Smoke of all color and size wafted through the windows. Angry footsteps inhabited the ceiling, the hallways and alleys. A toy fire truck that lay in the backyard for years was now replaced with a real fire truck that roared incessantly passed its house, at all hours of the night and day. Police car sirens and lights engaged twenty-four hours a day, soldiers from the army reserves of the United States of America in camouflage standing on every corner, an entire world that, 'Snapped - Crackled and Popped.' And Life went on.
Houses went up for sale. Lots stood empty, Ashes piled up. Businesses were abandoned. Families were broken. Dreams were deferred. Third strikes were established by the law and people went to prison for stealing a pizza, a pair of shoes, a case of toilet paper. Men and woman in all manor, in all shapes, in all colors and sizes broke. Screaming through the streets, "Why?" But even a child knows that if you want to learn algebra, you don't ask why. You simply work on the equation, by learning the rules to the diagram, in geometry and trigonometry, there was no time to ask why. Even beer commercials directed the child to not ask why and shoe companies reenforced that ideology by telling the child to, "Just Do IT!" So the child did. Empty slogans had manipulated the population for 100s of years and so the population, in its desperation, in its pain, in it's agony and in its defiance, invented some empty slogans of its own and then quite suddenly, those slogans were inhabited, not so empty after all, for this was not a politician with a team of advisors, this was not a police chief with a speechwriter, this was not a corporation with a dozen brilliant ad executives working on a new account, this was the mother-f*cking-public, these were real people, this was a real event, this was the city of a child who ate corn flakes while watching television every morning before school and when its family and when it's friends and when it's neighbors and when its city began chanting the empty slogan that rang through the city like a Bell on Sunday, this child inhabited that slogan: No Justice / No Peace, Know Justice / Know Peace. Dragnet and One Adam Twelve and Police Woman and Baretta and Starsky and Hutch and CHIPS and The Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, to quote a popular phrase in poetry, "...Will not seem so damn relevant, because the revolution will not be televised," and yet, It was televised after all. The transmission of images was blast across the city in the earliest hours of the event. The Parker Center flash-point had ignited hotspots all along the vertical and lateral thorough-fairs through the city of Angels in a giant grid that only those flying in airplanes and helicopters could view. With the exception of those multitude natural forces of life known as the animals, who watched in glee as the humans failed once again at their own game. A game of self extinction, an experiment of too many mice in a maze called Los Angeles.
Hawks circle overhead, crows cawed, seagulls glanced, thrashers, bluejays, sparrows, woodpeckers, pigeons, hummingbirds and all manner of birds flew overhead, bees returned to their hives, butterfly nestled under branches, spiders strengthened their webs, ants collected bits of this and that, squirrels climbed palm trees to get a better view, coyotes howled through the hills, deer looked on pensively, mountain lions patiently waited, possums stopped playing dead and walked along the tops of fences, a family of bears escaped from the zoo, an elephant stepped on its trainer in a parking lot downtown, snakes slithered to higher ground, raccoons sensed some easy pickings on the horizon and all the while domesticated dogs and cats sat with their owners, watching television. The first time it rained after The Riot, an inordinate amount of chemicals spewed through the streets, into the gutters, down the sewers, along the pipelines and on into the ocean: Formaldehyde, asbestos, concrete, plastic, tar, asphalt, rubber, fiberglass, aluminum, glass, lead, resin, stucco, lime, drywall, and the entire contents of dozens of 99 cents stores which included: bleach, roach killer, hair spray, comet, windex, baking soda, nylon, air freshener, butane, high fructose corn syrup, polyester, lysol, both the regular scent and the new and exciting pine flavor all rolled into one giant blob of city sludge and plopped itself into the intestines of the City of Angels, rolling through the LA River and dumping itself directly into the sea. Blue fin tuna, albacore, barracuda, lobster, sea bass and even mackerel were no where to be seen. There were no shark attacks to worry about. Sharks were too smart to swim in waters infested by chemicals of that variety. Within their very organism, they have a built in mechanism that can detect one ten thousands of an ingredient in the water from miles away. This device was originally evolved, no doubt, for survival, in search of something to consume, but due to the stupidity of the human race, the callous nature of the corporations, the shortsighted views of the now angry populist, this devise was used to avoid certain areas and avoid it they did. The chemicals that trickled down through the ashes, through the soot, through the smoke and through the tears had accidentally informed the organism, transformed the organism, reformed the organism and the child, who had sensed all along that all was not well, would never, ever, be the same again. Nor would the place that they call the City of Angels.
The little plastic box that had for decades transmitted ideas somehow still worked, the device that transferred images, sound and motion on a regular basis, continued to do so. Tony the Tiger, exclaimed to the child that the food it was eating, the contents it was consuming, the simple little flakes of corn in all manner of speaking and description could be defined in a two word phrase that was simple and easy to remember: "They're Great!" The big rabbit with the floppy ears was told time and time again that he was indeed a silly rabbit and that, "Trix are for kids!" The Frito Bandito, Captain Crunch, Count Chocula and a Lucky Charm with a Shamrock were also present, representing an old school variety of corn paste, flour, sugar and salt, added preservatives and in some cases food coloring that sometimes caused cancer, with a simple reminder that if you ever ended up in prison, you would indeed have to choose a cereal that represented something familiar to your general genetic make up. And of course there was the award winning commercial that had Mike-y and his brothers, representing a product that somehow encompassed the child's entire existence, by calling itself, 'LIFE'. "He won't eat it..." his brothers exclaim, as they put a bowl of blocked wheat style cereal in front of the freckled faced child, "...He hates everything." Then, quite suddenly, the boy begins to shovel the wheat blocks into his mouth as his brothers excitedly exclaim, "Hey Mike-y! He Likes IT!" For those with simpler tastes, you had Aunt Jemima and or Quaker Oats, in case you ever forgot who founded this country and what your position in the hierarchy was to begin with. Yes, the little box in the corner with the wire in the wall and the antennae on the roof still worked. And the child watched it. The picture was not as clear, the colors not as crisp, the audio was warped, the depth was foggy, the vertical and lateral lines often separated, but the endless trail of information, disinformation and programming continued on, it taught the child and eventually, the child had learned to transmit its own programs. The child and its family and it's neighbors and its city were all so busy programming, they had no time to wonder, just who exactly was actually eating the giant bowl of cereal that they were all now living in ? The entire city snapped, it crackled and it popped, surely someone was bound to eat it.
CHAPTER 35 / SEASON THREE / EPISODE ONE
Each Chapter is Written By Joshua Triliegi in a 24 Hour Period without Prior Notes.
All Chapters in Episode One were written between July 20th 2015 and July 28th 2015
CHAPTER 35 : DIGITS
Within minutes of entering America, Junior was dead and he didn't even know it. He had been directed to follow a diesel truck trailer, while a duplicate of his car was to distract his police escorts who were meant to get him to a hospital, so that an emergency operation could reattach his thumb. When the duplicate vehicle appeared, Junior dropped back behind the eighteen wheeler with a rolling ramp and drove his car up into the trailer. While his duplicate played decoy on into the hospital an unexpected event occurred. Before crossing the border from Baja into the States, an armed carload of 'exporters' shot their way through the border and drove up into America on the wrong side of the freeway, while Juniors escorted decoy had been exiting the freeway, on the overpass above, the runaway car, heading due north drove head on toward a south bound diesel truck that swerved off the upper level, flipped in mid air and landed directly onto Juniors decoy, entirely crushing the vehicle into an even rectangle of metal, the car looked as if it had been compacted by a machine at the auto wreckage yard. Whoever the driver had been, was entirely unidentifiable, there were absolutely no distinguishing marks to even survey, he had been flattened, not mangled. It was a strangely hermetic accident, blood had oozed from either side of what had once been a car door, but now looked like a suitcase with wheels, though, even they had buckled and folded inward on impact. For all official purposes, Junior was dead before arrival. In reality, he was actually sitting in his car, which was lodged in the back of a diesel truck that was now driving due east. His thumb sat wrapped in a shirt atop the dashboard, while his hand was soaking in a bucket of ice, he had made it across the border alive and was deep in shock. Having never actually looked under the back seat after he had the upholstering re-done, under the orders of his employers, and now that the goal to reenter America had been achieved, curiosity had got the best of him. He opened the door and the ceiling light illuminated the interior enough for him to lift the back seat with his one good hand, there, wrapped in a vacuum sealed plastic cover, was an ancient piece of fabric displaying the image of a man that appeared to be the man known as Jesus the christ. Junior didn't know what to believe, his entire journey had all been entirely unexpected. He had returned to his homeland to spend time with his father, to see the family ranch and to meet with the old Indian and now all that too had presented unexpected results. Would his life never return to some semblance of normalcy, he wondered ?
That is when he noticed the light emanating from the trunk. He re-lodged the back seat cover and there was just enough space between the interior wall of the diesel trailer and the drivers side door, to walk to the back of the car. The trunk had been broken into when Junior had been lured into helping the group of men raise the tower bell in the Plaza Park, just south of Boulevard Revolution. He now assumed that the entire event was a ploy to distract his entering America with the current contents of his back seat, but when he opened the trunk and lifted a blanket, he discovered that he was in a world of trouble, deceit and misery, much larger than he could ever have expected. There under the blanket sat more paper currency than he had ever seen in his life, stacked, sealed and organized in a giant block, next to that was an equally daunting object that scared the living daylights out of the man, something he would never have expected, something he had been promised would never ever be a part of his employment, something he abhorred more than death itself, the very thing that had ruined more lives and created more misery and devastated more men than Junior cared to recount. How many times had he watched men slowly dissolve into nothing ? How many times had he heard about so and so being found dead on the streets ? How many times had he watched as his fellow inmates writhed in pain and in total out and out torturous conditions turning this way and that for hours on end as if they were lizards who had lost a tail, squirming, screaming, moaning, begging, sweating it out while the guards walked by and chuckled ? How many times had he wondered what life for him, his friends, his relatives and even the world would have been like without the very thing he was staring in the face ? How was it that he, Junior, a simple man, could possibly be carrying a most sacred object known to believers across the entire world and also have in his possession the substance that was possibly the very worst and most disgusting element ever invented ? A substance so vile, so despicable, so ruining, so demonic that through the years he had actually thought of this substance as, and there was no other way to put it: The devil himself. There in several blocks of transparent material was the purest of the pure, the worst and above all evilest thing Junior had ever know existed. If the natural shock that occurred from losing a thumb, just less than an hour ago had provided a buffer between him and his feelings, creating a comfort zone, sedating his body and mind from the pain, blocking the nervous system from excruciating and jolting physical effects, all that had abruptly ended: Junior woke up. He tied a rope from trunk to bumper and waited for whatever was next, he knew whatever it was, that his life would never be the same again.
An hour passed and Junior noticed that diesel truck must have pulled off the freeway and onto a smaller street or road, when it came to a stop, he heard the driver unhitch the trailer from the cab and then the cab pulled away. He stepped to the back of the trailer and noticed a double latch that opened from the inside, not knowing what to expect, he grabbed his thumb from the dashboard, tucked in his shirt and slid the dismembered finger down the front, with his one good hand, he grabbed a blackjack from the back seat and slowly and quietly attempted to lift the door to the trailer. As he did so, he realized he was alone, in pitch darkness, he jumped from the trailer and there to the North he noticed a brightly lit cinder block cube of a building. Junior was now out and out frightened. He had been scared, he had been fearful, but he had never actually been frightened before and somewhere in his constitution, somewhere in his make up, some where in his fortitude, he found something of himself that was new territory and now he knew there was no turning back. He walked back up one of the small narrow wheeled metal perforated ramps that followed the trailer, he unhinged the rope to the trunk, opened an old tool box and found a padlock that he had once used to secure his locker in junior high school. Junior silently pulled the trailer door shut and walked toward the brightly lit building in the middle of what felt like an abandoned army base in the middle of the desert. There were no signs out front, but when he looked inside, it was clearly a medical facility, with a flat-topped front desk attendant and several nurses dressed in scrubs and operating garb. He could see no patients, he could see no security guards, if he wanted to keep his thumb, he had no choice whatsoever, except to simply walk into the place, and as he did, the attendant, who was youngish, clean shaven, clear eyed, simply said, "We have been expecting you sir." Junior just looked at the man. "Due to the dire situation, there will be no forms to fill, we are ready to take care of you now." A nurse walked up and asked for the missing finger. Junior, who had shed not a single tear throughout his entire ordeal, reached into his shirt front and handed the girl his thumb. His eyes watered, he took a deep breath, looked around the facility and decided that whatever the hell was going on, first and foremost, he wanted five digits on each hand and so, he sat in the lobby and waited for the attendant to make the next move. The nurse unwrapped the finger, laid it out onto a stainless steel tray and stared at the object for what seemed like a very long time, then she abruptly, looked up at Junior and exclaimed, "Believe it or not, you are a very lucky man." The attendant smiled and called for the patient to be admitted.
Junior had refused to be put to sleep, the operation lasted almost eighteen hours and he slept through much of the operation. He had now been wheeled into a room with a window facing the trailer which could barley be seen in the now two a.m. moonlight. Several bottles of medication sat on the table to his left, his keys and the contents of his pockets had been put into a small basket, his pants had been washed and folded, his shirt and socks had been replaced, the blood that had poured from his hand had been washed clean from his shoes and he was the only person in the room. His hand was wrapped in gauze and an aluminum stripped device protected it from any possible damage. Junior began to review the series of events that had preceded his accident. The first call he had made to his people prior to leaving the US all had seemed appropriate and valid, the voice seemed to be the usual, the directions, the action, the procedural aspects all in line with a familiar tone, but the second call, made from the Bull fight arena, there was now something definitely wrong with that call. He couldn't quite focus on exactly what it was, but something was askew. The voice was just a little different, the change of plans seemed totally out of place, the entire directive was not at all in line with a protocol that he now could put together in a cohesive way. Junior had always been promised that under no circumstances whatsoever would he ever have to come into contact with the substance that was now sitting in his trunk. Nor was he ever asked to be put in a position of ever returning to prison without proper warning of the assignment up front. Either he had clearly been lied to, or someone redirected, intercepted or tapped his conversation and interjected or straight out impersonated someone from his organization. There was a third possibility, but he didn't even want to think about that. The only way to find out, was to head north, enter the harbor and find out for himself. Junior quietly put on his clothes, shoved the bottles of medicine in his front pockets, opened the sliding glass window, jumped out and walked into the cold dark night. He fumbled with the combination lock, could not for the life of him remember the numbers, finally giving up, simply bashed the thing with a rock, slid the door upward, backed the car down the ramp and drove down the moon lit dirt road with no lights on for over half a mile, when he could no longer see the facility in the distance, he turned on his lights and headed toward civilization, if you could call it that. On the way out, he passed several burnt out bunkers, defunct check points and now wireless radio towers. It was a ghost town and Junior still had no idea that, officially, he did not exist.
By the time Junior drove into the Harbor, it was just past four in the morning, for the obvious reasons, he neither went home, nor did he go directly to meet his so-called people. He had been racking his brain while driving and still had not come up with any true or obvious conclusions. Having not eaten in over twenty-four hours, he needed a cup of coffee, he had to figure this out and found himself driving in the direction of Ma' Fritters Coffeehouse, where his father, Louis had been a busboy all those years. It was absurd for him to fathom the fact that, in less than a week, he had actually repositioned his father on the family ranch and been through what seemed like a lifetime. He parked the car a half a block away, positioned it so that he could see it front and back and was pleased that the waitress, nor the busboy recognized him as Louis' son. He ordered breakfast and as was the tradition, the waitress brought over the days paper. Junior, who had gotten in the habit of voraciously reading anything and everything, while in the joint, turned the page of the metro section and there, near the bottom, was a small article that had an extremely familiar image, it was a picture of him, taken a few years back by prison officials, the headline read: Recently Released Ex-con Dies in Auto Accident. The article described the events at the border, the fishing accident cover story, the visit with relatives and the actual accident on the way to the hospital. Now Junior knew that possibility number three was more than likely. He left a ten dollar bill on the table and walked. It was still before five, fog covered the streets. Junior made a decision. He drove up to the home of his brother in law Chuck and his sister Celia's through the alleyway, opened the garage door, where Chuck kept his sunday car, a completely restored woody station wagon and unloaded the contents of the trunk into Chucks wagon: the money and the drugs. Than he quietly closed the garage door and drove four blocks east to a storage facility parking lot that housed old boats, cars and rental units for storage. He pulled his car onto the lot, tucked the fabric artifact from beneath the back seat around his torso and threw a tarp from the trunk over his own car, fastening the corners one by one with his good hand. The placed was closed and a security guard sat in the front office. Junior held up a fifty dollar bill, the man slid open the window and accepted the bill, but said nothing. Junior took a hundred dollar bill and an insurance slip that had his plates, his insurance and the vehicle i.d. and pointed to the tarp. "Put this on the old man's desk." Again, the man said nothing, took the bill and slip and walked over to the old mans desk. Junior eyed the man's newspaper on the counter, grabbed the metro section and walked out into the fog.
CHAPTER 36 / SEASON THREE / EPISODE ONE
Each Chapter is Written By Joshua Triliegi in a 24 Hour Period without Prior Notes.
All Chapters in Episode One were written between July 20th 2015 and July 28th 2015
CHAPTER 36 : BROTHER
Mickey was running late. This was not an uncommon occurrence. Through the years, he had been known as an easy going dude, who enjoyed the company of everyday people and everyday people reciprocated in kind. Mickey had been touched by a long since past casualness that had once pervaded Americans everywhere. He always had time to listen and this old fashioned activity did not derive from some idea of politeness or even a social responsibility, he simply enjoyed hearing and telling stories. As far back as he could remember, Charles and his friends, who had included an extremely wide variety of storytellers sat around, night after night, talking, conversing, excitedly describing events past and recent in a way that, in todays world, had been entirely lost. Mickey's ability to make appointments often neglected to build in a certain amount of time, for that very thing he loved so much to do and invariably, he was often playing catch up with those he loved, most notably, the love of his life: Moon. Now that Charles had returned and the family had cohesively bonded, getting together on a weekly basis over a family dinner, had become the norm and Mickey always seemed to be the last to arrive. Cally would be the first to exasperatingly announce. "I'm ordering anyway..." and Maggie would say, "Your'e waiting for your brother." Charles, who had indeed once been a soldier in Vietnam, a roadie for rock and roll royalty, a doorman for one of the toughest bars in America and one of the West coasts most prominent builders of Harley Davidson motorcycles had mellowed during his lost years. The man was still strong as could be and yet his sensitivity was more than beautiful. "Why is that," Maggie asked herself ? In the old days, Maggie had watched as Charles once lifted a man above his head by the collar and pant leg and threw the guy into a six foot wide mirror that had a logo for Flynn's Irish Whiskey that stated: It was Simply The Best. The unsuspecting man had reached over and simply grabbed the breast of Charles best friends wife, who had taken her beer mug and swung it into the guy's jaw and then Charles finished the job. Maggie watched from across the bar and could not understand why that had turned her on, all she knew is that it did. Now all these years later, she watched as Charles took his giant hand and ever so gently removed the dangling hair from his daughters face, with a single and graceful gesture. The hand that had turned a million spark plugs, slugged countless fools, even pulled a few triggers back in Vietnam, was also now, so graceful, so smooth, so reflective. The road had been good for Charles, where most men crumble, this man had clearly triumphed.
Venice beach was full of musicians, artists, pro, con and otherwise. Very rarely, these days, could anyone actually, 'discover' a new act or a viable mainstream breakthrough for the current markets music scene. Maggie had been known and affiliated with music from another time period. She had been interviewed in countless documentaries about artists such as Bob Dylan and anyone connected with the late sixties and early seventies, where she had made a mark managing bands, tours and all variety of popular musicians including folk, rock and country. When she had been asked to help organize a fund raiser for the inner city youth after the desecration of the riots, she wanted to gather a line up that would encompass the very cultures who had invariably clashed due to the divisions throughout Los Angeles. Already she had commitments from artists like Tom Waits, Fishbone, a couple of the guys from War and Isaac Hayes, but she needed some new acts. Maggie didn't mind doing her part, but underneath all the showmanship and unification, this 'do right' woman was a shrewd and calculating business woman with several children and a career of her own. It had been almost a decade since she had actually, 'discovered' a new act or artist and brought them from the streets to the clubs to the studio to the radio and on into the major marketplace, which had already moved from rock to punk and new wave and now back to rock with the so-called 'grunge' scene coming out of Seattle. Punk and New Wave had entirely eclipsed many of the artists she had represented and it left Maggie feeling, a bit out of touch. She could understand this new scene a little more than what had happened musically over the past decade. The basic melodic chords, the return to rock & roll riffs, the garage style aesthetic had a familiar ring and was getting the kind of play on radio that turned the tables in her direction. So, when she noticed a couple of kids, playing a few songs in the boutique directly across the street from the restaurant where everyone was waiting for Micky, she excused herself from the table. The boy played guitar and sang, the girl played a small keyboard and sang, then they did a duet a cappella. They utilized folk, reggae and soft rock elements with an upbeat vibe that was exactly what Maggie needed to round out the line up. When she asked their name, they both answered in unison: She Said / He Said. Maggie listened to a few more tunes and immediately booked them to open the show. When she asked who their manager was, they both answered in unison: We are. The boy explained that they had recently received a small investment from a local businessman who had recorded a live single that was currently being remixed and it would be ready for distribution soon. She saw the opportunity and invited them over to the house on Sunday.
Maggie returned to the restaurant to find one of her early rivals sitting in the chair she had left at the table. A woman whom she had not seen since those early days, and who had vied for Charles affections, way back when. She hated to admit it, but the lady had barely aged at all. Her hair had grown longer as had her dress and as Maggie now perceived the situation, so to had the woman's teeth. As she walked up to the table, Maggie remembered her name and quickly placed it into context, she tried to conceal what Moon and Cally and her girlfriend Jezz all noticed, that, for the first time in years, Maggie was actually jealous. Now all the girls perked their ears to hear what Charles and the lady were discussing. The lady, with long golden hair and tight blue eyes, was recounting a story about Charles and an obscure musical tour they had all endured long ago. Charles laughed and kissed the woman, like a man might kiss his mother or his sister on the forehead and asked the manager for another seat and a round of drinks. The lady noticing Maggie's arrival, sat up to surrender the throne, but Maggie feigned disinterest and took the new seat handed by the waiter, on the other end of the table with Moon, who was now completely perplexed and had never seen Maggie in such a state. "We just arrived from New York," and "still own the house on speedway," the lady explained. Now Maggie stared at her and remembered everything. She had been the only other woman who had received Charles' affections prior to Mickey's birth. Maggie tried to take the floor by announcing her new musical discovery, across the way, but it came out forced and didn't take hold. Charles began to recount a mammoth party that had been the last time he and the lady had seen one another, the final concert of the tour in which they had previously discussed. Charles, one of the few people that could casually drop the names of some of the greatest musicians that had ever lived in a manner that was neither braggart nor brazen, described the final concert, the party and the after party that had the entire restaurant listening. A large man, both in spirit and in personality with a booming voice, a handsome and chiseled face with a humble yet trustworthy tone. No wonder Mickey liked storytellers, his dad was one of the best. Maggie looked on with ringing ears and burning eyes as Charles finished his story and everyone laughed aloud. Then he turned to the lady and said, "So, what exactly happened to you after that night ?" The lady looked around the table, now realizing that all ears and eye were on her. "Well, for one, I had a son ..." and as she said so, a young man who looked exactly like Mickey's twin walked into the room, "Here he is," she said, as an artist might unveil a new work of art to the world. Moon gasped.
Charles, who was slow to display any type of automatic reactions or responses in general, put his hand out and shook the young man's hand, "My name is Charles," and the younger man took his hand and shook it,"I'm an old friend of your mom's," he explained. "I have heard a lot about you," the young man said and turned back to his mother, who was by now beaming in all directions. Now Moon, Cally and Jezz, were all trying to add up the details of Charles recent story with the young man standing before them, who looked, not 'sort of' like Mickey, he looked exactly like Mickey. Same age, same build, same eyes, same everything. His manner of dress and his style of grooming was not at all like Mickey, but his actual physical make up was a downright doppelgänger. "So, your mother tells us you're just in from New York," Charles noted aloud. The young man looked again towards his mother, who added, "He has just passed the bar." Charles looked into the other room, which housed a lounge and didn't entirely understand the reference. The lady looked at Charles quizzically, "He's a defense lawyer working for a firm here in Los Angeles." Charles finally caught up, "Congratulations, I'm glad you choose the right side of the law," he laughed and everyone joined in. By now, he could not help but notice the way all the women in his life were now staring at the young man standing next to him. Charles called out for another chair and the young man sat down. Finally, Moon asked, the young man how old he was, when he answered, everyone could see the human calculator on Maggy's face doing the math, they too began calculating. When the results were in, as it turned out, the young man was exactly one year older than Micky. Charles explained that they were waiting for his son Mickey and by all means, if they would like to join them for dinner to do so or to drop by the house sometime. The tall, graceful lady declined the offer and they both began to stand and excuse themselves from the table, "It was such a pleasure to see you again," she countered, glancing in Maggy's direction, who was now, quietly, politely, imploding inwardly. The lady raised her wineglass, "To old friends." Charles raised his beer mug and everyone joined in, 'Salute,' - 'Cheers,' - 'Asante.' And then Mickey finally appeared in the front window, he glanced in through the glass and for a split second, the image of his reflection and the young man's met in perfect unison. The young man and his mother walked out the front door as Mickey entered and sat down in the seat his twin had just inhabited. Maggie rose and took her original seat next to Charles. She didn't say a word. Everyone was quiet. Moon just stared at Mickey, who said he was sorry for being late. Cally looked at Jezz and smiled. Maggie looked at Charles, then at Mickey, she took a deep breath, exhaled and stated aloud, "I think we are ready to order."
CHAPTER 37 / SEASON THREE / EPISODE ONE
Each Chapter is Written By Joshua Triliegi in a 24 Hour Period without Prior Notes.
All Chapters in Episode One were written between July 20th 2015 and July 28th 2015
CHAPTER 37 : DADDY
Fred felt divided. Ta had been hinting that if they moved in together, they would save money, have more quality time and could possibly even take longer vacation time later in the year. She even did the math over a three year period and had mentioned, the exact numbers they could save, she was, after all, a rather calculating woman. Fred had gotten use to living alone, he had made peace with his losses and even enjoyed the solitude. Running her own business all these years had made Ta into an enterprising lady and her sense of initiative and 'can-do' style is what attracted Fred to her in the beginning, after months of campaigning, she won the debate and had finally convinced Fred. She had planned to put her townhouse up for rent and was looking forward to starting the beginning of her new life with Fred and right in the middle of the move, Ta received a startling phone call from the government in South Korea. The call opened up an entire chapter of her life that she had all but forgotten. Ta had never discussed her childhood with friends or associates much, nor did she speak much about her parents. She was not secretive, many people who had found their way from the north of the country to the South had difficult transitions and discussing assimilation and the actual difficult arduous physical challenge to cross into the South was not something people wished to converse about casually. Ta had been extremely lucky, having stowed away on a boat at an extremely young age, had made her journey and her entire teenage years in the South seem normal. She had never mentioned her father to Fred or anyone and had not even known if he was still alive. Ta had assumed that he was dead or maybe even worse, in a concentration camp or as they were called in the North, a work camp. As it turned out, Ta's father had once been a ranking officer in the North and when her mother passed away, an Aunt had put Ta on a boat to the South and had died doing so. That was decades ago, since then, she had heard nothing of her father in those years and could hardly remember his voice, his face or anything about him. The only object left in her townhouse was the telephone message machine She pressed the play button on the recorder and heard the voice of a woman from the government, "Hello," she formally greeted in Ta's native language, she gave her name, her location and the department she worked for, which was immigration, then she explained that a man describing himself as Ta's father had defected from North Korea over ten years ago and had finally made his way to Seoul, then Ta could hear the woman tell the man to say hello, "Hello, daughter, I am your Dad."
Ta heard the voice and began to cry. This was a chapter in her life she had willingly forgotten. The painful journey, the loss of her mother, the death of her aunt, the entire experience and deep rooted pain of leaving everything behind and starting anew had never given her time to heal or to even reflect, and now, after all this time, she did not want to deal with it. But there it was, sitting in the room with her. She sat in the empty apartment and cried like a child, she screamed aloud, shrieked and rocked back and forth while sitting on the floor. She had returned to the place simply to take down the floral patterned curtains, and now, she ripped them from the walls and yelled into them as loud as she could, muffling her own voice and the pain that had been hidden. Feelings of abandonment and helplessness overtook the woman and she fell to the floor like a child and broke. Hours passed, it had gotten dark, Ta awoke, turned the recorder back on and listened to the voice again, "Hello, daughter, I am your dad," and again, "hello daughter, I am your dad," and again, "hello daughter, I am your dad." She looked out upon the city lights gleaming, the boulevard below was busy, the other apartments across the way, so full of life, families eating dinner, old men and women watching television, kids running in and out of rooms, she had been running from her past towards success for so long that life itself had become something that Ta had disconnected from. How many times had she watched as families came in and out of her restaurant without once consciously thinking about her own childhood, her own family, her own past, in America and in Seoul. A successful business had been her everything and now she looked out the window into the lives of her community and felt a giant empty cavern. The townhouse was empty, the curtains were down, the lights were off. Ta took off her clothes, walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower, the bathroom had been stripped of all her girly items, the liquid echoed when it splashed to the tile, there was not enough water in all the world to wash away the pain. Ta walked out into the empty living room naked and stood there, dripping water onto the floor, she watched the night, and hours passed. Fred who had been waiting at home for her to return eventually called and when Ta answered, he hardly recognized her voice, "Hello," he said, "Hello," she answered back, "Are you my daddy ?" she asked, and Fred, laughingly played along, "Yes, I am." Then Ta began to cry and Fred didn't understand, but he simply listened quietly. "Will you come and get me ?" Ta asked with the voice of a little girl he had never known before and Fred, now confused, simply said, "I am your daddy and I will come and get you." Ta dropped the phone, stared into the night and Fred arrived.
Alex and Fred had become partners after Alex's father had passed away. The loss of the liquor store had created a bond between the boy and Fred. Now They had a water dispensary and a yogurt shop. Alex had been a weird kid, nerdy, not exactly popular among his pears, even considered out of step and maybe a little slow. But when it came to music, Alex was actually way ahead of the curve. He had gone to school to become a sound engineer, having tried his hand at playing piano and even drumming, he settled on engineering and sound mixing and everyone in his immediate family and even his girlfriend, who was now pregnant, had always felt that he should grow up and just get a regular job. Fred had given Alex that job and now he had time and money to invest in the music. He bought mixing gear, microphones and started creating all types of sonic experimentation, from electronica style tracks to mood music that sounded like cinema soundtracks. When Fred had asked Alex if he knew of any bands that could play for the opening party of the new yogurt business, Alex answered yes and called some friends he knew. Without Fred knowing, Alex had actually gotten the band to agree to be recorded and remixed with a distribution deal for a single track to be owned by Alex as a producer, in exchange for remixing the concert for the band. He had even gotten a contract signed. Since that time, the band, who was a guy and a girl duo, had now been asked to play a live fundraiser with some serious headliners, which put Alex in the position of owning a new single from a band that had only played local clubs and gigs up to that time. When Alex got news from Ryan's little brother that, She said / He Said was the opening act to a major Concert, he went into superdrive and created a standard track, a special remix and a dance club electric mix that went out to local radio stations, the disc - jockeys that he knew from school and he handed a stack of cd's to the band for promotion. To imagine that this was the same kid who, months back, had in desperation, tried to burn down a palm tree to collect insurance on his father's business, was almost impossible. With the loss of the boy's father, his pregnant girlfriend and his own particular introversion, Alex had lost all hope. Fred had done what he felt was the right thing to do, against all common sense, he had not only forgiven the boy, he had seen something that no one else could see and now, it was paying off. Alex ran the yogurt shop in the daytime and prepared for the child on the weekends. He began to dress differently, he handled himself in a whole new way and everyone in his family noticed that he had actually become a lot like his father. With Fred's partnership and with Fred's trust, the confused and angry boy had now quite definitely, simply become a man, while no one was looking, Alex had bloomed.
When Ta told Fred about the phone call, he was neither surprised nor worried. They sat at the breakfast table and Fred began to tell her a story about working in the factories. He described the way he and Sam had saved their money, the way they had made a pact to succeed, the way they had followed through with a dream that had now recently ended in flames and smoke and anger in a new country in which a history had preceded that they could not even fathom. Americans, he explained, knew nothing of our real history and maybe, we too, know very little of theirs. How many times had he been called Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, anything but Korean. They know nothing of the actual desecration of our country, the civil war, the rebuilding of the South, the trade deals, technological and new manufacturing that went into making South Korea a viable and modern day trade partner with the world. And here we are, in the middle of a city that is tearing itself apart. "Maybe we are here for a reason," Fred said, "maybe our basic understanding of indifference and division and struggle and rebuilding is exactly what we have to contribute to this country." Fred was avoiding the real problem and could see that Ta was waiting for him to approach the phone call. "What I am trying to say is that you and I both have a history. Whatever yours is, I accept. Now what do you want to do?" Ta was looking to Fred for those answers and she simply stared out into space, blank. Fred's house was covered in boxes, clothes, furniture and all the items that had represented Ta's existence were now strewn throughout the place. He looked around and then looked back at her. She was, to him, absolutely and downright beautiful. Her hair thick and deep black, her shoulders whiter than ivory, her eyes, dark and watery, fingertips cold and sharp, breasts that lifted with her very breath, long legs that extended to and fro, her feet delicately sculpted, he had always seen her as a woman and now was seeing her as a little girl. Whomever had created this woman, this lady, this girl, deserved to be taken care of and Fred knew then what they had to do. Fred walked down the hall into the den, turned on the old time jukebox and selected a tune from long ago, it had been popular years before the war and joyfully described the simple pleasures of having a home. Ta understood what Fred was saying and without mentioning a word, she stood up, walked into the living room and together they slowly danced to the music, arm in arm. Each one wondering what it would be like to return home after all these years as the lyrics of the tune happily chanted, 'Home is a place you can never forget, no matter how far, you can ever get, no matter the people, that you have met, home is a place you can never forget.'
CHAPTER 38 / SEASON THREE / EPISODE ONE
Each Chapter is Written By Joshua Triliegi in a 24 Hour Period without Prior Notes.
All Chapters in Episode One were written between July 20th 2015 and July 28th 2015
CHAPTER 38 : ERRANDS
Jordan learned how to ride by riding. He took the new motorcycle to Lompoc, checked into an old motel about a half a mile from the prison and called it a day. Next morning, he was the first in line for visitors and had to wait a couple hours to put in his request. Jordan always had big eyes for life, always watching, always looking, had an eye for details. In a place like this, that was not necessarily a good thing. He eventually got the message that Mac would be available at two in the afternoon, went outside and waited another couple hours. Looked at the joint, metal everywhere, concrete, steel, wire, posts, galvanized, extruded, exposed and painted. Doors and gates clicked and locked and clicked and opened, cameras on every post and doorway and lookout, armed guards and security and sheriffs and people working for the man of all variety, shape and size. Not one of them exposing their eyes directly. Hiding, from what he thought ? The sun drifted across the sky and Jordan's mind with it. The question was not how the hell was Mac? The question was who the hell was Mac? He didn't know his old man from Adam. Oh he had some early memories and lots of stories told by aunts and uncles about how Mac had been with Malcolm in those days when being black meant something very different from what it means now. How Mac had been targeted ever since his association with Malcolm, how he'd been set up time and time again, for this and for that. How his intentions to lift up those around him had often done just that and ever so swiftly, he would find himself being dragged down because of his efforts. Jordan was as straight as an arrow. He knew his way around, was no fool, but he was not what they would call entirely streetwise, had never done time, never even been arrested and did not intend to either. It was getting close to two, Jordan walked back inside and waited with the rest of the visitors. He sat and watched what prison does to those associated with those unfortunate individuals who lived in this place. Wives, kids, lawyers, friends, girlfriends, everyone seemed to be beat down by the experience. A constant barrage of amplified audio announcements, lines to stand behind, forms to fill out, times to stand and times to sit and times to wait, permission to eat and permission to drink and permission to relieve oneself, always with the disdaining eyes of men and women in uniform, while a very thin, almost invisible veneer of soot & finite filth seemed to cover everything and everyone, the sun was hotter and the shade was colder, a place of exaggerated everything. It seemed unreal and yet Jordan knew it was actually more than real, more real than anything on the outside.
Mac sat at a table in the farthest corner of the room, facing outward. Jordan watched his father watching him as he walked up to the man and shook his hand. He noticed right away that there was no finite soot on this man, who looked healthy, big in spirit, whites of his eyes, clear as a piece of paper, skin moist, hands big, nails clean and trim, voice deep, clear, unbroken. Jordan opened up the conversation, "They say, you're a big man in here." Mac looked at the boy and out chuckled a small bitter breath, "A big man in here ain't nothing much compared to a small man out there." Mac continued, "I saw you on the television, retrieving the 'family heirloom'..." he laughed, "... that was something boy." Jordan replied, "Oh yeah, that was something, something that nearly cost me my job, put my privacy in jeopardy, my relationship into turmoil, got me the kind of attention I never wanted." Mac, looked at his son, "Well, it seems our family has always been in the middle of history in one way or another, looks like you got the same dna as the rest of us." Then Jordan mentioned that his momma, who went by the name of Baby, was staying with him and they were all concerned about Mac's welfare. Mac replied "For the record, Mac was never on no damn welfare, but I appreciate the thought." Then he continued, "Look, I heard you got some friends in places that could mean something to me." Jordan went blank, couldn't think of who Mac was referring to. "Your biker pal... and the lady lawyer... thats a powerful hand you're holding son. In here, politics and friendships, favors and returns on investments mean the difference between life and death, food and starvation, between day and night. Look, I need a favor. And I realize, I got no place to ask you, 'cause I never give you nothing but life itself, but I got something I need done and ain't no one I can trust anymore, been in here too long, people taking advantage of my game on the outside." Jordan stared at Mac, "I'm not a hustler." Mac stared back, "I'm not asking you to hustle. But I got nobody else I can trust, son." Jordan heard the word son and he looked Mac in the eyes. "How did you know about my ... friends?" Mac didn't have to time explain how things worked from top to bottom. "Look, I know things, just trust me on this." Jordan had always mistrusted anyone who had ever told him to 'trust him on this', but because this was his father, he let it go. "We don't have much time here, where you staying ?" and Mac rattled off the names of six different motels that were possibilities and Jordan replied, when Mac mentioned his. "Late tonight, a man will be stopping by with a few things for you and a to do list, If you do things right, I might have a chance to get out of here. Can you do this ?" Jordan didn't know what to say, if he said no, he was just a punk, if he said yes, he was in deep shit. He nodded his head no, but said, "Yes."
Come three in the morning, with his clothes still on, lights on, passed out on the couch, Jordan heard a rap on the door. He looked out the eye-hole and one of the whitest, the straightest, the most police officer looking guys he had ever seen was at the door, mustached, freckle faced, yolked up, full on middle American male. Jordan opened the door and the guy said he was making a delivery for 'Mac' with a duffle bag in hand. Apparently, his dad was a big man after all, had dudes that could do things when necessary and do it they did, for a price. Whatever that price was, Jordan did not know, nor did he want to know. Already, he was regretting the decision, but now it was way too late. He stood there, staring at the dude. "Would you mind letting me in ?" Jordan did mind, but all of that was way too late, he let the guy in. The man threw the duffle bag on the bed and pulled out a list, he handed it to Jordan. It was a full itinerary, looked like a damn bus stop schedule, Jordan thought. Then he reached in and pulled out an envelope, when he took out the contents, there on the table lay an airline ticket, a list of addresses and a stack of cash that look pretty thick, real thick, thicker than he wanted it to look, damn. When he opened up the ticket it read, Destination Detroit Departure 9:00 AM. and then he re-read the itinerary. The man pulled out a new suit, shirt, tie and shoes that, when Mac had sussed up Jordan's size, he assumed would fit. "What the hell is all of this?" Jordan asked. "I am just here to make a delivery that never happened, understand?" And he walked out and drove away. Jordan looked out the window, black car, dark night, no license plates. Jordan just shook his head no, as he had done before he had actually said, Yes. He was way out of his league, then he looked at the airline ticket and realized he had to toss the duffle bag onto the bike and head out toward the airport, now, if he was ever going to make, "A nine a.m. flight to goddamned Detroit," he muttered to himself. He drove into the night with the sunrise eventually to his back, found a car park near the airport for his bike and stepped onto a shuttle. Jordan got into the airport, darted into a stall in the restroom and changed into the clothes that Mac had left for him. When he stepped out and looked at himself in the mirror, among the international, business class and everyday working stiffs, he saw his reflection in the mirror, looked down at the suit, the tie, the shoes and realized that he looked like a pimp from nineteen sixty-eight, pin striped suit, deco-page tie, black shirt and two-tone Stacy Adams shoes that were two sizes too big. He approached a row of a half a dozen sinks which were all inhabited by guys shaving, plucking ear hairs, washing their hands, three of the sinks immediately became available. Jordan bought a disposable razor from the attendant, got a shave, tipped the dude and boarded.
Jordan thought about Detroit. The place of his birth. How long had it been ? He'd been living on the West coast for long enough to forget much of it. He'd spent a good amount of time in Oakland and eventually settled in Los Angeles, each, he thought, had a different degree of blackness. People liked to think of blackness as chocolate. It was always being compared to and packaged as this or that degree in music and in popular culture. Before he had become an adult, he thought of this comparison and wondered what that was all about? Now that he was a man, he would say to himself that LA was black like milk chocolate or like Martin Luther King, he didn't mean it in a disparaging way, it was just the way he saw it, as different degree of blackness. And he felt that Oakland was like a purer chocolate, with cocoa and possibly a Huey Newton or Bobby Seal representing. But Detroit, to Jordan, was serious blackness, dark chocolate, as black as black culture could get and right in the middle of it, was Malcolm X. And out of that came Mac, his dad and Baby, his mom and now him, Jordan, a child of true blackness, a very real blackness, Detroit Motor City stuff. In his mind, the only place blacker was the continent of his origin itself. Than he realized that all this was mainstream thinking. He was dreaming a child's dream and he needed to wake up and wake up quick. Jordan pulled out the itinerary and looked at what needed to be done. His first stop was the Hall of Records, where he was to request and make copies of a full detailed description of a court case with dates, names and numbers listed in capitals, than in parenthesis it stated: [ bring four rolls of quarters, two for spending and two for comfort ]. What did that mean ? "Two for comfort ?" he said out loud, than, under his breath, "Goddamn it, Mac..." The stewardess asked if Jordan wanted anything, a cocktail, a beer, Corvousier? Jordan just looked at her quizzically, "Yeah, I'd like a large cup of coffee." Than, as she walked away, he added, "Black," and several passengers turned in his direction. He had pre-rented a vehicle when he had checked in and when the plane arrived, he was again shuttled to a near by rental lot, where he was given a brand new black cadillac sedan. He asked the lady at the desk, "Don't you have anything a little more ... nondescript ?" A term had had heard though never used. "Well," and then she pointed toward a small white ford, a light green pinto and several passenger vans. "Never mind, this will be fine..." Now he was really fronting. Well, he knew one thing, Mac and baby would definitely be proud of him. Then he realized that he had not called home in the last 36 hours. What was he going to tell Wanda and Baby? I'm in Detroit, driving a big black Cadillac, dressed in a pin striped suit, green two-tone shoes with a wad of cash and I'm just running a few errands for Mac?
CHAPTER 39 / SEASON THREE / EPISODE ONE
Each Chapter is Written By Joshua Triliegi in a 24 Hour Period without Prior Notes.
All Chapters in Episode One were written between July 20th 2015 and July 28th 2015
CHAPTER 39: LIARS
Stan was facing death in the eye. He had neglected to inform Dora, his wife and Cliff, his son, what the doctors had told him. And now he had to reflect on the how's and the why's. Dora had transformed their diet after Cliff's birth, cooking and eating organically grown foods, being conscious of varieties of meat, processing, preservatives and additives, even making a healthy lunch for Stan, which often times went unconsumed. The man had been stubborn, even short sighted and at times, he was downright foolish, when it came to his health. Now, as he walked through the desolate halls of the empty courthouse, with its marble floors and travertine siding and worn down concrete benches, he reflected on how many cigarettes and how many lunch combinations that included a piece of pizza, potato chips and a coke he had consumed. How many hours of his life had he spent in the company of counsellors, lawyers and liars ? All in an attempt to preserve justice for the people. He had, at one time, actually believed that one person could, would and indeed did make a difference and now, in the desolate hours, in an empty chamber, Stan was unsure if that was possible. He walked into his office, opened a locked file where he kept up a project he thought would never see the light of day or meet the public's eye and now, after all had been said and done, Stan decided that the project was his last chance at redemption of a system he knew was broken. Stan had kept a detailed diary of every important case he had ever resided over. While on the bench, he had written about each and every important twist and turn of the screw from prosecutors to defense, from his vantage point to observations on the jury, who had gone unnamed for obvious reasons. Between his most recent meeting with doctors, the final decision in the case that caused The Riots and his deep love for Dora and Cliff as well as his original and rather naive intentions in becoming a judge to begin with, Stan decided to go public with a book that could blow the roof off of a hundred years of abuses of power in America, which would, most likely, equal his retirement. The day he and Cliff played golf against The Governor, at the request of the President, was a watershed moment: a 'Game-Changer.' Stan knew life was not a game and yet, real lives and real laws and real people were being pummeled into a system that left them disrespected, disabled and dishonored for the rest of their lives. His stroke on the golf course had given him a voice that seemed unfamiliar. He opened the file and realized that the narration in his book, all those years, had that same honest voice. Stan got up off the bench, walked out and headed home.
Dora got a call from Jordan that seemed out of character. Normally, he was, how would she put it: Cool headed ? He had left a message explaining that he was in Detroit, attempting to gain access to a file on record regarding a court case that had pertinent information regarding his father Mac, who was doing time because an inside jail house snitch had opened up on a group of people whom his father had been associated with long ago. Apparently, he was having trouble getting a copy of the file released and wondered if she could have somebody in Detroit or anywhere assist, he gave the serial number, dates and names. In the background, Dora could here people stressing Jordan over their need to use the phone booth, then, he finally said, "I gotta go, see what you can do." Then he gave her Mac's serial number, identification and Location. Dora could hear Jordan taking some serious heat as he attempted to drop the receiver and hang up the phone. Since then, she had received a copy of the file, made a duplicate and had another sent directly to Mac at Lompoc. She had been studying the case and realized that it was tinged with a prison politic that had leaned heavily on racial divides within the actual prison system itself, the other unspoken laws, codes and power lines that average people never knew about. She put the folder aside and waited to hear from Jordan. Twelve minutes later a rust colored brick measuring eight inches by three inches by four inches was thrown threw the air, it came into contact with the plate glass window of her front office and shards of glass landed all over her front sofa, table and waiting room. Dora was never one to panic, she called a local security company that worked directly with her office and went to check on Cliff, who had been quietly watching what had become a new obsession of his, direct and unedited cable feeds from a satellite dish which had recently been installed in the law building that Dora leased. Within minutes, a witness identified a lady, driving a small vehicle, who had pulled to the side of the road, picked up a brick from the garden walkway, threw it through the window and drove directly into a parking lot three blocks away and ordered an ice cream. As the incident came to a head, it came to Dora's attention that the culprit had been the volunteer at Cliff's school who had lost her position because she and Stan had reported the fact that the volunteer had been dressing disabled kids in attire that was meant to send messages to a former boyfriend. When they asked Dora if she wanted to press charges, she asked around about the woman. It turned out, the lady had a large family, kids of her own and a husband who was already in jail and Dora decided not to press charges. Instead, she called some friends in the community and within days the window was replaced and the woman apologized.
The woman, who had some serious psychological issues of her own, had no idea who Dora actually was. When she heard the term 'lawyer,' she flipped out. Then word got out and the lady got schooled by people she had known all of her lives. Dora was practically a hero to folks in that community. How many times had she written letters to judges, lawyers, city council members, employers, social security employees, probation officers, churches, drug rehabs, mayors, congressman and senators on behalf of the rights of underage men and women, first time offenders, abused kids, wives and beaten down working class people ? Thousands and thousands, too many to list and too many to mention. When Stan got home that night, Dora told him about the window and then he told her about the book and they both just looked at one another they way partners often do. He knew very well that she knew how to handle herself and she knew that, if he was serious about the book, life as they knew it was never going to be the same. The phone rang, Cliff, who had been coming up with new surprises just about everyday now, answered the phone, "Hello, Yes, Just a minute," then he turned to Stan, "it's for you dad, some guy from something-something studio," then Cliff walked over and latched onto Dora. "This is Stan, Yes. Well, I don't know, I'd have to think about it. Do you mind if I ask how this came about ? You're kidding? All right, I'll think about it, goodbye." Dora and Cliff stared at Stan as he hung up the phone."They want me to consider doing a television show." Cliff turned his head excitedly in Dora's direction, who was nonplussed by the idea. Then she asked, "What kind of show ?" Stan walked into the kitchen, poured two glasses of wine and said, "A law show of some sort." Dora replied, "Of what sort ?" "I'm not entirely sure, they want me to go down there and do a few tests, apparently my little speech at the golf course, with this little man," referring to Cliff, "made an impression on someone who is handling the Presidents re election and they want me to host or reside as a judge over some kind of law show." Then he added, "He said they want to call it, 'Stan The Man'. Apparently Judge Woppner is old hat these days." Then Dora added, "Judge Woppner was old hat the day he was born and what about your book ?" Stan just mused at the whole idea and said, "Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Cliff and I are making dinner." Then he walked down the hall, turned on the shower, walked back into the bedroom, there sitting on the dresser was the medication he had been given by the doctors, then he looked over at the book file that sat on the credenza. As he walked back toward the bathroom, Dora, who had deciphered Stan's condition by his prescriptions simply hugged him and whispered, "Do what makes you happy."
Cliff woke before anyone else and decided that he was going to make breakfast. He had painstakingly watched his father take two eggs, crack them in a bowl, pour the pre mixed powder and oil and milk and mix them with a fork for a minute straight. He had actually counted it to the seconds. Then the butter was put into the pan and small amounts of the mix were poured onto the grill and then each circle was flipped over after exactly ninety-seconds, cinnamon and butter and syrup were added, sometimes with berries or fruit on top and served up hot. He had made an incredible mess doing so, but he had done it. Cliff carried the giant plate into his parents room to discover the coupling parents completing some type of activity he had, prior to that moment, been entirely unaware of. "Hey, what's going on here?" he exclaimed while carrying the giant plate of syrup covered pancakes into the room and proudly presenting them to his post coital parents. Stan laughed out loud at the very fact that the boy had actually made a pancake breakfast and Dora, completely red in the face, quickly switched modes from the shy woman caught in the act of making love to a proud mother of a boy who had been improving his abilities and for a kid with his issues, actually over achieving. Cliff knew that he was different and being young and self conscious, he made a decision to be different in ways that he could enjoy and not different in ways that made him feel more in control of his everyday comings and goings. The first thing he did was began to pick out his own clothes, reorganized his entire closet, he stacked his books on the shelves in alphabetical order and soon both his parents wondered exactly what was going to happen next. His new obsession was watching people to see if he could tell wether they were telling the truth or lying. It had become his main activity and he was very good at it. Dora had to teach him when it was appropriate to expose his findings and just how to describe those particular observations. So, slowly and rather deliberately, he was introduced to words and to phrases that could describe a liar without calling them out: insincere, inauthentic, stretching the truth, coloring the situation, telling only one side and so on and so forth. To Cliff, it mattered not what you called it, the fun was in being able to decipher such an act, the body language, the blinking of the eye, the tone in the voice and sometimes, while he watched television, he noticed simply that the entire facade of humanity appeared to be doing what one of his favorite comedians would have no interest in rephrasing, which is why Richard Pryor had always meant so much to the boy: Because he told the Truth and he did it without all the clever phrases. Then Cliff just stood up and for no reason at all, simply said, in his best Richard Pryor attitude, awfully loud and very clear, "You - a - God - Damn - M*ther - f*cking - Lying - sumnabitch!" His parents were out on the patio.
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.
A month had passed since the land in City of Angels had been scorched by the uprising. Although Junior was officially deceased, unofficially, he was now living like a wolf without a pack. Migrating from town to town in search of a future. He had heard stories, early on in life, of working men and women, from his parents country, who took the identities of others, so they could survive. The situation was often a mutually silent agreement between the person who owned the identity and the person who wished to utilize it. Junior gave this some thought and with the old indians early messages in mind, he decided to work the earth. He knew that thousands of people from his parents homeland tried unsuccessfully to enter this country and that many deaths went undocumented. Suffocation, dehydration, starvation and of course manipulation by all types of predators on either side of the border. Human beings, each as important as the next, were treated like something other than human beings. Because of the fact that many of these deaths went unreported, it meant that these identities still existed, unlike his, which had officially expired.There were thousands of human beings missing in action, in a war of migration, that most people had no idea even existed, let alone the reasons why such a mass exodus even occurred. Junior got his first job on a crew picking fruit. The boss looked at his hand, which was bandaged and wrapped and he simply smirked. Junior explained that, if any man on the crew could pick more fruit than him, that he himself would accept no pay for the day. Since then, he had proven himself and was referred to another crew and then another. He picked, peaches, plums and apricots. He picked lemons, limes and oranges. He picked red apples, green apples, yellow apples. If it grew on a tree, he picked it. One day, a man came to Junior with an offer to secure him a semi-permanent job on a nearby farm. Though, he would have to get some form of certification, in the event that the farm was ever raided. Junior was surprised to realize that he had been mistaken for a migrant worker, instead of the American that he was. When it came time to visit those who organized these arrangements, Junior had devised a plan. Matching identities was a highly thorough and organized art form that included body types, heights, weights, color and age. If ever one were scrutinized by authority, the identity match had to pass a quick inspection.
Farmers throughout the United States had a goal to seed, grow, distribute and profit from the craft of agriculture. Willing workers came from around the world and, if they were good at what they did, farmers needed them. Every now and then, a federal agency or a new immigration policy would enforce or make farmers practice some fine line activity that would then, attempt to make the farmer do some else's job. Most were so busy competing and operating their properties, that to also check workers documentation, became more than a hassle and opinions were varied, but for the most part, farmers wanted affordable and willing labor much more than they wanted to play a game of : Who is American and Who is Not ? Acres and acres of ripe product and ones entire yearly income depended on going to market at the proper time. Every day counted on a farm. Growing, picking, washing, packaging and distributing food that provided nutrition, sustenance and a market place that kept the American economy competitive, the food affordable for those living here, was enough of a task. There were times when abuses of power existed, healthy living conditions, clean water, raises in pay, all came into play, in the fields of agriculture across America. Junior had heard about these issues while growing up and now he was seeing it all first hand. His approach was entirely different from anyone on his crew or maybe than anyone in the entire Central Valley. He was actually enjoying the outdoor work, had been locked up for fifteen years, been forced to eat bad food and stay indoors, now he was free. Free from prison, free from the urban area, free from his former identity, free from the control of any bosses and he did exactly what the Old Indian had originally advised him to do, all those years earlier: "Work with the soil."
When he walked into the private quarters of what was known as an underground office which catered to the needs of both the American farmers and the willing workers from around the world, he was amazed at the place. It was not just an identity store, this was really an unofficial human rights organization that kept track of migration issues and persons who had died, been reported dead, been reported missing, been separated from their families, those who had been deported and those who were now working under someone else's name. Junior was impressed. There was a giant wall covered with identification cards. On the left were missing persons with i.d. cards and paper work related to that persons origin, in some cases, birth certificates, finger prints and work permits. He noticed that the people were from all around the world. The faces were so beautiful, he thought, deep eyes, rich skin, features of the indians, these were the descendants of his own tribe and related tribes around the world. How had we all become so marginalized ? Junior searched the wall for someone who resembled him, someone his age, someone he could be mistaken for and sure enough, he found one. He reached up, when no one was looking, grabbed the card, the papers and the certificate attached and folded them into his back pocket. A minute or two later, an older man with glasses, a pen holder in his shirt pocket and an unlit, half smoked cigar came into the front room and asked if Junior had brought the money. Junior feigned as if he was still saving for it and replied, in spanish, "I am still working on it." The man looked at him disapprovingly. Then he said, "If you want to stay on one farm for longer than a week, you will need to get a proper certification." Then the man noticed Juniors tattoos and asked him, did he still wish to retain those ? "What do you mean," Junior asked ? The man gruffly replied, "The ink on your skin, sometimes employers will not hire someone with those type of markings." Then he explained, "We have a man who can take off ink with a machine, but it costs money." Junior was surprised at the idea that he could actually remove what had become his personal armor, his story, his pain. It was something he had never considered. "Would you like to remove some of those," the man repeated ? Junior replied, "Si." He was given a card that had a local address. Then Junior nodded his head in agreement, as if to say, "I understand," and walked out. The man looked at the clock on the wall and adjusted his wristwatch. Then he looked up and noticed the blank space on the missing persons wall. One of his coworkers must have taken it down, he thought. Which meant, one of three things, either the person had been found alive, the person had been deported or the person had been found dead and was no longer missing. The man did not think for a moment that Junior or anyone else would ever want to take the identity of an undocumented worker. In his business, only work permitted individuals or American social security numbers were of value.
Junior studied the details of the card and memorized the birthday, the town of birth, the date of departure and the national identification numbers associated with his new persona. He found a children's mold making toy in the shape of an oven, with little pots and pans that was able to duplicate an image on a shallow etching mold. He took the finger prints and used modeling glue to test the molds and though rudimentary, it would most likely pass inspection. Junior kept the little molds and a tube of modeling glue with him at all times. He began to imagine what it must have been like for the tens of thousands of migrant workers who risk their lives everyday, to simply pick fruit for a living. He was born an American and because of his path had not entirely realized that through a simple twist of fate, he had actually become the very thing he was pondering. Junior was now, officially, a migrant working, living in America. He had not spoken english to anyone other than a few words to bosses when absolutely necessary & his spanish was improving day by day. When he had earned a few hundred dollars, he visited the man who removed tattoos. It was early evening. The man was a large fellow who was both a tattoo creator as well as a tattoo remover, finding it advantages to offer both services. Often times he had even removed a tattoo from the same customer he had given it to. College girls who had gotten drunk and decided to slap a giant cartoon character across their bodies had woken up the next day and had it removed. Husbands going through divorce would have their wives faces or names removed. Guys like Junior, who wanted to start life fresh, get work and leave their past behind them became his customers. Facial tattoos were especially disturbing to the everyday populist who had no education when it came to tribal ritual or simply fashionable adornments that went far beyond shirts, shoes and the like. The man asked Junior to remove his shirt and when he saw the style, the amount of ink, the story it told, he was taken aback. 'This is beautiful work," the man said. As if to ask Junior, "Was he sure he wanted them removed ?" Junior pulled out five hundred dollars and explained that he wanted to visit nightly, because, he worked in the day. Then he added, "Would it be possible, for me to lay flat while you work?" He did not explain that the back breaking farming had exhausted him to the point that he needed to sleep. But as soon as he laid flat, and the man began removing a giant dragon from his neck, he had fallen asleep and the man understood completely. Most people found tattooing too painful to deal with, let alone to sleep through. For Junior, there was so much self liberation happening in his life, that existence itself and the pain it offered, was simply another facet to endure, and endure it he did.
One day, Junior had been asked to help package and ship out cases of peaches to both the local and national distributors. There were three levels concerning amounts: truckloads for major distributors, pallets for supermarkets and cases for local markets. Because Junior had once worked in shipping and receiving, he knew the lingo, had the know-how and was able to assist with, not just the packing, but also the shipping. The manager got a personal call from home and asked if Junior was able to handle the last few shipment orders before closing up, he said, "Si, no problema." After completing the work on the list, he noticed several cases of peaches, sitting in the corner. Junior had been thinking about some of the guys he knew who were lifers back in prison. The guys who taught him how to survive. He knew a prisoner who had been given special treatment by the prison medical facility for a symptom which was commonly described as low blood sugar levels. Which gave the prisoner access to natural foods and deliveries from his family regularly. This included shipments from outside sources, so long as they were delivered directly from the distributor, so that no tampering or smuggling could be exploited. Because it was a friday, there would be no record of the most recent deliveries, as all files were completed over the weekend. Monday's clip board would start anew, so Junior had no worries about anyone noticing the renegade shipment. On the formal shipping order, he wrote down the name, serial number and cellblock as well as the address of the prison where he had spent half of his life. On the outside of each case, he wrote: Compliments of Dr. Wolf / Family Physician. Then he wrapped all three cases of fresh peaches in cellophane, before the final truck arrived for pick up. Within a day, the addressee had received the cases of peaches and everyone in his entire cell block were trading cigarettes, sodas and tooth brushes for the sweet, ripe, juicy peaches. When the prisoner called home to thank the family, his little sister explained that nobody had actually sent any peaches. That's when he went back, and looked at the cases, saw the word WOLF, written on the side of the card board boxes, he laughed so loud, it scared his cellmate. He howled until tears came to his eyes. He screamed so loud that a guard came by to check on him. He now knew that Junior, who had often been called Wolf, one of his students, one of his compadre's, someone he looked out for, had not been killed after all. Somewhere, out there, a friend, a brother in arms, a fellow inmate was free. Freshly picked fruit had never tasted so sweet.
FROM THE TREE
Chapter 46 / Season Three / Episode Two
Two months had passed since the citizens of the City of Angels had rose up in defiance. Mickey had built a new motorcycle for Charles and together, they rode up the coast. Just before they reached the Malibu pier, Charles pointed to the spot where he and Jordan's bus made contact. After tens years of missing in action, so to speak, which included some form of amnesia-like symptoms, Charles had made it safely home and his transition went rather smoothly. The ripped up the coastline, around the bend and up into the farmlands. For several hours, open fields and small farms peppered the landscape. Miles and miles of cultivated soil. A group of workers jumped from the back of a truck and watched as father and son passed by on two machines that could hardly be called, 'means of transportation,' anybody could clearly see that, whatever they were operating, was highly original, painstakingly manufactured and had the unmistakable sound, that was part hum, part purr and part roar, that can be clearly recognized, from a mile away as: a Harley. Charles' bike was painted deep green with highlights in shades of turquoise, jade and lime. Mickey was riding a deep ruby tank with gradations of burgundy, red and pink. There was so much chrome between the two bikes that as they roared up the highway, one of the workers thought he saw the colors of the mexican flag waving across the asphalt, he could have sworn he actually saw the image of an eagle with a snake in its mouth flash between the bikes. When they passed by, he waved and thought to himself that maybe, sometime soon, he would like to return home. The worker then sat in the shade of the flatbed truck and ate his lunch. He was the man formally known as Louis Junior of the LA Harbor, also known as Wolf, to some of his former friends and associates. He had a new name now. A basic name, generic, regular, as common as the day is long, as anonymous as it gets, he was simply known as Juan. There were millions of Juan's and John's in the world and now he was one in a million. Happy to simply be alive, even if it meant that his former self had to die.
The man formerly known as Junior, had once heard stories of men in the East whom had changed their names and their crafts every ten years and had lived beyond a hundred. The liberation from identity was meant to keep the mind fresh and as he sat among the workers, he could feel there was some truth in those stories. His current crew consisted of guys from his own country, from South America, from below the Panama Canal, it looked like a league of nations. He looked at them and wondered if they would ever get organized. Then, he asked himself, did he possess the skills, the language, the leadership to teach these people something about solidarity, about teamwork, about unification, about how they might get the companies, the managers and the property owners to respect their rights. The man formerly known as Junior, now known as Juan, began to look at the men differently. He looked at their hands, calloused, chaffed and stubbed. He looked at their backs, hunched, steady and muscular. He looked at their eyes, distant, focused, resolved. He saw a sleeping army of power that, if awakened, if realized, if educated, if inspired or liberated, could change the course of destiny for themselves and for the world. Then someone shouted that lunch was over and the man formerly known as Louis Junior of the LA Harbor snapped out of his vision, walked back out into the fields and began to pull food from the ground, so that men, women and children all across America could sustain themselves another day, with a quality product made of earth, air, fire and water. He could only hope that they might appreciate the effort. Then, one of his fellows workers mentioned that a man running for president was saying that immigrants had no place in America. They all laughed. Everybody knew that the man was a fool. "Without us," he said in broken english, "trash would pile up, children would sit in their diapers, gardens would overgrow, food would not be cooked, picked or even delivered." Then another added, "Maybe he is correct. Maybe it is time for the white man to learn to wipe his child's ass, tend his own garden, grow, pick and cook his own food without our help." The man formerly known as Junior heard them speaking and soon realized that they were not asleep after all. Then he remembered the pilgrims and the so called, 'Indians'. Columbus had thought he landed in India, so they were called Indians. Ever since then, even he had called indigenous people, Indians. That is what they had taught him in school. The man formerly known as Junior was now open to a reeducation. This phase was clearly part one of a class he had been told about by the man formerly known as, "The Old Indian," now known as, "The Original Native." Juan had to rethink everything and rethink it, he did.
By nightfall, Mickey and Charles entered Oakland proper. They pulled up to a craftsman style home that dated back to 1900. It had a front yard, trees surrounding the entire property and a giant backyard that harkened back to another time in America. The place had been kept up. Charles and Mickey dismounted their bikes and did as Jordan had directed. They walked to the backyard, turned on the power from a fuse box mounted on the side of the garage and suddenly the porch lights and rear lights lit up. Mickey pulled out the keys to the place and they opened the wide wooden door with etched and engraved stained glass inlayed. All wood floors, two stories, natural wood cabinets built into the architecture, just as Jordan had described. Mickey pulled out a joint and passed it to Charles who took a long drag and said, as he exhaled, "So, What's this all about ?" Mickey explained in detail, what had happened to Jordan's dad, Mac. A jail house snitch had set Mac up after five years of incarceration, just before he was to be released. The entire incident had grown from a small time squabble into a full on war between factions in the prison. Recently, the snitch had stabbed a guard, who died and he was now doing life. Mac was offering this house to Charles or Mickey or anyone associated with them as a symbol of gratitude, if they would send a message to the original witness, asking him to recant his testimony. All he had to do was simply say he had lied. The witness was now already in for life, he had nothing to lose. Charles looked at Mickey and asked, "Do you like this house?" Mickey looked around and said, "What's not to like?" Charles knew how things worked and had no problem sending a message, but as for the property, he had enough on his hands with his recent reentry into society, "Okay, then. You handle this. Scratch together a fair amount to donate to the guys family. You deal with the details, you do the work, you keep the house." Then Charles took another drag, walked out onto the front porch and Mickey followed him. "Ya know something," he paused, as he looked around the street, then sat down, adding, "I was born in a house just like this."
Maggie had put together a line up of bands that was multi cultural and multi faceted in style, genre and age. When Alex showed her the contract, which had an option for him to co-produce, she accepted the terms. Normally, she wouldn't have touched a contract with any pre existing partnerships unless they were with well known or already represented producers with a solid track recorder, but based on the single, she could hear that Alex had taken all the best musical aspects of He Said / She Said and turned them into something much more than what she had seen them do live. It had been years since Maggie had discovered a young act that had immediate current radio play appeal, she could practically taste gold. When Alex found out who the other acts were, which included headliners such as: Isaac Hayes, The guys from WAR, Fishbone and Tom Waits. He remixed the single into four different versions of each band that was to play the fundraiser for inner city youth. He took famous hooks and riffs from an early Isaac Hayes tune and mashed up a version of the single, which was appropriately titled, "We all Get Along," and labeled it as The Black Moses remix. Then he took a vocal line from WAR'S classic tune, "Why Cant we be Friends?" and resampled that into a second version. The third version took lines from Fishbones original song, "Party at Ground Zero," and called that the Fishbone remix. The fourth version had Tom Waits singing, "Your innocent when you dream, when you dream, your innocent when you dreeeeeeam..." Each version was original and gave the song a vibe that seemed to fit perfectly with a different audience. LA radio stations from across the spectrum could all find a reason to play the single: soul stations, oldies stations, classic rock and new music, too. Alex duplicated the different versions and waited for the right moment. Meanwhile, Maggie began calling some of her old connections in the industry exclaiming that He Said / She Said, was about to bust wide open. The event was now being hyped as The Peace Concert that was going to bring the community back together, raise money for the inner city youth and create a symbol of unity throughout Los Angeles. When word got out who the headliners were, another ten bands joined in and it became a major three day event and was moved to a larger outdoor venue. Maggie was ecstatic. It felt like the old days, but in a new way. Maggie was back on top and back in form. She knew that if anything could soothe the savage beast, it was music. When someone had mentioned that Richard Pryor, who had originally appeared in the concert film that had been an attempt to rectify the original LA Riots of 1965, wanted to appear, Maggie agreed. Jordan got two pairs of tickets to the concert and gave them to Cliff.
Chapter 47 / Episode Three / Season Three
Ninety days had passed since the shop owners in the City of Angels had lost tens of millions of dollars of their hard earned money that went up in ashes. Fred called Chuck's wife Celia, to see if she and the girls were o.k. He explained that he would be glad to stand as a character witness on behalf of a man he knew was honest and had known for over fifteen years. Celia said that Chuck would be glad to know that, and they were grateful for his support, "Yes, the girls and I are fine," she added, "obviously, this whole thing has been a huge mistake and a challenge to our family, but we know Chuck's a good man and he's held up well, considering the situation. I will tell him you called. By the way, Fred, can we count on your community for the same support that you have pledged ?" Fred said, honestly speaking, that he was not sure. Everyone in his community was still recovering from the shock and loss of their property, but he would ask around. "Thank You," Celia replied. Fred was hesitant to tell Ta, whose business had been unscathed by the riots, that all his money and life savings were now in jeopardy. So, when it came time to visit South Korea and check on Ta's father, he did not mention issues of money. Though, after much conjecture and conversation, Fred convinced Ta that he should be the one to make the first trip, alone. Ta was overwhelmed by the very fact that her father was still alive, let alone the idea of having a reunion in Seoul. She gratefully conceded his advise and handed him full responsibility to help her father find an apartment and settle into some semblance of a regular life. When Fred had arrived in Seoul, he was surprised to find the man who had wandered through mainland China, as a non citizen, for over a decade, still retained a spry resilience and a solid character that went unbroken. He was honest about his past and at the same time happy to have left North Korea, even if it had taken all those years to make it to the South. The big surprise, in all of this, was the fact that he had fathered a surprising number of children, with more than one woman. Soon Ta was to learn that she had a large number of brothers and sisters living in three different regions of the world.
Another other peculiar characteristic, that did not go unnoticed, was the man's unexplainable utterances of phrases and words that everyday people might find offensive. During his three years in the work camps of the North, he had endured some harsh realities, and in defense of those abuses, Ta's father had gotten in the habit of calling his oppressors names that only made his punishments harsher and yet, verbal expression, was his only defense. Since that time, he had, every now and then, out of nowhere, simply shouted out statements such as, "Go F*ck Yourself," or "Go to Hell You Bastards." Fred sat quietly, eating dinner with the man, the first time this happened, and he became startled. They were sitting in a simple cafe, with about a half a dozen people throughout the place. Out of nowhere, Ta's father shouted, "Stop All the Goddamned Bullshit." Everyone turned and looked, Fred had been surprised, but then, he looked around, looked back at Ta's father, who had simply continued eating his meal and Fred shrugged. If there had been any bullshit happening, you can be sure that it indeed stopped. Another time, while Fred was helping the man move into a small apartment, he had shouted "You F*cking Fascists," and all the movers turned to see who had spoke. Fred was ready this time, he simply walked over to the movers and explained that this man had endured several years in a concentration camp to the North and, "Look how good he still looks ?" The men all agreed and all was forgotten. Within an hour of Fred's return to Los Angeles, he explained all of this to Ta, who was simply flabbergasted. After the initial shock, she turned to Fred and said, "That's enough for now." Then she led him down the hallway, turned off the lights and once again, they found solace in one another. Fred could never explain to himself, or to anyone, how it was that he and Ta simply belonged to one another, why they fit, how they had found one another. He had never, in his entire life, felt anything as familiar as he did with Ta.
The next day, he opened up his mail to find out that his lawyer had been correct and that he, and most of his fellow shop owners, had been abandoned by their insurance policy providers. The riots were not a by product, nor a direct result of, "An act of god," as it stated in their insurance claims. Fred wondered why a legal contractual agreement was even reliant on a theological phrase and a belief system which could vary from person to person, culture to culture, religion to religion ? And what of those who did not believe in a god at all ? An Act of God ? Fred was now in deep trouble. He had spent almost everything he had on the new equipment and if those new businesses didn't turn a buck quickly, he was going to have to sell his home. For those in his community, who did not immediately turn to a new trade, another financial hit was about to take place. The Governor had held back a request to allow the re-certification of any business that had provided alcohol in the southern central area of Los Angeles. The backlash from the beating of a man by police, had spread into a culture war, that then pitted one race against another and in the aftermath. Convenience stores that also happened to sell alcohol, were now called, 'liquor stores,' and the organization that handled those licenses conspired with the city council and the mayor and the governor and most likely, the president. The final result ? Those stores were now, quite simply, closed forever. Millions of dollars were now lost by Fred's community, by his friends and by him. If he didn't do something quick, the creditor's would soon be at his door. He tried to tell Ta what was going on, but found it impossible to admit his reinvestment blunder. When everyone else he knew hesitated, Fred had, within days, relocated, reinvested and reinvented himself with two new businesses. That maneuver now appeared as if it was a foolish move of, 'too much, too soon'. He looked at the picture of Sam and himself that now hung on his living room wall. He and his long dead partner had always felt that one had to work hard, one had to act decisively and one had to gamble the odds to make it to a final goal. Sam would often say, while working in the warehouses, "What do we have to lose ?" Back then, each man had been educated enough to run their own companies and here they were, working in a warehouse. He wondered what Sam might say if he were here now?
Fred was distraught with worry, he had not slept well in the past few days and it showed. He looked at the books, tried to make sense of it all, attempted to count the losses. Which business would have to close immediately ? How long he could hold out before having to sell his house ? The yogurt shop was turning a decent dollar. The water infiltration system had been a big investment, maybe the two businesses could be combined ? He knew that in a few months, something had to change or he would be flat broke. He had not shared any of these problems with Alex, Sam's son and his new partner. Nor did he wish to alarm any of Sam's immediate family. But, there was only so long he could wait and now he decided to call on his young partner to deliver the bad news. It was early evening on what was a normal and quiet day in the late summer of the City of Angels. Fred drove up to the original house that Sam had owned all those years. They had chosen their houses on the advice of one another. Sam had always suggested that a tree lined street was essential. Fred had stressed the importance of an expansive backyard. Each had taken the others advice. Of course, there was much more to it than that. They discussed the direction the home faced, the arrangements of the windows, everything came into play and each had assisted one another gratefully. He knocked on the door and asked for Alex, who appeared from the kitchen with a giant smile on his face. By now, his girlfriend had given birth and Alex had named the boy after his father. Fred walked in and apologized for dropping in unannounced. Alex, who did not adhere to formalities, lifted his son and handed him to Fred ceremoniously. Fred was distracted by what was on his mind as he held the child. When Alex noticed that something was wrong, he handed the baby back to his girlfriend and asked everyone to leave the room so that he and Fred could discuss business. "He's healthy," Fred said. Alex replied, "He's fat, you mean?" Then he added, "My father always said that a fat baby is a healthy baby." Fred went onto say, "You father was right about a lot of things. I wonder what he would tell us to do now ?" Fred explained everything, the insurance problems, the equipment investment, the entire situation. Alex told Fred not to worry. Then he divulged something that he had concealed. "Do you remember Ryan's little brothers band ?" He asked Fred, who nodded in the affirmative. "Well, the day we hired them to play for the opening of the shop, we also invested in their future," Fred look at the young man quizzically and Alex asserted, "and their future, is now, looking very good." The young man flashed an unexpected and enigmatic smiled and for the very first time, it appeared to him, that his budding partner was not at all unlike his father.
Alex showed up at the big concert at nine in the morning, the actual event was not slated until late afternoon. He brought the single musical tracks he had mixed down and hung around everyones trailer's, to get a general vibe on each headliners camp. When the time was right, he approached each one individually. Explaining that he was the music producer of the opening act, 'He Said / She Said,' the new duo that was promising to make a splash. If they responded uninterestedly, he then dropped Maggie's name, which had a legendary level of notoriety that usually opened doors immediately. Alex described that he had taken the opportunity to mix down a special track featuring the band of whomever the manager or tour guide was representing. By that afternoon, word got back to Alex that when the legendary singer Isaac Hayes heard the single on his tour bus, he liked it. The track had utilized his original vocal lyric without abusing the original meaning of the tune. He also thought that the message of what, 'He Said / She Said,' was putting out, was appropriate for the event, then he suggested that Maggie call his label to work out a deal for the use of the sample. As for the rest of the headliners, Alex did not hear back. So far, nobody had objected to his special remixes and everyone was now well aware of a duo that had, as of yet, never even played a venue larger than a hundred capacity. Because Alex had worked on setting up sound systems for venues in the past, by the time the late afternoon rolled around, he was well aware of the mixers, the techies and the local disc jockey responsible for playing music in-between acts. He introduced himself, mentioned Maggie, mentioned He Said / She Said, mentioned the fact that Isaac Hayes was, "...A Fan of the opening act." In this business, stretching the truth was the difference between getting a record played and or not getting a record played. Alex handed the disc jockey the single, suggesting that everyone get to hear it sometime today. He placed it out of the way, but just in reach of the console and then, he simply walked away. By the time that He Said / She Said took the stage, each and every band, their managers, their roadies, their techies and even some of the fans, had been given singles and or told by Alex, that this band was going to be the next big thing, and sure enough, when the duo took the stage, Alex's hard work had paid off big.
Chapter 48 / Episode Three / Season Three
Four months had passed since a helicopter circling an intersection in South Los Angeles, reported the early moments of an uprising of startling magnitude. Jordan was more than overwhelmed by the past few months. He found driving a bus again, almost meditative, compared to his first year as the youngest driver in the city. His notoriety, due to the original flash point incident of retrieving a family heirloom, from the pawn shop, while on duty, and televised nationally, had almost broke the man. Now that some time had passed, he and Wanda were preparing for their child and trying to bring some normalcy to a season of family reunions that challenged their relationship. The return of both Jordan's parents, after years of scattered communication and disjointed relations had been an eye-opener to both of them. Wanda had relatives all over Los Angeles, she was as cogent as they come, when it came to community. Compared to Jordan, her life was more than normal. Maybe that was why they had found one another. He had enough spice for her stock to create a little something that might otherwise be unimaginable to cook up. Now, they had a child on the way. As Jordan drove down Western, up Vermont and across Crenshaw, he glimpsed buildings in devastation, burnt materials scattered across the landscape and piles of debris that appeared as if a giant had swept the floor and left the remains for some else to put in a dust pan and drop into the wastebasket. How long would it take before he would detect some official support to rebuild the city ? Everybody was talking about the presidential election. Discussing how the riot was a sign of urban dissatisfaction. What the hell did that mean, he thought to himself ? Surely somewhere out there in the suburbs and in the towns and in the country and in the mountains and in the deserts and in the oceans and possibly even out in space, someone, was thinking about dissatisfaction. Why was the urban-thing always described, interpreted and clarified so deeply and detailed as the, 'Urban Thing?' He pondered the question to himself, and yet, he knew the answer all along. Urban, was a way of saying, 'Black', a way of saying African, a way of saying: Less Than. "Ain't nobody 'Less - Than,' driving this here bus," he whispered, under his breath, to himself.
Jordan had been turned onto books by Mickey's girlfriend Moon, long before he had gotten embroiled in the mess with which he had recently been untangled. One of the books theorized clearly and intelligently how the entire story of Jesus was also a paralleled parable based on the earliest known symbols and stories related to his african ancestors. The black madonna, the pyramids, Ethiopia, Egypt, Isis, the hieroglyphs and even the symbols of modern day builders, architects and masons: the entire shebang had been inspired by and or related to the most basic of stories that had an origin in blackness. Now he drove through the streets of the city, having seen an uprising, having experienced first hand a revolution. Jordan watched as the levels of anger, excitement and defiance had turned to smoke, fire and ash and wondered: where was the power in all of this ? Where was the power ? Who had the power ? How to find the power ? An image of him, in uniform, carrying a red fender bass, that had been given to him by an uncle, from a burning pawn shop, had been blasted across the national television networks and printed on the cover of a news magazine that had, some thirty years earlier, printed the image of a brother with a bandanna and a missing tooth, that had meant to scare the living daylights out of the white populist, and indeed it worked. Wanda, who had been a young girl during the riots of nineteen sixty-five shared her stories with Jordan, on more than one occasion, and here he was, here his people were, right back in the middle of a situation which was being defined by Ted Koppel and, he hated to say it, but under his breath, he had no problem being truthful, he mutterd, to none one in particular, "A bunch of cracker ass punks who don't know shit about us." Then Jordan pulled the bus to the curb, and stated, "We're ahead of schedule, hold tight." He stepped out of the bus, dropped a dime in the phone booth, dialed the home number, Wanda answered. "You know how much I love you," he asked ? Before she could even answer, within that split millisecond of time, a ray of multi colored flash shined from within his very essence, he breathed and oozed and radiated and inner light, a private happenstance, a personal and actual kingdom of power, and suddenly, he came upon the answer to the question, he was asking himself : This is where the power is.
That night, Jordan put in a call to Mickey, who put in a call to Daniel, who put in a call to Dora, who drafted and mailed a letter that she knew would be read by the authorities at the prison stating that, although they had tried every possible avenue, Mac's situation looked hopeless and they had no new evidence to present to the parole board at his upcoming review. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Meanwhile, affidavits were created, statements were documented, notarized and accurate confessions were created in great detail, by a series of individuals connected with the original incident, that had prolonged the sentence being endured by Jordan's father, Mac. Mickey worked out the details, which ensured that the original witness, who was now sentenced to life, and his family, received a stipend of noticeable size. Daniel, with the assistance of Dora, had put together a presentation for Mac that was exemplary and simple to understand. It may not work immediately, but it was bound to reintroduce and possibly reopen or reverse a decision that had kept Mac behind bars, longer than his original sentence. Jordan's mother, 'Baby,' observed what he was doing for Mac and beamed with respect. She had taken the cover of TIME magazine, had it enlarged, framed and displayed proudly. The perplexing alliance between Jordan and Mickey, black and white, was no so odd, upon deeper inspection. Mickey's parents had been on the front lines of the cultural revolution for decades. In recent years, due to a political malaise, which pervaded mainstream culture, and a split that occurred in the seventies, which only widened the gap in the eighties, this friendship, may have seemed somewhat peculiar. But because of music, which Mickey had always been on the forefront, due to his mother Maggie, and her position in the industry, Jordan's world was a very familiar one. Mickey could rattle off the lyrics, verbatim, to any so-called 'black band,' that ever existed. From Howlin' Wolf to Public Enemy, he knew exactly what was going on, through the music. As he and Jordan sat in the park, a dude rolled up behind the bench they were sitting on, blasting a Jimi Hendrix tune, called Stonefree. They listened to the lyrics. " Every day of The Week, I'm in the Pit of the City, If I stay too long, People try to pull me down ... That's Why, You can't hold me down… Cause I'm Stone Free, to do what I Please, Stone Free, to ride the Breeze, Stone Free ... Stone Free... Stone Free..." The tune said something directly about what the two men had both experienced, they heard it and laughed. Neither man said directly, to the other, just exactly, why, it was funny. But as each listened to the story, they recognized that music would get the final word. Where stubborn silence and the shallow thoughts of lesser men, would simply fall to the wayside. Jimi Hendrix would have the final word today. Jordan envisioned a day when Mac would be singing that tune.
Chapter 49 / Episode Three / Season Three
Five Months had passed since Stan had presided over a case in which four police officers were tried and found innocent of the brutal beating of an individual. Since that time, his son, who had been challenged since birth, was suddenly choosing his own clothes, making his lunches and expounding upon theories that challenged even his teachers. This little progression was perceived with the slightest bit of apprehension by both his parents. They would have welcomed and even preferred, a slow and steady type of improvement, rather than the rapid and often discordant developments that had taken Cliff by storm. Because of Cliffs condition, both had heard of cases where, persons quite suddenly showed great improvements over small periods of time, that soon escalated into more dire situations regarding everyday functions, the deterioration of basic mental abilities and even, although they shrank from considering the possibilities, death. Cliff had been obsessing on the presidential election. He would watch a debate, or a candidate, or an interview and call out loud, whenever he detected a false statement, an avoidance of the actual question, or an out an out lie. The original skills he had possessed, in terms of drawing and painting events that had, at a later date, somehow come to pass, which included exacting details involving his fathers workplace, the riots and other personal and significant situations that effected his parents lives, had now been turned toward the search for authenticity, or is this case, the search for inauthenticity. Cliff could watch a person and simply, 'know' what they were really thinking. "He's lying mom," became an often spoken phrase, and even more often, shouted out from another room. Stan, who was a judge, and Dora, who was a lawyer, utilized these same observations, but with restraint and sometimes regrettably so. Question: How many times had they wished they could simply shout out, "He's Lying" ? Answer: Too many to count. Cliff had been watching satellite feeds that allowed the viewers to see entire political events that included backstage pre production aspects of speeches by candidates, that went uninterrupted, from having make up applied, to on camera statements, to post production, after the fact comments. Many of the candidates had no idea that everything they said and did, before, during and after, was actually being transmitted. For a kid who was supposed to be slow, Cliff was now acutely aware of what could commonly be perceived as trickery, as deception, as duplicity, as fraudulent. They had a lot of names for these things in the world today. Cliff simply called deceit, guile and craftiness, what it really was: A Lie.
Jordan and Cliff had become acquainted during the time that Dora had assisted with his debacle at the transit authority and the subsequent trial period following the riots. The two had somehow connected and Cliff's obsession with Richard Pryor had sealed the deal. When Jordan showed up with backstage passes to a rare appearance by Pryor at the post riot Peace Concert being promoted by Mickey's mother Maggie, Cliff was ecstatic. Stan, who had resided over the case, which actually had caused the quote-unquote 'unrest,' was less than eager to attend. But when Cliff pleaded, he obliged the lad, and it became a family venture. Stan was under the assumption that they had been given general admission seating. When they flashed the tickets to the parking lot attendant, an entree into a special section, led to an exclusive and swift entry with wristbands that told security that these people were backstage guests, friends of the top promoter, full access, carte blanche. Dora looked at Stan, who looked at Cliff and away they were swept into the excitement of a major cultural event, that included speeches by organizers, political activists, civil rights leaders, famous persons of all variety and a welcoming healing process that Stan had no idea would begin to help redefine his immediate future forever. For every act, there was an introduction by a well known and well versed personality. People made their speeches and recognized the wrongs within the system. Some of the preludes were light hearted, others were soaked with pain and loss and struggle. Scholars told stories about heroic acts that had been made by firefighters and everyday citizens. Others chastised the legal system, the cops and the governor. While more centric leaning individuals attempted to commended and heal those statements. Overall, it had been an interesting few hours and then someone said that Richard Pryor was about to go onstage. When Cliff heard the words, 'Richard Pryor,' he was startled into a kind of excitement level that made him attentive to everything and everyone backstage.
Unexpectedly, Jordan showed up with Wanda and asked Cliff if he wanted to meet Pryor ? "What do you mean," Cliff asked back ? Then Jordan just smiled and shook his head as he was want to do whenever Cliff was buying time to think, "I mean, would you like to say hello to Richard Pryor ? " Then he looked at both Dora and Stan, who silently agreed that this was all right by them, he took Cliff's hand and led him over to a man in a wheelchair, who had been ailing recently. Maggie and a group of people had gathered around Pryor, he was entertaining the congregation, so to speak. "Mr. Pryor," Jordan stated, "this is the young dude I was telling you about." Cliff looked up at Jordan with his eyes wide, baffled by the preplanned aspects of this meeting. "Mr Pryor," he said, "this little dude is one of the best new impersonators of your work. He's a natural. knows it up and down." Pryor looked at the kid and said, "Well goddamn, I'm not feeling so well today anyway, maybe we can send his ass out there to do my thing." Everyone laughed, and then Pryor looked at the kid, as if he wasn't joking. Cliff was awestruck and the man in the wheelchair asked him, "Would you do me a favor ? Would you introduce me today?" Pryor knew that on a day like today, nothing would be funnier and more healing than to have a little, white, freckled face kid, who knew his shit, to make the introduction. Maggie had already asked a famous poet to write a preamble, it had been rehearsed and planned. There was an awkward moment, then Pryor said, "All right, have Maya do the intro," then he grabbed Cliff's arm and said, "you be ready to join my ass out there, okay ?" Cliff again turned wide eyed and look at his parents, who looked back at Pryor, who looked at Cliff, waiting for an answer. He glanced out at the audience, which was thousands of people and looked alarmed. Jordan stepped in, "Just be ready to do what you've been doing for us all along." Cliff looked at the man whom he had worshipped since first hearing his album and said, "O.K." and that was that. The lady poet got up and talked about humor having the healing aspects for a humanity that was in dire need of understanding. She talked about poverty, she talked about struggle, she talked about the power of laughter to help overcome the odds, then she introduced Richard Pryor and the crowd went wild. He stood up from the wheel chair and slowly walked to the center of the stage, grabbed the microphone and said, "They done burnt down the entire f*cking city and believe me, I know exactly how that shit feels." People roared. "As you all know, I have had my own battles with the cops, with television and with being on M*ther - F%!#ing Fire !" Again, the crowd went wild. The routine continued to a crescendo and then, he said, "I brought a friend of mine with me here tonight, a new comic that you may not have heard of... Yet." Then he looked back to see Cliff nervously standing at the side of the proscenium, wearing a pair of tennis shoes, jeans rolled up high, a collared dress shirt un-tucked, hair slicked to the side, looked like a little pro. "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Cliff to the stage." The crowd applauded, Pryor handed the microphone to the little dude and sat down on a barstool. "Hi, my name is Cliff," he said, as if he were speaking in front of a fourth grade class on the first day of school. Then he continued, "Mister Richard Pryor is my favorite comedian ... because," and he looked back toward Pryor, "because ... he tells the truth... in a world full of liars." The crowd was with him, they applauded, then he opened it up, "Are you all familiar with an album called, Richard Pryor: Wanted ?" The audience applauded again, this time louder. Then Cliff instantaneously and quite seamlessly transformed himself from a small, white, suburban, kid, into a younger version of a very wild and ruthless comedian named Richard Pryor. "Good, Cause All you M*ther F*&#@ers are Now in for a Hell of a Show," and he ripped into a well known routine that had the entire stadium and Pryor in stitches. Cliff's parents and Jordan and Wanda and Mickey and Maggie and everyone watched, as a the supposedly slow witted child, took the entire stage of Los Angeles and made it his own.
NEW FICTION PROJECT 2015 Season Three
Episode FOUR Chapters 50 / 51 / 52 / 53 / 54
By Author Joshua Triliegi . An Improvised Novel
Chapter 50 / Season Three / Episode Four
Six months had passed since the chief of police of the City of Angels sat idle while a small group of protesters swelled from less than a hundred to several thousands. Since that time, Officer Chuck had been arrested for possessing, on his property, one of the largest finds of heavy drugs and currency in the past year. Daniel, who had diligently and voluntarily taken on his defense, visited with Celia within days of Chuck's arrest. The first thing he did was ask her to describe everything she knew and anything she could think of that would be of interest to Chuck's defense. She started with her brother Junior's history, his time in prison, the incident with he and Chuck and the recording device as well as her brothers subsequent reported death. The first thing Celia showed Daniel, was the envelope she had received, a week after Chuck's arrest. It contained the keys to her brother, Junior's car and an address to a local storage yard. The she gave Daniel the obituary that described Juniors death as one in which he had been crushed in his vehicle. When they drove over to the yard, the automobile sat under a tarp and except for the lock on the trunk, it was unscratched. Daniel asked each neighbor, within sight of the alley, if they had seen anybody exit or enter the garage, and a man across the way, said he remembered seeing the top of a car from his kitchen window, drive up, stop for about a minute and drive off, at the early morning hours. Because Chuck had been working from a home office in preparation to become a detective, while he had still been a street cop, Daniel had access to many of the files and cases that had been of interest to Chuck, and one of them in particular caught his eye. Chuck had called, on more than one occasion, a reporter for the San Jose Star, who had been writing a series of articles that connected government agencies with a drug ring in Southern California. The articles led to the publishing of a book which was no less than revelatory. Daniel then called each ex cop that had been referred by Dora. He secured a statement by a retired officer, who had been fired by the department in connection with his investigations that were directly connected with the articles in the San Jose Star. The cop had been hassled, fired and even explained in detail, how his life had been threatened. The ex officer had followed those same original newspaper reports and found the evidence accurate. He had made an independent investigation, which then linked upper level government official to a drug cartel that had been raising money for ammunitions and other guerrilla warfare tools in countries across the world. These connections went as far back as the early nineteen - eighties, and a senate hearing and inquiry, that had included questions regarding wether the president knew or did not know, about army officials having direct involvement in various covert operations overseas.
Daniel realized he might have a case that went from the very top to the very bottom, a rare spectrum, in the world of law. Street level drug dealers and upper level government officials, on the same page, connected through funds, ammunition and political agenda. Although all of this was interesting, his immediate job was to get his client out of jail and prepare a case in the event that he would face an actual trial and or a prosecution. The first goal had been met within a few weeks and since then, he had begun to prepare a defense. Chuck was back at home and on temporary leave, pending an internal investigation, which had gotten the attention of the FBI and The Drug Enforcement Agency. Daniel and Celia had been the only two civilians, besides Junior, who was now a non citizen, that were aware of the his vehicle being stored, under wraps, in the Harbor. The official story had pronounced Junior dead at the scene and his car had been reported totaled, beyond comprehension, the reports in the paper described the machine as a solid block of metal. For those who had attempted to mislead Junior, to use him as a mule, to set him up as delivery boy, drug smuggler and scape goat, the search for the crushed vehicle became an obsession. More than one faction had concerns in this regard, underground elements as well as above ground parties wanted what had been inside that vehicle, unbeknownst to Junior. Who had assumed he was simply carrying a religious artifact of cultural significance. During the twelve day period that Chuck had been in lock up, the search for the missing vehicle, had allowed the Drug Enforcement Agency to trace a group of men who had utilized lower level dealers and their connections with higher level members of military related means to the contents which were found in Chucks garage. When Chuck was released, Daniel and Celia had shared with him the secret that Junior's car had been sitting in the harbor, in storage, ever since the day that Chuck had been apprehended. When Daniel and Chuck drove over to the storage space, the car was gone. When they inquired, the man who ran the lot simply said that the vehicle had recently been picked up by the owner. Someone was cleaning up the traces of a situation that Daniel knew was getting close to dangerous for his client.
The presidential election had taken the public's attention in a heated battle between a current conservative president, who had once been vice president to the previous administration, and had deep ties with the Central Intelligence Agency, where for years, he had led private wars and more covert assassinations to foreign powers and rebel uprisings in the entire history of that particular branch of the government. Politically aware individuals understood very well that the attempted assassination of the previous president, as well as the scandal that had marred his presidency, were most likely connected to underlings and that the actor turned president had been a stooge for a much more powerful family in America. What did all of this have to do with Chuck ? More than anyone would ever realize. Within days of election, which was won by a new, liberally minded president, from Arkansas, the case against Chuck was dropped. Politically motivated investigations all across the United States, that had attempted to cover up, clean up and rewrite wrongs were immediately pushed to the wayside. There were people within those agencies who knew very well that orders from the top had now changed and they wanted nothing to do with the puppet strings of the old regime. From the very top, the orders trickled down to mid-level and then secondary and then tertiary and finally to FBI, to CIA, to DEA and eventually to senator, to governor, to congressperson, to city council, to mayor, to local police departments, sheriffs department and highway patrol across America. The man who had not inhaled was now the President of the United States and there was a new agenda. Diversity, opportunity and the economy were the new catch phrases and covert wars, connections between military advisors and drug smugglers was old hat. Chuck was promoted to lieutenant detective and lauded as a heroic individual who had been falsely accused. He had held his ground through scrutiny and accusation and had been admonished of all previous charges. The entire debacle had been tied to a brother in law, who had done time, been previously connected with street level crimes, had paid his price to society and since that time, died. Celia and Chuck and the girls put the entire event behind them, they had become stronger as a family because of it. Now, everyone in the house had a better idea of what it was that Chuck did for a living. Whenever he walked in the door, the girls had a tendency to look at the man differently. What had seemed to them as a soft, happy, even gregarious man, now had a mystery, a dark side, an edge. Their father was someone who fought people, investigated people, arrested people and they had experienced first hand what the consequences of those arrests and fights and investigations felt like. Chuck was a different man after the event. Celia was a different woman. The girls had lost a few drops of innocence, but, they were still a family. Now, they had gone to war and come back together with the knowledge that all soldiers find out one way or another, it was almost a cliche, but the fact of the matter was, is and will always be, that : War is Hell.
Louis stayed on at the Ranch throughout the last six months had been heartbroken by his son, Junior's reported death. He lit a candle in the bear bowl that belonged to Junior and to the original native before that, looking out over the ranch, thinking about what his son had done for him. With Chucks arrest and the accusations, there had been no time to properly honor Junior. Now that the case had been dismissed and Celia, the girls and Chuck's life had found some normalcy, Louis decided that he wanted to have a memorial service. He pictured his son, the last time he saw him, riding a horse, high atop the Mesa Mountain at sunset. He had no idea that would be the last time he would ever see the boy. Louis got into the jeep and drove it towards the mountain, in search of something, he did not know what, exactly. When he got to the top, Louis looked out over the property, the fields, the trees, the silos, the water tanks, the animals and he could not accept that Junior was gone. As he looked in the opposite direction, toward the North, he saw a small gathering of individuals just on the other side of the property, where the original native had once lived. He waved in their direction and a young boy, waved back. Louis drove the jeep back down the mountain and walked toward the small gathering. He asked if the original family that had once owned this property were still around and the young boy said, "Si. Esta Familia es los originales." Then Louis asked to speak with the eldest member of the tribe. The young boy ran toward an old adobe, a few minutes later, an ancient man appeared in the doorway and walked toward Louis. His face was lined like the rivers of the earth itself. His eyes sparkled and glistened, as if they were stars in the night sky, as he slowly strolled forward. His forehead separated into eight different sections, each with a darker gradation of deep red, sienna, dark brown and black. His hair was long with streaks of black and grey and white. His hands were large, fingers long, extending toward Louis. He reached over the wooden fence that had once kept cows from grazing too far off and grabbed Louis' hands. The two men stared at one another. Louis wanted to explain, that his son, who had once studied with the old man, had recently passed away. He found it hard to speak. He looked into the old man's eyes and felt at peace. The young boy came walking up from behind. Louis asked the boy to explain to the old man that his medicine was needed in a ceremony of remembrance to a former student, who had passed away. When the young boy translated Louis' spanish into a colloquial tribal language, the old man, shook his head back and forth, expressing in a universal language, 'no'. Louis was confused. The boy asked again and the man spoke several sentences that Louis did not understand. Then, the boy, who could have been no more than five years old, stared up at Louis and explained, "He says that you will have a ceremony and he will be there, but it will not be what you now have in your mind." Louis was confused. The old man looked into his eye's one last time, nodded his head, then turned around and walked back toward the adobe. He raised his hand as he walked and the children began to chant, another banged a drum, another whistled on a flute. Louis stood there, time stopped, the sky seemed to open, and as he looked up, two giant hawks circled high over head. One of the birds let out an ear-piercing screech, it plummeted to the ground, in the direction of Louis, who stammered to the floor as the bird dropped from the sky, picked up a snake at Louis' feet and thrust it upward into the air. The bird's beak split the snake in two and the rattle descended downward toward the ground and landed at the young interpreter's bare feet. Louis stared at the rattle, which was still clicking, even though it had no head. Suddenly, intuitively and rather naturally, the young boy lifted the tail of the snake high over his head, the snake wrapped it's newly severed body around the boys arm, he smiled a giant grin, holding the tail in mid air while it rattled. Blood dripped down the boys arm and then he began to dance. The other children continue to circle the fire, burning sage, chanting and playing the instruments, while Louis watched, as if in a daze : mystified.
Chapter 51 / Season Three / Episode Four
Seven Months had passed since television cameras in the City of Angels had telecast a live event that had been interpreted by millions of people around the world. Moon and Mickey had been spending less personal time together, due to the return of Charles, the death of grandma and now, Moon was starting to drift. She recently told Mickey that she might want to return to her parents home town, take stock for a bit. It was early December, Mickey suggested they take a trip up north together, for a week or so, just to get away for a while. They hung around San Francisco for a few days. Then Mickey explained that he had something he wanted her to see, needed her opinion. They drove up into Oakland. Mickey pulled up to a quiet street with a row of stores to the left and right, a boutique, a coffee shop, a record store and a local organic grocery mart. Strolling hand in hand, like a boy and girl walking home from grade school, they came upon an empty storefront. It had big windows on either side of a large wood door with a plate glass window at its center, wood floors and a small parking lot in the rear. Mickey asked Moon what she thought of this location ? She looked around the street and said, "It would make a great little motorcycle shop," assuming that Mick and Charles were thinking about expanding their business. Then Mickey said, "What about a book store ?" Moon got a little nervous, "A book store. Here in Oakland ?" He countered, "People need books everywhere. Don't they?" She was catching up, slowly but surely. Mickey had never been the kind of guy who spoke loosely about plans, unless some tracks had already been laid. "Who would run it," She asked ? He looked at her, his face opened, widened a bit, as it often did, whenever he wanted to surprise her with something. "That depends, I guess ..." They continued around the corner and down a wide tree lined street. It smelled of freshly burned chimney smoke and wet leaves. When they came to a large green house, Mickey said, "This is a nice little street isn't it ?" Moon was starting to get suspicious, even a little irritated. "What are you up to Stone ?" Whenever she got perturbed, she called him by his last name. "What do you think of this house ?" Now she was really scared, "Don't fuck with with me Mickey," she punched him in the arm. He pulled out a single key and Moon started to cry. "What are you doing," he asked ? Then he handed her the key ring "Mickey, you bastard." He walked her up to the front porch, leading with his hand behind her lower back. He grabbed the key, put it in the lock, opened the door and turned on the lights. Moon was devastated. It had everything she had always spoke about whenever describing a home. She looked around and said, "So, what are you saying here ?" Mickey just smiled and said, "I think its time we had a place of our own," then he added, "and maybe its time we settled down." Moon was now streaming tears. "It took you long enough," she replied, grabbing him by the jacket lapel and kissing him. Then she asked, "Can we afford the rent here ?" Mickey replied that the house was theirs and that if they wanted the store, he could get a ten year lease. "We already order books from the beach store, now we can double our order and have half of them sent here." Then she asked, "When you say, settle down, what do you mean, settle down?" Then Mickey said, "You know, settle down." She looked at him again, and again, she was perturbed. "Are you saying that you and I should move to Oakland, live in this house, run a bookstore and settle down ? Or are you saying something else here?" "Damn it lady," he shook his head, "I'm saying that you and me, we've been running partners for a very long time, you're my lover, you're my family and I think that you and me should go all the way with this thing." She dryly replied, "Then say the words f*cker." Micky shook his head and paced around, "Your insane, ya know that ? Your nuts." "Say the words punk." She pushed him, "Say the words," she shoved him this time. "You, Say - the - Words or I'm walking out of here." Mickey started to bust, he broke out in a sweat, got choked up, tried to speak but couldn't. "Listen Mister," she shoved him so hard he hit the cabinet, "You want me? You want this House? You want Oakland? You want a bookstore? You want me to have your babies ? Then you say those f*cking words and you know what ?" She kissed his tears, kissed his beard, kissed his nose, his lips, and then, she stated, "You got a deal pal." For an entire minute, he sat there silent. Then two minutes led to three minutes, turned into five and then he got to his feet and walked out the door. She hoped he was getting a minute on the porch, but when she looked out again, he was gone.
Charles had accepted an invitation to display a series of early works in a pinnacle museum exhibition that set out to define Los Angeles. It was a populist show that included high brow as well as low brow artworks. Iconic and pop objects on display included early neon signs from the golden years of Hollywood Boulevard, a billboard with a sprawling image of Angeline, surf boards from the film set of Endless Summer, early and recent photography of the city, custom cars designed by Barris, a giant Beach Boys album cover and the original hot dog stand, in the actual shape of a giant hot dog, called Tail of The Pup. Classic posters for films that had defined the character of Los Angeles, from Mildred Pierce to Chinatown. Charles offered to display three motorcycles and an entire wall of early drawings, sketches and doodles that had eventually become album covers, logos and counter culture imagery, which had been aligned with the music scene of the 1970s. The entire Stone family was in attendance at the opening night gala, and it wasn't until then that everyone was alerted to the fact that Mickey and Moon were no longer a couple. The news eclipsed the actual event for everyone but Mickey, who had quietly and stubbornly kept his mouth shut, as he had that same evening when he and Moon had discussed their future. What was there to say ? They couldn't see eye to eye and had been at odds when it came to dealing with each others feeling for years. Mickey was in deep denial and most of the ladies, including his mother were well aware of a future fallout of some sort, a binge, a fight, something was bound to occur and they banded together in hopes that it would not be too damaging to him or anyone involved. Charles took a different approach altogether, he simply told Mickey, "Don't let her drift for more than a season." Coming from a man who had been gone for a decade, this advice seemed trivial. Mickey, in his pain, simply dismissed the old man's comments in this regard. Moon was still working at the bookstore part time and had also neglected to share the bad news with anyone. Maybe they were both hoping that it would somehow work out before anyone found out. Now that the word was out, it seemed more real than not and Mickey felt worse for the wear because of it. He skipped out early.
Cally and Jezz dropped a bomb on Charles and Maggie. They wanted to get married. Jezz'a father was a minister of a non denominational church and decided to side with his daughter, when it came to the rights of people to live, love and marry. Though, to avoid any objections, they planned to have the wedding at home and wanted Cally's parents to host the event. It was an obvious choice, since the Stones residence had always been a place of celebration or so it seemed. Both Charles and Maggie had grown to respect Jezz, and although it seemed a little early in the game to tie the knot, they knew that any objection, would only inspire motivation, so they went along for the ride. Charles thought he knew everything there was to know about Jezz, until, one day, he noticed a small tattoo, on her lower back, it stated quite simply : Semper Fi. Later that night, he asked Cally if Jezz had been in the military ? "She did four years Dad," then with a sideways glance, "does that surprise you?" Charles smiled. His usual, slow to react, habit, of not entirely expressing what was going on inside, was not working, and he gave it all away. "So, will she be wearing a uniform for the ceremony," he teased ? Cally had forgotten what a smart ass Charles could be. "I don't know, maybe," then she added, "did you wear one when you married mom?" The question went unanswered. "Are you sure this is the right time for all of this," he asked ? "I'm the one who initiated the idea," Cally responded. "and yes, I am sure." Then he simply said, "Good. I want you to be as sure as you can be." Then he remarked, matter of fact, "Just because you're not with some guy, doesn't mean I don't worry about you," and added, "things can be challenging in any relationship and sometimes, more so, than others." Cally looked at him and then stared toward the kitchen, where Maggie was sitting. Charles smiled again, "Yes, thats exactly what I'm referring to," he continued, "we've been through a lot together and we had you and Mick to hold it together." Cally responded, "Well, we have the salon, and maybe, someday, we might adopt kids. But for now, we just want to live our lives. We want to be free. We want to be honest. We want to be proud of who we are," then she tested him, "Are you proud, of who we are ?" He stared at her a long time, the longer he stared, the more she knew what she had actually known all along." Charles shouted to Maggie, "Your daughter wants to know if we are proud of her ?" Maggie walked in from the kitchen, "Cally dear, did I ever tell you about the time that I left Charles for another woman, back in the early seventies ?" He laughed at that one. Then added, "I hardly think a week and a half at the Chelsea hotel with an all girl band constitutes a real challenge to this relationship, but if you say so, fine." Then he simply stated, "Yes, I am damn proud of you and your partner. As for your Mother's venture into curiosity, have her tell the part where she came back to the house unsatisfied and bent on waking me up at some ungodly hour like a ship in need of a port..." Then he kissed them both on the forehead and headed out the back porch for a little afternoon sun. Cally looked at Maggie, who raised her eyebrows and tilted her head, as if to say, in so many gestures, that Charles' recent evaluation of the event was not entirely incorrect. Then, Cally looked at her mother, who had always been full of surprises, and gave her a big hug. Jezz walked in carrying an armful of groceries and everyone stared at her. After a second or two, she simply asked, "What ?" "Nothing," Cally remarked, "we were just discussing the wedding and my parents were saying how glad they were that I was marrying a soldier." The girls all laughed.
Chapter 52 / Season Three / Episode Four
Eight months had passed since a group of immigrant shop owners in the City of Angels had protected their own neighborhood from an angry mob of looters. Fred and Ta had attended the peace concert and seen Ryan's little brother and his girlfriend perform live. They had never been aware of politics nor the issues that had been pervading their community, as much as they did on that day. Each time someone got up to make a speech, they were enlightened. Fred had been providing a service to his community for over a decade and realized that he really did not entirely understand the deeply painful history that had damaged relations between authority and those of color. Now, he came to the understand, that, his community, was also considered, a part of the basic definition, in America, as, "... Of Color." Maybe that color was not black or brown or red, but it was clearly not white. Ta was amazed at how many intelligent, outspoken and defiant people took the stage that day. She and Fred had both rose to the occasion, days after the riot, when Fred's lawyer had suggested they do so. Now, they came to an understanding that, although it was accidental, and even an unconscious move, apparently, they had become activists. The reward for such a move was almost invisible, but it existed. There was a silent respect for their outspoken bravery. Neither had an interest in politics, so it did not garner votes. Both already had a strong customer base, so it did not equal income. But, as they drove home that night, through the still devastated city, past the burnt out buildings, down the ash laden avenues and eyed the wreckage, they knew that somehow: they had made a difference. Then Ta said, 'This young partner of yours, he's tapped into something that seems to be important." Fred silently agreed, then she added, "I'm not talking about the financial aspects of your association. He's obviously bright. But, It seems to me, that he has a view on the future that I was unsure existed for the next generation. These kids know America in a way that I don't understand." Fred again, silently agreed, then added, "Let me tell you something about Alex. A year ago, I thought that kid was insane and maybe he was, a little bit. But after the past few months, I think that kid is amazing."
Alex met with Maggie a few weeks after the concert. She had, by then, heard the various remixes by, He Said/She Said and had gotten permission by the other artists labels to sample the versions that had been created. The good news was that their had been interest in signing the band by two competing major record labels, the bad news was that Alex had the crazy idea that he wanted to start a label of his own. His contract included a clause that stated, 'distribution rights.' Which meant, if he wanted, he could independently distribute any contents created by him, which included the single and the remixes which were currently being played on local radio stations. Maggie and he both knew that the real money was with a major label, which would lead to national radio and maybe a world tour opening for a headliner. Alex suggested that he and Maggie start a small label of their own and sign the band to a major label, in a rare, non exclusive contract deal. He explained, "I have a friend, who has a friend, who can get us a machine from overseas that produces compact discs. We can produce our own records." Although Maggie liked Alex, she was unsure if he was thinking too big, too soon. Then he explained, "I just remixed a version with the chorus in my original language. This band could crossover to a whole other marketplace." Maggie liked the idea and wanted to think about it, but there was no time to waste. She agreed and they consolidated a small specialty label, signed the band to several singles as well as a three album deal with the major label that put up a large amount of funds to produce the first album and a clause that allowed for Maggie and Alex to own the original single and several others between albums. Suddenly, billboards went up, they appeared on morning music shows, radio interviews and they began to plot out an entire album. The original song entitled, 'We All Get Along,' skyrocketed the charts. Alex took his advancement and handed it directly to Fred, signed it over immediately. When the single crossed over from local to national, he and Maggie took the second check, purchased the machine, they mass produced the remixed singles, a special holiday edition and it became the song of the season. From coast to coast. It put Maggie back on the map and thanks to an overly zealous partner, she now had her own label.
Ta had begun to speak with her father, first by writing and eventually by telephone. She had few memories, but he, surprisingly, had many. He remembered her feistiness, her stubbornness and her beauty. Ta, he explained, was the loveliest of children. Her mother had paraded her around like a trophy. Her Aunt adored her. It was this same aunt who had gotten her out of the North and ultimately why she was now living in America. He described to her, the day she was born and the year that led up to her birth. Her mother's favorite songs, her favorite color, foods and styles of dress. In the beginning, these were painful memories. But as the days passed, they became valuable and even sacred. Fred suggested that Ta would eventually need to meet the man and that, maybe it would be best, if he came to America for a visit. Fred felt that Ta would be able to handle the experience, here at home better and she agreed. The feisty and stubborn little girl, in the hands of Fred, was now quite agreeable. He knew her father would find her just as beautiful as he. For any man could see, that Ta, was what some might call, a creature of beauty. The porcelain skin, thick, dark hair, small and pointed features, she was, at first glance, petite and even gentle. But Fred soon found out that she was a dynamo. Having owned her own business, carried objects to and fro and protected herself, through the years, Ta had a tough edge that no man had been able to break. When Fred and Ta invited her father, he was hesitant. Having heard so many strange things through the years about America had unsettled the man. Eventually, they had convinced him and a trip was planned.
Chapter 53 / Season Three / Episode Four
Nine months had past since the populist of the City of Angels burst into a frenzy, taking the power, the law and the place itself, into its own hands. Wanda was about to break water. Jordan had been relatively prepared and considering everything he'd recently experienced, being a father, seemed do-able. It was safe to say, Jordan had lost just a touch of the boyishness that he had once owned, when he and Wanda had first begun dating. Between the riot, his incident with Charles and the bus, the return of his mother, and now, his ongoing effort to get his father out of prison, as well as the neighborhood effort to rebuild what had been badly broken, both physically and spiritually: Jordan had become a grown up. He hadn't played basketball in the park for over a year. Every time he left the house, he was sure to let Wanda know exactly where and for how long, he would be gone. If ever he were on duty or out and about and the child decided it was time to arrive, Jordan would be ready. He wanted to be there, to see his son born, wanted to be in the room, holding her hand. Jordan wanted to be able to tell his son, years from now, that he was there, the day of arrival. They had even learned breathing exercises together and taken a local workshop that assisted in helping couples to understand the process as a family. The doctors had made guesstimates, family members were alerted, alternate drivers were put on call, everyone was ready. Then Jordan got a call from Dora that was unexpected. Cliff had been feverish for more than a few days, he'd been asking for Jordan. Stan and Dora had been worried sick, besides Cliff's usual problems, they had been extremely lucky with his general, everyday health and this was the first time they had actually been scared. Jordan showed up immediately. He had fallen in love with Cliff, like a man might love his own son. In fact, he hadn't recognized that his friendship with Cliff had even become so damn important, until he showed up and saw the kid laying there, sweating it out, half delirious. He tried to act like everything was cool, didn't want to scare either Cliff or his parents, but as soon as he got back out into the hallway, he freaked out. Couldn't stop crying. To think that maybe something could happen to the little dude was too much.
Mac had been given a full briefing on what the score was going to be. They discussed all the details, the possible as well as the probable. He had no allusions nor expectations. He knew that Jordan and his friends had put in place a series of actions that had turned the tables in a direction that was almost a hundred and eighty degrees from its original juncture. Mac had never put much stock in lawyers, but he had to admit, the fifteen minutes he spent with Daniel, were fifteen of the most gratifying minutes he had experienced in several years. The kid was sharp, on his toes, to the point and very aware of not just the legal system, but he had actually researched every person on the parole board and had his friends look into each persons general schedule, admittance and denial rates as well as their dates of birth. When Mac asked why, Daniel explained that he believed in good days and bad days, based on planetary alignments. Mac might have balked at that, had he not been a student of the planetary aspects of fishing. He and his father had always fished to the rhythm of the moon and they had always done well. Mac's father's father had been a farmer and he also used the moon to plant seeds and cultivate crops. All the old school farmers used the natural phases to do their thing and if Daniel wanted to pick the proper day for an evaluation by the parole board, even if it meant waiting an additional three months, than Mac was down for the cause. As it turned out, his next scheduled parole hearing was going to be a perfect chance. Daniel had explained that the new evidence, the recanted testimony on paper as well as the inner political aspects of the turnaround were obviously much more important than any alignments, but it didn't hurt to find out who was making the decision and what kind of mood they might be in. If things didn't go Mac's way, he would have to wait another year. That was going to be a very long year, considering he had put forth so much effort, even sold and finagled properties to make all this happen. Mac stayed clear of the yard. He didn't want anything to get in his way, even kept a distance from his cellmate, whenever possible. Mac felt as if he were holding his breath under water, that a giant wave had toppled his life and now, he was simply waiting to rise to the surface.
Baby was working at the salon, when she got a call from Wanda, explaining that she was on the way to the hospital and had anybody seen or heard from Jordan ? Jezz volunteered to drive Baby over and they put out an all points bulletin for Jordan. They had put in place, three different choices and options ready to assist with the driving, and all three, just happened to be unavailable. Wanda's Father had gone across town to pick up a bunch of french style window covers, at a hardware store that was going out of business. Jordan was at a hospital on the other side of town visiting with Cliff. Their neighbor, Miss Kendrick, was at school. So Wanda shouted across the fence to Old Man Withers, as he had been called by Jordan and the neighbors, they got Wanda in the truck and headed toward the place of Jordan's son's birth. He wasted no time in arriving, as some children often do. Wanda walked in the door, laid down on the table, the nurse prepped the woman, and in what seemed like less than an hour, the little guy came out swinging. Full head of hair, bright eyes, big feet and a healthy, deep cry that sounded like a small patch of thunder, echoing through the trees of a bayou, somewhere in the ancestral lineage between two new rivers, creating a tributary all its own. Wanda was sleeping when Jordan finally walked in the door. He was visibly distraught, swollen - eyed, looked terrible. Wanda, who was not quick to scold, asked, "Have you seen him ?" Jordan assumed she was talking about Cliff and he responded by simply shaking his head, in the affirmative and a teardrop slid down his face.Then a nurse brought out his son, all wrapped in a blanket, like a bundle of power. Jordan's face lit up, he held the boy and then he cried some more. "Damn, this boy's heavy," he said. Just then Wanda's father showed up and one of her girlfriends from work, pretty soon there was a little party going on. There were no complications, Wanda was home in a day and a half, and a new life with her.
HALL OF FAME
Chapter 54 / Season Three / Episode Four
Ten months had passed since the system allowed a small group of men to walk free and shortly thereafter, a very large group of people rose up against the machine. Laws were not perfect. Law makers were not infallible. Law enforcers were sometimes law breakers, and the system itself, was now broken. Stan had been a judge for almost fifteen years. He had always wanted to make a difference in the way the world worked. The man truly believed that one person could do such a thing. Now, he was thinking differently, about just, 'how,' that difference could be made. Was it impossible for a man working within the system to make the world better ? Did being a cop, a fireman, a lawyer or a judge working within a system, that itself could be corrupted, really make life better ? Taking orders from a boss, a superior, a supposedly fair and equal leader meant that an individual, who had something to offer, could always trumped by unfair practices, bad decisions, racist beliefs, false morality, corporate influence, political agendas, controlling egos or simply and overly inquisitive and or overreaching government, that might not know when it was proper to mind it's own business and leave the populist alone. Stan had seen a wave of powers build up, in the past decade, that was disheartening. The deregulation of business practices and a series of anti union campaigns from the highest branch of governments, that, he felt, was going to hurt the fabric of America. An actor, acting as president, had been a pawn for a power hungry family that gobbled up contracts, countries and regulation. A pirated budget from the highest points possible in the Pentagon, which had once scared the living daylights out of an ex army president, almost fifty years ago, had been only the tip of the iceberg. Now, things were happening at such a break neck speed that Stan became disillusioned. Most people working in his field of work hit a water mark and then utilize that bitterness or that original ideal or that cold and hollow feeling to motivate themselves into continuing, and somehow they actually do make the world, a little better, one decision, one action, one day, at a time. But for Stan, after the Riots, after dealing with the beating, the lawyers, the press and the public: He was ready to walk away from it all.
Dora had been sitting with Daniel discussing Mac's situation when he noticed that Cliff was just a little challenged. He asked what year Cliff had been born ? Then he inquired if Cliff had been a part of the large group of children, who had been vaccinated at five years old ? His firm was currently building a case against a company which had gotten the government to allow mandatory vaccines to children, through their public and private schools. Many of the parents had no idea that their children were being injected with substances that could effect, hinder and or stunt their children's ability to have a normal life. It turned out that one out of every eight hundred or so individuals, had suffered under, been allergic to and or were permanently challenged by the vaccines. Cliff was among that age group. Daniel hated to mention it, but recently, out of the several thousand children across the united states that had been effected by the vaccines, over half were now going through a complete wave of issues that included, issues with breathing, the ability to regulate a normal pulse rate and challenges involving the endocrine system within the body. Daniel had mentioned it in passing and had no idea that he was going to freak Dora out, but freak her out he did. She asked what year did the vaccines roll out to the public and in what states ? Then she asked the name of the company ? In less than a couple of months, Cliff began to have the type of problems that Daniel had described. He had gone from a happy, inquisitive kid, with a few learning disabilities to someone who was having trouble with the basics of everyday bodily regulation, including temperature, sleep and even digestion. Dora went into superdrive, she found out everything she possibly could about the vaccines. Because of the case that Daniel's work mates had been preparing, there was much on file and much to learn. She had even asked Daniel over to dinner, so that Stan could hear it direct from someone else.
Dora and Stan decided that they wanted to get involved directly in the case and that maybe more could be done. Maybe there should be a law against mandatory vaccines. This was America after all, we are the public, not a bunch of laboratory animals for the medical industry to experiment with, and profit all the while. Dora began to write a series of articles, that would lead to her becoming the prime educator and watchdog for the medical industry, which had recently and rather slowly creeped its way into the congress and the senate, through thousands of lobbyists, that were now scattered across Washington DC like tumbleweeds in the desert. You couldn't walk down either side of the aisle, without passing one on your way to the podium. It seemed that congress persons and senators, were now on a constant campaign to raise funds, instead of do their jobs, protecting, representing and championing the people of America, who paid their bills, voted for their representation and now, simply drank their poison, as her son had clearly been injected with. Here she was, a damn lawyer, and her husband, a judge and their own son had been given a substance with hundreds of thousand of other children on some half ass mandatory basis through a public school system that had failed her, failed her son, failed the American ideal. Dora was pissed off and if anyone could attest to the wrath of a woman whose child had been unduly harmed, it was her husband Stan. Who had recently quit his job, turned down the television show offer and began to prepare a book that was to be the first of several describing just exactly what was wrong with the justice system. All of this was well and good, but the real fact of the matter was that, their son Cliff, who had been making personal leaps and bounds, was not well. And no amount of change in America meant a goddamn thing, when your own flesh and blood, your own child, your neighbors child, the kid down the street, the unborn baby or anyone, anywhere, anytime, was put in harms way by a corporate system, whose only goal, was to make a buck off of a busy, struggling and hungry populist. Stan had seen it first hand. He'd seen a RIOT, he knew what inverted power looked like and he used it, rhetorically speaking, to explain how things worked in the system. When Stan's book was published, he was immediately put on a list which included American individuals such as: Malcolm X, John Lennon and Cesar Chavez. When Dora got word that Stan had hit the big time, she walked into Cliff's room and stated, "Hey kid, your dad just made the Hall of Fame." Cliff cocked his head, crinkled his eye lids and stared at his mom, "You mean like rock & roll or baseball ?" Then, she thought about it a minute, and eventually responded, "Something like that." Cliff suggested, "Maybe we should celebrate," he continued, "Lets surprise him with a dinner," and so they did.
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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We Thank:Da Capo Press, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Pace/MacGill Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Georgia O'Keefe Museum of Art, Fine Arts Center Colorado Springs, Duke University, Andy Warhol Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Crystal Bridges, United Artists, Spot Photo Works, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Art Huston Texas, Gallerie Urbane, Mary Boone Gallery, Pace Gallery, Asian Art Museum, Magnum Photo, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Fahey/Klein, Tobey C. Moss, Sandra Gehring, George Billis, Martin - Gropius - Bau Berlin, San Jose Museum of Art, First Run Features, Downtown Records, Koplin Del Rio, Robert Berman, Indie Printing, American Film Institute, SFMOMA, Palm Beverly Hills, KM Fine Arts, LA Art Show, Photo LA, Jewish Contemporary Museum, Cultural Affairs, Yale Collection of Rare Books & Manuscript and Richard Levy.
Contributing Photographers:Norman Seef, Herb Ritts, Jack English, Alex Harris, Gered Mankowitz, Bohnchang Koo, Natsumi Hayashi, Raymond Depardon, T. Enami, Dennis Stock, Dina Litovsky, Guillermo Cervera, Moises Saman, Cathleen Naundorf, Terry Richardson, Phil Stern, Dennis Morris, Henry Diltz, Steve Schapiro, Yousuf Karsh, Ellen Von Unwerth, William Claxton, Robin Holland, Andrew Moore, James Gabbard, Mary Ellen Mark, John Robert Rowlands, Brian Duffy, Robert Frank, Jon Lewis, Sven Hans, David Levinthal, Joshua White, Brian Forrest, Lorna Stovall, Elliott Erwitt, Rene Burri, Susan Wright, David Leventhal, Peter Van Agtmael & The Bureau Editor Joshua Triliegi.
Contributing Guest Artists:Irby Pace, Jon Swihart, F. Scott Hess, Ho Ryon Lee, Andy Moses, Kahn & Selesnick, Jules Engel, Patrick Lee, David Palumbo, Tom Gregg, Tony Fitzpatrick, Gary Lang, Fabrizio Casetta, DJ Hall, David FeBland, Eric Zener, Seeroon Yeretzian, Dawn Jackson, Charles Dickson, Ernesto DeLaLoza, Diana Wong, Gustavo Godoy, John Weston, Kris Kuksi, Bomonster, Hiroshi Ariyama, Linda Stark, Kota Ezawa, Russell Nachman, Katsushika Hokusai and Xuan Chen
Contributing Writers:Robin Holland, Jamar Mar(s) Tucker, Linda Toch, Maria (Mom) Triliegi
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