Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 12

That was the roughest day of my life. My physical wounds were not too bad. The tattoo, buttocks covered in welts, testicles dotted with tiny blood blisters from being constricted and bound, a few odd bruises, probably from manhandling me around. But worse was the amnesia.


I felt like him now. I drank moderately to quell my shaking hands, but I kept finding myself holding Lex, wiping tears out of his fur.

I had been violated in every sense of the word. But what would I do? Barge into Scream’s house and risk getting put under again? Kill someone? I wasn’t a killer, until maybe now. Call the cops? Not even worth thinking about.

I remembered Jayne’s askance handling of her rape. She would be who I would turn to. And, of course, she would hear only what I felt was sensible to tell her.

It took hours to pick up the phone. Hours as I clawed at my memory for the whole story and received only vague glimmers. Ariana’s laughing face. Tasting her luxuriant body. Fucking her with animal savagery. Seeing her taken by other men, dark, muscular men who throbbed with lust. Taunting, heavily oiled women. Faces like masks. Bodies intertwining, genitals mingling, like some scene out of a carnal Hell. I remembered drugs held under my nose, vapors that made me think I was going to die, but making me harder and ever more virile. I remembered riding crops and howls of pain and strange couplings and over it all the resonant pounding of a huge drum, screams and laughter. But, it was all through a fog as thick as wool. Whatever drug I’d been given had rendered my life a blurry dream.

I remembered manacles, pain, acts I could not, would not, name. Service.

I remembered the pictures of Al Stirling.

* * *

Jayne was happy to hear from me. It took her a few moments to realize this wasn’t a mere social call. When my voice cracked, she said she would come over.

I had showered and dressed, but she still told me I looked like hell when she walked in the door. She had brought a bottle of Canadian rye whisky. I took this to be some measure of her realization of the seriousness of my call. She figured her usual champagne wouldn’t make the nut.

She poured a couple of stiff shots and, as we drank, I recounted an edited version of my tale. “So you got laid, but good,” she said, trying to make light of it. “These things happen. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been mauled trying to get a job....”

I showed her the pictures from Stirling’s apartment. “Do you think these are from a session when the same thing happened to him?” she asked.

“I don’t know. They’re a lot cleaner than what I recall happening, but, I’m not sure about my memory. Maybe I’m making it out to be more debauched than it was.”

“Like maybe you had a good time?”

“There’s that possibility. But, I doubt it. My overwhelming sensation is one of being violated. Of manifest unpleasantness. And what right did anyone have to do this?” I showed her the tattoo. She clucked and I suggested that she call LaVey and ask what the tattoo in that particular location meant. I was also toying with the idea of asking for a revenge spell.

“You realize that there are undoubtedly pictures of you engaged in these acts, maybe film.”

I nodded. Of course, there would be.

“And you think that this is all tied in to the baby mutilations?”

“It has to be. That’s what Stirling was investigating. Ariana wouldn’t have come prepared to deal forcefully with someone if she didn’t suspect. This matter has obviously been discussed in Scream’s office. My fake identity didn’t hold water. They know who I am.” I told her about Boyer’s licence and tooth.

“You’re in this some kind of deep,” she sighed.

“I can’t just walk away from this.”

“You couldn’t now even if you wanted to,” she said. And I realized with a shiver of terror how right she was. Whether I liked it or not, I was in their web.

* * *

Jayne called LaVey and described the tattoo. When she hung up, she told me, “It’s an initiation mark. Its location is so its easily concealed. Nice of them to worry about your cosmetics.” Then she looked worried. “He says it means whoever did it has a part of your soul.”


“He says so. But you’ve got to realize that he has a vested interest in this sort of stuff. I’ve learned that most of this stuff is symbolic.”


“Well, I have seen some things that defy explanation.”

“Like what?”

“The deaths of those who have crossed me.”

“So you think these curses work?”

“I know they do.”

“Maybe I should get Mr. LaVey to whip one on these bastards.”

“You could. But it’s not like they tried to kill you or anything.”

I didn’t say anything. I felt that they had tried to kill some part of me, and they may well have succeeded. “You say you’ve done it.”

“I’m a more vengeful person than you’ve ever seen.”

“I think maybe I’ve become a little vengeful myself.”

Lex sidled over to Jayne and rubbed himself against her stockinged leg.

* * * *

Seasons Greetings from The Dark Corridor!!!

Bing and Bowie for those of us old enough to remember. Always thought this showed a lot of class on both performers' parts --an alcoholic and a blowfiend working together in perfect harmony to create a holiday classic rendition of The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth.
Season's Greetings from The Dark Corridor, where it's always... kinda dodgy, actually.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 in The Dark Corridor

Back in the day, at Vancouver magazine or TV Guide, I would write a year-end wrap-up. So, I thought, as this year closes, I would revive the tradition on The Dark Corridor. Herewith, the pontifications, in no particular order:

Things I Liked in 2007:

Daisy, my Maine Coon love.

Welcoming Calliope, the Pixie-Bob, to our family and Wisemanor.

Ron Asheton’s wah-wah playing.

Iggy and the Stooges concert in Seattle.

Arch Enemy concert at The Commodore.

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.

Zappa Plays Zappa at The Orpheum.

Everclear at The Plaza.

Meeting Arch Enemy at Scrape Records (though Angela is my dream date, each of the band members were the nicest people you could hope to meet). Thanks to J.J. and Lucy Caithcart for a day of being a fan again.

The Dark Corridor blog.

Love & Rockets graphic novel compilations.

John Skipp & Craig Spector back in action.

Good old reliable Dean Koontz.


Pixie-Bob shenanigans and antics.

Internet reports that have me married to Kate Beckinsale.

Chrissie Hynde and Nick Kent in the old days.

Blackberry Curve.

David Icke’s lizard-people theory.

Michael Amott’s incredible guitar stylings.



Arch Enemy, Stooges, In This Moment, Motorhead, Everclear, Zappa Plays Zappa, Ministry, Trivium, Slipknot, Mastodon, Dimmu Borgir, Dragonforce, Behemoth, Oasis, Celtic Frost, Lamb of God, Cradle of Filth.


Trace-Fusion by Frank Zappa, Rise of the Tyrant by Arch Enemy, Hudson River Wind Meditations by Lou Reed, Rio Grande Blood and The Last Sucker by Ministry, The Weirdness by The Stooges, Make Believe by Weezer (hey, go figure), Tragic Beauty by In This Moment, Stop the Clocks by Oasis, Live to Win by Paul Stanley, All Answers Inside by Beyond This Veil, All You Can Eat by Led Lobster and, of special note, Lou Reed’s classic opus on bereavement, Magic & Loss, which helped through some hellish times.


Mrs. Chippy’s Last Expedition by Caroline Alexander, Alias the Cat by Kim Deitch –these two left all other contenders yards behind. Support your local library.

The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child –great character, great thrillers!

Blaze by Richard Bachman, Open Up and Bleed by Paul Trynka, , The Frank Book by Jim Woodring (an acid trip on paper –and no words). Wages by John Armstrong –deadly aim, spot-on accuracy and a laff a minute.

The Lucifer Code by Michael Cordy, The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen –two new discoveries to me.

Pig Island by Mo Hayder –the scariest and most perverse novelist of our day.

Whatever Tim Dorsey was on about. The funniest writer working today.


The Pursuit of Happyness, New York Doll, March of the Penguins, Born To Boogie –Deluxe Edition, Live Apocalypse by Arch Enemy, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. (I don’t see many movies and those that I do see are generally dreadful.)


Rome, Arrested Development, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, Corner Gas, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, October Road, Heroes.

Sex objects:

Angela Gossow, Kate Walsh, Gabrielle Miller, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Aniston, Janice Dickinson, Jennifer Garner, Christina Applegate, Victoria Beckham, Laura Prepon, Gisele Bundschen, Cameron Diaz emeritus.


The Road by Cormac McCarthy (so what do I know, he won the Pulitzer, but more likely as recognition of a lifetime’s body of work rather than this rather retrograde story), The Religion by Tim Willocks, Our American King by David Martin, When the Light Goes and Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry, Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, The Ruins by Scott Smith, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, and still nothing new from James Ellroy.

Things I Disliked About 2007:

Death of Gatsby Wiseman, my love, my hero, my brother, my son, my best friend.

Death of Alex Grant, who showed astonishing courage and strength in the face of death, a true-life hero and the dearest of friends.

Death of Kurt Vonnegut.

Death of Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Death of Norman Mailer.

Trepanning of Keith Richards.

Death of Dean Koontz’s Trixie.

Chronic illnesses of friends and family.

HST still dead.

Death of Anna Nicole Smith.

Trip to and from Seattle to see Iggy. Simply Hellish.

I am sure there’s more to add to this list, but, like any session of wanking, enough is enough.



Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 11

There is a dark corridor you slip through on strong drugs. A passageway where you check your sense of self at the door and become something other. Whatever happened to me in that corridor was full of dark personages, sleek seductive sexuality and amorphous vague bodies like satin shadows. I know I had sex many times, couplings previously undreamt, and, through it all, rang Ariana’s laughter, imperious and disdainful. Her voice commanding and sharp as the lash I felt many times. I was imprisoned, bound and forced. There was no more sense of the outside world, only loins surging with urgency, vast releases and dark humiliations.

* * *

I came to feeling a rough scraping on my face. My eyes squeaked open and, even in my grogginess, I realized it was Lex ministering to me. I tried to move my arms and they banged into something. My eyes slowly came into focus in a dull light. I made out the steering wheel of my car. I heard Lex begin his roaring purr. I figured he knew that I was going to live, even if I had no certainty on the subject.

During a half-hour, I pulled back into the world. Checked my watch, it was five a.m. The neighborhood wasn’t familiar. I opened the car door and heaved onto the asphalt. I’d had worse hangovers, but not many. I stank like a monkey. I concentrated all my energy on getting Lex home.

Once I started driving, I saw that I was only a few blocks from my pad. I crawled the Rambler there and managed to carry Lex through the front door and spill some kibble on the floor before I lurched to my bed and faded away again.

* * *

I got to the phone after over a dozen rings. It was Hy, wondering why I hadn’t shown up yet. I begged off sick, telling him that I had been working on the mutilation story and had been on an all night stakeout. Yes, I told him, I was sure it would generate some copy soon. He remarked that I sounded hungover. I said I hadn’t been drinking, but had been roughed up when I’d gotten too close to something. This seemed to cheer him and he told me to get in as soon as possible. I said it probably wouldn’t be today, but I’d be in extra early tomorrow morning.

I felt incredibly bad and reached for my tried-and-true-hangover cure: a room-temperature beer. As I nursed that, I took stock of myself. I ached all over and had a particular pain under my left armpit. Lex sat quietly on my bed watching me, making small sympathetic mews when I moaned.

I stripped on the way to the bathroom and, when I reached the mirror, I lifted my arm. There was a gauze bandage on my left side. My stomach roiled. Carefully, I removed the bandage. There, still bloody and puffed, was a tattoo the size of a silver dollar. It was a pentagram, the lines drawn thin as thread.

I had been deeply violated. I washed with a soft washcloth. I didn’t think iodine would be a great idea. I rubbed my shriveled genitals and smelled the sex on my hand. When I sat on the toilet, I felt a pain and a horror like I had never felt before. I held my head and sobbed uncontrollably.

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 10

Because of my early appointment with the cops, I got to city hall just after the workday had begun. Hughes’s murder had just been announced and many of the staff were clustered around discussing the news.

I found out that she worked in the engineering department, fifth floor. I asked for her supervisor and was sent in to meet with Chris Canyon. I did not tell him I had discovered the body. I learned Hughes was well-liked around the office, that she was a looker, that Canyon knew she had gone out with Stirling. Her main duties were as secretary of permits and licensing, which meant she also kept things in order in the plans and blueprints office. Recently, she had been working on a number of projects, but the one that caught my attention was the new additions on the pediatric wing at City of Angels Hospital.

Hmm, babies, also the site of one of the child abductions last month. I didn’t know what questions to ask that might further my personal investigation, but I learned that Hughes had access to plans of every square foot of the place, and indeed of most every other building in L.A. A handy person to know.

Lex was weathering his stay in the car just fine. He purred when I entered and I talked to him as I drove to the paper.

I filed an update on the Hughes murder and made some calls until lunchtime. Then, I drove over to City of Angels and went up to see Boyer.

His eyes got real big when I walked up to his bed. He was a handsome guy, but now his face was a mess of bandages, scarlet abrasions and blue-black puffiness. Before he got too agitated, I said, “Look T-Bone, I just want you to know that I didn’t have anything to do with you getting beaten. I got threatened that night myself. I just want to know why you thought I might have been involved.”

“I don’t remember much,” he said, his voice an awkward, spit-spraying slur.

“Now T-Bone, don’t kid a kidder. We know that people don’t issue stern warnings without letting the person being warned in on what it’s all about.”

“It ha somesing to do wit you ratting me out bout shtory I was sposed be wookin on bout buby aducshuns. ’Cet I no wookin gat stoey ‘t all. Ayne was invoved, doo. Bu, I’m fuffed if I know how. Un o da goons ket caaing her da Ledder Lady. Mg any ses to you?”

“Maybe,” I said. I had lots of questions to ask him, but they would all give him an idea of what I was seeing come together. So, I made some small chat and wished him well. He said he would be out tomorrow. Though, with his fingers busted, he would be dictating his stories for the next six weeks. He’d probably get light duty on the edit desk. I told him he could do just as much damage there.

Back in the car, I told Lex that I was going to have to get a date with the lovely Miss Ariana. At the mention of her name, he hissed and bared his fangs.

* * *

Back home, I was relieved to see that no one had broken in. I checked a few places for any disarming presents. Lex sniffed around and seemed satisfied, comfortable enough to make short work of a half can of Dinty Moore. I had Scream’s number from Jayne.

When I got the receptionist, I asked for Ariana.

“Who is this, please?” he asked.

“My name is Samuel Strong, I’m a dealer in arcane literature. I have a recent acquisition that I have been told Miss Ariana might be interested in.” This seemed to satisfy him and I heard the phone ring through to another line.

She sounded like she was pleasantly high. Medicating away a hangover, I suspected, or just coming off the nod. Too euphoric to suspect a scam anyway. I told her that I had come into possession of a Victorian rare edition of L’Histoire de Pasuzu, a chronicle of possessions by the middle-eastern daemon that I suspected was illustrated --uncredited-- by Aubrey Beardsley.

She said she was interested in it as a gift. I gave her a ballpark price of eight hundred dollars and she said she would like to see the book. No, I could not bring it there, but I could meet her in the restaurant of the Metro Art Gallery. She said that sounded stuffy and instead gave me an address in East L.A. “It’s a private club. Tell them that you’re meeting me and they’ll show you to my alcove, Mr. Strong. Shall we say four o’clock?”

I agreed.

* * *

At a quarter to four, I cruised by the address. The neighborhood was mostly industrial supply shops, chandlers and auto parts. Not exactly some ritzy private club address. There was only a black door with a grilled peep window.

Parking down the block, I decided to let her enter first in case she came escorted. At four ten, a yellow cab pulled up and let her off --alone. Rather than walking in, she took a key and unlocked the door and slipped in. This made me nervous. What was I walking into here?

I tried the door, but it was locked. When I knocked, a partition behind the grate slid away and I announced myself and was let in by a small, pudgy, bald man in a black suit with a black shirt and tie. He led me through a curtained doorway into a dim room.

About two dozen high-partitioned booths circled the room and a low stage was set in the center. I was led to the farthest corner of the room. Ariana sat with a martini glass in front of her. The booth was lit only by a thick black candle set on the table. I wondered if she would recognize me. I slid into the seat across from her.

“Mr. Strong.” she said. She wore a black low-cut business suit made her own by the lack of a blouse underneath. Her cleavage was impressive. Her hair was loose and straight, thick black bangs hung to the tops of small, wire-rimmed sunglasses. She smoked black-papered cigarettes with gold filters. Sobranies --cocktail cigarettes.

“Tell the waiter what you would like to drink,” she said.

I said a martini would do. As he slid away, I looked her over. Waiting for her to say that I looked familiar. Whether she had been too blitzed to remember, or whether she was shocked and wondering what to do next, she did not say anything until, “The book?”

The waiter brought our drinks and, when he went away, I asked about the room. ”This is a private club, very exclusive. It caters to those with a need for privacy, yet who share certain tastes.”

I looked around. It was hard to tell how many others were in the room, hunkered back, deep in their booths. I heard some chatter. A cigarette lighter flared across the room. The waiter brought trays of drinks to other booths. “There are performances of a sexual nature on the stage during the evening. But, otherwise, it is just a quiet discreet place for a drink. On occasion, I find it quite soothing. Most places are too bright for my eyes, which are very sensitive.”

I took a sip of my martini. It was everything a martini needed to be: big and cold. I could not read her eyes behind the dark lenses. “The book?” she said, again.

“There is no book,” I said. “I used that as a ruse to get you away from Scream’s residence.” I must’ve been nutted.

She stiffened noticeably, but I kept rolling. “I was a friend of Al Stirling. I cleaned out his apartment after he was killed and hidden away. I found some photos of you.”

“If you are here to blackmail me, I can assure you that with a snap of my fingers I can make sure you never see daylight again.”

“No, you don’t see,” I acted. “I liked them. I loved them. They’re all I can think about. I close my eyes and I see them. I saw your power over Al. Now that he’s gone, I want... to... serve y-you.”

She stared at me, then startled me with a laugh, full and throaty. “You’re just a good-looking young man who has been aroused by some dirty pictures then.”

“I’m sure you don’t find that odd.”

She laughed again and a large dark shape slipped into the seat beside me. Before I could do anything, one arm rammed my head against the wall and I felt the needle slip into my arm through my sport coat. As I was held there, she laughed and laughed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 9

Bed was forgotten. I spent the next couple of hours pacing. Who had been in my apartment? I checked my hidey-holes and none of my secrets had been disturbed. Sombody just wanted to throw a sweat on me. It was an action that implied contempt, saying, “Look here, we’ve been in your place. We don’t think you are significant enough to bash around, but look here, we messed up this other guy pretty good, keep your nose clean or it could happen to you.”

What was my connection to Boyer? News competitor, big deal. Competitor for Jayne, that could inspire something like this. Maybe some other guy in the equation. Mickey? That was a strong possibility. How about my mentioning of Boyer to Scream regarding the investigation of baby murders? That one held potential as well.

I checked the lock on my door and put the derringer on my bedside table before I finally followed Lex to my bed. He sniffed the sheets and gave me an inquiring meow. I told him I didn’t know.

I stripped the bed and put on fresh sheets and pillow slips. Then I lay down and he slipped into the crook of my arm and began that wonderful throaty purr. I listened to its rise and fall and appreciated it as if it were the song of angels.

* * *

Kennedy was on the blower. “I can’t start my day without thinking about you, Holcomb. Pay us a visit down here at the station on your way into work, will you?”

I was too dopey to argue. Confused, I wondered about telling him about Boyer’s licence, but decided it could wait.

I opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed my toothbrush. Something fell into the sink. It was a bloody tooth. I could guess from whom. I hadn’t brushed my teeth last night. I threw the brush into the trash. I folded some notepaper around the tooth and put it in my jacket.

I hadn’t had enough sleep and the tooth made me more apprehensive than my previous discovery. If somebody could easily access my apartment, I had no security. Fortunately, I didn’t have any real valuables, but I worried for Lex’s safety. Hell, how did I become a mother?

I got a heavy ceramic dish and put some Dinty Moore in it and took it out to my car and put it in the trunk. Then I took the tire iron and held it in the passenger side rear corner of the trunk and slammed it as hard as I could. The trunk lid buckled slightly when it closed: air hole. Then I got in the back seat and pulled up the backing section of the seat until there was a nice gap about four inches high where the backing had formerly met the benchseat. The backing was held in place by the pressure from the sides and it would be secure unless I hit a hell of a bump. It would do until I could figure out something better.

Then I went back inside the apartment and got myself ready for the day. I explained the back-seat system to Lex, who looked back intelligently. Then, I took him in my arms, locked my door and went to the car. I put him in the back seat and he immediately smelled the food and popped through into the trunk. A nice little refuge for him that would be cooler than the passenger area of the car. I would check on him if I was gone more than an hour or so.

On the way to work, I stopped and got a block of ice in a plastic bag and put it in the trunk. It would keep things cooler and he could lick the condensation for water. If things got real bad, I felt assured that he could claw through the plastic to get water. The trunk had carpet on its floor and it might mildew, but I would have to worry about that later.

On the drive to the police station, Lex amused himself by going in and out of his new hideaway.

* * *

“Eric Boyer told us you don’t like him,” said Kennedy. I sat across his desk from him.

“He’s a hack and a leech. He gets all his ideas from me and most of his facts, too. He holds down a job by rewriting my stories.”

“I thought there might be something more to it, like a woman.”

“I’m single. I don’t know about Boyer.”

“You don’t know about ‘T-Bone’ Boyer?”

T-Bone was a nickname reserved for those who were particularly well endowed. My stomach rolled as I thought of Jayne comparing notes. “Quite a swordsman is he?” I said, as uninterestedly as possible.

“Yeah, seems Miss Jayne Mansfield enjoys his kielbasa injections quite often.”


“Rumor has it that you’ve plowed that turf on occasion, as well.”

“Comes with the job, I guess. But if you think jealousy over some doxie, who’s married anyhow, would inspire me to stomp the hell out of some guy, you’re way off. As a matter of fact, I was visited by whoever did Boyer.” I pulled out the licence and the tooth and dropped them on his desk. Told him where I’d found them. “Seems like whoever stomped Boyer had some idea we were connected somehow, too. I don’t think you should suspect me. What you should be doing is offering me protection.”

Kennedy was nonplussed by the keepsakes. “Boyer told us he thinks you had something to do with it.”

“Well, apparently I do, but I’m not the instigator. I’m as mystified as you are.”

“What about Hargitay?”

“Possible, but I think he and Jayne have an understanding. I think it turns him on. I’ve seen her leave with guys right in front of him. I’m casting a wider net in my suspicions. Jayne swaps spit with other guys than us. Maybe it’s someone else who dislikes both Boyer and me and figured beating up one of us would be enough of a warning for the other. I’d be interested if any of her other gentlemen friends got any little Boyer mementos stuffed under their pillows.”

“Not that I’ve heard about, though a couple more of his teeth are missing.”

“That might be worth following up. What did Boyer say about his assailants?”

“He was sapped from behind while entering his apartment. Doesn’t have much of a recollection, least not that he’s telling us. Big guys, a couple of them. Claims he heard your name mentioned. That’s all he’s saying. I get the feel that he’s hiding something more. But, he’s definitely pissed at you.” Kennedy fiddled with his coffee cup. “I don’t figure you for a bruiser, so you’re free to go, but keep in touch if you hear anything.”

“What about Bianca Hughes?”

“Some of my men are on the case. Stay out of their way.”

“I have to follow the story for the paper.”

“Then you’ll probably run into my guys. Don’t impede their investigation and let us know if you turn up anything relevant.”

I nodded and headed out the door.


I turned and looked at him. I could see the curiosity in his eyes, the embarrassment that he had to ask. “Is it good?”

“She’s unbelievable, Pat.”

Jayne & the Satanists --Chapter 8

I phoned in my story from the cop shop. It was good dress rehearsal for making my official statement. I stuck to my original story, fully aware that the missing two hours that I had spent perched on the observatory could come back to haunt me if the cops asked my neighbors when I had left my apartment. But, somehow, I didn’t think anyone would believe my real adventure. I wasn’t sure I did myself.

Kennedy gave me the regular warnings, nothing more. He thought I was a dink, but he was pretty sure I was not a killer. My cooperation so far bolstered that opinion. So they let me walk out.

I expected an extremely disgruntled cat, but Lex was fast asleep in the car, now having found the back seat a good place to stretch out. I figured I had used up my share of luck, in that the car did not reek of cat crap, so I ran us home immediately.

I put out some Dinty Moore for Lex who took a few nibbles before making a beeline to his box. Sure that we had scooped the other papers, I called Weigel at the Santa Monica Fee Press and gave him an abbreviated version of the story. As I had with my own paper, I left out any reference to Al Stirling and just covered a killing, leaving myself out of the story, just as if I’d come running after monitoring the police radio, which had been what I’d told Hy. The reason people distrust newspapers so much is that they deserve so little trust. Enlightened self interest is a crime reporter’s philosophy. They do not pay you enough to get yourself killed, so you inform the public as much as won’t cause repercussions to your well-being. Kennedy had agreed that my name be kept out of the police public statement while he thought over his strategy of how I could be of use to his investigation.

I called Simone. Big hunting knife was probably the murder weapon. Heart the only organ missing. Ripped out by someone who knew where to find it and had the strength to remove it by hand.

I’ve always hated naps, so even though I felt like sleep-deprived dog waste, I showered and made a sandwich. As I was washing it down with a beer, I figured I’d have to get some quotes for the paper from some of Hughes’s associates for a follow-up piece. Precisely the way I’d carry on my vested interest re Stirling. But, it could wait, I was taking the rest of the day off. Getting disarming quotes from people was always best first thing in the morning before their minds sharpened up enough to be defensive.

Lex leaped up on the kitchen table while I drank and took a few notes. I was thinking of seeing what the B-girls were up to when the phone rang.

It was Jayne. “Did you hear what happened to Eric Boyer.”

My stomach rolled. Was Boyer up for some journalism award that would bring him great lucre and send Jayne into overtime in his boudoir? Had he finally rewritten one of my stories to have a book deal dropped in his lap?

“He was shitkicked within an inch of his life last night.”

“Oh, I thought it might be something bad,” I said and looked at the four beer bottles now arrayed among my notes.

“No, Danny, I mean serious. Wired jaw, missing teeth, danger of losing an eye, ribs cracked, two broken middle fingers.”

“Who did it?” I asked, thinking of my mention of Boyer’s name to Scream.

“I’ll be screwed if I know, but he was found crawling out the door of his apartment. Apparently, he won’t say who did it?”

“So, when are we getting together again?”

“Such sympathy.”
“Look, I’m sorry Boyer got stomped, but you must know I don’t care for the fellow. All he ever does is steal my stories and rewrite them.”

“So much for the brotherhood of the fourth estate.”

“Never was such a thing.”

“Anyhow, I’ll call you soon.”

“Hold it. I want to ask you about LaVey. Does he have some sort of interest in me, to the extent that he might be following me?”

“He likes to stalk people. It gives him knowledge that he can use later on. He fancies himself a bit of an amateur detective. So, he might be trailing you for fun. Why?”

I told her about my encounter with the coyotes. When I told her about the surging rats, she cut me off. “Lower creatures,” she said. “A sorcerer can command the lower beasts, scavengers and such. Rats and coyotes fall into that category.”

When I told her about the panther, she hemmed and hawwed. “That sounds like it could be Zoltan, LaVey’s cat. But, if it was, it sounds like that’s a good thing. That cat may have rescued you from beasts that some other black artist sent after you.” Then she changed the subject. “How’s Lex doing?”

“I’ve got to thank you for him. I’m getting really attached to him.” I told her how good he was in the car and how patient he was through the time I spent with the cops.”

“He was there at Griffith Park?”

“Yeah, patient as can be.”

Then, she started chuckling. “That’s an amazing cat you’ve got there. He must really like you.”

“Why, because he’s so patient?”

“Something like that. Anyhow, we’ll get together soon, sweetie. I’ll call.”

I hung up, thought about masturbating, then saw Lex staring at me. Locked in the gaze of those alien golden orbs, I lost my ardor and decided to sack out.

As I slipped into bed that night, I felt something under my pillow. I pulled it out. It was Eric Boyer’s driver’s licence.

* * *

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Interview with Frank Zappa

The maestro at his most bizarre.

Frank by Steve Vai

A lovely tribute by longtime collaborator Vai.