Chapter Two

Later Thursday Morning about 6 a.m.

After the L.A. swine from City Hall were done hassling me, I left the West Side Pig Pen and went straight to the Purge office in Santa Monica. I wanted to make some phone calls to see what would happen next. I've seen enough movies to have a good idea but this was the first time it was important enough for me to know if it was true. I needed to get this dead girl out from under my skin.

An old drinking buddy of mine is a big corporate lawyer specializing in gypping people out of everything they've got. He works for an outfit called Simcoe. Maybe you've heard of it. They're a real 80's kind of place, diversified into every kind of greedy business swindle imaginable. He and his buddies ought to be disbarred and told to make a real living for once. But he answers my questions without charging a fee so that makes him useful to me. For that reason, I don't think he should be stood against a wall and shot, like the people he cheats believe.

He's a real techno-weenie. There isn't any kind of electronic gizmo Robert Collier won't buy. Bob's one of those suckers that gets born every minute. He'd buy a pink elephant if it had a wire sticking out of it.

I never called him by his name. "Perry, Perry Mason? Is that you?" I shouted into the mouthpiece loud enough for his fish to hear.

"What do you want, dog-breath?" was how he replied to my early morning greetings. "Have you grown any hair yet?" That was an obvious insult to the Yul Brynner look my genetic framework had forced upon me at an early age. Insensitive people always like to call attention to what they perceive as your shortcomings. "You know, some people like to sleep in this city."

"Did I get you before your wake up call?"

"Yeah. I like to sleep in past six on Thursdays."

"You're telling me it's too early, right? It's light, ain't it?"

He let that one pass. "What do you want? This isn't going to cost me money is it? My law professors in Washington always said I'd meet leeches like you."

"Why do you think every time I call it's because I want something?"

"Because, every time you call, you want something."

"I would be offended if it was anyone but you."

"Thank you," he replied, the sarcasm dripping like motor oil off a diesel engine's dip stick.

"Only real lawyers know how to insult me. Shysters like you are too close to being actual human beings. You're more like a real estate agent. I got something you want so you're forced to be nice to me even if you hate my guts."

"Which I do."

"And you should."

There was the sound of muffled talking in the background before he spoke again. "What do you want this time, Garcia?"

"Who's that in bed with you, my wife?"

"You don't have a wife. No women is stupid enough to let you fuck her."

"Well, if she isn't my wife, it's someone else's. What's her name?"

"None of your business. Good-bye!"

"Wait, wait, wait. Don't hang up."

"Then tell me what you want so I can go back to sleep."

"Sleep? Right." I quickly reviewed my evening, from my hump day yearnings to the soccer game the Crips were playing out on the beach, and my discovery of the blond.

"It's a wonder they didn't arrest you and throw you in jail with the other perverts. Why did you wait so long before you called?"

"I don't know, Perry, it didn't seem she cared one way or the other. I was thinking."

I heard a snort on the other end of the line like someone inhaling a pound of coke and regretting it.

"You O.K?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. That bit about wanting to think caught me off guard, I guess. So what do I owe the pleasure of this shared information?"

"I want to know what happens next."


"Yeah. Is there going to be an investigation?"

"I suppose. What did you say this bimbo's name was?"

"Suppose? Suppose, what?"

"There will be an investigation. Her name..?" he insisted.

"The cops are still working on the I.D."

"So what do you want from me?" he sounded relieved.

"What are they going to do?"

"Probably, nothing," he replied impatiently. Like reading a statement from one of Reagan's 3 X 5 cards, Collier continued, "They'll determine the cause of death and if anything is fishy they'll look into it. Can I go to sleep now?"

"What makes you think anything's fishy?"

"You're the one who found her. Don't you think there's something odd about a pretty girl washing up on the beach in Venice?"

"You mean it doesn't happen all the time?"

"Goodbye, Garcia." He hung up.

Next, I called the police station. They wouldn't give me the time of day, which Perry had done so well, until I told them I was a writer with the Weekly Purge, and then they told me to piss up a stiff rope and hung up. That's what happens when you write for the most prestigious alternative press voice in the city. You don't get any respect.



Copyright 2009 by Peter Stekel, all rights reserved.

updated on 04/07/2009

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