it was warm and the air clear due to a slight santa ana with the warm winds coming out of the east. eddie catalina stepped off the plane and back to the city from where he had come. he’d left years ago vowing to never return. well, never say never he thought. here he was back again. no where to go and almost broke. no prospects either. jesus, when things spiral out of control they spiral until the wings fall off. then it’s a free fall until the sudden stop. eddie was beginning to wonder when the sudden stop would come.
the airport had changed since he was last there. he could tell a new terminal had replaced the old one at some point long ago. when was the last time he had flown in or out of ontario? probably the flight to oakland after his leave home before vietnam. no, that didn’t make sense. had to be his flight from oakland after his return from vietnam. a long time ago.
standing out on the sidewalk smoking with no plan in mind wasn’t a good idea. eddie figured there probably wasn’t anyone still living in the area from the old days. and he couldn’t just grab a cab and ride around all day and night looking for something or someone that probably wasn’t there anymore. a cheap hotel seemed to be his only option at the moment. a very cheap hotel if he didn’t find some money soon. he walked out to the curb as a cab pulled up. eddie told the cabbie to find him the closest cheapest hotel or motel.
the cab dropped him off at a motel not far away from the airport on east holt. it was a run down joint that looked like it catered to hookers and druggies. eddie wasn’t surprised. some things never change even with progress. eddie paid the cabbie and went into the dingy office. it smelled of tobacco, stale sweat, a tinge of blood, and a lot of tears. gag reflex was the only other thing that came to his mind.
yeah, can i help you?
i suppose. i need a room for a couple of nights.
we got a couple. one up one down. take your pick.
up i guess.
214. take the stairs to the left. that’ll be $66 for two nights. if you decide to stay longer i’ll cut you a rate for weekly or monthly. take your pick.
ok. thanks. i’ll let you know.
eddie counted out the money which left him with somewhere near the one thousand dollar mark. when you’re on the run money seemed to just vanish. the thought of calling the lapd again flashed through his tired mind but he quickly forgot about it. he took his key and went up to his room. hopefully, it wouldn’t become his home.
it wasn’t much of a room and it smelled like a well used ashtray that had never been cleaned. a good thing eddie had started smoking again. there was also a shabby bed covered by an even shabbier spread with all manner of stains on it. several large holes in the dirty shabby carpet as well. he would have to be careful at night. his inspection of the bathroom was somewhat of a surprise. compared to the rest of the room it was a diamond in the rough. eddie tried the tv set next which worked and offered basic cable along with a free porn channel or two. yeah, hooker haven for sure. so much for quiet nights.
he lit up as he sat at the cheap table that over looked the parking lot while hoping the chair he was sitting in wouldn’t fall apart. as he sat there smoking a car pulled into the lot. an old beater for sure but the lady driving wasn’t.
the car parked in the spot directly under eddie’s window. a youngish black woman got out and came up the stairs. eddie had a thought and he needed to hurry. he was up and outside his door when the lady passed by.
hi, sugar. you looking?
i’m looking but not for what you have in mind.
really? so what you want?
i’m looking for a ride over to claremont. if you’re interested in that proposition i’ll buy you dinner later.
harrumph. i’ll think about it.
eddie watched as the lady walked down to her room. he turned and went back inside his room thinking, another fine mess to go along with his first day of hiding in plain sight. moving back to the rickety chair he lit another cigarette. eddie sat smoking, thinking, and staring into the distance. shambles. his life was nothing more than a massive shambles. lighting another smoke with the butt of the other one eddie picked up the phone.
he dialed 9 for an outside line. then 0 for an operator.
can you connect me with lapd homicide?
one moment, please.
eddie sat smoking while waiting for the call to go through. when it finally did he heard.
robbery homicide. lt. marvel january speaking.
this is eddie catalina. i believe you’re looking for me.
why yes we are, mr. catalina. we need to have a talk. where are you calling from eddie?
i’m in room 214 at the day night inn on e. holt in ontario near the airport.
marvel put his hand over the phone and told another detective to call the ontario police and have them send over a black and white asap to baby sit eddie until lapd could arrive.
eddie, i’m sending the ontario police to your motel. they’re going to sit with you until we get there. at this point eddie you’re just a material witness. ok? you won’t try and pull anything stupid now will you?
no, lieutenant, not a chance. i’m not armed and i’ll have the door open waiting for them.
eddie heard a police siren a short distance away.
good, eddie. that’s good. i’ll stay on the line until the officers are in the room with you. ok?
sure. whatever you say.
eddie lit another smoke as the ontario squad car sped into the lot. the arrival of the police took a small group of people by surprise. the group hurriedly began to disperse. eddie got up and opened the door then sat back down.
lieutenant, they’re here.
good. just relax and don’t do anything stupid.
eddie heard the cops running up the stairs. they paused at the open door with guns out and told eddie to show them his hands. he sat the phone down showed them his hands then stood up.
turn around slowly, sir, and put your hands behind your head. we’re going to cuff you for your safety and ours.
not a problem officer.
after eddie was cuffed the ontario cop picked up the phone and told lt january the situation was under control.
thank you, officer. we’re on our way. just sit tight. we’ll be there as soon as traffic allows.
the ontario cop hung up the phone then sat eddie back down on the chair. it was over. finally. it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from eddie’s shoulders. eddie sat and watched the cigarette smoldering in the ashtray. the smoke drifted up and out the open door.
this first appeared here in august of 2014.
as eddie began his trek across the parking lot he tried not to hurry or do anything to call attention to himself. he figured he was lucky he had gone into the commercial for breakfast. the mob guys probably didn’t think he would be coming from that direction. and by the way they were clustered up eddie thought they were just setting up for the job at hand. the job to find and kill him.
how had they found him so soon? simple really he thought. either the man at the sports book last night or someone in the cat house. or maybe even both. god, he was stupid and probably deserved whatever the mob had planned for him. maybe he should just go up to the suite and call the local law and take his chances with them. no, that was stupid as well. think eddie.
once inside the hotel lobby he saw only the paiutes and a few more leftover drunks from the night before. no mobsters. eddie wondered if they would actually come into the hotel to find him and take him. he took a chance and stopped at the main desk.
good morning. i’m up in 421. has anyone been looking for me?
no, sir. not that i know of anyway. i’ve been here for about an hour and a half.
ok. thanks. ah, some friends of mine mentioned they might stop by. if they do will you call me and let me know? i’d prefer to come down and meet them here in the casino.
not a problem, sir.
perfect. here’s a twenty for your trouble.
no trouble at all but thank you very much.
eddie made a beeline to the elevator. thankfully the wait wasn’t very long. he rode up to the fourth floor with several of the paiutes. he smiled but didn’t say anything.
once in his room eddie went to the window being careful not to stand to close to the opening. the mobsters were gone from where he had seen them talking. there must be one at each entrance by now. maybe others as well. he got his things together in preparation for a fast exit. then he called housekeeping and told them he didn’t want his room cleaned today. if anyone came to the door it would be the mob and not the cleaning lady.
from the side window he couldn’t spot any mobsters either. though on the corner there was a bar and a group of bikers gathered outside. eddie had noticed the signs yesterday about a poker run in memory of one of their fallen. today was going to be sunny and warm. a good day for riding a bike. was it going to be a good day for eddie?
eddie thought again about just calling the police but by now that option probably wouldn’t do him much good. he had run away after the killings. maybe if he had stayed in the apartment and waited for the cops back when it happened he might have gotten away with the killings. maybe. though the mob wasn’t going to forget. ever.
he pulled the last smoke from the pack in his shirt pocket. he crumpled up the package and tossed it towards the trash. he missed and it rocked a bit on the carpet before it settled. eddie looked for the carton of smokes and when he found the carton it was empty. he crumbled it up as well and tossed it towards the can. he missed again and the carton rolled to the wall and stopped.
eddie needed smokes. now was not the time to quit. yet again. maybe it was but he didn’t see it that way. he needed smokes to help him think. he was in a predicament and decided to take a chance and the stairs down to the lobby and try to find a machine for some cigarettes. and he hoped the mob guys were outside and not parked in the lobby or casino. from the side window he had seen the corner of what appeared to be a supermarket about two blocks away. he doubted he could manage to get that far with the mobsters around but it might become an option.
finding the back stairs eddie slowly made his way down to the lobby. the only people on the stairs were a few of the paiute kids playing kid’s games. they paid him no mind. once downstairs he slowly opened the door. he didn’t see any mobsters. eddie couldn’t actually skulk around in the casino without attracting a certain amount of attention. so he sucked it up and ambled as best he could out into the gaming area.
he asked a casino employee if there was a cigarette machine around. the man pointed to a corner by the coffee makers. eddie thanked him and walked over to the machines. he didn’t see any mob guys on the trip over. likely they were all outside, he thought. after all he would at some point have to leave. once at the machine eddie pulled a few dollars from a pocket and then realized the only smokes left in the machine were camel straights. unfiltered camels. this was not good. he needed cigarettes but not honest to god real live cigarettes. he hadn’t smoked one of them in many many years.
eddie walked back to the employee and spoke to him.
is that the only machine in the casino?
there are only non-filtered camels in it.
really? we were very busy last night. busier than i thought. sorry about that. it rarely happens. maybe once a year or so.
will it get filled up again today?
sorry, pal. the guy doesn’t come around till tomorrow afternoon. you can try the bar across the street but you’d probably be better off going over to the market down a few streets.
yeah, i’ve seen it. thanks anyway.
sure. nice day for a walk.
ah, yeah, right.
eddie returned to the machine and bought a pack of the camels. he opened it there and pulled out one of the short cigarettes and lit it. he immediately started coughing and thought, this isn’t going to work. he also thought since he was downstairs he ought to check the exits for mob thugs.
he picked up a free paper and walked around pretending to read it while he smoked and coughed. the unfiltered camel was making him a bit dizzy. he stood near the front desk and noticed two men smoking and talking out on the sidewalk. they didn’t blend in with the paiutes or the rest of the hotel crowd. mob guys. going back through the casino he noticed one mob soldier standing by the casino entrance door. two for two. probably at least one more at the side entrance by the sports book.
eddie was screwed. what the hell had he been thinking? why hadn’t he spent just one night in elko and then out on the road again? or better yet why hadn’t he just talked to the cops? hindsight. it always made you crazy. or in eddie catalina’s case, crazier.
back up in his suite eddie lit up another of the non-filter camels. he was going to have to figure something and fast. he needed smokes he could actually enjoy smoking and he needed to get the hell out of elko. as he stood smoking he noticed there were quite a few more bikers at the bar across the street. bikers and their biker harley’s. they weren’t your run of the mill sunday biker who took the wife for a ride and a brunch some place. no, these guys were the real deal.
eddie smiled and stubbed out the camel. picked up his stuff and went downstairs. he used the back stairs again as he didn’t want to pass the front desk with bag in hand. he was leaving but he wasn’t checking out.
once back in the casino he went towards the sports book and the rear side entrance. he got about three feet from the door and spotted the mobster on guard duty. eddie stopped. he knew this was his only shot at ditching the mobsters if only for a little while. eddie steeled himself. then he ran into the door and flung it open.
the mobster was startled and almost fell over. he steadied himself and yelled after eddie, who was about halfway across the street. the three other mob men were already turning the casino corner. eddie made it to the other side of the street and up on the sidewalk. he was running for his life.
the mob soldiers ran across the street giving chase. eddie rounded the corner of the bar and ran for the parked bikes. there were several rows of the shinny hogs lined up in the parking lot. it had been years but eddie catalina had once ran track and at one time was an accomplished high hurdler. he made the correct calculation inside his head and easily hurdled the parked bikes even carrying his ratty suitcase. hit the pavement on the other side and kept on running.
the mob guys weren’t so lucky. years of breaking bones and shooting people had left them way south of any athletic ability if there had ever been any to begin with. all of the mobsters crashed into the the parked bikes.
eddie didn’t look back. eddie catalina was in the wind.
this originally appeared in july of 2014.
as you can see we had a rather nice harvest of orchids from our garden. orchids that survive mostly on neglect on our part and their own hardiness. in the warmer months and winter periods of no rain, they get watered once a week. as simple as that. the photos were taken by the brown eyed girl and myself.
these lovely photos were taken by the brown eyed girl. thanks, sweetie.
8-30 fresno st @ usc. usc favored by 21.5 points. the sark is back in trojan land. as i stated at the end of last year it’s sort of a head scratcher and it still is. but, hey, at least the conversation i had in an upscale beverly hills bar with a seattle based medical malpractice attorney hasn’t come true. yet. an interesting conversation to be sure. but one i’ll keep close to the vest and let TMZ or E! ferret it out. if it’s even true. lawyers don’t lie and make up stories, do they? on a side note, i hope cajun ed o lands another head coaching job soon. he deserves another shot. ok. the game. the bulldogs got shellacked last year by the trojans in what figured to be a close game. it wasn’t as coach o had the trojans cranked up. plenty of points. let’s see if AD haden made a good pick in the sark. i’m taking the trojans to win and cover. FIGHT ON!!!!!
the above appeared here originally on 8-22-14. it was week one of the college football season.
apparently the sark has had any number of problems all along. even back in his university of washington days. i hope he gets the help he needs then moves on to his next coaching position. hopefully, pat haden moves along as well.
why do i say that? because the conversation i had with the seattle medical malpractice attorney in january of 2014 over drinks in that bar did actually happen. it started off with the two of us at the bar talking college football with the bartender. at one point our college ball chat turned to the sark and his hire by usc. I told him i thought it was a dumb move. the attorney laughed and then proceeded to tell me about the sark rumor running rampant up in seattle. the bartender got busy and wasn’t around when the story unfolded.
of course, it was just a rumor, innuendo or hearsay apparently as TMZ never got wind of it. if the story is true then the cover up was a pretty darn good one. what story you ask?
allegedly the university of washington wanted the sark gone for some sort of un-seemingly conduct unbecoming a married man with an alleged huskie cheerleader. allegedly a pregnancy was involved. so, along comes the good ole boy trojan network who happen to be looking for a new head coach. they already have a fine interim head coach in ed ‘the cajun’ o. who was loved pretty much by everyone especially the players. a good thing.
let’s just say that pat haden allegedly along with the trojan alum and boosters were willing to help a fellow trojan out of his jam. allegedly they paid off the sarks getting out of seattle part of his contract. then apparently and allegedly they paid off said cheerleader to keep her mouth shut. it must have been plenty as so far it’s working. all in order to help a fellow trojan out. they toss ed o under the bus and hire the sark. who probably told all involved he would be a good boy and not cause anymore trouble. sure.
i mean it all sorta makes sense in hind sight considering what’s gone down with the sark since he came back to lala land and began his sad semi swift swirl down the drain. sad indeed. like i said earlier, sark, get some help then please move along and take the guy who allegedly worked the seattle deal out with you. yes, pat, that allegedly would be you.
as for the deans, regents and assorted trustees of usc let’s just stop the madness. right here. right now. no mas. yes, it’s nice to help a brother out at times but something as allegedly shady as this is shouldn’t be happening in or at major universities. um, yeah.
right. what am i thinking?