by the time lt january got back to the interrogation room eddie had finished his sandwich and coffee. before going in the lt told sgt johns about the phone call to nevada. huddled together and combined with their hushed voices none of the other detectives in the squad room heard what they were discussing. as the lt was about to enter the room he told mick to turn the video camera back on.
how was dinner?
just great. almost like a good basque joint, lt.
good to see you still have a sense of humor, eddie.
what else is a poor boy to do? i’m glad the running is over. but i’m a bit worried, to say the least, about what comes next.
well, tell you what, eddie, a lot of that depends on you.
you’ll find out soon enough. if i unhook you do you promise to be a model prisoner? no bullshit. tantrums. or other crazy insane shit? you sit here like a gentleman or walk around the room if you like. i’ll knock when i want to come back in again. you hear a knock you go sit in that chair and be a choir boy. alright?
ah, sure, ok. what’s going on?
like i said, eddie, you’ll find out.
with that the lieutenant unhooked the cuffs from eddie’s wrist and slipped them into his pocket. as he left the room he said.
you just be cool. this might take awhile. ok?
i suppose i have no choice.
lt january closed the door and told mick johns to leave the camera running and keep an eye on eddie. the sergeant nodded his ascent as the lt handed him back his cuffs. marvel january went back to his desk to wait for the phone to ring.
after several calls and a little over an hour and a half of waiting his phone rang again. this time it was the call he had been waiting for.
just a moment, lt. mick, take eddie to the can and see if he wants more coffee or another sandwich.
mick got up and knocked on the door. waited a moment then entered. eddie was sitting quietly in the chair.
come on, eddie, restroom break.
eddie got up and the sergeant led him to the restroom.
ok, estaban, what do you have for me?
the gun and rounds were right where you said they would be, marvel. though i seriously doubt you’ll find any prints on them with the water and all. but they are properly bagged tagged and awaiting your decision.
that was much quicker than i expected.
we have a new chopper that covers quite a bit of ground in a very short time. a very nice time saving tool. a gift from our at times friendly benefactors, the feds. we actually got two of them due to homeland security and our dams.
good for you guys, lt., we could use a few ourselves. traffic around here is usually horrible. anyway, if it isn’t too much trouble lt can you deliver the evidence bag down this way? asap?
let’s see. if i can get a flight to l.a. tonight i don’t see why not, lt. i can use a break from the cold.
i’m sorry it’s such short notice but i’m sure you know how things can work out.
it’s alright lt i’m always prepared to take flight as it were. i imagine you are too.
you’re right. it’s the nature of the game.
absolutely. let me put you on hold and i’ll check on a flight right away.
marvel january didn’t say anything but heard a click on the line. he was on hold. he sat thinking and wondering. soon he would know.
if i leave right now i can be in l.a. by 9:30 this evening at the very latest.
very good. airline and flight number? i’ll pick you up myself.
southwest, number 1966.
see you when you arrive around 9:30. that will leave us enough time for a quick drink and maybe a prime rib sandwich.
i’m looking forward to it.
both men hung up and lt january went back to the interrogation room. eddie was inside eating another sandwich and drinking another cup of coffee.
mick, the nevada cop will be here tonight. i’m going to go pick him up. are you ok? this could be awhile.
i’m good, marvel. i’ll keep an eye on him and keep the lookie loo’s out of the way. i’ll brush up on my ‘angry bird’ skills while i’m at it.
yes, i know you will on all counts, mick. thanks, man. i’ll be back when i’m back. and mick, just in case the feds come sniffing around keep eddie inside and under wraps. no more breaks till i get back.
not a problem. eddie and i will be here, loot.
lt marvel january removed his pistol from a desk drawer and put it in his empty shoulder holster then headed out the door. the clock on the wall read 7:30.
this last appeared here in august of 2014.
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.
i was a priest for a time. the head vicker at a young girls, well, not that young of a girls school. it sat on the border of southern france and northern italy. the school was equally divided between the two countries. a strange thing indeed but just a simple hold over from the middle ages. some of the parents didn’t appreciate some of the things i thought necessary to teach the young ladies. i used to tell them, better me than some lout from the streets, with no prospects teaching them, things. sadly, they weren’t amused. of course, the police of both backward countries had to became involved. i made a hasty departure. fond memories for me none the less.
at some point or another i became a doctor. just how, is still clouded in mystery. with the help of a good plastic surgeon and some minor facial reconstruction i was able to make my way back into italy. where i secured the position of, dean of tarts, at the university of bologna. the position suited me well. as a tart is a tart, in any man’s language. and believe me they were tarts, with much to learn. after a time, as things generally go with men, i became bored with the dean of tarts gig. don’t get me wrong, the young italian ladies were spectacular. but like i said, i was bored. so i just up and left when i noticed the police were spending time on the campus.
i wandered about here and there living by my wits and good looks for what may have been many months. it was so long ago and furtive i can hardly re-call that time with much clarity today. then one day i found myself in shanghai, china, drinking german beer with a portly, good natured chinese gentleman. he suggested that i should come to work for him at his all girls school there in shanghai. teaching of course, english, to those lovely pearls of the orient. had he known just what else i would be teaching them he may have had second thoughts. things went swimmingly for some time, as the girls had a rabid desire to learn from a great master.
i blossomed in china, even starting a side job teaching english and other arts to the girl’s mothers. in the process, i nearly wore myself out, causing great consternation far and wide. culminating in another hasty departure during the wee hours of the morning. something, of course, i’m an expert in doing.
set adrift again in life’s waters i roamed far and wide. teaching what i could in what little time it always seemed i had. whenever i tried setting down some roots. the roots never took as the time between moves grew shorter and shorter. it seemed i always left a bit of myself behind with each furtive escape into night’s darkness. just like some depraved 20th century johnny appleseed.
so there you have it. a somewhat condensed version of my of pathetic life. i trust you will keep it under your hat as there are still husbands and fathers out there searching for me. though in my new life, as an internet douche bag, i doubt they will ever find me. sadly, if they do. i’ll have to pack my kit and sneak off on yet another lonely moonless night. to perhaps wend my way through life’s byways and highways to…your town.
this mornings music provided by, miles davis, ‘sketches of spain’.