Harris awoke to one of Los Angeles’ rarer events. The drapes enclosing the window were flying back and forth powered by a rain soaked wind. What was he dreaming about his mind attempted to cognate on half power attempting to take the emotions still congealed before they drifted into regular waking consciousness? “Ah“, he said, “That’s it, I was in love.” Or at least it was a replay of long forgotten events from yesteryear. His approximation of the courting act but to personally arcane to ever have any hope of fruition. She as along with him with others on some small local expedition to and fro resulting on the appropriation of small cabin by their band where all were found to lounge about. The first part of the episodes had them circling each other with a passionate wariness as each one seemed in possession of the kind of previous history to be ever cognizant of outright rejection. At least in his case from a sense of physical lack of self-worth laid upon him thickly by previous dissatisfaction’s of very demanding ‘belles’. She on the other hand may have been fated to endure the ‘broken bird wing‘ syndrome of loving injured wild things that were never repairable. It was so obvious to him though they were too far from that stages yet that the nakedness of his intentions were a wedge that since the confinement of the cabin had threatened to announce their little dance publicly a distance had been imposed between them. There was great suffering from this and Harris’ fatal mistake like all those other time was to retreat into himself expecting the other to come running to his side with some form of vouchsafed romantic solace. The very thing that the object of his heart was expecting of him,
It was strange to him to realize that he awakened to a world not dominated by pain or regret this morning but by quiet contemplation? As if the storm within had come to shake and tear and rage but then just as suddenly move off leaving an appreciable sense of silence that was fertile soil for extended thought. The ‘Why’s‘ at the connections and crossroads of the progression of his existence still could not be explained. But it was obvious that the motive force was equally about trying to escape from while heading towards the very same thing. One might have thrown in it the garbage bin of the indecipherable terms and called it ‘Love‘? But it was so much more than that. Something that summed up the only real reason why humans of all species walked the earth. Not to stuff their mouths and egos with the flesh of their fellow man. Not to take raw sand and iron ore and heat it into glass and steel and addictively build with it until one finally ran out of the resources to do so. No, it was something so fundamental that the whole world had gone mad failing in useless manufacture of abstraction to accomplish what was the most fundamental thing. To have a connection with someone beyond the ‘self‘ that was as unalterable as significantly deep. Every culture had failed whether it proposed polygamy, monogamy or even the former without any gender distinction.
Inga had been on his mind since he had left the cemetery. One of her full grown sons had driven him as far as seventh by the 101 freeway. Harris had refrained from asking too many questions out of a sense of deference to the memory of her brother and his own emotional fallout connected to his own sense of failure in that regard. The family resemblance of his driver seemed to torment any possible calmness of thought through a mental atmosphere of equal measures of shame and enviable appreciation of their clan. Something unlocked within him and he wanted to be part of them thought was equally evident that he had been disqualified from the start by his own mortal weakness. Like Gilgamesh he had been enlisted in the long journey yo find his own essence and plead it against the powers of the universe to claim his own piece of immortality. Yet the trial had come down to him at his lowest ebb in a very fractured unmovable trajectory of constant failure and the misappropriation of his anger at it that inevitably led to continued bad decisions like the bottle. He had one the first round with himself at great cost but the real battle had yet to commence. There was no escaping the sarcastically seductiveness of the bitch goddess of failure that had enticed him so many many times into surrender. And he was to cognizant of the fact that his prospects for success against her were by this same trajectory pretty nigh to nil.
He had been instructed to keep his head pretty near to the weeds as the inside man and leave a message at one of the numbers when there was something new to report. The list included new arrivals of young women especially the ‘immigrant‘ type that had come on their own to ply their hopes against the demon of the film industry. At that point, Inga’s boys and a few of his ‘friends‘ would be deployed on the edge of the ‘field’ and act accordingly to take it to the next level. The alley was the focus but given the issue of detection by parties unknown in the hotel and a mutual appreciation by the Swede’s clan and himself that Harris was a chess piece in the larger drama. It was painfully evident also that one mistake on everyone’s part had led to an unfortunate outcome. Whoever had snatched Swede’s daughter had a major operation going on and was repeating the process with countless others. There had been a statistic that over three hundred people went missing in Los Angeles each month that were under investigation by the LAPD. Considering the number of tarps and tents in skid row alone from lives descending to the stenosis of the social ‘fish tank’ this number was a vastly understated. Amidst the backdrop of same it was not unlikely that an operation designed to collect specimens of the ‘best and brightest’ caught up unexpectedly from other well-intended plans in this milieu was to be expected and in light of terrible circumstances definitely planned for. Given the mysteriously inexplicable moves of the police to manipulate Harris, a game of ‘cat and mouse‘ with Harris acting as bait was most certainly underway.
The story about strange coffin-like boxes possibly containing undisclosed occupants as directed by cartoon proportioned little gnomes seemed initially the stuff of barroom derision charged off as a result of a bad batch of cheap booze. The sort of intellectual product that only a place like this whose major industry of film struggled daily to transform into entertaining diversion as part of their role to provide mental ‘bread‘ and ‘circuses‘ to the unwashed masses. The biblical proportions of the efforts of the reigning population of this town’s perpetual obsession in a general quest for all to quickly acquired temporal status reflected by riches and fame was the stuff of ‘X-rated‘ legend and infamous murder mystery. So many lives had been thrown off the track by getting caught up even for a short time in this constant maelstrom that it might have been said that the heavenly intervention of avenging angels of old was the only realistic solution by raising the entire town from the map! The whole thing made Harris’ head ache even harder when he thought about it. He had learned early on as part of a Marine Recon unit to stick with the mission objectives and leave the moral ambiguities to philosophers in the safety of their easy chairs back home in the ‘states‘. From his perspective, he had survives the death dealing of first barrage and reinforcements had been dropped on the LZ but ‘sure as shit’, another more devastating barrage was on the way.
The lobby of the Stay-On-Main was deceptively quiescent as usual. Asian tourist groups arrived on their usual timetable in the early morning and left a few days past same in the afternoon. The ever indifferent staff were ever busy in providing the least amount of attention to their duties as they could possibly afford without losing their revolving clientele. A stealthy nightly walk of random hallways and stairwells led only to the obvious conclusion of the incredibly shocking level of neglect and squalor that the structure had fallen to in both structural deficiencies and the lack of human quality of its semi-permanent guests. Some floors were so invested by mold and the olfactory sewage of the practices of legions of former tenants that it was all one could do to not be overcome by the almost instantaneous effect of nausea. The only thing missing was the telltale gnomes and the terminal state of a ‘canary in the coal‘ type of necrotic odors spelling out malevolent actives. The operation as Harris had initially seen it had been temporarily suspended probably in light of the heat occasioned by Swede’s demise. A portion of the inner sanctum of the maze of hallway’s was investigated in the wee hours with great caution but did not avail any sign of activity. This premeditated scheming ‘Norman Bates‘ of a hotel that was duplicitously on its best behavior, at least for the moment.
Harris had suspended his nightly pilgrimage to Hank’s Place and only appeared at the Tiki to nurse only a swallow or two mostly unsavorable glass of the weakest of brews. This alone was a mighty test of will with his own demon to down the glass and jump down the slide into a quick succession of shots. But it provided a level of official cover to his continued identity of just another ‘wino‘ well on his way to the waste dump. He figured that part of his clothing was the potent smell of alcohol which if not applied internally would have to be liberally sprinkled upon his clothing to achieve the desired lack of public respect. The aroma not both personally sickening while simultaneously seductive. The night was coming to a close when on his way back before the hotel’s entrance a cab detrained a raucous group of youngsters in their twenties evidently high and jubilant engaged in the night’s frivolity. Two of the women from their band seemed extraordinarily captivating even by Hollywood standards. He followed all of them inside the front entrance at a well-measured discrete distance. The main hall was evidently empty of staff as their noisy echos regenerated about the dual row of faux Egyptian columns. “We’re going to stay an extra day.” said one of the two beauties. “They’re casting twins at Burbank and Eddy Morris our agent wants us to try out for it!” “Suit yourself!“, one of the others of the group replied bitingly, “But we’re all out of here 7AM and back to New York . . . bye bye!” Harris suddenly enacted a fictional rendition of a ‘Charlie Chaplin‘ performance then turning about to leave the lobby’s illumination to quickly find a phone.