Sunday, March 11, 2012


Bob opened his eyes only to find Karen laying next to him in bed staring at him. Her head was resting on her hand that was being propped up by her right arm.
“Hey,” Bob said.
“Hey, I hope you don’t mind me crawling in here with you? I woke up last night on the couch and couldn’t go back to sleep… I didn’t want to be alone.”
“No problem. I understand.”
Karen continued to stare at him.
“You’re a nocturnal farter, did you know that?”
“So I’ve been told on occasion.”
“And you also talk in your sleep.”
Bob hoped that Karen wouldn’t continue, but she did… of course.
“Yeah, you were talking or saying something about Miss Leoni? You must of been having a dream about Miss Leoni from Junior High?
“You don’t say?”
“Yeah, don't you remember that? She was pretty... wasn’t she killed... murdered?
“Yeah,” Bob said.
Bob rolled over and then sat on the side of the bed, looking out the window at the morning sun.
“I’m gonna go for a run on the beach, get some sea air in my lungs. You wanna come along?”
“I really don’t have anything to wear?”
I’m sure I can find something for you to throw on. Come on, it’ll be good for you.

Bob gave Karen a T shirt and a pair of shorts that were left by a former female guest at Casa Bustamonte. They walked across the Boardwalk from Speedway (it was still hours away from its weekend chaos) and on to the soft sand and soon were at the surf.
“Are we gonna run to the right or left?” Karen asked.
“I guess that depends on which way you’re standing? Let’s run up to Santa Monica Pier.”
The two were about a quarter of a mile in the run when Karen, started to become female.
“So Bob,” she cleared her throat for what almost seemed theatrical reasons, “Do you remember anything about that dream last night?”
“What dream?”
“The one about Miss Leoni? “
“I never remember my dreams,” Bob said.
“Well, you should… you sounded pretty happy… you even had a crazy looking smile on your face… it was quite fascinating.”
“I’m glad that you enjoyed watching me sleep.”
“Sorry, I just couldn’t sleep… watching you kept my mind off my shit. Any idea’s on my problem professor?”
“Not at this very second, I guess your gonna have to stay at my place a little longer and listen to me fart in my sleep.
Karen shut up.and the two continued to run in silence, watching the morning surf.
“Thank you,” Karen said.
“Yeah, sure... what are guy's name Bob for?”
Bob liked that Karen had acknowledged all of his efforts for her… he didn’t ask for much, but a simple thank you… well, that worked for him. It made him feel good. Bob loved the having the beach so close, it was the most spiritual thing he could think of. Right in his own backyard.
“See Karen, this great! Nothing can fuck with you out here!”
Karen felt it. She made a silly face and then out of nowhere Karen did a cartwheel on the wet sand.
“Wow, Karen!” Bob said impressed.
Karen laughed, “All those years of gymnastics paid off.”
When the two finally made it to the pier and they planted themselves on the soft sand. Karen stared at the pier, then looked at Bob.
“Bob, did we run to the pier on purpose?”
“What do you mean?”
“Because of that scary picture?”
Funny, Bob hadn’t even thought of that.
“No, not at all. It was just a destination to run to that's all... this is our territory now, baby, not Willa Reese's. Come on, let’s go down to Dog on a Stick and get a lemonade."

 At the last minute, Bob had to go into work and cover a shift that afternoon, which was fine with Bob; it gave him time to think… some times he did his best thinking while he was tending bar. Bob, left Karen at his place, with a full pitcher of the concoction he called Hurricane Hernandez’s; he figured they’d either keep her mellow or knock her out.
The afternoon crowd was unusually light for a Sunday. Bob was doing his usual bar duties, but all the while he was thinking about Willa Reese… and what the fuck her problem was? Then Bob suddenly saw an out of place silhouette cast by the bright sunlight by the front entrance. The figure cruised in as cool as Siberian Snow Leopard, then sat down at the bar. Bob though it takes a seriously, stylish cat to walk around Venice in the middle of the afternoon (or anytime for that matter?) in a sports coat and a raincoat, which looked like it was right out of a 1960's European spy flick. But that was Simon Sawtelle, if you were in the know? He was Venice’s go to private investigator… or so it was said? Simon sat at the far side of the bar in the shadows.
“I’ll have a Knob Creek on the rocks,” Simon said.
Bob took care of him right away.
“Would you like to start a tab?”
“Thanks, not sure yet?” Simon put a twenty on the bar, which Bob scooped up.
“Funny, seeing you here in the afternoon.”
Simon was more of a night customer. He was rarely seen in the Townhouse before 10pm. And he usually ended up taking a little “birdie” home with him. Like Bob, he had a local place somewhere in walking distance from the bar.
“I’ve had a trying twenty-four hours… this place seemed liked the perfect place to try and forget about it for a few minutes.
Bob wanted to tell the P.I. that he could relate, but didn’t.
A drunken sunburned Lout walked past Simon on the way to the men’s room, and just had to say something to him.
“Dude! You’re at the beach! What’s with the fucken’ clothes?”
Simon ignored the Lout, and picked up his glass of bourbon and ice and made it twirl, like a washing machine when it cycles. He studied it carefully, like a chemist; before he even took one sip.
He was still doing this, when the Lout passed by again…. only now, he sat on the bar stool next to Simon. Bob was just about to say something…
“I like it when the bourbon and the ice coagulate perfectly.”
Simon finally took a drink of his drink. Then her turned to the Lout.
“Tell you what my friend, I'll get you're next beer or whatever you’re drinking? If you pretend I’m invisible.”
The Lout at first didn’t know what to make of the offer… but then smiled.
“Hell yeah! That works! Bartender, I’ll have another Bud,” the Lout pointed to the other end of the bar and proceeded to walk down to wait for his free beer.
As Simon was starting to push the money he had sitting at the bar Bob’s way, Bob waved him off.
“Don’t worry, I got this.”
Thanks,” Simon said with a shrug just as the opening cords to Brown Sugar came on the jukebox. Bob came back to Simon's end of the bar.
“It can be a real bitch looking for someone who doesn’t want to be found… got any peanuts back there?”
“Yeah, sure,” Bob produced a small bowl of peanuts from behind the bar.
Simon was caught off guard by Bob's random question, but played along.
“Let me ask you, how would you find out about someone long gone?”
“How long gone?” Simon asked.
“Like long, dead gone… 1940’s?”
“Local person?”
Bob was glad that he didn't question him deeper.
“You can go down to the Hall of Records downtown… do you just want general shit or what?
“I'm not sure what I’m looking for to tell you the truth?”
Simon gave a little laugh and looked down at his glass.
“I say that to myself everyday?”
“You should make a stop at the library? You can do a search from there to the Times archives… punch in the name of whoever you’re interested and see what it pulls up? Then who knows where that'll lead you?”
“Thanks, I’ll do that… let me get you another Knob Creek.”
Simon looked over and saw the Lout waving to him from the other end of the bar.
“What part of invisible didn’t that asshole understand?” Simon said to himself under his breathe, as he jiggled thie ice in his glass, before taking another sip of bourbon.