Authors: David Bishop
Tags: #Mystery: Historical - Romance - Hollywood 1938
Top of the morning to ya, Callie. Did you sleep well?”
“Good morning, Matt. I did
, thank you. I’ve been up a while. Oops, give me a minute… . Thanks, I had some stone-ground Irish oatmeal on the stove. I’m eating the food of your homeland, aren’t you proud of me? It’s in a bowl now, its heat softening some brown sugar. It’ll be cool enough to eat in a minute or two.
“That’s the best oatmeal going. So, what’s your day look like?”
“I promised Daddy I’d come in this morning and make this a normal workday. He’s been such a dear, but my desk is stacking up. I need today, maybe tomorrow to whittle it down. Are we going to get together later?”
“You hinted the other night about maybe needing to work for a day or two. I called to suggest we meet for an early dinner, go clubbing for a couple hours, then maybe a late night walk on the beach. What do ya think?”
“I think that’d be lovely. Let’s hope the nice weather holds. I could be ready by, say, six-thirty? Call me later at the office to firm up the time. I’ll need to stop home to change into the kind of woman you want on your arm while we sashay the hotspots.”
After a few awkward mumblings we hung up. Our relationship had grown to the point where we, well
, I at least, thought about saying something special before hanging up, but neither of us was ready. Callie and her father had separate phone numbers. His was private, but Callie’s, like most residences, was a party-line so we could never be sure we were not being listened to by someone with whom she shared the line. I suspected party-line phones often kept phone talk from getting too steamy.
We stammered through a goodbye and hung up.
* * *
I caught Tony
by phone as he was about to enter a meeting with the workers about doing some minor fix-ups on the interior decorating of the Rex. I told him we needed to meet. I told him it was important and not a subject for phone conversation. That he should just name a time and I’d adjust. He said tomorrow morning would be good. For Tony, morning meant no earlier than ten. He said he’d be back on the Tango, maybe for the last time.
You’ve got me curious, Scribe.”
“It’s not something which can be just cracked open. It’s nothin
g ominous, but it’s important. The morning is soon enough, but no later. See ya then.”
We hung up.
It was ten-thirty when I got off the phone with Tony. I gathered up a copy of my latest workup of tomorrow’s column, a red pencil, coffee, and two doughnuts before heading out to the patio table to sit in the shade under the pergola, the landlord had covered with some sort of yellow rose vine.
I know. I know. The doughnuts, I don’t need them. But then, neither do you and we both eat them now and again. This was my doughnut day. So, leave me alone and I won’t play your conscience whichever day you wolf down your doughnuts. We don’t even need to compare the types we each prefer. As for me, I’m not too picky except I don’t like plain cake doughnuts. They’re too much like kissing a relative.
My first rough draft of my column I had sketched out as if I had already met with Tony, although I was not yet certain whether my final rendering of the column would even mention the Mickey Cohen-D.A. Fitts-Tony Cornero discussions. I just wanted a feel for how it might go if I did include it. The column would not appear until tomorrow evening’s edition so I could delay getting it to the papers until sometime early afternoon. The big item would be my eyewitness report on last night’s rubout of Detective Chase Tenpenny. I would also hook the murder of Tenpenny to the attempt on the life of Harry Raymond and the Kynette trail.
I’d likely tell Callie about it
all tonight. I didn’t want her to learn of it in my column.
Assassinations in our City of the Angels
Last night I had a dinner set up with an anonymous caller who claimed to possess evidence on the failed assassination of Harry Raymond and the successful assassination of Raymond’s 1937 Chrysler. Los Angeles Police Detective Chase Tenpenny, as it turned out, was my anonymous caller. We never had dinner. We never even got to order dinner. I won’t rehash the facts and police statements of his murder, all that has already been detailed in more than one newspaper account. My telling is that of an eyewitness, me.
Detective Tenpenny arrived
. We shook hands. He took a seat and almost immediately slumped over. The end. Unfortunately, he had no opportunity to tell me what he had come to divulge—the evidence he had mentioned, without specifics, on the phone—the what-why and who of the attempt on Harry Raymond’s life. I can only assume Tenpenny had brought the goods. As a police detective he had a solid understanding of what constituted evidence, versus hearsay and other inadmissible stuff. So, at this point, we, well certainly I, know no more than I did when Detective Eddie Kynette and two other members of LAPD were charged with the attempted murder of Mr. Raymond, a private investigator in the employ of the private CIVIC headed up by Clifford Clinton of Clifton’s Cafeteria fame.
There will be more on this sto
ry and I will report it when the tea leaves settle to the bottom. The Kynette trial is expected to wrap up in about a week. Final testimony should be completed in the next few days.
On a separate note, the night before Detective Tenpenny bought it while sitting with me at the chop ho
use, my car was sprayed with a Tommy gun while I drove down one of our secondary streets. Due to ducking down, cringing being a more honest description, onto the front seat I was not hurt. However, my automobile was seriously wounded when the bullets stitched their way across my passenger door and window. My car might have survived both those wounds and the humiliation of the attack had it not been for my driving over a fire hydrant while steering away from the rain of bullets with my head burrowed into the car seat. My loyal car died like the trusty steed of a matinee cowboy. I survived to live with the humiliation of having hid while my loyal steed carried me to safety. However, avoiding the shots allows me to continue my quest for the stories about what really goes on in our city as it struggles to achieve its greatness. Allows me to lift the lid and show you the mess under its current surface.
More later, as
the mess congeals.
Good night Mr. and Mrs. Los Angeles and the gam
bling ships at sea… . Good Luck, Suckers. Matt Kile
* * *
By nine, Callie and I were sitting in the Cinegrill nightclub inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Before making the reservation I had driven by to check with my favorite bellhop, Morgan. The one I had a few days before made somewhat wealthier. He informed me that Johnny and Frances had checked out.
Partway through our meal I saw the man I had seen several other nights
in several other clubs. This time I pointed him out to Callie.
“I know him,” she said.
After catching his eye, which hadn’t been hard for he kept looking over at us, she motioned for him to come to our table. He had taps on his shoes, both on the heel and at the toe. When he came close he put his hand on the back of a vacant chair at our table.
“Don’t sit down,
Carl,” Callie said. “I’m asking you to stop following us. It will achieve nothing good. You … and … I … are … over.”
Her last sentence studded with
pauses between clearly enunciated words.
So, that cleared that up.
Carl was an old beau of Callie’s, not apprentice muscle for Johnny Breeze. At least that much was good news. She had stopped seeing him and, feeling possessive, he had began to follow her.
“But Callie … why? What happened?”
“What happened is what happens to most couples who see each other for a while. The match isn’t right. It withers and dies. You’re a nice enough guy, Carl, just not the guy for me. I apologize for being blunt, but I have noticed you following us on several different nights. And I am angry enough to forget my manners.”
turned from Callie. “You’re Matt Kile the columnist, right?” He extended his hand.
I grasped it. “That’s correct.”
Carl turned his attention back to Callie. “Let’s have dinner tomorrow night. Talk this through.”
“There is nothing to talk through,
Carl. From now on I’m going to be seeing a lot of Matt Kile and none of you. So, there is no reason to follow us. My decision is final. It will not change even if Mr. Kile decides to no longer see me.”
put his hand on Callie’s shoulder.
I knocked it off. “Nothing has been said that suggests in the slightest way that your hand is welcome on the lady’s person.”
Callie and I sat quietly staring at Carl. His eyes flittered back and forth between us. After a minute or two, Carl backed away, turned, and went back to his table. He didn’t sit down. After throwing some money on the table, he briskly walked out the door.
“It wasn’t of your doing. In fairness, I can understand Carl being unhappy.”
Callie smiled and put
the warm, soft palm of her hand on my cheek.
After dinner we d
rove out to Malibu for a walk on the beach. We had planned to go clubbing first, but decided we would be more apt to find Frances if we went to the clubs later.
fter walking partway down to the surf we sat on a log and removed our shoes. The smell of a large clump of washed up kelp filled our nostrils. Callie stood and put a foot on my knee. I made no effort to avert my eyes and she made none to turn aside as she released the hug her garter belt had of each of her silk stockings. In a slow and entertaining fashion she rolled the first stocking down her thigh, over her knee, and past her toes. Next, she put her second foot on my knee and did the same thing. When she finished I frowned, disappointed she didn’t have more legs.
hen we stood, she tucked her silk hose into the inside breast pocket of my jacket. The whole thing had felt very sexy and highly intimate.
e held hands before walking onto the firm sand along the edge of the water. When the first ebb and flow touched our feet, Callie brought up what I had expected her to bring up during dinner.
“When were you going to tell me about your near
ly being killed? Not just once, but twice.”