Chapter Five VI
I wish I could, but I don't want to.
Phoebe, from Friends
Janah’s working it, “I’ve got an idea. You and I just met, I’m not even from here, I live in Texas with Mari (Nikko’s current stage name.) we never got around to my name, I’m Sarah. We’re on a break from work, and thought it would be fun to check out southern California. Never been here before, won’t likely be back. The point is, I’ve found it helpful to just unload a problem, particularly to someone who isn’t personally involved. For instance, I talked over being gay with a gay guy I knew when I was a freshman in high school. We happened to chat at a bookstore, in the gay and lesbian section. I told him everything about myself, my couple of tentative forays into girl sex, how my parents freaked, the whole deal. He listened, hugged me, and we parted. I knew I’d never see him again, that’s why I told him. It felt good to do a brain cleanse with someone who wouldn’t judge, and it wouldn’t matter if they did, I’d never know.”
Sherry takes a bit to digest the suggestion, as I suspected, her razor needs sharpening, but she catches the idea.
She’s tentative, “I can’t see how it hurts any worse, I haven’t talked about it to anyone. I mean, some of the girls know Rose and I played around. But they knew Rose. She had a fling with at least one other dancer here, and maybe some other clubs. Like I said, it couldn’t have been often, she told me about guys she’d been with, just surfers, nobody serious. She made it a point to say she’d eventually move on. Hell, I didn’t care, half the girls who dance here like girls. Sex is the least of our problems.”
Janah, “Care to tell me about your other relationships? No names, just to talk.”
Sherry, “Like I said, some nights, just to unwind, one or another girl would come over to my place. We’d smoke a joint, be silly, make out and things would go where they tend to go. It was all fun. Some of the girls had boyfriends. A couple tried to talk me into threesomes, but boys ain’t my thing, not even to entertain them by going down on their girlfriends. Play acting on stage is one thing. I’ve done threesomes, all girls.”
Janah, “What about family?”
“My parents were stoners. After fifth grade, I raised myself. No excuses, no parental abuse. Shit, they were too zonked most of the time to know what they were doing, much less what I was up to. But they left me be, I got myself to the dental clinics and the doctor when I needed to. Grow up quick when you grow up poor.”
Coming up the way she had, Sherry has street sense, but isn’t a thinker, doesn’t see consequences, only that she’d always been able to handle them. This time, she may have overstepped her capacity. It’s not unusual, if we knew our bullshit was bullshit, we wouldn’t believe it.
Janah decides it best to tread carefully, not play private investigator, “I did one guy, one time. He was so pretty he could have been a girl with a schlong. All shaved, tanned, long blond hair. I wanted to find out what it was like to suck a dick. I gave it a go.”
“Did you screw him, or just suck him off?”
“Only oral, it was okay, it didn’t have the smooth intimacy of making love to a woman. Even a hookup. Do you know what I mean?”
“Yeah, kinda. I never did a guy, not more than a hand job in one of the rooms. One of the guys was like the one you did. He was muscular, swimmer muscular, not bodybuilder like the beach guys. Smooth body, not a hair, not even on his head.”
“Dang, no shit?”
“He came in a few times. Always waited around for me, then we went up to a room, he stripped and I jerked him off with oil. I gave him a line of crap about how beautiful he was, how he almost made me want to go straight. That took him by surprise, I almost laughed in his face. But he paid well, I finished up and he took off.
“He didn’t say anything else?”
Sherry has a perplexed look, “He was kind of pissed. I was counting the money, I think he said something like, ‘I finally get a girl that turns me on and she’s a dyke.’”
“Do a lot of the men get…possessive?”
“Some. They think they’ve discovered a mistress, or even a next wife. Couple of girls I know married up, way up.”
“Hope they got the financials out of the way, everybody's clear on who gets what when the love boat sinks.”
Sherry laughs, “Gee girl, I wish you were sticking around longer. You and your pal are fun. I haven’t been able to just chill and laugh for weeks. I know I’m just a body, not much of a brain. It hurts, about Rose, a cute girl enjoying life, it hurts a lot”
She sighs, “I need to get past it.”
“Here’s what I do when something goes badly wrong. Maybe it will help you, I’m no therapist, so if you want me to skip it, just say so.”
“No, you’ve been nice, it’s helped to talk. Lay it on me.”
Janah appears reluctant, to reassure Sherry she isn’t going to psychobabble, “I’ve found it helps, in the long run, to sit with the pain. Stare it in the face, feel it. Not call it a name, just feel whatever I feel when I find a painful memory coming on. It even works when I actually feel physical pain. I stay with it, feel every part of it. I don’t call it anything.”
“Seems like it would make it worse.”
“It can, for a time, but eventually it’s done. When I try to escape, take a pill, go to a movie, distract myself, it works for a little while, but the pain returns. It becomes a cycle, pain, hurt, escape, then the movie ends, and the pain comes back. When I stare that sucker down, stay, not run away, it gives up. I don’t know, I’ve never told anyone this. Maybe it’s just me.”
“I’ve tried escapes, they aren’t doing it. I think I’ll take a few days off, stay at home, not go off on a vacation, not call a bunch of friends, not distract myself. I’m gonna give your thing a shot.”
“Here’s a number. If it gets too scary, call me. I’ll be around. Don’t call to play, that’s fun, but it’s just another distraction. You can tell me when it’s done. Trust me, just on this one thing. You’ll know, and it will be over.”
“In a weird way, this makes sense. Feel it ‘til it’s done.”
“Got me curious, what happened to the guy who wanted to be the boyfriend, the shaved dude?’
Sherry frowns, “He gave it a couple more shots, or, I gave him a couple more shots. The last time, he was different, cold. I did the usual, but he never got off. Stood, yanked up his pants and walked out, said ‘You just don’t so it for me anymore.’ Never saw him again, didn’t miss him.”
“I’ll tell you something funny, about my one trip to the boy side, his name was Dick.”
Sherry laughs, “Coulda guessed.”
“It gets better, his last name was Weiner.”
Sherry explodes in giggles, “Get fucking out, Dick Weiner? Who would name their kid Dick Weiner.”
“Mom’s dad’s name was Richard. It wasn’t until he got to school he became Dick. Parents called him Richard, they never made the inevitable connection.”
“I almost feel sorry for him.”
“He learned to make a joke out of it. I admired him for just chilling into the whole thing. Probably should have run for office. Who could resist voting for Dick Weiner?”
“Might a been President. President Weiner.”
Janah pops the loaded question, “Don’t suppose your bald boy has a weird a name.”
“Nope. The pretty boy has a pretty boy name, Press Prescott. Said it was really Preston, but it sounded too, what did he call it?.....pre….shit, what’s the word?”
Sherry beams, “Yeah, pretentious. Like all uppity and stuff.”
“That’s what it means.”
“I’m sooo glad you showed up. I was getting totally down. We had fun, and, more important, you opened a door for me to deal with Rose. I owe you girl. Take your money back.”
“Sherry, you’re going to take time off. You’ll need the cash honey. I got money, my dad, he’s got his faults, but he’s rolling in dough, and he’s a sucker for his little girl. I’d love to stop by in a week, see what’s doing. Want to give me a phone number, or an address?”
“Really, you’d do that? Man, I would so love that. Nothing to write with here.”
“Just tell me, I won’t forget. I got this thing about numbers and stuff.”
Sherry gives her a number and an address, that, according to Janah’s memory of the Google map, is directly on a line from the 4play, to the abandoned warehouse where Rose was found.
Chapter Six VI
Sex without love is an empty gesture.
But as empty gestures go, it’s one of the best.
We leave the club, return to the hotel. Fade to black at midnight.
Janah calls Mrs. Epstein, “Hi Mrs. E, we’re still in Santa Monica, running up a gigantic hotel bill.”
“A twenty thousand dollar bill isn’t going to make a dent in anything. Does this fall under the temple guidelines?”
Janah, “Maybe, but I’m not docking the Society for a lavish hotel suite, we’ll pay the bill. I’m sort of working in a vacation around the project anyway. Still, if this drags on more than two more days, we’re moving downscale. Five hundred a night won’t deprive us of much. We’ll cover details when we return, but, for now, I need to know anything and everything about Preston, ‘Press,’ Prescott. He lives in the Venice Beach, or the Santa Monica area, I think, could be anywhere in LA county. I was being careful about prying information from our source, I’m not sure the girl knows an address anyway. I did find out he drives a Mercedes-Benz C class, don’t know the model or the plate. It isn’t a rental.”
“When you return and get your business affairs in order, we have things for you to do.”
“Nikko will be delighted. She’ll get that happy look that is indistinguishable from her regular look.”
“Nishiko isn’t a smiley face, that’s Daphne’s department. They counter each other beautifully, in every meaning of the word.”
“I’ve noticed. Talk soon.”
Janah turns to me, “Call Joan Wayne, ask her over for dinner.”
“You mean for sex.”
“I didn’t say anything about food.”
Nikko, “Sheesh, you are relentlessly horny.”
Janah grins, no point in arguing the obvious.
We eat a light breakfast, dress and go for a long walk. This time, we skip the Ocean Walk and go to the Promenade in Santa Monica, a closed street strip mall. No, not that kind of strip, stores, restaurants, benches and outside tables. We tourist, nothing to do until we hear from the Society and hook up with Joan Wayne. After completing the round, window shopping, we stop at Café Bellagio. Janah has a Verdure Panini, veggie stuff on grilled Ciabatta, I have a vanilla gelato and coffee, Nikko, tea. Janah compliments the sandwich , the gelato is excellent, tea is tea. I know there are tea snobs, like for every food or drink under the sun, but Nikko isn’t picky. She’s participated in our tea ceremonies. Nothing commercial is quite the same, but it’s the ceremony that separates it, otherwise, it’s a cup of tea. I suppose I’m committing tea heresy, oh well, nothing to do but take my stoning from the Tea Taliban.
Refreshed, we continue our tour, stop in a few shops, buy nothing. We live in Manhattan, everything here we can get there and not fly it back. Besides a preference for an upscale hotel from time to time, and the occasional antique dress for Janah, we aren’t really into having things. That doesn’t include a variety of weapons, but those are more like tools…for our tradecraft.
Around four we make our way back to Shutters, declothe and bathe. Nikko and I decide to buff, pedicure and manicure Janah, then while she dries, we do each other, not sex nasty reader, nails. Nikko likes shiny black fingernail polish, go figure. I read an article about the new wave of colorful nail polishes. I think it’s neat. Lots of comments revolve around it being 'unsuitable.' I wonder how there could be a nail polish Taliban. It occurs to me there is a Taliban for damn near everything, people who have judgments about tattoos, piercings, educational background, who is an 'American' and who isn't. Don't these people have jobs, things they need to look after, or do they have all day to wallow in opinions?
After we’d played Barbie and sat on the balcony not thinking, six o’clock has crept up on us. Joan Wayne calls, I can hear soft splashing in Janah’s head.
“I’m de-scenting my usual formaldehyde perfume with a long bath, then I’ll be over about seven, good?”
Joan Wayne clicks.
Janah makes a careful study of the Shutters menu, and just as Joan Wayne arrives, so does a rolling cart.
Actually, two carts, carrying:
Roasted Beets with Oranges and honey-thyme vinaigrette
Fettuccini Alfredo with truffles, butter and Reggiano
Sea Bass with potatoes and spinach
Scallops with pea puree and Morel mushrooms
Medium rare and rare Rib Eye steaks
Mac & Cheese
French Fries and
All the dessert options tend to be melty things that need to be served cold. We decide to see how dinner goes then post coital refreshment might be called for.
Joan Wayne, “Who else is coming to dinner?”
Janah giggles, “I like to have a lot of choices. I’m veg, Daphne likes fish, Nikko and you are carnivores, feel free to mix and match any of it though.”
We’d walked a thousand miles, and except for Janah’s Panini, hadn’t lunched. We wipe out most everything. Even Nikko, who found heaven in the rib eye and Caesar salad.
While we digest, we stick to the room, the balcony is too public for our conversation. I turn on the TV, play a movie called The Mechanic. It has lots of action and the requisite noisy gunshots, squealing tires, crashes and explosions.
Not loud enough to annoy neighbors, just to offset any discussion. We sit on the couch and two comfortable chairs facing each other.
Janah, “We’ve been busy.”
I don’t want to make you reread what you just read, which is what Janah tells Joan Wayne, including the sex part. It doesn’t get explicit, Joan Wayne gets the idea.
Joan Wayne says, expressionless, “It’s a hard life.”
“Well, our friend Sherry of the wasp waist and hard body is gay, downright giddy gay. And she is genuinely upset about Rose.”
Joan Wayne quotes Fran Leibowitz, “Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who don't are ladies. This is, however, a rather archaic usage of the word. Should one of you boys happen upon a girl who doesn't put out, don’t jump to the conclusion that you have found a lady. What you have probably found is a lesbian.”
We screech, “Joan Wayne, you are a trip.”
Joan Wayne, “Still waiting to find out more on Prescott?”
Janah, “Yes, there must be something interesting, Mrs. Epstein called while we were walking today and said it would take a while longer. She didn’t say why, I didn’t ask.”
Janah’s phone rings, like one of those weird coincidences you find in novels.
“Hello Mrs. E, Joan Wayne says hi.”
“That little adorable thing. She still cowboy-ed up? Quotes irrelevant to the discussion?”
“Oh, yes. We just got one, from a movie called The Cowboys.”
“It's a hard life.”
“Bonus points! Dang, how’d you remember that?”
“Good question, it popped in my head, I have no clue. I’ll have to ask Bernie, although he’ll just light a cigar and say, 'It’s interesting, the human mind,' I don’t know why I bother.”
“It’s his way of saying he doesn’t know, and he’s right. There’s some ephemeral neuronal connection you got when I mentioned the name of the movie.”
“Wonder what…never mind, who knows? Let me give you what we have.”
Mrs. Epstein, “Your Press Prescott is BPD with psychotic tendencies. He’s dangerous. It appears he got pushed over the edge, likely by the rejection of the girl. He thought Sherry would be a pushover to buy, like a commodity. Rose is likely the result of his break with an already shaky reality.”
“You know where he lives, of course.”
“Honey, I know what he had for lunch, where he went for dinner, and what club he’s at right now. I know who he’s with, and I know why. Go to the site, log-in as l-z-z-y, password wyne, followed by Bernie’s birth year. It’s after one here, I’m strangely not tired. Going for a large Cabernet and wind down.”
“Thank you. Please leave instructions on the site as to where we can pick up the usual assortment of psychoactive pharmaceuticals. I’ll need to move some brain furniture, and this may be a difficult move. I’ll get back to you with a resolution.”
They click off.
I’d already fired up the laptop and gone to the site, Janah has Dr. Epstein’s birthday in her head. We all huddle around the desk, reading about a world class, professional asshole, Press Prescott, BPD.
Prescott was born into privilege. His parents are dead, mysterious yachting accident off the Baja peninsula thirteen years earlier. Little Press just fourteen at the time, found floating in the water a mile from the boat, clinging to a surfboard. According to the inquest, he didn’t know what happened. He was paddling around on his board, there were no waves, the boat went up out of the blue, turned black and orange, back into the blue. Prescott didn’t have a scratch. The boat, what was left floating around, yielded no useful clues. Leak in a petrol line, fuel spreads around, a spark, a lit cigarette or turn on the stove in the galley, and Boom!
Little Press became Press Prescott, BPD, PAH, TFB…borderline personality disorder, professional asshole, trust fund baby.
Mommy and Daddy had conveniently covered up signs of a damaged mind before their world exploded. Prescott’s subsequent delinquencies were chalked up to the horrifying experience the poor dear had in the deep blue. The idea that Press popped a fuel line, hopped overboard, and tossed a match while paddling out on his board never came up.
Subsequently, he beat up a girl, stalked several others, nearly kicked a guy to death after a surprise knee-capping made it no fight at all. Prescott said he was defending himself. There were no witnesses. He’d managed to give himself a bloody nose and had enough savvy to bruise the guy’s knuckles to back up his story. The family pressed charges, they were dropped, two teenagers in a fight over a girl. The family pressed civil charges, Prescott didn’t pay a dime, two teens in a fight over a girl.
The Society went where no man has gone before, sealed juvenile records, then they went to work on his adult life. It’s a mess, busted once for assault, pay-off, walk. He never got fired because he never had to work. He had a string of disjointed, fiery and ugly relationships. The last with a dancer, not Sherry, who had apparently moved to another galaxy. Lots of advantages to boat ownership, as Prescott learned early. You can wash everything, or just throw stuff overboard twenty miles out. They need constant cleaning, which removes the nasty stuff, like blood, body parts and stray hairs. As an added precaution, Prescott doesn’t live on his boat, a captain rents it from him for charters. That left the odd fingerprint, even a little blood from a misplaced fishing hook, bait and fish guts, nothing to relate to Prescott. Hundreds of people had been on his boat when he wasn’t.
When Prescott used the boat, he didn’t use the captain or a crew. Just him and a female guest or two. He doesn’t have friends long enough to develop into friendship, he has money. Buying companionship is simple, neat, uncomplicated.
Joan Wayne, “If this isn’t our guy, it’s a flipping miracle, and I don’t believe in miracles. My tiny contribution comes from following your suggestion. I went over the parts that weren’t flayed, and took another look into the screwdriver holes. There was nothing there but the hole, no residue from anything other than some other part of her body. Like pieces of the ossicles and some cochlear fluid inside one eyeball, it means he did the ears first, then the eyes. He started with pure pain, stuck the screwdriver under both of her big toenails. Since the skin on the foot remained intact, the injury to the toenail was obvious. Under the right big toe, there was a tiny piece of what looked like dirt, almost too little to analyze. But it turned out to be Sierra 25W-40 Marine Engine Oil.”
Janah, “That does it then. Joan Wayne, you did splendidly. The engine oil by itself doesn’t tie it to Prescott directly. I doubt he has any idea what oil the boat requires. But, geez, a guy who owns a boat, with borderline personality disorder and psychotic tendencies, who is completely shaved and tries to hook-up with Rose’s good friend, only to find out she’s a lesbian. The odds against are astronomical. This is our boy.”
Nikko, “Why didn’t he take her to the boat and make her disappear?”
Janah, “Not a clue. Maybe I’ll ask him.”
Joan Wayne, “Now what?”
Joan Wayne, “I was assuming that. I mean…..”
Janah laughs, “I know what you mean. You don’t want to know Joan Wayne. You want to be as far away from this as you can get. Does anyone, anyone at all, know you’ve talked to us?”
Joan Wayne makes a ‘duh’ expression.
“Good, keep it that way, like until the day after forever. We’ll call when we’re back in Manhattan. You will not get any details, we were never here. Who is here are girls named Sarah, Liz and Mari. You don’t know them, you don’t know their last names, what city they’re from or even if they are US citizens. What you don’t know could fill a terabyte drive. You good with that? If not, we leave tomorrow and Press does whatever it is Press does. I don’t mean to sound cold, but this will not be pretty, and we don’t do inquests, or testimony or any of those legalities you have to endure. The only other option you have is to try and dispel an alibi for the time Rose was murdered, which is vague, link his past behavior, which may not be admissible, his connection to Sherry and a miniscule drop of engine oil and turn that into a case.”
Joan Wayne, “I got six stiffs on the slabs to cut and paste tomorrow. Rose doesn’t even have a toe tag anymore. I don’t know you, or these other two queers. Can we have sex now?”
Some questions have only one answer.
Chapter Seven VI
Surf…Sun… Sand… Sociopaths
It takes a day to assemble supplies, get a panel van and a quiet location to park it.
Prescott lives in an upscale section of Malibu, not Santa Monica. It's all Los Angeles county, over four thousand square miles, bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. House in the impoverished under five million category. Still, for that, you get a view of the ocean, not beachfront, up in the hills. The good news is lots of privacy, and we can approach the house ignoring neighbors.
Prescott, we learned, has a once a week housekeeper, Luisa, and a German Shepherd named Dog.
The housekeeper comes on Fridays, Prescott is paranoid, he makes sure to be home, she doesn’t have a key. He isn’t dumb enough to try and take advantage of the housekeeper. It doesn’t hurt that she’s about five-four and two hundred pounds, not Prescott’s type. He generally sits in the sun on his patio, she arrives at ten, is finished by noon or twelve thirty.
We relocate up the coast to the Malibu Beach Inn, king suite, ocean view, down from twenty-three hundred a night at Shutters to just under eight, practically free by comparison. We get there at lunchtime, eat in the restaurant.
Janah has a grilled vegetarian patty sandwich, I have baked cod and fries, Diet Coke, Nikko eats a fry, a few bites of my fish. She and Janah wipe two pots of green tea. Upscale hotel typical, ocean view balcony as promised. We have few days to kill while Surveillance tracks Prescott. It’s Tuesday, we ‘re going for him Friday. The person who rings the bell at ten will not be Luisa. She drives a black Chevy Suburban, so we get a black Chevy Suburban instead of a panel van. If Prescott glances out the window he’ll see the SUV he’s used to seeing and open the door. Familiarity and habit work for efficiency, they also take the brain out of gear, you quit noticing
We walk the beach, Janah works out in the spa, yoga in the room. Nikko and I rent a racquetball court for the hardwood floors, and practice forms, kata, and kendo. We bought a couple of cheap bamboo swords in Little Tokyo. We get in two to three hours a day, do sprints on the beach while Janah lounges on the balcony, or walks around the room on her hands.
We rent movies we sort of watch and make love. It seems almost a shame for Friday to show up, but show up it does.
Luisa got a call Thursday saying Prescott would be traveling, not altogether unusual, he would call on his return. He generally gives her the day’s pay when he didn’t use her services. He didn’t trust her, but he didn’t want to break in a new housekeeper either. To him, it’s small change, and she gets a paid holiday.
I do a sneak up and check the grounds, the dog is outside. I shoot it with a tranquilizer dart just as Janah knocks on the door.
Prescott opens it, gets as far as, “Come in Lu…then Nikko dims his lights with brass knuckles. She loves her toys.
There’s a master bath we could play basketball in. We drag him there. There are no outside windows, the only exit is the door to the bedroom. We seal the house tight. Minders watch the house. If there is something unexpected, they’ll text me or handle it. The security system is off, he was expecting the maid.
Nikko and I cover the bathroom floor with a plastic tarp, I drag two straight back chairs from the dining room while Janah unpacks supplies. She tapes a frozen gel pack to the side of his head to reduce swelling after applying a little antiseptic to busted cheek where Nikko smashed him. Easy work, he’s bald. We strip him, he’s really bald.
“I need to find out what kind of razors this chump uses.”
Nikko, “He’s got a standard Gillette and a can of Satin Care in the shower.”
“Then he’s just cleaned up.”
“Shower floor is damp, dab of cream on the ledge.”
“I like my psychos neat. He’s pretty well equipped too,” his cock is limp, I guess an eight hard, but I’m no expert, or even an amateur.
Janah sticks a tab of LSD under his tongue, “You two quit dicking around. Get the light and video set up.”
I deal with the video camera, Nikko sets up adjustable stand with a halogen light and a strobe. We’re going to have our own little disco fever. Prescott is wired to the arms of the chair, his ankles to the legs. I put a belt around his stomach, around the back of the chair. We use zip ties only occasionally, they can be broken if you know what you’re doing, we use picture wire.
“Place the flat metal end of the buckle into the thingamajig, and pull the end so your seatbelt is low and tight. That way, when the plane crashes from thirty eight thousand feet, or just explodes in the sky, it will be easier to find at least part of your body. Now, turn off all the fun stuff you have, and let’s take an interminable ride around the tarmac. I know it would make more sense to have the takeoff and landing strips closer to the gate, but that would mean we wouldn’t have an excuse for being late. See, we got the FAA to perversely count only the time we are actually flying as takeoff and arrival time, even if you sit at the gate for an hour while we fix some cheap plastic crapola. Now sit back, and hope the guy in the front left actually knows how to fly this thing. He’s twelve years old, we got him for six dollars a day from Guatemala. You can find a Bible, a Koran and prayer beads in the seatback pocket in front of you. Although, if you aren’t a Christian, then what the fuck are you doing in our country? Thank you for flying PFQD, Pray For a Quick Death airlines. Our flight attendants will be coming around with life insurance policies, good for the duration of the flight. If you don’t buy one, I’ll keep jabbering away on this microphone until you do. Once everyone has purchased a policy, I’ll still interrupt your novel, or the crap you’re doing with spreadsheets on your laptop, with endless announcements telling you El Capitan, has turned on this or that light, which means we don’t have to serve you anything and you can’t get up and pee. My name is Lucifer, today I’ll be working with Iblis and Beelzebub.”
Janah has the syringe in his arm, Nikko sets up the IV stand. Janah lays out the Ketamine and the Sodium Pentothal.
I’m busy singing,
“One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall”
Janah, “If you’re done, Grace, pour me a tea please,” I pull out the thermos.
Nikko puts Bose headphones on Prescott’s head and begins his entertainment with the long version of The End, by The Doors, you’ll remember it from Apocalypse Now. It’s interspersed with Marlon Brando repeating “the horror” in a loop underneath the song.
Naturally, this is followed by chopper blades whopping almost too quietly, like from a distance, and Robert Duvall screaming “Charlie don’t surf!!” There is a list of other metal, Rob Zombie is always good for a few laughs, then real metal, like a rusty warehouse door coming down, a long car crash, a high pitched whine, a dental drill right into his brain. Two hours in, Janah gives Pressie another tab.
Then, his world stops. The sound in the headphones goes to high volume white noise, lights out, the bathroom black as death. We turn his air conditioning down to freeze and cover his head, shoulders and thighs in gel packs. He will create his own hallucinations for a while. Before we go to search the rest of the house, she taps in a hit of amphetamine, checks his heart rate, he’s clipping along like a thoroughbred in the stretch.
His computers have the usual porn, there seems to be about a hundred girls, pros who try to make a living at it, plus a selection of amateur shots. Janah has checked out some of the more popular thumbnail sites, she likes pretty girls after all. She wonders who actually signs up to the pay part. The girls show so much free, we couldn’t figure out what body part in what position would be possible on the pay site. We presume the suckers pay for video, better resolution and hear the girls tell lies about themselves. How much resolution of a vagina do you need? But, I digress.
After twenty four hours of no sleep, freezing and head banging, Janah introduces Prescott to Ketamine, which anesthetizes him. She has PCP as well, but he’d had enough hallucinations on the LSD to skip it for now. She presses the plunger, now filled with Sodium Pentothal, and the debriefing begins.
Chapter Eight VI
and they shall seek peace,
and there shall be none.
Prescott doesn’t have friends, his cell never rings. He got a text for an upgrade from ATT. This is a lonely dude. Sheesh, Janah gets ten calls a day from Chapmans students, former Chapmans students, a half dozen from the temple, then Lacy, the moms, Joan Wayne and Sonia.
While we let Prescott sit in the dark, before Janah starts washing his damaged brain, I’d called the moms, very brief, the meditation is going well, we’d be back from Florida in a couple of days. Sis said she’d call the relevant parties.
In another eight hours, Janah has Prescott believing she’s his bestie ever. She knows the borderline mindset, how everything is somebody else’s fault, that they were abused or under-attended as children, they are responsible for nothing, not even their own feelings. Somebody is always ‘making them feel’ one way or another.
Borderlines are amazingly adept at getting into your head. They come off as hurt, you empathize, whatever you tell them turns into one of two things. Stuff they use against you, like blackmail, or complaints that you ‘made’ them feel bad.
With a borderline, psychosis is never far from the surface, and a friend or partner can be having a drink talking about nothing of significance, and the borderline will become Satanic right in front of their eyes. They have a neat trick of doing it one on one, less so in groups. Borderline men are frequently misdiagnosed as antisocial personality disorder, which is the catch-all for sociopath/psychopath. When you drill down into their behavior, they aren’t all that much different, it’s believed the causes are different. Janah doesn’t care about the label, borderline, sociopath, psychopath. They roll over other people with malice and glee. She cares about that, negatively.
If borderlines start talking, or meet in a chat room, like crazyboards.org, many actually admit they like making people miserable, they joke about it. (Yes, there is a 'support' forum for the mentals. It's a blazingly weird idea, people who can't keep it together, talking with other people who can't keep it together. You want join in while bipolars chat with other bipolars, schizophrenics chat with either God, voices or other schizophrenics, or any of the plethora of other DSM labels, if there's a diagnosis, there's a chat room.) Inevitably with borderlines, a pity party starts, they revert to how bad they feel, and how they would be all better if some alleged offender just apologized. Of course, any apology is seized as weakness, and the alleged offense will be revisited again and again, vehemently. With a borderline, whatever you say can and will be used against you, repeatedly. Submissive types are attracted to borderlines for obvious reasons. They want to be tortured, borderlines are happy to psychologically waterboard.
Borderlines like Prescott, with psychotic episodes, are particularly dangerous. They hate themselves, despise themselves, but since nothing could possibly be their fault, that hate is projected to a friend, a spouse, a family member or any target in the vicinity.
Enough psych lesson, Janah is still in the bathroom, in a chair across from Prescott. He’s chock full of SP. The room is dark, just the bright halogen light in his eyes. Nikko and I lean against one wall, silent, the video records.
Janah, “So, Press, there was this one friend I had, who went out of his way to make me feel like I was stupid. Everything I did, he had to show me how to do better.”
Press, “My mother was like that, never good enough, always on my ass about grades, girlfriends weren’t good enough, why did I accuse my teacher of molesting me. The prick did molest me. I hate him.”
“Fucking A. My brother, five years older than me, used to come in my room at night and make me suck him off. I was, like ten or something. I kept telling my mother, she never believed me.”
“Godamn right. You try and get people to see what’s going on, and they just fuck with you. Well, I found out how to fuck with them.”
Janah doesn’t want to press Press too hard, she’s to find a way to get him to confess without freaking him. The drugs probably overrode the possibility, but she doesn’t want a psychotic break and have to back up and start over.
Janah, “Once, and this has to be between you and me, I was dating this guy. He was really hot, like you. And I come home, guess what, you’ll never fucking guess.”
Prescott is all ears, a little slow, but into the conversation, “What’d he do, you find him with a girl, maybe your sister, or some slut?”
“Worse, I found him going down on a guy, right in our own apartment. I come in the back door, walk through the kitchen, and here’s my boyfriend, on his knees, with a guy’s dick in his mouth. I watched the whole thing. He was totally into it. I watched the guy jerk off into his mouth, he swallowed it down and smiled. Told the dude he loved his dick and wanted all the cum he could get.”
“Best part is, I got it all on my phone.”
“Fuck yeah! Cool.”
“Then, the asshole goes to the bathroom, and get this, comes back with a warm washrag and a dry towel, gets on his knees again and wipes him up, and kisses his cock while he’s drying it off. Then, he thanks him and gives him a hundred.”
“What did you do?”
“The guy left through the front door, I came out of the kitchen and looked right at my soon to be former boyfriend and said, ‘So, you love cock?'He freaked, said it was a one off, he was just experimenting, all the shit. I saw an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“You made him pay.”
“Oh yeah. I got serious jewelry, a fucking new car and a thousands in new clothes and accessories over the next couple of months. I maxed his cards, and made him get more. When the well dried up, I told his friends what I caught him doing, then once I was sure he didn’t have jack, and his guy buddies bailed, I split with another guy. An older dude, with lots of money and happy with the occasional blow job. He was fun for a while. But I fucked around on him big time. I even told him about it. He was so pussy whipped, he just went along. I’d make a deal out of going to some nice club, get all hoochied up, and leave the bar with some other guy, right in front of his ass.”
“I love to make them eat my bullshit,” they laugh together.
Prescott continues, “I got one sounds like yours, whore fucked me over.”
Janah presses the plunger, lets Prescott settle for a bit, “My dick sucking boyfriend was named Tim.”
Prescott can’t help himself now, “My whore was named Sherry.”
Bingo!! I check the video, still taking it all in, I settle back against the wall next to Nishiko.
Janah, “She screwed you over no doubt, they always do, unless you screw them over first.”
“I suspected something, they way she looked at women. I followed her. She was hooking up with a girl. I like dancers, go to clubs. I know they’re pretending, I don’t give a shit, I’m pretending too, you know what I mean?”
“Sure do, you have to pretend, or people will screw you.”
He seems to lose his train of thought, Janah puts him back on the rails, “So Sherry was, what, like doing girls?”
“Just like your, uh, whoever, was sucking dick. Sherry was a muff diver, little cunt named Rose. Bitch thought she was all that. Up and down the beach, pretending to be pals with everyone. I found out she did guys and girls.”
Janah tries a circuitous route, “Bitch needs to pay, for screwing you over, right?’
Prescott smiles, into it, “I fixed her ass alright. There is no more Rose. Little cunt paid and paid royally. I figure she took Sherry for a ride, maybe had something on her. I knew Sherry loved me, she did whatever I wanted. I mean, you know, I gave her a few bucks, but I liked giving her stuff. Then she did that to me.”
Janah, “Man, I wish I had thought of that with Tim's boyfriend. Shot his ass or something, made it hurt first,” she presses the plunger again. SP flows into Prescott’s arm, he has no idea.
“I shot her alright, with a screwdriver. She screwed me, I screwed her, several times. She was so proud of her body, smooth tanned skin. I got rid of it for her, took it right off.”
Janah laughs, “You’re yanking my chain. You skinned her? Get out! I gotta remember that, is it hard?”
“Takes time. I practiced on a dog, then a pig, hot shit Rose isn’t hot now, she’s cold.”
Janah’s had enough, which means Nikko is way over enough.
Janah turns to her, Do what you have to do and let’s get going. No torture, but this is a dead dog.
Janah switches syringes, fills him up with Ketamine again, he won’t feel anything. That’s all she’s willing to do for him. I had his accounts, passwords, I decapitate his assets, Nikko decapitates him. We leave.
Sherry got a cashier’s check for just over three million dollars. She was also informed not to feel guilty about it, a similar check had shown up as an anonymous donation to a center for abused women. A note from nobody suggested a trustworthy law firm, the senior partner of which is a woman. We assume Sherry can work out why Janah didn’t call again, and with three million, she would be most forgiving.
We took the remaining million in cash, the Society will take possession of the house and sell it, we’ll split the proceeds, maybe four million.
Joan Wayne drives up to Malibu while the paperwork is in progress, we didn’t discuss Press Prescott, we didn’t discuss Sherry or Rose.
We didn’t discuss much of anything, it’s hard to chat while your tongue is occupied elsewhere.