VIOLETby Tray Samuel Caladan
A slick, streetwise private ‘dick’ had a reputation in the area of North Bedford Street. Chris Vega was a handsome man that could have had about any woman he wanted. Instead, his life was wrapped up in daily work where he spied on husbands for wives and spied on wives for husbands. Detective work that he once thought was exciting had boiled down to photography behind trees and bushes. He dreamed that he worked for the feds on important cases of international espionage. But he knew the government would never pay as much as the ‘Hollywood-types.’
He was bored. He also desired to be a racecar driver one day after retirement. There were various racecar photos in both front and backroom.
Then she walked in the door.
Vega was in the larger backroom. He pressed the intercom button and responded to the cheap buzzer. “Yeah, what is it?”
“Ah…someone to see you, Chris. And she’s a…”
“She’s a what, Jas?”
“You’ll see,” the detective’s receptionist/secretary stated in a sexy way.
“Hmm. You know the procedure, toots. Have’er fill out the short form and send her in.”
“Aye, aye, boss.”
In a minute, the most attractive blonde the P.I. had ever seen entered the backroom. She wore a very violet evening dress and it was only 10:10 AM.
Chris Vega was floored. He was a good actor and kept his cool. He knew the next guy would be ‘butter in her hands.’ He, also, would be a lump of warm butter with her perfect arms around him. But he wasn’t going to let this “looker” know it.
A deep, breathless, dreamy and scared voice from the ‘vision’ in dark purple said, “Mr. Vega, I want you to help me. Some men are following me.”
The detective thought to calm her tension with a flirtatious joke. “Really? I can’t imagine why.”
She sat. Her gown crinkled. She said softly, “You’re too kind.”
Chris sat behind the desk and replied, “You don’t know me, doll.” He lit an unfiltered Old Gold cigarette and offered her one. “What’s yer name, kid?”
They smoked and the smoke lingered in the air.
“Violet…MISS Violet Luyten.”
“Like the dress?”
“And…and the flower, Mr. Vega,” Violet declared through her worries and fears.
Chris saw it in her gorgeous blue eyes. He got down to business with the next question. “Now who’s chasing you, Miss Luyten, and for what specific reason? If you know or I should ask: What do you know?”
She waved the cigarette and looked up as if toward Heaven. “It’s like I dream; or as…as if I had been drugged and can’t remember.”
“You know your name; can’t be the victim of amnesia…or not total. Go on.”
“I think…I think mob boss Flo Ross is involved…”
“Kingpin LA boss of organized crime?” He perked up more.
She had tears in her big eyes as if the criminal had done unspeakable things to her. She was desperate and shook a bit. Violet put the cigarette out in a filled ashtray. “Yes.”
Chris Vega was very interested in the case. He said, “That means his right-hand man and enforcer, Zinny Wolf, is involved too.”
“Yes! I see wolves. I see wolves, Mr. Vega!” She rose from the chair after the exclamation.
He also responded; got up and lunged at her.
They met and embraced somewhere to the side of the desk. It was a warm and tender embrace, too affectionate for strangers who had just met. She needed the comfort and he complied without the slightest complaint. The feeling was divine.
“Have we ever met, Mr. Vega?”
He held her even closer and tighter. “You know, kid…that I woulda remembered.”
She sucked in a large breath and he closed his eyes and smelled her hair.
Then Vega also had the weird feeling that he knew the lady from somewhere, but failed to remember.
The smoky ecstasy was shattered by the intercom’s buzzer. The hug ended.
Chris silently mouthed the word: “Fuck.” He answered.
“Yes, Jas? Good timing; what?”
“Someone just phoned and wanted you…sounded worse than… I, uh, said come in at 1PM…that alright?”
“Good. Bye.” He clicked her off and saw that Violet was ready to leave.
“Surely there’s more? Miss Luyten? That’s not much to go on.” He put out his cigarette.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Mr. Vega. I have to leave…NOW.” The girl did not walk out; she ran out as if the devil himself chased her. By the time Chris whipped passed his secretary and made it into the lavish hallway, Violet pushed passed people and opened the big front doors to the building. She was gone in a flash.
Vega thought: That was a glorious sight, but now what? He wandered back into the front room of his office as if the last few minutes almost hadn’t happened. Violet left no address or phone number on the form.
Jas remained behind her desk, dumbfounded as well.
“She make an appointment?”
Jas Procyon answered and chewed gum, “Naw boss, nothin’.”
Chris was distraught. It was not because he had no clue how to get ‘the goods’ on the crime boss or even how to protect the ‘damsel in distress.’ It was…
“How am I gonna see her again?”
Jas shrugged under dark bangs. She held an empty expression and blew a bubble that popped.
Life’s no Bed of Roses, then again: You wouldn’t wanna lay in a real bed of roses.
On the same day, 1 o’clock rolled around and in walked the client who had called earlier…
The intercom’s buzzer woke the young detective from a short nap. He heard his receptionist when she said…
“You’re not going to…uh, believe this, Detective.”
“Just send him in.” The man gathered himself together. He got to his feet and was not prepared for what walked into the backroom:
She looked like Violet only a brunette that hid behind dark glasses. This woman appeared older by possibly 10 years. She hunched slightly and seemed far more nervous and scared than the previous client. Every bit of skin was covered in layers of grey clothes, except her face. Her persona or aura exuded not a drop of sexiness. This was one tightly wound woman sure that her life was soon over.
She introduced herself as a school teacher whose name was Rose Teegarden. Miss Teegarden told the exact same story as Violet, except with more emotion and intricacies as if more was remembered. Her voice was high, not deep and breathless.
Chris Vega acted cool and drank in the information without any critical skepticism.
Am I being played? Was this the same girl or a twin?
She relayed details where Zinny Wolf’s racketeers had kidnapped her. She believed they had false information on her; made a huge mistake and mistook her for someone else. She said she was raped and beaten, although there were no marks of any kind on her face.
Miss Teegarden also refused a smoke with the words, “Ugh…never; wouldn’t dream of it.”
She wanted a body guard desperately and said she’d pay “Big Money.”
On a teacher’s salary of an unmarried woman?
The detective felt very little attraction for the frightened brunette. She appeared to still have the ‘gams’ and ‘boobies’ under all the grey clothes. Chris Vega clutched her not and refused the body guard job. His answer was, “I don’t do body guard jobs, Miss Teegarden. Anyway, it’s not me and any army here; look around. I mean, I know a few guys…but…”
She CRIED with her head in her hands.
“Look. Here’s what you have to do, lady…What’s yer first name?”
“Rose; that’s nice. You have to go to the police and tell them exactly what you’ve told me. Everything you can remember. Whatever Zinny or Flo or anybody did to you, you TELL them, Rose. There’s yer army that can help you; save yer money.”
The older gal said the most bizarre connection of words that threw the private investigator for a loop. “I have this…uh, feeling, I guess…”
Rose Teegarden or Violet Luyten or whatever her name was said, “The gal they’re looking for, NOT ME…knows Top Secret shit…and I think the feds are running the Mafia.”
Vega put his cigarette out after those concepts hit his ear. He filtered everything else out. He concentrated. He even turned his back on this most intriguing of women and fiddled with the Venetian blinds. Was his ‘cool-act’ a coping-mechanism for when real, true excitement flowed through his veins?
He heard the door SLAM!
“Oh, no. Not again.”
By the time he reached the elaborate hallway and peered down its length, he once more saw the wide doors that swung open to North Bedford Street. “I think someone’s fuckin’ with me,” Vega said to himself in a low register.
When he returned to his office, Jas popped her bubblegum and commented, “You sure have a way with the ladies, Chris.”
He didn’t laugh and was lost in thoughts. He said to his secretary, but it was more for the universe in general: “This is my greatest case! And I don’t have a clue where to go with it?”
Jas had the perfect answer. “I wouldn’t worry, Detective. (pop) She’ll probably come back in a few hours as a redhead, ha.”
He laughed at that. Then the investigator asked himself, “Maybe that was her older sister? What, she doesn’t know of Violet? What are the odds?”
Jas seemed less dazed and clearly said, “She had plenty o’ time to dye her hair black and, and uh…dress-down like she did.”
Vega lit another cigarette. “I think yer wrong there, toots. This one was older, yeah, older. Her skin didn’t…didn’t glow like the other one. They gotta be related. Ah! And one called while the other one was here. Do you remember, Jas? Was the voice on the phone HER voice?”
“Ah…I dunno.” Jas pulled out a file and smoothed her red nails that matched her red lips. “I’m bettin’ she’s a ‘nutzi.’ You know, having you on?”
“Yeah, but who’s puttin’ her up to it, kid?”
Detective Chris Vega saw the late hour and opened his liquor cabinet with keys and grabbed his favorite elixir in the entire world: Bourbon! He downed a few swigs. The time was 3:30 PM; the day was about over.
What else could happen?
For only the third time in a whole day, the intercom buzzed. He replied and heard Jas’s voice: “The redhead is here. I, uh, was gonna say you’ll never believe it, Chris…but I think you will.”
Before his laughter stopped, the poor wooden door exploded open with more force than it ever experienced before! In flew the most powerful, overwhelming, female presence (by far) that the man had ever encountered in his 23 years on Earth. The radiant redhead had Violet’s fantastic face and amazing eyes (only green). She was energy. If Violet glowed, this gal was a supernova! She wore a red ‘power suit’ that the PI had never seen on a female. Black boots finished an outfit that was ‘out of this world.’ The girl was a chatterbox that hardly let another person communicate.
Did I see the character in a Joan Crawford movie or was it Rosalind Russell?
“Lily…the name’s Lily Barnard! Heard about you, Vega; heard yer GOOD. Need your personal skills on a big case, Vega. You won’t believe how high up this goes, boy, higher than the sky. You really wouldn’t believe me if I came right out and TOLD ya! So why go into the gory details, right? Hey! Does the girl get coffee? I’m not asking her to do windows, eh? MAN, could I go for a tub ‘o coffee now! Above Top Secret! Can you believe that? This place isn’t bugged is it? NO F-ing cream, hon, did you hear that? Just a ton of sugar in mine! Okay, bet you are bustin’ to know what this is all about, huh? Didja…”
“Oh were you about to say something? I’m all ears! Want yer feedback, input; yes indeedy. Hey did we ever meet? You almost look familiar, Vega…very strange…”
Maybe there was an opening?
“Your name’s Lily?”
“Then again, this whole affair is strange with the Mafia running the government and the aliens running the Mafia and so it goes; doesn’t stop there, kid. HEY! Out there in the front room! Black coffee, no cream and make it hot now, PLEASE…”
No, there wasn’t an opening but the (stepped-on) detective made one. He reached into the top desk drawer where there was probably the most important tool-of-the-trade, outside of a concealed weapon. The essential tool was duct tape. He muffled her speech with it as around and around it went across her luscious lips again and again.
Lily Barnard froze. She went into semi-sleep-mode and allowed her face to get wrapped tight.
“That’s better.” Chris noticed his receptionist left. He thought it was too much drama for her. “Now…” He inhaled and then exhaled. “You will tell me what is going on in a calm and civilized manner, Okay? Lady you don’t need coffee, ha, ha. You need those little pills that put you in slow motion, you know? If you can’t function like, like a…normal human being…then I can’t help you, dear. So I hope you know Morse Code ‘cause yer gonna have to pound out your story like a horse! What can I say? I could say: a horse with great gams and a great butt.”
She shocked the good detective who had the aroma of bourbon. Her fingers, like razor-sharp blades, sliced through layers of duct tape. It was too casual; no one was that powerful. Was the situation colored by the alcohol?
Calmly, both sat on a black couch that was against the wall and under the largest photo of a racecar.
“Yes, Chris. My name’s Lily,” she said peacefully. The incredible creature in red (flames) completely toned down and dialed back her act. “I am sensitive, very aware and your question concerned my name. This will make you happy; you ask, I’ll answer. Agreed?” She smiled.
He again hid a deep ‘feeling’ or familiarity with her. Vega matched her smile with his. “Good. I would ask you if you want to smoke, but I see yer already smoking.”
“Ha! Good one, ha, ha. You are a funny man, Vega. I like that in a man. I once had a wild experience in Vegas with a Tall White. You know what one of them is? Have you been to Vegas, Vega?” She revved her motors and was about to tangent again.
He stopped her. “Ah! Ah…slow,” Chris directed. He loosened another of his top buttons on his white shirt and shook his head. He decided not to smoke in front of her.
“Hee, hee. Oh, forget what I said about TWs.”
“Exactly. Ask away or should I tell you what this is about?”
“Tell me what this is about,” Vega stated with certainty. “Wait, do you know Miss Teegarden and Violet and why do you look alike and have names of flowers?”
“Good questions, my man. Here are good answers in reverse: There is a reason we are named for flowers, which you will discover. They, Rose and Violet, are not twins but made from a process that won’t be developed by your governments for the next twenty years. I am different; I am a ‘Lily’…”
“What’s that mean? How do you know this?”
“You will find out soon,” she replied. Lily completed her response with, “And I can tell you with all my ‘heart’ that this involves you as well as life forms off Earth, the war to come to the U.S, time-travel and a destructive power that you could not possibly imagine, Mr. Vega.”
Her emerald eyes convinced the man who was also highly perceptive. He still had his doubts. “Or…Miss Violet, you are utterly insane?” Chris was playful and crossed his eyes for her.
Instead of a laugh, she was serious. “Oh, it’s time,” Lily Barnard suddenly remembered as if she spied a clock.
She leaned across the couch and kissed him very hard SMACK on the lips!
The guy wobbled and had forgotten what heaven was like. He pulled away from her on the black couch. Chris was a molten pool of putty with red lipstick smeared across his two lips and down his neck. Vega took a few breaths and came to some sense of ‘normality.’ Today was an incredible day and it wasn’t over yet. There could not be any more big news, could there? “Anything else you left out you might want to tell me, lady?”
“Let me compute…” The impassioned ‘Woman in Red’ said in a sophisticated voice and manner, “Your job is to convince President Roosevelt to go against orders from Britain and the Columbians and NOT allow his troops to be killed at Pearl Harbor, tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?…Pearl Harbor? What’s that?”
Lily continued without a response to his questions. “Before you catch your flight late tonight, there is someone you must see today…now in fact. He will have more answers you seek.”
“Who? And why are you talking differently? Flight?”
“Your friend, the smartest man on Earth,” Miss Barnard replied.
“The Professor! The college is only a few miles away. Hey, hey, hey, how do you know my secret, that he’s helped me out from time to time?”
Then a horrific expression filled her face as she sat. Her head turned and then turned the other way as if something that threatened her approached. Lily acted as if she was at another location and involved with dark things around her space or dimension unseen by Chris Vega in a backroom on North Bedford. “Oh, no. No! NO!! This can’t be!” she screamed in terror.
He grabbed her and felt an electric sensation. At first she was solid. Their eyes met and she lost total cohesion. The ‘lady in red’ with such a strong presence was entirely gone.
Chris held onto only air. “My God, Lily.” After he inhaled and exhaled a few times, the young man said out loud, “I do have a way with women.”
The east section of LA was owned by the Wolf Brothers, Zinny and Vinny. Their illegal operations included gambling, prostitution, bootlegging, the old protection racket and bingo. Small time crime ran rampant in exclusive neighborhoods, but was nothing compared to what criminals could do when they organized. Profits, money and financial gain were the motivation for well-dressed thugs that rolled along fancy streets in fancy cars.
The motives of ‘puppet-masters’ on a much higher level were a very different story. Their agenda was CONTROL and the maintenance of secret domination over time.
The corrupt business enterprises of the Wolf Brothers could have only emerged into existence under the ‘umbrella’ of the larger Ross Empire. Florian Ross or ‘Kingpin’ owned the north, south and west sections of the City of Angels. The ‘Scuttlebutt’ from those in-the-know to the planet’s top bankers was that Ross’ true ‘empire’ stretched to international accounts and beyond.
Inside a clean, shiny room with a tall ceiling and wood walls that would of made the Oval Office jealous, a small ‘mob’ meeting was about to happen. Zinny and Vinny were ordered and appeared before the ‘Godfather,’ the boss. They walked into the splendid, spacious room and sat in the two wide, comfy chairs placed in front of the most expensive desk on Earth. An even larger comfy chair stood behind the enormous desk.
Flo enjoyed a bit of drama. He was dealt drama, so he dished it out to those under him in the ‘chain of order and control.’ The big chair was turned around and its thick back blocked the view of the boss. Then he swiveled the chair and Flo faced the boys directly.
The boys never knew what they got when the big chair turned. Once, the old guy seemed young and not an old guy at all. Another time, he was stark naked. This time, the boss was handsomely dressed in his normal and very expensive suit.
“Glad you boys are here, glad you, ah…could make it, you know…here.” Flo’s hands shook as his good arm waved along with his words.
Vinny (must always dress ‘cheaper than his brother’) usually said the wrong thing. “Well, waaa would’ve ya done if we didn’t show?”
Zinny covered his face.
They were accustomed to the nonsense that spewed from the mouth of the younger Wolf Brother.
“Called yunze guys here for…for ah, ah specific reason; something important, boys.”
“Waa?” Vinny Wolf stopped. This was about the time he would be told to: “Shut up!”
Zinny sincerely asked the Godfather, “We’re dying to know, sir.” The older brother closed his eyes and thought he also said the wrong words.
“Bet ya didn’t know…I have a boss.”
“Whaaaaa?” Again, Vinny let out a shout that expressed how confused he was. He was confused a lot.
“No,” Zinny said. “Youse never said anything like dat before, boss.”
The dumber one did not understand or maybe he did. “Da boss has a boss? Then he’s not da boss.”
It took a moment, but the Godfather rose to his feet.
Zinny asked, “Boss, where ya goin’?” Flo never was on his feet whenever they had previously met in the special room with a tall ceiling.
“I, ah…I tink it’s time to let you two in, ah…in on a little secret.”
Vinny instinctively asked his stupid question. “You have secrets, boss?”
He was ignored.
Flo made it to the back wall and was soon surrounded by Wolf Brothers. A large door that seemed too heavy for the withered Kingpin to open suddenly opened automatically when he lightly touched it. A ‘hiss’ of air pressure had completed entrance not into another room, but into a ‘gateway.’
Vinny’s mouth was opened wide but nothing came out.
Both brothers’ huge eyes beheld a dome ceiling hundreds of feet high and an area of space far, far larger than it should have been! The real building/mansion was not expanded into the stratosphere, yet the DOME created a ‘false reality,’ which the boys assumed was somehow a part of the big house.
Zinny was astounded and remained silent for the moment and in 100% awe.
Vinny said the first thing that came into his small mind, “Look at those tits!”
The other two laughed.
On the massive, curved walls were (computer) designs that any of LA’s Cosa Nostra of 1941 would not be familiar with. In the very center was a round and raised stage-area and at its center was a ‘desk.’ The middle was far away and the boys barely observed a big chair that was turned away from them.
“What’s goin’ on, sir?”
Flo instructed them to grab hold of the railing that stood a few feet from them and led all the way to the center of the dome. Flo went first. When he did, he seemed magically or miraculously, but really scientifically, ‘pulled’ onstage in a split-second. The Godfather was effortlessly transported to the desk. He waved at them.
They joined him in a ‘snap’ by the ‘rail’ method of transportation.
Zinny told his brother, “Remember, Vin: it’s just a dream, yeah, dat’s it. Keep in mind, it’s just a…”
Vinny finished the sentence, “…Dream.”
Flo Ross told the boys, “I, uh, ha…want yas to meet someone…my b-boss.”
The eyes of the Wolf Brothers shifted to the back of the really Big Chair. They would not have believed what was truly on the other side of the ‘chair.’ They were not permitted to see, but they heard a demonic voice that was so horrendous it made the ‘Voice of Oz’ sound like a whisper.
The boys fell to their knees like frightened children (something out of the Bible), while the old boss was used to the ‘Voice of the Devil.’
“YOU WILL OBEY ME!!”
The Wolfs shook all over and especially their heads, which made the sign for ‘yes.’
Flo explained that his ‘life’ on Earth would be terminated soon and the boys would be in charge of the organization. But there was a higher ‘master-controller’ in the center of it all. Flo scared the boys even more when he introduced his boss as, “Number Two.”
Who or what could possibly be above the Voice from Hell?