Experi-Mental 1970’s Noir Thrillers with a Psychedelic Twist
SEASON ONE – 13 EPISODES – STREAMING NOW!
The 1960’s were a historic era of cultural and political upheaval worldwide, and Los Angeles along with San Francisco were at the west coast epicenters.
The 1970s amped the Vibe; from the grit of L.A, and glitz of Hollywood, to the sunny beach-lined communities north and south of the Los Angeles International Airport.
There was a thriving evolution of new ways to live, to expand one’s mind, and new ways to do business. And one of the rising big businesses was within the Drug Culture.
The times were ripe for anyone to grab the reins and take hold of whatever they could. All ideas, trends, and concepts if not new, were brought forward from the past to be celebrated. With these near daily new enterprises and concepts came great ideas implemented for the good and some for the bad.
William Trent, a young private investigator, maintains his office and living space above the garages of an adjacent apartment building in the “Ghost Town” area of Venice, California. The rickety, but sturdy stairs to Will’s office were open for anyone who needed his services.
Will was experienced in both deductive reasoning and altered states of consciousness. He had taken nearly every drug, hallucinogen, and psychotropic known, and used those experience’s benefits to become successful enough to hold down his own one man investigation business.
There was much to be said for certain stoners’ abilities to use their clouded stoned appearance to actually gain detailed insight on those who momentarily let their guard down due to thinking that they were dealing with just another stoned Hippie.
Tonight’s Episode: “The Good, the Bad, and the Occult”
William Trent was at his office and home atop garages in Venice, California, smoking a bowl of Marijuana and admiring yet another beautiful smog-filtered radiant L.A. sunset. Will could tell how bad the air was by how beautiful the sunsets were. The smog actually saturated the colors to near hot pink and neon orange sometimes. Will dwells on this smog issue as he exhales clean non-toxic Marijuana smoke into the surrounding atmosphere.
Will leaned-back in his chair and took another appreciative hit. He had long known that all psychoactive plants were living things that existed to be sacrificed and consumed for the benefit of humans. With each inhale Will was literally taking in the essence of another living entity’s ability to open pathways to higher states of mind while here on the material plane.
Will had been smoking “Pot” since he was fifteen and soon became aware that when he got high he was actually communicating with a plant species. But this wasn’t hard for Will because as a child he had conversations with inanimate objects. One is only limited to what they will accept as reality, and reality, in truth, is just agreement. Mere thinking about going outside the agreed reality opens doors; doors that Will has walked through, and returned with the knowledge offered.
Appreciation for plant species flourished during the “get back to nature” era when people brought nature inside, and the ‘70’s House Plant mania became an absolute must in every household; there were hanging plants everywhere. Will even had a house plant but it was over at Mike’s Laurel Canyon pad, in the backyard, beyond the fence, among the rich soil perfect for a future packed bowl of sacramental appreciation.
“The Secret Life of Plants”, a best seller published in 1973, celebrated plant and human relations as interacting with another lifeform that responds to audio, visual, and emotional vibes; Will knew this to be true for most of his life.
Will leaned forward in his chair, relit the bowl and gazed out the window. All that was left of the sunset was the smoldering ash before being snuffed out as twilight set in.
Will has come to value and embrace twilight; it allows for a clarity of the world he lived in, a world everyone lived in, a place where neither the harsh glare of sunlight that washes color and detail away, nor the heavily shadowed toned-down colors and distortions brought on by nightfall could influence the environment as it truly is. Twilight; where all is revealed in the “best light”.
According to ancient Occult observations, twilight is the most magickal time of the day and night. Twilight is when dreams come alive, when doors open, when the unreal becomes real, when anything can happen. But only for a while, for as each minute passes twilight loses potency to evening’s encroachment of anticipation and excitement, followed by night’s mysterious revealing dominance, and peaking with midnight’s undisputed power.
Will considered himself knowledgeable to a certain degree of most religions from reading choice books purchased at the Bodhi Tree bookstore up on Melrose Avenue and was a devout reader of the yearly Witches Almanac. At a recent point in Will’s life, he delved into the Occult. Will was a purist and his interest was in hidden knowledge of the higher mind kind.
When on psychedelics Will had many experiences where he was momentarily on another plane of existence, if controlled, these moments brought about beneficial awareness.
With the Occult he fortunately learned early-on that what he was dealing with was not anything he could control, and so he backed off. However, he did gain certain beneficial “hidden” insights that have since proved quite handy during investigations.
His phone rang and he answered in his usual professional manner. It was a friend of a friend of a past client in need of his help. Will agreed to meet at the man’s home. Will always waited to get details in person and not on the phone because he knows that at least once his phone was tapped by the Feds.
As Will parked and approached the stairs to a Beverly Hills mansion, he stopped and looked at all of the beautiful landscaping, then continued up the stairs and knocked on the door. The door was answered by the man who called Will on the phone, Mr. Alan Edgar Poe.
Will side-stepped what many had surely already mentioned about his name by introducing himself properly and complimenting him on his landscaping.
Will was ushered into the den by Mr. Poe, sat down and was offered a hot or cold beverage; he had a bit of cottonmouth so water would be fine. Mr. Poe returned with two cold glasses of water and handed one to Will.
Will: “Thanks, what can I do for you?”
Mr. Poe: “My wife, Helen, had been seeing a psychic, at first just for fun, but then regularly, and she started to take it seriously.”
Will could sense an oncoming uneasiness in Mr. Poe’s voice.
Mr. Poe sits down: ”Then through the psychic, she met up with this group, they call themselves the Disciples of Eternal Adept Deities, and are led by this apparently charismatic “adept” named Master Zorn. It’s all a bunch of bullshit to me, but she just got deeper into it, we had fights, she started staying out later . . . and then I found this.”
Mr. Poe hands Will a small black box: “Go ahead, open it.”
Will could already sense a weird negative vibe from the box. Will declined that he had ESP, he called it “a connection”, and his connection allowed him to pick up on the vibe of certain things.
As Will opened the box there inside was a strange gris-gris amulet on a thin hemp rope. He took it out and examined it. He recognized some of the ancient symbols as having arcane power through his familiarity with the Occult.
Will: “Where’s your wife now?”
Mr. Poe: “That’s the main reason I called you, she’s missing . . . for three days now, and no word from her at all.”
Will understood that this was a man of influence that needed for this situation to be kept quiet.
Mr. Poe can hardly hold back his emotions so Will quickly runs down his fees to divert any further emotional increase by Mr. Poe.
Mr. Poe sobers up, agrees, writes Will a check, and they shake hands.
Will’s reputation precedes him, he could be trusted. He rarely signed contracts as he was known not only as the Stoned Private Eye, but as an outsider who got things done.
Will tells him that he’ll call as soon as he has any information and then he leaves.
As he walks down the stairs he takes the small black box out of his jacket pocket. Standing in the middle of the landscape and gardens he opened the box. The amulet was dark with worn high spots that told of the shiny metal beneath the darkness.
A late afternoon breeze separated a tree’s leaves just enough for a sun-reflected glint off of the shiny metal on the amulet to shoot a piercing white light deep into Will’s brain.
Will was stunned, that was no accident, he knew better, it was a sign, but was it a good thing, a warning, or punishment. Will was attune to anything that “the normals” wrote off as something it’s not. He knew that signs were all around, one just needed to be aware, and the more aware, the more it becomes a part of one’s life. After a while it becomes a new language, a mental language.
Some call them symbols, others signs, Will saw them as a connection with something sentient, something that knows exactly how to assist, it is up to the human to open their eyes, and once opened, they can never be closed.
In this case it was a warning, a serious warning as Will felt that he would have suffered serious eye damage had he not had his Polarized sunglasses on. He had been a Polarized lens advocate since wearing the only sunglasses that had Polarization; Mountaineering Goggles. These cool shades had removable leather ventilated side panels which created the goggle look. Will left the panels on, it blocked out light but he could still see peripherally and they looked cool.
He got in his car and headed out to Pacific Coast Highway north to Topanga Canyon to visit a friend, a kindred spirit who had a deeper involvement in the dark side of the occult.
As Will drove up the tree-lined Canyon the sun was still high in the sky but the canyon mountains shielded the sun’s rays and created a prelude to twilight.
Topanga Canyon was known as Hippie Central, a place that became world famous in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70s as the premier expression of the Hippie Boho Lifestyle, populated with musicians, artists, individuals, and a few movie and TV stars; a place where time stood still to maintain an Independent Hippie Back To Nature Vibe.
He slowed to turn onto an old wooden bridge that traversed the wide but shallow stream. Once across the bridge Will drove down a road and took a left at the fork in the road; an eating utensil, a fork, was nailed to a post pointing to the left. Will appreciated and missed this sense of humor and was glad to be on a case that brought him together with an old friend.
He would have called but his friend did not have a phone, it wasn’t a financial thing it was, an intrusion.
As his car’s headlights illuminated the area, Will slowed to a stop to see that he had not visited in quite some time. His friend’s house was surrounded with vegetation and the roof was covered in moss. The place looked like a house in the shire from the book that was currently extremely popular with the Counter-Culture; J.R.R. Tolkien’s, “the Lord of the Rings”.
Will turned off the lights and ignition, got out of his car, and as he approached the candle-lit house he could hear music, it was a track from Dr. John the Night Tripper’s “Gris-gris” album. Will smiled, and nodded in acknowledgement of the connection, of meaningful coincidence in the realm of synchronicity.
Will knocked several times before his friend Jonathan Jeffries, JJ to friends, opened the door to a great welcome and hug.
Once inside Will was offered, well anything he wanted, except for a phone call.
Will noticed that the track “Jump Sturdy” was ending and that the next track “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” a moody, tribal, transcendent, rockin’ eight minute track of pure Voudou magick should be honored.
Will removed one of his locally-famous cigarette-style rolled joints of Maui Wowie sprinkled with the dust of Afghani Hash and handed it to JJ.
As Dr. John told tales of casting spells, mixing brews and concoctions, and reminding people of his Night Tripper power, Will and JJ smoked the joint in head-nodding reverie.
The music itself was enough of a drug that one could feel the humid but cool nighttime aura of hypnotic drums, writhing bodies, and revitalizing confidence as the mind walks on guilded splinters.
Near the end of the eight minute meditation on the “arts” the joint had turned into a roach. JJ picked out an object of many from a table and removed a roachclip, clipped the roach, lit it, hit it, and passed it to Will, Will took one last very decent hit as the roach disappeared along with the fading of Dr. John’s epic track.
JJ, with a stoned smiling face: ‘It’s great to see you, what’s goin’ on?”
Will: “A woman has disappeared, my client suspects foul play, and I think it involves the D.E.A.D.
JJ nods in understanding agreement.
Will: “I did not let on about knowing of that cult to him, but if it’s true, that Zorn, or Henry Johnson, or whoever, is a bad guy, I can’t believe he’s not behind bars.”
JJ: “Will, this is all shorthand for us. His karma hasn’t caught up with him yet. Everybody wants to see the instant karma of a bully getting bullied, but it can take a lifetime, or two, or more.” “We do what we can so that when our time comes we can blow this popsicle stand of the material and enjoy the reality that we have worked so hard toward.”
Will smiled in agreement and dug the spacey buzz of the frosted Afghani high.
Will shows JJ the gris-gris amulet.
JJ: “Yeah, I’ve seen these before, the Disciples wear them, I have an acceptance among some of the D.E.A.D., there’s a level of celebrity that goes with what we do and I tend to exploit it a little, but it keeps me in touch, so there’s that.”
Will: “Can you find out if they have her or know anything about her?”
JJ: “ Sure, but let’s do it together, it’s been a while, we’ll take my ride!”
Will follows JJ to his equally green garage.
JJ, as he raises the garage door: “Now’s the best time to do this.”
Will: “Oh, yeah, why is that?”
JJ: “We’re headin’ into the Midnight Hour, Man, you know, “that’s when my love comes tumbling down.”
JJ, feelin’ good from the Maui-Wowie-Afghani and life in general, goes into a Wilson Pickett routine, but is stopped short by Will who gets a psychic chill.
Will: “JJ, they have her, I now know this, whatever you were thinking of, alter it to a rescue mission, this is a kidnapping, or worse. Mr. Poe failed to mention that.”
JJ: “Whoa, I thought this was an info run, not a raid on the D.E.A.D.”
Will: “That’s cool, how ‘bout you point me in the right direction, you’ll keep your status, and I can take it from there.”
JJ takes a deep sigh: “C’mon, get in.”
Will rides shotgun, for real, with JJ’s loaded sawed-off shotgun.
Will: “You sure?”
JJ: “Hey, to tell the truth, things have been a bit boring as of late, I could use a little excitement.”
Will takes four white pills out and hands two to JJ. JJ takes them both but lets the bitter taste melt under his tongue for a faster reaction. Will does the same.
Will smiles: “Where are we headed?”
JJ: “Downtown. There’s a rundown church where they “congregate”. It looks pretty innocent from the outside, but inside its evil.” “I have had the unpleasant experience as part of enjoining my celebrity and keeping in the loop.”
Will: “What’s the security?”
JJ: “Not bad, the couple times I’ve been there it was patrolled by some bouncer types, in hooded robes, with guns.” “It’s a big place and we won’t even know what floor she’s on.”
Upon arrival Will looks at the three story church and the three story building next to it.
Will, smiling and pointing to the adjacent building’s roof: “You feel like flyin’?”
They made their way to the roof of the building and looked across at the church’s pitched roof. The jump across didn’t look unattainable, it was the slide factor that was of concern.
Will: ”Once inside we clear each floor to the bottom, grab the woman at some point, and then head for your car.”
JJ: “OK, sounds like a plan, now show me how to fly, and how not to slide.”
Will backs up to get a running start, he got himself psyched, the adrenaline was pumping on its own and with the backup of the Benzedrine he knew he could do this, he had learned how to tuck and roll, up and out of a fall, he just needed maintain balance.
He took off, and it was that moment when his foot left the roof and he was flying through the air that Will understood why he did what he did. It wasn’t about solving cases, money, women, or the high, OK, it was, but it was also for those moments in life that are rarely repeated but that put him squarely in the Void, a moment of suspended animation, that seems to last forever, until there’s a slanted rooftop hurtling at him.
Will rolls a bit but is stable, balanced. JJ follows Will’s lead. They gain access through a backside roof entrance.
After they clear a pretty much vacant third floor they descend stairs to the second floor but hear voices.
Will motions to JJ that he’s moving forward. Will peeks around the corner and sees three or four robed Disciples talking in the hallway. They move on down the hall. Will motions to JJ to move on.
As they start down a hall they see that behind the doors are evidence of medical tables and operating tables with restraints.
Will heard a muffled cry for help in the next room. Will untied a bound and gagged woman while JJ kept watch at the door. The woman wasn’t Ms Poe, but grabbed him and clinged on begging for help.
Will to JJ: “What’s goin’ on here?”
JJ: “Bad Juju, Man. Have you noticed the negativity with each floor we descend.”
Will: “Yes, yes.”
The Woman: “There are others . . . down below.”
JJ: “Will, maybe we should get the cops in on this, I mean, this is blatant kidnapping.”
Will: “No, his kind always get off.” “We have an opportunity to just give karma a nudge.”
JJ looks at Will with cock-eyed raised eyebrows.
Will: “How do we know the machinations of karma, maybe what we do here is part of it?”
JJ: “Fine, let’s just do the nasty and get out of here, the negativity is suffocating.”
Will tells the woman to hide and they’d be back for her. Two doors down there was another woman and Will was wondering where everybody else was, something was wrong, this was too easy, JJ felt the same way. The woman hid, neither were Ms Poe.
Down the stairs to the ground floor there was still no one, but the negative vibe just increased. It was palatable.
Will points to the stairs that go down to the basement. As they both descend they see why the place was vacant, they were all in the church’s basement performing a ritual.
Will whispered to JJ to gather the women and send them out the front and call the police.
Will stayed behind to observe Master Zorns’ Disciples of the Eternal Adept Deities’ “sacred” ritual and be there when the police arrived.
Will felt a chill behind him and turned to see two hooded men with guns motion him down into the mass of about forty hooded Disciples.
On an alter is a nude woman unconscious or drugged. The Disciples part to let the Two Men and Will through. Will knew he could take these two men but needed to see how far this ritual was going to go.
Master Zorn wore a skull-like mask under his hood: “Right on time, bring the Guest Executioner here.”
Will recognized that voice it was Alan Edgar Poe, alias Henry Johnson, alias Master Zorn and realized that he had been hired not as a P.I. but to murder his wife.
The Two Men held tightly to Will’s arms, and with guns in his ribs force him to the top of the altar.
Master Zorn hands Will the sacrificial dagger: “Either you do the sacrificial honors or your friend JJ gets it.”
Zorn points to JJ down and off to the side of the altar with a gun to his head by another hooded Disciple.
JJ shouts to Will: “The women got out, I didn’t.”
Will realized that there were no cops on the way and he was forced between killing a woman, Poe’s wife, or having his friend killed, or killing Zorn and everybody dies. Or, the moment was right to take these two down and serve as a cue for JJ to do the same.
Will was handy with a knife and got real good with throwing knives one summer. He felt the weight of the dagger, the heft, the balance, and threw it spiralling straight up knowing that human nature would direct the Two Men’s eyes upwards for the mere seconds it took for Will to twist the gun out of the man’s hand on his right, shoot him in the foot, just as the dagger came spiralling back down and landed in the floor between Will and the Man on his left with a deep twang sound, and again for that split-second moment that the gunman looked down at the dagger Will came up with a kick into the jaw that immediately knocked him out cold.
Will looked to JJ who had two thumbs up and one bad guy down.
In the early to mid ‘70s martial Arts were a big deal and Will and JJ took lessons together early on and became very good.
JJ: “Takin’ down bad guys, haven’t done that in a while. That felt good.”
“Master Zorn” and the Disciples ran off, and after a call to the L.A.P.D. an APB was put out on Poe, all of the kidnapped women were taken care of and were willing to testify, Ms Poe realized that it was all a scheme to get rid of her, and Will had a check that he wanted to put to good use, so he donated it to one of his favorite animal charities.
A couple weeks later Will showed up at JJ’s to thank him again for his help. JJ was outside, trimming some bushes.
Will walked up to him, lit a joint and took a nice inhale and handed it to him.
Will exhaled: “Thanks again Man, I really appreciated it.”
JJ takes a hit, holds it, then exhales: “You know, sometimes I wonder about all of this, it just keeps comin’, we could die tomorrow and it will still keep comin’.”
Will: “Yeah, I get frustrated sometimes too and sometimes it seems like there’s no point.” “But there is, because there has to be constant pressure to let Evil know that there will always be opposition.” “We help keep the balance where cops don’t know how to tread.”
JJ reluctantly and knowingly agrees and takes another hit and hands the joint to Will. Will takes one last long hit running the joint down to nothingness.
Will exhales: “Anyway, I gotta go my friend, I have a meeting with a new client. Unless you have something to tell me.”
JJ: “How’d you know . . . the telephone wires, way to go Sherlock, yeah, I got a phone, now I’m connected.”
JJ, kinda proud, hands Will a piece of paper with his phone number on it: “Next time call me before you drop by, so, you know, I can better be prepared to take down another cult.”
Will warmly laughs, gives him a Brotherly handshake, gets in his car, and waves goodbye.
On the way to his meeting, Will enjoyed the drive back down the tree-lined canyon boulevard of Topanga to Pacific Coast Highway, then north up to Malibu, as the smog-enhanced setting sun’s red hot cherry scorched the ocean horizon.
Copyright 2018 00individual TLL
Written spontaneously with no rewrites over a few hours during June 23 – 25, 2018 with only The Stoned Private Eye, The 1970s, the Occult, and a Noir Vibe as inspiration.
Experi-Mental 1970’s Noir Thrillers with a Psychedelic Twist
SEASON ONE – 13 EPISODES – STREAMING NOW!
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