Will had been to the Colony several times for clients, for business, and for fun. Today he was to meet with Lee Edwards, a B-Movie auteur that had recently scored big with his first major studio-backed hit, “Karma Outlaws”.
Will hung a U at the end of the alley and parked across from Edwards’ house. Once at the door, he was about to use the intercom when the door opened and he was greeted by Edwards.
After introductions, Edwards and Will went out onto the deck and sat down at a table to discuss business and soak up the sun and the rolling waves that came all the way up to the toes of two starlets sunbathing in the nude.
Edwards, while retrieving a nicely rolled joint from an antique box on the table: “Thank you for seeing me, I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.”
Will smiles, but says nothing.
Edwards lights the joint, takes a hit, and passes it to Will: “Mr. Trent . . . ?
Will interrupts, corrects: “Will.”
Edwards: “Will, I think I can safely assume you are well aware of karma and its ramifications?”
Will slowly exhales the hit he was holding: “Your movie shined an excellent er, um, light on the subject.”
Edwards: “You are good, that hesitation tells me that my creative license is showing.”
Will smiles again: “Listen, I get it, it was entertainment, not a documentary.”
Edwards: “Yes, there had to be thrills and chills, even though you and I know that in reality, karma is not as “instant” as Lennon would have it.”
Will: “Mr. Edwards . . “
Edwards interrupts, corrects: “Lee.”
Will: “Lee, while I enjoy speaking with open-minded people about esoteric subjects, I’m getting a feeling I’m not here about a case.”
Edwards smiles: “No, don’t get me wrong, I want to hire you.” (he leans forward in his chair) “I’ve written another script, and well, I’d like to hire you as a consultant.”
Will had done minor consulting before, but usually declined, as it took him off his game.
Before Will could respond, Edwards sensed Will’s reticence: “Here’s the thing, it’s a murder mystery with a karmic twist. The studio wants a trilogy, a “karmic” trilogy, that’s two more movies, this is a huge break for me, and I need your expertise, (he pauses) because it also involves a psychedelic element, that’s why I need the Stoned Private Eye.”
Will took the last puff of the joint and placed the roach in the ashtray, then he slowly exhaled, smiled at Lee, and then asked: “What kind of consultant?”
Edwards, enthusiastic, but careful: “Well, I really wanted to get the feel of a guy like you, a private eye in L.A., you see I get to direct as part of my contract, so I want to get real, to know what it’s like.”
Will sees where this is going: “You want to shadow me on a case.”
Edwards, excited: “Yes, see, you know.”
Will raises his eyebrows and grins: “Well, it was obvious.”
Edwards: “Yes, to you, I need to see that in action, I’ll pay you whatever it’s worth.”
Will: “It’s not the money, I can’t do my job with a (he pauses) partner, it’s inhibiting, besides I cannot be responsible for someone else’s life, things can and do get dangerous, you understand.”
Edwards’ shoulders slumped in disappointment.
The starlets both got up on their knees, straightened out their beach towels, and laid down on their backs – no tan lines for these two.
Will looks to Edwards: “But I’ll agree to consult regarding the whole karma subject, and offer insights that might help.”
Dejected Edwards agrees, puts Will on retainer, but perks up as he walks him to the door: “OK, so I’m deep into the script, I’ve taken notes already, and will get back to you soon.”
They shake hands and Will leaves.
Will drove past the guard and waved to him, but instead of turning right and merging with southbound PCH traffic toward home, he turned left onto Malibu Road and backed in to a parking space at the Malibu Colony Pharmacy and Coffee Shop – they had really good coffee. He went in; it was a small place but had local charm.
Will took the booth at the back nearest the kitchen and in full view of the establishment, it was an ingrained safety habit, no one behind him and a quick exit out the kitchen if necessary.
The waitress brought him a cup of coffee, and as he sipped the hot stimulating brew his thoughts brought him back to the karmic situations, actions, and results that he had encountered and experienced in his life thus far. There was one, maybe two, well, maybe a half-dozen that stood out, and while karma is initially personal, it can also be a vicarious experience.
While taking another sip of coffee, and as the cup’s rim just dropped below eye level, he immediately raised it back up obscuring his face.
For the second or two that the rim was dropped Will saw a man, two booths down, a man he knew, a dangerous man, a wanted man.
Will set down his cup and looked straight at the man.
The man ordered coffee from the waitress and as his eyes left her they came to rest on Will staring right at him.
Will knew the man could be armed, so Will needed to be quick, then through the Coffee Shop’s window he saw the police lights coming up PCH, sirens blaring.
Will got up and moved toward the man: “Let’s go!”
The Man got up and followed Will to his car, they both got in, Will revved the engine, and the GTO pulled out of the lot and around the corner, north on Malibu Road.
The Man: “Trent! My Man, wow, am I glad to see you! Have you been following me – who are you working for?”
Will: “Settle down, this was just a co-in (he pauses) coincidence, I just happened to be in the area. Why are the cops after you this time?”
The Man: “Ever hear of “no good deed goes unpunished?”
Will looks at him and knows the term well: ”Yes.”
The Man: “Well, I did a good deed and now I’m being punished.”
Will exited Malibu Road onto PCH south, down the grade, past the police cars at the Colony Coffee Shop, through Malibu proper, and straight on to his place in Venice.
On the drive to Will’s, the Man, David Bowie, (his real name – unlike the English rock star David Bowie, whose real name was David Jones) told Will a tale of trying to do the right thing and then getting demonized for it.
Will listened careful to spot tells in his story, but all Will could hear was a prime example of karma. Karma is not a negative act followed by a slip on a banana peel and a cracked head, in fact there really is no “good” or “bad” karma, it’s just cause and effect, and how those two play out. This can appear to be positive or negative, but it is neither.
Will sympathized with David’s predicament but there was nothing he could do except let his wayward friend stay off the grid at Will’s place for a day until the heat settled, and then David agreed to move on.
Will had several new messages on his machine, one was from Lee Edwards. Lee really wanted him to come to an impromptu party that night. Will decided a little fun wouldn’t hurt, called Lee back, asked if he could bring a friend, and then told David to spruce up while he ordered take-out for both of them from Wing Dang Noodles, a favorite place of his just down the block, they delivered.
After chowing down, Will took a quick shower, got dressed, and then he broke out his stash.
They both took a drug break consisting of a pill, a couple snorts, and a few puffs before heading out to the party.
The sun was setting as they drove to the Colony and were waved through at the gate. A car coming from the right of the alley slowly made the turn in front of them toward the gate. As Will and the driver saw each other, they both smiled, nodded, and waved, but kept in forward motion; the driver toward the gate and Will turned left towards Edwards’ house.
David, curious: “Who was that?”
Will: “William Peter Blatty, he lives on the beach at the other end. We’ve chatted on occasion.”
David: “Man, you get around more than I do.”
Will, as he parks: “Yeah, about that, remember after tonight you gotta get a move on tomorrow. I pulled you out of harm’s way today, but I can’t take on what is basically harboring a wanted criminal.
David interrupts: “Will, Man, I told you . . . (and then he stops) cool Trent, Man, I understand, and I appreciate it.”
Will: “Good, now let’s go inside and have some fun.”
Will felt the drugs’ magic come-on and knew David did too by the happy grin on his face.
They were greeted at the door by Edwards who was introduced to David and then all three made their way through the fairly crowded main room then out onto the expansive deck with a pool at the north end.
The sun had just set leaving a vibrant orange that underlit the clouds.
Will’s attention was diverted by a tap on the shoulder. He turned to see a joint was being offered by one of the starlets from earlier that day; the nicely-tanned blonde one.
Will: “Thank you.”
He lights it, takes a hit, and hands it back, the starlet takes a dainty, but full hit.
Will exhales: “What’s your name?”
Will: “Well, Jamie, I’m . . .
Jamie interrupts: “I know who you are, William Trent, the Stoned Private Eye, Lee’s been talking about you all day. Are you as good as they say?”
Jamie moves closer to Will.
Jamie moves close enough that Will is feeling her body heat, or was it his?
Jamie: “If so, you must be incredible in bed.”
Will was aware that he had a sort of built-in savoir faire, looks, and masculinity that attracted women; these traits had served him well, mostly, so while this was not surprising, he didn’t get a bad vibe, as a matter of fact it felt good.
Jamie led Will down a hall, up a flight of stairs to a bedroom overlooking the beach and the ocean.
Will wanted to feel that body warmth again and pulled her to him and firmly held her just above the lower arch of her back. She looked into his eyes as they kissed. And that was all it took before there were two bodies on the bed, naked, and writhing as one.
After some truly incredible love-making they both laid on their backs staring at their fronts in the mirrored ceiling.
Jamie: ”Willian Trent, you sure measured up, in more ways than one.”
She coyly smiles at Will in the ceiling mirror.
Will, joining in the fun: “Well, if we’re rating, and this is no lie, a 10 doesn’t describe you – oh, and the no tan lines was a turn-on, but you knew that.”
Jamie smiles again, then gets up to get dressed.
Will: “What are you doing?”
Jamie: “Getting back to the party, Lee probably wonders where we are.”
Wil, getting dressed: “He’s bright, he’ll figure it out.”
They both leave the bedroom and head to the stairs and as they began to descend the stairs, Lee was at the bottom looking terrified: ”Will, there’s been a murder!”
Will and Jamie follow Lee down the hall, out to the deck, and to the pool. There was a woman floating face down with blood spreading out from her body.
Will: “Lee, who is it?”
Jamie, sobbing: “It’s Gloria!”
Will: “Is that your friend from earlier.”
Jamie, through her sobbing: “Yes.”
Will turns to Lee: “How’d this happen?”
Lee: “I don’t know, I just heard a woman scream, and . . “
Will: “Who screamed?”
Lee points to a female guest.
As Will walks over to the stunned woman he looks around and doesn’t see David.
Will to the Woman: “What happened?”
Woman: “I just walked out and over to the pool and there she was.”
Will: “No one was with you?”
Woman: “No, I was just getting some air.”
Will: “You saw no one out here, on the deck, or down on the beach?”
Woman: “No, no, there was, no one (she pauses and points) but I heard something near the side fence, like movement.”
Will hopped the deck’s railing and saw fresh tracks in the sand that led alongside the house to the alley.
He quickly backtracked into the house and asked Lee to phone the security guard.
Lee handed the phone to Will – Will told the guard what happened and if he noticed a car leave, he said no, that meant the killer was on foot.
Will didn’t like the picture that no car, and on foot, and no David painted.
Lee to Will: “This could ruin me, and just when things were . . . Will, I need you to forget the consulting, I need you to make this go away.”
Will was in many ways what would be termed as a fixer, but murder was a whole different matter, the police had to be called-in, the word would get out, but shouldn’t reflect on Lee – but it would.
He told Lee he would do what he could, but now he needed Lee to tell everyone to stay until the police arrived, if anyone left, Lee would give their names to the police. Everyone nervously complied.
Will felt that the easiest way to eliminate possible suspects was to read each individual’s vibe, but he felt no evil from the partiers, they were just scared. Besides he was certain it was none of them.
Will called his “inside man” at the local P.D, Detective Erik Valdez, his father was Mexican and his mother Scandanavian, hence Erik’s sandy blonde perpetually tan look. Eric was the young buck of the P.D. and had a much more open mind than most. Their unspoken kindred spirits created a mutual respect that helped each other fight evil – and solve cases – he would be right over.
In the meantime Lee and Jamie provided Will with as much info about the victim, Gloria Morrison, as they knew.
It was late, Will told Lee he’d get back to him tomorrow and left. As he pulled out of the Colony the police were pulling in. He cruised home half-thinking he’d see David hitch-hiking or in the shadows along the highway.
When he backed-in to his space in the garage he got a strange feeling, he got out of his car and there in the shadows was David. As he staggered into the light toward Will he was holding his side, there was blood, he collapsed.
Will helped him up the stairs to the bathroom and checked his wound.
Will: “What happened?”
David, in pain: “I was on the deck near the pool with Gloria, when someone, a guy, jumped up out of the shadows at the edge of the deck and attacked Gloria.”
David winces in pain as Will listens while attending his wound.
David continues: “As I went to stop him, he turned and stabbed me, then he stabbed Gloria, she fell in the pool, and then he jumped the railing and disappeared.”
Will didn’t need to ask why David didn’t stick around.
Will: “Did you get a look at the guy?”
David: “Yes, I did, better than that I got a name, Gloria looked horrified before he stabbed her and said, “Robert?!”.
Will: This wound is pretty deep, you need to see a doctor.”
David: “I can’t.”
Will: “I know, you’ll see my doctor.”
Will went to his desk and made a call. Then returned to David: “The doctor will be here soon.”
Within minutes Will’s good friend arrived and began tending to David.
Will: “David, this is “The Doc” and that’s all you need to know.”
David smiled through the pain.
Will to them both: “I have to make a couple calls.”
Will goes to his desk, sits down, opens a drawer, opens a small engraved box and loads a bowl with Hashish crumbles, sits back, lights it slow, inhales, and then his lungs expand, the feeling of the downside-ride of a rollercoaster wants his lungs to burst and he holds on for as long as possible as he slowly exhales while holding back the massive urge to cough.
With a straighter head Will makes a call to his connection Detective Valdez and leaves a message of what he knows in confidence, Will was only known as Valdez’ informant to the rest of the department – but Will left out the identity of his informant, David.
The Doc entered the room: “He’ll be fine, eventually, the blade missed the important stuff, I stitched him up, he’ll be out for a while.”
The Doc hands Will a small container of pain pills: “”Have him use these sparingly, you know the deal. Oh, and it will take some time for him to heal completely, he’s a lucky guy.”
Will thanks him, and The Doc leaves.
Those last words The Doc said, “he’s a lucky guy”, got Will thinking; he hadn’t seen David in months maybe even a year or so, and then just briefly at another party. Even though he knew him as a teenager didn’t mean that he knew him now; and if he was telling the truth then there should have been two sets of footprints leading to the alley, but there was only one, the killer’s.
This didn’t look good in Will’s eyes, the thing that bugged him was that he wasn’t getting any evil, or even a bad vibe from David, so either he was losing it, or David was good at blocking his underlying emotions, or he was innocent.
Will gave Lee a call to let him know that the police had a lead and had the resources and the man-power to catch the killer, and he also advised him to not talk to anyone, the press, reporters, anyone, until he sat down with his publicist – he considered it as part of his job at this point. He then told him he would be in touch.
He picked up his pipe and took another hit, then another to finish it off.
Will was well aware that anytime one interacts with another there are degrees of karma at work. Each case Will took on required a certain amount of karma transference if not for the mere fact of involving one in someone else’s life.
It is the degrees of involvement that dictate the degree of the karmic outcome.
Will’s immediate degree of karma started with his involvement with Lee Edwards, a seemingly innocuous action, yet it got him in the vicinity of David Bowie, at that point instead of letting the scene play out he inexplicably involved himself in David’s plight. Which in turn while attending a party turned into a murder case, which then led to his present predicament – was he harboring a murderer in the next room?
Will decided to call it a night and meet with Lee tomorrow to help with a public statement which would also give him a daylight look at the murder scene. He wouldn’t have to be concerned with David, he’d be dealing with pain.
The next day at Lee’s, Will assisted Lee’s publicist with a statement that would portray Lee as an unfortunate host of a party where, no fault of his own, became the place of a murder.
But just as his statement was finished, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety were delivered in his mail, both had breaking news with similar headlines, “Starlet Murdered At Producer’s Malibu Home”.
Will looked at Lee: “This is Hollywood, the “entertainment” capital, where gossip is God, this was inevitable.”
Lee looks dejected, then remorseful: “That poor girl, why? And why here?”
Will walked over toward the pool.
Lee: “The police were here earlier to look the scene over in daylight.”
Will circles to the backside of the pool.
Lee: “Looked like they were pretty thorough, not much to see,. really.”
Will: “Sometimes I see things others don’t, that’s why you hired me.”
Lee, suddenly surprised: “I’ve been so out of it I didn’t realize that we’re on a murder case together!”
Will, about to say no, but then realized that it was true, whether he liked it or not Lee was not only a client, but an integral part of the case. He’s getting what he wanted; “to get real, to know what it’s like.”
Will, knowing that since he already stuck his big toe in the karmic pool that he might as well go for a swim: “Lee, grab your things, we need to go to your studio.”
Once on the road, Lee: “Man, this GTO is great I gotta get one.”
Will: “What’s your ride?”
Lee, now a little embarrassed: “A Cadillac.”
Will changes the subject: “Listen, about Gloria, you told me earlier she was in your new movie.”
Lee: “Yes, she was in one of my slasher films too, “Beach Party Hell”, she was the first to die . . . but she had a bigger part in Karma Outlaws as a quirky dancer at a club and girlfriend of the main bad guy – and she lives.”
Will: “I found out that the killer’s name was Robert, did Gloria ever mention a Robert?”
Lee: “I have a good memory, but beyond what I need to know, it kinda doesn’t register.”
Will: “And no Bob, Bobby, Roberto?”
Lee: “Sounds like the film crew, it’s a pretty common name.”
As they clear the main entrance at M.G.M Studios in Culver City, Will asks Lee to take him to the sets used for Karma Outlaws.
Will: “To your knowledge have the police been here?
Lee: “Why? I mean no, I don’t think so.”
Lee directs Will to what is essentially an airplane hanger. Will parks, they go inside.
No movies were being shot and most of the interior sets were still standing.
Will singled-out the Club set where Gloria danced, he had seen the movie and remembered that scene. It wasn’t about Gloria’s dancing that stuck but the villain, her onscreen boyfriend that did. Upon that thought he got chills, that was Will getting a confirmation that he was on the right track. He had long acknowledged his gifts and stopped questioning them; they were gifts that most humans have but never take seriously. He did and they served him well.
Will: “Who was the actor who played the villain?
Lee: “That was a talented actor out here from back East that moved up in the ranks of my B-Movie era, Dolph Layton, he was convincing don’t you think?”
Will: “Was he in Beach Party Hell with Gloria, where she gets killed?”
Lee: “Well, yes, I use a lot of the same actors; many directors do.”
Will: “Was he the villain? Was he the one who killed her in the movie?
Lee: “No. And yes.”
Will: “I need to speak with his agent.”
Lee: “I know that agency, I’ve got their number at my office, (Lee perks up) I’ve got my own on-studio office now.”
Once inside; Lee flips through his Rolodex, here it is “Spartan Talent.”
Will: “Call, ask for his agent and find out what his real name is, his complete name, tell them it’s important for his career, they’ll believe it coming from you.”
Lee called and the agent was willing to reveal his real name; Adolph Robert Layton.
Will: “Get Layton’s residence address.”
Lee told the agent that he wanted to speak to him personally about a new role, but wanted it to be a surprise, so could he have his address, once again the agent was happy to oblige.
Will and Lee get in the GTO.
Will: “He’s our Robert, they knew each other intimately, to the point of familiarity of her calling him by his middle name.”
Lee: “Not again! They’ll probably pull my movie from the theaters, – a murdered actress and her killer boyfriend,”
Will: “We don’t know if he’s her boyfriend yet.”
They pulled up across the street from the address in Westchester, a suburban neighborhood just north of LAX.
Will told Lee to stay in the GTO, but if he turned around and looked at him to wave.
Will crossed the street and knocked on the door.
A male voice from behind the door: “Who is it?”
Will: “Lee Edwards would like to speak with you, I’m his driver.”
Layton opens the door.
Will turns to face Lee in the GTO, Lee waves.
Will turns on the homo act: “It must be some-thing spe-cial because he wants to ask you in per-son.”
Layton opens the door and walks with Will.
Layton: “Why in a car?”
Will: “Listen he’s really excited, and whoops (he fake trips on the sidewalk and bumps into Layton) sorry, I almost fell, he couldn’t wait, plus I think he has some great news for you.”
Will senses Layton’s apprehension despite the semi-believable ruse and politely opens the car door, Layton gets in the backseat, Will gets in the driver’s seat, with Lee riding shotgun.
Lee turns in his seat: “Dolph my boy, have I got a surprise for you that just couldn’t wait.”
Layton smiles, but not for long, as he sees cop cars coming up the street.
Layton: “Let me out or I’ll kill you both!”
He reaches for his knife, but it’s not there.
Will holds out the knife he lifted from Layton when he tripped and bumped into him: “You mean with this?”
Will holds Layton’s knife just out of reach so when he grabbed for it Will elbowed him in the face whereby Layton crumbled into the back seat unconscious.
Will and Lee exit the GTO, Det. Erik Valdez meets up with them.
Will: “Here’s your killer, and the murder weapon.”
Will hands the knife to Valdez.
Valdez, looking in the backseat: “What happened to him?”
Will: “He was resisting a citizen’s arrest.”
The next day Will let David sleep and met Lee at his house for his final payment and to cancel any ”consulting” going forward.
Will: “Well, you got what you wanted, the real deal, and you played a big part, sorry for any fallout from this on your career.”
Lee: “Are you kidding, this is insane, I just got a call this morning and the demand for Karma Outlaws has it reopening across the country. The studio has doubled the budget on the next two films of the trilogy – Karma Outlaws has become a cultural classic! What I thought would doom me just jettisoned my career. I’m even getting offers to direct! Even the critics are taking another look and are seeing the karma in the story – and now in real life.”
All Will could do was smile and shake his head: “Hollywood.”
Back at his place Will found that David had left. There was a note on his desk, it read;
Will, thanks for everything, you were a real Brother, I won’t forget it. But there’s just one thing, you got the wrong guy, Gloria was my cheating girlfriend, it was a self-inflicted wound, and my middle name is Robert.
Will began the immediate trackdown of the killer, David Robert Bowie.
KARMA OUTLAWS: THE SHOWDOWN
Copyright 2020 00individual TLL
Written spontaneously over a few hours during August 31, and September 7, 2020 with only The Stoned Private Eye, the 1970s, Karma, and a Noir Vibe as inspiration.
For those who may have missed part one of this two part episode
“Karma Outlaws” Part One
Tonight’s 1974 Episode: “Karma Outlaws – The Showdown”
Before setting out to trackdown the killer, David Robert Bowie, Will needed to know why things got by him, signs he should have heeded, and why he did not sense the vibes of a killer that he not only helped to escape the law but that he invited into his own home?
Time was of the essence, so Will bypassed his normal investigation mode and went to a tried and true source. He grabbed his duffle bag filled with essentials, got in his GTO and took off to Hollywood.
Once there, he pulled to the curb in front of an old Gothic wrought iron fenced home, hustled up the stairs, knocked on the door, and was greeted by a special friend, Juanita Touthre’.
Juanita had a gift, she could “see” without anything other than knowing the situations, any known people, and the area. She was in her sixties and had been doing this all her life – involuntarily at first, then she got control, and has since helped more people than anyone will ever know.
She invited Will in, and after a short polite conversation.
Juanita: “Will I see that you are in an urgent state, what can I do to help?”
Will explained the situation.
Juanita: “Will, what you are dealing with, this former friend, goes deeper than the goal you have in mind.”
She pauses, closes her eyes: “You opened karmic doors when you allowed him into your life.”
She opens her eyes and leans forward across the table where they are sitting: “Will, you need to be very careful, this man has no soul, no accounting for his behavior.”
Will exasperated: “How could I not see it?”
Juanita: “Sometimes evil reaches a point that becomes unnoticeable. That is when karma comes calling where good needs to match evil’s level.”
There is a stillness, then Juanita speaks: “Did he mention that no good deed goes unpunished?”
Will: “Yes, yes he did.”
Juanita: “You’ve experienced that, sometimes for certain people a time comes when the karma seems to hit hard, but it’s an opportunity to learn and move on as a wiser person, or conversely, a wiser evil person.”
Juanita closes her eyes once again; Will can nearly feel the vibrations emanating from her.
Juanita: “The man you seek is still in the city, he’s in pain, trying to numb it in a Downtown bar.”
Will smiles sincerely: “Thank you Juanita.”
She walks him to the door: “The reason you could not read him is because you had never experienced the level of evil this man hides.”
Will looks to Juanita: “Then I guess it’s about time I did.”
She blesses him before he leaves.
Will got on the 101 freeway south and headed straight for Downtown.
Will figured that David probably stole a car and was in a bar on the outskirts of Downtown, most likely near a room-for-rent hotel as he would still be in pain from the self-inflicted stab wound.
Will cruised the outer Downtown border streets, street by street, concentrating on being as sensitive to the killer’s vibe as he could.
He passed a few bars and hotels but none together or close by. He had just crossed from the Fashion District into the Toy District, and as he turned east down a street of warehouses and stores he saw the lights from a lonely gas station down at the end of the street. As he approached the intersection there it was, the “The Pinnacle Hotel” and right next to it was “The Pinnacle Bar”. For a second Will felt good, then the feeling dissolved into overwhelming dread. It was David, the killer, the one who was able to deceive him.
At the very least he was picking up on his vibe, and it was not good, sickening actually, but he realized that this was the new part of the territory he ventured into where evil exists just for evil’s sake. Will got the chills like never before, confirmation that he was absolutely right.
He parked, pulled out his .38 and put it in his right side leather jacket pocket.
Normally he would take a few seconds to down a pill, snort a line, or take a few puffs on a joint, but right then he knew that he was already in those states without the assist. This was new and he remembered what Juanita once said that rang true and that was that “like attracts like within their equal levels”. What this meant to Will was that since he had not come across true sociopathic evil he could not detect it, he needed to allow himself to match this evil equally.
He crossed the street and entered the Bar.
A quick scan revealed no David. He checked the men’s room, not there – he was in his hotel room next door.
No-Tell Hotels like this one asked no questions and gave no answers, unless paid. Knowing this Will entered and went to the check-in desk: “I’d like a room; on the first floor?
Clerk: ”Third floor is all I got, ya want it?”
Will paid, took the keys, and walked the hall of the first floor. He did not feel a negative vibe.
He climbed the stairs to the second floor and slowly walked the hall, he felt tinges of negativity, but not coming from any of the rooms behind the closed doors.
He continued to the third floor and tightened the grip on his gun.
Will’s room was 303, there were ten rooms on each floor; the killer was in one of the remaining nine rooms.
At that moment Will knew which room the killer David was in, he sensed it strongly as he unlocked the door to his room – it was room 304, the room right next to his.
Will closed the door, left it unlocked, and gave the room a quick examination for anything off. All was clear.
He sat down in a chair that was up against the wall facing the door and to the right of a window. He checked his left leather jacket pocket for handcuffs, and as his blood pumped and his temperature rose the cold metal cooled his hot hands.
Will had been very lucky in his dealings with criminals and killers; he’d been knocked around a bit, shot at but never hit, even involved in a couple of life or death situations. He was wise and street-wise, but he knew that even though David was wounded that it wasn’t going to be easy.
And as he saw himself sitting in a chair in a third story hotel room Downtown with fluorescent lights from the gas station across the street serving as the only ambient light, he quickly thought of what it was that brought him to this situation; was it actually karma in action that he was there because of past actions for helping out a friend, or even if he hadn’t run into David would he still there, in that chair, for the same reason – to catch a killer.
It was then that Will knew the answer, the answer had been debated between a good friend and Will back in the philosophical days of youth.
The question was: If you see someone about to commit suicide and could prevent it, would you?
For most people the answer would be “yes”, but Will and his friend went deeper.
There are two answers; one, is that you leave it to them whether to choose to live or end their life and you not only don’t disrupt their life’s plan but do not take on any of their karma.
And two, if you do prevent it, you interfered with the life of someone whose destiny and their own personal karma was disrupted by your “good deed”. And you have become an intimate participator in the most important moment of their life, a moment that is extremely personal to them – and now to you – as you have a karmic attachment to them – whether you like it or not.
Will realized that in his own way in this situation, he did number two, and it stunk.
It was time for action, enough cosmic thought.
Will quietly got up and walked close to the adjoining wall.
He heard nothing. Will turned on the room’s radio with the volume down low on a jazz station to cover his movements.
He slowly opened the window, leaned outside to see if there was any movement through 304’s curtain – and there was; the killer was in there.
Will suddenly got gut-wrenching pains in his stomach, it felt like a hot iron had stabbed him. The pain came from the same place that David had stabbed himself.
Will was feeling a symbiotic pain that the killer felt, or was feeling, just on the other side of the wall in the next room.
Will had reached a new level of reading this evil.
He could just bolt in, take him by surprise, and cuff him. But something was holding him back. That would be an easy move under normal conditions, but Will realized that if he could now read this level of evil that meant that David had been reading him ever since he arrived at the hotel, or even sooner.
Just then the door was kicked open by David who held a sawed-off shotgun aimed straight at Will.
Will had his hand on his revolver, finger on the trigger, in his leather jacket pocket.
David: “Don’t move a muscle my friend, don’t move a muscle.”
Will: “What happened to you?”
David: “Nothing happened to me, I’ve always been like this, only now I’m driven.”
Will: “And why’s that?”
David: “You know why, the same thing that drives you, drives me – we’re the same only different.”
David stepped inside and closed the busted door with his bootheel.
Will contemplated his move but once again resisted.
David: “You know, your fault is that you think you don’t go by the rules, but you do.”
David pumps the shotgun: “Me, I make the rules. And just like this isn’t your first case, Gloria wasn’t my first kill.”
Will’s finger tightens on the Smith and Wesson’s trigger.
David: “Like I said in the note, I appreciated your help back there, but you know how this will end.”
Will: “Just one thing, I’m gonna need you to take the first shot, so I’ll be in the clear after I kill you.”
And that was all it took to get under evil’s skin, Will felt it, he knew it, a statement, a fact, a taunt that gave Will his edge – he immediately dove to the floor just a split-second before David pulled the trigger and the shot grazed Will’s leather jacket and blew a hole in the wall.
Through his jacket pocket Will fired squarely at David, then again, and again, sending evil back to Hell.
Will put his cuffs on the fallen David, he was taking no chances, he called Detective Valdez from a pay-phone in the lobby, then went back up to the room and stayed until the police arrived with an ambulance.
He explained to Det. Valdez that David Robert Bowie was the real killer of Gloria at the party, not Dolph Layton. Valdez told him that Layton’s guilty display upon arrest was from being caught for an outstanding warrant from back East.
Will felt his shoulder where the shot grazed his jacket, there was a bit of blood, nothing serious. He left the scene, got in his GTO, and drove home.
On the drive back Will pondered deeply on the whole case and the way he was deceived by David.
Karma had placed Will exactly where he needed to be; in a position where he would never be deceived again.
Copyright 2020 00individual TLL
Written spontaneously over a few hours between September 28 and October 3, 2020 with only The Stoned Private Eye, the 1970s, Karma, and a Noir Vibe as inspiration.