Patrolman James Jordan. His shift started with a 10-63. Criminal Trespass. He walked the perimeter of the rundown motel. Glass crunched under his heels and there was trash and refuse everywhere. It would be difficult for most folks to believe that people actually stayed in the motel and it was still in operation. He believed it. He’d been with the LAPD for several years. He’d seen it all. Quickly. The depravity in human beings was something that simmered very close to the surface. It didn’t take much to watch people quickly go down the evolutionary ladder into the murky squalor of base impulses. Mothers selling children into the sex trade, death and dismemberment, savagery unequaled. Blood runs red in a gutter daily. In a city like Los Angeles, a police officer’s education was raw and ragged. He peered through the alleyway behind the motel and walked around the empty pool. He spoke with the owners and wrote down the complaint regarding the skateboarders. “I assure you, they were probably just kids playing in the pool. If they return, call it in.”
As the officer was leaving, he saw a group of older guys gathered around two cars nearby. He paused. They seemed out-of-place. He pulled up and saw skateboards in the car. “Gentlemen.” He asked if they had been at the motel earlier. “Yeah, we were.” One of them admitted candidly. “We saw the pool and the place seems relatively abandoned. The only person I saw was a hooker squatting in one of the rooms.” The man in the beanie shrugged as he spoke for the group. To the officer, these guys were at least forty years old and didn’t look like trouble. He asked for the man’s identification. Returning to the cruiser, he typed – AUSBAND. Alpha, Uniform, Sierra, Bravo, Alpha, November, Delta. Clean record. Coming back to the group, he advised them to stay away from the motel. “There’s a skateboard place in Venice on the beach. You may want to go there.” They nodded and he pulled away.
Los Angeles teemed with a thousand horrors. For all of the glitz and glamor, there was an equal amount of vice and pain. The mangled destiny of many. More than one young man and woman, has ended up on their knees in Hollywood, looking up at a future that wouldn’t be what they had envisioned. His day was spent chasing tail lights, separating hostile parties, dealing with the mentally ill, homeless, drunks, drug dealers and a hundred other things. The afternoon found him in a nearby neighborhood dealing with a domestic situation. He was in the house and he heard noise coming from another property. It was strange. He paused and went outside. Yells. Sliding sounds. He peered over the fence. He was looking down into the neighboring yard which was lower than the one he was in. He was surprised to see the same men from the motel. They were skateboarding in an empty pool. One of the men saw him at the same time. “Hey there… don’t worry. We have permission to be here.” He saw a man come out of the house and he waved at him. He walked back to his domestic situation shaking his head. “Damn…”
When he was finished, he walked over to the adjacent property and watched the skateboarders for a few minutes. They told him that they had just come from another ‘permission’ pool that they had ridden. One of them showed him photographs on his phone. This pool was huge and it looked like a giant fist had come down from the sky and punched a hole straight into the earth. The top edge was a thick square chunk of concrete. These skateboarders were clearly experienced. Serious. They weren’t like the kids he ran into on the streets daily. They seemed respectful and very dedicated. To him, this was their life. It defined them.
He had to admit, it was pretty amazing how the swooped up and down through the empty pool. They would hover at the top edge and plunge down again. This brought hoots and catcalls from the others. The middle-aged men seemed to have found some crazy elixir that kept them young and vibrant. He watched and thought, “Too bad they couldn’t bottle that shit up and sell it. This city could use such a thing.” He continued watching for a few minutes and shook his head in amazement.
They seemed pleasant but he left quickly when his dispatch notified him of a 10-100 – a body had been found in a motel nearby. Slicing through traffic, he found himself driving towards the same motel that he had been at when his shift started. He had a sick feeling in his stomach. He pulled into the front of the motel. Patrol was on hand. He saw the coroners vehicle had been dispatched. He stepped inside. “What do we have?” A patrol officer handed him a small wallet and told him that one of the motel owners had found the girl dead. The coroner told him curtly, “She’s been deceased only a few hours. There’s drug paraphernalia and drugs… Overdose the way it looks.” The girl had white foam flecked on her cheeks. She looked vaguely familiar. Blood ran in a brown rivulet from her nose. Her eyes were open. Unseeing. Officer Jordan pulled out her identification. He felt his heart sink. Maggie Owen. “Fuck…” He sat down. The other officer asked him if he was alright. “Yeah, I knew this girl… many years ago. She was my sister Megan’s best friend in high school. I haven’t seen her in at least a decade. They were involved in a car accident and my sister Megan died.” He slid the identification back into the wallet and handed it to the patrol officer. Looking at the rail-thin, blank-eyed corpse on the bed, he added, “It looks like she probably died back then too…” He turned and the patrol officer and coroner silently watched him go.
Part One: Maggie
Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate – Ozzie