I want to get as far away from Arizona as I can before Deputy Shut-the-fuck-up does whatever she’s going to do when she gets that grin off her face and her pants back on. Then again she may have taken Chui out of jail under false pretenses and therefore will be reluctant to …
Chui interrupts my musing with a grunt, “Errrg, this pinché egg suit is cutting off the blood to my legs. My legs are both asleep. I can’t feel anything.” Chui is trying to get comfortable in the back seat, as comfortable as his rigid egg costume will allow. It’s obvious that the Humpty Dumpty suit was designed for standing and walking and not reclining in the back seat of a car. He’s taken the top hat off so he can breathe and bitch unconstrained. I just let him complain. He knows he’s far better off in this uncomfortable egg suit than he would be in a striped suit on one of Sheriff Joe’s infamous chain gangs.
“I’m sorry we haven’t stopped yet. We’ll look for a store as soon as we’re in California. Just hang in there.”
“You know Boner; I was blown away when California elected Travis Walker as their new governor. Only in California would they elect an active player in the National Football League to govern our most populated state and the world’s fourth largest economy. Anyway, Travis was elected governor in an overwhelming majority last fall and was just sworn in a couple of days ago.”
“He ran his campaign from the Oakland Raiders’ locker room, clad only in a towel, shouting football slogans like: Never let good enough BE enough, Refuse to Lose, If its gotta be, it starts with me, and my favorite, Hustle, hit and never quit. I don’t know how all of his trite football rhetoric fits with the challenges of governing in such difficult times”
“There are a variety of theories, as you’d expect, on how a defensive end for the Oakland Raiders could win the governor’s seat after such a short and unorthodox campaign. I especially like the theory that Californians were so jealous of Minnesotans for having elected a pro wrestler as their governor that they went one-better and chose an equally dumb figure from football, a more mainstream sport. So take that Minnesota. Another theory is that the Raider Nation is much bigger that anyone previously imagined and that, deep down, all Californians are really stereotypical Raider fans: part biker, part Hollywood monster, part gang-banger, part beer swilling red neck and part …”
“I wonder what he wore to his swearing-in ceremony, a towel, his Raider uniform or he might actually have worn a business suit. Nah, he probably wore his Raider jersey and ...”
“Kata ya shit. Ni nini tunaweza kufanya?”
“I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. I suppose we need a plan. Let’s critique the tactics we used to find Emilio Sanchez in Phoenix and see if they might be …”
“Kubisha mbali bullshit.”
Chui quits bitching about his egg suit long enough to ask for my cell phone. It seems he left his, along with all of his other possessions, in an envelope somewhere at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. He dials number after number. I can’t believe he can remember so many telephone numbers but I’d guess that you can’t keep a little black book in his business. He jabbers in Spanish that’s too fast for me to catch more than a word or two. Finally, he closes the phone and shouts in English. “I’ve got it! We’ll find Jose Verde at a place called Through the Green Door Productions in Chatsworth. What kind of pinché place is Through the Green Door Productions, anyway?”
We stop at the Wal-Mart super store in Palm Desert and I buy Chui some more acceptable clothes. He doesn’t like the Dockers and polo shirt that I pick out for him. He says that they make him look like a gringo, yuppie asshole. I remind him that I dress that way and he just shrugs and says, “What’s that tell you, Señor Bob ― me a pinché yuppie ― Mi Dios. I hope I don’t run into anyone I know.”
Chui is quiet the rest of the way. Boner sleeps scrunched up in the corner of the front seat with his huge grin, the same grin he’s had ever since his “interview” with Deputy Shut-the-fuck-up. I try to imagine what she did to him to warrant a grin of that magnitude. Josefina has made him grin but nothing like this. Oh, to be young, hard and horny again.
We check into a motel along the freeway in Canoga Park. There’s a party going on at the pool but Chui feels too uncomfortable in what he calls a pinché gringo establishment to go and I won’t let Boner anywhere near those scantily clad young women, so we order a pizza in and sack out early.
Through the Green Door Productions looks innocent enough from the outside, that is except for a totally out of character Kelly green door with a huge GDP inscribed in a gold leaf of some kind. It’s located in what appears to be a respectable office building and not at all the kind of place you’d expect to meet a big-time drug kingpin. We met our last drug lord in a Latino gay bar parking lot so things are definitely looking up.
“Good morning gentlemen, how can I help you?”
“We’re here to see Jose Verde,” I say to the foxiest looking receptionist this side of a Penthouse Magazine centerfold. She must be one of those unemployed actresses getting by until her next role comes along that we all hear so much about.
“Do you mean Mr. Green … er … Joe Green?”
I hadn’t considered that Jose Verde would go by the literal English translation of his name, Joe Green, but that would make sense.
“Yes, may we see Mister Green?”
“Can I tell him what this is about?” the bombshell asks as if she’s trying hard to figure out how to bar our access to Jose.
“Tell Mister Green that Emilio Sanchez from Phoenix sent us.”
She wiggles her magnificent ass as she squirms her way into the inner office and shuts another bright green door. She returns in a heartbeat and announces, “Mister Green will see you now. Can I get you coffee, water or anything?”
“No thanks, we’re all set.”
We parade into Jose’s office with me in the lead and Boner bringing up the rear. Jose looks exactly how you’d expect a Latino pimp to look. His longish jet-black hair is slicked back giving him a look seldom seen since 1948. His flowered silk shirt would be better attire for a luau than a business office but it goes well with his dark sunglasses and his off-white slacks and bright white shoes. Does anybody wear white shoes in this day and age?
Jose rises from his desk to greet us with an outstretched hand and a bewildered look on his face.
“Howdy, I’m Bob. And this here’s Boner and that guy over there is Chui. We came to talk to you about a matter of extreme urgency. Your business associate, Emilio Sanchez in Phoenix, was kind enough to …”
“What does Emilio have to do with this meeting?”
“Nothing really, but he was kind enough to give us your name as someone who might know the whereabouts of a couple of people we have been pursuing. You see, my lady friend, Dr. Josefina Bernstein, and someone calling himself Gustavo were reported to have come here to see you about a matter that was partially settled in Phoenix by Emilio. The arrangement where Gustavo was sent hundreds of miles to receive a second payment for merchandise that he delivered earlier in another location seems highly …”
“I’m not admitting to having met with your lady friend and her associate but if I did, it would have been to contract their services for yet another operation similar to the last. If I were to pay them, and I’m not saying I did, but if I were, it would have been for the services previously performed and to ensure that we were guaranteed of their future cooperation. But all of that is so boring. Tell me about yourselves. I may be able to use you in my other business, the movie business.”
“So that’s what Through the Green Door Productions produces, movies?”
“Yes, I make the finest erotic adult films being made anywhere in the world today. You might be sad to learn that I couldn’t use your lady friend, Josefina, in my films. She was far too old and wrinkled for anything but a bit part. Nor did I have anything for her colleague, that shifty looking Mexican guy. He was too greasy looking and frankly his ah … his business end was far too small. But, I’m happy to say I had a small but interesting part for that truly handsome and well hung goat that was accompanying them. That goat, what a performer.”