The Laguna Bungle (Session 2)

Colorful house made of candy at death's door at miniature golf course with palm trees and trimmed green bushes.

At Death’s Door Again

The house was an orgiastic glory hole of shining metal and stunning stone, sharp lines, and tall windows. It had a mid-century centurion vibe to it, the slopes and angles of it crooning Albuquerque hipness in the hills. I imagined the interior to be gloomy and plush while at the same time being glittery and cold as ice in a crystal glass. I wanted to get in there. I wanted to get lost in someone else’s life — even if that life included some devious murder plot carried out to completion.

The murdering man must still be in there, but just as I completed that thought, the garage door opened like the bay of a star cruiser in vast space about to eject a fighter into the realm of another galaxy. And I saw him twaddle nervously around the car. He opened doors, looked inside, and then closed them again. I watched as he lifted the trunk, studied the inside for a moment, and then slammed it back down. He turned and looked out at the street, and I feared he had sensed my presence via telepathy or some other psychic ability. He withdrew and lit a cigarette and for a moment it seemed our eyes connected, like a hard plug into a wet socket, and some evil drenched electricity was about to flow. I was sure he would cross over at any moment, and halfway to my car he would pull out a shiny black revolver and start shooting with little to no mercy. I was ready to bail in a raucous squeal of burnt rubber and smoke. But just as I was about to ignite the ignition, he tossed the cigarette out into the street and turned away.

He then walked around the front yard a bit looking at his pristine ornamental shrubbery and rock gardens. He kneeled in the grass and plucked some weeds from one of the flower beds. The funny thing is, he was still wearing his suit, complete with the strangling, murderous necktie. Then he stayed like that for a while just staring at the dirt like he was talking to someone buried in it, like people do at the cemetery.

He eventually got up and strolled around some more before going to the trunk of a tall palm tree and there bent his neck like one of those weird birds that drinks water upside down to look up into the underside of the fronds. I’m not sure why he did that unless he was looking for coconuts or something. He then went around the side of the house and then came back lugging a black garden hose behind him. He twisted the pointy brass nozzle and started watering all the greenery like he didn’t have a care in the world.

When he was satisfied that he had gotten everything wet enough, he turned the nozzle off and returned the hose to its place at the side of the house. He went back inside the garage, glanced at his wristwatch, and got into the car there. It was a black Mercedes. He carefully backed it out. The garage door slid back down into place, and the man sped off as if he had suddenly remembered he had to be somewhere.

As soon as I was satisfied that he wasn’t returning because he had forgotten something, I got out of my car and went across the street to the house worthy of a spread in Architectural Digest. I’m really into architecture and even went to school for it until things derailed as they usually do.

I went up the curving walkway neatly lined with dew-dappled greens and flowers. I went to the wide front door of ornamental brown wood. There was a tall vertical window to the side of it, but the glass was colorfully stained so I couldn’t really see in. It didn’t depict anything about Jesus or sheep like in a church, but it was more artsy Bohemian pieces of color is all. I jiggled the doorknob, but it was locked. My hand reached for the illuminated bell switch, but I pulled it back just before pressing it in. Instead, I put my ear to the door to see if I could hear anything going on inside. It was silent and I backed away.

I’ve stood upon the threshold of death’s door more than once in my life. I’ve pressed my fingertips against it and gave it a slight push and that’s always when the light begins to leak out and try to take me over. For some reason, I’ve always been pulled back into the world of the living, or the dead. I suppose it depends on how you look at things. Some people believe life on Earth is really just hell in disguise. I can go along with that notion to a degree. All one has to do is look at the news of the day. Seems like hell to me. But then again, I’m a private detective and I’ve seen a lot of bad things. I deal with people’s problems when they can’t.

I haven’t always been a private detective, and that’s okay because I’m not really all that great at it. I’m not really great at a lot of things, and I guess I haven’t been for a long time. I’ve dimmed as I’ve grown older. But high school, now that was the time for me. I was bright back then. In fact, I was so bright my nickname at Cerritos High School was Star. Why Star? Plenty of reasons. I was a start athlete. I was a star academic. I was a star in school politics. I was a star in popularity, especially with the girls. Everyone wanted to be like me, and everyone wanted to be with me. I was the one that was supposed to go the furthest. I was the one who was to become rich and have a killer wife with great tits and live with her in a magnificent house… Just like the one I was at, right now, 26 years later. I haven’t even gone that far down the road. What the hell am I doing here? Some days I just don’t care, and so I rang the doorbell after all.


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