So Cal Summer 69

by Flip McHooter

Chapter 34

We went racing into the dining room to find Ace had untied his right arm. How he did, it was anyone's guess. Maybe with his yellowed vampire teeth. But that's as far as he got before he passed out drunk.

I had to pull him up by his hair and slap his face a few times to make sure he wasn't faking us out. You never know. "Okay guys, let's get this over with. Where do we want to take the pictures?" I asked.

"I think we need to make sure he's out. Slapping him might not be enough. He still could be faking. I don't trust that son of a bitch. You guys don't want him getting loose, do you?" Lisa said. "Or hurting us, or the little men."

"Got it, sis. But how can we tell for sure?"

"You should hold a match under his hand and see what happens," Chris said. I changed my mind about him once again, and now I was starting to think he was going to be a CIA interrogator when he got older.

"Okay. Let's try it. He's not my dad, so I don't give a shit anymore," Jake said. "Who has a match?"

"I've got a Bic lighter," Coop said, making us bust up again. That was a stupid question since our favorite cannabis seller, and resident pot-head was right here with us.

Once we were sure he was out for good, we untied him, not an easy task I might add, since the guys used so many pieces of rope and they tied him up so tight. Then I asked, "Where are we going to take the pictures?"

"Good question, picklehead. Hey! How about in the pool house? That way nobody will recognize it. We can push the furniture and rugs against the wall and frame it just so, and we can pose him and the little men on the floor," Jake said. "It's white, so it might even look like a studio."

"Picklehead?"

"Yeah."

"Great idea, Jake. You're quite the cameraman, aren't you?" Enzo asked him.

"Yeah, he did great. You should see the pictures."

"Shut up, Ryan!" Lisa said.

Ignoring both Jake and Lisa, I said, "Colt, Tucker, Cooper, and Enzo. Can you guys carry him out to the pool house?" I got a chorus of yes' out of the biggest and burliest guys in the room. "Jake, can you and Kenji get your Polaroid from your house and maybe some extra film? Make sure we have enough to do a good job. Flashbulbs too. Go out the back in case Mrs. Kravitz is looking out her front window over here. She probably isn't, but just to be on the safe side."

"Roger that, Bucky! Be right back."

"Lisa, can you make some more coffee for us and cocoa for the little men? Extra sugary for the little dudes? I don't want them falling asleep on us."

"I'm on it."

"All right little men, let's head to the pool house. You little muscle men can help me move the furniture around."

"Shebang! This is fun staying up all night," Jordy said.

"I know. It's like we're in a movie," added Chris.

"Can we do it again tomorrow night too, Ry?" asked Jordy.

"We'll see little dude. Maybe. It's the Fourth of July, so maybe all of us can do something fun."

"Hot Dog!" yelled Chris.

We ran ahead of the bigger guys to open the sliding glass doors and turn on the overhead lights. We noticed that the guys had done a great job of washing away the blood on the deck, and I was pretty sure that wouldn't become a problem for us later on. The good thing about the pool house was that no matter how many lights we had on, you couldn't see it from the street. Just like the treehouse, it was totally private. We were able to push the two couches to the back of the room, and we rolled up the old rugs like we did when we played Judge Jordy. As we were finishing up, the big guys came in carrying Ace, with Sloan trailing right behind. Ace was really out of it, his tongue hanging out like Sloan's does when she has a good dream.

"Where should we put him?" one of the guys asked.

"Just drop him on the floor anywhere," I said. "I don't care."

"Who gets to strip him?" Colt asked.

"Anyone who wants to, I guess. Let's do it right now," I said. "There's scissors in the drawer over there if we need them. I don't care if we wreck his clothes. They're gross looking anyway, and besides, he's not going to need them. Wait! Let me see that wallet."

Tucker whipped it out and handed it to me. I was amazed, and yet, not all that amazed. Inside, was another boat-load of money, more than the guy on the dock had. Even more impressive was the three or four sets of driver's licenses tucked inside. Who the hell was this guy, actually? Just then, Jake and Kenji walked in carrying the camera paraphernalia. Following them up was Lisa, looking like a Pan-Am stewardess with our drinks on my mom's antique silver tray. I almost laughed. If her hair had been any taller, a purse strategically placed on her arm, and if she were waving at us like the Queen of England, I probably would have laughed my ass off.

"Jake and Lisa, I'd like you to meet Anthony Sardinia, or Joseph Licata, or Luca Limoncello. He also goes by Ace Mariano. But actually, I think his real name is Tony the Fuck-Up. Here, look at these," I said.

"Hey! Licata was someone down at your dad's office. I think that old lady receptionist," Jake said to Enzo.

"And my mom's maiden name, too. Wow, this is getting strange," Enzo said.

"Yeah, I remember that. Think they're related somehow?" Kenji asked.

"I wouldn't know. Maybe some kind of relation, like a great aunt or something. This whole thing is so weird I'd believe just about anything right now," Jake said. Then, looking at the naked Ace sprawled across the floor, he said, "See, that can't be my real dad. Just look at him, Ry. His dick is way too tiny. It looks like a slug." That made us laugh, once again.

"It's way smaller than Chris's or mine's," Jordy said.

"Maybe he's cold, or that funny drink made him a shrinky-dink," added Chris.

"Okay. You older guys, go on outside. The little men don't want you to see what they're gonna have to do with this guy. Go for a swim if you want. The pool's nice and warm. And I need you guys to be wide awake for later on when we shove Ace in his car and move it onto the street. So drink Lisa's coffee and swim around a lot, but keep it down. Just stay awake. That's the main thing. Jordy, Chris, Lisa, Jake and I will be in here taking some good shots of this asshole," I said, pointing everybody in different directions. "We'll yell if we need you, and if we do, you guys come running, okay?"

The guys agreed, stripped down and jumped into the pool and started playing a quiet game of pool volleyball. I closed the door and turned down the lights. I thought it might be easier for Jordy and Chris to get naked and on top of Ace without everybody watching. As it turned out, they were both so amped up on the sugary cocoa that they probably would have jumped off the roof and into the pool if I had asked them. Jake took some excellent shots, with their soft-little peckers sticking out towards his mouth. Then Lisa had a brainwave, so she ran around the back to her house to get her purse, and once she came back, she had an evil, wicked grin on her face.

"Get your wieners off his face, boys, and give me some room to work here. I'm going to put some makeup on him," Lisa said. "Wait until the guys outside get a load of this."

She rummaged around in her big purse, finally pulling out a tube of cherry-bomb red lipstick. Applying it liberally to Ace's lips like a professional makeup artist would do, he was all dolled up in no time. Next came some lovely blue eyeshadow and dark mascara, and a little bit of blushy stuff for his cheeks. That last part made him look like my grandma. But the look was quite compelling, and it made him pretty freaky. Jordy and Chris couldn't stop laughing. In fact, Chris had to pinch the end of his dick to keep from pissing.

She put that stuff away and started digging around in her saddle-bag sized purse once again for something else. "Ta-Da!" she said as she pulled out a leopard print bra and matching panties. That sent Jordy and Chris into another round of giggles. She explained that they were Lulu's, but since she decided to go braless when she joined the women's libbers, she wouldn't miss them anytime soon.

"Hey, sis? You know what we should do with the panties? We saw this girl at that porn… I mean, at the theater, and anyway, she had on panties that had the front part cut-out," Jake said. "Right around her cho-cho."

"Yeah. It was like a reverse jock strap," I added, "but all in lace."

"That's a great idea. Give me the scissors."

Once the alterations were completed, Lisa handed them back to me. "Here, you put them on him. I don't want to touch him down there."

"Oh, sure. What makes you think that I want to do that any more than you do?"

"Because you're Jake's boyfriend and you'd do anything for him, right?"

"Yeah, I guess. All right, give that shit to me," I said. After flipping them around and looking them over for a minute, I had to ask, "How the hell does this bra thingy work? It's got loops and straps and clips and, man, your mom has big boobs just like you. Cantaloupes would fit in here."

"Shut up and put it on him," Lisa said, but she was smiling. She was damn proud of her big boobies. "Jordy and Chris, watch and learn."

I didn't have any trouble putting the panties on him, but it was kind of gross fiddling with his cock and balls to get them through the opening in front. The hard part came when I tried to put the bra on him. I had to have Jake and the little men help prop him up while I got first one and then the second arm through the loops. But snapping it together in the back was utterly impossible, so Lisa finally had to come over and help me out.

"He looks cute, don't you guys think?" I asked, once we were done and we got a good look at him.

"Yeah boy, he shore's lookin' puuurrity," Jordy drawled.

"Or is it a she?" asked Chris, giggling. They were both on a dangerous sugar high.

"How are we going to get him to the car?" I asked Jake.

"We'll get the guys out of the pool, and they can carry him. We'll put him in the passenger seat, and then someone can back the car out of the driveway and park it down the block. I sure hope no one sees us," he said.

"I think we should take him around through the backyard. Then our only exposure is out on the driveway, and if we do it right, it will be only for a minute. Lisa, would you please go grab some towels out of the cupboard and tell the guys to get out of the pool and help us out," I said.

"Sure thing."

The guys got dried off and dressed, and one by one they came in the pool house. They thought we did a good job dressing him up and were shocked to see the pictures of Jordy and Chris sitting naked on his face. We felt that making kiddie porn like that would get Ace, or whoever he was, sent away to jail for a long, long time. I took the cash out of his wallet and gave it to Jake to add to the stash that he got from the guy on the dock. I wasn't sure what he was going to do with it, but now there was enough dough to get him a sweet ride when he got his license in a few months.

Lisa grabbed his torn-up clothes and stuffed them into her bag. She said she'd burn them later on. While the guys grabbed Ace by the arms and legs, I took the wallet with the ID's, the Polaroid's and his car keys. I got the gun and the dagger but not the bullets out of Tucker's shorts and led the way out of the room. We went around the other side of the pool, to the small side yard that separated Jake's and my house. Stepping out front first, I looked around to make sure no one was watching. It was almost four in the morning now, but I doubted anybody would be up this early. The milkman and the paperboy weren't due for another hour or so.

I stepped to the side of Ace's Citroen and unlocked the passenger side door for the guys. This sure was a weird looking car, all slopey and swirly. Moving on the driver's side door, I opened it and got in. After tripping out on the bizarre steering wheel, I put his wallet in the glove box and helped the guys put Ace in the front passenger seat. We got him positioned the way we wanted him. I scattered the Polaroid's around on the floor. I even stuck one in his bra. I placed the gun and dagger way under the seat where he couldn't reach them if he came to.

The only problem we had was that he was still so drugged up he kept tipping over. Jake had a great suggestion to strap him in with the shoulder belt. That worked out well and once secured, I jumped out so Colt could move the car down the street. He parked at the curb and came running back to meet up with us.

"What do we do now?" he asked.

"Let's go back to my place and make an anonymous call to the cops."

"Groovy."


Back inside, I sent the little men to bed. The sugar had worn off, and they were about ready to conk out any second, and in the event that the cops knocked on the door, I didn't want them to think that Jordy and Chris were the boys in the Polaroid's. They probably wouldn't have been able to tell anyway, since only their bodies showed from their shoulders to their knees.

Enzo, Kenji, Colt, Tucker, and Cooper were beat too, so they crashed in the family room while Lisa, Jake and I flipped for who got to call the cops. Lisa lost, so she got on the phone to the fuzz.

"Hello? Is this the police department?" She almost lost it because she was using a funny voice trying to imitate Mrs. Kravitz. "Yes, well, there is an odd-looking car with a naked man in the front seat. He's in front of my house, for corn's sake. You need to do something before the children in the neighborhood wake up and see him. They could be damaged for life. Yes, oh, all right, I'll hold. But hurry up."

"Here's Mrs. Jacobson's address," I whispered to Lisa, slipping a paper across the counter towards her.

"What took you so long? How busy can you possibly be at this hour? What? I didn't tell you because you didn't ask me. Are you really a cop? You don't sound like it. Anyway, it's Ridge Top Drive. Yes, uh-huh, exactly. The same place where that hippie party was the other night. It's probably one of those deadbeat draft-dodgers. No, I'm not going to give you my name. I'm an old woman, and you're supposed to protect me. I pay taxes, gosh darn it! Just send a patrol car, and you'll see what I'm talking about," Lisa yelled and slammed down the phone.

"Hey, that was pretty funny. You crank call people a lot?" I asked.

"Sometimes when we were bored. There wasn't a lot for us to do in San Pedro."

"How long do you think it will take them to get here?" Jake asked, changing the subject.

"Probably not long. Shoot, I can't ever remember the cop's being up here so much. You know, things sure have been fun since you guys moved in," I said.

"Let's go wait by the window. Turn off the lights, so they think we're sleeping," Jake said. "I don't want them to see us and think we had anything to do with this."

We tiptoed through the family room so we wouldn't wake up the guys, but we needn't have worried because they were fast asleep. We got comfortable on the living room window seat overlooking the front lawn, and sure enough, not more than two or three minutes later two squad cars pulled slowly up the street. The officers took their sweet time getting out of their patrol cars and when they finally made it over to the Citroen, we could see them becoming animated. One guy was waving at his partner to come over and look.

I had second thoughts about something that I had done that wasn't too smart. After Colt had come back from parking the car on the street, he handed me the car keys. As we ran back towards home, I threw the keys into the storm drain at the curb so no one would be able to find them. The problem with that was the cops thought Ace might be injured, and when he didn't wake up after they pounded on the windows, one of the cops took out his baton and busted out the side window. That sound, plus the noise from their radios, started waking people up around the neighborhood and porch lights started coming on.

An unmarked detective's car barreling up the street and pulling to a stop in front of the Citroen on the wrong side of the street. Out popped the detective that had been here a couple of times before. He was the one that my dad talked to about the broken brake line on the microbus but didn't want to do anything about it. I think his name was Detective Bouner. He was also here for the showdown on the hill when the cop got attacked. Damn. I just knew he was going to be paying a visit to our front door pretty soon, and I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be on our side.

"Guys, I think we're in trouble. That cop has been here before. Jake, remember when my dad called him the day we cleaned out the garage?"

"Yeah. So what? I think his name is Detective Boner."

"Yeah, something like that. Anyway, the cops might be dumb, but they're not stupid. They're going to put this together after they realize he's Lulu's husband. He's going to figure out that we had something to do with it."

"Relax," Lisa said. "Mellow out. All we have to do is get our stories straight. Here's what's up: We're over here spending the night with our friends while our parents are away. Maybe Ace came looking for Lulu in one of his drunken stupors. We were over here, so we didn't hear anything going on, like him pounding on the front door. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe we should go out front and be looky-loos like the other neighbors are doing. Let's head them off at the pass, so to speak. Rub your eyes and yawn. Ham it up."

"I think she's right, Ry. They can't possibly believe we did that to Ace," Jake said. "And it would look strange if we were the only ones who didn't come out to see what's going on. You know how nosy neighbors are and besides, we're right next door. In our old apartment building, anytime there was a fight or some other kind of action the cops would show up and everybody would be out leaning on the railing watching the show."

"All right, if you say so. I guess we can go out front." I took another look out the window, and this time I saw Mrs. Jacobson out on the sidewalk in her bathrobe and rollers. "Let's go see what the excitement is about," I said, trying to get into character.

We walked out the front door and down the walk and spotted the detective climbing the steps to Jake and Lisa's house. Right as he was about to ring the doorbell, Lisa yelled out, "Hey! Nobody's home. Who are you looking for?"

"You live here, Miss? Oh, not you two again," he said, looking back and forth between Jake and me. "How did I know that you two would be here?"

"Nice to see you again, Officer Boner," Jake said curtly.

"It's Detective Bouner. It's French. Do you know whose car that is parked in front over there?" he asked, pointing across the street. The cops had gotten Ace out and had plopped him down on the sidewalk. One cop had pulled out a blanket or tarp or something and had covered up his lower body so the neighbors wouldn't see his privates. It looked like they were waiting for an ambulance to come check him out.

"That's our dad's car! What's going on?" Lisa asked.

"Is that him on the ground? Is he dead?" Jake asked, hamming it up. You'd think these two had gone to drama school.

"No, no, just calm down, kids. He's passed out drunk. But I need to ask you guys some questions," he said. I don't know what it was about him, but he seemed like he didn't care about Ace. Maybe he knew Ace somehow. Or maybe he was one of the cops on the take. Either way, I he seemed like a dick and I didn't trust him.

"Where is your mother? Why are you kids over there and out this late?"

"My mom is on vacation, and we're staying with Ryan and his family while she's gone. And we're out this late because you made so much noise it woke us up. So what's going on? Please tell me what's the matter. What's happened to our dad?" Lisa asked.

"It appears that Mr. Mariano has had way too much to drink tonight. Somehow, he made it here to your house before he passed out in his car. I read the reports, and I know that he and your mother have been quarreling and that someone suspected him of tampering with the brakes on her Volkswagen. Any idea why he would want to come back here?"

"No, not really. We haven't seen that much of him for the last couple of years. When we do, it always turns into a big fight. He never gives my mom any money, and sometimes he treats us mean," Lisa said, quite convincingly. Most of that was probably true.

"I see. This might seem like a strange question, but do you have any reason to believe that someone, how should I say this, is sending him a warning? The reason that I ask is that he's wearing women's undergarments," the detective said, wrinkling up his face.

I don't know if it was the way that he said that, or if we were so tired and wound up, or if it was actually funny, but Jake and I stared at each other for a half-second before we both busted up laughing. Lisa almost lost it too, but recovered nicely by saying, "What in the hell are you talking about? Are you sure that's Ace? Our Ace? Our dad wouldn't wear lady's clothes. Uh-uh. No way."

"Well, we're not completely sure. He does, or I should say, the gentlemen in that car, seems to have a series of identification cards on him, so we're not a hundred percent sure who he is. But I've had dealings with him in the past, downtown, and I'm pretty sure I recognize him. Even in the state he's in, I'm sure I know him. If his fingerprints are on file down at the station, we should be able to determine his true identity. He was arrested recently for some shenanigans downtown at a local … well, never mind." He had barely gotten that out when one of the younger patrolmen called him back over to the car. Apparently, they found something else that was quite interesting.

"Please, stay right here. Don't move. I'll be right back."

We stood there watching the cops investigate the scene from our front lawn. Mrs. Kravitz had moseyed across the street and came up next to us, but surprisingly didn't say a word. I think she was too intent on watching the action and didn't want to miss a thing. From what I saw, they found the pictures and were showing them to the detective. Then another cop pulled out the gun and the knife from under the seat. It seemed that the cops didn't know what to do now. When they started passing around the pictures, they got more and more animated as they flipped through them. I got the feeling that the regular cops wanted to bash Ace's face in, but I think the detective thought this might be a set-up, which of course, it was.

About that time the ambulance pulled up, and two guys in white uniforms popped out to treat Ace. They put a portable oxygen mask on his face and in a few minutes later he came to. Luckily for us, he couldn't see Jake, Lisa or me because he was looking down the hill. They lifted him on a stretcher, and one of the cops tried to handcuff him. That's when he really woke up and started to fight with the cop. It took a couple of patrolmen to subdue him, and during the process, the blanket covering Ace's mostly naked body fell off to the delight of the crowd. There were catcalls and boos yelled from both sides of the street. Ace didn't seem to notice and actually got a good punch to the face of a young cadet.

"Oh, my word," Mrs. Jacobson said and covered her mouth in total shock. "That's not your daddy, is it? Why would he be wearing those clothes? He looks like a harlot."

"I hope he's not, ma'am," Jake said. "That's not his usual outfit. At least, I don't think it is. We've never seen him this way before. Drunk, yes. In women's panties, no."

"I see."

Both Lisa and Jake looked sad, and I'm not sure that it was all acting this time. I felt bad for them and wished that they had had a better father figure than the one that they got stuck with. I wondered who their real dad was and if they would ever know him. We'd have to wait for the Lulu's to come home before we could get the rest of that story. That was going to be the first question out of our mouths the minute they pulled into the driveway in a couple of days.

Ace was taken away in the ambulance, followed by one of the cops in a squad car. After looking at the Citroen one last time, the detective came over and joined our little group. "Who are you, ma'am?" he asked, looking at Mrs. Kravitz.

"I'm Daisy Jacobson. Don't you remember me? You should. You talked to me the other day right over there when their Magic Bus almost took out my roses. I live in that beautiful blue house," she said, pointing across the street. "What's this about, anyway?"

"I'm not sure this concerns you right now. Would you mind going back across the street ma'am, if you please? I need to speak to these youngsters privately. Go on home, and if we need you, we'll come find you."

Even though he asked her politely, there was no doubt that he was ordering her back home. With a loud huff, she went quickly on her way, but not before she had the last word. "Honestly!"

Ignoring her theatrics, the detective asked, "I need to ask you some questions, and I'd like to have you look at a couple of pictures. Actually, just the boys. Young lady, would you mind waiting on the porch for a moment?"

"I guess not."

"Thank you. Boys, follow me." We walked a little way across the grass and joined him by the driveway. He pulled out two of the Polaroid's from of his pocket and said, "Boys, do you recognize these children?"

"Oh my God! That's just sick," Jake said, covering his mouth. "That can't possibly be my dad, can it?"

"That's what I need to find out. You have a younger brother, right?" he asked, looking at me. "Does this look like him?"

I really had to get into drama mode, but it was easy to do because I was protecting Jake and Lisa, and Jordy and Chris, too. "Umm, it's not like I see my little brother naked, but I'm sure that's not him because his wiener is bigger than that. Besides, I've been with him all day, well, all night too, plus I know he would never do anything weird like that. He's sound asleep upstairs. That's totally sick. Are you sure that's Jake's dad?"

"No, we're not. Did you boys hear anything unusual tonight?"

"No, sir. We hung out and watched a movie on TV and went to sleep around midnight. We didn't hear anything until you guys showed up," Jake said. "And like my sister said, we're staying with Ryan while my mom is on vacation. If that's my dad, what's going to happen to him?"

"I'm not sure. We've been interested in him for a couple of things that happened downtown recently. The D.A. is going to be very interested in these pictures, and if they can be substantiated, he'll probably go to prison for a very long time. And anyway, we recently found out he's a key suspect in a murder down at the King Harbor Marina."

"A murder? Are you serious? Who got murdered?" I asked.

"One of Mr. Mariano's associates was found floating face-down in the marina, and his boat had been intentionally crashed into the rocks. The Redondo Beach Police think it's some sort of turf war. Anyhow, that's not your concern right now."

"I knew my dad was scummy, but I didn't think he was that scummy. Detective, don't tell Lisa about any of this. It would break her heart. Just take him away and throw away the key. He deserves it," Jake said, very convincingly, I might add.

"All right, but if you boys can remember anything, please let me know, okay? Here's my card with my direct line."

"Yes, sir. Thanks."

"And have your mother call me the minute she gets home."

"We will," Jake said. "I promise."

"Uh-huh. Well, good night, then." Detective Bouner nodded slightly towards Lisa as he walked across the lawn back to the Citroen. A tow-truck had pulled up and was attaching the lift to Ace's car. It looked to me that they wanted this wrapped up quickly. I also was beginning to think that there was much more to Ace's story then we'd never know.

"Think he believed us?' I asked Jake and Lisa.

"I don't know, and I don't care. All I care about is that Ace is gone and we never see him again," Lisa said.

"It's kinda funny that they think Ace had something to do with what happened at the Marina tonight," Jake said.

"Why? What are you talking about?" Lisa asked.

"They don't have a clue we were down there," I said. "He told us that the Redondo Beach police are looking at Ace for a murder. I guess the guy we threw overboard was one of his employees."

"Well, I'm sorry he's dead, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat to save my little brother."

"Me too. Getting Jake back safe is all that matters. C'mon, let's go get some sleep," I said.

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