Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Dumpster Gods Must Be Crazy, Finale

(final chapter in story about finding a woman in a Westwood dumpster)

She didn't go in. WE didn't go in. She had latched herself tightly
around my head and chest. We almost BOTH went in to the dumpster.

I set her down next to the dumpster. I was huffing and puffing from all the exertion. She was huffing and puffing from all the yelling and flailing. We huffed and puffed together for a few minutes, eyeing each other warily.

"I'm . . . telling . . . Caroline (the Casa De Toro apartment manager)," the panting blond said.

"Tell her," I answered, "Tell HER . . ."

Unspoken, but communicated between us was the way Carolyn is about trouble and troublemakers at the apartment complex. All I had to lose was an $8 an hour job. The blond would be on Carolyn's radar as a disturber of the peace, the peace Carolyn seems to treasure above all else.

"Kerry," she said, holding out her hand in truce, "Kerry Keating." It sounded like a lie.

"Pedro," I answered, "Pedro Montoya."

"Do you . . . have my stuff . . . uh, my purse?"

"Maybe it's . . . in the dumpster . . . where I . . . found you," I said, pointing to the inside of the dumpster. Her eyes widened.

"What do . . . I was IN . . . how did I . . ."

"I pulled you out," I said, with a hint of indignation in my voice.

"I need my keys, Pedro," she said, her voice grown cold.

"Well I'm not going in THERE," I said, pointing to the inside of the dumpster. I turned and walked away, towards the business card I had seen falling out of her butt earlier.

I got to the card and picked it up. "Angel Infante" it read, "consultant". Angel baby? I laughed. Angel Baby came up behind me.

"Do you have a key to open my apartm---" she started to ask.

"No ma'am," I said solicitously, "They don't give us . . ."

"Can you call Carol-- uh, management . . ."

"No ma'am," I said, starting to feel sorry for her again, "I can only page emergencies like fire and . . ."

"What am I going to do? My keys. My cell . . ."

"Don't you have any friends here?" I asked.

She looked at me blankly and said nothing. I waited, but she said nothing. I pulled my cell phone off my utility belt and offered it to her.

"Friends anywhere?" I asked. She looked at me blankly again. It's the old L.A. story: in L.A., you can have lots and lots of acquaintances, lots of people you can go out to dinner with or partying with, but nobody to call at 2 in the morning to put you up on their couch.

"I know somebody," I said, "Wanna try?" Angel Baby followed me over to The Succubus' apartment in building C. Ping, The Succubus, had a strange look on her face when she opened her door, a predatory glance between me and the Angel Baby I had dragged to her door like a pet cat bringing the carcass of a mouse to its master.

When I explained the situation, Ping looked as if Christmas had come early this year. Oh, I hadn't known it was like that with Ping.

I left Angel Baby to her fate and resumed my diligent rounds of the property, making a mental note to myself that there's just some junk you should leave in the dumpsters, no matter how bright and shiny it looks.

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