Friday, September 2, 2011

California Dreaming



Hey there, crime kids. Happy Friday. Here's a little something to get the holiday weak-end started -- another a trip to the dark side, where your most violent fantasies become sins of the flesh, right here, where the hardboiled action is non-stop, at the coolest crime joint in cyberspace ... at That Killing Feeling.

In Chapter 15 of WILSHIRE BOULEVARD, private eye Carrie Love takes film production worker bee Jenny Lane out for dinner and grills her about the freaks at her job ...


INT. YAVO/FLENDER FILMS - CORRIDOR - DUSK
Carrie walks past a closed office door.
A hand-made sign reads LEGAL IS CLOSED.

Jenny appears. Has her coat on. Holds her bag.

JENNY
I’m sorry, but Betty left.
She gets here at 7:30.
Leaves at six sharp,
has to race home to her
unemployed, drunken husband.

CARRIE
(nods at the closed door)
What about Legal?

JENNY
That’s my boss, Modi.
He won’t talk to you.
He doesn’t talk to visitors.

CARRIE
I see. I like a challenge.
I’ll ambush him another time.

JENNY
So where do you want to go?

PUSH IN ON Carrie.
The cat about to get the canary.

CARRIE
How do you feel about shellfish?

EXT. CHEZ RAY’S - NIGHT
The crisp, surf-guitar jangle of
The Venturers’ cover of
CALIFORNIA DREAMING over --

A crusty, old dive.
Across the street from the beach.
Near the Santa Monica pier.
Small martini glass in pink neon.

INT. CHEZ RAY’S - NIGHT
Almost pitch-black, except for
the zillions of tiny Christmas lights.

And the juke box.
Movie posters signed by patrons.

The joint is packed.
Hipsters who know better.

Beaten-down regulars who don’t.
Excited voices fight the music.

And in a dark, corner booth --
Carrie and Jenny.

Each with a giant,
shell-shaped bowl of oysters.

Carrie dunks a piece of bread
in steaming hot shrimp broth.
Pops it in her mouth.

Grabs her beer.
Takes a long pull.

JENNY
I love this place.
I’ve passed it a million times
and never knew what it was.
I wasn’t even sure if it was open.

Carrie pours salt on her wrist.
Licks it.

DOWNS a shot of tequila.
Bites a lemon wedge. Smiles.

CARRIE
Chez Ray’s is Santa Monica’s
best-kept secret.
If someone in the press
writes about it
in one of trendy rags,
they’re eighty-sixed.

Just then RAY (80’s)
the owner, ambles over.

Toothpick thin.
Natty in a pink Hawaiian shirt.

Ancient skin ruined by the sun.
But bright, blue eyes still
twinkling with mischief.

RAY
(to Carrie)
Who’s the new dame, doll?
id the Brit take a powder?

CARRIE
(flushes)
Ray. This is Jenny Lane.
I’m on a job.

JENNY
Hi.

RAY
(to Jenny, winks)
Better watch out for this one.
She can reel ‘em in.
Don’t even need bait.

He shuffles away.
An awkward silence.

CARRIE
So tell me about Yavo/Flender Films.
I want all the dirt.
I don’t care how tawdry.

JENNY
Well, they’re all freaks.
We’re underpaid, understaffed,
and very successful.
Flender was a cheap,
ying bastard,
and he got what was
coming to him --
(sips her cocktail)
Yavo is nasty, crude,
and suffers from a
Napoleon complex --

CARRIE
Did Yavo and Flender get along?

JENNY
They only got along because
of how much money they made.
Yavo used to be one of the
biggest producers in town --
he’s made over a hundred TV movies --
but he made other investments over the years,
which make much more money,
so nowadays he lets -- let --
Flender call the shots.
All he has to is sit back
and watch the dough roll in.
Bastard’s only in
the office two days a week.
Rest of the time he’s at
his compound down in Laguna.
I can’t think of a motive
for Yavo doing it. No upside.
Flender was doing all the work.

CARRIE
Can you tell me about his enemies?

JENNY
That could take all night.

CARRIE
Whattaya say we kick it
back at my place?
I have a full bar.

PUSH IN ON Jenny.
Her Cheshire cat smile.

JENNY
I thought you’d never ask --

3 comments:

  1. Can't believe I missed Friday...busy weekend....

    Wow! No matter how much of you I read, I am always blown away by how you can describe a place like Chez Ray's in such few words.... I can almost hear the music... sea breeze wafting in to mix with the tantalizing aromas of fresh seafood.

    Is Chez Ray's still there?

    I LOVE The Ventures cover of California Dreamin'...those guitar chords just go right through me!!

    So, it looks like we can cross Yavo off the list, huh? You gotta have a really good reason to kill the golden goose and Yavo doesn't strike me as making the kind of emotional investment in another person that would drive the kind of vengeance to kill your meal ticket....

    Of course, I could be wrong....

    Okay... who's the cat and who's the canary here? Lol!!

    Yes, let's do go back to your place... pour a couple drinks... put on a little 'mood' music... get down to the real 'in-depth' interview.... muaaahh!!

    xoxoxoxoxo <3 <3 <3

    Ronnie

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's actually called Chez Jay's, and yes, it's still there. Sad to say, Jay died a couple of years ago, but his kids are now running it. It really is a special place, and I used to go there all the time -- lived right down the street. It's classic 'old Hollywood,' and if you ever get down this way, we'll DEF go there ... <3

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