ITEM: Now hanging with Oz. He doesn’t want his real name to be used, just his street name so the homeboys will know. Figuring I was going to jail in the near future, I did some tractor work for Oz to sort of kiss up. He’s a mover and shaker in the State Prisons on all sorts of levels I don’t even want to know about. I figured some pals on the inside wouldn’t hurt. When I first met him, he was reticent to say one word to me. After five tequilas, he loosened up a little. I’ve never seen him nude but what is showing is tattooed. Pretty gory ones peak out of his shirt collar. Some horned demons maybe? Anyhow, he’s connected all over the State. He’s in his forties so I’m considered an old man and no threat. Caught a break there. Plus, he liked my tree house and hates authority. Kindred spirits.
ITEM: After eight drinks to my one, Oz filled me in on his life. He has 16 brothers and nine sisters. Most by different mothers. His dad got around. Oz has only met the ones dropped off at their house in the middle of the night when he was growing up and raised with him at his mom’s house. His dad was only there to get the probation department guys off his back.
Once his dad left the dinner table, answered the door to some guy shouting at him, shoots the guy three times and drags him in the house. He sits back down at the table and ate while waiting for the police. They were North of Fresno picking artichokes living in a cropper shack. When the cops came, they listened to Oz’s dad’s version of the guy threatening his family while they look down at the blood trail off the porch into the front room. They call the morgue guys and adios. Just another dumb Mexican. Who cared. Oz says his mom raised them all, no questions asked. They were blood and that was that.
A lot of Oz’s bro’s are well respected in prisons all over California and Arizona. I figured to throw his name and gang sign around a lot if incarcerated. Oz says his people really run the prisons. It’s huge money. I asked him to leave the details out in case I was ever asked to take a polygraph.
ITEM: I tell him a couple of phone man stories and he interrupts me right in the middle of one. “Hey, dude. I know a freaky wire story I bet you haven’t heard!” O.K. ‘shoot’, says I. Oz’s story: “At Mira Loma is where all the immigration cases go. Some bro’s have been there for years man. Waiting on appeals and stuff. One of my cousins is there right now, looking at deportation. It’s his third time and he still comes back. They say it’s adios forever if they pick him up again. He’s cool though so they cut him some slack since he’s a good worker and can drive tractors and things like that. He’s on the grounds crew. It will cut him time served and good time if he wins. Out of his cell time if not. He tells me they get this job a couple of years or so ago that was a real mind blower!”
It hits me as he says the last sentence. It’s going to be the conduit deal. My wife Pat is an immigration attorney. She was at Mira Loma while doing some Pro Bono when all the lights went out and the sirens went off. Everyone thought it was a break out. Nope. Only if it had been. I stay quiet and wait to hear it from Oz. He had taken two more shots and looked like the kind of guy I wanted to stay on the good side of. I just met the guy and knew zip about how booze affected him. Oz confirms my suspicion on being able to change in an instant.
He’s staring at me intently. I look him right in the eye. “They get told by a prison guard to dig up some of the grounds for some reason or another. About four or five guys I think. They had full run of the yard and the tool shack from being on the crew so long. All the guards knew them well. The guard who was supposed to watch them takes off and leaves them on their own. My cousin says they hit a big rock. They can’t dig around it so they go to the tool shed and get the electric jackhammer. After some long extension cords this dude jumps into the hole and starts hammering the big rock!” As Oz took the rest of my drink down, I say, “And the guy got fried. My wife was their with a client the day it happened. It knocked all the power out in that wing of the jail. Killed the guy. He hammered into 10,000 volts in a cement electrical conduit!”
ITEM: First, don’t wreck a new pal’s story. Oz just shuts up and gets a mad look on his mug. I tell him I’m sorry. I buy us another round. Oz says a surly, “ No man, I gotta go!” I tell a couple of jokes and get him back into a better mood. I then ask him to continue. To let me hear his side of the story. Leaning back in his chair he’s blocking the aisle at the small bar were in. Everyone takes one look at him and walks around to the other aisle. Crossing his arms Oz shuts his eyes and it looks like he was falling asleep. Nope. He was just thinking. Opening his eyes into slits he suddenly leans forward almost hitting his head on our table top. Catching himself he rests his arms on the table and almost whispers so low I can’t hear him over the Tex-Mex blasting from the next room. “That dude that fried? He’s in their wiring and phones!” I keep my mouth shut this time. Oz continued. “Everyone there has heard him crying for help in the back of phone calls. Low, but he’s there man. Lights flicker. Bulbs blow. Gates freeze up and won’t click open, or, stay jammed open or shut. All kinds of freaky stuff!”
ITEM: I end up taking off after this part of the story. Two hot babes came in and Oz left me like I carried the plague. He left me the tab, too. I had to use my propane bill dough to get out of the joint. Back at home I tell my wife Pat the story Oz had laid on me. She says he’s absolutely correct. She’s heard a dozen stories from everyone from Sheriffs to the vendors who do the laundry and food contracts. My wife Pat helps everyone for free most of the time so everyone gravitates to her for legal advice. She gets along with everyone just about. When I piss her off, I get the frown and pout face. You don’t want to get that for too long. I’d rather be clothes lined by the Hulk. So, what Oz had said is true. Boy, what a wild deal.
ITEM: While we we’re moving to our new place since the 22 County people that kept coming out jammed up our bathroom, we had to move these ancient artifacts Pat’s mom has collected for decades. We had them since the room they were in down in the valley had Indian drums coming out of it on occasion, and, Indian ghosts passing through the walls. Swell. They’re Inca, Mayan, Toltec and such. I told Pat it was okay with me. I didn’t bump them off and didn’t want to mess with their totems. I figure we’ll give them to the appropriate museums or tribes when the time is right.
One thing I can’t stand is a grave robber. That’s all it is when you dig open burial chambers or take bones and items from rocky clefts the Navajo and Hopi use. I think the Havasupi and Pima do their dead differently. Whatever. I’ve seen a couple of private collections that made my blood boil. These guys treated sacred bowls, pipes, weapons, hunting gear, god totems and such like it was just a big treasure hunt. They showed me all the special tools and tricks they knew to find buried chambers. Then, when I got ticked, they THREATENED ME. Oh yeah! I had better keep this to myself or else stuff. I figure they’ll get what’s coming to them without any help from me.
Back to these totems Pat’s mom has. When Pat put the box on the back seat of her crew cab truck, our dog jumped into the front seat as usual but this time he did something out of the ordinary. Not only did he start barking frantically at the box, he also jumped out and barked at something in the bed of the truck that only he could see. Now, I wasn’t there, but, I had the same thing happen to me when Pat was gone and I let the mutt into the barn because it was raining. Pat had just brought the box home and had left it on our kitchen table. It was dark and rainy a few nights later and Pat was still in the valley. As the dog ran to the kitchen to wipe out the cat’s food dish, he slid to a stop, pissed all over the floor and backed up to the bridge door. Hackles up and wild-eyed. I opened the door and he ran back to his dog house on the bridge. I took the box downstairs to Pat’s law office and put it in one of her empty file cabinets. I never told her about it. She gets scared easily. Not good with her ticker questionable at times.
I’ve sat and watched the box a few times while fixing weed eaters or what ever in the blue barn. Never seen a thing. I talk to it. I wonder if they get along with all the local spirits from the Pauite burial grounds just across the valley from us. There’s also cave drawings and cliff homes. I guess they’re pretty happy. The cats who live in the barn are happy as clams.
ITEM: I went back up to Quail lake looking for Oscar the other day. I meet this fellow named Cliff sitting in a small 4×4 writing something. He’s parked where the gate will hit so I went over to yak it up and see if he would pull forward a bit. A nice guy. He was on the clock it turned out. His job was to patrol the new dirt road put in for the Turbine company’s 18 wheelers hauling electrical reels of high tension wire, turbine tower parts and the blades themselves. Some of the blades are 75 foot long. He kept count of all the road kills. Yep. From deer to bear to squirrels and rabbits. He kept a tally. I asked him what it would mean in the long run. He just shrugged his shoulders and said nothing. He started up his little van and drove away.
ITEM: Now I’m on five years probation. Hey, it’s a lot better deal then my buddy Clem got. The N.A.T. Team jack boots killed him. First they tortured him, then they killed him is actually what happened. A tiny little guy in his nineties. Deaf and on his way out. He lived in this tiny house surrounded by his stuff off of Sierra Highway near Sand Canyon for fifty years or more. As a kid, I would join up with other kids to toss frozen hot dogs to his little mutt guard dog and take bike parts from a giant pile of bikes he had stacked up. Since he was usually half-blasted at the V.F.W. just up the road within walking distance, it was a piece of cake. We were joking about how easy it was to rip him off at Soledad Sands Park one day, and I got straightened out by a vet sitting at the next picnic table. The guy knew Clem and wasn’t too happy about our bragging. He sat down next to me, told us to shut up and smarten up. He then told us about a place called Tarawa.
If you asked a Marine it was called, ‘BLOODY TARAWA’. Two of my buddies took off mocking the man. Frank Angelostro and I kept our seats. My dad died in Korea. I’d hear this story out and show some respect. Clem was in the first wave of men that hit the beach on Tarawa. Out of a hundred and fifty guys in Clem’s unit, eleven made it off the island in one piece three days later. Point blank fire from cement pillboxes ten foot apart. No cover. The tank men refused to drive over the dead and wounded stacked like cord wood everywhere you looked. It cost them their lives. Multiple high velocity rounds knocked turrets completely off the chassis with in minutes. The Marines did what they always do. They landed more guys and hit the Japs head on. Clem was there all three days. Now, fifty years or so later some guys in black uniforms with no name tags tell him he has to get out of his house. It’s been declared a ‘Nuisance’.
Gee, weren’t they started up by Antonovich, head of L.A. County, to take out crack houses and meth labs? Since every type of drug is going down in price since there’s so much everywhere, guess they needed some ego boosting by stealing some old guy’s land and goods for their higher-ups. Clem moves into an abandoned truck with no tires in the little wash near his yard and starts a fire in the step van rear to keep his dogs and himself warm. It was the middle of winter. The van catches on fire and kills them all. The County leaps into action! First, strip the yard of all the accumulated stacks and piles of steel dozer parts, aluminum, copper by the truck load, autos, loaders, forklifts, iron rods. $200,000 worth. It was a lot of work so they had to bill the estate $50,000 grand for all that trouble. The house sits there in the cleared out yard. Waiting to be torn down for the bullet train that’s to go past. Waiting to make some big shot some big dough. Wonder how the big shot would think of ripping an old man off after getting magically transported to Tarawa?