A new novel by Norma Posy. Coming in 2010.
A male-to-female transsexual is murdered in the parking lot behind a pool hall.
The two major characters are a lesbian couple, Maggie and Moe. They play a pivotal role in the resolution of the crime.
The entire story takes place within and around the world of professional pool players.
Several of the characters who hang out at Side Pocket pool hall play significant roles in the story, particularly Shake ‘n Bake, Hank the Butcher, and Doghouse.
Supporting characters include:
- George Wells, a private eye and Maggie’s employer;
- Charlie Adler and Sally Johansen, police detectives; and
- Jacobi, a “Pixie-Bob” kitten.
The story is a blend of top-flight pool, gambling, and gender fluidity, woven into a murder investigation.
Fast Glassy and Motel Mac stood against the night at the rear of a building, the darkness relieved only by reluctant moonlight through an overcast sky. Above them, “SIDE POCKET POOLHALL PARKING ONLY,” in fading and chipped block lettering upon the wall, was a tired sentinel over scattered wine and beer bottles, wind-blown fast food wrappers, an over-full garbage dumpster, and the occasional interplay of circumstance. The brick wall bearing that proscription, having seen it all, was indifferent to passing drama, whether that of roach, rat, or man.
Jésus Estobar and Eddie Zimmer sat close by in their old, white Mercedes, engine idling, lights off. A bag changed hands, then money. A brief muttered exchange evaporated into the night.
A sudden swing of headlights briefly illuminated the gloom as a late arrival turned into the parking lot. The car rolled to park at the far end of the lot and suddenly stopped with a spasm, nearly hitting a body on the ground. Donkey Kong jumped out and hailed Fast Glassy and Motel Mac, as Eddie and Jésus pulled the Mercedes away, headlights coming on only as it raced off down a side street away from the avenue.
The men were stunned at the sight of a woman, well dressed in a grey business suit, red accessories of chemise, heels and purse, lying in a pool of blood. They recognized her as “Jennifer,” a frequent visitor to the poolhall and always a threat on the table field of green.
San Diego homicide detective paperwork reported that the purse contained $271.25 in cash, a California driver’s license, and two credit cards in the name of “Jennifer Dexter.” A three year old Toyota, registered to that name, was parked next to the body, the driver’s door wide open. The only item of special interest within the car was a black cue stick case across the back seat in plain view. It contained a Meucci cue stick, decorated with a filigree of mother-of-pearl inlays, with two “black dot” shafts. A phone call to that company placed its value at about $1200. The probable instrument of death was listed as a common single-ended tire lug-nut wrench found near the body, with a 21 millimeter hex socket on one end, the other end tapered for use as a pry. Beneath the blood it was dirty and bore no usable fingerprints.
The coroner’s report confirmed cause of death as blunt trauma to the head. However, the report also stated that the body, though exhibiting breasts within a bra of cup size B, was discovered to have male genitalia.
Jésus And Eddie
Jésus Estobar and Eddie Zimmer were mutually introduced by the California Department of Corrections. This social nicety took place in cell #719 at Folsom State Prison.
Jésus Estobar had had an exciting 22 years. His mother was an illegal immigrant living in a Los Angeles garage with six others. He never knew his father. He briefly flirted with gang affiliation as a teenager but thought better of it after losing his right hand pinky in a brawl at a Raiders football game, being decorated with a nasty scar across his cheek whilst negotiating a territorial dispute, and taking a bullet through his innocent calf muscle one day while simply walking down the street.
His perception of all this melodrama was along the lines of paying his dues for existing. His education was more practical than academic. Any benefit from literacy was seen by him as insufficient to justify the trouble. He could count money, swear, and ask a girl to go to bed with him in English well enough. Beyond that, “Spanglish” worked just fine for drug dealing, which provided him an adequate though unpredictable and variable income.
In a misguided attempt at bettering his lot, he botched an armed robbery of a liquor store in Fresno. He had recently discovered that if a baseball cap were worn backwards, that flat thing would stick out in front, shielding his eyes from the sun. This orientation was foreign to his head bone, and must have been a distraction. In the heat of negotiations, the cap brim slipped down over his nose. His neuron circuitry from nose and from trigger finger to his higher cortical centers crossed paths. One bullet went through the lottery ticket machine. The other pierced a Hustler magazine before shattering a bottle of Thunderbird. Thus disquieted, Jésus empirically assayed the possibility that the front door glass was transparent to his body. It wasn’t. He was consequently patched up and brought before the majesty of the law in a California court.
His court-appointed lawyer had spent the prior night being entertained by a professional dominatrix, and though this worthy managed to keep his eyes open during the court trial proceedings (as he had all last night during her attentions), what presence he did manage to exhibit was preoccupied by his memories (and the consequences thereof) of the whip on his back and the paddle on his ass. Jésus was found guilty.
Eddie Zimmer’s stepfather drank too much. As a not very skilled construction worker for a contractor in Chicago, he got yelled at a lot by the foreman. To restore his wounded ego, he would stop off on the way home for a slug of cheap booze. Then to reassert his dominance over at least an itty bit of his world, he would relieve his primal drives by slapping Eddie’s mother around and taking a swipe or two at little Eddie. Eddie wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier but this much he knew: he had to get out of there.
Eddie left home at the age of 16, traveled to California on the strength of his thumb, and embarked on an uneven career of odd-jobbing, day-laboring, street-sleeping, and pan-handling. Four years later, while contemplating the unfairness of life and the problem-solving nature of money, it came to his intellect to rob a bank. That required a means of transport, something he lacked. To that end, he visited a shopping mall parking lot and walked up and down looking for a car with keys in the ignition.
Mary Merkle reported her car to the police as stolen. The next day a girlfriend drove her to the bank so she could deposit her Social Security check. They entered the lot.
“There’s my car!” Mary excitedly shouted. Now, Mary was a forgetful sort (which explains why she left the keys in her car to begin with). She knew herself well enough to always carry a spare set of keys in her purse, a habit she picked up after the third time she locked herself out of her house. She simply drove her own car home.
Eddie ran out of the bank with a bag full of money, waving his gun—and stopped short. “Where the fuck is the fucking car?” thus spake he.
And that is how Eddie and Jésus came to share living quarters, compliments of the sovereign state of California.
Having forged a friendship through adversity, upon their release from jail some years later Jésus and Eddie resolved to embark on a life of (in the immortal words composed and sung by Tom Lehrer, up at Harvard) “doing well by doing good” together. To that end they promoted a flamboyantly pink ten-year-old Mercedes from the rear of an upscale beauty salon while the car’s owner, a female impersonator (specialty: Liza Minnelli) afflicted with vanity, was indulging in a few hours of facial hair electrolysis and eyebrow arching. Less than an hour later, this worthy vehicle was in Tijuana, emerging therefrom a week later sporting a nice coat of white paint, a new serial number stamped upon the engine block where the original had been ground off, and a set of Arizona license plates purloined from an automobile junkyard in Nogales.
The airbags had deployed years ago when the original owner, while driving back from Ensenada in Mexico, was transported from this world (and the road) by a mighty orgasm orally produced by a drunken prostitute. That the airbags had never been restored was of no consequence to Eddie and Jésus , if they were even aware of that.
Thus equipped, Jésus and Eddie exercised that entrepreneurial spirit which made this country great. They entered the drug-trafficking trade, and were fiscally rewarded in the handsome manner made possible by well intentioned but incredibly obtuse federal and state drug laws. Being worshipers of sunshine and all things beautiful, they made San Diego their home. Among other perfectly acceptable venues, they found poolhalls to be profitable outlets for their wares, visiting them cyclically and occasionally by special request. At the top of their list was Side Pocket, and it was while they conducted business there that they became acquainted with Paul (“Don’t call me Ambrose”) Farthington, a.k.a. Doghouse.
And so it came to pass that they found themselves behind Side Pocket poolhall upon a balmy spring evening, summoned there by one such special request, initiated by friend and good customer Doghouse. As it developed, this visit was not typical. Doghouse invited himself into the back seat and placed before them something new. He wished to hire them for a special job.
To that end, he first implanted Old Blue, sitting faithfully there in the lot, upon their synapses. They then drove out to Sunset Cliffs, stopping along the way to provision themselves with liquid social lubrication and three Big Macs, graciously paid for by Doghouse. They sat there overlooking the Pacific Ocean as the sun dropped behind the offshore fog bank (though at a considerable distance from it), and held council at some length, Jésus providing the roach clip.
The fee was negotiated after considerable mutual exploration of the philosophical basis of faith uniting disparate souls and the practical logistics of the proposed enterprise. Half was delivered on the spot, the remainder due upon consummation of the contract. They departed that placid oceanic overlook only when their bladders succeeded in final domination over all other desires, both spiritual and chemical, leaving behind two lovers embraced perilously close to the cliff edge, and a squawk of sea gulls complaining loudly over the pile of bottles, cans, hamburger wrappers, and cigarette butts on the ground bearing witness to their visitation.