Issue 03 – June 23 1947
Where the party meets Mr. Long and visits Chinatown for the first time.
In the intervening two weeks, Rosie tries to go back to normal. She gets her monthly war widow’s pension. She does, occasionally, try things — mostly to see what she can do.
Mark keeps working, and designing a costume in his spare time.
Stacey learns that Bill is recovering in the downtown free hospital. Doctor’s say he is suffering from some sort of blood poisoning.
Asking around, we try to find out what happened to Leon’s wife. Rosie finds out there was a scandal about the gardener has been growing drugs on the premises. Seems the owner of the estate has been dead for 30 years; and the estate was self-containing. So the state is trying to sell it, as soon as a next-of-kin can be found. Leon and his wife were ejected from the home. He was briefly in jail, but was pardoned due to his age. No one’s too sure where they went after that.
After the initial story broke, there’s been no strange appearances in the news since then. Perhaps its the destruction of the local drug supply, but even the thugs have been quieter than usual.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the streetcar #9 north stops in front of Cobb house and Stacey and an older gentleman. Stacey gets bonked on the head by a baseball. Angelo comes running forward. The twins are in the yard; the Montoya brothers were playing in the back yard. Jorge and Emilio; Jorge doesn’t go to school because he’s “slow”. Angelo runs after the ball, rolling down hill.
We enter the house near supper time. Uncle Antonio Vargas is introduced to Madame Cobb, Maria and Rosie; who are making the night’s dinner (Tacos!). Vargas is well dressed, and filled with style.
The house members gather for dinner. The Starlettes are all done up; they’re going to a wrap-up party for a sword and sandals thing. They are going to sneak in.
Vargas performs tricks for the table. The children gather up the dishes. Emilio is stopped by his father. His father asks if Emilio was into his drawer of nuts and bolts. When he admits to it, he is sent to clean it up. Jorge goes with him.
Ernesto turns on the radio to listen to baseball.
While the other women tend to the dishes, Stacey and Vargas go to the porch to talk.
Rosie takes out some ice tea. Stacey tries to get Mark to join them but the Angels are playing on the radio.
Vargas listens to the girl’s stories.
Vargas warns us that any practioner entering China town should be wary. People disappear there. The Alchemist in Old China town (Fergasun Alley and Alemeda street) is Wu Long and Vargas is adamant we first find a guide.
Stacey brings the special reefer down for vargas to see. After examining it and its contents, he can’t figure out why it glows when it approaches Stacey and Rosie.
A group of magicians meet at Clifton Pacific Seas. It’s a faux-tiki look is to appeal to returning GIs.
The magicians should be there around 3am.
So we go to bed and get together again before 3am.
We head out, it’s nice and warm. The stars are out with a crescent moon. We hop a street car heading downtown.
We get to the area around the restaurant and have to dodge sailors. Clifton’s is very … decorated.
In the corner, past the cigarette girl, is a table of a couple of men in their 30s and 40s; inter-spaced among the men are very beautiful women. Mohamad Bay, Candy, Trixie and Coco. Senior Blitz (a rotund man Stacey has worked with in the past), and Cardini.
Trixi and girls take Cardini away.
1871 500 men went into china town and there was a lynching – 20-80 people were killed (men and young men). Before the station was built. There was a Tong war and in the cross-fire they killed a white man, then a mob was born and revenge taken. The source of the problem was a spell gone aray – a spell of anger. They say that something has watched over China town to make certain this never happens again.
We hear Trixi scream “You cad!” and she hauls back and slaps him.
Stacey grabs hold of two soldiers and says “Boys! Boys!”
Mark insults the man holding Trixi – and they fight. Mark sends one flying without a flash of light. His buddies grab one of them “Oh look, they’re hugging!”
The owner shows up and the sailor’s leave stage left. Mark gets fresh beer from admirers. Coco thanks him.
And gives him a kiss on the cheek. We spend the rest of the very late morning in the restaurant, then head home.
Coco’s real name is Labelle Freeman.
Stacey is making breakfast. Rosie is waiting and Mark is making coffee. Emilio comes back and Jorge is playing in the sand. They start a game of catch and Jorge seems to be able to slow the ball down.
Jorge comes to the window and wants breakfast. Stacey makes him some fresh tortillas and gets salsa fresca from the fridge. We chat for a bit.
Then some go to bed while others go to church. Then lunch, then home.
When Stacey gets back from church she wakes up Rosie but Mark remains asleep. Vargas, Cobb, Stacie and Rosie play bridge.
Eventually Mark wanders down in the middle of the afternoon.
We play bridge and chat.
In the late afternoon we head out to old Chinatown. We go looking for the shop, and have to ask for directions at least once. Rosie notices Emilio is in Chinatown.
A knife comes to rest in the cobblestones, edge first. Attached to it is a piece of paper. Written on it is “Get out”. Stacey picks it up and reads it; but as she finishes reading it – it is knocked from her hand by another knife. She calls the others back and they chat.
Mark takes up the knives. We press on under Mark’s protection. “This is America Damnit!”.
Eventually the corridor becomes a plaza. One of the doors shows a shop who’s sign matches the note Stacey has. The place is strange. It’s musty and pungent and herb-y and incense filled. There’s a dried alligator hanging from the ceiling. There’s an old woman at the counter.
She goes to fetch the owner as we wait.
She eventually sends us to see him. We go into the back store behind the bar and through a door into a room at the end of a corridor. It is surprisingly spare. The room is dark, lit only by a single candle. It shows a desk with some papers, some scrolls? One or two small jars off to the side. The smell of light incense covers the smell of the store – neutralizing the odors. The effect is unnerving.
Behind the desk is a Chinese gentleman, in his 40s. Closely cropped hair with a small scar over his eye. He is cleanly shaven. He’s wearing a western business suit.
Mr. Wu Long welcomes us in and pours us tea.
We chat about the special reefer; he agrees to look into it. But also asks for our help. Mark promises our aid—just asking that who-ever threw the knives at Stacey should stop.
The Four Brother Tong. It’s a form of mafia. They are based in the new Chinatown and are trying to move in. Mr. Wu warns us that they have some supernatural elements in their midst. Like Dr. Fate. He wants us to indicate to their leaders that they are not welcome here. Mr. Wu says they are based out of Chun-king road #24. It is an import business. The tong is about 100 men. Beating up their leaders might slow the tong down enough to allow old Chinatown to get organized.
The Four Brothers that lead the tong all wear masks. They might all be marvels; their family name is The Heng — at least this is the name of their import/export company. They are new to LA, but not to America.
We leave the shop after Rosie is given some tea.
On the way out we start chatting about what we’re asked to do.
We go down the street out of the plaza into a slightly wider street. It’s evening and the street is deserted, which is odd. We hear a voice from the rooftop.
“Dongjang witch. How dare you come here!” A tall man with a lion’s mask. “May the spirits of the Foo smite you!” And he’s pointing at Rosie. Two foo dog statues start moving, and walk out of the Buddhist’s temple.