June 8, 1947
Together, we head out to the Rosa Toro to find out what we can.
We know the Rosa Toro opens around 5-ish, so we wait with the intention of visiting the place later in the day.
Eriko (one of the many tenants) comes downstairs and goes to the back to tend the garden.
Madame Cobb chains the television to the buffet. The television is not impressed.
Around dusk, we got dress up – Rosie changes her look entirely, whereas Stacey dons a red wig and lightens her skin color. They show skin and cleavage appropriate to a Spanish bar. We board a yellow street car and get off at the bottom of the hill. We pass beneath the shadow of city hall – a tall art-deco building.
The neighborhood is a strange mix. We go by the last great rail station of the United States. A 1930s roccoco building, beside the great interstate bus station run by Greyhound. And eventually we start heading into Mexican-town. It’s not an immediate transition, but more and more stores with Mexican signs. And eventually we come to the Roso toro. It’s a solitary, one story brick building with a large picture window. Its name is painted there. The door, perhaps once a bright red, is faded and peeling.
An older man is smoking and enjoying the evening wind. He sits at a long bench below the picture window. We can hear music and laughter from inside. The door opens, and we see two scantily dressed ladies step out.
Mark puts on his goggles and his hair starts wavering a bit.
We go in.
The bar has about 10 people in it. Two games of pool are ongoing. An older Hispanic man with a thick mustache is pouring a beer for a patron. Two ladies wearing very little. People glance in our direction, but we try to fit in.
Carlos buys us a round of drinks and we chat. When we mention Jose Dias and Big Bill, he tries to convince us to not bother them.
Carlos teaches Rosie to play pool. Stacey plays a game at the other table with two guys. Mark is offered a shot at playing knife games. He declines.
After the pool game, we speak with the barkeeper; he gives Stacey a key to the backroom and mentions parking in the back. We pay the bill, thank Carlos and his friends, and head out.
We pass an old man on the seat outside, and wander around back of the building. Mark puts on his goggles, Stacey her domino mask, and Rosie dons a No mask.
Mark is covered in electricity and then turns the key, opening the door. He smells pot, blood and bile. He is the sole source of light in the room, so he lights up the bulbs in the room.
We enter a short hallway that leads into a room behind the bar. We can still here the voice of Carlos and the others, the radio and the sounds of people playing pool beyond.
The big room is set up to prepare and divide marijuana. But the stock is gone. The smell emanates from the garbage cans (filled with the stems and leavings). There is a picture of president Truman on the wall. A desk with some papers and whatnot is against the near wall.
The papers were mostly used as ledgers to counts the money and track sales, showing a percentage being skimmed off and paid to someone. In the margins of the ledgers are notes and scribbles. It takes a while to piece it together. They are getting their drugs from a garden in the city. One note in particular reads: That old black gardener at the Benedict estate better have more next time!
The Benedict estate is mentioned a few times. The gardener, named Leon, is mentioned as well, as is something called the “special batch”.
Jose writes that he feels strange since he’s had that “special batch”. He shouldn’t sell it, but since they’ve started smoking it Bill’s gotten stupider but bigger, and Jose can make him do things: “Bill hit yourself. Bill hit yourself. Bill … heheheh.”
Behind the door is a bedroom and a washroom. The mirror’s been cracked by a great weight. Around the sink and toilet is a layer of bile and blood. The smell of the marijuana is very strong here too. When Mark enters, the stub of the joint in the ashtray starts glowing. Mark takes the ashtray out. As he approaches us, it starts to change colors.
Rosie knows the Benedict estate. It’s one of the last manor houses of Bunker hill. It’s theoretically owned by the Benedicts, but they’ve not been in town for 15 years. The caretakers are a man and a woman who live in a small house at the back of a garden.
As we’re straitening things, we see a hole in the wall behind the photo of Truman. Mark damages the gun, we take another one of those glowing joints, and half the money. The other half Stacey pushes through the door into the bar just as she leaves.
We take off our costumes, and take the street car back up the hill.
We get off at Olive and Second, and walk to the manor house on Fourth. We’re pretty close to Angel’s flight. The ground shakes a bit as the funicular arrives, people get on, and it continues onward.
Benedict house is enclosed in a fence with a bush growing behind it. There are no businesses to overlook the house or us. It’s fairly quiet here. Rosie puts on her No mask and passes through the hedge and fence as if it was not there. Mark and Stacey go over the fence.
As we look around the grounds, we see that a large garden fills most of the open area. There’s a light on over the garage. The sea wind brings with it the pungent smell of marijuana. A romantic record is playing.
Rosie goes to check out the garden. Stacey goes upstairs to see what’s going on.
The garden is green and vibrant, making her almost forget she’s in the city. There’s a rosebush and all the flowers are perfect. The vegetables create a wall of growth with no signs of bugs or decay. There are bowls of salt water to catch slugs, a small pond for frogs. And she finds row after row of plants. As she approaches, one of the plants starts emitting light.
Stacey creeps up the stairs. The music playing is a quiet blues tune. There are two voices – a man talking to a woman. It’s a one-room lodging with a radio. There’s a tiny kitchen in the corner and a bed in the other. Small, but well appointed. There’s an old black woman in a night cap. She’s wane and emaciated. On her bed stand are bottles of different medications. There’s an older black man there too. He just fed her some soup.
The TV sees Bill and Jose walking down the street towards the manor house.
Bill picks up Jose and hops over the fence, clearing it easily.
Jose calls out to Leon, walking towards Mark. The old man gets up and opens the door.
Stacey calls out “Hi there Jose.” Jose draws a gun and everyone tells him to put it away. Jose orders us to show ourselves, and Mark floats up over the garden.
Rosie disappears to reappear to just in front of Jose, and every time he’s backhanded a woman, he gets the force of all that rage right back in the face. She then disappears again.
Leon screams for us to all get out of here, and the plants begin to undulate. Ranting, he goes down a few steps. His wife comes to the door, asking if the doctor’s come. He yells at her to stay inside.
Mark asks Jose “Why are you holding a lighting rod?” and he strikes Jose with lighting, aimed at his gun. The gun fuses from the lighting and melts. Jose screams and drops it.
Stacey talks to Bill, trying to keep him calm.
Bill is disoriented and not doing anything. He also looks quite unhealthy. He’s shrinking away from the light.
Jose shoots Mark with a mental bolt. Mark’s aura destabilized and lighting goes in all directions.
Rosie disappears behind Jose and pulls the darkness around his head.
Leon screams for us to leave now. The grasses grow at an exceptional rate. The bushes reach out to grab at Rosie and Mark. They pass through Rosie. The plants wrap around Mark, but he starts moving around very quickly (jinking). Bill tears the plants that grab at him out from the ground.
Mark blasts Jose off his feet again. Jose’s body is smoking, and he curses us, promising his revenge.
Stacey tries to keep Bill calm, this time speaking like the teary starlet. It fails. She makes her way down the stairs and onto the grass. The grass either tries to grab or romance her—but she’s been tied up by the best and these petunias need serious help before they’re any danger to her.
Jose is screaming in pain. There’s a horrible noise as his head inflates. The bones of his skull break. His hair sluices off, and his head continues to grow. And he starts to hover slightly, mental blasts shoot in random direction. One bolt strikes Rosie and sends her reeling.
Bill grows. His clothes shred. Hie bleeds from his eyes and nose. Bill slams the ground and we all fall down. Leon somehow maintains his balance, but the stairs shake.
Rosie tries to shake off the effect, and tries to get into a better position.
Stacey tells Leon that he’s growing some seriously bad shit. Leon chastises her for her language, but he controls the plants and covers Bill with the plants, holding him in place. Ronda calls down to Bill to calm down, while coughing.
Mark throws lightening at Jose, but this time he doesn’t seem as affected.
Stacey throws a log at him. Jose catches it and tosses it away.
Bill tries to break out of the plants and fails.
Jose screams. We hear it in our minds. He recognizes Stacey, and he blasts her. Surprisingly, it misses.
Rosie disappears and strikes at Jose. Jose seems to deflate slightly, and falls over unconscious.
Leon is focusing on keeping the vines on Bill. He is straining.
Mark gathers electricity to himself.
Stacey learns from Leon that he’s straining to keep Bill contained.
Bill breaks out of the vines. He doesn’t pick up Jose, but he turns and leap away.
Rosie runs after him. Bill’s landed atop the funicular. A woman about to board looks up and screams!
Leon falls to his knees and then collapses.
Mark tries to drive Bill away from people.
Stacey flies after Bill.
Several things happen at the same time. He jumps down to the top of the tunnel. The second thing, a man appears. He wears a trench coat over a finely tailored suit, a black fedora, and carries a cane with a brass head. He has black hair with a goatee. He looks at all three of us and smiles. “Such an interesting experiment.” He taps the funicular and there’s a shock that goes through it; and the funicular falls.
He taps once with his cane, doffs his hat, and disappears.
Rosie grabs a woman and disappears with her. She reappears some distance from the platform, releasing the woman, and going back for another.
Mark tries to use his lightening to weld everything to the tracks while deforming them slightly. It’s hard to do and doesn’t quite work.
Stacey manages to jury rig the breaks as it starts to slow down.
Bill does nothing.
XXX goes through the window of the tenement building. He arrives as a puff of steam.
Rosie reappears, grabs another woman, and disappears again, taking the woman to safety.
Rosie steps away from the woman, and feels like something is broken. She can’t do the same thing again.
Mark welds where Stacey points, helping Stacey further jury rigs the breaks. When the funicular slows, she yells for everyone to get off now!
Everyone gets off and the conductor yells for people to just sit on the rails until the firemen will come to get them.
XXX flows along the street very fast. He slams into the bystanders at the bottom of the funicular and tries to push them out of the way. They get picked up and carried along, 10-15’ out of danger.
A plume of smoke comes from behind the hedge in the Benedict estate.
The funicular lets go, and the people scream, but no one falls. One man catches a woman who slips off and pulls her back up.
Rosie goes back through the hedge. She sees the stranger. He’s coming out of the tomato patch. He puffs on a cigarette, throws it into the garden, and it explodes. He starts whistling London bridge, and fades from sight. Leon panics! His garden is aflame!
Mark & Stacey helps people down off the rails.
The funicular shoots down to the bottom of the rails and is stopped only by the arch.
Bill leaps away, and XXX follows him.
The fire department comes to help people, put out Leon’s fire, and take Jose away.
Jose is dead. His body shrinks down but the bones don’t heal so his features are distorted.
Rosie makes sure Leon and his wife are OK.
Mark insists on staying for the cops. He calls himself Dynamo; he’s here’s to help the citizens in LA; like the red monster who was rampaging through the city. The cops salute him as he leaves.
Stacey waits for the detective to arrive, Lebonits who works out of the 4th listens closely as she fills him in. She leaves before his questions are all answered.
As we each come home, we’re intercepted by Madame Cobb.
She makes us tea and tells us of her dream. That we were all flying and fighting the devil. The devil walked away and the fire was out. The angel was falling but we caught the angel, arresting its fall.
She woke up and had a feeling to prepare four cups, but there’s only three of us.
Mark pours beer into his tea cup.
- x -
A stranger appears in a dark room. He removes his coat and hat and hands it to a scantily clad dancer.
He’s greeted by a woman, who’s wearing a business suit (pants, jacket). She has long dark hair and a tie. He admits to be working on a project. They greet each other as “your majesty”. And enter another room together. There is another couple sitting at the table. A man in a white suit with dark hair and a strong nose. Beside him is a Japanese woman in a white kimono. The stranger admits to them that Project refer is cancelled.
- x -
The cops find Bill in the hobo camp and take him to a hospital where, a few days later, we learn that his health is failing.
- x -
One week later, in New York City, a journalist is looking at the newspaper that arrived from the west coast. “What the hell?”
- x -
The Los Angeles Times is run by Harry Chandler. He funded the Hollywood land project and owns half the city.