I had planned on cutting out all the stuff from this super-edited chapter that didn’t totally relate to Portia. I have been trying to do an illustration that captures the look I want Portia to have. I have one, but I have to go. I’ll add the illustration tomorrow. Check out the writin’.
CHAPTER TWENTY- WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1969
-no srfng. Study x 3. Write. Clss. Studied Crim Jstce book. Easy. Jmpr & I kickd out of class. Dickson-
“I was surfing at Pipes,” Jumper told me, both of us walking across the Palomar campus from the upper parking lot, “last spring; kind of junky, and… Swamis wasn’t working. It was pretty early. Overcast. I see this woman coming down the stairs. Kind of a flowing… I don’t know, robe or something, behind her.”
“From Pipes? You saw a woman… at Swamis… from Pipes?”
“Yeah; good vision. A woman; and she runs around the corner…”
“Yeah. And… the waves weren’t too good, anyway; so I decide to go for a run.”
“Jog? Like jogging?”
“No. Hey, Jody; Marine Corps. Remember? Cut me some huss.* We don’t fuckin’ jog, man.”
“Yeah, so, you, um, run. Sure. You dropped your board and…?”
“Yeah. I stuck it against the rocks by the ramp, jogged on down.” Jumper did a bit of a comic jogging move, legs flying to the sides. “Ran. I mean, the beach was empty; I stayed on the hard sand… (whistles the Marine Corp anthem a bit) and I get to Swamis, go around the corner, around the point, and…”
“And there she was; full lotus position.” Jumper held out both hands, palms up thumb to first two fingers. I nodded, gave him a hand motion that meant ‘and?’ “So, she’s sitting on whatever it was she had been wearing, and she’s…”
“No. No. But, she’s…” Jumper moved his free hand from one side of his chest to the other a couple of times. “…topless. Oh. And, full lotus.” I mouthed ‘full lotus?’ “Full lotus; eyes closed. I guess her dress was kind of… (he acted as if he was pulling up a skirt, unevenly, one leg, then the other) there was a lot of, a lot of leg showing. Thigh. I’m, I, um, run past. Then, then I figure; like, if she’s in a trance. You get that. Trance. So, I kind of jog- okay, jog; back… around… couple of times.”
Jumper did an overly-awkward, vaudevillian version of his beach moves, eyes on one place (in this case, on me, substituting, in this case, for the woman). I duplicated Jumper’s jogging routine, adding some arm flapping, some out-of-sync hand motions.
We were both laughing. Jumper’s voice got lower as we approached the first classrooms, little groups of students, a few more men than women, waiting for some 7pm class to begin.
There was only one student I recognized. Jeannie. She had dated John in high school; John/Jeannie I called them, collectively. John had moved away when his dad was transferred. Jeannie was standing we’re-together-close to a guy I didn’t know. She and I exchanged ‘wave in lieu of conversation’ waves, she turning, I figured, to explain to her new man who I was and how she knew me.
Jumper exchanged nods with several guys, waved at a young woman. She stepped forward. He stopped, allowed her to give him a hug. Side hug, not full frontal. There were words: “Welcome back,” “Yeah, yeah.” “You… good?” “Good; yeah; good.” “At least you’re out of that shit.” “Could be.”
The people Jumper knew all looked a bit suspiciously at me. Or I imagined they did. He didn’t introduce me. Then, I hadn’t introduced him to Jeannie. He nodded in the direction we were going, and we moved on.
PORSCHE/PORTIA AND SHAKESPEARE
“It was, it was the woman from the ‘Jesus Saves’ bus. Portia.”
“Oh. Oh? Yeah. Her. Her?”
I knew her name. Portia; knew she had had some sort of connection with Chulo. Evangelists. She was somewhere over twenty; long black hair, very tall, always in a long skirt, kind of a Hippie/Prairie/Churchy look.
But now I was imagining her topless, full lotus. “Portia?”
“Yeah. Yes. Porsche, like the sportscar; and, it’s, like, maybe the third time I circled, she opens her eyes and…”
“Shit; yeah; and she says, ‘I’m not Buddhist or Hindu or nothing,’ and I just…”
“Fuck. Busted!” I was giggling.
Jumper got a bit more serious; gave me a look. Sideways. I had fallen a bit behind him. I knew better. Jumper stopped, allowing me to pull even with him. “She says, ‘Juni, Jumper Hayes.’ Not like it was a question.”
“What?” I stopped. I stopped giggling.
“Yeah. Yeah, and I say, trying to not look at her tits, which, by the way, she made no move to cover. Just, uh, out there. Eye level. Tan. They’d been out before. For sure. But, they were…” Jumper put both hands out, as if cupping breasts. I was trying to determine something more specific about size and shape; probably something about whether they were high and… yeah; I was imagining.
The notebook under my left arm almost fell out as I tried to duplicate Jumper’s hands. Yes, he had twisted and rotated his wrists a bit. Size and shape.
Jumper dropped his hands, started walking again. “Wait. Wait! And you said?”
“You were about to say what you said when she said, ‘You’re Jumper Hayes.’ And it’s not Porsche like the car, it’s Portia, like, like a character from Shakespeare.”
“Shakespeare?” Jumper asked. We both nodded, neither of us sure.
No; I was sure. Shakespeare. “Shakespeare… I think,”
“Well, then. Shakespeare Portia.”
We were approaching the correct block of classrooms. “We’ve missed some classes, you know.”
“You know I don’t care, Jumper; didn’t want to take this class.”
“Well; you’re a brain, supposedly; you can make it up, catch up.”
“Sure. Probably just basic stuff so far; getting free food, beating confessions out of the innocent, rousting Mexicans, harassing Hippies; I probably inherited most of it. Or, osmosis.”
Jumper looked to see if I was serious. Joke. “Osmosis. That’s it.” We rounded the last corner. There was a group of about seven or eight large guys in the middle of the block.
“Ath-a-letes,” Jumper said. “It’s kind of a joke. You tell someone you’re taking Police Science, they ask if there’s a lot of athletes in the program. Easy A, as I said.”
Several of the students looked our way. “Grant Murdoch,” I said, trying to keep my voice low, to Jumper. “Fallbrook. Asshole.” I flipped Grant the peace sign. Grant flipped me off. “See?”
Jumper stuck both hands in the air, flipping the bird with each. Double eagles. The athletes and Grant Murdoch gave way.
Most of them. The biggest, tallest one stepped in front of Jumper. Jumper stopped. I stopped. The guy was wearing a San Dieguito letterman’s jacket that may have fit when he was smaller, younger; fourteen or fifteen. He was definitely somewhere over twenty. Jumper’s age, probably. “Jumper fucking Hayes,” he said.
“Tiny fucking Tod Beachum,” he said, to Tod; “Reach’em Beachum,” he said, to me, “if we’re talking basketball.”
Tiny Tod gave Jumper a full-frontal hug, picking him off the ground. “We was so worried about you, man.” Yeah, somewhere around Jumper’s age.
Jumper didn’t resist. Not that he could. Greater force. He was being shaken like a ragdoll. And then he was set back on his feet. “Thanks, Tiny.” Jumper rearranged his shirt a bit. “I’m good. You takin’ this class?”
“Uh; yeah; coach said we have to.”
“But, uh… coach?”
“I’m a freshman, Jumper. Navy, man; four years. Saw the fucking world, man.”
“Mostly San Di-fucking-a’-go. NTC. Cook. You? Heard you and Chulo did some time at the Gray Bar Hotel. Fuckin’ shame about Chulo. After that one scuffle… I liked him. I did.”
“Yeah. Um… no, no Gray Bar… they gave me a choice.” Jumper snapped to attention. “Semper fi, Swabbie.”
“Wait. No.” Tiny Tod peeled off his letterman jacket, dropped it to the ground, pointed to a “USN’ tattoo, with anchor (no heart), on his upper arm. He grabbed Jumper’s left arm, pushed up his sleeve. He dropped his smile, let go of the arm.
Jumper gave Tiny Tod Reach’em Beachum a smile. Tiny dropped the arm with a “Sorry, man; just knew you’d have you a Jarhead tattoo.”
Jumper looked around at me and the other Police Science students, pulled the left sleeve of his t shirt farther up, revealing the rest of a large, almost oval scar, just to the inside of his bicep. He laughed. One syllable only; sticking his finger into the former wound, pushing it into the skin just past the first knuckle. “No meat, just skin… and muscles. Pretty cool, huh?”
“Yeah. Uh, Jumper, man; you could put a, um, face tattoo of that thing. Remember how you decorated your surf bumps, made ‘em look like…” Tiny let out a big laugh here, putting his hands on his kneecaps to illustrate, “Boobies?”
“Eyeballs, we told moms and teachers, then called the them dirty-minded. Anyway, Tiny, you don’t need tattoos if you have scars.” Jumper looked at the faces of each of the other students, all nodding; then back at Tiny. “If any of you ath-a-letes need to… I mean when you need to, cheat off’a this guy.” He put one finger on my shoulder. “Joe, Joey. He doesn’t just look smart.”
All the athletes looked at me. Tiny stepped aside as Jumper started walking past them. I followed. Jumper looked around, jerked his head forward. I came up even.
Jumper kicked out with his right leg, caught me mid-calf. “Sidekick,’ he said.
“No way,” I said. I stopped just long enough to kick out my left leg. Missed. We both laughed.
Five or six men, older men; men, were standing at the other end of the building in another group; smoking, laughing. A couple of them looked our way. Jumper stopped between the two groups. I stopped; even with him.
“Okay, Jody,” he said, in a lower voice, “Jody. Joey. Okay. So I say, ‘Yes, I am. Do I know you?’ And she says, ‘Chulo… you were a friend of his.’ I say, ’good friends; not good enough; I’ve known him… knew him… all my life.”
“Chulo,” I said, “she and Chulo… I mean, different, um, mood.”
“Yeah, sort of, but then she unfolds her legs, straightens them, stands up. Gracefully.” Pause. “She was wearing underwear. I looked. Yeah. I did. Black. Lacy. Her skirt kind of, um, falls down. She must have had a belt to… She was a little, um, uphill of me; and she walks closer. Her tits are still, just, out there. I’m looking in her eyes. Trying to. So dark. And she’s looking me up and down. And she says, or, maybe, she asks, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ And I kind of… I kind of want to laugh. I say, ‘Yeah. Jesus; half man, half God; I know a lot about Jesus.’ And she goes, ‘Do you think Chulo has found redemption?’”
“Wait,” I said, “Redemption?” Now both Jumper and I were serious. I pulled a pack of Marlboros out of my windbreaker pocket. Maybe it was because most of the guys at the classroom end of the building were smoking. Power of suggestion. Jumper shook his head. I put the cigarettes back.
“Yeah, redemption. And I say… a couple of other runners, joggers; they were- I’d call them joggers; outfits and all; were headed our way… from the Moonlight beach direction; and she, Portia… Por-ti-a; she pulled up her dress; slowly covered her tits, watching me all the time, and, and, I guess it was the shawl thing around her waist. She…”
“Jumper; man; what did you say?”
“I said that whoever killed my friend Chulo had better look hard for redemption because I’m looking for the motherfucker, and I must apologize to God and to Jesus for this, I want revenge.”
“Revenge. Shit. What did she; Portia, what did she say?”
“She…” Jumper looked from side to side, back at me. “You know, Portia has one of those faces you don’t really, really see; maybe you’re afraid to look too close. Mysterious.” I must have nodded. Yes, I knew what he meant, but what did she say? “She just sort of…” Jumper smiled. “…smiled.”
Now Jumper and I both smiled.
I had many more questions, but it must have been close enough to seven. A man came out of the classroom, herded the crew inside. Most dropped their cigarette butts into the number 10 can at the door; some butted and tossed theirs into the juniper bushes. The Ath-a-letes walked past, pretty much around us. When the teacher caught a glimpse of Jumper and me, he pushed the next to the last student, Tiny Tod, inside, turned, both hands waving us off. He started walking, quickly, toward us.
“Dickson,” I said. “Detective Dickson.”
“That,” Jumper said, “I would call that jogging.”
HUSS- “Cut me a (or some) huss.” The phrase was pretty Vietnam era Marine Corps specific; referring, originally, to a request for a helicopter, possibly for evacuation of wounded marines; it came to mean the equivalent of ‘cut me some slack’ or ‘do me a favor.’ I would never have used it in my own conversations. No. I wasn’t a Marine. A Marine wouldn’t ordinarily share the phrase with a non-Marine; wouldn’t want to have to explain it.