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Taboo

Hold For Sound: Part 3

“Hold For Sound” is an excerpt from my first book, Down and Out in California.

Parts 1 and 2:

Hold For Sound Part 1

Hold For Sound Part 2


That night I visit Tommy Boom-Boom’s high school friends in San Diego for a few hours. He’s a chef and she’s a kindergarten teacher. They drink beer and we make nice chit-chat. I’m not sure why I’m there. It’s nice to get a break from the production for a moment, and feel as though I have gone home for the day, but at the same time I feel as though I’m going to miss something by being away, and make excuses to return early.

Back at Rebecca’s place I watch them clean from dinner, placing leftovers in glass containers that seem the perfect size.

My family rarely had leftovers, we’d clean whatever was on our plate. I’m inspired by the control these people seem to have over their health and career and lives in general. I’m spinning out of control in comparison. I am impressed with the efficiency of the household, and how mature they seem. Don’t bother to ask why they have such an expensive place on a public defender’s salary. I never think about what her husband does for a living.

The next morning I am well rested again and happy to be so. This is the first morning we haven’t had to be somewhere before six in the morning. The lack of sleep brought and alertness that is missing now. I’m a little dazed and glad that the day doesn’t require much of me. 

We drive downtown to Rebecca’s office and Micah and she work out the details of paperwork and permissions for the interviews and locations. The signatures necessary to show people and places. After about twenty minutes I offer to go back and sit in the car so Micah doesn’t have to pay any extra money for parking.

I sit there for a while, staring out of the window, watching the government buildings and all the San Diego movers and shakers.

Micah fetches Lucas’s lawyer’s assistant and we all go to the storage space where all of the case details are housed. I’m reminded of Silence of the Lambs and the storage scene, as we open a dusty ten by ten storage space full of file boxes. It’s musty and It reminds me of a different age, the one where it was put into storage. 

I keep expecting we’ll find something scary in there. Luckily we don’t stay long or look at much. It’s boxes and boxes of strangely formatted legal papers, and photos. I try not to look at any that I don’t have to. We shoot some of the photos from the crack house where the guns were planted (in the garden, under a lemon tree which has since grown three or four feet) and some photos of Lucas when he was brought in. He looks so young in the photos. 

We leave and go to lunch. More salad.

Rebecca meets us for a short time. We then briefly visit Lucas at work to get him to sign some of the paperwork that they’ve drawn up. We end up getting the equipment out and shoot him digging a hole for no reason, a hole that he will fill in after we leave. It’s just him and the shovel and the side of the road, and a dark and clear blue sky. The track is backed by tweeting birds, and in the foreground nothing but his breath, and the sounds of the metal on rock and dirt as he pitches shovelfuls onto a pile nearby. He grunts, and puts his back into it. Honest work. 

We drive across town and meet Rebecca at a cute house painted blue, with wide white trim around the windows and the door. There are flowers and a fence covered in lush vines, and the one story house is large, and mid-century modern in design, but furnished with cluttered Southern kitsch.  

Here we meet the widow of the slain cop. We interview her. I sympathize with her because I still think that my worst fear is losing a mate, but I still don’t really like her.

She’s white, fake nails, fake hair, fake breasts, and a lot of makeup. She’s from a small town, churchy, full of her own morality. She has that law enforcement mentality. She grates on me me. I watch the interview and record it well. She cries, as if on cue. She has ideas for how we should shoot the scene. 

We make arrangements to come back the next day and look at her dead husband’s possessions. Medals. Uniforms. Trophies. She shows them all to us with pride. Her name is Shawn Dee, which I stifle a laugh on hearing. It’s the perfect small town redneck girl name. Her husband was also in the military, so she’s got a military and police wife vibe going on that fits so well in white San Diego. Later I learn there are rumors of her in the hot tub having group sex with other cops. There seems to be a lot of sex wound up in this case.

Micah and Rebecca ride back in Rebecca’s car and I follow. Rebecca leaves for a run and Micah and I get some wine, which I don’t drink. Now Micah and Rebecca’s husband are reading and Rebecca is back from her run and in the shower. We all get burgers from the store, vegan Boca Burgers for me.

We grill and they drink wine, and eat burgers. I’m again impressed with their measured temperance and yet enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures.

I feel sad that this all of this will end. I’ll miss all the people, Micah, Rebecca, Rebecca’s husband, Lucas, and even Cathy, his sister. Guess there’s always hope that it’ll turn into a documentary and I’ll get to work on it for another period, but I don’t cling to that. I feel melancholy, but glad and proud that I took the job. I sleep well again.

The next morning we film the lawyer again. The lawyer is frank, and cynical, and tells us, on camera, what I consider the key piece of information in the case. The informant for the prosecution had sex in the District Attorney’s office, with the DA’s secretary, meaning that all of that information that came from this informant had to be thrown out and the case couldn’t stick. And that’s why Lucas was let out of jail. 

Then we have lunch. Another delicious salad.

We meet up with Lucas again and pick up some shots around the neighborhood. I look at him a little differently now. I’m back to questioning his innocence. If he’s innocent, why does he try so damn hard to look like a saint? But isn’t that something that racists say? 

We meet again with the widow and she cries while showing us the dead cop’s uniform, medals, sports equipment, dishes from their wedding. She then asks to look over the footage that we just shot, and makes us do two more takes. She re-applies her eye makeup between each one and cries at the same moments.

Micah and I take a walk on the beach. We talk a little bit about the case, but mostly walk quietly. The wind is strong and ruffles my hair. We are both red faced and my ears sting. I notice how far back the houses are set on this beach compared to those of Los Angeles. San Diego feels more spread out and cleaner than what I am used to. I miss the disarray of LA.

One last dinner with Rebecca, Micah, and husband, and then I’m back to Los Angeles. I am sad to see the work end, but it’s not long before I get good news. I’m thrilled when I get a call a week later inviting me back to San Diego to shoot more content. Lawyers and a ride in a squad car are promised. It’s good to hear from Micah.


(If you liked “Hold For Sound” please buy a copy of my first book, Down and Out in California, or support me on Patreon for a free copy)



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