They drive back from UCLA late on Monday night.
The wealth of papers and books in Ayers’ boxes is comprehensive, but also odd research.
They discuss what to do next. Kent found another page of Ayers’ itinerary with a map of Eritrea and Ethiopia. They consider going there soon.
Fox’s flea bite is swollen and sore, the cat scratch on Kent’s leg is itching.
The next morning, Tuesday, Kent stays at the hotel to speak to his colleague Eric at the University of Colombia in New York.
Fox and Phipps head off on foot from the Roosevelt along Hollywood Boulevard, to try and find Olivia Clarendon. Fox pops into a Western Telegraph office and send a telegram to Janet Winston Rogers.
Martin drives back to UCLA, to find the new professor of Ancient Religions who replaced Ayers.
Eric’s at his desk, always prompt and on time. Kent tells him about the symbols and that the event that happened back in August 1924. He also asks Eric to pop over to the Archeology dept and ask about Bartolo Acuna. Eric promises to call back in an hour or two. Kent sits in reception. The cleaners come in to start changing the rooms, giving him evil looks. They are still struggling to get the rotten smell from his old room.
Fox and Phipps buy a copy of Variety on the way and find Olivia is at Universal and the address of the studio lot.
The main gate is huge, with people coming in and out. The guards are checking paperwork on everyone entering, and there’s a couple of tourists from Oklahoma standing watching for stars.
They learn from them that there’s many stages inside the studio, and that Olivia Clarendon is filming Anthony and Cleopatra on one of them. They also find out that extras are recruited at a side door every day.
Round the corner is a long queue of people waiting to be called in for whatever extras are needed that day. Impatient Fox and Phipps spread a rumour about MGM paying double to get lots of extras for Curse of the Crocodile Wizard, and most of the queue runs off.
Phipps and Fox are now only a handful of people from the door, and are invited in to be extras on a pirate movie. They start several hours of wardrobe and makeup to become drunken pirate extras.
Martin find Dr Childs is the new Ancient Religions professor from Samantha Burnish the UCLA history secretary. He arranges to meet him at lunchtime after invigilating.
A hotel staff member tells Kent there’s a call for him round the corner. He wanders round to the bank of phones, and someone whacks him on the back of his head.
The scruffy PI is standing there, holding a blackjack and his other hand inside his jacket.
Kent is scared, “What you doing here in LA? Huh? Investigating stuff you shouldn’t be! Get out of town, interfering fucking academic” he growls.
“We’re going tonight!” says Kent, not used to violence.
“Good, cos it could be worse” the PI opens his jacket to show a revolver in his hand.
Kent ducks another blow and runs away, yelling for help. The hotel manager comes but the PI is nowhere to be seen now. Kent has a swollen bump on his head, and the cat scratch is itching.
The phone rings and it’s really Eric this time. He’s found out that Bartolo Acuna is based at Universidad Computense, Madrid, but has been quiet since he came back from a dig in Ethiopia in 1924/5. Not published anything but no more info here in US. Madrid might have more info.
On the symbols, “The symbols appear to be summoning ritual icons, but it’s odd, there are two types, one part is sort of European, the other Mesoamerican. Odd combination.” Eric says he’s exhausted the books he has there.
Martin finds the telegraph office on campus and sends a telegram to Olivia Clarendon asking to meet. He then meets the aged Dr Childs, Professor of Ancient Religions (Mainly Greco-Roman though).
Dr. Childs was here while Professor Ayers was, roughly. Martin shows him the engraved stone from the safety deposit box. “Definitely African, probably Empire of Aksum. 200AD to 600AD or so. NW Africa. The eye symbol is typically warding or protection. Used by 100’s of gods as a symbol. Very popular.”
Martin has also taken a sketch of the symbols, but Childs is less knowledgeable about them. “Look pagan to me, hard to tell for sure. European universities might be a better bet.”
During a break Fox and Phipps sneak across to Studio 4 where Anthony and Cleopatra is filming. They alter the pirate costumes and get in a lighting staff. They pretend to be runners with a message for Olivia , and suddenly Phipps finds himself standing next to a beautiful actress in Cleopatra costume sat having her make-up touched up.
“Uh, I have a message from George Ayers” he starts, she scowls but agrees to listen while she walks to the car that evening.
Fox and Phipps appear as drunken pirates in the background of The Blackbeard Story (1937). They get paid 50 cents each.
That evening, Olivia is later than planned, but they see her, evening wear as she walks from the apartments to her waiting car, she waves her bodyguard back. Fox promises that this isn’t trouble.
As they walk she tells them her story and the weirdness about Echavarria.
“I was starting out, and met Professor Ayers to help me prepare for Queen of the Desert film, he invited me to a party at this guy Echavarrias place. He was some rich guy, connected, it sounded useful for my career”
“At the second party I went to I went into the wrong room, and there were, well, people having sex on a couch. Do you know how hard it is to keep a good reputation, something like that would have ruined mine. I left and never spoke to either of them again.”
Who was there? Phipps asks.
“I remember Ayers and Echavarria, and there was this other creep, Samson Trammel. And a lot odd people, some film people, Spend, Meg Lighton, Brandon xXXX”
“He was a Satanist or something like that, a very bad man. I distanced myself, and cannot be seen to be part of it.”
“We will keep your name out” Fox promises. She gets to the car,
“The couch was shaped like a mouth” she tells him, “Creepy.”
That evening catch up, everyone shocked at Kent’s scary meeting.
They decide it’s time to trap the PI. The spend the evening planning and get the hotel to hire another car to be delivered the next morning.
After breakfast on Weds they all make big show of checking out and loading up their car. Phipps sneaks off and tails the first car in the second hire car.
He soon sees the car reg they saw before behind the front car on the freeway. Kent driving the front car exits the freeway before the airport, and drives down into an industrial area, he finds a narrow alley and goes down. The PI pulls up across the alley entrance, looking down it. Phipps tries to swerve in front to stop him leaving but stalls it in the middle of the road, Kent slams car into reverse and shoots back towards the PI. His eyes widen & he floors it.
The PI drives straight into Phipps car, hurting them both. Kent reverses into the car too, damaging a back door. Fox jumps out and pulls a gun on him, Martin draws a vicious knife and smashes his windscreen.
“Get out!” he shouts
Pizner climbs out, scared, hands up.
“Alright! Alright! Keep calm!”
“Who do you work for?” Fox asks, waving his gun.
“Walker, Captain Walker! That’s his name, that’s what everyone calls him. He works for Samson Trammel, but no-one messes with Walker – he’s big time bad.”
There’s some threats made and he gives up their address in Pasadema. 1141 Hyacinth St.
He reaches inside his jacket, but Martin threatens him “Do It Slowly”, while holding the knife to his crotch.
Pizner pulls out and drops a piece of paper with their descriptions on and Walker’s phone number.
“What have you told Walker?” Martin asks him.
“I’ve told him who you are and that you’re going away.”
“How much did he pay you?”
“er, $500. Look he’s really bad, I’ve given you his address let me go, I’ll leave town. Walkers’ got gangs and people all over LA.”
They drive him to his office, and question him more. Kent watching can tell he’s genuinely scared of Walker, but they don’t get more information. They debate killing him in front of him, but in the end leave him alive.
“You got to beat me up some, otherwise he’d know” Pizner complains.
Kent takes his revenge and punches him on the side of the head.
The team return the hire cars and pay damage deposits. Martin goes to the LA library and City hall. He finds out that Samson Trammel was a realtor in the 1920’s, but stopped in 1925. He also finds planning permission for a new house, and the blueprints submitted for the house.
He also digs around on Kullman. He was a famous (ish) occultist back in the 1910’s and 20’s, but not much else. He was based in NY.
Kent calls a friend in NY, Piotr – an occultist. He knew Kullman, did some spiritual work, lost his legs to polio.
Fox goes to Glendale and hops the plane down to small airfield south of the city near Seal Beach. Less eyes on it they hope.
The others check into a different hotel. Martin is pushing to return to NY and find Kullman.