VII - The Chariot
"To avoid complications, she never kept the same address."
Beautiful, stunning Tara!
Beautiful, dangerous Tara. No one knew where she might be found. She never took them home. For months at a time, she would vanish. Then one day she would breeze through, brimming with excitement, full of stories from her adventures. To some, it might have seem grossly exaggerated, fabrications of fantasy, but those who knew Tara knew better.
She moved through life, stealth and sleek. Her long, nightshade mane fell wildly around her shoulders, down her back, framing a face so sensational that strangers stared. Even women caught themselves doing so. And, of course, there were the men . . .
More important, though, she was rich! Tara wielded money like a weapon. Anyone could be bought, . . . or sold. Growing up in Beverly Hills, she knew wealth, privilege. Power, corruption, greed, inequality, she recognized her lot in life very young. And no matter how much money came, it didn't erase the dirt.
Now she resided in the new estate. The rich and powerful moved away from the old neighborhood, replaced by the influx of the newly rich, immigrants. At one time, having a sheik or prince living nest door would have been an honor. But these days, the news of crime and immorality permeated this respectable community, forcing many of the good people to relocate farther down Sunset Boulevard. Her family went west, settling in Bel-Air.
Tara went east.
If the vibration of Beverly Hills resonated at middle C, West Hollywood sounded at a D. East of the well-manicured lawns where the children of the hired help would never play, Sunset turned nasty.
Tattoo parlors dotted the boulevard at night, cruised by the steady throng of the wild. Tourists feared this scene but always came, The Whiskey, the Roxy, the Rainbow. Ask for Mario. During the day, boutiques and bourgeois sidewalk cafes were filled with laughing people hoping to be seen by that one person driving by, most duly impressed. Past Fairfax, the nest section began to exhibit the strangeness that lay ahead. Bikers, rockers and hookers mixed appropriately enough, for the most part left alone by the boys in blue. At times, the police would stage busts, which would clear the area for a few minutes at a time, but ever since that King thing, the LAPD had been on the defensive. They had been offensive enough, or so the world said.
Then came Hollywood! Beautiful, stunning Hollywood. Beautiful? At one time it was the Mecca of desire, attracting the famous and the rich to its glamour. The glitter of fame and Fortune brought the huddled masses. Excitement radiated from the fresh-faced tourists and insanity gleamed in the eyes of the locals who were ready to help them part with their money.
Her streets were filled constantly with cars driven by the anxious who were in the way of the obnoxious. Exhaust, so thick now, veiled the sky in a muddy haze. Helicopters, banned from the air space over Beverly Hills, appeared constantly here. At night, they circled the neighborhoods using a spot lighting technique that would have made Hitler cream his jeans.
The back streets lit up by night, casting circles of light onto the sidewalks from the few remaining lamps. Small groups moved through the shadows like apparitions. Some were ghosts, but mostly the people who roamed until dawn were the hardcore. My kind of people! America witnessed the horrors of street life here during the day-time talk shows, but few understood that today's guest really does live under the bridge!
Tara wanted to go under the bridge.
"Why not?" She asked, conditioned to answer one question with another. It gave her time to think.
"Because," Ghost replied, " it could be dangerous!"
Had someone said that to him he would have laughed right in their face.
"Please, Ghost! You're the only one I can trust. I want to see this for myself. Come on," Tara pouted, batting her eyes.
While she knew this technique always worked, her mind raced in another direction. On the inside, another voice dominated her mind. It uttered its constant stream of obscenities so loud that quite often Tara was surprised that no one else could hear it. Even now, as she giggled in that perfected pitch, her mind-voice grew disgusted with the little creepy bastard.
On the surface, she seemed so attached to Ghost. She was one of many fine women in his entourage. She wasn't a regular and she had money, too. Big tits and drop dead gorgeous looks. Just his kind of woman.
Come on, you prick! I ain't got all night. I can do it without you, so you better make your choice now.
"But why?" He asked again.
"Because, I told you why! I saw them on TV and I want to help. Little kids homeless, living under the bridge . . ."
Now she bounced, as if no became maybe, jiggling her breasts noticeably. Ghost, the huge hulking biker, tossed his helmet to her, even though the bridge was only two blocks over. No one walks in LA.
She went under the bridge and came out with a couple of young runaway girls. The fifteen year old girl was new to the streets. Her sixteen year old companion had been there for two years. After a quick meal, the four left the diner, hailed a cab. Ghost followed closely behind on his motorcycle. The energy level down-shifted through West Hollywood into The Hills. Past Bel-Air, the night cooled into blue ocean.
Ghost knew where she lived, more or less, but he hadn't been there. Nor would he tonight. Tara checked the two girls into a seaside room in Malibu. She slipped the older girl a little something for the two of you. They disappeared down the hall.
"Now what?" Ghost pondered aloud, half expecting see ya! Instead Tara took his hand, and led him back to the bike. She pointed at his helmet. He cranked the motor while she fastened the bucket to her head. She had a plan.
The next day, with fake passports in hand, two young American girls set sail for France. Ghost and Tara split the money.
April managed to get a car, good luck or magic. She asked enough people for a free car, she actually got one. With a little work, she had wheels. Her mobile stereo blazed with Chance's Momentary Magic first. Wind in her wings, she felt alive again.
The Fate you create is your own she remembered some movie stated once, the bad guy, I think.
But it was true. She believed that all things had purpose, relevant to the spiritual growth of the soul. If it isn't meaningful then it's meaningless. She practiced the art of understanding and it came easy to her. Unlike most, she could see the wonders of life in all things. It wasn't a very popular position. Big T's wasn't exactly the center of enlightenment, and if she did go back to church, she'd say something and everyone would move away from her on the bench there . . .
Being a hermit was what she did best.
But now she had a car.
Chance drove past the hotel, seeing the biker couple in the parking lot and without a second look, he turned toward home. He'd only have two days before flying out again. Better make 'em good.
After Tara arranged the trip with Ghost's connections for the documents, and her friends, she slipped him a couple hundred bucks extra for his trouble, and summoned a cab. She was gone again..
Back at home, Tara laughed as she entered her new estate. Malibu was light years away from her family, and though they knew she bought the house, they hadn't managed to drop by yet. Just as well . . . they are the reason I moved. She wondered how the girls were doing, but decided against calling. She'd see them tomorrow.
Tonight, she had more important things to do. Chance was back.