The Hoffler Journals 1 – Jai Knight
June 19, 2021
(In which Eagle Beak is offered a new case and we meet the gang)
Yep, Private Investigator Hoffler is what it says on the name plate of my office door, and on closer inspection of said door you might notice several bullet holes, even though I’ve plastered and painted over them, ‘cause this business ain’t an easy one kid. In effect, my cross to bear.
You see, it was a balmy day in July and my office is defo not designed for balmy July days. Recently I’ve had to put dark sheets over the windows so I don’t suffer from migraines caused by the intense sunlight.
This created problems with the room's air circulation though, and as a result I’d thought “To hell with the electricity bill. I work hard enough dammit, I'm not gonna let this job become anymore of a twenty four hour struggle than it already is.”
Now there are three constantly whirring fans strategically positioned around the office.
It’s Friday afternoon and here’s me, sitting shoeless with tie loosened, trouser top button undone and feet up on my desk. Sipping on a glass of bourbon and unwinding from a long, busy day. I am also picking apart an increasingly desperate pack of lies peddled over the phone by a regular mouth-breathing informant, whom, it is probably best to just call ‘Joe.’
“Don’t try and tickle my ass with a feather Joe,” when there is a knock at the door.
“Gotta go. Ring me next week…..that’s right, I got your back baby (fuck!), I mean buddy……..yeah I did, sorry about that…………o.k..o.k..bye.”
Shoes quickly slipped on and shirt tucked, I straighten my tie and, under the desk, aim my pistol towards the door, “Come in,” I call out
Two young dolls in almost matching gingham dresses, similar hairstyles and wearing flats enter.
I slide my piece back into the desk drawer “Hello ladies. How can I be of assistance?”
“Mr. Hoffler, we’d like to talk to you about a legal matter.”
“Please take a seat.”
“It’s also a family matter Mr. Hoffler, involving an esteemed uncle.”
“No need for the 'Mr'. call me Eagle Beak."
“Yes Eagle Beak.”
The girl who hasn't yet spoken suppresses an involuntary giggle snort.
(Oh boy,) I think.
“Please continue; your uncle?”
“Well, we suspect he’s embezzled a large sum of money.”
I lean forward
um a few hours later folks er eagle beak has just arrived at the erm nodding boys club
This doorman greets guests with his nod and regulars with a double nod. Nodding back twice, I hand over my jacket.
Optimal left-side stage watching position: with a clear view of the entrance and a short distance to the exit.
Taking out a spectacle case and placing it on the table: I don’t wear spectacles but use the customised mirrored case as a spyglass to covertly observe any activity behind me.
Scan the room-
Relatively empty, normal at this time.
:This place starts jiving after midnight when the late night-time lovers swarm in. There are one or two familiar faces about, just acquaintances who there isn't any need to engage with beyond a standard mutual head nod.
Without even ordering my drink arrives with a waitress. A dusky brunette I haven’t seen before.
"Thanks. You new here?"
“Just started this week."
"How you finding it so far? the local wildlife been behaving themselves?"
"Yeah, everyone's been real nice."
"And Jonnie’s a neat boss right?"
"Listen, you keep these coming,” I pointed at my glass, “and I figure you mIght just find yourself a nice little tip on this table.”
"What's your name kid?”
"Call me E.B.”
“E.B., you can call me S.X.”
We laugh, smile and nod. She walks back to the bar and using my spectacle case, I observe her.
A couple of musicians from the house band start warming up onstage, vamping a number on piano and guitar. One scotch on the rocks sip and I let my subconscious thoughts drift, ponder and peruse this intriguing new case.
After the club, onto the sweltering streets and down a dingy stairwell, I take my key from a hidden jacket pocket and open the door.
Down the corridor I enter through a curtain of bones, into a heavily incense-scented room.
It’s dimly lit but I can make out three or four figures huddled about on cushions. Heading to where I know he will be slumped per-use, I sit down cross-legged on the rug in front of him.
He mutters something that’s probably utterly profound, sounding zonked, so I gently shake his shoulder until some recognition registers “Mmmm..help me up.."
Taking my arm he pulls himself up but then tightens his grip, peers at me and shocksnaps ”I don't know what you’re here for. If it's money you’re after you can forget it, I ain't got a dime."
“Take it easy, it’s just me; Eagle Beak. Here, let's get a cup of joe down you, yeah?” He pauses for a few seconds until his fog begins to clear "You're good people Beaky."
In the adjourning room I switch lamps on, he’s more toned than when I last saw him.
"Who are your 'friends'? look like a bunch of dope fiends."
He clears his throat ”Not in the slightest, no…they’re…fellow shamans.” Stretches out. Goes to the bathroom. Splashes water on his face. ”They’re just hours deep into expansive psychic astral journeys, y’know, treading paths known only to themselves..I’m hoping to gain certain insights into er, tasks I have set them…when they can converse again.”
Back in the room. Sits. “..If I’ve administered correct dosages that is."
"I'm not sure you did,” I wryly reply.
“You could be right there brother.”
“How’s that coffee coming on? make it strong will ya?”
more pressing concerns-
“Si, got a job for you.”
“Here’s an equipment list for a case I’m working. I’ll be goin' abroad soon so time isa factor."
“Where you goin'?”
“That info’s ona need to know basis Si.”
He looks up from the list, ”This many masks?”
"And when do you need this all by?”
“A fortnight tops."
“I would've appreciated some notice Beak.”
“All last minute time restrictions will, of course, be taken into consideration in your pay.”
“You know I know your'e not really hard up for cash, so why not view it as a challenge."
"And you're not hard up either, the difference is, only one of us enjoys risking their life for "a challenge”…spoken to Ann recently?"
"Drop it Si."
“And all these devices too, brand new ones?”
“What about the ones you had before?”
“Broken. Still got 'em for spare parts though.”
"Broken?..sheesh, you play hard."
"It’s a tough job kid."
I bring in my tea. Pour his coffee.
"Ahhh.. that’s good."
"Hah, mighty style. Yeah, like Ol' Thunder used to say."
He unscrews a jar of reefers and flicks one at me, I catch it mid-air and flip it into my mouth all in the same move. A trick we conceived and perfected together years ago.
Odour of lemony mangoey tang.
“Wanna see the tatt?"
Main light on.
"You had much more done?”
“Bits and bobs.”
Taking his shirt off, he turns his back to me.
"Oh boy, powerful."
Hot drinks down the hatch, six reefers swiftly caned between us and it’s nearing time for me to skedaddle.
Simo fetches a hessian bag from his workshop room “Got a prototype that needs testing Beak, you know the drill.”
I look in the bag, it’s full of fruit.
"Not normal fruit,” Simon beams “Inside that melon is a Colt Detective Special. Each one of those grapes there hides a bullet. This grapefruit contains a grenade and the bananas; mini throwing-knives.”
Observing him search through the bag, enthused and animated, is like having the old Simon back, I can't help but crack a grin.
“These apples all contain four razor sharp micro-blades, but my favourites are these two star fruits, with a shuriken snuggly encased in each of ‘em.”
“Won’t the fruit go off?”
“Well no, there’s no real fruit involved y’see. They’re moulded from super malleable rubber.”
”Incredible, they’re so realistic SNIFF they even smell fruity.”
Simon R.B. Sylvian is loading a pipe “One for the road?”
Thank god that shift's finally over. I'm losing my marbles seeing that sleaze Jonnie Nod everyday, with his mindless schtick. Our ‘Honeymoon phase’ has died its death creep, get the message already.
It’s been corroborated he’s fucked/fucked over nearly every girl at work. I heard he’s got that hot dick now; herpes. They say he was flared up when he fucked that voluptuous (plus-size) girl. (Why did that man leave such a big tip? It's just too odd, who does that kinda thing?.. What does he expect in return? The girls said his name’s 'Eagle Beak Hoffler’. What kinda name is that? Kraut? Sounds like a New Yawker. His nose doesn't even look that big either?)
Jonnie does too much booger sugar, it makes him even more of a conceited weasel than he normally is.
Try to throw him off the scent. Talk about my (fake) boyfriend in the Navy.
“Yeah, yeah, sure, sure…want company?"
“…I could put some dick on ya.”
(What if I do throw you a little thing Jonnie?)
Stop at the liquor store to pick up some bottles and a pack of cigarettes.
"You wanna see me rattle these motherfuckers?”
Eats me out
”Suck my pipe”
He was overexcited to even take it out
Jonnie’s pockmarked sex face looking like an amped-up insane asylum inmate
He came almost as soon as his cock hit my clit
1 halfsie orgasm
Wangs himself out
Cracks a nut
Drops a listless load
"Stop baby, let’s do some more grass”
Morning after, before the walk of shame.
My uncharacteristic desperate confessions, decompressing energy.
Living hand to mouth. Estranged from my family and behind on rent for my friend’s loft.
“What do your parents do?”
Lost my croupier job. No car. No bank account.
“I can get you more hours at the club."
“We'll be able to ‘go together’ whenever we want honey….you’ve got stunning dimples of Venus. I think you’re very sexual.”
“I like to have my nightclothes on before it gets dark.”
“Don’t be so uptight honey.”
The first day's wages: what’s this? a joke?
Jonnie Nod, snout in the newspaper "It’s tough like that, gotta remember you get perks too, food and tips. Cab fare as well."
Jonnie’s lingering "Overcame a lotta shit to be where I am today… I’ll blow in a girl’s ear anytime I wanna.“
Jonnie’s lurking again “Let’s get a room.”
Vividly paranoid, he keeps flipping the hotel blinds “We’re gonna have to agree on a 'safe word' honey.”
Comes outta the head stark naked, oiled up, boney and deathly pale. The fag loves to showboat in any given spotlight.
He even has the gall to parade his 'conquests' in front of his wife, everyone knows what's going on. She's a cold stuck-up bitch anyways, no wonder she ended up with him.
Bitch’s got well-fucked up eyebrows.
Got high and screwed about with the bitch’s husband.
"Hey baby girl."
I need a Korean rub down.
And appointment at the nail salon.
(Actually I am annoyed at Eagle Beak. I don't want a sugar daddy thanks, and we've only just met. It’s totally inappropriate for him to try and buy favour with a young girl, if that's what he was attempting to do? I mean, he wasn't flirty…seemed genuine really, I just wanna return the money. They say he's a regular, so he should be in pretty soon.)
Rub cold cream into feet.
er segue um folks to eagle beak
Simon: ”Hey, before you go, can I just try out a lil’ final thought?”
“Be my guest.”
"Confucius said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with"
"A single step. Yeah, I already know that one Si."
"Really? How'd you know it?”
"Everybody knows it.”
I glide along the sidewalk for a block or two.
The moon looks beautiful tonight….
what a day, I’m beat. Can’t wait to get to bed.
Is it a full moon?
No, not quite..(Remember when I was invited to that teenage preppy party
and was shown in by the giddy
hostess. Being unfashionably early, I was assigned to wait in the kitchen, with the only other early guest, one of her high school girlfriends, as our hostess finished decorating the house.
This pretty and friendly guest was wearing a sophisticated and grown up short black dress and black hosiery. As we chatted I began turning on into an attentive zoot suited wolf cartoon character.
Soon people started to arrive and our hostess swanned into the kitchen with some.
Standing far out from the crowd was this kid with a stubby ponytail and a gold earring, he reminded me of a (prissy-looking) pirate. The girl I’d been talking to got swallowed up into the party and I didn’t see her again.
At some point a few colored boys began causing a scene. In the corridor was a plaster statue of a greek goddess holding an urn, they were high-kicking at it, kicking dents into the goddess’s cans.
I saw the pirate kid rush into the commotion and interject “C’mon now fellers.”
Most guests were posing hard and trying to represent as cool cats, too teen self-conscious to talk to each other.
Four boys were upstairs behind a locked door with the hostess, there was no getting away from it; this party was bad.
Bored I decided to split.
Making my way out, for reasons unknown the pirate kid sidled up, introduced himself as ’Simon' and offered to walk me home. This seemed faintly ridiculous but I apprehensively said “Sure.” Eagle Beak is confident in his self-defence abilities and always prepped re: a rumble.
We cruised and he smoked and fired bitty spit-darts at the ground. His eyes and persona on high alert to the dangers in this relatively peaceful and safe neighbourhood. Walking with a gait, it was obvious from the strut he thought highly of himself.
“I don’t like smoking cigarettes.”
“Don’t start, it’s awful on the chest,” he answered, sounding like a world-weary old man even though he was only fourteen, the same age as me.
“You’re alright buddy, I can make it from here.”
Before we parted Simon gave me his address.
lived nearby so one eve I paid him a visit.
Having a weekly evening social schedule I was out most nights.
His ma answered the door and standing on their stoop, she announced with dramatic magnitude that he had gone out and could be at the police station. This seemed like a strange thing to say, I mean, how many times was Simon at the police station? was it that regular?
At the weekend I called around again and this time he was in.
Simon’s ma carried a dated faded look, normally she would be playing the card game ‘patience’ with herself in the living room, television set on, ashtray and a glass of booze at her side.
Simon’s room stank of socks, pot and cum. He smoked so much pot his body odour had an ever-present stench of it.
Terpenes seeped out of his pores and everyone he interacted with couldn’t help but notice. Simon seemed oblivious to the fact or maybe he didn’t care.
I taught him to open his windows and let some fresh air in, to wear powder and later, cologne. I told him about trimming body hairs. There were many little things I taught him and his ma seemed to like me, at least hanging around with me he wasn’t hanging with a bad crowd and thieving.
His pa was a snitch jailbird serving a long stretch (or “working on an oil rig” as his ma would tell people) so Simon was king of the apartment.
We’d visit each other a couple of times a week.
We would both often cut school and sleep until the afternoon. Simon slept later than me and sometimes I would wake him, he was always funny and in a good mood about it.
Simon had set up a drum kit in the corner of his bedroom so I would bring my guitar over and cook up some jazz, also having serious hoop dreams in those daze, we would often train together in the park.
It was during my second visit to Simon’s,
when his ma called to his bedroom asking if I wanted to stay for dinner.
We sat down to a Sunday roast with the works. As we ate, his ma started a sauced-up conversation about condiments “This horseradish sauce is nice and creamy.”
It was then that Simon decided to blurt out, “Yeah, like my knob-cheese.”
So immature, outrageous, ridiculously random and surreally subversive, inappropriate and uncalled for all at once. I cracked up and thought, this cat’s really out there on another level.
His ma, amused, just replied “Oh Simon..”
All that time ago but it still!!)!!!!!!!!!All of a sudden I’m being jumped.I’m being garrotted and dragged by my neck into an alleyway.Splitthissecondintoslicesoftime.GO!E. instinctively grabs at the attacker’s groin with his left hand – The best available option.He squeezes hard a good handful.The attacker -male, yelps and hunches forward.E.B. elbows him in the stomach from behind with his right elbow, then whacks a crack! skull side with a back-shot punch, still keeping a tight grip on that pin and nut-sac with his left hand.The strangling cord slips out of the attacker’s hands.-Now for a Judo throw.Using his attacker’s own body weight against him, Eagle one-handedly launches him over his shoulder whilst still simultaneously squeezing and crushing “down below.” Eagle Beak is trying his damnedest to rip those genitals clean off of his attacker’s body.Employing brute survival-strength, his attacker pulls out of the sex organ hold and folds to his knees, clutching in between his legs.A fast tactical body shot combination by Mr. E.B. Hoffler and this opponent is fully taken down.
I quickly assess the situation- Assailant’s built. Working alone? Yes. Not a professional hit.
S L O W T H E H E A R T R A T E D O W N .
:I’m aware there’s a cord still choking me.
Flicking a button on my watch, a mini-blade shoots out of the corner of the watch-strap. I manage to get the blade in between the cord and my neck, nicking it as the cord flies off.
BIG GULPS OF AIR.
:Slow the breathing- splitthesesecond s into slices of time.
My crippled attacker, I observe, is dressed in black and wearing a balaclava.
Assess- No random mugging. Someone put a hit on The Mark (Private Investigator Hoffler) puzzling..
I rip the balaclava off, he stares up at me, pained and afraid. He knows he’s now my cornered rat.
His look of pain intensifies as I leap on him, pin him down and force his head back by the hair. I snarl into the cunt’s ear, "Who sent you kid?"
Mighty Thunder Bolt.
For Simon grieving sure is a strange process and not at all like he imagined it was going to be. The pain is immense, overwhelming at first, sickening, surreal.
“It’s when the burial ceremony’s over, everyone has left and you’re alone that it hits you in a diff way.”
Simon, having a high EQ knew a moving target is harder to hit and had prepared for his fall out by being O for organised and keeping busy.
:Recognise these feelings as grief. Take a step back and try your best to process. :Go for walks. There aren’t many times when going for a walk isn’t a good idea, a walk actively helps the brain process. :Balance. This is going to take time=forever Earth-wise.
“The rawest, most tender part is the first year. Going through each season without them for the first time, you're just reeling, reeling.”
Denied of making any new memories, remembrances pertaining to himself and Ol’ Thunder are precious stock now.
“After about two years..there is a shift.”
It was during Simon’s second university year that he decided to change his doctorate from Engineering to the field of Parapsychology, much to the surprise of his peers and chagrin of his parents. His pa hearing about it on a rare grapevine, during a stretch in solitary after a shiving attempt at the prison commissary.
Once upon a time, amongst the test subjects for a class on tribal ritual practices, Simon’s eye was caught by a flamboyant, ostentatious Native American mystic with roots in the Comanche Tribe.
Mighty Thunder Bolt was in his mid-eighties but still nearly crushed Simon's hand as he shook it.
Who would have guessed this serendipitous sterile meeting would flourish into the deepest love of their lives?
Being the first same-sex relationship for both, it was especially new for Thunder Bolt, who already had a line of ex-squaws and a heap of children and grandchildren.
Their age difference was never an issue. Simon respected Bolt’s polytheistic wisdom and ancient knowledge, likewise he respected Simon’s repository-like intelligence and engineering skills.
M.T.B’s twilight years: nil. For years they simply lived happily.
When M.T.’s earthly end did eventually arrive, he had already outlived his initial prognosis by months but then his health took a quick nose dive.
THE THOUSAND YARD STARE
THE DEATH RATTLE
THE FINAL CHECKOUT
This was when Simon realized the saying 'the body is a shell,’ was very true. T. just wasn't there anymore.
These days, the first thing Simon does every morning, is turn towards his bedside table and glance once or more at the platinum framed old sepia photograph of Mighty Thunder Bolt, even when he has a gentlemen friend staying over.
Thunder Bolt’s totem pole miniatures, headdresses, dream catchers and beaver pelts are still spread throughout the house.
All the shamans have left now, after completing shakily written assessments and sketches. Also, after Simon had focused on their crowns and hearts using a clear quartz crystal to remove any residues left over in their energy fields.
He washes up, takes an air bath, brews a cup of joe and pours some roasted lemon pistachios into a bowl on a tray. Putting on a silk dressing gown, he picks the tray up and heads to his workshop room to make a start on Eagle's list.
ahhh erm lookie here folks outside the er nodding boys club two strangers in the night um exchanging glances
"Why'd you give me all that dough?"
"It was a tip."
"A tip for what?"
"For keeping my glass full."
“So you’re a playboy are you?”
"Well, it's too much. It’s ridiculous. Here, take it."
"It's yours kid.
“What’s with all this “kid” stuff? who are you? Goofy Bogart?”
"If it's mine, then it’s mine to give back."
She hands E.B. the money. He puts the fat roll into his jacket’s inner breast pocket.
Taking a cigarette out, he offers her one.
She is getting annoyed and trying not to show her frustration. Indignantly "I don't smoke." … "Thanks."
He lights up and blows the smoke away from her direction.
"Still think Jonnie’s neat huh?”
Smirking at his audacity ”Kinda."
He nods, but not The Nodding Boy's Club nod, a friendly 'We're both on the same page' nod. ”Kinda? kinda not I’m guessing…listen, have you eaten yet? I know this little Italian joint near here.”
“..I’m not sure..”
“Well, I could do with the company..what else you doin’ kid’?”
The restaurant is homely, interior inviting.
“Signore Hoffler, mio fratello!”
Food; delicious. Candlelight lights their faces.
Up close, she notices his nicotine stained fingers, bloodshot eyes, patches of stubble he’s missed while shaving, band-aid on his neck and (blood?) specks on his shirt.
"I've known Jonnie for a long time. He's the jerk-off younger brother of an ex of mine. I know full well about his 'eccentricities,’ Jonnie’s always been a loose cannon…I’m the one who set him up in the club. It wasn’t called The Nodding Boys Club back then. That was the name he chose when he tried to turn it into a junkie dive.”
“You know what nodding out is?”
“It’s what heroin addicts do.”
“Jeez, he named the club after that?”
“Jonnie’s never had any class. He lived..in a bizarro world. That’s why we decided to come up with the club’s theme and, like a lot of stupid ideas it became a success.”
“E.B. had to challenge him to a no holds barred duel over club business and E.B. kicked his cockamamy addict behind.”
(Okay, I’m not even gonna mention this talking in the third-person thing, I’ve busted his chops enough already. I don’t wanna sour the atmosphere, I’m getting the impression that we are having a truly wonderful evening.)
He tops up her wine glass.
“You ever notice the missing tip on Jonnie’s left-hand pinkie?”
“Yeah I did.”
“E.B. had to cut it off as punishment.”
Shell shocked uncomfortable silence.
“You’re being serious? how could you?”
“Hey, he’s still breathing ain’t he?”
That’s all folks?
ah word up
erm mighty style
um er all this
um er um the vast oneness of the universe
erm i walk but i don’t
im alone but i am not
ahhh out here in er here
erm it is all
it is er nothing it is all
um a microsecond
are the er same
erm and i can travel between
i see simon ummm trying to reach me in er ceremonies i dont know why he tries he will never manage
if anyone can help him ahhh relinquish his joie de vivre
er its my tami eagle beak
a bad er motherfucker
shoe shine boy to veteran
um ah an animal
forged in um er fire
violence is his ermmm forte
and thats one of the reason im um watching him now
i see myself leading a ceremony for eagle beak and his old demonised crew r i p
i see the crew turning up soldiers of the streets
um they took the peyote and drugs then stripped to the waist and i had them cut themselves
i invented this ceremony the night before when i was stoooooned
errrr it was cultural chicanery
but nevertheless designed to bring out their brave qualities
it worked wonders
ahhh i see myself holding the eagle perched on my arm
i borrowed it from a pet dealer friend of mine
i haven’t been given any answers yet
is this just a spirit world crapshoot
there is always a consistent slow dull pulse here
what is that
errrr without question i have no barometer for this situation i find myself in
another ride on the struggle bus
i periodically think
you know what
ever since that old taibo gave out those bibles at my school when i was nine
and i read
I have believed with blind faith in my lord and saviour J.C.
i havent seen no pearly gates of heaven
nor felt heat from the fires of hell
this isnt purgatory
and im not even a ghost
time i admitted it to myself
frag it dread
ive got to face it and try to do something about it
there’s no avoiding it
ill put it out there
I dont gotta hide from nobody
between me and you folks
I know I’m not dead