Family (Part XIII)
By Pete Moss
A couple of weeks go by and I drive Dijay to her shows. We eat our breakfasts at a place where Dijay gets comped, not far from the Street Girls Collective. I never meet any of the other Street Girls. Kind of strange.
The place we eat opens at 5am. Usually by 6 there's a line. But Dijay and I usually show up around 5AM and breeze right in. Dijay always has the same thing but I try something different off the menu every time.
Then, our 5th or 6th time, who should appear at our table but my cousin, Germaine Galloway.
"Hollister?" she says. "I've been looking all over San Francisco for you. I thought you went back to LA." Germaine ignores Dijay.
"Uh no, I'm still here. I've been working for Dijay." And I introduce Dijay. Germaine and Dijay don't seem thrilled to be introduced. I have a strong feeling they have met before.
"Well, I have something to talk to you about. Can you come over to my place this afternoon?" says Germaine.
"Of course. Just tell me where," I say. Germaine rattles off an address and I write it on a napkin and then Germaine walks off without acknowledging Dijay.
"Germaine is your cousin?" says Dijay.
"Yes, do you know her?"
"San Francisco is a small place, everybody knows everybody." says Dijay.
"And you're both show biz people," I say.
Later that day I ride over to the address Germaine gave me. It's up a steep hill in an obscure neighborhood pretty much smack in the middle of the City.
A small Phillipina answers the door and looks at me as if I'm a cockaroach. Germaine comes up behind her.
"Hollister, so glad you came," says Germaine. "That will be all Leilani. We'll be in the study."
I follow Germaine into her study. It's sparsely furnished, devoid of books, with a sleek computer on a steelcase desk. There's a pretty nice view of downtown from the picture window. I sit in an Eames chair. Germaine remains standing.
"So you are working for Dijay Dalliwall?"
"How well do you know her?"
"I just met her 2 weeks ago."
"Well....bear with me. I have a favor to ask but first I'll give you some background. It will become clear why I need to fill in the background when I get around to the favor I'm going to ask."
"OK," I say.
"Dijay Dalliwall isn't from India. Her real name is Debbie Sanchez. She was born and raised in Fresno. Her dad was a Mexican trucker who got his citizenship marrying her mother. Her mom is 3rd generation Armenian-American, from a family that's been living around Fresno since Fresno was the raisin captial of the universe. Debbie has a baby sister, married to a cop, and two older brothers who work for her dad, who owns a trucking company, Sanchez and Sons. The family are Evangelical Christians, go to church every Sunday, go to bible study Wedsnesday nights...."
"Wait, I get it. Dijay's family are as square as a Rubiks Cube. Dijay was the black sheep. Let me guess, when she was 15 she ran away to LA and went to work as a baby hooker on Santa Monica Boulevard?"
"You got the LA part right. But she waited til she was 17 and a half, and when she got to LA she got into the rave scene. Far as I know she was never a hooker. Anyway her family tracked her down to a rave squat in North Long Beach and brought her back to Fresno, sent her off to Jesus camp. Debbie was docile, didn't make trouble, but the moment she turned 18 she signed herself out of Jesus Camp and went straight back to LA. She took right back up with the rave crowd. She keeps her distance from her family. She calls or drops a card 3 or 4 times a year, lets 'em know she's OK, but they have no contact information for her."
"I can't say I blame her. I mean they already kidnapped her once and sent her to Jesus Camp..."
"Fair enough. How old do you think she is?"
"I dunno, a year or two older'n me, maybe 24, 25."
"She's 35, gonna be 36 in 2 months, actually."
"Oh," I say.
"I'll bet she favors babymaking sex."
"Babymaking sex?" I say, then the image of Dijays insistent, greedy style of sex flashs in my head, "Oh like that.."
"Yeah, like that." says Germaine, with a knowing, deadpan look. "So she's gotten to you."
"...yeah, we've uh, mated," I say.
"Anyway, You lived in LA. Do you remember that case of those orthodox Jewish kids were smuggling Ecstacy from Israel hidden among religious articles?"
"Before your time actually. But Debbie was calling herself Varda Goldberg. Pretending to be a nice Jewish girl from a suburb of Milwaukee, just sowing some wild oats. She got into DJing, called herself Jezebel Spinner for that. But what she was really, was a key wholesaler in Southern California for the Ecstacy ring. When they got busted she got a few months county time, then a couple years unsupervised probation. Walked out of jail and disappeared. A slap on the wrist actually. Some of the others had to leave the country and stay away. A few got years of fedral time. Most people think Dijay snitched."
I raise an eyebrow. I assume there's more to the story. But Germaine sits and says nothing for several minutes.
"Are you falling for her?"
I feel myself turning red.
"I see. Well....let me get on with what else I have to say and then you can decide. But if you're going to help me you're going to have cut ties with Miss Debbie Sanchez."
Germaine walked towards the door of her study. I stood up and followed. We walked down 3 flights of stairs and came into a garage. Germaine's Lexus was parked.
"Can I leave my bike in the garage?" I said.
"You rode your bike? Didn't Elizabeth leave you the Packard?"
"Well yes, she did. But I usually get around on my bike. The Packard is too expensive to drive much."
"Where's it parked?"
"By my uh, house."
"You're not parking it on the street?!"
"Oh my, a classic car like that?! You know I have space here in the garage. Why don't you park it over here?'
Now what do I say? Instinct tells me I really shouldn't be telling Germaine the Packard is my home for the time being. If I take her offer then where will I sleep? I change the subject.
"That's a great offer, but for now can I just leave my bike in the garage? I assume we're going somewhere in your Lexus."
"Yes, of course." Germaine gets in the Lexus and hits a button and the garge door goes up. I go out and unlock my bike from the street sign it's locked to and wheel it into the garage. Then I get in the Lexus and we drive off. Germaine hitting the button so the garage door goes down.
Germaine seems nervous. She keeps checking her mirrors and we take a meandering route, to say the least. Germaine actually acts like somebody who is afraid of being tailed.
Finally we pull into a parking structure by Fishermans Wharf. Germaine scans the structure. It's full of tourist vehicles, with license plate frames from Concord and Benicia, and out of state plates.
Germaine reaches in the back seat and grabs a Giants warmup jacket and a ball cap. She puts these on and a large pair of sunglasses.
To me it's getting a little ridiculous. Germaine scans one more time then gets out of the Lexus. I follow. We walk out of the parking structure and join the hordes of tourists. We walk over to the ferry for Sausalito. Germaine buys 2 tickets.
We sit inside. Germaine insists we sit inside. She has more talking to do.
"So, the show wrapped when I was 19. That was when I realized I really was Elizabeth's kid. I mean, working for a living sucks. Plus I'm a private person. If I was going to work for a living then showbiz was the wrong field for me. I had a few offers after the show ended, but I ignored them. I had half a million dollars in the bank, and when Elizabeth found out I wasn't planning to keep working she gave me another half million. I headed as far away from LA as I could go. All the way to England. That's where I met Tommy. We married, had a kid. Tommy was the sweetest guy, a talented musician, handsome, aristocratic, and a heroin addict. We were together for 5 years and then I found him dead on Christmas Day. After that I couldn't stay in England. I didn't want to move back to LA. I settled in San Francisco, with my son, and I've been here ever since."
"So this is all about your son? What, is he like my cousin then?"
"I don't know if you're first cousins, but, yeah, you're related."
"And we're going to meet him?"
"Yes. Horatio inherited his father's weakness for strong drugs. Only in Horatio's case it is Methamphetamine. I've had him in and out of rehab 6 times since he's 13. This time is it. He'd been going downhill for months, then he disappeared. They found him in the bushes by a freeway onramp in Santa Clara. They thought he was dead."
There's allot of repressed emotion in Germaine's voice. She's trying very hard to keep it business like.
"We have to get him detoxed before we sign him into rehab. I have it all set up at a houseboat in Sausalito."
"And what do you need me for?"
Germaine pulls out an envelope. There's a photo in the envelope. I look at the photo.
"Guy looks like a football player," I say.
"That's cause he is. He played at Stanford, but the party scene wasn't up to his standards so he transferred to UNLV. Played there two years. Sorry I don't know anything about football, couldn't tell you what position he played, but apparently he had some talent, he got drafted and played two years professionally. Then he got hurt. He's been in retail ever since."
"Retail, as in meth? And Horatio owes money to this guy and the guy is looking for Horatio to collect."
"Very good. The drug dealer doesn't know whose kid Horatio is. He says Horatio owes 20 grand. If it doesn't get paid the whole thing goes to one of those vicious celebrity gossip outlets."
"So I'm supposed to be a cutout between you and the drug dealer?"
"Why not just call his bluff?"
"That wouldn't be good for Horatio, and I am still a very private person. Seeing my personal tragedy on TMZ would be a nightmare for me and Horatio."