Jackie Halligan (a 30:30 Report)
Jackie Halligan stopped back at his locker between third and fourth periods. This was in Nauset Regional Intermediate School. A couple of kids he knew were a few lockers down, and Jackie heard one say to the other, “The moon is too made of green cheese. Only an asshole doesn’t know that. Plus, I have the evidence.” Jackie was nine years old the day he heard those kids talking. Now, go ahead and consider this a time travel story, and here we are 18 years down the tick-tock road. And quite a ways from good old Eastham on Cape Cod, all the way over here to Irvine, California. Time flies, people say, and that maxim just might be proved before we get done with this tale. Jackie does have a story to tell, though, and maybe those two – the time flying and Jackie’s piece, maybe they intertwine and it all comes out nice and precise in the wash or we just might diverge like we are having a righteous game of hide and seek in the hills just east of the 1 between here and Laguna Beach. Search me, I’m as much all ears as are you.
It began senior year with the bus ride, that was when Jackie did the cast your fate to the wind thing and convinced his 16-year old girlfriend Janine Powers to thumb up to Hyannis and catch the Bonanza straight shot up to Boston so they could take in the aquarium and the Museum of Fine Arts and grab some pizza in Kenmore Square and one thing lead to another and since they began thumbing Route 28 towards Hyannis at nine in the morning on June 23rd, which was exactly three days since Janine had finished junior year for the summer and as they did not walk up her parent’s front walk until the 24th late in the afternoon, that right there, save for a late-night the previous night tele call might have landed Jackie’s ass in the pokey and on to Concord or Walpole for statutory rape, which the phone call saved his ass from that dilemma but not from having to scoot off the front lawn when her dad came rip roaring out the front door to deliver what would have been a serious ass stomping were it not for the fleetness of foot of young Mr. Halligan, who early the next morning was back over to Hyannis, back up to Boston, and this time on the rebound on a Trailways west, as in all the way west as in do not stop going past go and come to think of it he was kind of done with Cape Cod and five trillion summer people and all their cars and winter for sure,
And there had been those lazy summer afternoons in the meadow at Fort Hill Park where he’d lay back on the grass and look up at the swirling puffs of clouds traveling real slow one direction or another and say to himself that one day he was going to live out to California, be a surfer boy and drive a convertible up and back Hollywood Boulevard and all those famous kinds of roads, like American Graffiti, and be a private eye so his friends back home when they heard would say things like, Old Jackie Halligan be all Same Spade and Philip Marlowe like now, which in fact was going to be the truth, and then Janine’s dad got on the warpath and it would be likely a whole entire summer looking over his shoulder and as he’d saved some money from working at the ice cream stand for three straight summers plus Cape Cod hospital one year after school, in fact he felt damn wealthy for an 18-year old, so a $53 ticket to LA wasn’t a second’s thought and neither was not really saying goodbye to anyone and all of it, as his Dad was dead, his Mom he spent time with the night before and they both cried a little, mostly her, and he swung down by the beach off the Orleans rotary and had a couple of beers with his best boy Little L’al and then whamzeedoddle chief, see ya!!
And that part of this story, all the way from the green cheese in the moon to Fort Hill Park to stepping off the bus after 96 hours smack dab into downtown LA and seeing a bunch of Mexicans for the first time in his life, that’s the first part and here is the second part which finds Jackie living in a small room in a rooming house right around the corner from University High School in Irvine and just down the street from the actual University (UCI) and he actually has a small office over in Laguna Beach where the rents will usually kill you, all the wealthy folks living in those hills and up over the
beach, but it turns out Laguna has always leaned toward an artist identity, say way more than a surf-first town or any other special attraction like the clubs farther north in Huntington and Redondo and there are in fact old buildings on side streets (here in Laguna) which have not been scooped up and new-aged by big-shot realtors (so far) for the ongoing endless rip-off of the good old days and Jackie was able to find and rent an old office, which shares a bathroom with a few artists types and, get this, a fortune teller (Miss Layla and more on her in a minute) and he has had some business cards printed up which say “Halligan Investigations and Support Services”, he got a thousand way cheap and still has like 952 or something,
And he figured that title offered a pretty wide range of just what he would tell people it was he did to pay the rent and put a few groceries in the fridge, speaking of which the room he has in Irvine is cool and the rooming house cannot be beat, the landlady rules and has become a mentor and best pal, and business-wise there are people in the greater Laguna community that on occasion come in and ask what he does and sometimes they hear enough of what sounds reasonable and maybe even encouraging to sit there a while and share their problem, what it was that hauled them in through the door in the first place, and he’s been at this for a little more than three years now – and yes, he’s had to supplement his “investigative” earnings with like 25 hours a seasonal week on a landscape crew, well, that has been paying most of the rent and food and gas for the ancient Volvo he picked up in Long Beach, but the truth is it was 30 hours a while and now it’s been 20 and he’s already given the boss notice he’s going down to two days a week because most recently into his life has entered someone you could reasonably call a “Patron.” Which is not only far out, but represents a whole new reason to get up in the morning. Like, damn skippy you best be calling me Jackie Spade Marlowe now, Holmes. And raises this very question – what exactly is the deal with the Patron, Brah?
And now don’t you go worrying, Slick. Part Two be coming.