Sad to hear of the passing of artist Robert Bazylewicz during Monsterpalooza weekend. He painted the artwork for the 1st indie feature film I produced that was released by American Horrors, Client 14.

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You may watch Client 14 here – http://americanhorrors.com/revamp/vod/client-14/

A Robbery

April 14, 2011

I was going through a few files the other day and came across a folder titled “Robbery.”  It contained a newspaper clipping, a letter from a public defender and a few subpoena notices.

I started working at Chief Auto Parts when I was a teenager and transferred to the local Los Angles location when I first move to LA.  I was the first female counter parts girl the LA location had in years.

The LA location was robbed in 1996, less than a year after I moved to LA. I was still a teenager.  I and my male co-worker were working that day. He was hanging out by the register and I was bored, straightening the product on the store shelves. An attractive guy walked in. I thought I’d flirt with him a bit as I straightened product.  I asked him if he needed help, chatted a bit (don’t recall what about) then went to hang out by my co-worker at the register.   The guy just kind of lingered around the shelves, smiling at me every once in a while. He did his smooth homeboy limp towards us, chilled by us, and chatted for a bit. I kind of like those bad boys too.

I told my co-worker I had to go to the bathroom. Smiled at the guy, he smiled back and went into the bathroom that was visible to clients. I lingered in the bathroom for a bit, like girls usually do, and then walked out.  My co-worker looked at me frozen with fear and yelled “we were just robbed!” I said, “What by who?” He said, “That guy that was just here. He had a gun. Waited until you were in the bathroom. Pointed the gun at me and had me give him all the money from the register which was only about forty dollars.” Another lady was in the store and said “Ya, I saw him run out.”  Many thoughts went through my head like “I’m glad he waited and didn’t shoot me in the back.” And “Damn, he was cute!”  So, the cops showed up and took our statements and description of the guy.

Apparently, the guy had just robbed an AM/PM at gun point right before that incident. He actually shot the worker.  The cops then chased him after the Chief Auto Parts robbery. There was shootout between him and the cops.  We got subpoenaed to identify him and speak on the witness stand. I really didn’t want to do it, but had to for the company. I was just happy he waited until I was in the bathroom to rob my co-worker.

A detective picked me up one day and I had to go through pictures of inmates to identify him.  Then I was picked up another time and brought downtown. I got to walk through a few jail cell locations, to a glass/mirror room to look at a line up of similar looking guys and pointed out the guy from that day.  I probably wouldn’t have paid so much attention to him if he wasn’t attractive. I identified him both times. My co-worker also identified him.

Court day finally came. Again, a detective picked me up and brought me to the downtown courthouse.  My co-worker went into the court room testify first. I waited outside. A cute, young girl around 7-8 years old came up to me because she was bored and started talking to me.  She wanted to play pat-a-cake. So, I did. She said, “You have to go in there?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “My daddy’s in there.” I said, “Ya, what his name.” She told me the name and sure enough her father was the guy I would be putting in jail.  I said, “Oh…” I just looked at her with soft eyes, gently smiled, then looked up at her family and just kind of nodded at them.  They were all sad and it broke my heart.

It was my turn to go into the court room.  I went on the stand and was sworn in.  It was all kind of a blur. I was nervous as all hell and all I could think about was the fact I was putting this guy in jail. I could have lied but that would not be good.  The defender kept trying to trip me up, but I answered the questions to the best of my knowledge. Then the question came, “Can you identify the man in this courtroom today?” I of course had to.  I looked at the defendant. He glared at me, shook his head, mouthing something, tying to intimidate me and I pointed him out.  Then it was done. I went home and back to work the next day.  The detective followed up with me. It turned out it was his third strike and he was to go to jail for life. His previous charges were robbery and I think drugs. Knowing that it was his third strike made me feel even worse because all I could think about was his daughter.

A few weeks later a women came in and said, “You’re still here.” I said, “Yes.” She told me she was one of the jurors and start talking about it in front of the other clients. She said she would have left the company right after. I told her I was fine. My co-worker, however, did leave soon after. I didn’t leave Chief Auto Parts for another year or two and that was for a better paying job.

Years later, in 2002, my mother received a letter from a Public Defender for the defendant.  It stated “This case is being reviewed by lawyers in our office for possible police misconduct.” Then I was hunted down at my then current work place. I received a phone call.  Apparently, all the third strike cases were being reviewed.  I was asked similar questions as before; if I was sure the defendant was the guy and if I could go back to the station to identify him again. I told the Public Defender that I was certain at the time that he was the guy and I refused to go back in to identify him because too much time had passed. Then the PD said, “Well you said he walked with a limp and he doesn’t have a limp.” I said, “Well, he had a homeboy like limp. Not a real one, just the cool one.” He said, “Oh, well you’re co-worker didn’t want anything to do with the case and wouldn’t talk to us at all.” I said, “Look, it’s been 5 or 6 years.  He has a daughter.  I hope by now he would have learned from this experience and will straighten up. I don’t think he should do life, so if you want to let him out then let him out. I think it’s been long enough. He has a daughter and should be with her. Just as long as he doesn’t come after me.”  The PD said, “Oh okay.” And that was that.  I still wonder what happened to him and his daughter.  I just hope he did get a second chance and straightened up at least for his daughter.

Here’s the newspaper clipping:

(c)

I was 17 and working at a Chief Auto Parts store in the High Desert.  It was located in a strip mall, next to an Albertsons grocery store. The entrance of the store was all glass like a typical retail store. That was my first ‘real’ job, where I had to clock in and out everyday to be paid bi-weekly with a real check.

It was a slow, sunny day.  My co-worker, Adam, and I were chatting, enjoying ourselves.  He answered the phone and began talking to a client.  I looked over at him and all of the sudden a shocked look came upon his face. He blurted out the words “I just saw a baby get run over.” I said, “What?” He repeated himself and also murmured the word “The truck ran over a baby.” He pointed outside to a big rig diesel truck that was parked at the end of the strip mall driveway. He got off the phone and called 911.

I walked outside and it was chaos.  Everything moved in slow motion.  People were running all around me, screaming. I turned to my right to see the big rig and the driver.  The driver was collapsed to his knees, covering his face with his hands and sobbing into them. I turned to my left and near by me was a man also kneeling on the floor.  However, he was holding his baby in his arms, crying and yelling out loud.  The baby’s body kind of flopped around in his arms and looked clean.  My mind wanted to believe the baby was alive. However, I glance to his right and laid next to him were the babies intestines strung along the pavement with blood.  I glanced back at the father and still tried to convince my mind the baby was dead.  A lady ran up to me screaming “Call 911, call 911.” I told her we did, she wouldn’t stop screaming.  I then looked to the left of the man and saw a lady sitting on a curb also sobbing and screaming.  She was the child’s mother.

I went back inside the store, Adam sat on the floor in shock.  I found our manager in the storage area and he couldn’t even go out into the front part of the store. He also had a brand new baby and couldn’t bare the thought of seeing the dead baby.  I was left to run the store for a bit until he was able to emerge.  The phone rang and I answered it.  The voice was a woman. She kept asking me what was wrong and asked if I was okay. I said “A baby was just run over by a semi diesel truck.” She said “Ohh that’s all?” and continued with question about her car.  Eventually, the cops showed up to interview everyone and make a report.  I hardly remembered the interview.

Apparently, the mother left her 3 month old baby in a shopping cart unattended to throw away a piece of trash.  The shopping cart was by a slope in the store entrance. These slopes are usually used for people in wheelchairs to enter a store.  The cart rolled down the slope and under the trucks right wheel.  The driver didn’t even know he hit anything, yet alone ran over a baby. He didn’t know a thing until people flagged him down and stopped him.  That’s when he fell out of the truck and onto his knees.  Adam actually saw the baby spin around the tire of the truck.  The truck shouldn’t have even been driving in the main part of the parking lot that day.  Usually, big rigs are only allowed to enter in the shipping areas of retails stores.  But the driver made a mistake that day and will haunt him for the rest of his life.

I was actually staying at my parents’ house at the time. I went home, told my family, cried for a bit and went to bed.  It took me a few weeks to not be affected by seeing young babies.  I still reflect back to that moment in time, when I’m feeling down about life.  The baby had no choice, the parents lost a child tragically, and the driver will forever live with the idea that he killed a baby on accident.  It was just an all around sad accident. (c)

An attempted kidnapping

September 19, 2009

My memory is a bit hazy on the details on this event:

I was in grade school and just started taking the bus to school.   It was approximately 1st or 2nd grade.  I took the bus home from school.   I was the only kid to get off at my bus stop that day.  The bus stop was at a corner stop sign, surrounded by brush.  The bus left and I started walking home.

A 1970’s tan, 4door sedan pulled up beside me with a couple inside.  I kind of remember what the couple looked like. They were both very white trash.  The guy had short brown hair and a mustache; the lady had straggly blond hair.  The lady started acting nice to me.  She said “Hi sweetie.”  I didn’t acknowledge them and kept walking.  She told me my parents told them to pick me up.  I knew they were lying and told them I’d walk.  They pulled up in front of me.  She got out of the car, grabbed me and put me in the back seat.   She got in the car and the guy began driving fast.  I started screaming and crying.  She told me to calm down, but I wouldn’t.  The man started yelling at her to keep me quiet, she yelled back at him in frustration.  I screamed louder and louder, started kicking and trying to open the car door.   They continued to argue.  This went on for awhile.  They finally pulled over at a stop sign.   She let me out and they took off.

I stood at the corner crying and scared. Again, it was another vacant area.  I had no clue where I was. So, I just stood there hoping someone would find me, my parents, cops, just someone.  Sometime had passed… My parents and my sister finally drove up.  I got in the car and all my parents could to was yell at me because they were “so worried” and “how could I get off at the wrong bus stop?” They just continued about how stupid I was for getting off at the wrong bus stop.  They wouldn’t let me speak, so all I could do was cry because they wouldn’t listen.  I just tucked that memory into the depths of my mind.

It wasn’t until last year that I told my sister what actually happened that day.  She actually brought the day up, because we were talking about how dysfunctional our family was.  She told me she remembered a day when I was missing for 2 hours and my parents finally decided to look for me after she nagged them.   She remembered how pissed they were that I got off at the wrong stop sign. I said “Ohh… ya… that was the day someone attempted to kidnap me” and I told her the story.

People wonder how easy it is to kidnap a child and yes, it is that easy.

I thank God for all the little guardian angels he has watching over me. (c)

A girl and a carny

September 19, 2009

I was in grade school when my sister exposed me to heavy metal and punk rock.  My sister and her friends were all juniors and seniors in High School.   I looked up to them, and my sister helped dress me in my “metal” attire.  We grew up in a small town, so really the only thing there was for teenagers was to hang out at the mall, Chucky Cheese, a house party, and the San Bernardino County Fair.

One night at Chucky Cheese, I meet a friend of my sister.  She was a beautiful, blond haired, blue eyed gal.  She always wore jean miniskirts, rocker t-shirts, black boots and a jean jacket with patches and rocker pins.  She painted her face with dark black eyeliner to create cat eyes and teased up her bangs.  She had a free spirit and was always wanting to party.  She was happy and just wanted to enjoy herself.

The carnival came to town not too long after I meet her. It was at the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville.   This was an exciting event for the locals to go to.  She went one day and meet a carny.  She dated him while the carnival was in town.  She was invited out to a carnival wrap party the carny’s were having and of course she went.  Unfortunately, none of her friends attended.  The carny’s left town. Days went by and no one heard from her. She was missing.  About a week later, her father was taking a walk in the desert near by their home.  He came across her naked, dead body.  The last anyone knew of her existence was the day she went to the party.  Unfortunately, no one knew the guys name and the carny crew dispersed.  Her killer was never found.

I think I might have been around 11yrs old when this all happened.  Her smile and glow still remain in my mind. (c)