Part I/July 1, 1958/Chapter 4

“…met with President McCarthy in Miami yesterday afternoon to voice his thanks for the aid the American Expeditionary Force provided to Cuba in crushing the Communist insurrection that had attempted to seize control of the island nation…

In addition to thanking the United States, President Batista stated that he was eager for closer relations between the two democratic countries from this moment forward and, as a sign of good faith, will allow the U.S. military to place Jupiter Missiles in Cuba for the sole protection of both freedom-loving nations. President McCarthy urged the American public to remain wary of the Red Menace and to never let its guard down. Remember to report any Communist activity to your local…”

“HUAC office,” finished Baker in a mocking tone, putting a strong emphasis on the last two letters as if he had something vile stuck in his throat. He toggled the radio dial a bit more aggressively than he should have and it popped out and onto the carpeted floor of the car.

“Fuck!” he bellowed, the go-to American curse dissolving in the wind whipping in through the open windows of the Continental, which was speeding down Sunset Boulevard. Now he was stuck with nothing, but garbled static. Perfect.

It was ten o’ clock and the sun was now on full blast as he cruised past tall palm trees and neon signs that lined the sides of the boulevard. The signs were nocturnal creatures and right now, they sat unseeing and dead, waiting for the sun to dip low in the sky so they could be allowed to wake up for another night of debauchery and degeneracy. Connolly had decided to loiter around the crime scene for a little while longer while Baker went back to the office to write up a report.

Beat The Devil. 

What the devil did it mean? Who had it out for a middle-aged movie director who hadn’t worked in ten years and a young reporter for CBS whose journalism career was nothing special? Something just didn’t add up and Baker was resolved to get to the bottom of it no matter how many Hueys got in his way. And that particular Huey, Waldgrave, knew about Baker somehow. That business with Wagner was proof enough. Not surprising, he thought. HUAC—while a younger government organization–was better than the FBI and CIA combined at surveillance and digging up dirt on a person, no matter their country on origin. If they had existed in the same era, HUAC and the Gestapo would have had a major hard-on for one another.

He turned right onto North Beaudry Ave, a left at West Temple Street, and a right. After it was all said and done, the entire trip from the Huston house took an hour and now Baker was looking at the headquarters of the LAPD at 150 North Los Angeles Street. Completed just three years earlier, the nondescript Police Facilities Building had been designed by out-of-towner Welton Becket who was fast becoming the city’s golden boy of architecture. The 398,000-square foot structure had cost a pretty penny, $6 million to be precise, but that paid for all the amenities, which were the wet dream of any modern law enforcer: crime labs, recording devices in the jail cells, and housing all the police centers throughout the civic area under one roof. On the gridded white surface were the thin black letters:

150POLICE DEPARTMENT – CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Morris Baker was home.

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