12 Days (pt. 5/12)


Lichen spread across the stone steps leading down to the rock-strewn beach.

“Gorgeous.” Lila stood for a moment admiring the view of the sun setting behind them before quickly gazing around for the next sign of where they should go.

She saw what looked like a map tied to the metal railing with string that she tugged loose.

Ian crowded in next to her to hold the map flat against the wall.

“Los Angeles?” Lila rolled her eyes. and quirked her eyebrow at Ian. “After driving all the way up here, we’re supposed to drive right back down?” She squinted and tapped at the map. “Where is this place?”

Ian leaned closer. “Looks like LACMA,” he said referring to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

TJs1Ian yawned hugely. “How about we head over to Trader Joe’s and pick up some food – I know you’re hungry – and then stop over at a motel in Seaside.”

Lila nodded. “Sounds good.”

They drove over to Trader Joe’s and picked up some wine, cheese, bread and chocolate before wending their way over to the motel.

The next morning they headed down to Los Angeles.

12 Days (pt. 4/12)

street_ViewLila and Ian walked despondently through the rest of the museum before ending their visit next to the exhibition of Google Maps with Street View.

“I wonder how many people have been caught in compromising positions by this,” Ian said gesturing at the car kitted out with a camera and computer.

Lila raised her eyebrows. “More than one, I’m sure.”

“C’mon.” Ian held out his hand to her. “Let’s walk across and get some coffee at the Starbucks across the street.”

Lila took his hand and they walked the short distance together to the coffee shop.

Fishing around in her purse for the Starbucks gift card she had received from a friend, her hand encountered a tightly folded piece of paper. Her eyes widened and she quickly handed the square of paper to Ian before completing her transaction.

The seated themselves outside on the patio at a distance from the other patrons, and Lila turned eagerly to Ian.

“Well, what does it say?”

“Nothing of interest,” Ian said deadpan and then grinned. “I waited until we could look at it together.”

“Aw, you’re such a thoughtful guy.” Lila leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“I know,” Ian replied cheekily. “Anywho, here it is.” He unrolled the paper and held it down so they could both read it.

“This is just like a scavenger hunt,” Lila murmured.  The paper instructed them to drive to a public beach just north of Monterey.

“Bit of a drive,” Lila commented.

“We can make it there in about an hour,” Ian said confidently.

Grabbing their coffee and treats they walked quickly back to their car and headed south.

Ian pulled into the public beach parking lot just north of a hotel. Lila hopped out of the car to join him in walking over a log that crossed a stream and allowed them access to the beach area.

Strolling on the beach hand in hand, Lila kept glancing around trying to identify the person directing them.

A man approached them and gestured to his family who appeared to be from somewhere in South Asia. “Please could you take our photo?” He pointed to the ocean view behind them.


“Sure,” Lila agreed readily. The man showed her how to use the camera and after taking the quick photo, he thanked her, and gratefully gave her his business card, before taking back his camera and promenading away with his family members. Lila stuffed the business card in her purse.

After a few minutes of waiting around, Lila turned to Ian disappointedly. “Looks like whoever it was, isn’t going to make contact.”

They stood a minute enjoying the view before turning to make the trek back to the car.

Lila pursed her lips after settling into the passenger seat. “Where do we go next?”

Ian shrugged. “How about heading into Monterey for some sightseeing?”

“All right,” Lila said unenthusiastically. “I’m hungry. Maybe we can stop somewhere and pick up something to eat,” she said while digging into her purse for some mints to stave off the hunger for a little longer. Her hand encountered the business card the South Asian man had given her and she drew it closer to look at the small print:


Lila looked puzzled and held it out for Ian to see. His eyes brightened. “I think I know where it is.”

“Great, because I have no idea. Oh, and food,” Lila reminded him.

statue2They arrived a short time later at a lookout area. Ian parked the car and walked purposefully up to a statue depicting a boy holding a sailboat. “See?” Ian asked triumphantly.

“Very good,” Lila applauded him. “Now, where’s the next clue.” She walked carefully around the statue examining it for clues. Tucked in between the boy’s arm and sailboat was another piece of paper. Lila sighed. “I’m getting a little tired of this. And I’m ready for dinner.” Nonetheless she plucked up the paper and smoothed it on the boy’s back.


“O—kay,” Lila drew out the word. She pointed to the sun disappearing into the horizon. “At least we’re getting some good views. Sunset is coming.” They began walking toward the stairs that would take them down to the beach.

Halloween Surprise, pt. 7/30

What lies ahead…

Gently dragging the pistol from its holster, Lila glided it down Ian’s back and smoothly pulled it up in one motion to aim at Charlie.

“I think we’ll be going now. Not that it hasn’t been tons of fun.” Lila said lightly.

“Wait,” the man said. He put down his weapon and held up his hands as if to show he was harmless. “There is something I must show you before you go.” He gestured to the back of the apartment where the bedrooms lay.

“Oh, no. I’m not falling for the old ‘check out my etchings’ routine. If they were so great you’d have them hanging in the front room.” Lila began edging back toward the front door until she backed into something solid. Looking up, way up, she saw the man pictured on the dosimeter. “Sergey?” She looked accusing at Charlie. “I thought you said he was dead.”

“No, I said he was one of our best employees,” Charlie reminded her.

“Fair enough.” Lila agreed. “Still, that doesn’t explain what he’s doing here. What’s really going on?” She directed the final question to Sergey and passed the pistol to Ian who had moved to her right. He held it loosely in his hand, prepared to use it if necessary.

Sergey moved around her left and sat on the armchair kitty corner to the couch. “Lila, you’ve heard rumors about the experiments at El Segundo. I heard you say that while I was waiting in the kitchen.” He grinned suddenly. “I really was going to bring dessert, by the way.”

Lila looked cautiously toward the kitchen area. “What, bullet surprise, or perhaps brownies a la Chernobyl?”

“Tiramisu, actually.” Sergey motioned. “I can get it if you’d like.”

“Let’s hear what’s really going on,” Ian said. “Then we’ll decide if we’re playing along.”

“You are familiar with the concept of world line?” Sergey looked expectantly at Lila.

She nodded. “Spacetime, which is divided into the future, past, and what we think is now, but can actually be the past. Like if we’re standing there staring at the sun, we’re actually seeing it as it was eight minutes ago because light takes time to travel.”

“Correct.” Sergey nodded. “We think we may have found a point in spacetime where we are able to see images from the future, but they are very,” he paused, “disturbing.”

“Disturbing how?” Lila pushed for details.

“Like Fukushima,” Sergey said, referring to the nuclear reactor disaster that occurred in Japan. “Only 100 times greater.”