Strolling along the beachfront on the first day of her visit to L.A. Marsha revelled in the heady atmosphere of Venice Beach. She had been to the house Jim Morrison had lived in and Orson Wells’ place too. The canals were nice, though nothing to compare with Amsterdam she had decided. The arcade-like atmosphere of the businesses along the strip was a welcome assault on her senses. There was nothing of the sort in Canton, Ohio, that was for sure.
She had lunch in a wonderful café at the end of the strip then walked back the way she had come to take in more of the sights and sounds. As she passed the weight lifting area she came upon a lone figure sitting on a bench. He looked as though he had been through hell. A cast on his left leg, a cast on his right arm, various cuts and bruises and two very blackened eyes told a tale of woe that tugged at her heart strings. As a nurse she knew only too well the pain he must be in.
He saw her watching him and managed a wan smile. She went and sat next to him. He seemed so shy and vulnerable she just had to speak.
“My, you’ve certainly been through it haven’t you? I hope you don’t mind. My name is Marsha.”
She put out her hand then realized he couldn’t shake it. She gave him a sheepish smile and he managed a small laugh.
“Larry. I’m pleased to meet you Marsha. Beautiful day isn’t it?”
“Oh, I’m enjoying it so much. Um, if you don’t mind my asking, what happened to you? Auto accident?”
He shifted himself around to face her, grimacing as he did. “No, nothing like that. A burly man with quite a temper thrashed me. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time you might say.”
Marsh shook her head. “I just don’t know what this world is coming to. Was it something you said to him?”
“No, I never spoke a word. I was trying to get away from him when I saw the look on his face. I wasn’t fast enough. He grabbed me by the hair and threw me to the floor. Then he twisted my arm behind my back and broke it.”
“That’s terrible! You were just trying to get out of his way and he did that? What about your leg?”
“Oh, he stomped it with his heavy steel-toed boots. I tell you, I’ve never felt such pain in my life. After that there was no chance of getting away at all.”
“That’s just horrible!”
“Yeah, then he started punching my face. I begged him to stop but he was an animal. He kept screaming at me, his spit was flying into my face. I thought I was goner.”
“Oh you poor, poor man.”
“Yeah, well, what are you gonna do? I’m been on the street for a week now. I can’t go back to where I live, I’m sure he’s looking for me.”
“Looking for you? You mean he wants to do you more harm?”
Larry shrugged. “Some people just have no sense of balance I tell you.”
Marsha reached in her purse and took out a hundred dollar bill. “Here, I want you to have this. I won’t take no for an answer.”
Larry blushed and took the bill from her hand. “God bless you Marsha, you’re an angel.”
“Poor Larry. So what happened after he beat you? What made him stop?”
“Well, his wife hit him over the head with a lamp and knocked him out.”
“His…wife? What was she doing there?”
“Well, I was in his bed when he burst in. She was under me.”
“What? You mean you were…”
“Hey, how was I to know she was married to a Hell’s Angel?”
As he sat there after Marsha left Larry couldn’t decide which hurt more, the slap or the loss of the hundred-dollar bill.