Mystery of the Vanishing Vasquez

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To forget oneself is to be happy.—Robert Louis Stevenson

ARCONIAN NEWS BRIEF

Mystery of the Vanishing Vasquez . . .

Icehouse Psycho Implicated

    Part of my stocker duties is to empty out the five trash barrels by the pumps and put new trash bags in them. A few weeks ago, I found a Handicam video camera in one of the barrels. I’m still trying to get it to work.

    Yesterday, I found a large blue canvass purse. In it was some woman’s life; her fake driver’s license, her El Camino student I.D., her address book, her Social Security card, pictures of her wedding and children, traffic tickets, orders from the court for her to do community service time, her food stamp records and I.D., her storage key, several letters from the court concerning domestic violence and victim services, a lot of social services and police cards and on and on.

    The purse’s contents painted a picture of a middle-aged housewife whose life had been changed by some kind of violence to her family. It appears that she was starting over, going back to school, trying to get some mechanically unsound car around town without collecting too many maintenance tickets. So why was her life in a gas station trash barrel?

    I had Arconian cash register clerk Renea call what appeared to be Darlene Vasquez’s daughter in Venice Beach from a number in the woman’s address book. Renea said they seemed uninterested that their mother’s purse turned up in Gardenia. Curiouser and curiouser.

    Today, manager Kimmie got a hold of the woman’s sister. The sister was crying, Kimmie said, because Darlene has been missing four days now.

    There was an eight-cruiser arrest by deputy sheriffs behind the Arco yesterday morning. It appears that The Icehouse Psycho—a nutjob who buys a 24-ounce can of Icehouse beer at the Arco every morning and then acts so bizarre on the side of the store that I have to run him off—was the guy arrested. Rumor has it that the usually penniless Icehouse Psycho was buying rounds for all the other street winos yesterday morning.

    I wonder if he offed poor old Darlene for her purse. I’ll be keeping my nostrils open for the telltale smells of decomposition coming from the Voodoo Lot next door.
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