Posted by: Brad Nixon | May 18, 2010

The Case of the Phantom Phenomenon

A rainy morning in L.A. Too late in the season for this kind of rain: chilly, steady drizzle out of the northern Pacific. Winter, let us go.

For me, another morning at the intersection of Aviation and El Segundo. The construction site on the southwest corner, derelict for the past 18 months, is finally active again, perhaps a signal that the economy has a hope of wandering out of  the desert. I was looking over to my left, watching the framing of the two-story condo units.

Wow, there among all the delivery vans and other morning traffic, sat a black ’59 Ford Skyliner, retractable roof, although the top was up, those huge black expanses of hood, roof and trunk glistening with rainwater beside the white trucks. I’d seen that car before, but not here. I rolled down the window and signaled, though I couldn’t catch the eyes of the driver through the droplet-covered glass. The window rolled down. Della was looking out at me, smiling with that quizzical smile. Behind her, at the wheel, Perry was scowling across, suspiciously. He always looks suspicious.

“Della, Perry! What brings you to the South Bay? I thought you stuck to downtown and the West Side?”

Della glanced back at Perry, then turned to me again with her ‘I’m reporting the facts now’ look. “Perry’s here to meet with a general at the Air Force Base. He’s chasing down a lead from Lt. Tragg about someone named ‘El Nino’ who’s interrupting some police activity today.”

I paused a moment. Hmmm … maybe Perry didn’t know all that much about weather satellites and all. That’s what they do at LAAFB – satellites.

“Perry, El Nino is a weather pattern! It’s what’s making it rain today.”

Perry looked dubious and the Famous Eyebrows lowered. “Della,” he said, “Tell Paul to get over to the weather bureau and check that out.” Then he looked at me. “Tell me, Mr. Nixon, where were you when this rain began? Isn’t it true that you were seen checking a rain gauge in your back yard before the rain actually began? And isn’t it true that you were seen placing an umbrella in your car — ALSO before the rain began? And did you not …”

“YES! YES!” I felt myself driven to the edge by his constant leading questions that any second-year law student would’ve objected to but somehow judges always allowed. “It’s true! I’m a Californian. I fear the rain. I had to do something, don’t you understand? I couldn’t just go out and get WET!”

The light changed. As they drove off, I heard Perry saying, “Della, take a note …”

Done in by the master again. I wonder if Paul has the top down on the T-Bird today?

© Brad Nixon 2010, 2018



  1. paul ALWAYS has the top down!


Leave a Comment. I enjoy hearing from readers.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: