“What’s the point of having laws if they don’t enforce them?” I said to Claudia (sans Bob) and a new and very pregnant neighbor, Stephanie, the following day as I brought them up to speed on recent events. “Plus, if it’s the bureaucrats’ job to enforce the law and they’re not doing it, can we get them fired?”
Stephanie wailed. “Oh, I hate hearing there’s a problem. I don’t think it’s good for the baby.” Stephanie was taking her belly out for a late third trimester walk. Like a lot of mothers she believed a negative thought could permanently damage her unborn child’s psyche.
“Theoretically we should,” said Claudia. “If the City of Los Angeles was a publicly traded stock, these fools would have been fired a long time ago. I mean, who’s looking out for shareholder value?”
“Whatever illegal business is being run out of that house is not helping our property values any,” I agreed. “It’s obvious to everyone that something wrong is going on in there but rather than deal with it, they claim they have no proof—as if people admitting they’re employees and all the cars isn’t enough. I mean, can’t they look up a license plate then cross reference it to bank accounts and see who issued the checks that get deposited on a regular basis? Don’t tell me in this age of Net footprints and facial recognition software, they can’t do that.”
“Buddy told me he’s going to start spying on them,” said Claudia. “He’s putting up cameras and has a microscope pointed at the house.”
“You mean a telescope?” I asked.
Claudia hesitated. “Yes, that’s what I meant. All this activity has me not thinking clearly.”
“Don’t worry,” said Stephanie. “I get things confused all the time. Do you notice how the employees all wear black and carry laptops? Do you suppose they work for the government?”
“No,” I said. “They’re too smart.”
“Well, I’m glad Buddy’s doing something,” said Claudia. “Somebody has to.”
There was that “somebody” again. What we needed was a dedicated investigative type who had nothing better to do than find the evidence the city claimed they didn’t have. Buddy could have been that guy but he had a screw loose.
“I think we’re going to more than pictures of people going in and out,” I said. “I mean we already have pictures.”
“You’re right,” said Claudia. “Unless we get some major proof or more likely a lot of major proof, those doofusses–doofi?– at Building and Safety will go on saying the people getting out of all these cars are playing video games inside that hideous house and do nothing.”
“Well,” I said, “I’m doing a little investigating of my own. Last night I Googled the address of the monstrosity and found a business with that address.”
“Really?” said Claudia. “What is it? Is it porn like we thought?”
Stephanie gasped. “Okay, I’ll see you guys later. I’m gonna get going. But I’ll mention all this to Troy. He might have some ideas.”
We waved goodbye and watched Stephanie waddle down the street. I was quite happy not to be expecting the arrival of a newborn, adorable as they can be. I had no energy for anything more than what I was already doing.
“I don’t know if it’s porn,” I said. “It’s called FFF Enterprises. My brain instantly went to the F-word but that’s just the way my brain works. It could be some kind of front.”
“A front for what?” asked Claudia.
“That’s what I still need to find out.”