Eric welcomes his audience back and explains that his novel was originally released in 1958. It was subject to lawsuits in over 30 states, and testified before the HUAC. He went on to influence French filmmakers, and admits that he was interested in boring the audience while making The Spoils Before Dying... and still is.
Rock appears on Artie Mann’s Jazz Party, sponsored by Boghei Cigarettes. He tells Artie that he’s been accused of murder and could be going to the electric chair, and then plays a tribute to Fresno: The Spoils Before Dying. However, he soon goes nuts, bangs on the keys, and walks away. He goes back to his apartment, takes a drink, and figures that he’s going down for the murders of Fresno and Stymagian. Rock goes to a bar and the bartender, Tricksy, pours him a very long double Scotch. As Rock lights a cigarette with the matchbox from Stymagian’s corpse, a man named Kenton Price comes over and asks for a light. He orders a glass of Bagpipe O’Toole’s Vodka Flavored Scotch and introduces himself to Rock. He suggests that they go to his place nearby, and takes Rock’s hand. Rock assures him that he’s straight, and Kenton points out the book of matches.
When Kenton realizes that Rock doesn’t know what they mean, he starts to leave. Rock takes him to a nearby booth and asks what the moose head on the matchbook starts to mean. Kenton is shocked to learn that Stymagian is dead. He explains that Stymagian held meetings to fight for the rights of homosexuals, and the moose head is the symbol of the group. Kenton warns that homosexuals know about the secrets in the town, and Stymagian knew a lot of powerful homosexuals and could have ruined their lives. He tells Rock that he’ll ask around and see what he can learn, because Stymagian was a friend. Kenton gives Rock his address and invites him to drop by.
The next morning, Rock goes back to the Swingyard. Kermit and Chip come in and say that they saw him on the Artie Mann Show, and figure the pressure is getting to Rock. They tell him that a stiff turned up in the desert and they want Rock to identify him. The dead man has two bullet holes in his stomach, and Rock realizes that it’s Fresno’s sax player, Wardell. He left the Swingyard with a tenor sax, but he died holding an alto sax and he hated the tenor.
As Delores sings, Rock tracks down Dallas Boudreau, a juicehead who was shacking up with Wardell. She’s mourning for Wardell, and explains that they were going to get married. Wardell didn’t care that she’d been with every jazz musician in the world. She doesn’t remember Wardell doing business with Stymagian, but Wardell got a bag of money from someone for doing a job. Dallas collapses in tears, but invites Rock to sleep with her. He takes a rain check and asks where Wardell’s tenor is. Dallas doesn’t know, and admits that she hates jazz.
Next, rock goes to the Marina to meet with a drug dealer, Bepop Jones. Bepop introduces his other “ornaments” and his newest singer, Tabby Smooth. Tabby is glad to sing one of his newest rock-n-roll songs, and then Rock asks how well Bepop knew Fresno. Bepop admits that he dealt her drugs, and advises Rock not to ask questions about Stymagian. The dealer doesn’t want the heat, and tells Rock that he’s leaving immediately. Rock asks when Bepop last saw her, and the dealer says that she came by two nights ago with Wardell to buy some drugs. When Rock says that Wardell is dead, Bepop admits that Wardell didn’t leave his sax there and advises Rock to keep his nose clear.
Dizzy interrupts to explain what jazz is all about. Jazz is life’s adventure, set to music.
-----Eric says that it’s delightful to give pleasure through great works of art. He hawks Boghei Cigarettes only to be informed that tobacco commercials are no longer allowed on TV.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 20, 2015