Angel was none too happy with my report about how things had gone. Ultimately, though, he understood our actions were dictated by others, and it wasn't just me being a loose cannon. He invited me and Bekka up for dinner at the trattoria.
"So how do you feel?" he asked over drinks.
"Numb," I said. "I try to focus on both actions, and I can't. There's just a blank spot there."
"The don wasn't pleased with what I've told him," Angel said. "But we're dealing with a situation we've never had to deal with before, people who want to kill for reasons of faith, of emotion, no profit involved whatsoever. Do you think that is all of them?"
Bekka said, "My hunch is yes. They were crackpots, and engaged in their own holy war. The pastor said, 'kill the head and the body will die.' I doubt we'll see any more trouble from them."
"Be on your guard just the same," Angel warned. "And you wiped everything down in that car, right?"
"Took my shirt off and polished everything we touched," I said. "No prints anywhere."
"Good, good. Overall, you made a nice clean job of it."
"Hooray for me."
"Anything new with your latest feature?" he asked, switching gears.
"Just doing read-through work right now, getting people adjusted to their parts. My new performer is working out well."
"She's a dream to work with," said Bekka. "So long as she takes to stage direction, we'll have another lead performer."
We talked business all through dinner. Afterwards, Bekka and I headed back down south to La Costa. After the night before, we were tired, so we went to bed at an early hour for us, around eleven. We spent Sunday in a lazy manner, reading the paper and watching TV.
On Monday the Union-Tribune announced to the world, "Local Pastor Missing." The article said that Pastor Paul Wertham had not shown up for Sunday services, was not at his home, and his car was found in the lot of the church with the keys in the ignition. No mention was made of a murder happening across the street from the church.
I slumped on my sofa and pondered how long, if ever, it would take for the pastor to be found out in the desert. He and his cohort had lived lives of violence not associated with normal churches. I wondered if the same church spawned more Joshuas, simultaneously obsessed and repelled by porn, and women in general. I wondered if they would choose to follow the same paths.
Bekka snuggled up next to me on the sofa. I pulled the newspaper over my face and fell asleep.