Total Control in Los Angeles, DX and Zephyr Pavey

Text by DX, photos by Zephyr Pavey

Total Control was, at this point, David, Daniel, Mikey, Zephyr and James.


The first show of the Total Control tour was in a lousy bar in Oakland. There is nothing memorable to report about the experience, but towards the end of the night a very nervous looking guy in his late 30’s made us a very strange and interesting offer.


There is always something disconcerting about nervous looking late 30’s types approaching the merch table. I expected record nerd autism, my space enveloped with a tirade of fragmented words like “synth-cajun punk." Instead, he asked if we might speak privately, that he had an offer. I assumed that his tactic was some kind of label nonsense, and dismissed him, saying I couldn’t leave the desk.


“My name is Jared. I’m from LA. I’ve come to see you tonight on behalf of my employer, in the hope that Total Control could play a private party. We noticed you had a night off in LA.” The man was glistening. His large black eyes darted around the room, and his voice softened into a barely audible hiss every time some one walked by.


“We were planning on enjoying the night off. Private parties for people we don’t know don’t sound enjoyable.” I said.


“We could certainly make it enjoyable. Is ten thousand dollars enjoyable?” He wasn’t darting or dancing anymore, and I froze up under the glare. “Here’s my number. Give me a call tonight when you’re able to talk.”


That night, at Brace and Vinnie’s house in the Tenderloin, I made the call. Zephyr took a photo (1).


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We arrived at the house in LA the next evening. It was everything a childhood of movies about LA affluence demanded: it was white, and it was a mansion, and it had a drive that took a while to get up, a gate with a passcode, a small family outside to wave us in. Zephyr took a photo of the family (2).


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Our instructions were reasonably clear. Jared would have all the gear ready for us. We were to arrive, sound check at 6:00, wait around until the guest of honor arrived, then play a set. For one person. Then, we were to leave. It was pretty specific: no looking at the guy or acknowledging his presence. Play like it was a crowded pub. Jared would have the money for us, in cash, after the set.


The door was open, as Jared had promised. The other guys carried guitars and drum pieces. We set them on the stage in what seemed to be a large living room. This living room had a small stage built in to make it appear like a venue. A dining table sat at the other end of the room. It was about the size of a small pub. The band crossed the room, and started to set up, and while they did, I looked around.


It didn’t take long to find the body. Glass sliding doors were open, and the pool glistened in the harsh sunlight. Jared was floating in the pool, watching the band-aids and slime on the bottom. He’d been watching them for a while. His skin looked like the house.


“There goes ten thousand,” I said into the room, where the others were trading insults.


“Huh?” Mikey asked, and walked over. He looked at the pool, and sighed. “Beautiful day for a swim.”


So, we pulled Jared out of the pool and stuffed him in a closet at the bottom of the stairs, and waited by the side of the pool for the filtration system to cycle through the death. I read Machiavelli. Mikey dove in. The water enveloped him, and shimmered in the LA sun. James slept on a towel. David waded. Zephyr took a photo (3)


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The next day, we searched the house very carefully, looking for the money Jared had promised us. It was evident at this point that Jared was our mystery guest, but he had left no indication that he’d planned to pay us. James searched Jared, and in his waterlogged wallet there was a business card for a Psychic in Hollywood, and on the back of the card was a date, the day before, and a time, 5:00.


We drove to the Psychic. Zephyr took a photo (4).


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The others waited outside, and I went inside.


It smelled of incense and cigarettes and cat hair, and a dark haired woman sat watching Judge Judy on a brand new flat screen TV. When I walked in, she pressed MUTE and turned to me.


“Please, shut the door. Feel welcome here.” She said this and watched me very closely.


“I’d feel welcome if you turned the television off.” I said, and sat down at the table she obviously worked from. There was a pack of cards, a couple of colourful crystals and a book.


She turned it off, sat down, took my hand and looked at it.


“Where are you from? You have an English accent?”


“I’m from a little house in LA.” I gave her Jared’s address. “Maybe you've been there before?”


Her face hardened. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


“Relax. I’m not police. But I do want half of that money, Esmerelda.” I took her hand in mine and pulled her towards me. “Nice TV you got there. How many palms you read to get that?”


She stared into my future for a little while, and then I said: “Five thousand. And nobody’ll know you lost a customer yesterday.”


She didn’t make a move. So, I called out, “James.”


James walked in, very nervous. He was holding a cardboard box. It was heavy. He walked over to the psychic, who was struggling to pull out of my grip. I smiled at her as James opened the lid of the box, and directed her to look inside.


Her eyes and her mouth were open wide, and a barely audible rushing could be heard, like a car in the distance. She collapsed.


James walked out, and Zephyr took a photo (5).


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We spent that night in a nice hotel, and we drove out of LA the next day. The highway between LA and AZ is long and flat and it took us a while to get to an area where we could put Jared. We found a fairly rocky area and pulled into a rest stop. Mikey called the venue to let them know we’d be late for the show – we had a breakdown. Zephyr took a photo (6).


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After a few minutes waiting, the long highway in each direction was free of cars. We dragged Jared’s body and head separately up over the mountain and pushed his body into a crevice. A couple hours of leverage on a few small rocks made the larger ones collapse. The landslide complete, there was no crevice, and no sign of a body. Any smell would be credited to a dead animal, and nobody would be climbing over this mountain for any reason anytime soon.


“So, what happened?” David asked, as we climbed down the rocks.


“She copped to it. He told her about the show and the cash. She sent her son over and he threw Jared into the pool. Psychic visions. He must have taken a lot more money, because she parted with it pretty easy. Five grand maybe was too easy.”


Zephyr took a photo of Jared’s grave (7), and we left.


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